Word count: 1600
Notes: Fits my Primeval Bingo (November card) square ‘Character transformed into an animal’.
Becker frowned as he stepped into the office, wondering what on earth everyone was staring at. Connor and Abby were already in the room, both of them turning when he approached.
“We weren’t sure who else to call…” Connor began. “Not really sure what you’re going to do – I mean, this is weird – but-”
Becker sighed. “Connor, for goodness’ sake! What’s the matter?”
Connor cringed as he turned and pointed. Becker peered over the desk to look.
Sitting on the chair behind the desk, nestled into what looked like a suit jacket and eyeing them with a haughty expression, was a black and white cat. Well, a kitten, Becker thought. It had little white paws and white whiskers, big blue eyes and a tiny white smudge under its chin that made it look rather adorable.
“I don’t understand.” Becker frowned. “Is it a stray or something?”
Abby shushed him hurriedly as the kitten narrowed its eyes and attempted to glare at him.
“Don’t make him mad!”
Connor indicated discreetly to the kitten. “Lester!”
Becker looked around. “Oh, is it his kitten?”
“No, the kitten is Lester. I swear I’m not just making this up, Becker, honest! Abby can back me up on this.”
Abby nodded. “We were talking to him and then the doohickey that we brought back from the future anomaly last week, the one he had on his desk, did something. He picked it up to look at it and it flashed so brightly that I closed my eyes and, when I opened them again, well, there he was.”
“His clothes were on the chair and the kitten was just sitting there,” Connor reiterated.
“Let me get this straight… You’re telling me that the device that Connor brought back – which he swore was powerless and, if I remember correctly, completely dead – turned Lester into a kitten?” Becker rolled his eyes. “That’s absurd. What kind of idiot do you take me for?” he asked, turning to leave. Pausing, he turned back and scooped up the kitten from the pile of clothing, taking it with him. “Shame on you two, messing with the poor little thing like this. And you’d better get Lester’s suit cleaned before he finds out that you were using it as a kitten bed or he’ll be furious.”
Becker carried the kitten to the break room where he set it on the table as he made himself some tea and then rummaged through the fridge. Pouring some milk into a saucer and warming it for a few seconds in the microwave, just enough to take the chill off, he put it in front of the kitten.
The kitten merely turned its nose up at the milk before padding across the table to Becker’s mug.
“Hey, that’s mine,” Becker told it, hastily pulling the mug out of reach as the kitten attempted to dip its little pink tongue into the tea. “The milk is for you.”
The kitten turned its wide eyes on him and let out a pathetic meow.
“That’s not going to work.”
Becker poured out the milk and replaced it with tea, putting the saucer back in front of the kitten. This time, the little creature lapped the saucer clean.
Connor might be heading for a padded cell, Becker thought, but he was right about one thing. There was something weird about the kitten.
Since he couldn’t get a sensible answer out of Connor as to who owned the kitten, Becker ended up taking it home with him at the end of the day. The little creature seemed to have taken a liking to him, purring each time he picked it up and cuddling happily into his arms as he carried it.
As with the milk, the kitten refused to eat the cat food that Becker had bought for it on the way home. The woman in the pet store had assured him that it the best, and specially designed for young kittens, even as she cooed over the kitten that Becker was currently holding. He’d had no choice but to take it into the pet store with him; it had yowled loudly when he attempted to leave it in the car. The kitten had backed away from her, pressing against Becker’s chest and trying to burrow inside his coat to get away from her.
“So you don’t drink milk and now you won’t eat cat food… I suppose you want some of my roast chicken instead?” Becker asked the kitten. When its ears perked up, he cut some up into tiny pieces and gave it to the kitten. Seeing it still eyeing his plate, he added a couple of pieces of chopped up carrot and a few peas to the bowl, watching in amusement as the kitten dug in. Tucking into his own dinner, Becker let out a laugh; there was just something funny about watching a kitten eating peas.
Becker and the kitten fell into a routine of eating together – always the same meal, some of it cut up small enough for the kitten’s tiny mouth – at the table as the kitten refused to eat on the floor, going to work together, even sleeping together. The first night, he had tried to leave it on the sofa to sleep but had been woken up a short time later by a miserable squeak that the kitten let out when it attempted to climb up onto the bed, falling off and landing on the floor. Peering over the edge, he saw it sitting and watching him with a pitiful expression. He was never going to get any sleep, he thought, reaching down and lifting it onto the bed. The kitten purred happily as it snuggled into the top of the bedding, curling into a tight ball, leaned against Becker’s arm, and settling down to sleep.
When he took it into the ARC, the kitten would wander off if he forgot to close his office door, but it always headed for the same place. He would find it in Lester’s office, curled up on his chair.
“What are we going to do if he doesn’t turn back?”
Becker turned to see Connor standing behind him in the doorway. He’d come to retrieve the kitten for the second time that day; it was time to go home.
“Lester, I mean,” Connor continued. “We’ve been telling everyone he’s busy or in a meeting if they call for him, but we can’t keep doing that forever. How are we meant to explain this to people?”
“Connor, for the last time, that is a kitten. Okay, maybe it has some really weird habits, like the tea-drinking, but it’s still just a kitten.”
Connor shook his head. “It’s Lester,” Connor insisted. “Look at him – only Lester can look that annoyed.”
Becker turned to glance at the kitten and had to admit that the expression it wore bore a close resemblance to the look of irritation that was familiar on Lester’s face. No. He’d been hanging around Connor too long if this was starting to seem plausible.
He picked up the kitten and stroked his finger over the soft fur of its back, smiling as it snuggled against him.
Becker awoke suddenly when he felt the bed move beside him, turning over and coming face to face with… Oh crap. Connor had actually been right about this?
“Becker, would you mind explaining what I am doing in your bed?” Lester tugged bedding around himself. “And why am I not wearing any clothes?”
Maybe if he just stuck his head under the pillow, pretended to be asleep, Becker thought…
“This bedroom seems awfully familiar,” Lester continued, looking around with a frown. “Yet I remember it being much bigger for some reason. Becker?”
Becker reluctantly opened his eyes. This was going to be a long night.
Lester managed to completely avoid Becker for the next four days. At least he had stopped threatening to have Becker, Connor, Abby or all of them committed when they attempted to explain about his transformation. Becker was sure that Lester remembered more than he was letting on, though.
The trouble was that Becker missed the kitten. It had been nice to have some company at the end of the day as opposed to going home to an empty house. He also missed Lester; before this, the two of them had been friends, having grown closer over the past few months.
Well, enough was enough, he thought as he walked into Lester’s office as the other man was getting ready to leave for the night.
“Yes, Becker, what is it? I was just leaving.”
Becker closed the door and leaned on it to make sure that Lester couldn’t escape.
“For the past week, I’ve had this little kitten to look after. He came to work with me, shared my dinner, kept me company and I was rather fond of him,” Becker told him. “Thing is, he’s still here only he won’t talk to me. I miss him.”
“You remember, don’t you?”
He could see Lester getting ready to deny it before the other man seemed to change his mind. “Not at first, but it started coming back to me,” he admitted. “I remember you taking care of me. Thank you.”
Becker smiled. “So, how about we head back to my house and I’ll make you dinner. I might even let you sleep in my bed again, if you’re good.”
After barely a moment’s thought, Lester picked up his jacket and followed Becker out of the office.