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Pet's Life

Aric worked through the night, unaware of the fact until he felt the coming of dawn. Looking at the clock he saw that there was still time to eat something and get his pet some food before he'd be forced to rest.

Standing, he stretched a days worth of muscle cramps away before looking over at Liberty.

He could see she was cold, even if she hadn't said a word. Her lips and nail beds had a slight blue hue to them and she kept rubbing at her arms and legs to warm the up.

Feeling guilty for ignoring her all day he decided to feed her first, then deal with finding her more appropriate clothing.

"Hungry?" he asked, still looking at her.

Liberty simply nodded, using all of her energy to keep from openly shivering.

"Dinner, A negative," Aric said into the phone, "and something warm for my pet."

Hanging up, he went to the basket of pet supplies he'd seen the night before. Digging though it he found a warm, if gaudy, pink velour sweatsuit that would be warmer than the shirt and shorts he'd given his pet to wear.

Digging deeper he also found a simple underwear and bra set and socks with little bells sewn into the cuff.

Cringing at the thought of anyone wearing the provided outfit, let alone his pet, Aric promised himself that the next night he would take her to the pet shop and buy her something more acceptable.

Clothes in hand he walked over to the chair where she was curled up. The look on her face as he offered her the bundle told him she felt the same way he did about the clothes.

"I know they're awful," he acknowledged, "but they will be warmer than what you have on. I'll take you to the pet shop tomorrow for something decent."

"Thank you," she said, moving to stand, but failing her legs cramping painfully when she tried to move them.

Aric caught her before she hit the ground, and held on until the spasm passed and she was able to support her own weight.

It was only then that they both noticed the bra caught on his arm. Everything else had fallen to the floor when he grabbed for her, but his arm had somehow slipped through the strap and it now hung between them.

Liberty was the first to laugh, the look of mortification and perplexity that warred on Aric's face made the funniest expression she had ever seen.

Soon Aric was laughing too, unable to stop until there was a knock on the door.

Helping Liberty collect the dropped clothes, he told her to go change while he accepted their dinner.

Watching the door close behind her, Aric realized that that had been the first time he'd truly laughed since Angel's death.

The smile faded from his face as he opened the door and accepted the dinner tray, sadness at the loss of his Angel replacing the laughter Liberty had just sparked.

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