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"The Naming of Cats" - John/Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson - PG13 [Jan. 16th, 2011|07:08 pm]
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Title: The Naming of Cats
Pairing/Characters: John/Sherlock, Mrs. Hudson
Rating: PG-13
Notes: This is a sequel to Something Completely Different (i.e. The One Where There Are Kittens Running Around the Mortuary). I had promised this follow-up not only to everyone following the 31 Drabbles of Solstice, but also to various and sundry of you still reeling from this set. After all, the Naming of Cats is not only a difficult matter, but an essential one (we may defer to Eliot even in this).
Summary: "Doesn't suit her," [Sherlock] says. "We'll discuss it over dinner."


They don't head to dinner first, because John finds it necessary to point out to Sherlock that, no matter where they go, a kitten, even one as polite as the tiny calico asleep in his coat, probably won't be welcome on the premises.

"We could go to Angelo's," Sherlock suggests, but John can tell by the way he shoves his hands even deeper into his pockets that he's already accepted defeat. "We haven't gone in at least a fortnight, and the staff aren't likely to mind."

"No, but the other patrons are. We'd do well to stay on Angelo's good side."

"It was an accident," Sherlock insists. "I'd had no intention—"

"—of spilling a pocketful of potentially hazardous tissue samples on the floor, I know," John finishes for him. "We're probably on the dining equivalent of a no-fly list."

"They were bagged and labeled," Sherlock mutters. "And in no danger of thawing."

Inside John's coat, the calico stirs, tentatively poking her head out to peer at them.

"If they hadn't been labeled," says John, wryly, "we might've been in the clear."

"She's not labeled," Sherlock points out petulantly, indicating the kitten.

"Sherlock, we'll be lucky if we can find a cabbie who'll let us take her."

"Then put her back to sleep, because I'm not walking the whole way back to Baker Street," Sherlock tells him, turning up the collar of his coat. "It's freezing."

John knows that the first thing they ought to do is take the kitten to a vet, but it's nearly six o'clock in the evening, and he can't imagine that a standard check-up on a seemingly healthy kitten would count as an after-hours emergency. It takes them ten minutes to coax the calico back to sleep by way of petting and scritching, during which time John watches Sherlock's delighted expression with no small amount of wonder. Their silent cab ride to Baker Street is interrupted only by the kitten's loud, content purring, which the driver thankfully can't hear over the sound of the engine.

When they arrive, Mrs. Hudson is waiting for them.

"Oh, let me see her!" she exclaims, holding open the door.

John unzips his coat once they're inside, handing the sleepy-eyed kitten over into Mrs. Hudson's care. She struggles a little bit at first, mewling in distress, and John can't help but wince as her needle-sharp claws catch in the chiffon of Mrs. Hudson's blouse. But Mrs. Hudson pays the damage no mind, instead gathering the calico to her chest, murmuring, "Shhh, shhh." The kitten calms at this, yawning, and tilts her head up to study the newest human in her life. She touches her nose to Mrs. Hudson's chin.

"She reminds me of our Gladys when she was small," says Mrs. Hudson. "That cat lived almost twenty years. She was the best mouser we ever had."

Sherlock clears his throat. "About the rent—"

John wants to clap a hand over Sherlock's mouth, but it's too late for that.

Mrs. Hudson sighs, exasperated, but continues scratching behind the kitten's ears.

"I'll give you a month's free trial," she says. "In the meantime, get poor John some supper, Sherlock, for crying out loud! I can hear his stomach all the way over here."

"That's thoughtful of you," John says, reaching, "but we ought to get her settled."

"I'll take care of her," says Mrs. Hudson, retreating back the hall. "Just this once."

"Thank goodness," says Sherlock, tugging John along by the wrist. "I'm starving."



*



"Cleo?" John asks, struggling to wind some noodles around his chopsticks. "Harry kept a calico koi out in the garden pond when we were kids. That was its name."

"Are you implying," Sherlock asks, "that she reminds you of a fish?"

"No," protests John, weakly, "but—"

"Your lack of creativity with regard to important matters never fails to astonish."

"Fine," John says, stabbing his chopsticks in for another go. "You name her."

"But we both ought to have a say," Sherlock points out. "She's ours."

