The box was relatively big and had only two labels on it: the matter was fragile and sent to James Moriarty, but of course it was me who dragged it inside eventually.
It all smelled like musk, piss and wet wood. There were three-three holes cut into the boards on each side and thankfully it had two handles. I was not in the mood to touch the suspiciously dripping bottom as I was carrying it inside.
I set it down in the middle of the living room. Whatever was inside, didn't really liked the journey through the hall because as I put it down it immediately started screaming. Jim, seemingly eager to know what was inside, got up from the couch and when he saw his name on the box, he went promptly for the lock so fast, I could barely stop him in time.
"You can't know what's inside." I figured out it wasn't ordered by him, and it alerted me, but Jim just laughed it off opening it anyway.
The side of the box came off easily, and we both peered in cautiously, but all we could see a ball of messy hair screaming and crawling in raspings.
I pulled away when the stench hit me, and watched rather taken aback as Jim reached inside, not showing any sign of disgust I would've expected.
"Aw, Sebby, look!" He lifted the hairball and cooed in a way I had only heard him once since I knew him, when he managed to tie a ribbon in my hair. For that reason I kept my haircut quite short, but it's another story.
"Sebby, it's a lion, someone sent us a lion!" He purred after a few seconds of examining the creature. I snorted softly, and walked around the box hoping this time I find a clue or another label that could have hinted whose idea was it, but obviously, there was none.
"We'd better bring it to the zoo or something." I suggested, but Jim was already on the couch, holding the hairball in a decent distance from his expensive suit, but somehow still looking protective. The cub seemed to feel the odd caring or just liked being held, but it shut up anyway and I was thankful.
"I want to keep it, Sebby." Jim pouted at me, and I gave a sigh, rubbing my hand across my face.
"We have no supplies to take care of it." I disagreed, but it was a very weak reasoning and Jim saw it as well.
"We can buy them. Pass me a paper." He reached out his hand and I did walk up to the kitchen counter for some post-its obediently, bringing it over so he could make a shopping list.
For only me, apparently, as I figured it out half an hour later, driving my way to the nearest Tesco with the paper being stuck to my jacket. Huffing didn't help at all, Jim had decided he was too lazy to come along in the minute he started making the list and I couldn't even understand why I thought he would actually participate in the shopping tour once in his life, besides buying ridiculous amounts of clothes. He had something for those shirts and suits, but not for groceries after all.
I stopped my Chev in the parking lot and ripping the paper off to avoid looking like a total loser I headed inside. Running through the items, it didn't seem too impossible for what I have had accomplished in the past years.
First thing first, a big pillow. I really hoped Jim wouldn't want to let the cub sleep in our room, but it crashed pretty much of all my hopes. I picked up the most simple cushion I could found, only paying attention not to be filled with feathers, since I thought those would be harder to clean up if it accidentally got ripped open. I could already hear Jim yelling that the colour didn't fit in our room and it made me smile just the slightest.
Next I moved to get some bread and vegetables, if I was doomed to be here I might as well just get some food for ourselves. I was moving from aisle to aisle when my phone buzzed. Turned out, I received a selfie of my boss and his new pet with the caption that said Sebastian Junior loved me and was really hungry. Later on Jim added that the cub was a baby boy and I should have picked the blue collar. Too bad, I have already picked the black one, after all, if we have a lion, let's make it look as badass as possible. And fuck your gender roles, Jim, anyway.
Looking through my cart I had everything except some food for the cub. It was the time when I started wondering what does a young lion eat. Does he still drink milk or is he allowed to eat meat already? As I was patrolling in the aisle of dairy products, I quickly looked it up on my phone and according to some pages on Google, cubs are fed by their mother's milk for 3 months. Based on the pictures our lion was younger than that, so I moved to the milks. What kind of milk should we gave to him? Surely not soy, and since I couldn't figure out and neither the internet made me smarter, I headed to the baby stuffs. After all what was good for a human baby, can be good for a lion baby as well, right?
