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Written for Riley Cannon on Dec 17 2005.

The Trouble With.

by Erin

"Don't even think about it, you goddamn bastard."

Innocent eyes stared back at Chris.

"Don't give me that fucking look. I know exactly what you're thinking and the answer is no, okay? Fuck no."


"Meow nothing," Chris snarled through the screen door, "I'm coming outside for a cigarette, and you are not running between my legs when I open the door and coming inside, okay? You don't come inside. You're an outside cat - outside."

If it was possible for a orange-and-white striped tabby to look utterly betrayed, Chris was looking at it right now.

"Don't make me out to be the asshole - we've had this fucking conversation a million times - you got a whole big backyard where you can run around and play and do whatever the fuck you do. You ain't coming inside, now get your furry ass away from the door."

The cat mewled pitifully and started to pace around, rubbing his sides against the screen door wire, roughing up his fur and effectively cutting Chris off even more than before.

"Goddamn son of a bitch!" Chris snapped. "Look, it's not me, you know? It's Toby who don't want you in here, 'cause you kept scratching the furniture and shit. If it were up to me, I'd let you in, but he's a stubborn ass."

"Are you badmouthing me to the cat?"

Chris turned toward where Toby's voice was calling from the other room, where he was working on the computer. "No!"

"Lying ass," he heard Toby mutter, as he looked back down to where the cat had, if it were possible, pressed even closer against the door.

"Oh fuck this," Chris muttered and prepared to do the Dash of Doom. The one where he opened the screen door just wide enough to nudge the cat out of the way and let himself squeeze through, before slamming the door shut as quickly as possible. And the one where, inevitably, the cat managed to slip through narrow opening as quick as lightening anyway.

"Fuck!" Chris yelled, making a feeble grab for the tail on its way inside.

So now he was on the outside looking in. Yellow-green eyes glowed smugly at him through the fly screen.

Chris stormed back inside and attempted to grab the infuriating ball of fluff, who neatly evaded his grasp and dashed into the next room. He followed to find the cat had jumped onto Toby's computer desk and was walking across the keyboard.

"Fuck!" yelled Toby, pushing the cat out of the way, "I told you not to let him inside!"

"Hey, I didn't let him do anything, Beecher," Chris snapped. "Hey you!" he barked at the tabby, who had jumped down from the desk, and was blinking up at Chris innocently.


"Oh, don't give me that look, like, 'But I'm just a cute little kitty, and you wouldn't really hurt the cute little kitty.' Fuck yes, I would, you fuzzy little bastard - get outside now."

To which the cat promptly ran under Toby's desk and hid behind the drawers, where he knew he couldn't be reached.

Toby cracked up laughing. Chris just breathed heavily and coldly whispered. "I. Am going. To fucking kill you." He wasn't sure if he was speaking to Toby or the cat. Maybe both.

"Are you going to get him out of there, Chris?"

"You fucking get him out of there," Chris snapped, "I'm gonna go have my goddamn cigarette." He bent and peered under the desk, but saw nothing but a whisp of tail. "Hey you! You better not fucking piss, shit or puke while I'm gone, or kitty cat goes splat."

He stomped out of the house, leaving Toby muttering something about cruelty to animals.

Chris settled down outside, sitting on the low cement wall that surrounded their garden, and lighting up. He took a drag on his cigarette and sighed peacefully. It had been a hot day, but a nice breeze had started up making the late afternoon wonderfully cool. Chris closed his eyes and enjoyed the silence, feeling his muscles relax. All he could hear were the occasional bird cries and the sound of lawnmower whirring somewhere down the street.


Chris's eyes popped open. "Oh, for fuck's sake," he muttered, looking over at where the tabby sat patiently behind the screen door. "Come out on your own, huh? So now you wanna come outside? Fuck you, you wanted to be inside so bad, you can enjoy it for a while."

Chris closed his eyes again and enjoyed his cigarette.

"Meow?...... Mrow?...... Meow?"

"Oh, sweet fucking Christ," Chris groaned, dragging himself up to go let the cat out. The tabby bounded out happily, while Chris shut the door and went back to sitting on the wall.

The cat wandered over to him and started twining himself lovingly between Chris's ankles.

"If you think I'm gonna forgive you, you're outta your fucking mind."


"Yeah, mrow," Chris muttered absently, reaching down to scratch the fluffy orange head. The cat pressed greedily into his touch, mewling contentedly, and making Chris smile despite himself.

"Manipulative little shit," sighed Chris, holding his cigarette between his teeth, and sliding off the wall to sit on the ground next to the cat, where he could stroke along his spine and scratch underneath his chin. The cat lapped it up and it wasn't long before Chris had him purring like a rumbly train.

"You are so easy," Chris murmured.


"Mm, prrrr," Chris agreed.

"I love it when you make that noise, you big cat."

Chris looked up to see Toby grinning at him through the screen door.

"Yeah?" he asked with a lazy smile.

"Yeah. Do it again."

"Only if you come pet me."

Toby chuckled and came outside, settling on the grass on Chris's other side, and leaning his back against the wall. He reached up to the back Chris's neck, scratching his nails through the short, dark hair at the bottom of Chris's head. Chris let out a dutiful purr, making Toby laugh again and kiss him on the cheek.

"You finish all your work?" Chris asked.

"Mmhmm - no thanks to the kitty demon from hell." Chris felt Toby squirm, shifting around so he leant against Chris's side, with his head on Chris's shoulder.

"Hey you - little bastard," said Toby affectionately, as he tentatively reached across to pet the cat's head. He drew his hand away when he received a feline 'How dare you invade my personal space with your unworthy presence?' glare. He sighed and let the cat go back to purring against Chris's touch. "How come he likes you better?" Toby pouted, "I'm the one who's actually nice to him."

"It's 'cause I lay down the law - cats respect that," said Chris. "Ow!" he added, when the cat stepped into his lap, digging sharp claws into his jeans as he settled down to sleep against Chris's crotch.

"Uh-huh," said Toby, clearly not convinced, as he pulled Chris's cigarette out of his mouth and started to smoke it himself.

"Did you fucking ask if you could do that?"

"Did he?" asked Toby, pointing the cat, who was spread out as though Chris's lap were his own private property.

"Ah, shut up," said Chris, yanking the nearly-gone cigarette out of Toby's mouth and stubbing it out on the ground.

Toby laughed and settled back down against Chris's shoulder. Chris pressed a soft kiss to the top of Toby's curly-haired head, and sighed again, relaxing into the warmth and closeness of Toby by his side and his pet in his lap.

"Nice evening, huh?" murmured Toby, looking at the sun sinking behind the trees in the back yard.

Chris looked at the late afternoon shadows stretching across the yard, and the way the orange light glinted off Toby's gold hair and the cat's ginger fur. The tabby gave a rumbling purr and Toby's hand gently stroked the wrist of the hand Chris had resting on the cat's back.

"Mmm," Chris sighed contentedly, "Nice evening."


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