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“Paul…”

“I’m not leaving her.”

“Thing’ll probably die anyway, you realize that.”

Thing will be just fine. And thank you for naming her.”

For fuck’s sake.

“Hey there, Thing. No, no, it’s ok,” Paul soothed when the tiny furball arched its back at him. He knelt down and took off his beanie, then scooped the kitten up and cradled it in the wooly hat. The temperamental creature purred like an engine a few moments later, digging its claws into the fabric.

The warehouse was freezing–the cat probably liked that the beanie was still warm from Paul wearing it.

Scowling, Daryl said, “Gonna ruin that hat, man.”

But Paul wasn’t listening. “Hey kitty kitty kitty,” he said softly, stroking one little gray ear with his forefinger. “You’re ok, we’re gonna take care of you now.” Smiling widely at Daryl, he added, “Glad we have the car instead of the bike.”

“You seriously want another mouth to feed? At least we could train a dog to be useful.”

“I promise if we find a dog out here someday we’ll adopt it, too. And cats can be useful, right? Don’t they hunt mice?”

“Not if you spoil ‘em with treats and human food. Which you will.”

Paul didn’t deny it.

Daryl let out a defeated sigh. “It’s not living in the trailer, Rovia. It’s either an outdoor cat or it’s target practice.”

“Oh shut up, Thing is trying to sleep.”

As they walked back to the car, Daryl couldn’t stop himself from asking, “Yaint really naming it Thing, are you?”

“Nah. I’m naming her Dixie,” Paul said decisively, and laughed as he dodged Daryl’s kick.