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Kanda was on his way home from town, grumbling to himself as he walked along the road. "Damn women need to stay out of our business."

He'd left Allen, who was sick with a cold, at home, and had gone to trade their surplus of vegetables from the garden with the townspeople for other goods they were in need of. Everywhere he went he'd had to listen to "How's Allen doing, dear?" "Are you two eating right?" "I know a good home remedy that'll help him feel better." "Why don't you let me braid your hair. I think it would look just lovely!" and so on. It'd been so much easier to take on a horde of Akuma than to have to deal with those nosy women.

Talking about his garden was quite another thing, though. He'd learned a lot about the climate, the soil, what was best for planting and when, and found himself drawn into deep conversations before he knew it, so at least his time wasn't completely wasted. He continued to mutter under his breath, however, as he turned down the lane leading to their house, only to stop short when he reached home as he took in the sight before him.

Allen was sitting on the bench in front of their house with his eyes closed, wearing his heaviest sweater with a blanket draped across his legs. It was what was laying on top of the blanket that caused a slight twitch to start at the corner of Kanda's mouth as he watched Allen absentmindedly stroking the fur of a black and white cat. The cat opened its eyes and raised its head, giving Kanda a look of '…and you are?' Perfectly content with its current situation as Allen's hand moved up to its head and began scratching behind the ears the cat began to purr.

Kanda's twitch had by now turned into a scowl. He walked over to Allen and growled out a low "Moyashi…"

Allen opened his eyes and looked up at Kanda, greeting him with a soft smile and "Welcome home."

"What are you doing out here, idiot? You're supposed to be in bed, or had you forgotten that you're sick."

Removing his hand from the cat Allen covered his mouth and coughed a few times. "I'm well aware that I'm still sick, Baka, but I heard this cat outside and it sounded so pitiful I wanted to check to see if it was alright. It looked hungry so I brought out a saucer of milk and the weather is nicer today so I was just keeping it company while it ate and…I guess I fell asleep. Eheh… Next thing I knew it was in my lap and…" Allen coughed some more and grinned at Kanda, knowing full well what was going through his partner's mind.

"No."

"No, what?" Allen said, feigning ignorance.

"You know damn well 'what'. We're not keeping it, so you can just forget it."

"But Kanda, it's already adopted us," Allen said, starting to sound adamant.

Kanda knew he'd already lost this one but he kept up the argument anyway, stubborn as he was.

"It's adopted you, not us. You get attached to anything that looks your way. It's a wonder we don't live with a fuckin' zoo by now."

As Allen gazed at Kanda the cat joined in, and with two pairs of eyes staring at him imploringly it was all he could do to hold his ground. He'd stayed longer than expected in town and the sun was low in the sky. He could feel the chill in the air.

"It's getting late so put the cat down and get inside before you get any worse."

As if proving Kanda's point Allen started coughing again. It was a deep, rattling sound and his body shook as he tried to control it. The cat looked up at him with what would be called concern if it was human, and then jumped to the ground, turned around and sat facing him. Allen was red in the face and Kanda sat next to him on the bench, rubbing his back until the coughing subsided.

"C'mon, inside with you," Kanda murmured as he slid his arm around Allen's waist and pulled him to his feet. He walked him to the front door, holding it open as Allen went in, but Allen slowly turned around and gestured for the cat to follow. Kanda rolled his eyes and glanced at the cat, giving a quick jerk of his head as if to say 'Well, get a move on, then', and the cat gracefully padded across the threshold and into its new home.

The bag of necessities he'd picked up in town was dropped off in the entryway and then Kanda helped Allen to bed, getting him comfortable and pulling the covers over him, all the while telling him in no uncertain terms to "stay put this time until you feel better, otherwise I'll tie you to the damn bed."

All he got was a sassy retort of "sounds kinky" and a grin.

"I swear, you're the only one I know that can be sick and horny at the same time."

"Doesn't take much. All I need is one look at you and it's more than enough to set me off," and Allen chuckled, only to be cut off by another round of coughing.

"Stupid sprout, you're not getting any anytime soon so shut up and rest," and as Kanda was walking out the door he passed the cat walking in. He turned and watched as it leapt lightly on the bed and settled down next to Allen, curling into a ball with its tail wrapped around itself. Allen absently started stroking the cat's fur again until he fell asleep and Kanda quietly closed the door. He went back to the entryway to pick up the bag of goods and took it into their kitchen to put some of the items away. Then he made himself some tea and sat at the table to think about this new turn of events.

They'd had occasional visits from their friends but, as a rule, Kanda preferred to be left alone with Allen. He didn't like change all that much but now, with this new intruder in their lives, he wasn't sure what to do. He could ask around town to see if anyone there would be willing to take the cat in but Allen seemed inclined to keep the thing. Oh, there had been strays that came and went since they'd moved here but it would never amount to anything.

He could certainly appreciate the fluidity and economy of motion a feline possessed, having learned to move in a similar way on the battlefield. And an animal's finely tuned instincts were something to be admired. He knew that first hand from all his meditation and training sessions. It wasn't that he didn't have some sort of grudging respect for the thing but to have it live with them…well, he just didn't know how to feel about that.

Allen was probably coming up with names for it already, and it'd constantly be underfoot, demanding attention and food. It better be housebroken because he sure as hell wouldn't be cleaning up any messes, and where would it sleep? Kanda's mind wandered back to the image of the cat sleeping soundly next to Allen right then and…shit, no way is it sleeping with us. What would happen to their sex life?!

He could just picture the idiot Moyashi fawning all over it, dividing his attentions between the cat and Kanda and…wait a minute, he wasn't feeling jealous over a damn cat, was he? This was ridiculous. "My head hurts," he muttered. Time for some meditation to turn it all off.

Kanda moved silently through the bedroom to change into his work-out clothes and on the way back out took another look at the two currently occupying the bed. The cat was black and white. Like Allen and him.

Black and white. Like splotches of ink.

Ink.

Sumi.

He did not just think of a name for it. Shaking his head Kanda left the room and retired to his own space for some well-deserved, in his opinion, downtime.