Don Flamingle loves his new family, and they love him. He can’t think of a better place to be! They treat him good here, and give him very important jobs and responsibilities…. And, tonight, he’s being taught how to do a new job. A very scary job, that he hopes he never ever has to do for real. 2,790 words.
The world of Shadow Oaks is owned by TheStalkerBunny on tumblr. It is a brilliant piece of work and I recommend reading more about it HERE.
Don slowly twitched awake as he heard a familiar, gentle voice cooing to it from the shed door.
It was his Alpha Becky.
His wonderful alpha Becky.
She was kindest alpha it had ever known. Though she was very sad, sometimes…. That was why he had to help her; it was his job now to break her from bad memories that paralysed her in place, so that she could remember that it was okay to be happy.
Such an honour, to be important to an alpha.
To not be bitten or pushed aside or huffed at for being useless and weak and small.
Here, he was useful.
He was important.
And he was loved.
That was the most important part.
They loved him, here.
Every single one of his new family loved him.
So much so that they’d let him have his own spot in the shed for a nest, and given him his own water bowl with his name written on it, just next to the door so he could drink when he wanted.
Don gave a tired honk and rose to its feet, shaking himself of the shredded sponge that had stuck to his side; wet from the drool that he could never seem to keep down.
It licked its lips again as Becky opened the door, trying to stop more spit from dribbling down his chin and belly, but Don only managed to make himself even wetter.
‘Hey, baby,’ Becky said, gently, reaching down a hand for Don to perch on. ‘Sorry to disturb you. I know it’s late. But there’s something very important I need to show you, and I don’t want Dad or Isa to know.’
Don cocked his head, pulling in his tongue and giving a confused snort of acknowledgement.
His Alpha Becky wanted him to know a secret?
It wasn’t anything too unusual. Don knew that Becky often snuck out and lied about it to her own Alpha Isa, but if she was waking him up it must have been a very important secret….
But that was okay.
This was his job, after all; to listen to his Alpha Becky and make sure she was safe and okay and happy.
Don held tight to Becky’s hand as she carried it out of the shed and towards the house; pausing by the back door (which was indeed a door, Mimi had told him, and not a window; even though it really did look like one!) to listen out for other members of the family.
‘Now, listen to me Don,’ Becky said, seriously, as Don snuffled and licked at her hand. ‘This is a very big secret. Okay? Do you understand? You can’t show anyone what I’m about to teach you, ever. Okay? Not even Mimi can know.’
Don’s snuffling cut off with a loud, surprised snort, and it turned to stare at its alpha.
Not even Mimi?
He gave a confused beep, and Becky nodded.
‘And you especially can’t teach Mimi how to do it, either, okay?’ Becky told him. ‘Because if she learns how to do this, she’s going to use it to be naughty, and she’ll get herself hurt. Okay? This is only for very big emergencies. Do you understand?’
Don shuffled uncomfortably at the thought of having to keep a secret from its beautiful and wonderful and amazing Mimi, but gave a low snort to confirm he understood.
Becky was Mimi’s alpha, and what Alpha Becky said was the rules…. Only Alpha Isa could change a rule that Becky put in place.
‘Okay,’ Becky let out her breath, and placed Don on her shoulder. ‘Don. I want you to watch carefully, okay? Watch what I do with my hand.’
Don gave a quiet honk, and stretched out his neck so she could do as he was told. He shuffled down Becky’s arm as she hooked her fingers around the handle (handle? Handle.) and placed her thumb against the frame, before pushing her thumb outwards to lever the door open.
Don honked in surprise; he’d never seen how to open a door before! Door handles were always too high for him to see!
Oh, yes. Yes. Yes!
He understood why this had to be a secret from his pretty pink Mimi! Because if his pretty pink Mimi found out how to open doors, it would go out hunting on its own; and it did not know its way around and would get lost!
Don understood that, now.
Becky shut the door, and then opened it again; making sure Don watched on as she repeated this over and over.
Each time Don understood more and more of what she was showing him.
He didn’t get it; he had no idea how or why it worked. But he understood now what he had to do to make it work.
Becky shut the door one more time, and Don gave a low honk and edged down her arm to perch on the handle. He pressed his head against the frame, where Becky had put her thumb, and stretched it out— And slipped.
Don fell from the handle and back into his Alpha Becky’s gentle hands.