John covers his eyes with his free hand, applying pressure to his temples with pinkie and thumb. Sherlock's public displays of affection are far more often verbal than physical, and they never fail to catch him off his guard. He sighs.

"What sort of a name appeals to you most? Simple? Elaborate? Old-fashioned?"

"It's not a question of what appeals. It's a question of what fits."

"She sleeps a lot," replies John, laughing. "But that's hardly helpful."

"She's young," Sherlock reminds him. "She'll grow out of that. She seems intelligent."

"Might turn mischievous," John murmurs, frowning. "Doesn't bode well for the rent."

"She's already quite attached to you. Didn't trust Mrs. Hudson at first. Wise."

"She's only a few weeks old, and you're saying she's wise?"

Sherlock hums, and it's a sound of neither agreement, nor disagreement.

"Hypatia? No, that's morbid," he sighs. "And she doesn't look at all like a Minerva."

John taps the edge of his dish thoughtfully. "Mo? After Molly. She did rescue them."

Sherlock wrinkles his nose in distaste. "Ridiculous," he snorts.

"There's nothing wrong with namesakes," says John, somewhat defensively.

"It's a kitten," Sherlock replies. "Not an infant."

Thank God, John thinks. We'd never manage.

"She's lucky," Sherlock murmurs. "If this were ancient Rome, she'd be called Felicia."

"My turn to object," John says. "She is lucky, but that sounds ridiculous."

"Yes, it does," Sherlock agrees, and leaves it at that.

They finish eating in silence. Sherlock pays the tab without any hint of resentment, however, and John breathes a sigh of relief as Sherlock takes his arm once they're outside. What's gotten into Sherlock, he can't guess, but this much is certain: he's more taken with the kitten than he'll ever let on, and if Sherlock can find room in that inexplicable heart of his even after letting John in, then so be it.

"She's upstairs," Mrs. Hudson whispers, seeing them in. "Poor little dear, all tuckered out. I've sorted out a litter pan and some food with the help of that nice couple next door. They've got a tabby, you know. Aslan. He hunts birds in my garden."

"Thank you, Mrs. Hudson," Sherlock says. She's gone again before John can speak.

The cardboard box is lined with shredded up flannels (an old pair of the ill-fated Mr. Hudson's pyjamas, perhaps), and the kitten has made herself a nest of them. She's asleep on her back with her front paws drawn up under her chin. They stand and watch her for several minutes. Finally, Sherlock exhales, turns, and kisses John.

"What was that for?" John asks, tracing the line of Sherlock's jaw.

"Humoring me," murmurs Sherlock, and then, with a kiss slower and more lingering than the first, Bed. John had never supposed that assenting to a pet would earn him romantic credit. Good to remember. Perhaps Sherlock will want a fish tank next.

"I'm taken with her, too," John says. "It's not just you."

"No," Sherlock murmurs, frowning, and the mood dissolves a little. "Not just us."

"Of course, of course," says John, a touch impatiently. "Molly and Mrs. Hudson, too."

"Mrs. Hudson," Sherlock says, smiling the way he does when he's been clever.

"Out with it," John prompts, poking him in the ribs.

"And you're right, there's nothing wrong with namesakes."

John raises an eyebrow. "What—Gladys?"

"Precisely," says Sherlock, pecking John on the lips, and then, aloud this time, "Bed."
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Comments:
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[User Picture]From: lucifer2004xx
2011-01-16 07:20 pm (UTC)

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sweet.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:51 pm (UTC)

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Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: katarzi
2011-01-16 07:23 pm (UTC)

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♥ kiiiiiittens.

Random, but my aunt had a calico named Cleo. Lasted forever, also very smart/evil and enjoyed taking things out my my uncle's hoard/basement and tossing them up the stairs. (It was her way of saying "there is a box of hammers in front of my litter, please move it. Or I will keel you.")
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:50 pm (UTC)

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Calicos and Siamese, swear to God. They're the devil, but they're so much fun.

