Title: 5 times Merlin fell even deeper in love and 1 time he learned he was not the only one. Part 2: Cat man to the rescue.
Pairing/s: (pre) Merlin/Percival
Character/s: Merlin, Percival
Summary: Kittens need saving, who you gonna call?
Word Count: ~1000
Author's Notes: Bad title, sorry...
Follow up to Four beddings and a funeral
The cheery tune of 'Bare necessities' rang out loud, tearing Merlin from his sleep. Percy's ringtone. Arthur made some very angry but, luckily, unintelligible noises from his side of the room.
“E'oh?” Merlin croaked into the phone.
“She's having kittens!” Percy's voice was clearly agitated.
Merlin groaned and tried to focus on the numbers on his clock radio. He'd been asleep for 10 minutes or so. Great.
“Who's having kittens? What did you do?”
“In the laundry!”
Merlin heart clenched painfully. There was a thought he hadn't been able to consider yet.
“You did who in the laundry?”
“What? There's kittens in my laundry, Merlin. Outside. What if they fall down? What do I do?”
Arthur's complaints were now getting very clear and detailed.
“I don't... You want me to come over? Arthur's being whiny, he's got a test tomorrow and – Yeah, I'll be there soon. Bye.”
Merlin put his phone down with a sigh. He left his warm and inviting bed and started searching for something to wear using his phone as a torch. He found some socks. The jeans rode a bit low on his hips, but he couldn't be bothered to find a belt. He fumbled his way to a hoodie and pulled it on. Arthur groaned from his bed in protest to the mucking about. It briefly reminded Merlin of other times Arthur had groaned and moaned for very other reasons. He killed that memory quickly. Stupid sleepy brain. Kittens. Why had Percy called him about kittens? Percy never mentioned he had a cat.
The walk to Percival's flat helped clear his head a little bit. He was still far from bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when he arrived, but he smiled when Percy opened the door and he hung up his jacket like a good house guest.
“I..uh.. think you hoodie's inside out, Merls.”
“Oh. Sorry. Was in my boxers when you called, I just threw something on in the dark.”
At least it hadn't been too obvious for the few people he had met on the street, but in normal light and without a jacket he did appear rather foolish. Merlin pulled the hoodie over his head to turn it the right side out. He fumbled a bit with one sleeve, internally cursing his clumsy ways, before he put the hoodie back on. At least his socks were nearly a match. One brown and one black.
He ran his fingers through his hair despite knowing it was useless, he looked like something the cat dragged in regardless. Which brought him back to the reason he was there. Percival stood there and seemed stunned, probably wondering what possessed him to think that Merlin could be of any help.
“Kittens, or something like that?” Merlin gently prompted, hoping Percy would stop gaping and get to the point.
“Yes!” Percy snapped out of it, and moved towards the window in the living room, signaling Merlin to follow him.
“There.” Percival whispered as he peered through his curtains like a snooping neighbour spying on people passing by. Then he made room for Merlin so he could do the same. Outside on the fire escape, underneath a makeshift clothesline, lay a black and white cat curled up on a pile of fabric.
“That's not a kitten.” Merlin whispered mostly for Percival's sake, he doubted the cat cared.
“Yeah, no, that's the mom. There's at least three of them. All born today I think.”
Merlin squinted a bit, trying to make them out. It was an awfully bad place to raise a litter, three stories up and steel grating everywhere.
“Percival,” Merlin said in a serious voice. “Have you been feeding strays?”
“Just the one.” Percival sounded very defensive. Merlin didn't have the heart to give him any lessons. He had done his share of that too and gotten quite a few bruises and bites from in his days. But Hunith had only scolded him for being careless, never for being kind.
“Sure she doesn't belong to anyone?”
“Don't think so, I hung up posters once.”
Merlin felt a bit like crying. Of course Percy would keep feeding a scruffy looking cat and make posters. He just kept turning more and more wonderful while Merlin can't even dress himself properly. Well, he wasn't called here to promote himself as boyfriend material anyway. He was just the most likely candidate to know something about cats. Best to focus on that.
“I assume you mean to keep them.” Merlin didn't even pause to ask for confirmation. “So we have to get them inside. Mom first. If we start messing with the little ones she might run away, thinking they are gone for good.”
Percival nodded and dutifully followed Merlin's suggestions. An frustrating hour later the mom had been cornered into the kitchen area with Merlin acting as a barrier, while Percival brought in the tiny kittens and their little nest.
The mother crept by the walls nearly flattening her body to the floor. The boys stayed back, and eventually she found her kittens. She settled into their new bed to care for them and stared fiercely out into her new home.
Percival and Merlin let out a sigh of relief.
“I guess I'll be tiptoeing around for some time now.” Percival whispered.
Merlin covered a yawn with his hand before replying. “Maybe, or maybe she'll get used to you. In any case you have a chance of making sure the kittens are healthy and socialised.”
Percy hummed in reply.
An awkward silence settled.
“I should get back now. Can still get some hours of sleep before I have to get up again.”
“Yeah, I should get a toilet box ready and some water.” Percival said. “I got some stuff from earlier. I tried to get her in last summer, but she wasn't having it... Thank you. Really.”
Merlin thought Percy looked a bit mournful as he closed the door, but that was probably just wishful thinking on Merlin's behalf.