Pairing/Characters: Pre-slash. Arthur/Merlin, Morgana
Warnings: Pure fluff? Small amounts of kitty sized depression.
Summary: Morgana believes that her pet needs a friend. Thus: Arthur.
Notes: Does anybody remember a fic I wrote a while ago: The House Sitter? This is a companion piece to that. Or, a prequel. Or something. Did I mention fluff? Also, non-beta-ed. All mistakes are my own. And yes, I know the title is lame. Sorry.
Tail of Two Kitties, The
It was mostly the morning sunshine which woke the little cat. The warm light added extra heat to his already warm black coat and he purred softly, stretching his body to work the kinks out of his sleep-tired muscles. His ears twitched as he registered the radio playing softly in the next room over, and he snuggled down a little further into his pillow, quite willing to sleep a little longer.
“Good morning, Merlin,” a voice murmured from across the room, and Merlin cracked open one eye to peer at his human, mewing his response. The girl was very pretty for a human, he had decided, and he liked her very much. A smooth hand closed over his head, rubbing and petting him for a few moments before she simply scooped him up and brought him into the bathroom for a quick shower and then downstairs for breakfast.
They ate breakfast side by side, as they usually did. Merlin nosed slowly through his bowl, picking the good pieces before moving on to his human’s plate and stealing bits of that too. Her meat bits were much better than whatever was in his bowl – and he enjoyed them immensely.
“Merlin!” His person sighed, lifting the plate a little in an attempt to dissuade him from eating her food. But just then a ringing sound erupted, causing her to lower the plate in defeat and hold a small device up to her ear.
“Morgana LeFey.” She said briskly, her voice no longer holding the warm tone she used with him.
Merlin could hear a tinny voice coming from the device, but he busied himself with eating as many scraps from her plate as quickly as he could. She was likely to swat him away soon, and he wanted as much as he could steal before she did.
“I told you to have those charts done yesterday,” Morgana barked into the phone, abandoning the plate completely and hurrying into the other room in order to stuff her feet into shoes, before clicking back into the kitchen. “No, I don’t care what your excuse is; do them now.” She paused, and the tinny voice was back. “I don’t care if you just got in to the office, get it done.” She picked up her unfinished breakfast plate and scraped the remains into one of the few receptacles Merlin refused to get into – delicious meat bits or no. He’d gotten an awful scolding the last time he had and wasn’t about to try it again.
The cat hopped down from the table and twisted around her ankle as she dropped the plate and cooking utensils into the sink.
“Yes. No. Look, I’m on my way now, just get it done before I get there.” She clicked the device shut, bent down and quickly scratched behind Merlin’s ears, before hurrying for her bag and making a bee-line for the door.
Merlin, sensing where this was going, quickly intercepted her, and meowed. She had skipped morning play time – that’s what happened after breakfast. He mewed again to remind her, his tail dancing merrily behind him.
“I’m sorry Merlin, but I really must go in early today,” Morgana told him, crouching down and rubbing one hand down his back in apology.
The little cat meowed again, looking up at her with a very sad expression. She hadn’t finished her breakfast at all, and hadn’t even scolded him for eating it without her. She hadn’t played with him either and she knew that he didn’t like being cooped up in the house without at least a little play time first. It made him anxious.
“I’ll bring home a new toy for you tonight,” she said soothingly, “and we’ll play until your little legs fall off.”
He slumped a little in defeat, but otherwise made no effort to stop her from leaving.
The door clicked and locked behind her, and in a nervous fit, Merlin scraped his claws against it, yowling loudly. He’d changed his mind, he didn’t want a new toy – he’d rather her come back. But her car whooshed away from him and Merlin was left alone in the empty house.
For a little while he sat near the door, hoping she would come to her senses and return home. But eventually he got bored and decided to see if he had missed any tasty bits in his bowl from breakfast. Eating those bits reminded him that he was thirsty; which led him into the bathroom where water was dripping from the leaky faucet. After that, well, there were plenty of interesting things to play with in the house, and he hadn’t been able to explore them all.
After a while though, Merlin curled up on his pillow – lonely and miserable – and tried to go back to sleep. He woke a few times and padded downstairs to peer at the door, to check if his person had returned yet, but each time he ended up dragging himself back upstairs and curling up a little tighter than he had before.
“Oh my darling, I’m sorry.”
A warm hand gently woke Merlin and he mewed with delight to see that Morgana had returned to him at last. Now they could play, like she had promised that morning. He unwound himself and jumped off of the bed, rushing and tumbling over himself into the hallway, so that they could play.
True to her promise, Morgana had brought home a new toy and they played a pouncing game until Merlin got tired. Then, feeling content again he curled up in Morgana’s lap and bumped her hand into petting him.