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: mresundance
2011-01-16 07:31 pm (UTC)

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Haha, love how John basically gets sex because he agreed to adopting a kitten with Sherlock. Totally sweet and in character and adorable.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:50 pm (UTC)

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Well, Sherlock does know when he's pushed John's limits, and he has the decency to let John know his long-suffering is appreciated ;) Thank you!
[User Picture]From: songgoeson
2011-01-16 07:33 pm (UTC)

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Oh god this is utterly adorable. My head canon for Sherlock is that he can't associate with people very well but he loves animals so this totally hit that button. Love it!

My cat is called Ernie, which amuses me cos it makes him sound like an old man ^^
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:49 pm (UTC)

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I do think Sherlock is probably very good with animals. And probably better with children than I tend to assume, too. They can be a lot less predictable than adults.

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: mysterypoet66
2011-01-16 07:53 pm (UTC)

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D'aww. The naming of cats is a horribly tricksy thing.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:48 pm (UTC)

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And the naming of aquarium fish is even tricksier.

Thank you, dear!
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[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:48 pm (UTC)

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Thank you!
[User Picture]From: sciosophia
2011-01-16 08:10 pm (UTC)

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Gorgeous, completely. I love the personality you've given her too, lovely!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:47 pm (UTC)

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I've never known a cat without a personality, so coming up with one isn't all that difficult. Cats are so strikingly like people, in many ways. Then again, you're talking to someone who swears that each one of her aquarium fish has a personality, too...

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: beansidhe_baby
2011-01-16 08:23 pm (UTC)

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Gladys! I see whut you did thar :)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:46 pm (UTC)

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You and everybody else. It's hardly subtle ;)

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: random_nexus
2011-01-16 08:50 pm (UTC)

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*rubs against fic, purring, makes biscuits on its tummy and then settles in for a long cuddle*

<3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:46 pm (UTC)

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I miss having a cat. Mrrrrf.

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: ginbitch
2011-01-16 09:16 pm (UTC)

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Awwwww! So lovely! And she was _nearly_ a Mo!!!
<3


Great seeing you last night and that game is _amazing_! Much hilarity ensued! It is now named after you in our household, in honour of your kick ass skills! not to mention prowess with a plastic sword...! <3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:46 pm (UTC)

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I didn't mention it, but that game's named after me in York, too, because I never came up with a name for it and just have the bad habit of teaching it to people and leaving them to their own devices ;) Isn't it hilarious, though? I'm in it for the unbelievable LULZ at the end of each round!

It was great seeing you, too *hugs*
[User Picture]From: girlingoldboots
2011-01-16 09:18 pm (UTC)

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"It's a kitten," Sherlock replies. "Not an infant."
Thank God, John thinks. We'd never manage.


Good call, John. And Kittens and Sherlock are adorable. It's uncanny how cats can recognise their own.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:44 pm (UTC)

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And recognize when to stay the hell away, too.

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: poetic_self
2011-01-16 09:26 pm (UTC)

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There can never be enough kitten!fic.
[User Picture]From: jerel
2011-01-17 01:27 am (UTC)

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IAWTC.

So cute!
[User Picture]From: lawless523
2011-01-16 09:33 pm (UTC)

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Lovely and funny.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:43 pm (UTC)

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Thanks!
[User Picture]From: alltoseek
2011-01-16 09:44 pm (UTC)

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From death!fic to fluff, she does it all!
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:43 pm (UTC)

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If I didn't switch over to fluff, I was probably going to drown in all that sorrow.

Thank you very much <3
[User Picture]From: caliena
2011-01-16 09:45 pm (UTC)

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I love it... kitten ;_;
Baby kitten ;_;
Beautiful, and the way, Sherlock's love for everything seems to grow because of her is superb :)

Hum...
When we got to 'choose' out cat, we looked at some kittens, but the one we actually did take in the end hid behind a few bars... and then ran out to jump my little brother straight in the face.
Because his nickname at that time was "Angel" I decided to call the kitten Lucifer...
Now our Luci is 12 years old but still likes to creep up on you and jump you on various body parts...
Nameing can be easy :D
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:42 pm (UTC)

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I haven't had a cat in about six years now, due to the fact that landlords here in the UK seem pretty dead-set against the idea. That'll change, though. I'm determined.

