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Feline Navidad

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Clink-clink. Clack-clack.

Goodnight buried his face in his covers to drown out the sound, yawning and hoping sleep would reclaim him quickly because he’d been having the nicest dream, not quite registering that it was an odd noise to be hearing in the early hours of the morning, at least not until it was followed by an almighty Crash.

He shot up in his bed, frazzled and disoriented, shoving his hair out of his face as he swung his legs out of bed and grabbed his gun; he stood up too quickly, dizzy and staggering from his room to investigate the noise downstairs. He was considerably more awake as he crept down the stairs, avoiding the creaky one and peering down into his home, the lights were all off and as he listened carefully all he could hear was a strange wet noise coming from the kitchen. He approached slowly and held his gun in the direction of the sound, slapping the light on quickly and squinting at… nothing? He looked around the kitchen, noticed the lidded pan he’d left on the stove was no longer there, and looked down to see the upturned pot on the floor along with the source of the wet sound, a dirty white cat greedily was lapping at the stew Goody had left to cool and forgotten about.

“Jesus fucking Christ,” he groaned, flicking the safety onto his gun and going to holster it before realising he was in a fleecy pyjama set, so he pocketed it instead; the cat looked at him suddenly, its eyes wide and odd coloured, muzzle brown with gravy, it didn’t move. “Oh be my guest, honestly, it’s not like I made that so I didn’t have to make lunch for work…” he gestured vaguely, snorting when the cat did exactly that, turning its head down and lapping at the food. He rubbed his face tiredly before edging around the spilled food and the upturned pot, relieved that while the lid was now cracked, the glass in it hadn’t shattered. He carefully lifted the pot and the lid, placing the pot in the sink and leaving the lid on the side to be thrown out later; he considered cleaning up but the cat seemed to have a good handle on it, despite looking kind of rotund.

He didn’t really know what to do about this, he supposed he should usher the cat out, clean his floor, and go back to bed, but the trembling cat looked grimy and its long white fur was matted and dark in places, if it belonged to anyone they clearly didn’t give a damn about it. “Alright,” he sighed, opening the cupboard and pulling out a shallow bowl, heading for the fridge and rummaging through it, “I don’t have any milk, will water do?” the cat didn’t even look at him, so he took that as a yes and filled the dish at the sink, crouching and edging close to the animal to offer it the water. It flinched when he reached out, regarding him with brief fear as he placed the dish carefully on a dry tile, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to kick you out, it’s cold,” he pulled at his thick pyjamas as if to demonstrate how cold he thought it was and the cat just watched him. It had snowed pretty badly a few days back and Rose Creek was still suffering for it, and while he wasn’t exactly fond of cats, he wasn’t cruel, so he’d just leave it for now.

He yawned and glanced at the kitchen window, seeing it was still dark out and deciding to check his watch, it was about 4am; he let out an irate grumble before padding into the lounge, grabbing a thick blanket from the back of the couch and settling into his favourite chair. He bundled up and leant his head back, closing his eyes and feeling confident that his internal alarm would wake him in two hours so he could get ready for work. He was just nodding off when he felt a cold pressure on his lap, cracking one eye open to see the dirty near-grey cat turning in his lap before lying down and purring at him, he sighed and closed his eye again, drifting off to the low rumble the cat emitted.

 

===

 

As predicted, he woke up on time, though the cat still being on his lap was somewhat unexpected, so he shooed it off, earning a dirty look, before standing and making his way upstairs to shower; when he returned, dressed mostly casually but with his uniform jacket on, the cat was back in his chair, fast asleep on the blanket he’d been covered in earlier. He whipped out his phone and snapped a photo, figuring he’d need it if he was going to try and find the cat’s owner, though looking at the state of it he wasn’t exactly sure he wanted to. With that done he cleaned up the kitchen and went on the hunt for breakfast, ultimately disappointed as he didn’t have any pods left for his coffee machine and he wasn’t finding anything of any particular interest in the fridge, twin that with the fact that he also didn’t have anything he could use for lunch either, courtesy of his guest, his Monday was starting out pretty bad.

“Guess I’m picking something up on the way,” he mumbled, making sure he had his wallet and keys before ruffling the cat’s head and leaving his house; the snow was still pretty bad, but at least he’d had the foresight to salt his drive, so he only had to deal with the thin layer of snow on his car before he could leave for work.

He stopped by a café he liked for coffee and a pastry to go, heading to the precinct and dropping into his seat in the bullpen, wondering what to do about his current lodger, if it was worth looking into while he was here or if he should just hope it would be gone when he got home later. He ended up calling animal control and being told they couldn’t help, they were understandably overworked for the Christmas period and didn’t have room for something as independent as a cat. He figured he could find the cat’s owner himself after the morning briefing, content to eat his pale imitation beignet and drink his sickly-sweet coffee without interruption til then, but he was seated opposite Joshua Faraday, which usually didn’t bode well for his quiet time.

“Mornin’ Goodnight,” Faraday beamed at him from across their desks, “Anything excitin’ happen to you over the weekend?” he was clearly angling to talk about his latest lay, it was what he usually did first thing on a Monday,

“Not really, no…” he dismissed before reconsidering, “actually, I almost shot a cat this morning,” he took a bite out of his beignet whilst Faraday sputtered in confusion,

“What? Why? Jesus, Robicheaux I thought they cleared you,” he snickered.

“It broke into my house and stole my lunch,” he shrugged, frowning when Faraday started to snort behind his hands,

“You mean… you mean you had a cat burglar?” groans echoed around the bullpen and Faraday wiggled with pride,

“Good Lord why,” Goody sighed, tuning Faraday out after that and finishing his breakfast.

 

They were called into the briefing room soon after by Captain Chisholm, the Seventh precinct all piled into the room and sat, listening and contributing to the briefing about their cases. Rose Creek wasn’t the crime capital of the world, but there were enough overlapping issues to keep the small department busy most of the time, everyone had their cases but Goody mostly worked paperwork due to his operation, but he’d gotten his gun license back and he was set to have an Eval in the new year to see if he could return to more serious active duty.

Faraday was up giving his briefing on an embezzlement case, finishing up and grinning like an idiot,

“Oh yeah, we’ve also had a B&E just out of town,” he beamed, earning a frown from their Captain, “Yeah, Goodnight was robbed,” Goody sat up in alarm, about to shut Faraday down but Chisholm was already on his tail.

“What? Why is this the first I’m hearing about this Goody? What happened?” Sam worried, the man rarely got emotional outside of mirth, but when his team were threatened he was beyond serious,

“Nothing! A cat got into my house, I wasn’t robbed,” he protested,

“Thought you said he stole your lunch,” Faraday quipped,

“Faraday don’t joke about this stuff,” Chisholm scolded, “Goody hold back after,”

“Gladly, I needed to talk to you anyway,” Goody shrugged, waiting for the briefing to end, remaining in his seat as everyone filed out, Sam came and sat down beside him,

“Are you alright?” he asked,

“It was a cat,” Goody muttered,

“I know, but if something got into your house… you heard something, panicked?”

“A little, but it was just a cat, I can handle myself,” he answered, embarrassed to be having this discussion, “I want to look into this cat, find its owner,” he said, “Something light-hearted before Christmas I guess, since you’re not exactly handing me decent cases,” he joked, bitterness eking in,

“You need your eval and Horne is on vacation with his family,” Horne was his assigned psych officer, so of course when Goody finally felt the need to get into active duty again, the guy would hide in a cabin with his wife and kids for two months.

“Can I look for the cat’s owner?” he asked impatiently, he shouldn’t have brought up his eval, it made him cranky,

“Are you trying to get rid of a personal problem using police resources Goody?” Sam smiled,

“Aren’t I always?” he grinned back,

“Sure, go for it, take it to the vets first,” he suggested, “get it checked for a microchip, we had a scanner here but I think you can recall what happened to that,” Goody remembered that incident well, of course it occurred between Faraday and Gabriel Vasquez, the two were a goddamn terror when left together, which was why Sergeant Cullen never actively paired them up, though they still managed it in spite of her efforts. “I’ll get Teddy to find you the number for the one we work with,” they both stood and headed from the briefing room, Goody heading for his desk to look up what he’d need to do about this animal whilst he waited for the Vet’s number.

 

He had called a few other animal shelters as he waited with the same results as before, it was Christmas, they were full, they wouldn’t take on cats because cats could ‘take care of themselves’, apparently by means other than breaking into houses and eating stew, this cat was just more devious than others.

“Here you go Mr Robicheaux,” Teddy handed him a slip of paper with a number and address on it, “The vet’s number,”

“Great, thank you for this,” he smiled,

“I uh… I can call them for you if you want?” Teddy suggested, seeming a little awkward, his cheeks turning pink,

“It’s fine, I can do it,” Goody assured him, frowning at the hint of disappointment on the young PA’s face,

“So, you have a cat now?” Teddy asked, lingering,

“I guess so, unless I can fob it off onto the vet,” he thumbed the number into his desk phone and held it to his ear, waiting for someone to pick up,

“I like cats,” Teddy muttered awkwardly,

“Really? Fancy looking after one for me?” he chuckled,

“Good Morning, Park Veterinary Clinic, how can I help you?” a dry voice asked,

“Hang on Teddy I’ll talk to you later,” he whispered and Teddy scuttled away nervously, “Hey there, I’m with the RCPD, I found a cat and need to find out if it has a microchip,”

RCPD? You’re not who usually calls,” the voice noted idly,

“Nope, it’s my case, I’m calling,” he didn’t understand why that was difficult to grasp.

“Your scanner still hasn’t been replaced?” the voice asked, weary,

“No sir,” he chuckled, “Besides the cat is kind of rough looking so I want to make sure it’s healthy too,” he explained, feeling a bit sheepish,

“Alright, name?”

“Goody,”

“We don’t have any appointments free today but if you bring it in before 10 and wait, one of our vets might be able to fit you in within the next couple of hours,” he explained and Goody nodded,

“Alright sure, I’ll get the cat and bring it in, thanks,” he got the address and hung up soon after, “Anyone got a box to put a cat in?” he called out over the bullpen,

“Alive or dead?” Vasquez answered,

Alive, you asshole,” he huffed. Nobody was any help, all arguing about how to contain and transport a cat until Sergeant Cullen, who had been silent, stood and left the bullpen, returning to the room with an empty case box and placing it before him,

“Air holes, relatively secure,” she said flatly, “you’re welcome,” she added with a slight smile,

“Thank you, Sarge,” he stood and picked up the box, grabbing his scrap of paper with the address on before heading out of the station and to his car.

It didn’t take long to get back home, in fact it was easier this time due to the snowploughs that had made it through to the more rural areas of Rose Creek, he took his case box inside and went in search of the cat, completely unsurprised to find it bundled up on his chair still.

“Hey kitten,” he greeted, the animal reacted sluggishly, blinking owlishly at him and watching as he placed the box on the floor and removed the lid, “I’ll get you a towel to lie on,” he pointed at the cat as he spoke and went to find a towel, returning to find his chair empty. “Great…” he sighed, looking around curiously, “Kitten? Where are you?” he called softly, something popped up in his peripheral vision and he turned quickly to see the cat’s head poking out of the cardboard box, “Well that was easy,” he shrugged, approaching and tucking the towel in with the animal, lifting it carefully to make sure it was on the towel before carefully placing the lid on the box. The cat didn’t seem to care at all, which was a relief, but as Goody strapped it into the passenger seat and began driving to the vets, he found himself talking to the animal to reassure it, even though it didn’t make a peep.

“Just takin’ you for a ride kitten,” he said to the box as he drove, needlessly lying to the animal, he didn’t really know it, so he wasn’t sure whether mention of the vets would set it off, he felt a bit stupid for thinking about it though. “Gonna see if we can find your owners, see if they’re fit to take actual care of you… or fit to go to court if that’s what needs to happen,” he shrugged, animal abuse wasn’t police jurisdiction without animal control inviting them in, but he’d jump through those hoops when he needed to, hoping he wouldn’t have to.

 

===

 

“It’s alright kitten, we’re just pulling in,” he said softly when he turned into the parking lot, reaching out to pat the box and laughing when a paw poked out the hole in the side and batted playfully at him, “Cheeky,” he parked the car, checked his badge was on display and climbed out, leaning over to grab the cat box and heading into the clinic.

The bell above the door rang as he pushed it open with his shoulder and he was immediately met with the sound of nervous animals and chatting owners, heading straight for the receptionist, a kid with a Mohawk and some interesting, yet attractive, facial piercings.

“Hey there, I’m—“ the kid barely glanced at his badge before gesturing to the chairs,

“I know, go wait,” he grunted,

“Alright thank you,” he rolled his eyes as he spoke, startling when a dog shoved its face against his back end,

“Sorry!” the owner apologised, pulling their dog back,

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” he held the box tighter to his chest and went to sit down, waiting quietly for a vet to call him in.

