Jango stared at the cat.
The cat stared back.
It had been a month already, and Jango had the sinking feeling that he was losing this war of attrition. His husband, Obi-Wan, certainly hadn’t said anything, but there had been more than one frown directed towards him, and plenty of pleased smiles at the cat.
The cat looked at him and then licked a paw in satisfaction.
“Don’t you dare,” Jango hissed at the cat. “You can look as cute as you like, but I know better. I will never accept you.”
It all started when Obi-Wan brought home a cat.
It would be more accurate to say that it all started when Jango was getting coffee at a mostly empty shop, only to turn around to see Obi-Wan Kenobi, soaked from the typhoon that had swept through, fumbling a battered umbrella into the plastic sleeves provided by the store. He’d blinked once, twice, and Obi-Wan had looked up and seeing Jango watching him said sheepishly, “Hello there.”
Jango had very unhelpfully thrust his cup of coffee at Obi-Wan and said, “Coffee?”
Obi-Wan had responded very graciously by demurring, and then exchanging numbers. There’s been one date, and then a second, one thing led to another and they were married and Obi-Wan had a cat in his arms.
The cat was a tortoiseshell named Boga, and within a day it had sunk its sharp claws into Obi-Wan’s heart and stolen it. The hour before bed that Obi-Wan usually spent reading or engaging in vigorous bedroom calisthenics with Jango had been taken up with online shopping, and the next day Obi-Wan returned from work with tins of cat food and several mouse toys. The packages started arriving soon after—a cat tree that took up a good portion of their living room, an assortment of more toys, treats and more treats…
Their evenings were spent with Boga on Obi-Wan’s lap, purring, her demon claws ready to sink into Jango the minute he got close.
“She’s just frightened of you,” Obi-Wan said, running a hand across the top of Boga’s head. “She’ll get used to you.”
Boga eyed Jango. There was no fear in her eyes, just fight.
Jango, of course, was losing the war.
Oh, he won battles here and there. Picking up the good tea leaves from the tea shop on his way back home from the Office got Obi-Wan’s undivided attention for an evening. A night out at the Shilin Night Market kept Obi-Wan’s attention away from Boga while they ate oyster pancakes and shaved ice. But while Jango may have won a few battles, Boga was winning the war.
She was, unfortunately, too cute.
Jango said—quietly, so Obi-Wan wouldn’t hear—“You just had to be all pitiful in the rain, didn’t you? You’re ruining a perfectly good marriage.”
Boga meowed back.
Boga licked a paw and rubbed the top of her head against Jango’s shin.
Jango sighed and stroked the soft fur at the top of Boga’s head. “This doesn’t mean that the war is over,” he said, very firmly. “We are still fighting for Obi-Wan’s affection.”
Boga meowed, smugly.
Jango hadn’t fallen in love with Obi-Wan just because of how he looked wide-eyed and soaking wet. He hadn’t fallen in love with Obi-Wan just because he was one of the other expats in Taipei, and it felt like serendipity to run into him, just by chance. He hadn’t fallen in love with Obi-Wan just because of the way Obi-Wan smiled, the way he poured himself into his teaching and his volunteering.
There was something kind in Obi-Wan: some kindness that led him to bring home an abandoned cat, to care for her, to love her. It was the kindness that drew Jango in, that kept Jango at Obi-Wan’s side. An unfailing kindness that persisted, no matter how much his students wore at his patience, no matter how terrible the world around him grew.
It was obvious, watching Obi-Wan hold Boga’s paw with tender kindness, how Jango had fallen in love with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
And, it was easy, thinking of the day they met, how Jango had looked at a soaked man and wanted only to see him warm and dry, why Obi-Wan had looked at Jango and thought they could build a life together.
The television was playing the news—in Mandarin, as Obi-Wan insisted, so they could practice—when Boga wound her way around Jango’s legs and sat on his foot.
Jango stared down at the cat.
“You can’t be hungry,” Jango said to her. “We fed you already.”
Boga meowed, again.
Obi-Wan was humming tunelessly in the kitchen as he chopped mangoes from the local fruit shop, where the owner was delighted to help Obi-Wan with his burgeoning Taiwanese. Jango glanced towards the kitchen, before looking back at Boga.
Boga stared back. She meowed.
She had been a drenched, pitiful creature when Obi-Wan had brought her back. Soaked from the rain. She’d been cold and shivering, and Obi-Wan had dried her with a soft towel and taken care of her.
Jango sighed. He bent down and offered his hand to Boga, who licked it, once, and then turned away.
“The war isn’t over,” he said, but it was half-hearted.
Boga meowed back. She dropped her head onto Jango’s feet and let out a satisfied purr.