Crawford didn't even look up, face hidden by the open newspaper.
    There was a moment of silence, then again,
    Nagi glanced up.
    Schuldich's grip tightened on the remote hard enough to make the plastic creak. "WHY. Is she CRYING?" he demanded from behind gritted teeth.
    He and Nagi turned their heads slightly to watch as the little black furball of terror pranced into the room to stare at them soulfully. "YOOWWWW."
    "Maybe she just wants attention," Nagi said hesitantly.
    "YOWWW..." And off she went again in her endless circuit of the house.
    Schuldich scowled at the the television. "Crawford."
    "I am going to put your cat down the garbage disposal."
    "It's not mine," Crawford said shortly, turning the page.
    "According the the Farfenator, it is," Schuldich snapped. "Shut it up before I throttle it."
    "It's a she," Nagi pointed out.
    "Shut up, runt."
    Nagi made a face and returned to his homework.
    The paper crinkled as Crawford's grip flexed, the first sign of his rising temper. "Where is Farfarello?" he demanded coldly.
    "In his room doing god knows what." Schuldich winced as another piercing cry echoed from the kitchen. "I can't believe he hasn't killed that thing yet."
    "Maybe she's hungry." Nagi turned an accusing look on Crawford. "People food isn't good for her. If you'd just let us buy her kitten food..."
    "We're not buying anything for it because it does not belong to us," Crawford said shortly from behind his paper.
    "You let us buy her a litter box."
    "That was a necessity, not a luxury."
    "Can't we just toss it out the window or something?" Schuldich demanded.
    Nagi glared at him.
    "Or at least let it out 'accidentally'. Let the little shit get lost on the streets."
    "You already tried that," Nagi pointed out. "Farfarello brought her back."
    "That is getting tiresome," Nagi admitted in a strained voice.
    Crawford slapped his paper down, light from the lamp flashing across the lens of his glasses. "Schuldich. Fetch my gun."
    Schuldich was getting to his feet when Farfarello entered the room carrying something under his arm. He thrust the invention at Crawford insistantly.
    Crawford stared at it. "Is that one of our curtain rods?"
    "Was," Farfarello corrected calmly, shaking it a bit. There was a long string tied to it, with something tied on the end. It jiggled madly when he shook it. "Here."
    Crawford drew away from it, lip curling in disgust. "...Is that a rat skull?"
    "Now it's a toy," Farfarello said, pushing the curtain rod into Crawford's unwilling hand.
    Nagi was staring at the little bleached skull blankly. "You made Irony a toy out of a rat skull."
    "YOOWWW." Irony came prancing in as if she knew they were talking about her, looking around hopefully.
    Crawford put the 'toy' aside in disgust. "Throw this garbage away, Farfarello. And shut up that cat before I do it for you."
    "Play with her," Farfarello intoned, face expressionless.
    Crawford reached for his paper.
    Farfarello stepped forward and set his knee up on the couch, pinning down the paper and getting right in Crawford's personal space as he stared down at the older man.
    Crawford glared back indignantly, tugging on the paper. "Get off."
    Farfarello's movement had jostled the toy, and the skull rolled off the couch and dangled from its string. Irony saw it and flew at it, batting happily with her tiny paws.
    Farfarello twisted slightly to watch with a dispassionate eye. Abruptly he reached down and seized her by the scruff. She gave a startled squeak as he deposited her in his irritated leader's lap. "You're ignoring her."
    Crawford glared first at the confused kitten, then up at Farfarello. "This new game of yours is getting old."
    Farfarello propped both hands on the back of the couch either side of Crawford's head and leaned in slightly, face inches from the other man. "Because you're not playing by the rules."
    Crawford's gaze darted to the side suspiciously as Schuldich and Nagi both got up at the same time and beat a hasty retreat. "Where are you going?" he demanded.
    "Um, I'm going to do my homework in my room."
    "I'm gonna take a shower."
    They hastened out before he could argue. Farfarello watched them go with an arched brow.
    "I am not playing with this stupid cat," Crawford said firmly. "You either take care of it or get rid of it."
    Farfarello's eye travelled back to meet his gaze once more. "You don't like her," he accused.
    "No, I don't."
    "Because you're a... 'dog person'."
    "That's beside the p--" Crawford jerked back, startled, when a quick tongue swiped at his cheek. He shoved the other man, but Farfarello had planted his other foot firmly on the floor and didn't budge. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Crawford demanded coldly.
    A faint condescending smirk hovered on the Berserker's mouth. "Being a good dog." He placed a heavy hand on Crawford's chest as if to hold him there.
    "You have three seconds to back off," Crawford informed him. "Then I'm going to go get my gun and remind you what pain feels like."
    "I don't feel pain." Farfarello's gaze flicked downwards as Irony tried to wriggle out from between them. "Play with her." His eye lifted to gaze into Crawford's glare again. "Or play with me."
    Crawford didn't like the sound of that veiled threat.
    He reached down and scratched under the kitten's chin, still caught in a stare-down with the Irishman. Irony's raspy purr sounded loud in the tense silence.
    Farfarello scowled suddenly, pushing himself back and backing off. Turning away, he wandered off again, as if already bored of the whole encounter.
    Crawford watched him go blankly, wondering if he'd read something wrong in the unspoken words.
    Had that been a threat...
    or an offer?