The first time Qui-Gon Jinn looked up at his Master with earnest eyes and asked, "Can I take care of him?" Dooku didn't hesitate before agreeing. It was just one small feline, completely harmless. Besides, it would be good practice in connecting to the Living Force.
The next was an avian with a broken wing. Dooku let Qui-Gon bring it home, reasoning that practice in Force healing was essential to any Jedi's training.
The motherless nest of koaties caused a minor furor in Customs when Qui-Gon brought them to Coruscant after a mission, but Dooku thought learning to deal with (and when necessary circumvent) bureaucracy was an important lesson.
Dooku was proud of himself for only shouting a little the first time he walked into the refresher and found the turl Qui-Gon brought home from their latest mission blinking up at him from the tub. But he considered it an exercise in ingenuity for his padawan to devise a new living situation.
The one time he put his foot down?citing the large, poisonous teeth?was when Qui-Gon appeared with an injured canid on Maridun. He was proud of the boy's quick acceptance of his decision and allowed him to bring home an orphaned fwit instead. . . . When he realized on the journey home that Qui-Gon had planned the whole thing, he was proud enough of his apprentice's cunning he even let the fwit stay.
Two years, three months, and nine days after taking Qui-Gon on as his padawan, Dooku wandered through their quarters, absently dodging the three birds chasing each other through the air, stepping over the sleeping feline, reaching over the turl's bowl for his morning tea, and ignoring the snoring of the creature that had dug a nest underneath the couch. He looked up as the door quietly swished open, admitting his beaming padawan with a squirming bundle clasped firmly in his arms. "I found him down in the lower market, Master, barely more than a newborn and left all alone! Master Yoda said he's called a rancor."
Dooku put down his tea. "I think," he said slowly, looking around his once-peaceful quarters, "it's time we ask if you can use one of the lower gardens for your pets instead."
Original cover by Persephone_Kore. HTML formatting copyright 2006 TheForce.Net LLC.