He was waiting for about ten minutes when a vet emerged from his office, a petite guy dressed smartly, his snug shirt and sweater vest showing that he was quite muscular, and he was pretty damned stunning, dark eyes, dark hair, handsome face, Korean if Goody had to guess. Their eyes met and Goody offered a smile, the guy looking a little sheepish as he smiled back before turning to the receptionist and talking to him quietly. He watched as the kid gestured to a tiny elderly vet who emerged from another office, and the male vet went to her, his theory on the man’s ethnicity was confirmed when they began talking slightly more audibly in Korean. He didn’t know Korean, but he could identify it when he heard it; he kept toying with the cat’s paws as they poked out of the rectangular handholds on the box, it was gentle in its pawing, which was a relief because most cats he’d come across wanted blood.

Eomma!” he heard, he knew that one, mom, and it had been thoroughly whined at the tiny vet, he looked up in time to see the man’s mother look at him before saying something else to her son, and calling in another patient. The man looked over to Goody once more and gave a slight gesture to wait, then called the man whose dog had invaded Goody’s personal space earlier; he continued to wait for another half an hour or so, talking to the cat and playing through the holes, chuckling whenever its paw batted at him. He was having an absolute blast avoiding those little fluffy paws, and occasionally a toothy maw would shove through the hole and nip lightly at his fingers, so he was almost disappointed when he was drawn out of his distraction by his own name.

“Goody?” he looked up quickly, the handsome vet was there, smiling and gesturing for him to follow, he stood quickly and carried the box into the vet’s office.

 

“Why hello officer,” the vet smiled as he walked in, a hint of suggestion in his voice as he looked at Goody’s badge; Goody couldn’t help but puff up a little at that, feeling like the vet must’ve thought he was attractive too,

“Mornin’ cher,” he greeted, cocky as he placed the box on the exam table,

“Is this Goody?” the vet asked as he opened the box and pulled the dirty looking cat out.

“Ah so he was asking for the name of the cat,” he mused, he should have really figured that one out,

“I did think that was odd…” The vet noted casually,

“Detective Goodnight Robicheaux, but most people call me Goody,” he introduced himself, wondering what was so odd about his name,

“Park Chang-Yi, but most people call me Billy,” he echoed his phrasing right back,

“Really? How’d that happen?” he asked, watching as the vet cradled the cat in his arms,

“my name was a bit much for people to get their heads around in school, so I asked if I could go by a different name,” he answered, “Decided to use the name of one of my favourite musicians,” he placed the cat on the exam table and started looking it over, “Billy Joel if you’re wondering,”

“Phenomenal taste in music there, Billy,” he didn’t mean to say his name quite like that, but it got him a smile and a raised eyebrow, he was a flirt, he couldn’t help himself.

“Thank you, who is this then?” he asked as he tilted the cats head and inspected its ears and eyes,

“I don’t know, it showed up in my house last night, I’m trying to find out who it belongs to,” he shrugged, “I don’t actually live near anyone, so it’s weird to see pets, especially in my house,”

“Well it is a she, just so you know,” Billy hummed, “Can you just make sure she doesn’t hop off the table for me?” he asked, Goody nodded and reached for the cat, intending to hold her somehow but she turned and started noisily purring and mashing her face into his palm, he laughed and petted her as Billy fetched a small scanner. “Alright, let’s see if your family were smart enough to microchip you sweetie,” Billy hummed to the cat, running the scanner across the animal, falling silent as he listened for a beep, though there wasn’t one,

“Damn,” Goody sighed,

“Eh, could be for the best,” Billy shrugged,

“Is she alright though? Anything you can tell me about her for my report?”

“Sure, she’s female, not spayed, pretty healthy physically, though I’m pretty sure she’s deaf in one ear,” he noted and Goody quickly unhanded the cat to make his notes,

“Deaf in one ear?” he asked,

“Yeah, it’s a risk with white cats especially with blue eyes, she’s got heterochromia so it seems like it might just be the one ear,” he clicked his fingers behind the cat’s head, she looked around for the sound before looking up at him, “yeah, right eye blue, right ear deaf or hard of hearing, she doesn’t have stereo at least,” he said and Goody made a note of it.

“You said she’s not spayed? You can tell by looking at her?” Goody asked,

“Not quite, but I’ll let you in on an old veterinary secret,” Billy said lowly, “may I?” he gestured at Goody’s hands and Goody put the notepad and pen down by the cat, offering his hands to this handsome vet.

 

Billy cradled his hands and eased them around the belly of the cat, holding him there; Billy’s hands felt nice against his own, soft and warm,

“Your hands are really warm by the way…” he noted absently,

“I get that a lot, my ex always told me my warm hands are wasted on treating animals that just… don’t care about it,” he chuckled,

“Did she now?” Goody asked,

He did,” well that was good news, Goody was about to respond when something stirred beneath his palm and he frowned, feeling it again, a hard lump moving against his hand,

“Oh god! What the fuck is wrong with it?” he balked, pulling his hands away quickly, Billy just stared at him, “What?”

“She’s pregnant, those are kittens,” Billy explained,

“Oh… right… shit of course…” he laughed nervously, picking up his notepad and writing down that the cat was pregnant. Billy continued to inspect the cat, checking her teeth, claws, and digging through her matted fur, “Anything else?” Goody asked,

“As I said, she seems healthy, she also seems very young, like this might be her first litter,” he sighed, “she’s reasonably well fed, but obviously has not been taken care of properly for some time, whether through neglect or however long she’s been fending for herself,” he sounded downright miserable about it, “she needs grooming, if you want I can keep her here and get her cleaned, de-matted, and de-flead,”

“She has fleas?” he’d need to burn his favourite chair if she did, and maybe his entire house down, he didn’t know how to get rid of fleas and he had to scratch his arm just thinking about it.

“Not that I can tell, but you should really treat cats every couple of months if you can, and I can give her something for worming, all fine for pregnant cats,”

“You can keep hold of her til we find her owner?” he wasn’t hopeful, especially not with the way Billy cringed,

“We don’t really have the space for a long-term stay right now, especially not one about to have kittens,” he apologised, “Which she’ll have in maybe three weeks, if I were to guess,” Goody counted that up quickly and sighed,

“New Year babies, great,” Goody groaned, “Worse things have happened to me this year, that’s for sure,” he sighed,

“You don’t seem like a cat person,” Billy smiled,

“I’m not, I… kind of hate them, well they tend to hate me,” he shrugged, Billy chuckled and picked up the cat, “I guess I need to buy stuff for her… what do cats even need?” he muttered more to himself than to Billy, “I can come collect her when I finish work, about 7pm, so I’d get here closer to 8?” he added,

“We’ll be closed, but I can bring her to you, I’ll help you get the things she needs, I know a place that’ll open late,” Billy’s smile was unbelievably warm,

“Really? You don’t have to,” he reached and petted the cat lightly, she nuzzled his hand and he smiled a little,

“Yeah, but please note I’m only doing it because she’s cute,” he teased, slipping back into their slightly inappropriate flirting.

“Not because I’m cute?” Goody snickered, unable to keep a straight face as he said it,

“Well… that helps,” Billy chuckled, giving him a seductive once over, the two of them making it very clear they were on the same page,

“I should get going,” Goody said after clearing his throat awkwardly,

“Say bye-bye to Goody,” Billy made the cat wave and Goody gave them both a withering look, “I’ll see you at 7, I’ll bring an actual cat carrier and the invoice then too if that’s alright, you can get it written off as an expense,”

“I’ll probably pay it myself, but thanks, see you later kitten,” he gave a little wave at the cat before leaving her with Billy, snorting when he heard Billy say “Forward isn’t he? He’s already given me a pet name” to the cat.

 

===

 

He returned to work and spent the remainder of his morning profiling the cat and filing paperwork, he was a little surprised when Teddy showed up when he was eating lunch, he gestured with the sandwich he’d bought so he didn’t have to speak with his mouth full, but Teddy pulled over a chair and sat down anyway.

“I’m sorry to be a bother,” he said, “It’s not a work thing honest,” he added when Goody stared blankly at him, “I just uh… when you went to the vets… did you talk to their receptionist?” he asked,

“Uh… of course I did…” Goody said slowly, setting his sandwich down in resignation,

“Right, of course you did…” Teddy laughed nervously, “What um… what does he look like?” he asked, cheeks turning pink again, and even if Goody wasn’t a detective he’d have figured out why Teddy was asking, he grinned at the kid then.

“He’s cute if a little serious looking, Native American, short Mohawk, looks a bit punk,” he gestured vaguely at his own face then,

“Punk?” Teddy cocked his head, the kid looked like he had no clue what that meant,

“You know, piercings, band shirt, maybe it’s Indie? I don’t know the term, I’m an old man remember,” he laughed and Teddy chuckled too,

“Aren’t you like… still in your twenties?” he hazarded,

“I left my twenties behind years ago, kiddo, but thank you,” Teddy beamed at him then, feeling like he’d done something good there. The kid always seemed nervous, lacking in confidence and presence, he was naïve too; Goody had found him crying in the men’s room about being gay and scared Emma, who was like a sister to him and had got him the job here, wouldn’t be okay with it, Goody could vouch for Emma’s open-mindedness first-hand though, so that had been resolved quickly.

He watched as Teddy fidgeted, not ready to leave yet for some reason, and then something occurred to him, “You haven’t even ordered the scanner, have you?” Teddy looked up then like a deer caught in the headlights, eyes wide and expression mortified,

“No! Of course I have! I… they… there’s been an error…” he was lying, flat out lying, and he was terrible at it.

“It’s been six months since those idiots broke it!” he exclaimed, this was hilarious,

“There’s been an error! I swear!” Teddy balked,

“Order the scanner Teddy, you can still call your boyfriend,” Goody laughed,

“Red isn’t my boyfriend,” Teddy flushed, burying his face in his hands to hide his burning features, peeping through his fingers to see if any of the others were paying attention, nobody was. Goody snorted a little and let out a soft aw,

“You’ve been talking to him for six months,” Goody teased,

“So? I’ve never met him,” Teddy huffed, and Goody hummed thoughtfully,

“Just order the scanner then,” Teddy didn’t look too happy about that but he skulked off anyway, leaving Goody to finish his lunch in peace, or so he assumed.

“What did you do to Teddy?” a shadow loomed over him and he placed his sandwich down once more,

“I didn’t do anything to Teddy, we talked,” he leant back and looked up at where his Sergeant was stood with her arms crossed staring down at him.

“You upset him,” she frowned,

“No I didn’t!” he protested, “he’s not upset,” he looked over to see Teddy sulking at his desk, “He’ll be fine,” he assured,

“He better be… what was it about?”

“Personal, man-to-man thing?” he shrugged, he knew they were close but it was Teddy’s place to tell Emma if he liked someone, she narrowed her eyes at him before nodding,

“Alright, I trust you,” the tough big sister act slipped away and she toned down to just her intimidating Sergeant self, “How was your cat?”

“She’s heavily pregnant but otherwise fine, Billy’s offered to clean her up and bring her round for me,” he smiled.

Billy?” she cocked an eyebrow at him and smirked,

“The Vet,” he elaborated,

“Oh, I know him,” she hummed, he frowned at that,

“You do?” sitting back and gesturing for her to take the seat Teddy had left behind, she didn’t,

“Yeah, Chang-Yi?” Goody nodded, “he came in a while back as a witness, someone got assaulted outside his practice, Vasquez had the case,” he felt distraught that he hadn’t noticed a man like Billy in the precinct, how come Vasquez or Faraday hadn’t told him? It was a stupid thing to be annoyed about, but there was a certain tendency to point out interesting people to one another, especially if they were attractive.

“Huh…” he let out, looking sheepish when Emma gave him a curious look, he’d completely glanced over the assault thing, in part because it meant Billy hadn’t gotten hurt,

“Any luck finding the owner?” she asked, gesturing for Goody to eat if he really wanted to,

“Not yet, no microchip, but I’ve made a report for her on a system for found pets,” he sighed, “Looks like she’s gonna be staying with me for a while,”

“That’s nice, you could use the company,” for some reason people thought he needed more company, he wasn’t sure where that had come from but he’d had Sam’s daughters inviting him to spend time with them as well.

“Could I now?” he asked, picking up his sandwich and eating, she just shrugged at him,

“Sure, who couldn’t?” she asked, leaving him alone after that.

 

His afternoon dragged but he didn’t have any more peculiar interactions with his peers, as everyone was busy and Faraday had been out all day; it was approaching 7 when Faraday finally strolled in,

“Goody? He’s just finishing up, but I’d be happy to help you,” he looked up to see Faraday leaning on a table giving Billy a good look over. Billy was wearing a long black pea coat, along with a scarf and beanie of the same colour, he looked quite happy with the additional temperature of the precinct as he stood there with a grey pet carrier held carefully at his side.

