After months and months of begging, the day Dana Scully had been waiting for had finally arrived. She’d been asking for so long if her and Stella could adopt a dog, and was always met with the same determined no . The failed attempts did nothing to deter the redhead, however, as she continued to drive Stella nuts until the blonde finally agreed that in a few weeks- if Dana’s heart was still so set on it- they would go visit a shelter to look for a puppy.
Dana woke Stella first thing that Sunday morning, cheerily bouncing on the bed. The blonde was not nearly as enthusiastic about the day ahead of them as her partner, though she couldn’t deny seeing Dana so excited warmed her heart.
They got up and ate breakfast; Stella tried to take her sweet time in doing so to enjoy her Sunday morning, though Dana was having none of it.
“Stella! I want to go as soon as they open, come on!” Dana nearly yelled, pulling Stella toward the bedroom so that they could get dressed.
“I think this may be the only instance in which you’ve pulled me towards our room to get me dressed rather than undressed.” Stella said with a grin.
She thought that she’d kept her girlfriend waiting long enough, so she eventually quit resisting and went to change her clothes.
About fifteen minutes later they were both seated in the car, headed to the animal shelter, hand in hand.
Dana sat with an enormous smile on her face, feeling only excitement; though Stella was feeling something else entirely. She’d never been responsible for another living thing, and she wasn’t sure that was something she was ready for. She wasn’t sure it was something she could handle.
“What if the dog we get ends up being a shedder… We’re going to have hair all over the flat.” Stella said about half way through the drive, causing a smile to turn up on Dana’s face.
“Well look at you, coming around!” The redhead teased as she squeezed her partner’s hand tighter.
Stella shot her a somewhat amused yet annoyed glance. “What do you mean?”
“You said THE dog we get… not IF we get a dog.” Dana replied, her smile never wavering.
Stella’s face held it’s amused stance and she smirked slightly. “Dana, we are on our way to the shelter, are we not? Pretty sure it was clear we’d be getting the dog the moment I agreed to visiting the shelter with you.”
Neither woman said another word as a comfortable silence hung between them for the rest of the drive.
Stella had made it clear from the moment she agreed to adopting a dog that she didn’t want one that would be too messy. She wasn’t all too fond of the idea of constant shedding, slobbering, dander, god knows what else. She of course thought dogs were cute, but she always appreciated them from a distance, as she was uninterested in the smell and the mess.
She found herself thinking that this was really all just for Dana, and she probably wouldn’t even like the dog at all.
The thoughts were pushed from her brain almost as quickly as they’d surfaced as she couldn’t afford to be second guessing her decision now. Dana’s heart was too invested.
When they arrived at the shelter both women linked arms and made their way inside the small brick building. They’d only made it a few steps inside when Dana suddenly stopped, bringing Stella to a halt with her. Her bright smile started to drop slightly as she stared at Stella’s freckled face.
“Are you sure you’re okay with doing this? I don’t want you to only be doing it for me. I don’t want it to be something you regret.”
Stella just smiled at her warmly, unable to hide the uncertainty on her face. She knew this was important to Dana, and she felt guilty for letting her mind derail into such a negative spiral.
“I’m sure, love. I am doing this for you… But it’s because I love you, and I want you to be happy always.”
Dana looked at the ground as her own bout of guilt washed over her.
“I love you, too. Which is why you don’t have to do this for me. I’m already happy… I have you.”
Stella’s eyes brimmed with a few tears and she laughed quietly at this soap box they suddenly found themselves on in the middle of the animal shelter lobby.
“Dana, I want to do this. I know it means a lot to you. And it’s not just for you, it’s for us. I just need a moment to adjust but I promise I’ll be okay.” She leaned in to kiss her forehead, “Now let’s go in there and pick us out a fur baby.”