The amount of baby blue and pink hurt my eyes, but I managed to throw a few feeding bottles before I got to the starters. There were much more kinds and brands than I expected.
The young woman in the aisle with an obviously round belly,and she gave me an encouraging smile as she saw my frown. It took me a few seconds to get; most likely I looked like a brand-new father who was sent by his wife to pick up some stuffs for his first child. Except that I am gay and my newborn is a feral kitten.
I returned her smile rather clumsily as she picked up a box of starter and left me alone with the ton of creepy babies brining from the wrappings. I started feeling uneasy, pathetic, being stripped off the last remainingsof my pride and as I saw an assistant show up in the corner of my eyes I quickly grabbed one of the items and not-so-obviously fleeing from the scene I left before the help could've reached me. I was panicking mildly and swore to kick Jim's ass once I got home.
"Sebastian Junior look who got home!" Jim purred when I entered the room, struggling with the bags. He seemed to get along with the cub quickly as he was napping in his lap, letting out tiny sounds when the man scratched his neck or the base of his ears.
"I don't remember I have agreed to name him after me." I frowned as I set down the bags and started putting everything away.
"It fits him. Look, he's all lazy like you." I rolled my eyes and straightened up to glare at Jim.
"If we are naming him after laziness, I think James would be much better." It actually made him shut up, though there was that little pout again and I had to force myself not to go over and kiss it away. "I got him bottles and starter." I added after a few minutes of silence.
"He needs goat milk." Jim sighed and I slammed the feeding bottle on the counter harder than I wanted. "I have looked it up."
"Are you serious? Couldn't you just text me? No, never mind, Jim. I'm done." I huffed going back to finish emptying the bags.
"But the starter will make it, I guess." He shrugged, standing up, settling the cub on the cushion, and walking to the stove, putting on the kettle, then grabbing the box to run through the instructions. "For once now. I'll show you how to make it, but wash the bottles first."
I nodded and got all the three of them in the sink, scrubbing the insides with a sponge and using the hottest water my hands could bear. When I finished, Jim took one of them, dried it with a dishtowel then pouring the hot water inside. Adding a few spoons of the white mixture from the box, he stirred it until it all looked like milk. "It will be enough for now." He hummed as he moved back to his yawning little pet. Soon the cub started screaming again and only would stop when Jim took him in his arms.
"Does he think you are his mom?" I sat down next to them, watching curiously. I just realized I haven't really taken a properly look at this kitten since he got here. All the mess that was on his fur when we opened the box was gone now and I think Jim groomed him for the whole time while I was away.
"Not yet, but from now on, he will." Jim shrugged like he didn't care, but I could catch that look in his eyes that meant he was fond of the pet and he couldn't wait for this feeling being returned. He pushed the dummy to the lion's lips, coaxing them apart to slid it inside. The little cub immediately started suckling on it, eagerly gulping down the drink.
"See, Papa got you something tasty..." He purred, and I had to laugh softly as the baby was trying to open his eyes, but he was way too sleepy. Touched the fur on his paw but only one finger, carefully - he was soft and actually felt clean and since he didn't bite me, I let my whole palm give a gentle stroke to his side.
"He still needs a name." I cleared my throat after a few minutes of silently admiring Jim taking care of the cub.
"He's already got one." My boss looked at me in surprise but it was fake and we both knew. I shook my head.
"He can't be Sebastian. That's my name."
"Are you jealous?"
"No!" I laughed, but I actually had to think. Was I jealous of this cub? Yes, yes I was, but not because of the name. " It's simply not convenient. When you call out for one of us, you know, we can get it mixed up..."
"Then what?" He arched an eyebrow. "What is your suggestion?"
"Uh, dunno." I shrugged, letting my mind to roam. "How about... Okay, well, what kind of name do you want for him?"
"I want him to be named Sebastian."