“Actually, that’s why I’m here, I said I’d meet him when he finished work,” Billy said softly, expression impassive until he looked around and saw Goody watching, then he smiled; Goody smiled back, hurrying to make sure he was logged off and his things were at least vaguely neat so he could go. He crossed the bullpen and raised a hand in greeting,

“Hey Billy, this is Joshua, Joshua this is Billy, the vet who’s helped me with the cat I found, and this here,” he gestured to the pet carrier Billy was holding, “is the cat that broke into my home,”

“Oh yeah? So Detective Robicheaux finally caught you huh, kitty?” he crouched a little and wiggled a finger through the bars, yelping and whipping his hand back, scowling, “it bit me,”

“Sorry, she’s a little stressed out from the grooming I think,” Billy shrugged, a slight curve to the corner of his mouth showing he was amused about this, Goody didn’t even hide his grin.

“That cat’s a criminal Goody, you’ve done the world a favour getting her off the streets,” Faraday muttered around the bleeding finger he was sucking, sulking off to his desk,

“Shall we?” Goody gestured to the door that they had come through, Billy nodded, turning to leave as Goody reached to take the carrier off him. It became immediately clear that Billy hadn’t expected the cat to change hands, as Goody’s fingers wrapped around his and he turned back to face him, Goody accidentally stepping forward and finding himself close enough to Billy’s face that he could feel his breath. “Uh… sorry,” he stammered and jerked his hand back, shoving both in his pockets as his cheeks heated and he laughed, “Sorry,” he repeated,

“It’s fine,” Billy reassured, heading back out of their office. Goody quickly looked around, grimacing when all of his colleagues were looking at him, most of them grinning, all of them clearly having seen him fumble into hand-holding, Vasquez offered a wolf-whistle and he hurried out the door to avoid further embarrassment. “Everything alright?” Billy asked when he caught up,

“Yeah, fine, great, so where are we going?” he rambled, fastening his jacket up to his chin, popping his collar as they descended the stairs and headed out to his car.

“A friend of mine, Hank Stoner, runs a store that sells anything you can think of for animal care, I asked if he could pop in and help me out,” Billy followed him to the car and waited to be let in, sitting with the cat carrier in his lap,

“You didn’t have to do that, I could’ve figured something out,” Goody grimaced as he got in, Billy wasn’t paying attention just yet, he’d found Goody’s GPS attached to the windscreen and was thumbing in the address. Goody peered into the door of the carrier, the cat inside seemed completely different to the one he’d left in the vets that morning, she was a glossy white now with uneven fur where knots had been brushed or cut out, she seemed as happy as she had been before, since she just seemed to be a pretty relaxed cat, but she looked a lot better now. He reached across and scratched her head through the bars, she purred noisily at him and he found himself smiling, forcing his expression into something more serious when he caught Billy smiling at him.

 

They arrived at the store with little difficulty, Goody parking up in the nearest bay that wasn't disabled access and casually checking on the cat in Billy's carrier, which made Billy smile again; they got out and Billy kept the cat with him, waving with his free hand at the older bearded man who approached them from where he'd been waiting just outside the door.

"Hank! Thank you for coming out!" Billy greeted, "This is Goody, he's a detective with the RCPD, and this is the cat I told you about,"

"The pregnant one?" Hank asked,

"Yeah, she showed up in his house last night and he doesn't have anything he needs to look after a cat," he explained, Goody stood awkwardly beside him, nodding his greeting when the man did so to him. He waited as Hank unlocked the store and let them both inside, fetching one of the carts and passing it over to Goody, Goody pushed it along, following Billy as Hank went to wait by the cash register, leaving them to traverse the empty store on their own.

"So what do I need for a cat? Food and what else?" Goody asked, he'd never had pets, not unless you counted horses, and even those had belonged to his mother, not him specifically,

"Food, litter box, cat litter, toys, scratching posts, beds, things like that," he listed, stopping Goody in order to ease the cat carrier into the seat in the cart reserved for small children. Goody fussed at the cat again and frowned when Billy chuckled,

"What?"

"You really like her, don't you?" Billy smiled as he said it,

"I do not," he denied, it was a cat, what was there to like aside from the fact that she'd bitten Faraday?

"Aw poor thing, stuck with you looking after her," Billy teased and placed a hand on the cart, guiding Goody through aisles of horse equipment until they arrived at a corner clearly dedicated to felines. It had everything Goody thought a cat would need and then some, half the things he couldn't even identify, there was something that looked like a wire brush stuck to a board in the shape of an arch, he had no idea what it was for but it was horrendous and he wasn't about to get one.

"Please note that I may have a decent salary but I don't want to spend it all on a cat that isn't even mine..." he said as he saw the price tags on half of these things, some of them were extortionate, and they seemed to be stands with a flat uncomfortable looking cat bed on the top, he could make things better than that.

"We'll just get the basics then, like this, do you want a lidded box or an open one?" he asked, holding up a plastic box,

"That's a toilet, right?" he asked, Billy nodded, "As long as I clean it often it shouldn't smell too bad, right?" Billy held the box next to what looked like a cat carrier with a flap-door,

"Right, but honestly these ones give the cat some privacy, how would you like to go to the toilet with a potential audience?" he asked, Goody supposed he wouldn't be too keen.

“Wait do cats… want privacy?” he asked, Billy shrugged, putting the box down and fetching a lidded one instead,

“I like to think so,” he admitted, “I’m a bit of a cat person, though I don’t have any at the moment,”

“Well…” he gave Billy a nudge with his elbow,

“I can’t, my apartment’s pet policy changed,” he sighed, “She’s a lovely cat, I’d take her if I could,”

“It was worth a try,” Goody shrugged, making Billy chuckle.

 

Billy proceeded to walk around the cat aisles pulling bags of things off the shelves and putting them in the cart, Goody thought some of it seemed unnecessary but he was going to trust the vet here, “I feel like you’re just trying to spend all my money…”

“We can split the bill if you want,” he sounded like he was joking, but something in his eyes told Goody he’d do it if he was asked. He dismissed that easily and watched as Billy went towards one of those scratching post things with the ridiculous price,

“Whoa no, I’m not buying that,” he stopped the cart and stopped Billy by following after him and grabbing his wrist. Billy turned an incredulous look Goody’s way, stepping into his space despite the height difference and squaring his shoulders at him,

“Can I help you?” he asked, there was a sultry hint to his tone and Goody couldn’t help but smile as he trailed his fingers down from Billy’s wrist to his hand, quickly realising what he was doing and letting their fingers slip apart.

“No scratching posts, those things are expensive and look cheap,” he pointed out, knowing he was blushing as he turned back to the cart and made a show of checking on the cat, she was asleep, purring happily within the carrier.

“Well say goodbye to your furniture,” Billy joked, recovering from that odd moment almost instantly, “because she’ll need to sharpen her claws on something,” he warned,

“It’s all cheap second-hand crap anyway,” he dismissed, he’d had to refurnish his house a while back and he was usually on a tight budget. Besides that, he was sure he had some scraps of wood in the garage that he could turn into things for the cat to play on if her clawing got too bad, but he wasn’t about to share that fact with Billy.

They finished getting everything Billy thought was a feline necessity (except for the scratching post) and headed for Hank at the cash register,

“Thanks for this,” Goody said as Hank was scanning items and Billy was piling them back into the cart.

“Anything for a friend of Billy’s, his family’s practice saved my business,” Hank beamed, Billy pulled his wallet out and Goody stopped him,

“Seriously, don’t,” he withdrew his own wallet and pulled out his card, paying quickly and thanking Hank again, now a little embarrassed at being called a friend of Billy’s when he’d known him less than a day, more embarrassed when he realised how close he’d come to kissing him.

Hank was kind enough to let them offload and return the cart before he locked up and left them, Goody was deeper in his overdraft, and it was approaching 9pm, but at least the cat would be happy,

“Do you want me to help you set up?” Billy asked as they pulled out of the parking lot,

“You don’t have to, honestly,” Goody shrugged, glancing over to see Billy fidgeting with the handle on top of the cat carrier, did he want to help Goody set up? “I mean I have no idea where to start, so I guess I could use the help,” he said, looking again to see Billy hide a smile by coughing.

 

===

 

They drove to his house, transporting the cat inside first before carrying the supplies in between them, Goody locked up the car and the front door, hanging his coat up beside Billy’s before walking into the lounge to see the vet crouched on the floor opening the pet carrier.

“Hey kitten,” he called softly, the cat made a grumpy little meow before he reached his hands in, “C’mon angel, let’s get you settled,” he said as he eased the animal out of the carrier, she didn’t look too impressed until she was curled up against his chest and he was petting her. He watched the interaction for a little bit longer before clearing his throat to announce his return, Billy looked over at him, “Hey,” he greeted, the picture of domesticity that had Goody briefly envisioning what it would be like to have a future with his beautiful man he’d just met. He felt his cheeks burn at the thought and turned to the pile of stuff they had,

“Where do we begin?” he asked, picking up the litter box and trying to figure out how he was supposed to get the litter into it. He figured out how to remove the lid as Billy came over, leaving the cat to wash herself on the sofa, he managed to clip it off and let out a triumphant noise, hearing the slight huff of Billy laughing.

“Best place for the litter box is usually somewhere tiled, so kitchen or bathroom,” Billy explained and Goody thought about that for a moment,

“Kitchen is always open; will she mind if it’s by the trashcan?” he asked, placing the base on the ground and trying to find out which of the large sacks had litter and not cat food, as they all seemed to be the same card-like bags with a picture of a cat on the front. He found the right one and managed to tear it open, pouring the pale clay coloured litter into the base, making a little pile in the middle and shaking the base to level it out.

“She shouldn’t mind because it’s covered, but you want to go to about here,” Billy tapped inside the base about three and a half inches up, it seemed a little excessive but Goody would follow the vet’s advice.

Once the litter box was in place beside the trashcan, Goody fetched the cat, cradling her like a baby as he returned to the kitchen to see Billy leaning on the countertop obviously trying to read the buttons on the coffee machine. He waited to see if Billy noticed him, but he seemed quite focussed and Goody’s eyes wandered, following a lean back to where his slacks were taut over his ass,

mrow,” Billy glanced over his shoulder as the cat started pawing at Goody’s slack jaw,

“I don’t have any pods for it,” Goody blurted in a hurry, “The coffee machine, it’s a fancy one, the guys at work got it for me, I… keep forgetting to buy the little pod things,” he explained, trying to avoid the paws batting at his beard. “Could you not?” he asked the cat, but she continued swiping at the wispy hair on his chin anyway,

“No coffee break then,” Billy looked sheepish, but Goody didn’t mind him snooping around in any capacity, most of the things he had to hide, he hid well.

“Nope, I uh… need to shop,” he shrugged, a paw covering his mouth now and he instinctively pretended to bite it, earning a bat on the nose from the cat and an outright laugh from Billy, “Do I just show her where the box is?” he asked, changing the subject and looking for an excuse to get the cat away from his face.

“Yep, just pop her in, hopefully she’ll know what to do,” Billy said and Goody went and pushed the cat through the flap, “We should sort her a food area, fill her drinks bowl too,”

“Ah shit I never got milk…” Goody muttered,

“Well that’s fine, for her at least, they can’t have a lot of cow milk, it makes them ill,”

“The cartoons lied to me,” Goody gasped, he genuinely hadn’t known that, lucky cat he supposed.

Billy helped him move the litter bag and cat food into the kitchen and they filled the two ceramic bowls with food and water for her, placing them on a festive looking cat food mat and leaving the kitchen to look through the rest of their cat spoils.

 

“Where do you want this?” Billy asked sometime later, holding up the still plastic wrapped cat-bed, “down here somewhere or in your bedroom?”

“My bedroom?” Goody asked, propping his hands on his hips, “Billy are you trying to get me into bed?”

“No, I’m not that easy,” Billy rumbled,

“You’re not? How many times could I have kissed you already?” Goody asked, feeling a sudden flutter of confidence and stepping closer to Billy, taking the cat-bed off of him and tossing it aside casually. Billy looked up at him through his lashes,

“Once or twice,” he admitted shyly,

“Would you have stopped me?” Billy didn’t answer, just eased a hand along Goody’s shoulder and up his neck, pushing his fingers through his hair and drawing him in to meet in a kiss. Goody kissed him back, though he couldn’t really believe this was happening, they’d only just met; it was nice though, he moved his hands to Billy’s hips, holding him close and tracing his tongue along Billy’s lips. He felt Billy’s mouth open a fraction and eased his tongue inside, meeting that warmth and moaning softly when he did, part of him never wanted this to stop, but the cat had other ideas, returning from the kitchen to meow noisily at them and weave around their legs. They broke apart and couldn’t quite meet each other’s eye, Billy fell silent and Goody scooped the cat up, letting her nuzzle at his face,

“She seems really happy…” Billy noted, floundering a little as he looked for the cat-bed and proceeded to unwrap it hurriedly. Goody watched him, trying to figure out what to do now,

“That was really unprofessional of me, I’m sorry,” Goody stroked the cat’s back as he spoke, Billy spun to face him quickly,

“I kissed you…” he said flatly, frowning,

“Well I know but…” Goody shrugged then, turning his attention to the cat instead. “I think maybe it was inappropriate…” he said after, “not unwanted, but… we’ve only just met,” he laughed then, “Though something tells me you’ve known me a lot longer than I’ve known you,” Billy gave him an inscrutable look then before moving to sit down on Goody’s couch. Goody sat too, watching as Billy sighed and fiddled with the cat-bed, flattening the little fabric pyramid and unfolding it over and over, waiting for him to speak.

