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Tales from a Cat's Eye View (PG) Print

Written by Susana

03 September 2011 | 6650 words

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Title: To Catch a Thief
Author: Susana
Series: Desperate Hours, Tales from a Cat’s Eye View, 3
Feedback: rosasusana7@…
Rating: PG
Warning: AU
Disclaimer: All recognizable elements are Tolkien’s
Summary: A story about Ouch the cat in Henneth Annûn
Beta: None, all mistakes are mine.
A/N: Faramir is about 20 in this story, a very young Lieutenant in the Ithilien Rangers.


To Catch a Thief

Ouch twitched her tail. There was an aggressive squirrel that kept coming into their cave-home, and stealing their grain. And Ouch meant to end his bushy-tailed, thieving, life tonight.

Her boy —no longer a boy, a man really— was sitting beside his Captain, maps spread out on a make-shift table in front of them. A table under which her prey had scurried… that would not save his life, not again tonight, Ouch resolved. She sprang.

She caught her prey under the table, accidentally upturning it as she and the squirrel, who was about a third of her size, fought their fierce battle. She, to vanquish a long-disliked foe, one who was stealing her rangers’ food. He, for his life.

Captain Andacar swore fulsomely, as table, maps, candle, and stone markers went flying.

Lieutenant Faramir winced, though at least he’d caught the candle as the table went careening off its base.

Lieutenant Damrod chuckled. “Cheer up, Captain sir. She’s caught the squirrel. Good girl, Ouch.”

Faramir handed the candle off to his captain, who sighed in resignation as his youngest Lieutenant (also his youngest ranger) commanded the cat to let the rodent be, then tossed a knife with deadly accuracy at the furry thief who’d wreaked havoc amongst their food stores last winter.

“Ouch, a squirrel is a big opponent for a cat.” Faramir chided gently, looking the feline over for injuries. “Leave the squirrels to us, eh? You keep up with the mice.”

“Hmm.” Corporal Mablung commented dryly. “She’s definitely your cat, Lieutenant. I think I’ve had this exact same conversation with you.”

Faramir blushed, but had a clever comeback ready. “That was about trolls, Mablung. I always leave the squirrels alone.” The young ranger quipped.

Captain Andacar sighed. The army had a strict “no pets” policy, but Ouch had proved too useful for him to send away, even once he was forced to take official notice of her. The Ithilien Rangers had a strict “no children” policy, but he’d been forced to accept teenaged Faramir, then Dervorin. And they’d both proved too useful to send away. He hadn’t yet been forced to take official notice of them jumping the border on their little intelligence gathering trips. And the information they brought back kept saving lives, and making it easier for the rangers to do their job of making Ithilien too costly for Mordor to take and hold. So, lucky another day, cat and rangers. Their Captain would just hope that Faramir’s and Dervorin’s luck would keep holding out.

“Faramir, take that squirrel to whoever’s cooking dinner tonight, and you and your cat go get some sleep. It’s late, and you’re off early in the morning.” Andacar commanded gruffly. He was frustrated with the cat’s interruption, but they hadn’t been getting anywhere, anyway. They didn’t have enough information.

“Yes, sir.” Faramir said with a grin, picking the unhurt Ouch up to set on his shoulder, and lifting the squirrel gently. He was glad that Ouch had stopped the squirrel’s raids, but Faramir regretted even that small a loss of innocent life.

Andacar, Mablung, and Damrod shook their heads as the youngest ranger left their company. There was no need to vocalize their discontent – they were all in agreement. Faramir made a good ranger, but it was not easy for him. And they all knew, where Faramir and Dev must be going, to bring back the details they did, on the planned movements of the Haradrim and their allies the orcs. They knew, but they needed the information. Though, if the boys got injured, Mablung might well tell Faramir’s brother, Captain Boromir. Mablung wasn’t an officer or a noble, nor did he have a family to protect. Besides, Andacar wasn’t the kind to severely discipline a subordinate for acting out of conscience. He was a good man, their captain. But one determined to make the best use out of all of the tools in front of him. And that included the Steward’s younger son, and his brilliant mind.

“I’ve a squirrel for you, for the stew pot.” Faramir gently handed the creature to Dervorin, who looked at it for a moment, before putting it aside with a grin.

“Its the squirrel.” Dev exulted. “Good kitty, Ouch. What a good kitty. I knew I was doing the right thing when I put that fish oil into Boromir’s boots…what a clever cat he sent us, such a wonderful hunter.”

Ouch preened. Her person’s friend knew her so well.

Faramir chuckled. “How is it that you keep ending up on cooking and clean up duty, anyway?” He asked, amused.

Dev waved a hand. “Baseless accusations about pranks perpetrated by yours truly. No proof, but they blame the new guy. You know how it is.”

“Right.” Faramir replied, voice wry and amused. “No drugging anybody.”

“Faramir, you wound me. Would I do that?” Dev asked in a light, aggrieved tone.

The older rangers, observing this interaction, looked a bit uneasy. Madril, who had joined just after Faramir, but before Dev, came over. “Dev, I’ll, ah, take over for you. If you’d like. I know a great recipe for squirrel.”

“If you insist.” Dev replied happily, following Faramir, who still cuddled Ouch, to a place right by the falls, where they could speak without being overheard.

“So, we’re on for tomorrow?” Dev asked with a grin, “And thanks for the save, by the way.”

“We’re on.” Faramir confirmed, less excited than his friend. “But we’re going to practice conversational Haradim until dinner, you and I. We need to find out more about where the Bey’s army is wintering, but I’m…worried. The Bey’s men have become more aggressive, and I don’t want to get caught, or conscripted, neither.”

Dev nodded. He didn’t think they would run into any problems, they never had before. But practicing their language skills sounded like a better use of time than cooking dinner.

Ouch purred in her person’s arms, unaware that Faramir’s next scouting trip would come within a hair’s breadth of being his last. Lulled by the strange sounds of the other language her person sometimes spoke with his friend, the gray and black striped tabby fell asleep, dreaming of mice.

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The following people read the story, enjoyed it, and would like to thank the author: Minkicat , Minkicat , Aneyrin , TrollCookie

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1 Comment(s)


NB: Comments span all chapters and may contain spoilers!

Thank you for such a lovely story! I love cats (and Faramir, of course) so the combination is terrific.

— Moni    12 September 2011, 09:49    #

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