When Scripps gets home from work, Posner is curled up on the sofa, gently coaxing one of the cats along the length of the plush grey sofa. He’s cooing slightly, his fingers clutched around a fishy treat as he edges closer to the steadily retreating bundle of fur.
“Come on,” he whispers softly, making Don chuckle as he walks over. “Come here, sweetheart,”
Don smiles and slips his arm around David’s shoulders, causing him to jump slightly, his glasses sliding down his nose as he turns to face him. A smile breaks out across his face.
“Hi love,” he beams, leaning in to press a soft kiss to his lips. David’s hands settle on his shoulder and pull him into a comforting hug, inhaling the warm scent of his woollen jumper. Scripps smiles and his eyes flicker towards the tiny black cat currently retreating to the edge of the sofa.
That is not his cat.
“David,” he says calmly, extracting himself from the cuddle to gaze at his boyfriend’s (unusually bright, he notices now) smile.
“Yes?” Posner smiles back, tilting his head slightly to the side, his eyes not quite meeting Don’s.
“David, honey,” Scripps takes a deep breath. “That’s not our cat,”
Immediately, he opens his mouth as if to protest and Don can feel his heart sinking as he sighs.
“David, please tell me that’s not our cat,”
“Technically,” David replies hesitantly. “It is,”
Don groans and slumps back into one of the tatty old armchairs they have scattered in the living room, letting his hands cover his face as he squeezes his eyes shut. You love him, you love him, you love him, he thinks desperately.
“It’s only temporary!”
Slowly, his hand slips away from his face and he raises a weary eyebrow.
“How temporary is temporary?”
“Well,” Posner fidgets awkwardly, staring down at his fingers curling on his lap. “Um…I don’t actually know how temporary it is but…”
“Laura dropped her off this afternoon and I couldn’t say no, could I!”
“Yes!” Scripps replies incredulously. “You could very easily have said no! We already have two cats!”
He buries his face in his arms and lets out another desperate groan. It’s been a really long day. A really, really long day. How is it possibly getting longer?
“I didn’t even want cats,” he mutters.
A gentle nudge makes him turn his head slightly to see David curled at his side, resting his head on Scripps’ shoulder. Posner’s fingers slip through his and pull his hand closer, tracing the lines on his palm with a cautious finger.
“You love them really,” he whispers, still not meeting his eyes. “Please don’t be cross,”
“I’m not cross,” Scripps answers with a defeated tone, and he isn’t.
He does love them, those bloody cats. Even though they eat his ties, and sharpen their claws on their only nice sofa, and get their claws stuck in his lovely M&S jumpers, he loves them. Sometimes, stepping on a furball in the morning is worth coming home from a late night at the office to find David curled up with a purring tabby. On days when the pills don’t work like they’re supposed to and David’s particularly low, there is nothing Scripps loves more than the flicker of a smile when Orlo curls up on his chest. Working from home is infinitely better with a permanent heating pad rumbling away on his lap and he loves drinking tea in the morning while running his fingers through the cats fur.
And bloody David. He loves David and his mad cat rescuing adventures, asking for the cat at the rescue home who’d been there the longest and adopting the grizzly, hissing feline they were shown. Bringing home a tiny soaked kitten in the middle of the night and integrating it into their family. And now apparently fostering cats without even consulting him first. But they make Posner happy and they make Scripps happy, even if he won’t admit it to anyone.
Something soft brushes against his leg and he jumps in surprise to see a black shadow skitter away from him. He peers under the coffee table, smiling slightly. A doleful pair of bright green eyes stare intently back at him from a small inky face.
“She’s tiny,” he finds himself murmuring.
“Petite, Scrippsy dear,” Posner tuts slightly before reaching out a careful hand. “Come here, sweetheart,”
Tentatively, the cat edges out from underneath the table, a glossy sheen rippling across her sleek black fur. Her white paws slide across the wooden floor as she nervously pads towards the pair. Don’s breath catches in his throat a little as she brushes against his hand, bumping her jet nose against his calloused skin.
“Does she have a name?” he sighs, turning to David.
A huge smile instantly appears on his boyfriend’s face.
“Hardy,” he grins. “To fit with the literary theme,”
Scripps smiles at the nervy kitten winding her way across his legs and shakes his head in disbelief.
“Hardy,” he confirms. “And she’s temporary,”