“I saw you in Sam Chisholm’s office, I… kind of stared, and the officer I was giving my statement to told me your name was Goodnight…” he admitted, “you had shorter hair, I like it more now though,”

“You know Sam?” Goody glossed over the compliment out of self-doubt,

“Yeah, he has a seventeen-year-old Shih-Tzu,” Billy said,

“Bruce! Scruffy, always smiling,” Goody knew the dog well, it liked him, most dogs did, it was cats that usually didn’t,

“Yeah, he’s a cute dog,” Billy laughed, relieved, “It’s getting late…” he noted, “I should probably get going,”

“I’ll give you a lift,” Goody assured, standing and placing the cat on his chair, Billy put the bed down and headed for the hallway, grabbing his hat, coat, and scarf and pulling them on quickly.

Goody felt bad at the way that had gone, Billy looked downright uncomfortable as they got in the car, he wanted to say something but Billy beat him to it,

“You can drop me off at the practice if you want,” Billy said then, “And uh… if you need anything at all, even if it’s out of hours, you can call me,” he dug a hand into his coat and pulled out a pen and a veterinary prescription pad, writing hurriedly and tearing it out, handing it to Goody. Goody took it and looked at it, nodding to himself before tucking it into his jacket pocket and driving Billy to the practice; the ride was a quiet one, awkward to the Nth degree, Goody knew what he wanted to say, but bringing himself to say it was proving to be something of a challenge.

 

“How about I call you some time so we can arrange dinner, or a movie,” Goody finally suggested as he pulled up beside the practice, Billy stared at him, clearly uncertain, “or both?” he added,

“I like both,” Billy smiled, “I look forward to hearing from you,” he released his seatbelt and climbed out of the car, leaning back in, “Take care of yourself and the kitten,” he said,

“You too,” Goody answered, “of yourself I mean,” he corrected, and Billy chuckled before closing the door and heading for his own car. He waited for Billy to drive off before smacking himself in the forehead for being so dense, then he shifted gears and headed home, mentally berating himself the whole goddamn time, “You too,” he felt beyond stupid.

The cat was waiting for him when he got home, meowing discontentedly as she roamed the house looking for him, then jogging her heavily pregnant self towards him when he was removing his jacket again.

“Hey kitten,” he greeted crouching to pet the cat as she meowed and circled his legs, “Jesus I’m starving…” he grumbled, standing up and heading through the lounge, intent on going to the kitchen to reheat some stew, he realised as he opened the fridge that his stew had died at Four that morning and assumed that the cat circling his ankles was currently doing so to apologise. “Thanks,” he grumbled, shutting the fridge and checking the cupboards instead, he ended up with a bowl of dry cheerio’s, sitting in his chair with the cat on his lap whilst he ate.

He finished up and shooed her off his lap once more, dumping his bowl in the kitchen and flicking off lights as he returned, grabbing the cat bed and gesturing for the cat to follow him; he didn’t know if she’d understood him at all, but she had followed him, so he figured that was enough.

He placed the cat bed down by the radiator, kneeling beside it and patting the inside of it as the cat walked into his room; she looked interested, trotting over and sniffing at the bed curiously, he eased his hand out and gestured for her to go in, then he waited. It didn't take her long, she wandered in, walked around in circles a few times, then lay down, curling her tail across her face and peeking over it at him,

"Comfy?" he asked, she just looked at him, "Good girl," he scratched her head lightly before standing and getting ready for bed. He stripped out of his clothes and dumped them on the chair in the corner, turning the light off and padding over to the bed; he donned his pyjamas in the dark, careful not to end up with his trousers on backwards like he had a few times before, and climbed into bed. He was in bed for maybe five minutes when he felt something on his feet, frowning through the darkness as the weight travelled up his body and curled up beside his head, "No kitty, you need to go to bed," he said, sitting up and turning the bedside lamp on before climbing out of bed and picking the cat up. He took her back to the cat bed and eased her inside, returning to bed and burrowing under the covers, flicking the light off and closing his eye, hoping he’d fall asleep soon and get through the night undisturbed.

It happened again after ten minutes this time, just as he was drifting off he felt something lean on the back of his head and flicked the lamp back on, getting up and moving the cat for the second time, though he hadn't even gotten back to the bed when she'd hopped back up. "No," he said, but she strolled up the bed to his pillow and curled up in the indentation his head had left, "Kitty," he sighed, "come on I paid like twenty bucks for that fucking bed," he whined, throwing his hands up in defeat when the cat lay down her head and closed her eyes. It didn't stop him from moving the cat to the other pillow though, he would let her on the bed but he wasn't about to give up his side of the bed, he wouldn't do it for a man so he certainly wasn't about to do it for a cat.

 

===

 

Throughout the week he had slipped into an easy routine at home with the cat, she slept on the bed, she got fed after he finished getting ready for work in the morning, she slept in his chair til he got home, when he fed her once more and they sat on the chair together whilst he read or watched TV. The only real downside was that he’d named the cat, he hadn’t meant to but after hearing Billy call her angel he’d found himself repeating it enough that it was worth capitalising. He’d even begun referring to her as Angel when discussing her at work, which had achieved mixed responses, Vasquez and Teddy were both enamoured, whereas Faraday had laughed and Emma had taken him aside to tell him not to get too attached in case he found her owner.

His attachment didn’t affect his work ethic, he still did his damndest to find any information he could about her owners when he wasn’t doing other paperwork, even going so far as to venture out into the snow with a flashlight one evening to try and find any sign of where the cat had come from, to no avail. He’d found out how she’d gotten in though, which was a pain because she had broken through a plastic vent that had frozen over, letting a nice big draft into his home, so he’d covered it with a trash bag and some tape. It wasn’t a permanent solution but it would have to do, as he didn’t fancy covering the hole in scrap wood and he couldn’t exactly afford to replace the vent itself just yet.

Angel, while mostly living up to her name, did rebel against it on occasion by raking her claws down Goody’s favourite chair as Billy had promised she would, admittedly it was an ugly chair, old and beat up, faded and worn in places, and he’d gotten it from the storage overflow at the precinct, so someone had probably died on it at some point, but it was comfortable, so he’d reprimanded her until it grew so frequent that he decided to build her a cat tree to claw instead.

She had watched as he’d sawn, drilled, and affixed different scraps of wood together, stolen his twine when he’d been covering the post, and alternated between sleeping somewhere nearby and harassing him whilst he worked. It was funny, he couldn’t find himself to get frustrated over her antics, so he laughed instead, threatening to bypass this good-cop routine and take her down to lockup to see how she liked that. She never seemed particularly worried, and she was a lot happier to sit in Goody’s lap and get attention whenever he was home now that he wasn’t telling her off every five minutes, she was proving to be good company, she cuddled him when he wanted her to, and also when he didn’t, and was good to talk to.

“Is it weird that I keep talking to you?” he asked the cat, idly texting Billy the same question, though making sure to reference the cat, “I suppose it’s better than talking to an empty house,” he noted, scrolling up through the text chat with Billy. It all looked one-sided, and that wasn’t because Goody was pestering Billy, though he admittedly was, but because Billy tended to call him to answer his questions, which Goody secretly loved. He asked a lot of questions, all cat based, whether her behaviour was normal, if she was eating enough food, was it okay to give her leftovers from his own meals, did he need to bathe her at all, inane questions he could have found the answer to using the internet, but he preferred asking Billy, because he’d been too nervous to ask him out but still wanted to talk to him.

 

It didn’t take long for his phone to start ringing, but he waited briefly before he answered,

“Hey,” he greeted,

“Hey Goody, are you lonely?” Billy asked, mirth in his voice,

“Why? Because I talk to my cat?” he countered, “She’s a better conversationalist than you are,”

“Clearly, since you still haven’t asked me on that date,” he grimaced at that,

“Yeah I’ve uh… I’ve been pretty busy,” he had needed to tie up all his loose ends and pass on his cases before his two weeks off started, so he’d definitely been busy, probably not too busy to go to dinner, but still,

“I’m teasing don’t panic,” Billy chuckled and Goody let out a sigh of relief, “Wow you really don’t want to, do you?”

“I haven’t dated in a while…” he admitted, scratching behind Angel’s ears until she started to purr at him.

“Me either, it’ll be a laugh,” Billy assured him, “Whenever you’re ready, but some time before Christmas would be good,” they both laughed at that,

“Oh great, give me a deadline why don’t you,” he laughed,

“Well I figured some pressure might spur you on,” Billy hummed, “Anyway, don’t worry about talking to the cat, people do that,” that was reassuring at least, “Did you say your cat?” Goody wasn’t sure, he didn’t rightly remember how he’d referred to her,

“I still can’t find who owned her, I’m pretty sure she was abandoned, and if I talk to Sam I’m sure I’ll be able to keep her, besides, she has a name now, it’d be rude of me to give her a name then kick her out,” he hadn’t really thought about talking to Sam about the cat, and he really shouldn’t have gotten attached, but it was a bit late now, he’d already hand-crafted stuff for her to play with and sleep on, though more often than not she chose his lap or his chair.

“She has a name?” he sounded amused,

“Angel,”

“I like it,” Billy said softly, “Well it’s great that you’re willing to take her on, especially since she’s having kittens,” Billy noted, “Are you going to rehome them?”

“I am not having a house full of cats,” he stated flatly, he couldn’t really imagine it, it sounded horrible, cats, everywhere. He shuddered at the thought and made an audible noise of discomfort, “That’s way too much, one cat is enough,” he cringed, Billy chuckled at him,

“Do you have any more questions?”

“Fed up of talkin’ to me, cher?” Goody asked, teasing,

“Not at all, but I’m getting ready for a Christmas Party,” Billy sighed, “not looking forward to it, there’s a lady who always clings to me, I wouldn’t mind so much, but I’ve told her I’m gay, I’m not into women,” Goody laughed uncomfortably then, “I’m sure I’ll be fine, I’ll drink lots of alcohol, that should do the trick,” Billy chuckled, “Unless of course you wanted to come with me as a date?” he suggested,

“I’ll give it a miss, I’ve got to finish something,” he looked to the hollow triangular prism he’d fixed together out of old wooden panels, he was intending on covering it in carpet at some point, making it comfier for the cat to use and so she could scratch it, since he’d read about them liking to have shelter.

“Shame,” Billy sighed, “Well I’ll speak to you later, you have fun,”

“You too,” he echoed, waiting for Billy to hang up before doing so himself, suddenly feeling rather sulky as he slouched in his chair and cuddled the cat.

 

He got his first actual text messages from Billy at about 2am that morning, it was nothing spectacular, just a declaration of being ‘like super drunk’ and ‘I had to give HER a quick peck under the mistletoe, bleh, wish it was you xx’ that he didn’t read until he was getting ready for his final day of work before his two weeks off kicked in, he wondered if Billy actually texted like that, he didn’t seem the type, but drunk people weren’t quite like their sober-selves.

He hesitated, tossing his phone on the bed with a heavy sigh and returning to the bathroom, unbuttoning his shirt as he went; he quietly tried to reassure himself as he approached the sink, pushing his shirt open and staring at himself hard. He let his eyes close and pressed his hands to his chest, trailing his fingers down to the dip below his pecs, feeling smooth skin raise to silken scars, he took a deep breath before opening his eyes and looking at them. The scars were faded but still noticeable and he felt a mixture of pride and self-loathing at them, Billy’s words echoing through his head, he shook his head, it was pointless to dwell on, because it didn’t mean a damned thing, it didn’t apply to him and it never would. He shivered and pulled his shirt closed, feeling deeply uncomfortable in his own skin, but he was a grown man, he couldn’t dwell on it, pushing it to the back of his mind and finishing getting ready for work. He fed the cat and changed her litter, giving her a gentle fuss before heading out, picking up the same unhealthy breakfast he’d been indulging in all week on his way to work, getting two beignets this time.

He didn’t know why he was surprised to see a small pile of Christmas presents on his desk when he arrived at work, it was his last day in the office til New Year, and while his colleagues often drove each other up the wall for fun, they did care enough to exchange gifts for the holidays. It didn’t stop him from complaining though,

“Guys I told you not to get me anything this year, I can’t afford to get you guys stuff,” he sighed as he sat down,

“Don’t worry about it dude, consider mine a ‘welcome back’ present too,” Faraday beamed from the desk opposite him,

“I came back 8 months ago…” he drawled, staring deadpan at Faraday until he chuckled,

“Yeah well,” he shrugged, leaving it at that.

