“Morning sir,” Sally called as she passed Greg’s office. “Have a good weekend?”
“Not bad.” Greg allowed himself to be distracted for a bit - Sherlock and John were (supposedly) coming in to drop off some paperwork in a little while, but it was still way too early to deal with The World’s Only Consulting Detective without having consumed the proper amount caffeine. Which the break room was already out of, thanks to a malfunctioning coffee machine, damn it. “Had the kids on Saturday for a few hours while Anne went to some networking thing - you wouldn’t believe what they talked me into doing.”
Sally frowned in thought. “That an invitation to guess? I’ve only met them a few times.”
“You could try, but you’d never get it.” Greg leaned back in his chair and laced his fingers behind his head. “They’re bloody persuasive, honestly. Especially Cory. But yeah, thanks to them, I’m now the proud owner of a cat.”
Her eyes widened. “Just, ‘oh, think I’ll acquire a cat today?’”
“More or less.” Greg pulled out his phone and showed her the picture his daughter had oh-so-helpfully set as his background photo. “It was news to me, but apparently the two of them had been plotting this for quite a while. Had one picked out already and everything - did you know you can look up homeless animals online? Anne didn’t, I’ll bet. She’s better at putting her foot down at crap like this, though, so I guess I made the softer touch.”
Sally very tactfully didn’t comment on that. “It is a rather photogenic cat,” she said instead.
“Pictures lie.” Okay, not much - Greg had always been a sucker for cats, despite Anne’s allergies - but the adorable black ball of fluff in the shelter’s online photo database bore no actual relation to the sulky creature which was probably shredding Greg’s sofa that very minute. “Cory wanted to ‘just look’ and I figured what the hell, we had time to kill before Anne was going to be back. And then of course Tessa just happened to have a list of all the things I’d need to buy for it - indexed by distance from the shelter necessary to travel to purchase them - and I didn’t find out this was a pre-strategized attack until I was already holding a kitten and my kids were both looking at me with such hopeful expressions I couldn’t say no.”
“The fierce and mighty DI, brought low by a kitten?”
He waved a vague V in her direction. “Softest kitten ever, I’ll have you know. I’ve never seen fur like it before - long but with a hint of curl to it. Between that and the cat’s everyone’s an idiot except for me expression as soon as we got it home, the name was pretty much a given.”
Sally’s hand shot to her mouth. “You didn’t.”
Greg grinned and nodded toward the phone, where the picture was still showing. “I did. Meet my new kitten, Sherlock.”
“It’s perfect, though!” Greg insisted. “I mean, yeah, there’s the black curls, and the weirdly intense blue-green eyes, and the ‘fuck you’ look he gives me sometimes. Which is much less intimidating coming from a cat, believe me. But I spent the rest of the weekend laughing my arse off whenever Sherlock fell off the couch, or got his dewclaw stuck in the kitchen rug and couldn’t figure out how to untangle himself. The name makes it funnier.”
Sally let out a reluctant chortle. “Okay, I can see that.”
“Discovered that Sherlock also, swear to God, tries to lie on my head whenever I’m sitting too close to the middle of the sofa. Like, literally just developed this habit in the last twenty-four hours and will not give it up. He did it maybe six or seven times in a row - I spent half of yesterday watching telly from various spots in my living room, just to see what he’d do.”
“Experimenting. Maybe the Freak is rubbing off on you more than you thought.”
“Oi, you.” Greg rolled his eyes. “I never get a whole day to just do nothing - it was nice. Sherlock and I had the house to ourselves. It was good, actually, to get a whole day with him before having to be back here this morning. Felt much less like I was just abandoning him to lie around at home all day while I was at work.”
“You two got settled in, then?”
“By yesterday afternoon, yeah. Finally got him to settle down and let me just pet those soft curls for like an hour.” Greg’s fingers twitched at the memory of it. “Sherlock couldn’t sit still that long though. Was off and tearing circles around my living room the moment I stopped. Ran face-first into my bedroom door and rebounded with this look - Christ.” Greg grinned up at Sally. “Got to say, though, having Sherlock in my bed is a nicer experience than I ever thought it would be.”
She turned an interesting shade of mauve more or less instantaneously. “Sir, I really don’t need to know how much you’ve thought about sleeping with Sherlock.”
“Oh, not much sleeping involved,” Greg countered. “Sherlock is a total pillow hog, as it turns out. And he’s got this weird habit of trying to nibble on my ear if my alarm goes off and I’m not up fast enough to suit him. Woke up this morning with his arse practically in my face-”
A cough from the doorway had them both looking up. And at a rather flustered-looking John Watson.
“I, um. Came by to drop off those statements. From the scene last week.” John couldn’t quite meet Greg’s eye. “Although I see now you could have gotten them from him yourself. I did think the flat was suspiciously quiet last night - would have been nice if he’d told me he wasn’t coming back after his walk, though.”
Greg opened his mouth to reply, to explain about the cat, but Sally interrupted by literally falling over sideways laughing and cracking her head hard against the corner of his desk. By the time John finished checking her over and proclaiming her fine, Greg had decided it would just be easier to let Sherlock (the human version) sort it all out later.
If he was very, very lucky, he might get to witness the whole thing.