Thank you. And Luci sounds darling.
[User Picture]From: linda3m
2011-01-16 09:48 pm (UTC)

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I am filled with a sense of Awwwwwww! That was adorable and sweet and yet you still managed to keep John and Sherlock in character which is tough when you have a military man and a sociopath dealing with a very tiny kitten.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:41 pm (UTC)

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Military men and kittens actually go quite well together, in my experience; some of the most unexpected cat-lovers I've ever known have either been active or ex-military! As for Sherlock, well, it helps that I don't believe he's a full-on sociopath. Tendencies, perhaps, far more of it is for show than he'd like to let on ;) And even if I was convinced he was a sociopath, I still think he'd fare quite well with a cat, for some reason.

Glad you enjoyed this - thanks!
[User Picture]From: gayalondiel
2011-01-16 09:52 pm (UTC)

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Awww!

Brandy *points to icon* is on my lap, approving thoroughly.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:39 pm (UTC)

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Awww!

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: littlegothsin
2011-01-16 10:04 pm (UTC)

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Aw, the first suggestion made me smile, my childhood cat was a Cléo (short for Cléopatra) ^^

Sweet and funny, thank you for that <3
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:39 pm (UTC)

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I always thought it would make a good name for a cat, but I've never had a cat it would suit!

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: zephyr_macabee
2011-01-16 10:05 pm (UTC)

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Very sweet; love the kitty fic.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:38 pm (UTC)

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Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: teithiwr
2011-01-16 10:11 pm (UTC)

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Awww. This was a nice fuzzy-feelings read after your previous heart-wrenching. :)

I love the fact that the neighbours' cat is called Aslan.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:37 pm (UTC)

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I've never known anyone who named their cat Aslan, which kind of surprises me, because I know a lot of Narnia fans! Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: bugeyedmonster
2011-01-16 11:12 pm (UTC)

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Awww...

Yup, needed this after 'that set'.

I'm always up for more kitten fic.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:37 pm (UTC)

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I'm actually not sure what will turn up next, although I don't think it'll be kitten-fic. My brain keeps playing Russian roulette with my writing docket. Maddening!

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: sirona_gs
2011-01-16 11:25 pm (UTC)

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Best thing that's happened to me all day, reading this. SO. MUCH. LOVE. Something about Sherlock, John and kittens makes my heart all gooey and me all happy! I hope there's more to come in this series! <333
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:36 pm (UTC)

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There may be, but I have some other stuff to attend to that's more pressing (i.e. if I don't start DM Series #4 soon I'll be very cross with myself...) I keep getting distracted by the kink-meme, though, seeing prompts that look like excellent mini-projects indeed.

Thank you for reading :)
[User Picture]From: sethra2000
2011-01-16 11:44 pm (UTC)

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LOl, so cute and fluffy..... like a kitten.

I adopted a cat whose owner had burdened him with the name Booboo would you beleive..*shudder*. No cat of mine was going to be stuck with that, so I remaned him Merlin, cause he's black and fluffy and has big eyes, and gets into al sorts of trouble, usually of his own making... now all I need is an Arthur to make it perfect.
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:35 pm (UTC)

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Over time, I've adopted two cats that already had names, and said names suited them just fine. Which is fairly lucky, I suppose!

Thank you <3
[User Picture]From: clarkoholic
2011-01-17 12:13 am (UTC)

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adorable fluffy sweetness! Just what I needed tonight!

And now I'm dying for you to write kidfic. Just imagine! ♥_♥
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:34 pm (UTC)

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Do you know, several other people have done kid-fic, and very well, too; I'm not sure that I'd genuinely be able to add something to that particular sub-genre. I do like kid-fic when it's well done, though, and John and Sherlock make that very challenging!

Thank you :)
[User Picture]From: moonbeamdancer
2011-01-17 12:31 am (UTC)

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It isn't just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I'm as mad as a Hatter, when I tell you a cat must have three different names.


...

I think you win the internets for life for quoting CATS and now making me need to go read this fic...


I was right, freakin' adorable.

Edited at 2011-01-17 12:43 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: irisbleufic
2011-01-17 04:33 pm (UTC)

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Well, I was quoting Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which is the collection on which CATS is based ;) I saw the musical once and didn't enjoy it nearly as much as I enjoy some of Lloyd Webber's other work. Eliot, however, is always brilliant. Or nearly so.

Thank you <3
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