“Christmas isn’t about giving gifts to get them in return Goody,” Vasquez pointed out, “We got you gifts because we wanted to, besides most of them are for Ángel,” he joked, Goody looked at the pile and this seemed to be the case, it was an even split between his gifts and the cat’s,

“Well she’s not getting you anything either, unless you want a kitten,” he huffed, surprised at the lack of ‘no way’s that followed, “You want a kitten?”

“My girls would love a kitten,” Vasquez shrugged,

“Matthew has a soft spot for them,” Emma noted from where she was sat on her desk,

“Kittens are puss magnets,” Faraday beamed, earning a peculiar look from Vasquez, Teddy was stood off to the side, listening but not quite appearing involved, he liked cats, Goody remembered him saying as such,

“I’ll keep you in mind,” he said to them, “Except you Joshua, you can find puss without kittens,”

“Aw, boo,” Faraday laughed, “You’ll change your mind, I’m a great cat parent,” he huffed, growing embarrassed when Goody stared at him questioningly, “Shut up,”

“I didn’t say anyth—“

Shut up,” he snapped, hiding behind his monitor and tapping away at the keyboard angrily, though it was hard to tell if he was actually doing work.

“Ignore him,” Vasquez suggested,

“I think I will…” he sighed, looking at the presents again, he didn’t have his decorations up and he wasn’t planning on putting them up, so the presents would more than likely just end up in the corner, or at Sam’s house.

 

His day passed quickly and Sam surprised him with an extra present to take home, a case of beer,

“Because you’ll probably need them,” he laughed and Goody honestly agreed, Christmas was never easy and he was going to be fretting about a cat the whole time.

“Thanks,”

“Do you want us to keep an ear out about the cat?” Sam asked and Goody shrugged and sighed, “Well fingers crossed nobody comes forward, I’ve heard you talking about her and you have a problem,” Sam chuckled and Goody smiled at him,

“I do… she’s a nice cat,” he admitted, “It’s nice not being alone…” he added,

“Maybe you should start dating again Goody, you’re still young, handsome, I’m sure there’s bound to be someone out there who wants you,” Goody stared blankly then,

“Help me take this to the car…” he said, it wasn’t smart to give sass to his Captain, but they’d been friends for years and Sam seemed to understand, grabbing the crate of beer and following him out of the precinct.

“Are you coming to ours for Christmas?” Sam asked as they loaded up Goody’s trunk,

“I don’t think so, I don’t know what’s happening with the cat, don’t think I should leave her on her own,”

“My house will be too hectic for a pregnant cat,” Sam agreed, “If you want I can pop round for dinner in the evening, bring some leftovers, couple of beers,” he suggested,

“I’ll let you know on the day, if that’s alright?” Goody didn’t know how he’d be feeling then, so he didn’t want to make plans just yet.

“That’s fine, you have a good Christmas,” Sam embraced him then, pulling him into a hug,

“Thanks, you too, send the girls my love,” he chuckled, the man had nothing but daughters and granddaughters,

“I will,” Sam promised, stepping back and letting Goody leave work.

He stopped off at the carpet place on the way home, snagging some more offcuts for his cat structures, dumping them in the back of the car and whistling as he drove home. He wondered if he should pursue things with Billy, he was nice, attractive, and seemed to like him, but his self-conscious streak from that morning reared its head and he rubbed at his chest uncomfortably, deciding against calling Billy about that date, figuring he could just keep texting him for animal advice.

 

===

 

Angel seemed huge by Wednesday and Goody had to wonder how accurate Billy’s birthing prediction had been, he had been able to see the kittens moving when she lay still for a while now, could feel them when she was on his lap without having to press his hand to her stomach, it was a weird feeling but he was growing to like it, petting her and her kittens regularly.

“I keep forgetting to ask him if there’s anything I need to help you have them…” Goody noted as he petted the cat on his lap, she wasn’t listening, she had her good ear down against his thigh; he caught his coffee table with the end of his slipper-clad foot and pulled it closer, leaning over the cat to his laptop. She wriggled a little but otherwise went undisturbed by him leaning over her, which was a relief, so he started to google as she purred in his lap; he ended up on about seven different websites, jotting down the things they agreed on, and finding that half of them mentioned a different kind of box, birthing, queening, and whelping. Some further research proved them to all be the same thing, but with Christmas rapidly approaching and his overdraft dwindling, he didn’t think he’d be able to buy one any time soon.

He sat mulling over the website for a while before he pulled out his phone and called Billy, scrolling up and down the website he’d found all about birthing boxes, but the ones it showed were all different and there was no consensus on which ‘style’ was better.

“Hey Goody,” he took a moment to collect himself, a little embarrassed about the way he enjoyed Billy saying his name,

“Billy, hi,” why did he sound surprised? God, he was awful, “Are you busy?”

“Too busy for you? Never,” Billy answered, he sounded a little tired, Goody checked the time in the corner of his laptop, it was just after six, “I’m done with work, just locking up the practice,”

“Ah I can call back in a while if you want?” he offered,

“No, it’s fine, all done, heading to my car now,”

“Not to drive I assume,” he teased, though he was serious too, he didn’t feel like coming out to arrest Billy for something he was to blame for,

“Not til we’re done, how can I help? Or is this a social call?” he heard a car door close,

“I’m looking at birthing boxes,” he said, “For Angel, she’ll need one, right?”

“Maybe, she’ll find somewhere to have kittens, where that will be I cannot say,” Billy joked,
“Yeah but I don’t want to have to hunt for kittens in my house,” he laughed, “this website has like twelve different designs, I need a professional opinion,”

“You’re gonna buy one? Christmas is in a week,”

“No, I’m making one,” he had a living room full of homemade cat trees already, a box wouldn’t be that hard to make.

“Making one? Really? I’m coming over,” Billy chuckled, “I’ve gotta see this,”

“Okay I don’t like that you find this funny,” Goody huffed, “your doubt in my abilities is hurtful,” he stated,

“You’ll get over it, just prove me wrong,”

“Fine, I will, come over and watch me make a goddamn box,” he devolved into laughter before he finished talking and Billy laughed too, it was nice to hear and Goody found himself smiling long after Billy’s laughter had fallen quiet.

“I think I will, see you soon,” They both hung up and Goody looked around his lounge, he had blankets and scraps of carpet everywhere still, the place was a mess and since he had two weeks off, he was sat in his pyjamas still, so he should really get dressed.

 

Billy didn’t arrive at Goody’s house for well over an hour, Goody had considered calling or texting him but thought better of it, though if he didn’t show up soon he was going to be calling work to find out if there had been any accidents. He was pacing his house when the doorbell rang, rushing to answer and surprised to see Billy hidden behind three overstuffed paper bags,

“Let me help,” he offered, taking two of them and carrying them through to the kitchen, placing them on the side and realising this was an odd thing to bring to someone else’s house, “What is all this?” he asked, poking through one of the bags,

“I thought I’d cook us some dinner, since somebody still hasn’t asked me out,” Billy joked, rummaging through the bag he held until he pulled out two boxes, “You said you liked mochas, right?” he asked, holding the boxes of pods up before placing them by the coffee machine, one of them was cappuccinos, presumably his own drink of choice.

“Yeah…” Goody said slowly, he’d said it at some point he was sure, pulling things out of the bags to put them away, this was way more than was necessary for a meal for two, Billy had bought him groceries,

“Do you have a rice cooker? I can cook without it, but it’s easier,” Goody stopped putting a bottle of milk in the fridge to think about that,

“I do, but I don’t think I’ve ever used it… it might be in the garage actually…” he didn’t cook much rice, used to the boil-in-the-bag sort or what you put in the microwave, though his ex had preferred to use the stacking pots they had.

“Why do you have one if you don’t use it?” Billy asked, cocking his head, Goody shrugged,

“It was a gift…” he answered, “housewarming…” he lied slowly, feeling stupid for not being honest about something as basic as the origins of a rice cooker, “I’ll go see if I can find it,” he brushed past Billy, unable to help himself and pressing his hand lightly to Billy’s hip as he did. Billy didn’t seem to mind, turning to follow,

“I’ll help,” they headed to the garage and Goody kind of regretted that Billy had offered to help, “Wow, it’s… you have a lot of stuff…” he noted absently,

“I’ve been meaning to go through it, haven’t really found the time,” he shrugged, easing through stacks of boxes to the far corner where he was pretty sure the unused kitchen appliances had ended up shortly after they’d moved in.

Billy poked around whilst Goody unburied the rice cooker, he should have minded, but he couldn’t bring himself to care, he hated being in the garage, too many reminders of a life he didn’t live anymore.

“Huh, I thought your Christmas decorations would have been a bit more lost than this…” he heard, stopping what he was doing to look over at where Billy was, the Christmas box was near the door, easy to access and uncovered, save for a layer of dust from not being moved.

“I don’t bother with that stuff,” he dismissed, lifting the rice cooker and carrying it around all his old crap,

“Didn’t take you for the Scrooge type,” Billy mumbled, following him back into the house after casting a glance at the Christmas decorations again.

Billy set up the rice cooker and set it to work, then he helped Goody with his actual problem, the two of them looking at the laptop to find out which box he’d recommend,

“I’d definitely say if you can swing it, make one with a removable tab, so she can get out whilst heavily pregnant, then you just pop it back into the slot when she’s had the kittens so they can’t run loose when they’re moving around,” he suggested, pointing out the type he meant.

“Seems easy enough…” Goody nodded, “I’m gonna go fetch some things, you can cook or make yourself comfortable if you want,” he added, returning to the garage to grab some more of the scrap wood he’d been using for the cat trees.

 

It didn’t take long to build, he was making sure the tab slotted in and out easily when Billy returned from the kitchen with two beers, handing him one and sitting down on the couch next to the cat.

“Those are really good, did you make them too?” he asked, gesturing to the triangular ‘tube’ with different holes in the sides, and the multi-level cat trees, he’d made the second tree when the first one had proven too tall for Angel whilst she was heavily in kitten.

“Yeah, it wasn’t even that hard, I had the wood already, the carpet is offcuts from the carpet and furniture place in town, string for around the posts, and tubing to keep the edges soft,” he explained, he was quite proud of them, he’d always liked making stupid little things like that, but had been discouraged for a while now.

“You should sell those,” Billy suggested,

“The cat is using them,” he stated plainly, earning a laugh, he smiled at Billy and took a swig of his drink, “I don’t have time to make a lot of them,” he shrugged, “Work,” he added, he loved his job, he’d love it even more when he was back on the field, but until then he’d just have to love doing paperwork and trying to help cats get home. “I think I’m definitely keeping her…” he sighed,

“You don’t sound happy,” Billy noted, fussing the cat next to him,

“It’s not that I don’t want to keep her, I’m just sad about how she came to be here…” he admitted, “She’s a pain in the ass, but she’s sweet…”

“Sounds like my receptionist…” Billy muttered, making Goody laughed, “No he’s nice, he is, I swear,”

“Teddy seems to think so,” Goody agreed, he hadn’t gotten much out of the receptionist but if Teddy liked him there must’ve been something nice about him, that kid didn’t seem into the Bad Boy type.

“Teddy?”

“Kid from work, he’s been talking to your receptionist,”

“Red,” Billy supplied,

Red, he’s been talking to Red for about 6 months, never met him face to face, but likes him,” he laughed at the thought, it was funny to him how Teddy was smitten with this guy without having met him face to face, and Goody had been smitten with Billy since he’d first seen him. He blushed then, taking a swig of beer and standing, moving the birthing box to the warmer corner of the room and beginning to pile his scrappy blankets in it, including the one Angel had taken to curling up on when he wasn’t available.

“You know, that must be who Red smiles over on the phone,” Billy chuckled, “We should introduce them,”

“I’m not doing a damned thing, his not-quite-sister already thinks I’ve upset him,” he objected, sitting down on the floor and wishing he hadn’t, because his beer was still by his chair.

They continued to talk about their young friends for a little longer before Billy got up to finish cooking, Goody ended up back in his chair and Angel soon joined him, crawling up his chest as he drank and rubbing her face on his beard. He petted her with his other hand, loving how soft she was, silky and smooth just about everywhere now that she had a good diet and a comfortable life on his furniture. Billy returned with two bowls and handed one to Goody,

“Here you go, authentic Chinese food, made by a Korean,” Billy presented and Goody laughed,

Nice,” he commented, trying to set his food somewhere the cat wouldn’t be sticking her face in it, because she was certainly trying. “Stop it,” he bonked her lightly on the head with his spoon and she sulked at him, slinking down his chest to curl up in his lap in a bizarre form of protest,

“I should report you for animal abuse,”

“Go ahead,” Goody challenged,

“Detective Robicheaux, I have a case of animal abuse to report,” Billy joked, making Goody snort.

 

They ate and drank, Goody felt genuinely happy with his cat and Billy, and maybe they’d had a few more drinks than they ought to have, especially when Billy stood up quickly and suggested they put up the Christmas tree.

