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When Kanda finished his meditation he left the room, stopping by the bedroom to check on Allen, who was still fast asleep. He went to the kitchen and began the prep for dinner, pulling out the meat and vegetables he'd need. He chopped up the produce first and then the meat, dropping it into the heated pot along with onions and seasonings and cooked it until it was brown. He added some broth and the vegetables, stirred it a few times and covered it and turned down the heat to simmer. Then he fixed himself a cup of tea and sat at the table to read the newspaper while he waited.

Having been engrossed in reading an article he lost track of time until he heard Allen coughing again, so he checked on the dinner, which looked like it was about done, and turned off the heat to let it sit for a while. He poured a glass of water and grabbed the medicine he'd bought in town and a spoon and walked back to the bedroom.

Allen was sitting up in bed, with the cat once again making itself comfortable in his lap. Allen's face brightened as Kanda walked in. "Morning."

"More like evening," and Kanda placed the medicine and the glass on the nightstand and went to pull the drapes aside a little so Allen could look out the window at the black sky outside.

"Oh, I guess I'm still kinda outta it. What's that?" Allen gestured with a nod at the bottle on the table.

"Some cough medicine the chemist recommended and the doctor said he'd make a house call to check you over if you're not better soon."

"I'm sorry to worry you, and I really appreciate you going to town to take care of things."

"Just hurry up and get better so I don't have to go alone."

"Are the ladies coming on to you, Baka?" Allen chuckled.

"Those women are horrible. Always invading my personal space; and speaking of space…" Kanda gave the cat a quick look.

"We might have a little lady on our hands."

"Oh? Well, I'll take your word for it. Checking cat parts is not really my thing. So…" What are you going to do with her? He left the question unspoken but Allen picked up on what he was getting at.

"I'd like to keep her, if it's alright with you."

"Doesn't seem like I have much say in the matter."

"Of course you do. I just think we've been living here long enough that it might be nice to expand our little family."

"Well, it's not like we can't afford to keep her." It wasn't as if Kanda hadn't already been considering the implications of adding another to their household, but there was still one more thing nagging at him that he just couldn't let go of.

"But we don't know how old she is. She's definitely not a kitten. What are you going to do when she dies? You're just setting yourself up for more pain."

"I know that, but the time we'll have with her will be worth it."

"So what happens if we die first? What's gonna happen to her then?"

"I'm sure someone in town will take her in."

"Which is what we should've done in the first place."

"This isn't really about the cat, is it?"

"We're living on borrowed time here, Allen. Developing feelings for something else is not something I want to do. It's bad enough when I think about you leaving me."

"Stop doing that to yourself, Kanda. Let's just think about what we've got right now, okay? Please?"

"I just don't want to see you get hurt anymore. You've been through enough," he murmured.

"And so have you." Allen tugged on Kanda's hand, squeezing it reassuringly. "It'll be alright."

Kanda sighed and nodded his head. "Fine, but first things first. You should take some of that medicine and maybe eat something if you feel up to it."

Only then did Allen notice the lovely smells wafting through the air from the kitchen. "You made dinner? Is it ready?" Allen was beginning to salivate.

"Yeah, should be." He picked up the spoon and bottle and handed them to Allen. "Now take your medicine like a good, little Moyashi, and I'll go dish up the food," smirking at him before leaving for the kitchen.

When Allen entered the kitchen, followed close behind by the cat, he found the table already laid with bowls of stew and a plate of sliced bread with butter to go with it. Kanda looked up at him, then down at the cat, and said, "You think she'd eat this?"

"I don't see why not." He crouched low next to the cat and in a pleasant voice said, "What do you think, honey? Kanda slaved over a hot stove just for us. You'd like some, right?"

"If you start talking to her in baby talk I will kick you out of the house," giving Allen a menacing look before taking out another plate and spooning some stew on it, spreading it out and blowing on it to cool it down some before placing it on the floor. The cat moved quickly to the food, sniffing it and tentatively licked it. After deciding that it was passable she started to eat.

"Well, I guess that answers that question," Allen said as he pulled out a chair to sit and began buttering a piece of bread. Kanda was already sitting down and starting on his own dinner. He'd grown used to this type of food ever since they'd moved here. Whatever was available was what everyone ate, but he still longed for a good plate of soba.

Talking around a mouthful of food Allen said, "I'm glad you agreed to let the town's handyman help you fix the shed."

"It was a bigger job than I'd anticipated. We ended up practically rebuilding the whole thing."

"Well, that's one less thing to worry about and I daresay it was a lot easier on you," Allen offered optimistically, trying to divert Kanda from thinking too much about having to ask someone to help him. It was something they'd both had to adjust to and it hit Kanda worse than it had Allen.

Trying to keep the conversation light Allen said, "So, if we're keeping her," with a nod to the cat, who was currently oblivious to everything except what was on that plate, "what should we name her?"

"I thought you would've already come up with something by now," Kanda replied as he poured them both some more tea.

"I've run through a bunch of names but none of them feels right." Allen looked at Kanda, hoping for a little help, but not expecting too much, given the man's stubborn nature. He was pleasantly surprised, though, when Kanda answered almost immediately.


"Sue me?"

"As in Sumi-e, like the ink."

"Ink, hmm…oh, since she's black and white."

"Yeah, her fur looks like ink splotches…but you probably think that just sounds dumb…" and his voice trailed off.

"I like it! A pretty name for a pretty lady, right, Sumi?"

The cat gazed up at Allen, long since finished licking her plate clean and seemed to be thinking about it. She moved towards Allen's leg and brushed up against it, purring all the while. She sprawled out on the floor and proceeded to lick her paws, and then started to wash her face before continuing on through the rest of her grooming.

"I think she approves. You came up with that name pretty fast. You were thinking about it before now, weren't you?" Allen grinned at Kanda.


And that was all Allen could get out of him for the rest of the night.