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Misc: Hardcore Chinchilla

runic_binary in deathaccountant

This fic has no italics in it whatsoever. Huh.

Title: Women and Cats
Pairing: Blueno/Rookmina
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,430
Summary: They're problematic.

Her first mistake was calling him up on her lunch break and asking him to come to her place as soon as work was over for both of them. She didn’t realize that it had been a mistake until she came out of her bedroom to find him standing in the middle of her living room floor, but it didn’t take much longer to catch on to the problem.

“Blueno,” she asked, looking at him calmly as she adjusted the cuff of the sweater she’d changed into after work, “did you just walk out of thin air and into my living room?”

“Yes,” he informed her placidly. He was holding a brown lump of fur that, upon a second look, turned out to be a cat. She ignored it.

“Normal human beings have doors for a reason, Blueno,” she said, crossing the floor to greet him when he made no move in her direction.

“I have doors for a reason as well,” he replied.

Rookmina met with this a blank, reserved gaze. She reached up and rapped her knuckles on his forehead. “Is anyone home?”

“Funny,” Blueno said dryly. “I apologize for not knocking, and I notice that you seem to be ignoring the cat I have with me.”

“I expect that you’re about to explain why you’ve brought me a cat.” She crossed her arms in anticipation and looked up at him, avoiding the yellow gaze of the cat, who was staring at her pointedly and without shame.

Blueno extended his hands, in which the cat was curled up. “I have a mission in two days and I wondered if you’d like to look after her for me.”

“This is something you ought to have mentioned over the den den mushi,” she informed him, taking the cat from his hands. The animal in question placed its paws on Rookmina’s shoulders and pressed its face to the side of her neck, purring softly. “It appears that she likes me, though. Has she been properly vaccinated?”

“Of course,” said Blueno, who might have sounded mildly affronted at the suggestion that he should be so irresponsible if he were the kind of person who got offended at simple things like that. Rookmina looked up at him and smiled faintly.

“Of course,” she repeated. She scratched the cat behind the ears, which was greatly appreciated if the increase in the volume of the purr was any indication. “What’s her name?”

“She doesn’t have one,” said Blueno. He stepped closer and stroked the cat’s back. “I’ve been calling her ‘Cat’. It works the same as any name would.”

Rookmina let her eyes drift from the top of the cat’s head to Blueno’s face. “Your cat doesn’t have a name?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because, as I said, it’s not necessary. She wouldn’t respond to a name anyway.”

“Blueno, you have to give the cat a name.”

He raised an eyebrow at this, just slightly. “Oh?”

“She’s going to be living in my house for the next…”

“Nine days.”

“The next nine days, and I imagine that I might have cause to address her by name at some point during that time. I won’t refer to an animal by its species alone, Blueno, that’s silly.” And Rookmina did not approve of anything silly. This was apparent and well-known, especially to Blueno, who didn’t either. “That would be like calling you ‘Man’ just because you are one.”

“And since I happen to be the only one in the building…” said Blueno, scratching the back of the cat’s neck. Rookmina looked at him as if he had gone mad, which wasn’t a significant change of expression—she knew many people who seemed for all appearances to have gone mad quite some time ago, and expressing it with shock was generally considered a social faux pas.

“You wouldn’t mind?”

“A name is nothing more than a form of identification. In my line of work, a permanent name is almost inconvenient at times. So no, I don’t imagine I would mind terribly.”

“I would,” said Rookmina, crooking a finger under the cat’s chin. “Besides, I don’t believe that you like your name. Anyway, what if she eats something toxic and I have to take her to the veterinary office? There might very well be other cats there, so referring to her by species would be inadvisable. I’m sure the doctor would want the cat’s name, as well.”

“I see your point,” said Blueno. He looked down at the cat in Rookmina’s arms and then back to her face. “What would you like to call her?”

“She’s your cat. Don’t you think you ought to name her?”

“Whatever I come up with probably won’t be to your satisfaction,” he said plainly, and she frowned a little in response.

“Don’t say things like that. All right, I’ll give her a name.” She hoisted the cat into her arms and looked down into the golden-yellow eyes. “Matilda,” she announced after a moment. “I think she looks like a Matilda.”

“That’s a nice name,” Blueno commented. “It does seem to suit her.”

“Of course,” said Rookmina, matter-of-factly. “Here, hold her. I’ll go find her a box.”

“She’ll probably want to sleep on your bed, actually.”

“I’m sure she will and I’m sure there’s nothing I can do to stop her, but I ought to at least make a cursory effort to spare my quilt. Have a seat; I’ll be back in a moment.”

Blueno sat down in the chair at the left side of the room while Matilda made herself comfortable on his lap. “If you ruin her quilt,” he told her under his breath, as Rookmina was rummaging in a closet just the next room over, “you realize the blame will rest on me. I expect you to be better-behaved than that, for my sake. Remember which of us knows how to use a can opener.”

Matilda mewled quietly and rubbed the side of her face against his bicep. He decided to take this as a sign of acquiescence.

After a few minutes, Rookmina returned to the room bearing what looked to be a dilapidated orange crate. “You may sleep in here while you’re staying,” she said to Matilda, and set the crate down next to Blueno’s chair. “I’ll lay a blanket in it for you and put it near the radiator. I hope that will be acceptable.”

In response, Matilda hopped up from Blueno’s lap and pounced at Rookmina, who caught her and lifted her onto her shoulder. “Funny,” she said, and lowered Matilda to the floor, whereupon she began investigating the orange crate, “animals usually don’t take to me as well as she has.”

“She’s a friendly cat, said Blueno. They watched her sniff at the rough wood like it was some sort of alien, hazardous material, leaning in and jerking back in quick succession, whiskers curled forward and eyes narrowed. Eventually, as if satisfied that the foreign thing was safe, she hopped inside the box and began to inspect it from the inside out.

“I assume you have a litter box and food bowls for her,” said Rookmina. She took up the place Matilda had vacated and leaned back against Blueno’s chest, putting her feet up on the ottoman. She was still wearing socks, Blueno noted, and they were purple. “They were a gift,” she explained when she noticed him looking, and put her feet back on the floor. “Will you bring her things tomorrow?”

“Why don’t we go out for dinner tonight, and I’ll pick them up from my room on our way back?”

“All right,” she said, resting her hands on the arms Blueno had just wrapped around her waist. “We’ll leave at eight?”

“That sounds fine.”

“What shall we do until then?”

There was a thoughtful pause. Matilda chose this moment to jump onto the chair and bump the top of her head against Rookmina’s chin.

“I say we introduce Matilda to sardines,” said Rookmina, and picked the cat up to cradle her in her arms. “As long as that fits into the approved Cipher Pol 9 dietary regime.”

“We don’t have one of those, I told you,” Blueno said, disengaging his arms to let her stand up.

“And I still think you ought to. It would only make sense. The kitchen’s this way, Matilda.”

Blueno brought up the rear of the procession to the refrigerator, wondering at exactly what point he’d lost his long-held aversion to domesticity and things resembling it. Apparently pretty girls and cute, furry animals were the downfall of many a great man.

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August 2008

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