Characters: Ianto, Cat.
Summary: Ianto wasn’t looking to acquire a pet, but it seems as though he’s got one now, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Word Count: 1390
Written For: Challenge 145: Pet at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto turned the key in the lock and quietly let himself into his small house not bothering to turn the lights on. He could find his way around easily enough in the faint glow from the streetlamps that filtered through the windows and he could turn a couple of lights on if necessary once the curtains were closed. It was late, but that was par for the course for Torchwood agents. There was no such thing as being off-duty, and Ianto had long since grown accustomed to working odd hours or even right through the night. There were some days he didn’t make it home at all.
As he closed the door behind him a shadow detached itself from the deeper gloom at the back of the house and came to wind itself sinuously around Ianto’s legs, making a sound reminiscent of a small motorboat.
“Evening, Cat,” Ianto greeted his houseguest.
“Have a good day?”
“Well, at least someone did. Mine was a bit shit, to be honest, and I daresay Jack’s was worse, although he doesn’t remember much about what happened. Probably just as well.” It was never fun seeing Jack die and then sitting beside his corpse waiting for him to revive. At least this had been one of the less traumatic deaths, a blast from a laser pistol right between the eyes. Jack had been dead before his body could even begin to fall, and the alien who shot him had been even deader just a split second later. Tosh might look mild and innocent, but she could be just as deadly with a gun as any member of the team. Thanks to her quick reaction time, Ianto had been able to focus on Jack, catching him before he hit the ground and gently lowering him the rest of the way so he didn’t damage himself further when he hit the ground. Then it had just been a case of waiting for the seared hole through Jack’s brain to repair itself, which alarmingly took almost twelve minutes. Ianto didn’t want to think about how much damage that little bolt of red light must have caused inside Jack’s skull, so he quickly shut down that train of thought.
Slipping his coat off, he hung it on the coat rack by the door as the cat continued to rub against his legs. He scratched it behind the ears when he bent to remove his shoes, resigned to the inevitability of cat hair all over his trousers yet again. “I suppose you’ll be wanting something to eat. It’s all just cupboard love with you, isn’t it? You love me because I feed you.”
“Mrrrow!” Cat agreed.
“Thought so. Let’s go see what there is then.” Ianto had made sure there was dry cat food and fresh water available before he left for work that morning, but Cat would have eaten that long ago.
Cat trotted along ahead of Ianto, glancing back over its shoulder to make sure he was following. He flicked on the kitchen light, squinting in the sudden brightness, and went to the cupboard where he kept the food he’d brought for his guest, picking out a small tin that claimed its contents were formulated to please the most discerning feline palate; none of the cheap stuff for this cat.
It had been almost two weeks since the grey tabby had shown up in his bedroom one morning having apparently decided it was going to live with him, whether he wanted it to or not. Despite all the notices he’d stuck to lampposts around the area, and all the ads he’d put in shop windows and the local paper, nobody had come forward to claim the cat as their own, and it was starting to seem increasingly unlikely that anyone would. He’d had the vet check for a microchip while she was giving his uninvited visitor a thorough health check, but there hadn’t been one. That had immediately been rectified; it had seemed to Ianto the responsible thing to do, regardless of the cat not actually being his.
Ianto had never owned any kind of pet; growing up, his mother had been allergic to cats, his dad had refused to even consider having a dog because they needed so much looking after, and as for rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters… Well, his mother hadn’t been at all keen, saying she’d probably be the one who ended up having to take care of it. As he set a saucer of food down on the mat he’d put in one corner of the kitchen Ianto gave a wry smile; looked like he had a pet now, even though he wasn’t in the best position to look after one, what with his long hours at work. Good thing cats were relatively independent. Probably the most low-maintenance pet he could have.
With the cat settled down to eat, Ianto went through the house closing the curtains, then rustled up a quick supper for himself, eating at the breakfast bar since he’d already discovered the impossibility of having a plate on his lap when the cat wanted to lay there. He didn’t feel like watching TV anyway, it was too late; all he wanted was to eat and then go to bed. He’d be sleeping alone tonight since Jack was staying at the Hub to keep a close eye on the Rift. Tosh’s predictor programme had indicated it might be another busy night.
Cat finished its late supper and jumped up on the kitchen counter, where it curled up in the fruit bowl, which was thankfully empty at present, except for a large furry mound of cat. Really the bowl was far too small, or the cat far too large, and earlier in the week, wanting to make sure his guest was properly cared for, Ianto had bought it a perfectly cosy cat bed, among other cat accessories, but cats obviously had their own unique ideas as to what constituted a comfortable place for a nap, and the fruit bowl was right at the top of this one’s list. What would happen when Ianto had time to do some grocery shopping and refilled the bowl with apples and oranges was anybody’s guess. Might be a good idea to get a new fruit bowl at the same time and leave the one he already had to the cat. That would avoid any disagreements, unless the cat decided it liked the new fruit bowl even better…
Putting his dishes in the dishwasher, along with Cat’s saucer, Ianto put down fresh water for his guest, checked everywhere was locked up, and headed upstairs to bed. He was barely halfway up before he heard the cat following him. Figured. He’d always thought cats were nocturnal, prowling around outside all night, hunting mice or whatever. He’d fitted a cat flap in the back door just so the cat could come and go at will while he was at work or in bed, but he’d soon discovered that given half a chance this cat preferred to spend its nights indoors, preferably on his bed, and if at all possible, on top of him. He’d tried keeping the door shut when Jack stayed the night, but if the bedroom window was open the cat just climbed the tree outside, came in that way instead and joined them. One of these days it was liable to get itself squashed, but all attempts to dissuade it had so far failed. Cats definitely had minds of their own.
Still, tonight Ianto was by himself and by the time he was ready for bed, Cat was already there and waiting for him. Slipping beneath the covers, he turned out the bedside lamp and settled down on his side, immediately feeling the bed move as Cat curled up at his back.
“Goodnight, Cat. Sweet dreams.”
“You’re worse than Jack’s snoring,” Ianto muttered into his pillow. “I’ve heard quieter motorcycles.”
The cat just kept right on purring.
Despite the noise and vibration, there was something undeniably comforting about having the warm bundle of fur curled up against him. It was kind of nice coming home to someone who was always pleased to see him too. Against his better judgement, he was rather beginning to hope his guest might decide to stay permanently.