It was early morning; Lisanna heard her alarm go off but she hit the snooze button and rolled over to her other side. The face of her newlywed husband just inches from hers. She smirked as she gave him a quick peck on the lips causing him to stir and moan a bit till his eyelids flickered open. He then smirked at her and let his tongue roll out.
"Thanks for the wake up call," he said.
"You sure you need to go in," he said in an almost pleading manner.
"Yeah, they're a bit short-handed at the clinic today. Who knows, maybe it'll be a slow day."
"Well, you've only been there a few weeks. They shouldn't be making you work so many hours."
"Awwwww, does someone miss me while I'm at work," she said teasingly.
The blue mohawked man puffed his pink cheeks out.
"Well, maybe," he said under his breath. Lisanna just giggled as she climbed out of bed to get dressed. She walked by his dresser with his tiki doll souvenir collection he got from their honeymoon.
"Why did you buy these things anyway?"
"I thought they looked interesting. I even named them. Pappa, Poppo, Pippi, Peppe and Puppu."
Lisanna just shook her head.
"You are such a dork," she said as she put on her scrubs. She didn't realize that he got up behind her and held her in his arms.
"Yeah but I'm your dork."
She turned and hugged him properly. She looked up at his face with that strange figure tattoo. She tried to move but he wouldn't let go.
"Bix, I have to go."
He shook his head and held her tighter.
"Nope, you're my prisoner now. And prisoners aren't supposed to leave."
"Bix, please. They need me at the clinic. I don't want to let them down. Besides, I need to check on Toby."
"He still hasn't been adopted?"
"No, and they're running out of space which means..."
"Which means what?"
Lisanna hesitated. If there was one job that everyone hated at the clinic it was making space for new rescues and "moving" the old ones out.
"I can't say it. I'll tell you another time. And seriously Bix, I have to go."
Bickslow reluctantly complied and she kissed him on the cheek and dashed away grabbing some breakfast and out the door. He sensed that she was uncomfortable when she started talking about the clinic running out of space. He figured he'd ask about it later. Meanwhile, down at the Magnolia Animal Shelter and Vet Care, Lisanna was at the front desk getting patients to the exam rooms.
"Dr. Grace, Mr. and Mrs. Dragneel are here with their cat Happy about some stomach issues," she said to the practicing vet.
"Thank you, please go and start with the preliminary exam and I'll be there shortly," she said while reading over some files.
Happy had once again eaten too many fish with bones which cause Mrs. Dragneel to scold her husband for feeding it to him. They pumped the cat's stomach and he was feeling better. Unfortunately for Lisanna, some of the puke got on her scrubs. She was in the bathroom washing up when she saw one of her co-workers come in.
"Hey, Juvia. What's up?"
"Hi Lisanna. Juvia saw the protein spill. Juvia hopes you washed it off alright."
"Oh yeah, but I'm gonna be smelling like fish all day."
"Then Juvia will check on the kittens then. Lisanna should see Toby. Toby looks happy when you visit."
"Yeah, I think I will."
Lisanna exited the bathroom and headed toward the dog kennel. She walked pasted several faces that had that hopeful look they gave to everyone who walked by.
"Hey there cuties! I'll come see you all in just a bit."
She approached one kennel that was toward the very back. A tawny boxer mix looked up from his bed in the corner and instantly started wagging his tail.
"Hey Toby! How are you boy?!"
Lisanna opened the pen so she could pet the dog and give him a good belly rub.
"You're such a good boy! Yes you are!"
Soon, another vet tech walked by and wrote something on Toby's chart.
"Better enjoy him while you can. He's moving out this afternoon."
Lisanna stopped immediately and ran to check the paper. There it was in cold black ink. The check mark for putting him down. She took this to Dr. Grace.
"You can't do this! It's not fair!"
"Lisanna, we are running out of space and he's an older dog. His chances of being adopted have long passed."
"But, there has to be someone who can take him!"
"If you can find someone by 4:00 then we'll spare him."