Dana and Stella spent the next hour meeting and playing with dogs and though they were all precious Dana found herself feeling discouraged. She hadn’t felt drawn to any of them yet, and it was important to her that something clicked when she found the one . After about ten different ‘playdates’ Stella asked Dana what the issue was, but the redhead had a hard time trying to explain it.
“You just know when you find the right fit… That hasn’t happened yet so… I-I don’t know, Stella.”
Eventually they asked if they could just look in the kennel, feeling that maybe it would help to meet them that way rather than in a designated play area, and the shelter volunteer hesitantly agreed.
While Dana busied herself playing with the puppies through the holes in the chain linked fence Stella found herself wandering, just glancing back and forth. She walked aimlessly, until one pup in particular caught her eye.
“D, come here.” She said, motioning the redhead over to her eagerly.
Dana abandoned her place in front of a small grey schnauzer and followed Stella over to a cage in the corner.
“Look at this little guy.” Stella said, pointing at a small white, grey and black puppy tucked into the far corner of the cage.
“Oh, she’s not one that’s had too many interested parties,” The volunteer worker said, walking over to where they were standing, “She was rescued from a pretty bad home… We’re not even sure what happened to her, but she’s terrified of everyone.”
Dana and Stella looked at each other and shrugged.
“Can we meet her?” Stella asked, turning to the volunteer.
The brunette nodded, and pulled her keys from her belt loop to let them into the cage. The dog didn’t move when the door opened, though she seemed even more tense than she had before over her new guests.
“Hi love.” Stella whispered as she took a cautious step into the kennel. Dana caught her by the shoulder.
“Let’s just sit here, let her come to us.” Dana suggested, squatting on the ground as Stella followed her lead.
They sat for a while, tapping at the ground and whispering soft affirmations. It was beginning to seem hopeless as the small creature refused to budge, but neither woman felt like giving up on her yet. They were patient and determined.
It had been about ten minutes of them sitting on the floor, offering toys and treats when something in the dog began to shift. She began to ease out from her balled up form in the corner, and slowly took a few steps closer to them.
Both women practically held their breath, worried that any movement would spook her and undo the raport they’d built. Finally the dog looked over to them, and Dana watched in adoration as the small nervous being crept its way over to Stella.
For a moment the blonde sat, stunned, unsure of what to do, but the moment a little paw touched her knee she melted.
“Hello.” She whispered, gently raising her hand to stroke her head. The dog flinched slightly, but quickly relaxed and leaned into the gesture once her hand met her head.
Dana waited a moment before holding her own hand out to pet her, and she smiled widely as the dog willingly let her. Next thing either of them knew the dog was fully in Stella’s lap, giving her kisses as if she’d never been scared to begin with. They sat and loved on her for a while, and the dog’s defenses loosened with each passing minute.
The volunteer eventually made her way back over to them and gasped slightly at what she saw.
“Well damn,” She whispered under her breath, “No one’s even been able to touch her since she’s been here, much less hold her.” She laughed to herself and shook her head.
“I think it might be safe to say… We’d like to adopt her.” Dana said, looking over at Stella with big childlike eyes.
Stella smiled at Dana and then down at the little fur ball in her lap and nodded. “Yeah. I’m not sure this pup is going to let us leave without her.”
The two women watched as the worker pulled a temporary leash out from a box on the wall, and looped it around her neck, making her nervous again.
“Here, might go better if one of you takes it.” She suggested, holding out the other end of the leash. Dana stepped away, gesturing for Stella to take it. The blonde hesitantly did so, and the three of them followed the worker out to the lobby.
They sat and filled out endless amounts of paperwork, verified her medical history, paid the small adoption fee and just like that, she was theirs.
The dog followed them out to the car hesitantly, and Stella opened Dana’s door and let her get in before lifting the puppy up into her lap.
She made her way around to the driver’s seat and couldn’t stand how her heart filled with love when she saw the love of her life sitting there with that precious pile of fluff on her lap. She suddenly felt like a major softie, and she wasn’t sure she liked it.