"Jim, no." I shook my head, muttering. "Seb...Se... Sec, Sevvy... How about Severin?"
"Yeah. Severin. Like the municipality in Germany."
"Severin." Jim tried the name again, looking down at the half-asleep cub. "I like it."
I smirked and ran my hand again across the soft little fur while Severin kept on suckling out the last drops of milk.
I woke to lamplight and the sound of eager slurping.
I went to bed quite early last night, feeling exhausted for some reason and Jim joined me not so much later. He brought Severin up to our bedroom along with a bottle of milk and the pillow I've bought. I was already half asleep when I heard him laying the passed out cub at the end of our bed and crawled next to me, burying his face in my shoulder as I pulled him closer instinctively.
And now he was resting his back to the headboard, holding the cub in his arm and feeding him from the bottle. Clever thing, I thought as I rolled on my other side, lying lazily and blinking awake. "What time is it?" I groaned hoarsely, but I wasn't peevish, simply still dead tired.
He glanced at me, not even surprised that I was awake, then down again at Severin, pursing his lips. "Three twenty-two in the morning." He replied silently and his voice was so languid, I felt my stomach drop a little.
"Fucking god..." I sat up, still rubbing my eyes and trying to stretch the cramp out of my lower back. I picked up sleeping on my stomach again, and it really wasn't helping my spine. "I can't believe you woke up to feed him." I slurred, standing up and stumbling my way to the bathroom.
"He was skittish." Jim shrugged, when I came back from my business and settled next to him again. "I had to."
"An amazing father, aren't you?" I grinned teasingly, knowing he wasn't going to slap me or something. Little Severin's peace was more important.
"Shut up." He rolled his eyes,but oh, I saw that little smirk, I could've bet half of my yearly income, he was proud of himself.
"Well, technically, he is a baby, so that makes us a family. Right?" I kept on and although I never really wanted a kid or a proper family, this thought now made me quite happy. Sure, a grown up lion will be harder to raise than a teenager, but I saw how happy it made Jim for now. I knew I will have to have a serious talk with him soon.
But for now, I let him have his fun with Severin. The bottle was emptied pretty soon and the cub fell asleep with the dummy in his mouth. Jim looked at the lion with a loving, soft smile, setting him down on his side between us. I dared to shift closer, stroking the soft fur in short, soothing motions while Jim switched off the light and settled down as well. Soon I felt his fingers on the kitten too, occasionally smoothing my hand and I wondered if it was accidental, but a few minutes later I figured out it wasn't, as he started to reach for me pulling into a soft kiss. Feeling his grip on the back of my neck, I had to lean in, the cub pressing against my chest in an unfamiliar, yet warming way. "I love you." I whispered when we parted, because I just had to, but he yawned and let go of me.
"Silly." He commented, and I felt as he went back to smooth Severin's fur, so I decided to roll back on my side and sleep.
In the morning I was the first to rise. To my biggest relief none of us crushed the cub accidentally, but he did - magically - get back on his pillow and was fast asleep. I took the opportunity and padded to the bathroom for a quick shower. I figured out a shaving would've been nice too,although I didn't feel awake enough yet to do it, and also, I loved leaving stubble burn on Jim's skin.
Changing into a new pair of underwear I headed downstairs to the kitchen. There was nothing better in the morning than shutting Jim's whiny mouth up with some fresh toast and improving his mood with a cup of coffee. It served both of our interests.
Deciding on rewarding my lovely man with a decent, full English breakfast, I got bacon, eggs, sausages and some vegetables. Soon the smell of cooked goods filled the room and it sure woke up the others too, but at least the lion cub.
If Jim was awake, he didn't give any signs of it for more than about half an hour, when, suddenly and piercingly, he yelled.
"Severin! For god's sake!"
The fork that I used to turn the sausages over stopped in my hand for a second and I considered rushing upstairs to see the matter, but Jim was storming in under no minute.
