© 2020 by Jacie
Length: 900 words
Tony has found his path amidst the starlit night.
Don’t know them. It’s not true. I made it all up.
This was written for Cutsycat as part of the Happy Holiday's Challenge.
The Path Continues... on AO3
Six months later
Tony’s white and brown cat, Wiz, was indeed an adventurous soul. When he first took her out to his weekend retreat, he was afraid she might get lost or run off. He had worried needlessly as she was quite a rambunctious and bold little feline with an affinity for climbing trees. At first he’d attempted to keep her on a leash, but it didn’t work well when her mind was firmly set on tree climbing. He soon found that she never ran off, and if he lost sight of her, all he had to do is whistle and she’d come running back to him.
He had Austin, the local handyman, add storm doors to both his A-frame cottage, and his writing shed, and also add cat doors to the main entrance door of each building. Whatever building he was in, Tony would prop open the storm door, so Wiz could come and go as she pleased.
The lithe little cat also enjoyed the large waterfall fountain. There was a ledge around the holding pond that she would sometimes walk across, not caring in the least if her small paws got wet. It gave Tony plenty of opportunities to photograph and sketch her. Although she would never get too close to a fire, she did enjoy watching the flames flicker and dance.
Most of the time, Tony and Wiz went to the cottage on their own. It was called the cottage, while Gibbs’ little doomsday abode was referred to as the cabin. There were some weekends where Gibbs would bring Captain Tigger and join them at the cottage, and other weekends where they would all hang out at the more rustic cabin.
More often than not, Gibbs respected that the cottage was Tony’s special place and a time for him to destress and reconnect with himself. Unless it was raining, Tony and Wiz would go for long hikes, on the nearby paths. They usually stuck within walking distance, but Tony did eventually purchase a book that featured other hikes in the area and they would occasionally venture out on a new trail.
Wiz had a backpack carrier that Tony would use during vehicle trips. He’d also take it on hikes, although, if she didn’t feel like walking, Wiz would leap up onto his shoulders and would rest there, on top of the pack, but leaning on Tony’s shoulders while he continued his hike.
The pair became quite well-known and slightly famous on the local trails. People enjoyed photographing Wiz when she was walking on a leash like a pro, or riding on Tony’s shoulders like a feline queen.
With his vast collection of photos, sketches, poems and stories of or inspired by Wiz, it was decided she would be the focus of his next book, This Path I Walk… Featuring Wiz, The Cat. At that point, she required her own social media pages which featured new photos or drawings of her every week or two and occasionally featured her mentor and pal, Captain Tigger.
When Christmas rolled around again, Gibbs and Tony celebrated having their feline friends for a full year. There were an abundance of toys and treats under the tree. Gibbs had even used his carpentry skills to create several cat-friendly shelves and cat-trees which were now spread throughout their house, with a firm promise to catify the cabin, the cottage and Tony’s tiny writing shed.
After having dinner with Ducky and the team, Tony and Gibbs brought the cats home and settled down in front of the fireplace. Wiz sat a few feet from the flames, mesmerized by the way they flickered and danced. Captain Tigger had made himself comfortable on the back of the sofa, lounging behind where Gibbs and Tony were sitting as they watched It’s A Wonderful Life on Tony’s new large-screen television. Tony had prepared mulled cider and caramel popcorn for the occasion, a tradition he’d been raised on since childhood. He even pretended not to notice that Gibbs had slipped a touch of bourbon into the cider for an extra kick.
With the warmth of the fire, they’d turned the heat down and snuggled together under a blanket. As the ending credits rolled, Tony kissed Gibbs on the lips, then dug out one last gift hidden in the tree. He handed it to Gibbs to open.
Ever curious, Wiz jumped up into Tony’s lap and pawed at the ribbon tied around the present. Apparently impatient for Gibbs to open the gift, she moved onto his lap and began chewing the paper where he’d pulled it away.
It was yet another book by Ozzy D’Notion, this one titled, The Path I Celebrate. Opening the book, Gibbs read the dedication, To Jethro, Tigger and Wiz – my love and companions on the path I have chosen. This book was focused on Gibbs, the cats and their relationship together with Tony, and featured stories, poems, essays, drawings and sketches from several outings they’d taken together, including the few times they’d taken the cats out sailing as well as their time spent together hiking and relaxing at the cottage and cabin.
Gibbs chuckled and asked if Tony had really chosen this path, or had simply stumbled across it. And Tony replied, it didn’t matter, because the way the stars aligned in the sky, they would forever light a path that led back to Gibbs, and he would always follow that path home.
© 2020 by Jacie