“I just don’t understand,” Morgana was saying into her phone while Merlin snacked on her bacon the next morning. “He’s always so depressed when I leave – it’s like he thinks I’m never going to come back. Is this normal cat behavior?”
The tinny voice spoke to Morgana, while she absently scratched behind Merlin’s ears.
“Yes, I try to play with him as much as I can when I’m home. I thought cats were individuals and liked to be alone, that’s why I didn’t think leaving him would be a problem. But when I leave he scratches the doors and just curls up on his pillow until I come home.”
Merlin made a soft noise, curled his tail around Morgana’s wrist and settled into her scratching fingers.
“Yes, I’m pretty sure.”
Eventually, Morgana clicked her phone shut and looked down at Merlin with a small smile. “You, my little kitty, are far too lonely for your own good.”
That afternoon, after Morgana had returned home from work, she put Merlin in his silly cat collar and loaded him into the car. Merlin leapt from surface to surface in excitement, because this was new and wonderful. An adventure to share with his person, and Merlin was more than ready to let it last forever.
They arrived at a building with lots of exciting smells coming from it, and Morgana carried Merlin inside. Immediately he was being cooed over by two girls – not his, but he would accept their pets and cuddles and purr for them anyway. Loud squawking made him hiss and a good amount of yipping and barking made his fur stand on end.
“Best keep him away from the dogs,” the first girl said to Morgana and the other girl.
They both nodded warily. The second girl then began questioning Morgana.
“So what are you looking for today? Toys or food?”
Morgana didn’t answer right away; instead she stared at a nearby cage of very colorful birds. “Merlin needs a friend,” she finally said. “Someone to distract him while I’m at work.”
The two girls cooed and rubbed him a little more, so Merlin obliged them and presented his belly.
“He’s just a darling,” the second girl said.
“A charmer,” the first decided. “Well, let’s bring him to the cat room and see if he connects with any of the cats we have.”
She led Morgana back, past the birds and away from the yipping, barking dogs. The three girls stepped up to a glass door and Morgana walked inside, still holding Merlin. The door shut behind them and Morgana placed the small cat down on the ground.
Merlin stood, tense for a moment, before she smoothed the still-standing fur on his back. “Go on,” she said warmly, patting his bottom to get him moving. “Have a look.”
Without further prompting, he took a few, hesitating steps in one direction, twitched his ears as he heard soft footfalls, and was immediately bowled over by a gray cat twice his size.
My territory! The new cat hissed, shoving his front paws into Merlin’s back.
Merlin yowled and wriggled away from the cat. Heat burned his eyes and the other cat crouched down, clearly ready to pounce. The little black cat crouched down too, his eyes still hot. He could take on this bigger cat. He’d practiced pouncing and stalking with Morgana, after all. He was an expert.
Except, before Merlin got the chance to show off his skills, a yellow cat about his size plopped down in front of him and started cleaning one paw. Merlin shot up in surprise, because he hadn’t heard this new cat approach.
Invader! The big cat hissed at the smaller yellow cat. Not welcome!
But the yellow cat didn’t move except to switch to a different paw.
The larger cat attempted to go around the small cat, but it hissed and somehow managed to get the other to withdraw its challenge.
Merlin twitched his ears and looked around at all the other cats, before quickly moving back towards Morgana. He wasn’t sure he liked it here. He had managed to take two steps before he was bowled over again, this time in a much friendlier manner. Happily, the black cat kept them rolling and was quite agreeable to play with the yellow cat.
“He’s gorgeous,” Morgana said from above them. From her tone, Merlin was pretty sure she was smiling as he played. "You have wonderful taste Merlin."
“That one’s a handful,” Merlin could hear one of the girls saying while he chewed on the other cats’ ear. “He may be little, but he’s the one in charge. I think that even the dogs are afraid of him.”
“The littler dogs,” the other girl amended.
All dogs. The other cat mewed proudly, while still leaping and playing with Merlin. I’m the best.
“I’ll take him,” Morgana said, right before she scooped up Merlin. Merlin mewed in distress because this cat was fun, a new friend to play with, before he realized that the other cat had been picked up too.
No, down! The cat was hissing, extending his claws and looking very calmly towards Morgana's hand. But before he could scratch her he was grabbed by the scruff of his neck and carried out towards a counter in the main room. The birds squawked in alarm and the dogs quieted, all in lieu of the yellow cats distressed yowling. A collar was fastened around his throat and he was placed in a little carrying basket.
“I don’t know why he’s so upset,” one of the girls said in distress. “All his litter has already been bought and I’m fairly sure the other cats don’t like him.”
“Well, Merlin likes him,” Morgana said firmly, giving the little cat in her arms a quick rub, “and what I need is someone for Merlin. I think that I’ll call him,” she pondered for a moment before making a decision, “Arthur.”