A Dog Person
"I'm going to get you a leash."
Farfarello's eye barely shifted his way. Blunt fingers tightened and carressed at the same time, marvelling in the feel of silky dark fur. "Leashes are for dogs."
Crawford turned a cold look his way. "If you act like a loose pit bull, that's how I'll treat you. You were told to remain in the parking garage."
"I got... distracted." A hesitant, rusty purr erupted from the small bundle in the madman's arms.
"By THAT." Despite the note of incredulity, it wasn't quite a question, so Farfarello saw no need to answer. Crawford removed his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. Perhaps he was seeking patience.
Or perhaps he was trying to deny the sight of Schwarz's Berserker cradling a scrawny black kitten.
"A pit bull," Farfarello murmured, rubbing his fingertips against the tiny head. He sent the older man a thoughtful glance. "And you're like a cat."
Crawford replaced his glasses huffily. "What?"
"Proud. Stupidly proud, even when around people that are stronger than you." Farfarello cocked his head, scratching absently at the kitten's chin. "You think you're better than me."
"I know I am." Crawford checked his watch. Schuldich was late. "I told you to stay put."
Farfarello's lips stretched in a cold smile. "Maybe I'm a stray. I don't come when I'm called." He stepped closer. "Neither do cats."
Crawford looked at him seriously. "Did Nagi forget to give you your meds?"
Farfarello shoved the cat at him; on reflex, Crawford's hands wrapped around the tense, skinny little bundle of fur. "We'll keep it," Farfarello decided, turning away and looking towards the garage entrance for Schuldich's car.
Crawford stared at the glaring kitten in his hands, holding it as far away from his body as possible to prevent covering the front of his pristine white suit in black fur. "No, Farfarello."
"You need a cat," Farfarello said as if it was obvious.
Crawford flicked a glare towards his younger teammate. "We aren't keeping it, Farfarello. Don't be childish."
"You need it," the Irishman insisted.
Crawford bent as if to deposit the cat on the ground, but Farfarello turned quickly and grabbed his wrist, glaring into his face. Crawford froze, but glared back impatiently. "Let go."
"You don't like cats?"
"I think you'll grow bored with this whim in a day or two and I'll find pieces of cat strewn all over the kitchen," Crawford snapped.
"That's not an answer."
"No. I don't like cats."
Farfarello looked vaguely contemplative. "You look like a cat person."
Farfarello pressed the cat closer, and Crawford's mouth pulled in a displeased frown as dark fur clung to his sleeves. "You can sleep with it at night in that ridiculously large bed you bought yourself."
This again. Schuldich had laughed at him when he'd decided on a rare splurge and bought the king-sized bed. He was tiring quickly of explaining himself when he saw no need to. "I prefer a bed I'm comfortable in."
"Do you kick in your sleep?" Despite the serious tone, Farfarello's lips were twitching in a tell-tale smirk that put Crawford instantly on guard. Farfarello's lapses of "teasing" usually led to much more twisted and weird commentary.
"I do not."
"Did you forsee sharing such a bed with someone?"
Okay, maybe not quite this weird. "Of course not."
Farfarello gave the nervous kitten a firm pat on the head. "Now you have someone to share it with." Crawford arched a brow. "The kitten," the Berseker added patiently.
"I know what you meant," Crawford said a bit testily.
Farfarello's brows rose. "Not me."
"I know that!"
"Even if you thought that's what I meant."
"I didn't. I meant the cat."
"Stop being an idiot."
"I don't think you would let a dog in your bed," Farfarello mused. "Fleas, you see."
"...Or maybe you took too much of your medication."
"My... 'happy pills'," Farfarello quoted slowly, with distaste. "That's what Schuldich calls them."
"They certainly don't make you happy," Crawford muttered sourly. He realized belatedly he was still holding the cat. He held it away from his body as if it was a living breathing disease. It cried plaintively. "We are not keeping the cat."
"What will you call him?"
Crawford stared at him. "Are you even listening to me?"
Farfarello continued to gaze at him expectantly.
"We're not keeping..." he lifted the cat for a quick check, "her. I said no, Farfarello."
"I'm a stray," Farfarello pointed out mildly. "I don't have to listen to what you say." He reached out to tug briefly on the kitten's tail. "She'll keep your feet warm at night."
"You'll need something bigger to keep the rest of you warm."
Crawford's brain stalled for a moment.
"I heard you can toilet train them."
Crawford blinked. "...Where the HELL did you hear that?"
"The internet is full of many interesting things."
"No doubt. Maybe the question should be, WHY were you looking up the toiletry habits of cats?"
"You need a cat," Farfarello said as if it was obvious.
"I do not need a cat. We are not keeping the cat. I'm not discussing this anymore." He shoved the kitten at Farfarello. "Get rid of it, Farfarello."
The Irishman accepted the squirming furball automatically, but he was frowning darkly. "You're a cat person," he insisted as if quoting a phrase he'd heard before but didn't fully comprehend.
"I had dogs growing up, Farfarello," Crawford said shortly. "Dogs. Not cats."
Farfarello tilted his head. "Is that why you keep me around?" There was the faintest air of mockery to his tone.
Crawford glared. "All of my dogs were well-trained and obedient."
Farfarello took two steps forward until he was right in the precog's personal space, staring up at him unnervingly. "Obviously," he said, "you never owned the right kind."
When Schuldich arrived a few minutes later, he twisted around in his seat to stare in disbelief at the yowling tangle of dark fur Crawford deposited unceremoniously in the back. "What the hell is that? You got a CAT?"
"Crawford needs a cat," Farfarello intoned as he slid into the back seat and reached for his seatbelt.
Crawford took the passenger seat, ignoring Schuldich's shit-eating grin as he buckled up in stony silence.
"Oh really~" he practically purred, obviously enjoying the American's annoyance. "And what have you decided to call your new little bundle of joy?"
"Irony," Crawford growled.
"He needs someone to warm his bed," Farfarello pointed out, staring out of the window.
Crawford's eyes flickered his way, mouth tugging into a severe frown.
Schuldich snickered, checking his rearview mirror before turning out of the lot. "You know, you always did strike me as a cat person."
"No," Farfarello said calmly from the back, "he's a dog person. He said so himself." And he smiled, as if he'd won a round in a private game only he understood.