lady-whiskers

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Tommen helped her restore her to herself. He had never been more precious to her than he was that morning, chattering about his kittens as he dribbled honey onto a chunk of hot black bread fresh from the ovens. ‘Ser Pounce caught a mouse,’ he told her, ‘but Lady Whiskers stole it from him.’
I was never so sweet and innocent, Cersei thought. How can he ever hope to rule in this cruel realm?
—  Cersei Lannister, A Feast for Crows
- KING TOMMEN BARATHEON, a boy king of nine years
- his kittens, SER POUNCE, LADY WHISKERS, BOOTS
— 

an entry from the Appendix I: The Kings and their Courts from A Feast for Crows.

That same appendix contains entries like “poisoned at his wedding feast, a boy of twelve”, “dying painfully of a poisoned wound”, and “died screaming in the black cells”.

Felicitations for Our Feline Friends

Tommen Baratheon and Margaery Tyrell would like to invite you to the wedding of Ser Pounce and Lady Whiskers.

*******************

“Lady Whiskers needs a bridal cloak, Your Grace, for a proper wedding,” Margaery said softly.

Tommen hesitated only for a moment before snatching a green handkerchief of silk and lace and tying it around Lady Whiskers’ neck. The kitten writhed and wriggled, desperate to get free.

“Is Ser Pounce a Tyrell?” Margaery asked, stroking Ser Pounce’s neck as he warily watched his intended bride.

“No, Ser Pounce is a Baratheon, like me. Lady Whiskers is a Tyrell, like you,” Tommen replied, still trying to keep Lady Whiskers in his arms. “Hush, my lady. You must not frighten your bridegroom.”                 

Margaery giggled. “She’s not really a lady.”

 “She is. Everyone is a lady from birth. Ser Pounce is not really a ser though, because he has not done his brave deeds and rescue children and maidens.”

“He rescued that poor mouse from Lady Whiskers’ mouth,” Margaery said.

“No,” Tommen said, “he just wanted his mouse back. Ser Pounce caught the mouse, but Lady Whiskers stole it from him.”

“But then the mouse escaped from them both. What a clever, clever mouse,” Margaery purred.

In truth, the mouse had a helping hand, or rather it had two helping hands from Margaery and Tommen to escape the clutches of Ser Pounce and Lady Whiskers. “No, no, that’s not your wedding feast,” Tommen scolded his kittens. “You can have fish later,” Margaery promised the happy couple. “And milk too.”  

“Mother said Ser Pounce must learn to defend his rights, because the weak are always victims to the strong. But Lady Whiskers will never do anything to hurt Ser Pounce, will she?” Tommen asked, looking and sounding anxious.

“Of course not,” Margaery assured the boy, her royal husband. “Lady Whiskers will love and protect her husband, always.”

“Like you will, Margaery?” Tommen asked, with all the guilelessness of an eight-year-old boy.

Margaery gifted Tommen a kiss, a chaste, fleeting peck on the cheek, light and airy. “Like I will, my king. I promise.”

With Tommen distracted by the kiss, Lady Whiskers finally succeeded in her effort to escape from Tommen’s restraining hands to jump into Margaery’s lap. Ser Pounce was not best pleased to be sharing the warm and comforting space with another kitten, and he started growling loudly to show his displeasure. One scornful, withering look from Lady Whiskers was enough to silence him, however, and Ser Pounce crept meekly and quietly away, straight into Tommen’s welcoming arms.

“Should we start the ceremony?” Margaery asked, smiling.

“Yes!” Tommen replied enthusiastically.

They brought the two kittens closer together. “With this kiss I pledge my love,” Margaery said.

“With this kiss I pledge my love,” Tommen echoed.

But when they tried to make Ser Pounce and Lady Whiskers kiss to seal the vow, the newly-married couple resisted strenuously - claws were flexed and teeth were bared, among other things. “They’re just shy, in front of us,” Margaery said, kissing Lady Whiskers’ head.

Tommen nodded. “They will kiss and make lots and lots of babies later, when no one is watching,” he said, tickling Ser Pounce’s stomach. “We’ll have to think of names to give the little baby kittens.”

The trip home from the allergist Dr. Pycelle sent them to is one of the saddest times Myrcella can remember.  It is even sadder than all the nights the teachers call home from school to say that Joff was bad and then Mother screams things like You just don’t understand him because he is brighter than all your other students, and then slams the phone down and uncorks the wine bottle and calls Uncle Jaime.  The car is so quiet, it’s just her and Mother and horns honking and the sound of her sniffling into a tissue.  Sniffling because she is crying, of course, but also because her nose has been runny and clogged for weeks and now they know why.  She is allergic to cats.

“Maybe we can get goldfish,” Mother says for the third time since they left the doctor’s office.  “Would you like that?”  She pats Myrcella on the knee when they stop at a red light.  Myrcella notices a few of her fingernails look bitten off, even though Mother is always telling Tommen to stop biting his.

“No,” Myrcella sniffs, and a fresh wave of tears pours out of her hot-feeling eyes.

“Cella, please,” Mother says, and the car behind them honks and Mother holds her finger up the way Uncle Jaime and Uncle Tyrion also do when they drive.  It is a special Lannister thing, probably.  “If you’re still crying like that when Tommen gets home, he’ll start crying, and we all know he cries enough as it is.”

But why can’t he cry?  It’s his kittens I’m allergic to, Ser Pounce and Lady Whiskers and stupid little Boots, Myrcella thinks, but Mother has a lot of boring things to say about tears being a bad weapon for a woman, so Myrcella wads the tissue up in the pocket of her jeans and drapes her long blonde curls over her face instead.  She kicks angrily at Joff’s pair of soccer cleats that are always lying on the floor of the red car, and Mother doesn’t tell her to stop, not even once.

When they get home, Mother lets Myrcella watch Mulan even though there’s school tomorrow and Myrcella has a worksheet on her 7 times tables.  They curl up on the couch together and share a bowl of raspberry sorbet.  Ser Pounce and Boots come to rub against Myrcella’s feet and Myrcella sniffles all over again.

“When I was little, maybe your age, I wanted to learn to fight with a sword.”  Mother points her spoon at Mulan.  “Just like her.”

“Did Grandfather say yes?” Myrcella asks.  Grandfather likes swords. He has a few hanging on the wall of his house.

Mother shakes her head, reaching up to undo her ponytail.  “No. He said little girls didn’t swordfight, and big girls didn’t, either.  When Uncle Jaime asked for the same thing, he said maybe someday.”  Myrcella pulls Ser Pounce into her lap.  Mother sighs.  “So, Cella, what that means is sometimes we just can’t have the things we want.  Even if we want them more than anything.”

Myrcella thinks that if Robb and Sansa’s mom were there, she would have given Myrcella a hug.

When Tommen comes home from his pottery class, Mother pulls him into his room.  Myrcella hears Mother talking softly.  Then Tommen wails.  He screams.  Myrcella wonders if Mother is telling him we just can’t have the things we want, or if she is giving him a hug.  And she cries into Lady Whiskers’ fur, that fur that makes her sniffle and sneeze.