‘You’re going so good,’ she told him, replacing him on the handle. ‘You’re such a smart boy. I know it’s gotta be really heavy, for you, but you’re doing so good…. Try again.’
Don did as he was told; wrapping his legs around the handle and holding on as tight as he could as he pushed his head against the frame and….
Don gave a happy honk, dropping from the door in surprise and being caught by Becky again just before he hit the wooden porch.
He wiggled his legs happily in the air, making his special happy tapping motions, and gave several proud beeps as Becky hugged him tight into her chest.
He had opened the door!
He had opened the back door!
That was something even the biggest, meanest, and most alpha of mimics from his old home didn’t know how to do!
And his Alpha Becky was so proud of him for it, too!
Oh! Oh, he was a good beta! He was the best beta he could possibly be, doing such a good job for his Alpha Becky!
Don honked as a kiss pressed into his beak, and then found himself back on Becky’s shoulder as she shut the door again and pulled a key from her pocket to lock it.
‘Such a good boy,’ she told him, before holding up the key. ‘Okay. Look at this.’
‘Ah, no— Not for eating!’ Becky withdrew the key with a chuckle, and pet Don with her free hand. ‘I want you to look at it. Look at it really good and learn its exact shape. Can you do that?’
Don snuffled, gripping Becky’s shoulder tight and stretching out its neck again so he could examine the key carefully.
The key was very bumpy. But only on the one side. The other sides were all very flat. Although, it had a little crevice there….
‘Do you think you could make your foot look like this?’ Becky asked, and Don snorted in response.
He didn’t think he could— Though he carefully lifted his foot and tried.
‘Oh, that’s so close,’ Becky breathed. ‘Keep trying! You almost have it perfect.’
It almost had it perfect?
Don beeped at the compliment.
His Alpha Becky thought so good of him! It was so nice. She was sure he could do it— So he had to do it! He had to mimic the key, so that he couldn’t disappoint her!
Don focused all of its effort and energy into its foot as Becky held the key up close for him to copy.
The key wasn’t an easy shape for Don to mimic. It was a very complex thing, and Don had never been good with complex things…. He had never been good at anything, really. Not until he’d come to his new family….
‘Oh, that!’ Becky gave a happy laugh. ‘That’s it! That’s the shape! Okay! Okay!’
Don felt himself lifted into the air, and Becky placed him on the door handle again; he turned his foot back so he could get a grip on the handle, and snuffled proudly as Becky gave him a scratch between his eyes.
‘Okay, baby,’ she said, gently. ‘Can you do that again?’
Don lifted his foot, and….
Becky held up the key and grinned.
He had remembered the exact shape to make! And his Alpha Becky was so happy with him!
‘Okay. Put your foot into the lock,’ she instructed, tapping the little metal circle that Don recognised on all outside doors.
Don honked, shuffling so he wouldn’t fall (though he wasn’t scared of falling— He knew his Alpha Becky would catch him if he did!) and did as he was told.
Or tried to.
He used the wrong foot, at first, and had to quickly switch.
Slowly, clumsily, he inserted his foot into the hole.
He could feel strangle little metal trinkets touching him…. It felt like the time he’d climbed into the toolbox. But instead of it being his entire body, it was his little key-shaped foot….
Don looked up at Becky as she grinned, and he remembered the motion he’d seen made many many times; whenever he would perch on Ken or Becky or Isa’s shoulder and they would unlock a door, they always… turned the key….
Becky covered her mouth and let out a happy whine as Don removed his foot and pushed his head against the door’s frame to open the door.
Had he done a good job?
He looked up to Becky for confirmation, and knew immediately that he had done a very good job.
‘Good boy! Such a good boy!’ she praised, scooping up her mimic and hugging him tight. ‘Oh, you’re the best baby boy I could have ever asked for! Now, remember! Remember— This is a secret! Okay? You can’t do this unless there is a very big emergency. Okay?’
Don honked that he understood, and felt Becky’s lips bombard his face with loving kisses as she relocked the back door and started towards the front one; praising him the entire time that he had done a good job—
Don stopped wiggling as a thought crossed his mind.
A very big emergency?
His Alpha Becky was worried about a very big emergency….
She wasn’t supposed to do that.
Doctor Goodhuman (a strange name, as he was clearly a boogeyman and so not a very good human at all) had told her not to do that.
Don snuffled, and wiggled up so he could lick Becky’s face.
