Hawknell Humane Society Cat mom?
Asha had bought a cute little covered cat litter box. And the litter that Abraham mentioned. Was it going to smell bad? She wondered about it, and then just figured she could be real on top of cleaning it out. Maybe. If this cat even wanted to go home with her.

"Do you think we smell like cats to cats?" she asked as they drove into the shelter's parking lot.

She thought about that pretty lady cat she'd met at the Terrace and hoped she'd gone home to a good family. :<
That was a good question. Abraham tilted his head, thinking, very content to be in the passenger seat. He liked driving but also really liked being driven! Like some kind of fancy person. Asha's mood buoyed him happily, and held her hand at the center console of the car.

"Maybe," he said. Scrubbed his chin thoughtfully with his knuckles. "I wonder what the hell changed. That like. They... aren't afraid of us. Maybe we smell better now."

Was it better to smell like cats? Worse? Did dog weres do better with dogs? Hmm. Maybe he'd have to ask one sometime. A dog were, not a dog. He wasn't exactly very close with any, though.
Asha leaned towards him at that and offered a sniff. "I think you smell pretty good," she decided, which was neither disagreement nor agreement. Or like. She was keeping her intentions secret, there.

"I'm so excited to meet your cat son."

Squeezing his hand, she parked, and then moved to... lean over and give him a smooch before anything else!
His brows rose and he was deliberately sniffed. Hi, hello, Asha. The jaguar flared his nostrils back, whiffing big. Hi, hello, Meowsha.

And then came her compliment and Abraham huffed a smile. It was good to see her a simple kind of happy. He'd been a little afraid telling her about the cat, fearful of jealousy or bad feels. But for whatever he'd sensed, she'd moved by them.

Just felt nice.

He had some words but he was getting smooched, so he hummed a little, kissed back as one hand reached for his seatbelt.

"My cat son?!" he asked as they stepped from the car. Excuse me. That was his cat doppelganger if anything, though the jaguar insisted he was much, much handsomer and also powerfuler.
Heheheh. That was Asha snickering.

"I mean. He was born in October. His name is Barley. He's shy and skittish around people."

She rose a brow at him, beating him to the door and opening it for him, ponytail bouncing all the while.

And also getting hit with a wave of SHELTER SMELL.
High energy Asha alert. Abraham was still all huffs as he followed her, offering a quiet thanks as she got the door for him.

And, yep. Animal stank. The distant sound of barking. Wallace had taken it easy mode, having the animals brought out to them. That was probably the best idea here, too.

"Okay but does that make him my son?" he said. And then! "Oh my God you're going to be the worst if you get this cat. A me clone."

Said fondly as he sought to lovingly jab her in the side with a finger.

Barley was a really good cat name.
"Yes it absolutely— AHHH!" She jumped and sort of side leapt. Her cat blipped out of existence briefly, that was that that did. Apparently. "Noooooo I'll be the best. I'm gonna love him and be so patient."

Speaking of, the lady at the desk was being patient as they walked in. Asha greeted her, feeling about twenty years younger.

"Hi!! I'm here to see about adopting Barley?? The cat!"
Wow had she never been side jabbed before!! He felt victorious.

Abraham followed her to the counter, felt a pang of worry of like. What if the cat was already adopted? OR. What if the cat hated him specifically for some reason?!

Fine. It would be fine. The woman at the counter was warm and said she'd be right back.

He looked to Asha with his brows raised in suspense.

"You ready?!"
Big big big big shake of her head no. Asha moved to wrap her arms around him and then whisper mischievously sadly in his ear.

"What if he scratches me and I shift and then they put me up for adoption."

Getting scratched was a reality. Abraham had avoided it so far, if mostly because he was avoided by the cat.

"Then we better hope I can afford your adoption fee," he said, then turned his head to kiss her on the cheek.

It wouldn't take long for them to be invited to a side room to meet Barley, and he put a hand on Asha's shoulder to shake it a little.

The carrier was pink, which was rude, and he waited tensely as they opened the metal door to reveal...

Barley, hiding in the back.

"Go say hi," he suggested quietly to Asha.
Abraham would adopt her. She was really touched by that as she glowed beneath a beardy kiss.

She was just all feelings right now. And possibly zero logic. As they moved towards the meeting room, and in he came, and they opened the carrier, and Abraham encouraged her, Asha did what felt appropriate, which was to just... sit on the floor. Her hands folded and pressed against her cheeks.

"Hi Barleyyyy," she cooed really quietly, as if sound would offend him. "You're sooo pretty."

