In which our hero finds himself in search of something he never thought he’d seek a few days prior…
Axl felt like shit. Duff had reassured him it wasn't his fault and that he had no way of stopping what had happened, but he still felt like shit. He felt so bad for being mean to Little Axl. He felt bad that Slash was upset. And right now, he missed the little guy.
"What are we going to do Axl?" Duff asked as he tucked Slash into Axl and Izzy's bed. The guitarist had cried himself to sleep in Axl's arms.
Axl didn't know what to say. He was exhausted and he just wanted to crawl into a hole and die.
Duff, ever the mind reader sensed this and placed a hand on Axl's shoulder. He didn't need to say anything, just smile reassuringly. Axl sighed and hugged Duff. Both men knew it would be a while until Slash recovered from the trauma of losing his cat, but he'd get there eventually.
After Duff left, Axl sat down on the corner of his bed looking at his friend. He didn't feel like much of a friend himself though. He pulled his legs up and hugged his knees to his chest.
He gently rocked back and forth, thinking. Then he got an idea.
Three days had passed. Three days of a sulking, sleeping guitarist. Slash hadn't said a word since Little Axl died. He had thought up some really good blues licks on the guitar though.
Axl hadn't shared his idea to anyone else in the house. He wanted to wait until Slash was past the crying phase and into the silent, depressed stage of his mourning. That's when his plan would take action.
He was walking down an empty street until he reached the end and stopped in front of the last shop. He was feeling a little nervous. What if this was a bad idea? Maybe he should turn back and go home. Slash won't want this. It's too soon.
As he asked all these mental questions a voice asked,
"Is there anything I can help you with dear?"
She was an old lady, very small with tiny spectacles perched on her nose. Axl thought she must have been at least 150 years old.
"Um..." His mouth was bone dry and he was starting to seriously doubt his idea right now.
The old lady smiled and took him by the hand into her shop. Rows upon rows of cages lined the walls. It was very early in the morning and most of the animals were asleep.
They walked passed the rabbits, the dogs, the guinea pigs and the hamsters. Axl felt numb as he carefully considered his idea. Should he do this? Will Slash want this? A cockatoo made a loud cockatoo noise at Axl and he snapped out of his thoughts. He realised the lady hadn't asked him what he was looking for. She was just blindly walking him past all these animals. He was about to speak up when suddenly she spun around to face the singer.
"Here we are sweetheart!" She gave him a big, old lady smile and walked away.
Axl looked ahead of him and realised she had brought him to the back of the shop. The back wall was covered in cages from ceiling to floor. Each cage occupied by a little cat.
"How did you..." He turned around to face her again but she was gone.
The singer shrugged and turned back to his plan. He scanned the slumbering cats until his eyes rested on one in particular. His heart melted. All the doubt he had disappeared and Axl was sure Slash would want this.
"Where's Axl?" Izzy asked sitting down on his royal armchair. "He's been gone all morning."
Duff and Steven were sitting on the floor watching TV. Slash was sitting quietly on the couch staring into space.
Axl was standing on the steps outside, staring at the front door of the apartment building. The doubt was back. Could Little Axl ever be replaced in Slash's heart? He didn't think so.
He set the little box onto the top step and sat down beside it. The box had a big red ribbon tied around it and holes all around the sides. Axl buried his face in his hands. He couldn't stop thinking of Little Axl. He wasn't trying to replace him, he was just giving Slash another chance to have a pet cat. He made a mental note to be this cat's best friend.
The box shook a little and the tiniest meow came out. Axl smiled and picked up the box. He stood up and took a deep breath. There was no turning back now.
Izzy, Duff and Steven were rolling around on the floor yelling at one another.
"Duff, give me the remote!" Steven screamed as he stretched his arm out to take it from the bassist.
Duff responded by sitting on Steven. Izzy tackled Duff and snatched the remote off him only to have it knocked out of his hands by the drummer.
Meanwhile Slash sat numbly on the couch watching it all. Then Axl arrived.
He walked into the living room beaming until he saw his band mates acting like children, more so than usual. He swooped down to the ball of limbs and hair and snatched the remote off it. They looked up at the redhead and quickly untangled.
"Where have you been?" Steven was panting slightly.
Axl smiled and turned to Slash. He sat next to him on the couch and placed the box onto Slash's knee. The guitarist seemed startled. He looked to Axl, the singer nodded to him and he looked back to the box. He carefully untied the ribbon and lifted the lid of the box up.
Five heads leaned close and peered into the box. Poking its tiny head out was a little black kitten, brown eyes wide as it stared at Slash. Slash stared right back in shock for a moment and then looked to Axl again.
"Slash I'm so sorry about what happened to Little Axl. I know he can never be replaced but I saw this little guy and thought he deserved a friend like you."
Axl suddenly found himself in Slash's arms. The guitarist was squeezing the life out of him but Axl didn't care.
He looked back to his new pet and picked him up. The tiny cat was small enough to hold in the palm of a hand. Slash tickled his nose and the cat meowed softly.
Soon all five of them were petting and stroking the tiny kitty. It purred and meowed and blinked at them the way cats do. He was just too cute for words.
"Hey Slash? What are you gonna call this little guy?" Steven held the cat and pretended to drum with his little feet.
The others looked at him expectantly and Slash started thinking. The guitarist carefully considered this. It had to be a cool name, something that suited him really well. What could he name a little black furred, brown eyed cat?
"I'm going to name him...Izzy!"