Feuilly has a Vine of Bahorel holding up a kitten to his face with a really mean scowl and saying “fight me” only to have the kitten boop his nose
The last second of the vine is just Bahorel’s face softening to a stupid little smile
Jensen’s just about finished shoveling the ramp to his elderly neighbor’s house (because the actual contracted snow removal employees never do it and Jensen would never forgive himself if she had a heart attack or fell trying to do it herself) when he hears a strange noise. He stops, but doesn’t hear anything other than the light swish of drifting snow, so he chalks it up to the wind and goes back to his shoveling. But then he hears it again, a high-pitched squeaking that sounds way too much like distressed animal for Jensen’s liking.
He takes a few slow, cautious steps towards the three cars that are left in the parking lot, which coincidentally happen to be the three closest to Jensen’s door. He bends down and scrutinizes the underside of his elderly neighbor’s Honda, but doesn’t find anything. He moves on to his upstairs neighbor’s BMW and there, behind the left front tire, he finds a tiny gray kitten shivering in the cold.
“Hey there,” Jensen murmurs, very slowly reaching around the tire. He scoops the kitten up in one hand, but adds another when s/he starts to struggle. Jensen pulls her up to his chest and unzips his parka. S/he’s mewling as loudly as she can manage, being half-frozen and all, and Jensen carefully slips her inside his coat to rest in his flannel shirt pocket. “Let’s get you inside and warmed up, okay?”
Jensen throws the shovel into a pile of snow, where it sticks straight-up. He’ll get back to the shoveling later. First, he’s got a tiny life to save.
He opens his front door and kicks his boots off. Then he grabs an empty cardboard box that he was planning to take to the dumpster and collects all the clean towels from his bathroom. He sets the box on the kitchen counter and throws the towels in the dryer, setting it on medium. Then he removes the kitten from his jacket and sets her in the box. He grabs the now-warm towels after a couple of minutes and wraps her up in them. As he’s working, he notices that she’s wearing a collar with a bell and a tiny tag. He flips on the pendant lights and peers at the tag. It’s a girl, apparently, named Jinnie, and a phone number wraps around the edge of the round tag. Jensen types the number into his phone.
The voice that answers seems to be half-asleep. “‘Lo?”
“Hey, um, I think I have your cat.”
“Oh my God!” The voice suddenly increases in energy and volume. “You mean she got out? Fuck, I didn’t even realize. Where are you?”
“The Summit View townhouses,” replies Jensen. “I’m in one of the condos.”
“She didn’t go far,” her owner replies. “Thank God. I’m in 8423.”
“8435,” replies Jensen. “Come on over. I’m trying to warm her back up, but all I’ve got are towels I threw in the dryer.”
“I’ll be there in, like, two minutes.”
“Okay, see you then.” Jensen waits for the line to click off and sets down his phone. “Your daddy’s very worried about you,” he tells the teeny feline. “”He should rename you Houdini—you’re apparently quite the escape artist.”
Jinnie just gazes at him with wide eyes and mews again. Jensen pockets his phone and moves the box to the dining room table. He starts walking toward the front door just as the doorbell rings.
Jensen opens the door to what is quite possibly the hottest guy he’s ever seen. He’s wearing a Penguins hoodie, sweatpants, and flip-flops despite the single-digit temperature and double-digit wind speeds, and Jensen has to resist the urge to just grab him and drag him inside. “Get in here, you’re gonna freeze too!”
The guy steps over the threshold and Jensen shoves the door closed. He brushes drifted snow out of the shaggy brown hair that’s dangling in unruly curls over his eyebrows and ears. “I came as fast as I could.” He kicks his wet flip-flops off on the mat next to Jensen’s wet boots. “I’m Jared, by the way. I just moved in three weeks ago.”
“I’m Jensen. Nice to meet you.” Jensen gestures toward the dining room. “I think she’s okay. Do you know how long she might have been out there?”
Jared drags a hand over his eyes. “I opened the door to talk to my neighbor around 7:30, I think? It must have been then.”
Jensen glances at the clock. “It’s only a little after 9:00 now, so that’s not so bad.”
Jared reaches into the box and strokes her between the ears. His thumb is longer than her head is wide. If he’s proportional, he’s gotta be hung like a fucking horse. He scoops her up in one massive paw, towels and all, and touches his nose to hers. “You can’t go running out in the snow, baby girl,” he says, but it sounds more like praise than admonishment. “If Jensen hadn’t found you, you’d be a Popsicle.” His voice breaks. “I can’t lose you too.”
Jensen suddenly feels like he’s intruding on something. He walks into the kitchen and waits a beat. “You want a cup of coffee?”
“That’d be great, thanks.” Jared sinks down into one of Jensen’s dining chairs, which is not small by any means, but looks child-size under Jared’s hulking frame.
Jensen pops a k-cup into the machine and sets a snowman mug he never bothered putting away after Christmas under the spout. Once the coffee’s ready, he brings the mug over to the table. “I’ve got French vanilla and caramel creamers, if you want some.”
“The caramel one would be great.” He’s still cuddling Jinnie close to his chest, and when Jensen brings the creamer bottle and a spoon, Jared does it all with his free hand even though it takes twice as long.
“Have you had her long?” Jensen asks, just to break the awkward silence.
Jared sips his coffee. “Three weeks. I, uh, lost my dog about two months ago, and my friend found these feral kittens under her porch, and she just brought one over with a litter box and a bag of food and told me it was kitten therapy.”
Jensen smiles at that. “You seem pretty attached.”
“I never had a cat before,” replies Jared. “I always had dogs, from the time I was born, pretty much. But she’s so sweet and trusting and she just—she really needs me.”
“And you need her as much as she needs you.”
Jared nods. “Yeah, I kinda do.” He looks up. “Do you—um, are you going to a job later?”
“Yeah, I have to be there at 10:30.”
“What time do you get off?”
Jared looks up and tucks a lock of damp hair behind his ear. “You want to come over for dinner tonight? We could get a pizza and hang out?”
Jensen takes one more look at Jared’s massive hands and shy smile and grins so wide he feels the stretch in his jaw. “Yeah, Jared, I’d love to.”