“No…” Goody whined, slouching in his chair,

“Fuck it, I’m gonna put up your Christmas tree, you grumpy shit,” Billy slurred, wandering out of the room intent on fetching Goody’s boxes of Christmas decorations,

“Fine!” he called, “But I’m not helping!” Billy didn’t seem to care, dragging in the box of decorations before leaving to fetch the one that contained the tree.

He ended up helping, the tree had no instructions and Billy clearly only had experience with the real deal, so he assembled the tree whilst Billy picked out what decorations he wanted to put on it, going for silvers and blues as he piled things up.

“Oh wow…” Billy gasped as Goody was winding lights around the tree, he ignored him, he’d been making noises like that about all sorts of things for a while now, “Damn I wish I’d gone for gold now,” he said, “To Bart, love Gracie,” he read, an innocent enough phrase but it made Goody’s blood run cold, he turned quickly to see Billy holding a golden star. The star was just an outline but it was actual gold, Goody knew because he’d bought it, but it didn’t stop him from snatching the decoration from Billy’s hand and tossing it into the nearest trash can.

“It’s junk,” he said quickly before returning his attention to the tree,

“Junk? It’s like a hundred bucks worth of gold,” Billy pointed out, but Goody stayed silent, plugging the lights in and setting them to twinkle, “Goody…”

“It’s junk, just forget it and help me decorate the tree,” he snapped,

“Alright… jeez…” Billy huffed,

“Sorry,” he apologised, the two falling into an uncomfortable silence as they started to decorate the tree in baubles and ornaments. The silence dissipated when Angel decided to knock a bauble off the lower branches and they started laughing, moving everything from the bottom branches a little higher to prevent any further incident.

“You’re a menace,” Goody commented as he sat on the floor and began tickling the cat’s belly, she batted at him with her paws and he stayed playing with he, leaving Billy to finish off the tree alone. Billy soon sat down on the floor next to him and petted the cat,

“It’s your tree,” Billy held out a silver tree topper, a snowflake with jewels on it, Goody looked at it,

“Maybe you should do it,” he sighed, “since I got mad at you…” he added and Billy nudged him with his elbow,

“You do it, please?” Goody reluctantly took the star and stood, turning to the tree and stopping, awed. It looked amazing, sparkling and well decorated, infinitely better than anything he’d done in the past,

“Wow…” he let out,

“I kind of love Christmas…” Billy noted, standing and sliding his arm through Goody’s, holding it and leaning on his shoulder. If Goody was sober he’d probably have stopped this, but he wasn’t, so he let Billy hug his arm as he reached up and carefully put the topper on the tree, settling back down and reaching across himself to cover one of Billy’s hands with his own. “Hey Goody,” Billy smiled, “look,” he lifted his chin and Goody followed the gesture, he’d been conned,

“You little shit,” he chuckled, Billy smirked at him, the two turning to face one another, Goody moved his hand to cup Billy’s cheek, drawing him in for a kiss, starting sweet and simple but quickly turning into more when Billy’s hands slid down to Goody’s ass and groped him. He gasped and Billy’s tongue quickly plundered his mouth, making him moan and push his body flush against Billy’s, a little drunk and far too comfortable as Billy’s thigh slid between his own and he rubbed his crotch down on the hard muscle, “How did you even get mistletoe on my ceiling?” he asked against Billy’s lips as the kiss broke, Billy was using his grasp on Goody’s ass to grind him onto his thigh, causing heat to rise all the way up Goody’s body,

“Wrapping paper tube and some tape,” Billy smirked, kissing him lightly,

“Bizarre,” Goody mumbled,

“I thought it was clever,” Billy chuckled, Goody’s breath hitched and he pulled Billy’s hands off of him, stepping back and almost stumbling into the tree but Billy caught him. He flushed and eased out of Billy’s grasp, keeping his head down as he marched to his chair and sat down, trying to ignore the heat pooling in his gut, “That was a bit forward, I’m sorry,” Billy seemed awkward as he said it, which was good at least that Goody wasn’t the only one feeling that way. “I’d leave but I’ve been drinking… which wasn’t the point of me drinking, I wasn’t intending on…” he trailed off, “I wish this would stop being awkward,” he sighed, Goody wished that too, it felt so easy between them but at the same time the world seemed to be making it all ten times more difficult.

“I haven’t been with anyone for a while…” Goody admitted, “so it’s pretty much just on me,” he smiled and Billy gave him a sad look,

“I’ll slow down,” he promised, Goody appreciated that, but maybe he should be the one speeding up,

“I’ll sleep down here if you want the bed,” Goody offered,

“You don’t have to, really,” Billy said, surprised,

“I’m assuming you’ve got work tomorrow, I don’t,” he shrugged, “besides it’s not the first time I’ve slept downstairs,” he chuckled, starting to make kissy noises at the cat so she’d come over to him. She hopped off the couch and plodded over, stretching up his leg and digging her claws into his denim covered knee, “ow,” he berated, tucking his hands under her armpits and lifting her up for a cuddle.

In the end, Billy had agreed to take the bed and Goody had taken to the couch, snuggling up under a blanket, Angel stayed with him, curling up in the nook made smaller by his bent knees and his stomach, her purring sending him off to sleep.

He was hungover in the morning, waking up to Billy padding quietly around his house, cleaning up the mess Goody had made with his construction work and their decorating. He’d half-forgotten they’d put up the tree, though he distinctly remembered tossing the gold star that now lay on the coffee table in the trash. He yawned and stretched out, taking a moment to really look at the Christmas tree, Billy had even covered the feet of it with a festive blanket and laid out the presents he’d gotten from work, which looked nice too.

“Mornin’,” he yawned when Billy passed through again,

“Did I wake you?” Billy asked, whispering,

“Don’t think so, where’s Angel?” he mumbled, screwing his face up and rubbing his eyes tiredly, not quite ready to leave the confines of his blanket.

“She’s eating, do you want some breakfast?” Billy asked, moving to crouch by the couch and smile at him,

“Nah I’m good…” he yawned again and pulled the blanket up higher, smiling when Billy chuckled lowly at him. Billy stood to wander off again but Goody stopped him, “Billy?” he turned to face him, “Do you still wanna go on that date?” he asked, Billy huffed a slight laugh and smiled at him.

“Yeah… yeah I do,” Billy said softly,

“You free tonight?” he asked, he figured the sooner the better, as Christmas was on Sunday and it was already Thursday,

“Yeah,” Billy nodded as he spoke, “I am, dinner and a movie?”

“Absolutely,” Goody smiled dopily at him from his spot on the couch.

 

===

 

The theater was absolutely lousy with people when they got there, Goody knew he should have booked ahead but he wasn’t thinking and his bank loved flagging him for fraud if he did anything remotely different, he’d even had a call about shopping in the pet store.

“Well this isn’t working out how I’d hoped,” Goody noted, squeezing Billy’s hand to gain a semblance of reassurance from the other man,

“Should we bail?” Billy suggested, looking at the throngs of adults and children alike queueing up all over the place, it was loud too, and it made Goody feel uncomfortable, especially when people stared at the way he and Billy were holding hands.

“yeah…” he nodded as he said it, feeling Billy tug his hand and following him out of the packed building and into the chilly night air, “I forget there are even that many people in Rose Creek,” he laughed, Billy chuckled at it and led him to his car, he’d picked Goody up despite Goody having been the one to ask him out.

“My place or yours?” Billy asked as they strapped into the car,

“I’ve not seen yours yet,” Goody said,

“it’s not that impressive, trust me, but I’ve got Netflix so it should still be good,” he smiled and Goody gave him a withering sigh, they were the same age but Billy seemed so much younger than Goody felt sometimes.

“Drive thru?” Goody asked, they were going to go somewhere to eat after the film but if they were going to Billy’s place, they’d need food,

“Ugh how did you know? I’ve been feeling like junk food all day,” Billy groaned,

“I feel like junk food most of the time…” Goody noted, it was a self-deprecating joke but Billy seemed to miss that side of it and laughed,

“It’s a wonder you’re not fat,” he joked, “Do you eat donuts a lot too?”

“Okay that’s negative stereotyping and that’s rude,” Goody pointed out, but Billy gave him a sad little look and he found himself laughing anyway, “I don’t suppose beignets count, do they?” he added, letting Billy in on his end of the joke.

They got burgers at a place Billy knew, it was local to his apartment, Goody noted when they arrived at his apartment building before any of it went cold; Billy parked and put a little placard in his window to show he was permitted to park outside this building. They headed in and Goody quickly found himself thankful that he managed to keep at least moderately in shape, as they proceeded to ascend about six flights of stairs.

“Don’t you have an elevator?” he asked, Billy stopped and looked at him sheepishly, “oh my god you don’t use it, do you?” Billy cringed then,

“Sorry,” he chuckled, “I didn’t think, muscle memory,” Goody shook his head, “We’re here now though,” he pulled out his keys and unlocked the door to his apartment, opening it and letting Goody in first.

 

Billy’s apartment was nice, modestly sized but well furnished, the lounge looked cosy and there was an immaculately decorated Christmas tree in the corner, presents piled beneath it; the kitchenette was sleek and modern looking, and looked a lot better equipped than Goody’s, with actual things on display to make it look like a normal kitchen. He headed for the breakfast island and placed the bag of food down along with their sodas, arms came around him from behind and Billy pressed to his back, unzipping his jacket and easing it off his shoulders, an oddly intimate way to take his coat, but it was nice.

They plated up and huddled together on the couch, Billy flicking through Netflix for something to watch, settling on A Knight’s Tale, because they’d both seen it and it was easier than trying to decide on something they were both interested in that was newer than that.

The food was greasy and the film was good, they ended up entangled on the couch like an Actual Couple, it was a bit of a shock but it was nice, curling up under Billy’s arm, drawing his knees up to his chest and leaning there, warm and content.

After a while, Goody felt a hand wandering up the side of his neck, an idle touch of fingers easing into his hair and playing with the curls that fell behind his ear; he turned his head to face Billy, he looked engrossed in the movie, though his gaze slipped to Goody and he didn’t look like he could tear it away. “Hey…” he whispered, their faces were so close that Billy touched their noses together lightly, “can I kiss you?” he asked, Goody nodded and the hand in his hair coaxed him closer, they slotted their mouths together and fell into an easy rhythm of kissing, turning fully towards one another. Goody’s hands pushed under Billy’s t-shirt, feeling soft skin and hard muscle, tracing the toned flesh up to Billy’s chest, Billy moaned into his mouth and eased them apart, pulling his t-shirt off and letting Goody see him in the dim light of the screen.

“Oh god…” Goody whispered, Billy was gorgeous, his clothes may have always been snug but seeing him shirtless was something else, he was soft yet sharp, his skin looked flawless and Goody had to touch him, to cradle his neck and pull him in for another kiss. Billy eased Goody back, letting Goody shift his leg to the other side of him, settling between them and lying Goody down on the couch, kissing him softly, tugging his bottom lip with his teeth before slotting their mouths together once more. Goody moaned against him, legs spreading instinctively, he felt Billy’s hands ease under his thin sweater, following his stomach to his chest, where Goody’s breath hitched, uncertain. He felt those deft fingers trace his scars before slipping down his skin as Billy broke their kiss and trailed open mouthed touches down his jaw and neck, his hands pushing Goody’s sweater up and out of the way so he could kiss Goody’s chest.

Goody felt conflicted as Billy’s lips and tongue traced over his skin, the sensation was dull but there, and a glance down let him know that his nipples were hardened before one disappeared under Billy’s gorgeous mouth. His breath hitched more out of shock than feeling, he felt panic building in his chest because Billy’s thumb was brushing over his nipple and he could feel it but he couldn’t feel it, the sensation and his brain weren’t on the same lines, it felt displaced and odd, and as soon as Billy realised he wasn’t enjoying this, that he wasn’t… as soon as Billy realised, this would be over. He didn’t know what to do, if he should fake it and moan, or if he should ask him to stop, he hated faking it, had done it for years and it had left him feeling hollow and unloved; he turned his head to the side and closed his eyes, feeling when Billy stopped and was puffing hot breaths against his wet skin.

“Goody?” he asked, his accent seemed thicker somehow as he rasped his name and a shiver travelled South through him, “Goody what’s wrong?” he asked, Goody felt a kiss press against his chest again. He felt Billy’s fingers shift lower on his chest, tracing raised flesh in the dip below his pec, looking at the darker skin this time, “Oh…” Billy let out and Goody quickly shoved his sweater down and tried to get out from underneath Billy. “Goody?”

“Get off me,” he was panicking, ‘Oh…’ what kind of reaction was ‘Oh…’? Billy sat back quickly, hands raised as a sign of surrender as Goody jumped to his feet and rushed shakily to the door, ignoring when Billy called after him.