Lisanna looked at the clock. It was 12:30 already. She had no time to waste, not even time to eat. She called everyone she knew. Her brother, her sister, their friends, anyone she could think of who might want a dog. But her brother Elfman said that Ever doesn't like big dogs. Mirajane and Laxus didn't have the space for him. Freed was allergic. Gajeel said that they already had a cat that didn't do well with dogs. It was getting down to the wire. She even considered taking him herself. But, what would Bickslow say? Would he be ok with it? But then she remembered that the apartment complex they lived in had a strict no pets policy and the space wasn't that big to begin with. She made a few more desperate tries but she looked up at the clock and saw it was already 4:00. She ran back to Toby's kennel just in time to see the techs lead him out. She followed behind them quietly, trying to hold back her tears. When they got to the room, they all looked at each other wondering who would have the dishonor of putting him down. Dr. Grace made the decision for them.
"Lisanna, could you stay and help me please?"
Her eyes opened wide in fear and horror. She loved animals and the idea of her having to put one to death was too much for her to bear. But she had no choice; all the other techs left. It was her job to administer the injection once Toby was secured. She held the needle in her hand as she approached him. He stared to whine and cry; he knew what was coming. Lisanna's resolve was crumbling but she did her best to keep focus on the task.
"I'm sorry boy. I tried. I tried to help and it was for nothing. I'm so sorry."
She injected him with concoction and watched him slip away. Dr. Grace sent her home since she knew that this was the first time she had done it and it was obviously traumatizing for her. She felt numb; she barely remembered driving home or even going up the steps to their apartment. She opened the door and immediately dropped her stuff. Bickslow was on the couch and turned his head when he heard her come in.
"Hey babe! You're home early. Why does it smell like fish all of the sudden?" He noticed the solemn expression on her face. "Lis? What's wrong?"
"I need a shower."
That was all she said as she made her way to the bathroom. She closed the door behind her and turned the water on. She didn't care what temperature it was and she climbed in while still in her scrubs. She let the lukewarm water rain down on her till she was completely soaked. And suddenly, the dam broke; she let out a wail that probably scared the neighbors as well as her husband because he instantly burst into the room. He turned the water off and grabbed a towel.
"Baby! What's the matter?!"
By now it was hard to tell which were her tears or water from the shower. He rubbed her hair gently and then wrapped her up tight with the towel.
"Honey, what happened?"
Bickslow picked her up after taking her shoes and socks off and scrubs and carried her to the couch. He held her tight in his lap and tucked her head under his chin.
"Did something happen to Toby?"
"He...he moved...he moved out!"
"He was put down!"
That set her off again and she sobbed into his chest.
"Oh, Baby, I'm sorry. I know he meant something to you."
"That's not the worst of it."
"What do you mean?"
"I did it! I was the one who put him down! Oh, God! I'm a horrible person!"
That made her cry even harder. It was getting harder for him not to cry. He hated to see her in so much pain. He squeezed her a little more tighter and kissed her head.
"You are not a horrible person. You're amazing and I love you. There's no other person I know who doesn't love animals as much as you. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I wish I could take your pain away, but I'm right here ok? I'm right here."
They stayed that way until Lisanna cried her eyes out. They sat in silence for even longer. Bix began to hum a soft tune to help calm her spirit.
"Can you fix me a sandwich or something? I didn't get to eat lunch."
"Why'd you skip?"
"I was trying to save Toby."
She almost started crying again. But Bix shifted her a bit so he could see her face. Her eyes were swollen and red and she was sniffing like crazy. He grabbed a tissue and held it to her nose and told her to blow. He wiped the remaining tears from her face with his thumbs and gave a kiss on the forehead.
"I'll fix whatever you want."
After she ate, Bickslow continued to hold her on the couch. He hummed a soft tune and rubbed her back gently. She was ready to fall asleep right there; feeling emotionally, mentally and physically drained. She tried to move and Bixkslow helped ease her up and carried her to the bedroom. He tucked her in and slipped in beside her and held her close.
"Are you ok," he whispered.
"It still hurts."
"I know, but it will get better."
"By making sure no other animal meets the same fate."
"But, I couldn't save Toby. How can I save the others?"
"You were on a time crunch right? It would have been a miracle if you had found someone in time. But there maybe hope for the rest of them. You just have to keep going. You'll think of something."
Bickslow closed his eyes while Lisanna thought about what he said. He was right, she had to keep going and fight for the others. And she knew just what to do. The next day, Lisanna asked Dr. Grace if she could put together an adoption drive, bringing the most desperate cases that need adoption and materials to get people to come to the shelter for the others. Wholeheartedly, Dr. Grace allowed it and with Bickslow's help and other vet techs the first one got underway. She might not have been able to save Toby, but she was going to try to save the rest of them.