The cat crept a single step forward, but did not make any other moves. It was possible he was just adjusting, actually? But he MOVED and that made her get all teary eyed.
Asha was a natural and all that. Abraham admired it. Frankly, Wallace had been real quick to just sit on the floor and be all cat nice too?

Maybe it was Abraham who was just not so good at it. He moved to sit very carefully beside and slightly behind her, moving to rest his chin on her shoulder.

"Hi Barley," he said, equal quiet. Weird cat. Weird face. Asha seemed to love it, if maybe for Abraham reasons.

The cat didn't get any closer, but. They could all be patient.
Meowsha moved to lap at his cat's face. Her cat felt all sorts of dangerously happily maternal right now.

Which probably meant that whether the cat came out or not, she was going to be taking him home. Which... hopefully would work out!

The cat didn't move, but didn't seem to move backwards either, so. Good.

"How did it go when you met Cleopatra?" she asked him quietly. Oh, hadn't he said they were going to change the name? She'd mostly just call Barley by this name. Or Barlit. Barlittyyyy.

He mostly looked like he wanted to sleep, which was also very Abraham of him.
Hello, licks. He lapped at his own face and sometimes their tongues touched. Gross, jaguar french kissing.

Abraham kept an eye on the cat but tried not to actually look it in the eyes.

"About the same," he said. "Kinda figured that... shy ones won't get adopted as easy. And we're old and boring enough to be real patient."
That was fair. The part about adopting shy cats. Not that he was old >:[

"You mean experienced and calm," she corrected. Asha could stand to be experienced and calm.

Barley was no closer to coming out, and unlike Barlit, she couldn't just... bully him out, right? Right. She just needed to be patient. And maybe... leave food right outside the crate for a few nights to lure him out.
Nope, Abraham was hugely inexperienced with cats, Asha. Old and boring it was. Abraham let the time pass for a bit, just cat watching. Cat watch 2020.

Barley did a turn around in his carrier, like maybe he was going to just point his ass to him? And the jaguar gave an indignant snort.

But then the cat kept going, turned all the way around to creep forward. And inch out.

"There we go," he uttered, afraid to scare him right back in.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no. He was coming out. Asha wanted pet him very lovingly. But Abraham was very still and so she also was very still.

"Oh my god. Oh my god. I love him. I'm gonna cry," she kind of whispered.

She was actually already, vision blurring wetly as she watched.
Asha would cry. No offense but she cried all the time now! Which he'd never comment because it would probably make her cry.

"I bet he already loves you," he said, because he was the worst. They were definitely getting this cat. Or rather, Asha was, and he was supervising.

Barley lifted his little face to sniff the air and took another slow step forward.
"Oh my goddddd."

Help. Heellllppppp. Why would he say that. Was it true? Asha hoped so and she had zero logic to tell her otherwise.

"Look at his little smush face." And his dainty paws. Her jaguar roo'd softly to the little cat. She was pretty sure she hadn't been this torn up (in a good way) since that time Safi had created a tiny jaguar in her hands.

Thankfully the little cat heard no jaguar. Just saw people. His head bobbed slightly, eyes focusing. He did not advance too close, but his neck did stretttttchhhh forward.
He did have a smush face. Abraham tried not to laugh because he was afraid it would startle the cat, but he grinned and carefully pulled his chin away from Asha's shoulder.

"See if he'll sniff your hand," he said quietly, watching that stretch neck. His jaguar was largely ambivalent to it all. This was not a jaguar, but was probably also not a meal. Or like. Wasn't supposed to be a meal.

But Abraham himself felt pretty warm seeing Asha in love with the cat. It honestly seemed really good for her to have that kind of companionship? He'd never really considered it before.
Oh my god she was supposed to extend her hand??? What if he RAN AWAY. Asha made a really tiny keening noise. And did it, very very slowly. Very low to the ground.

Barley flinched, but. He stayed in place. But did not sniff. But didn't run away at least, seeming to watch her with very wide and wary eyes.

"Oh my god," she whispered. "He's still there."
Thank fuck this cat didn't run or he'd feel like a real shithead.

Instead he watched, feeling Asha's tense excitement.

"'Cause he likes you," he whispered. Turned to kiss her very carefully on the shoulder, essentially soundless.

Patience seemed to be everything with these cats. And also jaguars. Ambush predators!

Abraham was the best. And this was.... kind of killing her, in a very good way.