He was half-way down the flights of stairs when he realised his jacket was still on the back of Billy’s couch, but he couldn’t go back now, he was scared and ashamed, so he moved quicker and burst outside, treading through the snow in an ill thought out direction. He didn’t know where he was going, just that it was fucking freezing and his phone wouldn’t stop ringing, at least he’d had the sense to keep it in his pocket, even if he was just ignoring it.

 

He still didn’t know where he was when a black Chevy Monte Carlo pulled up beside him, driving slowly as he walked briskly through the snow,

“Get in the goddamn car Goody,” he looked up then, genuinely shocked, he’d noticed the car but not quite realising who was driving,

Sam?” he balked, stopping and hugging himself tighter, fuck it was freezing,

“There’s a jacket in here too, get in,” he urged again, stopping and leaning over to open the door. Goody looked sheepish before grabbing the police jacket and pulling it on, hurrying to sit in the car and close the door, “Jesus Christ Goody, what the hell are you doing?” Sam asked, Goody didn’t have much of an answer for him, but Sam didn’t seem to want one. “I’m mindin’ my own goddamn business, spending time with my kids cause the girls have finally gone to sleep, and I get a call from dispatch saying a Park Chang-Yi wants me because, and I quote, ‘something has happened to Goodnight Robicheaux,’ Do you know how terrifying that is?” Billy had called dispatch?

“Jesus… I didn’t think he’d do that…” he admitted, his voice was shaking from the cold,

“No, you just ran the fuck out of his apartment into the snow when you don’t know where you are or where your goddamn coat is,” Sam reprimanded, “Do you realise how stupid you’ve been?”

“Did you talk to Billy?” he asked, rubbing his neck, just relieved to be in the warmth of the car and this jacket, which going on the smell must’ve belonged to Vasquez, nobody else at the precinct smoked cigars.

“I did, yes,” Sam sighed, “He sounded distraught, said you weren’t answering your phone and he didn’t want to be the one coming after you in case he made you bolt,” Sam explained, “the guy spends too much time with animals,” he chuckled at that comment and Goody couldn’t help but smile,

“Did he tell you what happened?” Goody asked,

“Only that one minute you were fine and the next you were running, don’t make me guess Goody,” his tone darkened and Goody immediately panicked, worried he was going to jump to conclusions,

“He didn’t do anything,” he protested quickly, “It wasn’t… his fault… he just… found out…” he floundered as he said it. Sam hmm’d at him, not quite calmed from his protective brother routine by Goody’s words,

“How did he react?” Sam asked carefully, Goody wasn’t sure what to say,

“He uh… was shocked…” he supposed that was it,

“Define ‘Shocked’,” Sam was driving him home, Goody realised as they passed a familiar building.

Oh…” he echoed the word sadly,

“Oh?” Sam frowned, “Wait that’s his reaction? Oh?” Sam glanced at him and Goody slouched in his seat, “Jesus Christ Goody…” he groaned,

“He probably never wants to see me again…” he sighed miserably,

“Really? You think the guy that was so worried about you that he called the police wouldn’t want to see you again?” he pulled the car in just behind Goody’s on the drive and they got out, Sam let them in because Goody’s keys were in his coat, the cat immediately emerged from wherever she was hiding to greet them, getting long white fur all over Goody’s wet trouser legs.

“Hey Angel,” he greeted, bending to pick the cat up, not really caring if he covered Vasquez’ coat in white fur, he’d lint roll it before he gave it back,

“So, this is Goodnight’s Angel?” Sam said softly, petting the cat as Goody cuddled her, “You need to get her a collar,”

“And a microchip, gonna do it in the new year…” he mumbled into her soft fur,

“Goody,” Sam sighed, “I think you might’ve… misread the situation here…” he said as they moved to the lounge, Goody sitting in his favourite chair and cuddling Angel as she purred, Sam perching on the coffee table just in front of him, “I’ve met Billy before,” Goody knew this, Sam had a dog, Billy was his vet, he’d gone over this with Billy himself, “I think you shouldn’t just brush this whole thing off,”

“I’m not, he won’t want me now anyway,” he huffed,

“Goody, if you keep saying that shit you’re gonna start believing it,” Sam grimaced, “if he likes you, he’ll like you for you, all of you,” he gestured to Goody in his entirety and Goody sighed, “Do you want me to stay?”

“No… go back to your family Sam… I’m gonna go to bed, forget this whole thing ever happened…” Sam accepted that with a heavy sigh, which meant he’d decided Goody was too stubborn to talk to right now,

“Have a good sleep Goody,” he ruffled Goody’s hair before he left, Goody listened as the door locked and Sam’s spare key got pushed through the mail slot and clattered on the floor, a thoughtful gesture when Goody didn’t have his own set. He didn’t go to bed, he fell asleep in his chair, damp up to the shins and with a cat in his arms.

 

===

 

He somehow managed to sleep until about midday, when someone began knocking on his door, he yawned and stretched, Angel hopped off of his lap and darted to the kitchen, leaving him to answer the door on his own. He was surprised to find Billy on the other side, a coat over his arm and a determined look on his face,

“Hey,” Billy nodded and walked in, brushing him aside,

“Come in Billy,” Goody yawned,

“Sorry but I need to say this, come with me,” he barely let the door close before he was dragging Goody by the hand into the lounge and sitting them both down on the couch, he looked tired, “I like you, I’ve honestly liked you since we first met, probably since I first saw you, and… I’ve been up all night trying to find a way to say this that doesn’t sound like I’m completely disregarding who you are, but I don’t care that you’re transgender, I mean I do, but I care because it’s who you are, not because it affects how I feel about you,” it was odd hearing Billy talk so much about something that wasn’t veterinary fuelled, he honestly didn’t know how to react, and Billy seemed quite intent on continuing to talk. “I realise that my reaction wasn’t a clear one, I wasn’t shocked or disappointed or sad,” he explained, “I mean it was a surprise, but it wasn’t a bad one, and I wondered after you left why you wouldn’t just tell me that,” Goody opened his mouth to speak but Billy pressed his hand to his lips, silencing him, “Then I realised that you shouldn’t have to tell me, it’s something that doesn’t actually… affect anything… except how you feel as a person,” he sounded almost like he was reading from a script, which given his admission of having to think about this, and his haste to stop Goody from interrupting, he might’ve been. “I’m still gay, nothing changes that, it doesn’t change the fact that if you and I were to date, this would be a gay relationship, because we’re both men,” Goody was smirking a little now, Billy was trying so hard,

“Billy,” he said as he pushed Billy’s hand down away from his face,

“I’m not done,” Billy hurried,

Billy,” Goody repeated, but Billy persisted in trying to continue, so Goody shut him up with a kiss. It definitely worked, Billy’s hands came up to his sweater and curled into it, a vice-like grip that said Goody wouldn’t have been able to run away this time if he’d wanted to, but he kind of didn’t. They parted breathless and Billy looked like he was about to go into shock,

“I forgot what I was gonna say…” he admitted sheepishly, the two of them laughing and kissing again, this time Goody eased Billy onto his back on the couch, kissing down his throat and pushing his shirt up, moving to kiss Billy’s sternum before trailing down his stomach. “Goody,” Billy gasped, “Goody the cat is watching,”

“Let her watch,” Goody murmured against Billy’s hip, “You’re clean right?” he glanced up to see Billy nod eagerly, then began unbuckling his belt and unfastening his jeans, easing them open and kissing Billy’s hardening cock through his briefs. He curled his fingers into Billy’s waistband and exposed his cock, biting his lip at the sight of the flushed, partially hooded prick, “Oh fuck me…” he whispered and Billy whimpered at the hot breath on his cock, making Goody smirk. He kissed the tip before swirling his tongue around it and just under the pulled back hood, moving a hand to the base of it and angling it so he could lick a wet stripe down the underside of it, then back up, engulfing the tip in his mouth and lavishing it with his tongue.

“Oh fuck Goody!” Billy gasped, rocking his hips slightly but Goody pressed his other hand to a hip, stopping him from moving as he began to slowly bob his head, gliding his mouth up and down the hard organ, doing his best to elicit delicious noises deep from within Billy’s chest. Billy didn’t disappoint and Goody was well-practiced here, talented tongue pressing just right as he withdrew, cheeks hollowed as he sucked, managing to take most of it into his mouth before his gag reflex stopped him and he had to work the rest by pumping his fist. “Goody slow down, I’m so close,” Billy panted, fingers stroking through Goody’s hair, pulling a little to try to make him stop, but Goody was hungry for this now, wanted Billy to cum down his throat, so as Billy’s hips jerked and his breath hitched, Goody sank down as far as he could and swallowed, not tasting the salty tang of Billy’s cum until too much of it coated his throat and some of it flooded his mouth. He swallowed as best as he could, pulling back and coughing slightly, but he recovered quickly and licked his lips, then began to lick at Billy’s softening cock, cleaning the wasted seed from it with a smile on his face. “Oh my god…” Billy laughed softly, “I… wow…” Goody nuzzled Billy’s cock lightly and rested his cheek on his hip, smiling up at him and wiggling his eyebrows to make him laugh.

“Pretty good huh?” he hummed, stroking his fingers lazily up and down Billy’s soft cock before tucking it away,

Amazing,” Billy breathed, glancing away from him briefly, Goody lifted his head and followed his gaze, apparently Angel had gotten bored of watching and had gone to bed in her triangular tube, her head hanging out one of the circular holes in the side. Goody chuckled at that and moved to sit on the couch again, not entirely sure what to do after a spontaneous blowjob, as with his ex, he’d always just rolled over and gone to sleep, horny and unsatisfied. Billy seemed to know though, easing off of the couch and onto the floor between Goody’s thighs, easing them open and stroking his hands up Goody’s legs, tracing the inside of his thighs a few times before moving his hands to Goody’s belt. Goody was wet, he could feel it in his briefs, soaking the cotton enough that he knew he’d need to change them if he wanted to remain comfortable at all today, but seeing Billy kneeling before him had a fresh thrill coursing through him. He was nervous though, holding his breath as Billy unfastened his trousers, realising as more of the fine trail of hair on his groin was exposed that he was not ready for this.

“Billy stop,” he urged and Billy released his briefs and sat back on his haunches, “I can’t…” he whispered, embarrassed,

“That’s okay,” Billy smiled, “I just wanted to return the favour,” he said softly, “it’s okay if you don’t want me to,”

“It’s not that I don’t want you to… cause fuck me I do, I just… I’m not ready… I’ve never… not since…” he faltered, ashamed, but Billy just helped fasten his pants back up and sat beside him, drawing him into an embrace,

“It’s fine,” he sighed, a content sigh, the kind that held such deep satisfaction that Goody couldn’t help but echo it, sagging against him.

 

Eventually Goody had grown too uncomfortable and had to change, and since he’d been wearing the same thing he’d worn for his failed date with Billy, the fresh clothes were damned welcome. It didn’t stop him from curling up under Billy’s arm when he returned downstairs though, as short lived as it turned out to be when they both got hungry. Goody fed them this time, nothing spectacular, just sandwiches, but they were good, and within no time they were back to cuddling, Goody didn’t think he’d used the couch so much in years.

Angel stayed away from them, meowing for attention but not letting them near her, so they fed her and Goody proceeded to worry when she wouldn’t let him pick her up,

“Billy what if she’s hurt? Or sick?” he asked, “You’re a vet, do something,” he pleaded, Billy reluctantly climbed off the couch and approached the cat, she retreated into her tunnel and meowed at them, batting at his hand in warning when he reached his hand in, keeping it lower than her head.

“Goody, she’s fine, she just doesn’t want to be touched right now,” Billy explained as the cat skulked out of the tunnel and climbed into the birthing box, burrowing under the blankets there, “Would you want to be touched if you were heavily pregnant?”

“If I was heavily pregnant I’d want my fifteen thousand dollars back,” Goody joked,

“Huh?”

“Nothing,” he shrugged, “I uh… guess you probably want to go home at some point…” he said quietly, feeling guilty about keeping Billy away from home on Christmas Eve, “I’m sorry for disrupting your day,”

“I came here of my own volition, there’s no need to apologise to me,” he dismissed with a wave, “What I am gonna do however is get my Christmas presents out of the car and put them under your tree,” Goody frowned then,

“Wait… what? Why?” he asked dumbly, “We’ve known each other what… two weeks? Had a date and a half, I ran away from you last night, and you’re gonna spend Christmas morning with me?” Billy just stared at him, clearly waiting for him to give him a good excuse to not spend the night, “I’ll come help…” he mumbled then, Billy smiling and heading for the door.

 

Billy had a lot of presents, and a few of them hadn’t been under his tree last night, closer inspection revealed them to be for Goody himself, whilst a few were addressed to the cat, which made him laugh. They looked bizarre with the gifts already under Goody’s tree, even when he’d been living with his ex they had never had this many things under the tree, it was a nice sight, especially since Billy insisted on being on his hands and knees so he could arrange things perfectly, giving Goody plenty of time to sit back and ogle his gorgeous ass.