It was his job to make sure she was safe, and happy, and not-scared or anxious…. But it seemed like he was doing a good job, today, because even if Becky was talking about a big emergency, she was still giggling and happy.
If him knowing this new trick helped her feel better, then he would learn it and use it right. Even if her talking about the end of the world made him feel very small and very scared….
‘Okay,’ Becky pecked one last kiss on Don before turning him to the front door. ‘This handle is a little bit harder, but if you learn this, you can open any door in the house, okay? But you have to promise me you won’t use it unless you absolutely have to. Okay? Only if someone is gonna get hurt.’
Don honked his confirmation, and resisted the urge to put his head in his mouth.
He was a good beta. And he had an important job.
He would do it, even if he was scared….
Alpha Becky had been right. The front door handle had been much harder than the back one. It had taken Don a long time to figure out how he needed to grip onto it so he could twist it properly and get it open. But when he did figure it out, his Alpha Becky had given him a treat!
A little piece of boiled carrot— His second favourite food, after paper plates!
He’d kept it in his mouth as he followed Becky around town; until it had mushed into nothing and all the flavour had vanished.
She was anxious again, and Don was doing all he could to keep her calm.
She wanted him to know how to get to a certain part of town, she’d told him.
To a very specific road.
‘In case something bad happens to me,’ she’d told him.
Don hadn’t liked that.
He didn’t want anything bad to happen to his Alpha Becky. And he didn’t like that she seemed to think something bad was going to happen to her very soon.
But he knew if he didn’t listen then she’d get very worried. So he thought it was best to let her teach him. That way, his Alpha Becky knew that he knew these things and could relax.
So Don was very careful to memorise the route they took. He had to know this thing his Alpha Becky wanted him to know, because it was very important to her that he did.
He memorised the park. And the strip mall. And the road that passed by Jezzibeth’s house… and that other road… and that other other road….
All the way until they made it to the edge of the woods and his Alpha Becky paused to look down the empty, darkened road that lay flat and long all the way into the horizon.
Don licked his lips.
He was very anxious about being here.
Why was his Alpha Becky making him come to the edge of town…?
He had a strange, sickening feeling. Like something similar to this had happened to him once before, when he was too young and small and hungry for milk to remember anything properly….
He didn’t like this feeling at all, and shuffled closer to his Alpha Becky; who crouched to give him a comforting pet down his back as he whined and licked her ankle.
‘I know,’ she said, softly. ‘I don’t want to be here long, either. But…. This road is very important, Don. And I need you to remember it. Okay?’
Don gave a timid whine, to let her know he’d heard her.
‘If anything ever happens, and home is not safe anymore, I want you to bring Mimi here. Do you understand?’ she asked. ‘You get Mimi out of the house, and you bring her to this road and you both follow it together.’
Don gave a beep, feeling the anxiety growing, filling up his tiny little body as he stood, trembling, against Becky’s leg.
‘You follow it, walking on the side of it in the dirt— Don’t go onto the road itself. But stay to the side, where you’ll be safe,’ Becky instructed, motioning down the long, straight line of asphalt. ‘It will be a long, long walk. It might even take a whole day or two. But you need to follow the road and not lose sight of it, okay?’
Don didn’t like this instruction.
It didn’t like this instruction at all!
The instruction to leave.
To leave his new family that it loved so much.
To leave his new family that loved him so much….
He lowered his head to his mouth, gnawing on it anxiously as Becky pet him down his back.
He could barely keep himself solid, he was so scared. His long thin legs were trembling like they were going to melt underneath him.
‘You follow this road until you get Warm Waters— The other place, where I go to my doctor,’ Becky continued. ‘And you find Mr Goodhuman, okay? You take Mimi to him. He’ll recognise you, and he’ll know what to do to make sure you’re both safe. Do you understand?’
Yes, he understood.
He understood completely—
But that didn’t make him like it any better!
He chewed his head firmer, letting out a long, nervous whine as Becky scooped him up and cradled him gently.
‘You two are the most important things in the whole world,’ Becky whispered, pressing her lips into Don’s back in a kiss. ‘The thought of losing you is scarier than any other thought I’ve ever had in my entire life. I love you so much, Don…. Promise me you and Mimi will keep each other safe, no matter what happens? Promise me you’ll look after each other?’
Don felt a warm, wet tear drip onto his back and slowly let go of his head; turning so he could nuzzle into Becky’s chest.
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