One painfully long trip to the pet store later the women arrived home with their new fur baby. They’d spent nearly two hours in PetsMart buying toys, food, medicine, bowls, a bed, a collar, a leash, a crate, bones, treats and, due to insistent begging from Dana, a couple doggy sweaters. There wasn’t a single thing they hadn’t thought of, and now the only thing left to do was introduce the new member of the family to their little home.
Between the shelter, pet store, and home the two women had discussed what to name the dog and Dana didn’t miss the small smile that passed across Stella’s lips as she made her suggestion.
“Well… Seeing as we both love Streetcar so much… How about Blanche?” Stella stated quietly.
Dana smiled to herself as she thought about it, knowing the deeper meaning behind that suggestion and nodded.
“It’s perfect. Hi, Blanche.” She whispered, leaning down to kiss the top of the dog’s head.
Blanche was nervous when they first arrived home, the new environment only adding to the stress of her already overwhelming day, but both women stood behind her patiently until she was ready to venture further. Eventually she made her way inside and found the living room, where both women sat on the floor to play with her. They opened the dozens of toys they’d purchased and tried them all out, getting a feel for which were her favorites.
Stella, overwhelmed by the mess, eventually got up and set the little toy box up and found places for the bed, the crate and her bowls. She hung the leash up on a hook next to their keys before walking over to Blanche and carefully putting her collar around her neck. It was a deep rosy red and it stood out beautifully against her white fur.
After a good hour of playing they could tell their puppy was worn out, and the two of them escaped to the kitchen to have dinner. After they’d finished eating Dana insisted on cleaning the kitchen herself, which left Stella to play with the dog on her own.
Dana cleaned their mess from dinner, and then got to work grading a few papers so that she wouldn’t have to worry about them the next day.
The next time she looked up it was 9:30 pm and exhaustion had taken over her. She sleepily made her way into the living room to find Stella curled up on the couch with the dog fast asleep on her chest. She stood and stared for a moment in pure adoration at the sight in front of her. It killed her to have to ruin such a tranquil moment, but she wanted to be in bed and she wanted Stella with her.
She shook her gently, causing both Stella and the puppy to startle. “Sorry, baby. It’s late. Let’s go to bed.” She took Stella’s hand into her own, and pulled on it gently.
“Can I-” The blonde started, but was instantly cut off, “Yes, you can bring the dog.” Dana stated, smiling down at the two of them warmly.
They laid awake in bed for a while, enjoying the warmth they were wrapped up in. Stella was holding Dana against her chest, and Blanche was squeezed in perfectly between their legs sleeping soundly. It was quiet for a while until Stella started to draw light circles on Dana’s arm and sighed.
“You know how for our first date I took you to see A Streetcar Named Desire ?” The blonde whispered.
Dana nodded with a smile, remembering how her heart had jumped when Stella first suggested the name Blanche.
“Yes, of course I do.”
“I was just thinking about the day I bought those tickets.” Stella paused for a second and took a deep breath, “I was so nervous to give them to you… To ask you to go with me.”
Dana couldn’t help but chuckle softly, “Why?”
Stella looked up at the ceiling suddenly feeling a bit shy.
“Because I love Streetcar , as you know. It meant a lot to me so asking you to go with me was… Plus I was nervous it was a bad first date idea. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when you said yes, and that you loved it too.”
Dana took in her girlfriend’s words and her smile grew bigger with each passing second.
“You are a softie, Stella Gibson.” She whispered, turning her head to kiss her.
“Mmm, maybe,” Stella said, smiling against her mouth, “But that stays between you and me.”
The two of them laid and stared down at their puppy with big smiles. Their home and their hearts now felt so much more full.
“I saw you by the way… Snuggled up with Blanche on the couch.” Dana said with a grin.
“I have no idea what you mean. No such thing happened.” Stella smirked.
“Oh admit it, Stel, you’re already in love with this dog.”
“What can I say, she stole my heart. Same as you.”