Barley still did not advance, but that was okay. This was all okay. If the extent to a shy cat liking her was that he wasn't running from her, that meant they were starting from that much of a higher ground. It could only improve over time. Right?

"God. I can't believe- thank you for coming with me. He's just. Perfect."
Barley the perfect cat, smush faced and staring. Abraham would have laughed, but it didn't seem super wise.

"Course," he said. "You wanna... give them the thumbs up and we can do paperwork and get him home?"

And then probably repeat this, but in the house. But. At least they'd be outta the shelter and making friendship progress with this cat.
"Yeah," she smiled.

God. She didn't want to get up from here, but it would be good to get home and get him adjusting. Asha tossed a thumbs up literally, and then leaned back towards him and gave him a decent kiss.


That was... when Barley crept forward towards her still outstretched hand, and gave the tiniest carefullest sniff.
It was too perfect, almost, but the dice had chosen it, so they couldn't be blamed too much.

Took a bit of time for paperwork, for next steps, for getting Barley into a cardboard carrier. But eventually they were at the apartment, and he was thankful for its small size, honestly?

"I think you're only supposed to introduce them to one room to start with, so we got it covered," he said with a grin as they stepped into the house. He lowered the carrier to the ground nice and slow as she closed the door behind him.


If she was, he'd opened the cardboard carrier to set Barley loose. (Or probably just... give the skittish cat the chance to be loose, anyway.)
Huff. He was making fun of her, but sweetly. Everything felt very rosy, which was extra nice when they were secretly creatures that had rosettes.

But he was handling the carrier, and she... wasn't very ready, but she nodded her head yes.

When Abraham did open it, it was déjà vu. He took a little step forward, but not heading out yet. "Should I put treats down? Or... just wait?"
Abraham was definitely not a cat expert. He watched Barley for a few seconds after Asha's question. Hmmmm.

"Maybe we can give him some space. Go set up his food and water."

They'd gotten a little of the former from the shelter, but they'd need to get more soon.


Except then Barley was moving at just short of were speed into the apartment, zooming straight for... beneath the bed.

"Well. There he goes!" he huffed, not too shook up after Cleopatra's similar vibe.
Off he went! Asha was only mildly startled, laughing it off. Partially because Abraham stayed calm, too. "Okay, um. I guess we can do set up and see if he ever comes out?" she asked. It seemed like he liked to move when she was distracted from watching him. Like a tea kettle. If you watch it, it never boils.

It was so strange to have an animal not in a tank, honestly. The idea that he was just... there, under her bed. She at least had the sense not to follow him. Poor baby clearly needed his safe space :<
Asha took it well, which was good! Kept mood up. He nodded, eyeing the bed and not seeing the cat under it. At least he'd found somewhere comfy.

"Yeah," he said. "Maybe the sound of kibble in a bowl will be good. We can just use our bowls for now I guess and maybe I can go grab some supplies later while you stay with him?"

Taking a page out of Wallace's book! Slick, pal.

Abraham moved to set the carrier open by the couch, then sought Asha for a squeezing hug. This all felt very positive. Very comfy.

"Got a caaaat," he said warmly. Maybe it would, like. Sleep in bed with her. Jaguar was huffy about that, but it made Abraham feel comforted as fuck. "A Barley."
That was a good plan. And Abraham had just done this so he probably knew what to get. She agreed to it, and then delighted in the squeeze. Hard good squeeze.

"A Barley is ti-ny version of a Bar-lit," she sang a little bit to the tune of a song he probably didn't know, teasing, and truncating it so she could smooch him on his chin. And then she had an IDEA. "Do you think he'll like catnip??"
He didn't recognize the song and assumed Asha cleverly made it up! Scrunching to the kiss, he swayed in place with her in his arms.

Asha would have company in the hours she wasn't socializing with the whole world. Just felt good?And then, of course, catnip.

"If he's based on me then no, but maybe we'll get lucky," he said. "Maybe we can get him some catnip toys."

Asha probably didn't have any of the ones he'd gotten her once upon a time which was... fine.

Yeah! Fine.
Fun fact: she did in fact have all her catnip toys. She just didn't know he'd gotten them for her. They could all be found around the apartment (the very worn out chili pepper in her nightstand, the flamingo in her purse, and the stuffable jaguar cub hiding in between her pillows on the bed).

"I'll have to try some out on him and seeeee. What do you think he likes more, chicken, steak, or fish?"

Or some real exotic thing?

"I feel like... cats like chicken," he said, based on nothing. "Fish is probably gunna stink?"

