“Honestly guys, I’m not sure why I’m even asking the question but I guess not everyone here has the same taste as far as pets are concerned. I’m not even going to give a list, I just want to know what kind of animal each and every one of you would pick if you could have just one.” Yael shot him an outraged look though it melted quickly enough into an amused one.

“One is never enough. The more the merrier though with seven we have our hands full. I’m a cat person.” He turned his gaze to his companion and housemate, his significant other and Quentin rolled his eyes with a soft chuckle.

“I don’t even know why I’m answering this. I thought I wouldn’t like animals at all but Yael managed to turn me into a lover of all things feline. We’ even considered a Savannah for the very distant future.”

He turned his gaze to the seat next to him, Eoghan who’d asked the question and the man shrugged, turning his gaze elsewhere on the table. “Well Lex obviously has a thing for snakes, ssssss, and I don’t know, I’ve always thought bats were pretty cute but a bit unconventional, I’m a bit torn between cats and dogs. No parrots please.”

At those words, Lex laughed and Eoghan shot him a dirty look. He rubbed his wrist gently in memory.

“Well, I have Ophé at home, though she’s mostly Magali’s dog and I love her to bits. I always thought I’d be more of a cat person but I’ve never had one before in my life. I’ve spent some time over at Quentin’s and Yael’s and their cats are awesome, I think I’d have one of both, I couldn’t really decide.” Cyrille’s words were thoughtful as he sipped at his water. The meal had been wonderful, different. He couldn’t recall when he’d last had eaten a perfectly cooked fish steak. Just seared on either sides and still perfectly pink in the middle.

“Cats are independent, I think I’d do well with a cat but they don’t play fetch. I’ve liked the dhole for years though, they called it the Indian wild dog last I tried to find pictures of it. It’s pretty endangered though, which is just flat out sad.” Agni shrugged his shoulders, poking at the leftover bit of salad on his plate. The fish he’d really appreciated, the green-stuff not so much though he was certain it was more from the dressing that had been on it more than anything else.

“Mira?” Eoghan tilted his head slightly to the side. The teen blinked and looked up to him a moment, as if startled out of whatever it was he’d been thinking about.

“What? Oh sorry. I don’t know. Pangolins are pretty sweet but I don’t know how well that’d do as a pet. I think I’d probably go with the Indian flying fox but I can’t imagine that’d make much of a pet either. I don’t know, I like animals in a pretty rounded up way.” He shrugged, offering a sheepish smile.

All eyes turned to Armin blinked and stared back in turn though he glanced more than stared, looking from one to the other. He shrugged, unable to really hide the uncertain smile from his lips. “I’ve never been one for animals, mostly in that way that I know I wouldn’t be able to really take care of them in the way they might deserve if I had one.”

“That aside, if you could have one animal as your companion until the end, isn’t there one in particular you’d want?”

“Well, unlike you, I’ve yet to have a bad experience with birds and I’ve always liked the sight of the macaws, they’re so beautifully bright.”

Eoghan screwed up his nose, as if he’d just smelled up something bad and he stuck his tongue out somewhat. “Though to be fair, it was pouring outside, that bird was absolutely scared out of its mind and it did not like being anywhere near Lex, I suppose my bad experience shouldn’t really be a bad experience. At least now I know what to get all of you guys for the holidays.”

A chorus of ‘what?!’ echoed in the room and Eoghan laughed, shaking his head. “I’m just kidding, I was thinking more along the lines of little crystal figurines in the shape of something, I don’t know, I still have some time ahead of me.”

“You need to eat your veggies, Agni!” Eoghan called out as he finished picking up the plates, Lex and Yael were already side by side in the kitchen, washing and drying.

“Bleh, your dressing sucked!”

“Agni!” Mira’s voice was absolutely shocked as he looked at his brother, his eyes wide and surprised.

“No, let him Mira.” Eoghan turned from one twin to the other. “The issue with your statement, Agni, is that this is the exact same dressing I used last week and you gobbled your salad up completely. I’d have to say it might have been more the choice of salad itself and not what was on it.”

Agni ducked his head, mumbled an apology and disappeared off into the movie room where the rest of their group was getting settled.

“I am so sorry Eoghan, I don’t know what’s going on with him lately, he’s just been in a bit of a mood.”

“Don’t worry about it, I’m sure it’s just that time of the year. You guys were on the street last year on this date and it might just be a sensitive time for him, I don’t mind. Try not to worry too much about it.”

Mira tried for the hint of a smile but couldn’t manage. Eoghan shooed him and Cyrille off to the movie room, reminding them not to get it started before everyone was in. He joined the pair in the kitchen, helping with putting away the dishes one they were dry. It only took a few more minutes before everything was clean and they were heading towards the darkened room for their movie.

“So what are we watching this time around? Whose turn was it to pick?”

Silence met him and he blinked once, then again. “Guys?”

“Pretty sure it was your turn, love.” Lex murmured from behind him before he settled with a gentle laugh.

“Oh! Sorry, my bad.” He moved to find the remote, settling down as he pulled up the menu and went through a few different choices, finally he settled on an old classic and turned all of the menus off so focus could be on the movie itself

As they filed out of the room, Eoghan looked to Cyrille who was carrying a sleeping Agni in his arms. “You want some help with him?”

Cyrille shook his head, looking to the sleeping teen in his arms. “I don’t know what’s eating away at him but it’s all there. He’s been more or less sticking to his own things. We’ll offer to watch something on the television and he’ll prefer to head to his room to play his games, he plays them until pretty late at night. He’s been doing it for a few days and I guess it finally caught up with him. He’s not all that heavy, thanks though.”

Eoghan nodded, looking at the trio as they stepped out of the door and towards the elevator. At least that much helped him feel somewhat better, to know that they weren’t taking the stairs back down to their floor though he imagined that Cyrille might have been able to handle the weight well enough.

He closed the door with a sigh, turning away from it and stepping towards his shared living room. “I guess it’s just one of those things. These kids have never had a chance at being kids and I can’t hold it against him if he rebels a little in his own way. I’m sure he’ll get over it all eventually. If he doesn’t, we’ll just adapt.”

“We’ll be fine, Eoghan, let’s get some sleep, tomorrow’s a big day.”


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