"He peed on me!" He shoved the surprisingly silent cub into my arms, barely giving me time to catch him as my boss disappeared again.
"He really must love you then." I laughed loudly, rocking Severin in a quite clumsy way. "He marked you as his property." I knew it wasn't what happened probably, but it was fun to tease Jim.
"I smell!" He whined when he got back, his shirt removed and giving me a great view of his amazing body in nothing but tight, tight briefs. "Sebby, he needs a diaper!"
"Well, what did you expect?" I arched my eyebrows, turning back to the pan to keep on frying the goods with the cub now lying on my left forearm and keeping him away from the gas. "You know, animals do that. They piss around. And you know what else they do?"
"Sebby, not before breakfast!" He groaned and I grinned when he buried his face in my back. Felt like it will be him who will give me stubble burn, though not in the place I preferred it.
"Thought you needed reminding." For long minutes only the oil was spluttering in the pan and the water bubbling in the kettle, and I heard a little sigh muffled with a kiss on my skin. "Affectionate, aren't you?" I commented softly, and putting down the fork, I reached behind to give Jim's buttocks a good squeeze. He yelped, digging his nails in my back and I laughed.
"Shut up." He huffed and pulled away, but as I took a quick wary look at him, he was smiling.
I turned back to the pan, hearing Jim rummaging around but I didn't say anything. He knew better, probably.
Later I found out he turned on the toaster and made us coffee along with our usual tea. I frowned at the cups, sensing he had some plans if he wanted me to be much more alerted.
"Any plans for today?" I asked finally in a pretty casual tone and I saw him shrug from the corner of my eyes. So nothing then, good.
“You need to go and buy him a few other stuffs. I forgot to tell you yesterday.”
I snorted. If course, I need to go and not him.
“Then why is the coffee?” I asked finally when he handed me the cup and I flipped the eggs before taking it.
He shrugged again and I let out an annoyed sound, sipping from the coffee. Turning around I put down the cub who immediately crawled to rub against Jim’s legs. He smirked and picked him up, scratching behind his ears, and I had to turn away from that cute sight. I’m not gonna get attached to Severin, he will need to go in a few months. Within a year or so he will be too big to take care of and too dangerous to handle. And I’m not willing to lose a few fingers to taming a lion.
“I also have some clients over today, so you might need to take him with you.” Jim declared finally, and I couldn’t help but sigh.
“To the store? I’m not bringing Severin with me.” I disagreed, turning off the stove and piling the food into the plates Jim had prepared for us.
“Yes, you are, Sebby dear.” He smirked, taking my place at the oven to boil some water for the cub’s milk. “He’s my new secret weapon…”
“Good, then scare your clients with the secret weapon.” I cut in, rolling my eyes and bringing the plates to the table. I went back for cutlery and balancing the cups in my hands, I looked up at him as he poured the water into the bottle, then adding some spoonful of the powder. I‘ll need to learn how to do it soon, he will dump this task at me for sure when he gets bored of it.
“No, Sebby, this is not how it works.” He sighed and spoke up like he was talking to a stubborn child, which, according to him, I was. “He needs to grow up first. To become scary.” He explained as he got the bottle ready, then moved it to the table. He sat down at his side, but before touching his food, he fed Severin. “I can’t show him to them now. It will ruin the surprise.”
“Well, I can’t really take him to the store either, you know…” I murmured, biting into the toast. “You better find a lion babysitter or something.”
“We’ll see, Sebby, we’ll see…” He hushed me, holding Severin in his arms like a baby and feeding him from the bottle, but his eyes were wandering around and I could tell he was really thinking.
I didn’t want to bother him, so I just shrugged and kept eating, hoping he would find out something and not dump the cub on me.
Sorry for the ending, I wrote it in hurry and it turned out to be shitty. Also, the fluffiest fic I have ever wrote. Thank you for the kudos, tho!