Abraham was absolutely no expert. He released Asha from hugging to move to the kitchen to grab two bowls, one of which he sought to fill with some nice cool sink water. Delicious!

"What do you think he likes more?"
That was funny. Asha was always pretty sure cats liked fish?? But he was the expert, in her mind. "Well, he's your son, so I think chicken," she decided, being the kind of awful type of loving. She followed along with him like a puppy, or maybe a kitten. Yes. Kitten.

"Have you ever had pets before?" 'Fore the fish, she meant.
Look, Asha, he was going to outline why sharing the same birth month made NO SENSE for this cat being his son, okay, but then she brought up a question that he had to answer instead.

So count your blessings. >:[

"Not really," he said. "Kinda wasn't really responsible enough for one and my mom always had allergies."

Abraham slid the bowl of water to the other side of the counter and then circled back toward the door to grab the bag of kibble and other rando supplies.
Oh, it was good that he knew that? That he wasn't responsible for one. Also the allergies probably helped.

She watched him work, ever curious. Was there a specific amount of food cats got? Or did you just plop some in and let them decide? You had to be so careful with snakes. "Well, I think you're a natural."
Abraham was not a natural. But. He'd watched Wallace do these things, so.

"Thank you," he decided to say. "I think you will be too."

He stared at the side of the bag for portions, wasn't sure if Barley had already eaten today, and decided to just pour out his best guess of food.

"Maybe we could hang out on the balcony a little while and give him the space and some quiet?"
That was a nice compliment return. The next bit wasn't what she'd expected him to offer. The second thing. She was just all sort of I HAVE A CAT NOW in the brain. But she tilted her head in thought, and then decided... yes. Barley should have some space.

"Yeah," she agreed. "I'll put out his litterbox and then we can head there."

Which she would manage to do without making too much of a mess, thankfully.
He'd let her run with the litterbox as he stepped outside, approaching the railing and peering out into downtown. This place really did feel like a perfect fit. He even liked the smallness. Felt... cozy and shit. No more giant fancy houses. No more space no one needed. Just this place that was Asha's, and sometimes his, and now also... Barley's, apparently.

Abraham would greet her with an outstretched arm, intending to lure her in for some kind of side hug assuming she didn't wriggle into something different. (Because he knew she wouldn't turn him down, but she might do something mischievous.)
Asha was very happy to cozy up into the side hug, after she closed the door behind her, of course. Didn't want Barley getting out here and then zooming away somehow. Cats.

But anyway, she was pretty happy right now. Enough not to be a pain. Sort of.

"Oh. I forgot to say, Katya said thanks for scalping the vampire."

Just a little mischief in her grin there.
GROSS. Scalping a vampire. He shuddered a little, involuntarily, because he could almost picture wet hair in his hand again. Hrk.

This did remind him of something he could be a shit about, soooo:

"Does that mean I don't have to apologize to her anymore?"
Big. Big. Big gasp. Asha attempted to pull away from hug in all her shock.


No, she just forgot, but it was definitely going to be his fault as long as she could make it.
As if Abraham had ever had the patience for a long con in his life. Still, he cackled, releasing her from his hug.

"Asha Asha you're going to scare Barley!" he gasped, but his expression indicated he was pretty keen to just be a pain here.

Seriously, though. He owed Katya especially nothing now.
"I'm going to scare BARLIT," she yowled, and gave him a light slap on the arm. Or threatening to, if he moved away. "I'll let you get away with it only if you promise to be nice to her from now on."

He took the slap because she would feel all the agony he did. (So. None. Whatever.)

"What if I do you one better and literally never interact with her again?"

This seemed like a nice and easy way to handle it. Did Asha still have that jaguar art, he wondered.

Another thing best not overthought!

"No. I don't like that," she decided, since apparently it was her choice. A little like a wary cat herself, trying to explain. "Interact politely at least? I love both of you so... it like. Makes me happy if you can just be in the same room together without it being a thing. Just treat her like a little sister."
"...so like she doesn't exist?" he peeped, voice growing higher.

BECAUSE HE DIDN'T HAVE A LITTLE SISTER he sheepish grinned and awaited an assault.
Asha made a very sad face. Big eyes. So sad.
He reached to put a hand on the side of her face because he was a loving bully.

"I was never impolite to her. She's just easily offended. But I'll be extra polite if she finds me while I'm avoiding her. Okay?"

Abraham was never fully backing down on this. There was nothing worse than someone trying to get you to admit to something you hadn't done.
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