“Quit staring Goody,” Billy called from within the mass of presents,

“I’m not staring, I’m studying,” he answered easily, half tempted to slip his hand in his pants and rub one out, but he got embarrassed and decided not to.

“Is there going to be a test?” Billy laughed,

“Maybe a taste test,” Goody joked,

“You’re foul,” they both laughed and Billy sat down and looked at him, “Am I being too forward?”

“I just said I might eat your ass and you’re asking if you’re being forward?” Goody snorted,

“Well there’s anilingus and then there’s spending Christmas Morning with the guy whose ass you ate, those are two completely different types of intimacy,” Billy said blandly,

“I guess, but Christmas Morning with my boyfriend sounds nice,” he shrugged, Billy lit up and he had to take a moment to realise what he’d just said,

“Well in that case do you want to come to my mom’s place for dinner tomorrow?” Billy asked,

“Sure, why not?” Goody laughed, fuck it, he may as well just commit to this, it could be nice, “As long as we can bring Angel,” he added. Billy crossed the room quickly and sank between Goody’s legs, pushing up into a kiss and cupping his face as he did so. Goody kissed back and chuckled into it, hands cradling Billy’s neck as the kiss deepened, this was addictive, kissing Billy, it was sensual and amazing and he’d never had a kiss that made him feel like this, he’d never been with another person who made him feel like this. He didn’t want to get ahead of himself, so he opted to stop thinking, breaking the kiss and standing, he helped Billy to his feet and sat him on the couch before climbing into his lap, straddling him.

“Goody?” Billy asked, resting his palms on Goody’s hips,

“It’s fine,” he assured him, moving Billy’s hands to his ass, grinding down against him, the friction through their clothes and the spread of his legs felt amazing, it was even better when he felt Billy’s cock harden against him. He rubbed himself on Billy’s cock and kissing him, loving the way Billy’s fingers dug into his ass cheeks as they moved against one another, indulging in the almost teenage act. He moaned into Billy’s mouth, spreading his legs further to get his cunt closer to Billy’s cock, to make that friction harder as he felt his briefs soak through,

“Goody, shit,” Billy hissed, bucking his hips up, making Goody gasp and moan as Billy came,

“Oh fuck Billy,” he gasped, shivering and burying his face in Billy’s neck as pleasure flooded through him soon after.

They were both a little embarrassed by their rutting, Goody leant Billy a change of pants and they spent the rest of the evening curled up underneath a blanket in nought but clean underwear, bodies searing hot against one another, eventually moving to Goody’s bedroom, where Billy pressed flush to Goody’s back and held him, and Goody didn’t mind so much when Billy’s fingers traced the long scars along his chest.

 

He awoke Christmas morning with strong arms around him and a hard cock pressed to his back, it was unusual but not unwelcome, he wondered if Billy was even awake, if he could wake him and if he could follow through if Billy did wake. He stroked his hand up Billy’s arm, feeling the way Billy’s hand squeezed his pec idly,

“Morning…” Billy murmured into the back of his neck, giving his chest another squeeze before easing their hands down across Goody’s stomach and settling them there.

“Mornin’ darlin’,” he drawled, “Merry Christmas,” he added as an afterthought, Billy hummed then, hand travelling lower, past the elastic of Goody’s briefs and between his thighs,

“Merry Christmas…” he uttered as a warm, soft fingertip brushed against Goody’s cock where it protruded slightly from his lips. Goody tensed at the touch and the finger stilled, “Do you want me to stop?” his breath was so hot on Goody’s neck it made him shiver, he squeezed Billy’s hand, pushing his finger into circular motions against the sensitive glans,

“No…” he whispered, nervous. Billy’s finger began to move slowly without his aid and he couldn’t help but squeeze his thighs together and rock against the finger, moaning when a second joined it and the friction had him quivering already. “Billy…” he gasped as Billy’s fingers moved quicker, he didn’t know what to do with himself so he just let his hips jerk against Billy’s hand, striving for more of that delicious friction.

“Open up,” Billy used his wrist to push at Goody’s thigh and Goody obeyed, opening his legs and moaning as the feel of Billy’s fingers on his cock grew more intense, practically jerking the short, once feminine organ, but so careful and attentive.

“Oh Billy, c’mon,” he was panting, praising Billy’s dexterous slender fingers as they manipulated him exactly how he needed, “Yes, oh fuck…” he hissed, pushing Billy’s fingers down into the slick of his cunt, making them slippery when they returned to his cock, it felt so good. He was moaning outright within minutes, rocking against Billy’s hand desperately, loving the way he occasionally dipped his fingers into him to collect that sweet juice and rub into his cock, he wanted more. His cunt squeezed every time Billy’s fingers entered him, reluctant to let him leave, he wanted Billy to dig into him and find his g-spot, to rub him to orgasm like that, but he was already there with just Billy’s fingers on his cock. “Billy, Billy fuck!” he cried out, shivering and arching his back, pushing his ass against Billy’s hard cock as he clamped his legs together and came, pulses of arousal tensing his insides around nothing, telling him he wanted to be full. “Jesus…” he panted, “Billy…” he turned his head, found Billy’s mouth and kissed him, open mouthed and messy, sweat slick and still rocking his hips through his orgasm, “I need you,” he whispered, “fuck me please,” he begged, moving away from Billy and easing that talented hand away from his little hard cock.

He rolled over and pushed Billy onto his back, shoving his briefs off while Billy did the same before straddling him and rubbing his wet cunt down against Billy’s cock, slicking the underside of it,

“Do you have a condom?” Billy asked, hands moving to Goody’s hips, fingers wet and digging into the flesh,

“No… shit…” like most things, Goody didn’t keep a constant supply of condoms in his home, not anymore, “It doesn’t matter,”

“but you…” Goody chuckled breathlessly at the bashful look on Billy’s face, then touched his hands, trailing them to the four little X shaped scars across his abdomen, waiting to see if his meaning managed to sink in, “Oh… the fifteen thousand dollars…”

“Mhm,” he grinned, leaning down to kiss Billy lightly, “fuck me,” he whispered, low and husky, eliciting a soft little moan from Billy, who’s hands moved to Goody’s ass and lifted him. Goody took Billy’s cock in hand, so much weightier than his own, and a year ago, he’d have still felt self-conscious about the difference in their genitals, but he loved it, wanted it inside him. He stroked Billy’s uncut dick a few times to spread his slick, and pressed the blunt, wet head to his opening, easing it inside slowly, feeling his hole twitch and loosen to let the intrusion in.

 

“Oh… Oh god…” he sighed, slowly rocking his hips, taking a little more of Billy into him each time until he was fully seated on that gorgeous cock. It had been so long since he’d wanted this, the feeling of another man inside him, he didn’t realise how much he’d missed being filled, and to know that Billy could come inside him without any fear of pregnancy, “Fuck, Billy,” he hissed, pressing his hands to Billy’s firm chest and beginning to ride his cock in slow, deliberate pushes of his body.

“Goody…” Billy whispered, soon devolving into moans as he stroked Goody’s hips and pulled him down to meet his shallow upward thrusts, a wet sound growing between them as Goody’s cunt opened and slickened further. Goody leant down over Billy, leaning on his shoulders and meeting him in a breathless kiss, the angle making him moan into Billy’s mouth every time they moved, their motions speeding up when he let out a broken little sob of pleasure as Billy’s cock rubbed hard against his swollen g-spot. Goody couldn’t stop moaning, had to break their kiss to bury his face in Billy’s neck and sob in pleasure, so sensitive from his first orgasm and shuddering rapidly towards his second, his cunt squeezing and throbbing around Billy’s searing hot cock, he needed more, was begging openly for it, pleading and keening and Billy was laughing, soft and breathless and just happy from the sounds of things.

“Oh, Billy please,” he moaned, “Harder please,” he was in control but it wasn’t enough, Billy seemed to understand, wrapping his arms around Goody and rolling them so Goody was on his back, lifting him slightly to fuck deeply into him. He kept their bodies close, tight and compact against one another as they fucked, Goody felt Billy’s hands run through his hair then move to cup his jaw, bringing their mouths together in fervent kisses, pulling back and smiling so blissfully at him between each one, open mouthed and panting little chuckles. “What’s so funny?” he asked, breathless, curling his legs around Billy to draw him in deeper,

“Nothing…” Billy murmured into another kiss, “Just enjoying it,” he added before kissing Goody once more and easing his tongue into Goody’s mouth. Goody allowed the intrusion, his own tongue meeting Billy’s, tasting and exploring as they rocked together carnally, Billy’s cock was sending sparks of pleasure through him with every other thrust now and Goody could barely keep their mouths touching as he came, pushing their foreheads together and clinging to Billy. He felt Billy pushing harder and quicker into him, gasping and moaning against his mouth, uttering a quiet “Goody,” and filling him. He arched up toward Billy and pushed against him, wanting as much of that hot cum inside him as possible, rocking his hips to try and take more of his cock in but it wasn’t exactly possible.

“Fuck, Billy oh god fuck,” he moaned, shuddering when Billy slid a hand between them and gently rubbed at Goody’s oversensitive cock, making him spasm with pleasure and dig his heels into Billy’s thighs as his whole body tensed to complete oversensitivity with another orgasm.

He sagged into the sheets, exhausted, letting his legs fall apart and moving his hands to caress Billy’s hair and face, gasping for breath as Billy carefully withdrew his cock and they lay together catching their breath. Goody wanted to say something, but he didn’t know what to say, frowning when he heard what sounded like a sad wailing coming from downstairs,

“Shit, Angel!” he gasped, pushing Billy off of him and rushing out of bed on legs like goddamn jelly, even walking was too much friction for his cock, and every step had hot seed trickling down his thighs. He grabbed his dressing gown and pulled it on, hurrying downstairs to make sure his cat was okay.

 

Billy was right behind him after a beat, but Goody didn’t pay him much mind, looking frantically around for Angel, she wasn’t in the birthing box, but he was sure it had come from the lounge,

“Goody,” Billy said softly, Goody looked round to him, but Billy was looking elsewhere. He followed his gaze to the tree, where lying amidst the presents, on top of the blanket that hid the legs of the fake tree, was Angel.

She was licking a tiny black mass and there were several more different coloured masses squirming against her stomach, kittens,

“Oh my god…” Goody gasped, standing there dumbstruck as Billy crept closer and knelt beside the cat, barely decent in just his briefs, carefully checking her over. She let out a little wail of a noise and Billy soothed her, stroking her head,

“Go get dressed Goody, she’s fine,” Billy assured,

“Are you sure?” she let out that noise again and his heart felt like it was breaking, how could Billy think she was fine?

“Goody go,” Billy urged him, “Clean up, get dressed, calm down,” he insisted, Goody hesitated before shirking off his dressing gown, Billy’s eyes widened but Goody just gently tossed the robe over before retreating, naked, to do exactly as he’d been told.

He was vibrating with nerves as he sat on the edge of the tub cleaning himself up, he’d been so relaxed from having sex with Billy that the whiplash of this panic was shaking him up, he definitely needed to calm down. The cool cloth he used definitely helped, and he layered up in his cosiest pyjamas before returning downstairs; Billy was now bundled up in Goody’s robe, sat beside the tree stroking Angel as she washed a white kitten that Goody didn’t recognise,

“She had another?” he asked as he approached and cautiously sat down beside Billy, uncertain if he should.

“Two more, seems like the biggest decided to be fifth in line,” he chuckled, gesturing to the little fat almost black tabby kitten amid the masses, “I think she’s done now, but time will tell,” he said quietly,

“Thanks for being here…” Goody mumbled, leaning close and resting his cheek on Billy’s shoulder, “Guess we’re not going to your mother’s…”

“I’ll see if she wants to bring the meal here,” Billy hummed, then Goody yawned at him. “What time is it?”

“I dunno…” he looked at his watch and groaned, “It’s not even five,” he sighed, “this is worse than kids on Christmas,” he noted,

“Have you ever actually experienced that?” Billy chuckled,

“Yes, I’ve spent Christmas with Sam before, he has a big family…” he curled an arm through Billy’s and dozed off on his shoulder, snoring softly.

He was woken up an hour later by Billy nudging him and holding something up, “Muh?” he grunted, eyes focussing on the small dark splodge in Billy’s hands,

“The last one, I’ve had a feel and she’s definitely done now,” Goody blinked away the sleep and smiled at the screwed up little face held in front of his own, so cute and tiny that Billy was only using two hands so there were ‘walls’ the kitten couldn’t fall over.

“Wow… she did it…” he reached nervously to pet the tiny animal and it let out a little squeak of a meow, “buh,” he let out, unable to really comprehend how adorable that was, “How many are there now?” he asked quietly, the tiny kitten was mouthing at his little finger and Goody’s heart was rapidly becoming a puddle in his chest. Billy pressed a soft kiss to the top of his head and gently placed the kitten back with its mother, Angel didn’t seem to mind him touching the babies, given she licked his hand when he placed it down.

“Seven.”