But, Oh, Those Human Women

by Pitry [Reviews - 16]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Het, Standalone

Author's Notes:
Written for the who_like_giants ficathon on LJ

They say that life is like a journey, and that the journey is as important as the destination.

They must have been off their heads on Happy when they said that. They definitely weren’t cooped up in a 2-by-2 box with a pregnant human woman.

Don’t take it the wrong way. He loves humans. Some of his best friends are humans - hell, his wife is human. And this, really, is where the problem starts.

It’s four a.m. and they’ve been fighting again. His mum warned him this would happen, but when you’re a young tom and in love you never really see that - that was him and Valerie back then.

When his mum said she’ll interrupt his sleeping patterns, because humans don’t need as much sleep as cats do, Valerie gave her a smile and said how all her friends always complained she’s sleeping her life away. When her mum pointed out how territorial cats can get, he mentioned offhand his flatmate during his university days. When his mum made a slightly offensive comment about hygiene, Valerie started discussing her OCD rather loudly. When her mum mentioned fish, he waxed - rather eloquently - about his allergy to tuna. When his mum mentioned monogamy, her mum mentioned fur balls, and the two of them bought a car and escaped to the motorway.

And they learned to cope, really. Valerie isn’t as careful about cleanliness as she made it out in the beginning - but he isn’t that allergic to tuna, either. Their sleeping patterns ended up being quite useful - more often than not he has the bed all to himself. Sharpening his fingernails is limited to one wall only.

But lately, that’s not enough. She is tired of eating sushi for dinner, and he is more than a bit unkind when he points out the energy drain from reprogramming the food systems every three hours. She’s turning on the cleaner just as he’s falling asleep. The last time he told her off she just said he’s always sleeping. He gets snappy about her music and she says something about his socks, he mentions the pregnancy and all of a sudden he’s gone too far. Repeat the phrase “cultural differences” all you like, the sole benefit of being stuck in a box with the same human woman who refuses to even talk to you for a week is that you can’t actually open the door and run away.

It’s not her fault, he tells himself. It’s a bad combination of her hormones and his being a cat. He can’t help but panic. These are the situations when male cats always leave. But for him there’s nowhere to go.

Nowhere to go and no one to complain to. He would say nothing to his mum, even after the third time they received a phone call from one of the parents and had to pretend everything is fine. Her mother, of course, is not even an option. Their human friends won’t understand; their cat friends would just tell him they warned him - or worse, tell him off for ruining the dream for every human-cat couple out there.

He doesn’t want to be a symbol for all cats out there, he doesn’t want to be the one who proves it’s possible despite all the external obstacles. He doesn’t want to be the moral of a story of cats and men. He wants to be his own cat, happily married to his beautiful wife, who happens to be a human woman.

But instead it’s four a.m. now and he’s sitting all alone in the driver’s seat, watching the cars crawling by outside. Even cars don’t go their own way in the night, just stay there. Waiting in the darkness, in the silence. He’s going insane in his cage and with his panic and, being one of those cats with a superior sense of coordination and balance, could have literally climbed the walls - if only there was enough wall to climb. But he just sits there, watching the sleepy traffic.

There’s a noise in the seat next to him, but he’s staring intently ahead. It’s the middle of the night and he doesn’t feel like fighting, not now, not anymore. He’s just tired, and when a cat feels tired, it really does mean something.

“Do you ever regret it?” she asks suddenly and he looks at her, wondering.

“Regret what?”

“Marrying me. Buying a car, looking for our luck on the motorway, getting - “

“Pregnant? No! I’m excited!” his enthusiasm probably doesn’t sound completely sincere, because she just says, “Bran...”

“I don’t regret it,” he says now, and sounds as sincere as he feels. “Just a bit scared. I’m a cat, Val, I’m not meant to be a father.”

She stares at the cars for a while, and all of a sudden he starts thinking of things he’s never thought of before. “Do you?”

“Well,” she starts, “had I married a human, he would have massaged my feet every morning. And reprogrammed the food unit every time I felt hungry. Even if it’s for pickles and ice cream and some of that applegrass pie. And always give me his pillow. Always.”

It’s that last bit that gives her away, of course, and Brannigan snorts, but with a relieved smile. “For a moment there I thought you were serious,” he says, and she finds it perhaps more funny than she should.

“It’s not because you’re a cat,” she says gently, “it’s because you’ve never been a father. A human would be the same.”

“How do you know?” he demands.

“Because I’m just as scared,” she says, and he thinks of that wonderful honesty of human women when he kisses her, the way humans do.

“I’m hungry,” she says all of a sudden and gets up.

“Now?! It’s the middle of the night!”

“I’m hungry,” she shrugs and opens the food unit, bringing out - not some weird mixture of leftover sushi and chicken soup, as he suspects for a moment, but ice cream. And forget tuna or stir fry tofu, what really brings humans and cats together is a bucketful of make-up chocolate ice cream. He had never met anyone who was as crazy about dairy products as he was, until he met her. And then he apologises - him! Apologising! - because he's learned he has to, and she cleans his fur in apology because she’s learned she has to, but oh, those human women! Because then she gives him this sideways looks and a crooked, sexy smile, and he follows her to bed, happy. He loves his wife and she loves him and until the next time they fight and make up, this is really all they need, here in their box. And all of a sudden the journey’s end can come just a tad bit later.