“I think aliens have kidnapped Astra and replaced her with an exact copy that doesn’t act the same way.” Quentin’s words pulled Yael out of daydreaming. He looked up to his companion, said mentioned feline curled along his shoulders and rumbling away happily.

“What makes you say that?” He made his eyes focus a little more. Astra looked as she always did, a happy ball of fur who adored playing parrot. Curled around Quentin’s shoulders and rumbling away as if nothing else mattered in the world.

“I suppose I should show you more than try to explain it to you, it’s rather surprising, honestly.” He shook his head, moving to pull Astra from his shoulders. She made a little disgruntled noise at being moved but otherwise didn’t fuss or fight. “Though actually, we should head back into the cats’s room, it’s the best place to check it out and you can set her up so she can do her little trick so you can see that I have nothing to do with it.”

He sounded vaguely amused at this point and Yael eased to his feet, curious about whatever it was that this big surprise was supposed to be. Quentin started off towards the cats’s play room, Yael following him calmly. “Usually you have little to do with most surprises the cats come up with. That is, unless you think back on the two boys taking off with your underwear and some of mine to make a nest for the kittens back then.”

“Don’t remind me.” Quentin laughed, shaking his head at the memory. It had been just one of those things, really.

Once inside the room, he offered the feline to his companion who curled his arms about the warmly purring ball of happiness. “So what am I meant to do now?”

“Set her up on the highest spot of the cat tree.”

“Quentin, you know as well as I do that she can’t get down from there on her own, she never goes up there as it is anyway, what is this about?”

“Yael please, just humour me? I promise there’s a reason to all this.”

Yael shook his head but he stepped to the wall, leaning up on the tip of his toes to actually be able to set the slight feline down on the highest platform. It was nearly out of his reach it was so high. “Now what?”

“Now you come back to my side and we watch.”

Confused but still willing to go with, for whatever the reason, Yael stepped back and waited, he watched and watched. After a few moments he was certain nothing would happen and as he took one step forward, there it came. Astra made her way down from the top of the tree. Made her way down and made it look easy as pie as she did.

Yael stared, trying to will his mind to understand what he had just seen. “Did she just get down on her own? She’s never done it before, always meowed at us pitifully until we got her down.”

Shrugging, Quentin went back to the cat tree, he didn’t pick Astra up on the way as he did, no, he merely stretched on his toes and put one of her favourite toys at the top. Once that was done, he stepped back away. She climbed up after a bare few seconds and was back down nearly as quickly.

“I think we might be able to try the garden trick again. From the start of the calendar but that might just work out and we may be able to have them out up there with you when you’re working.” It almost seemed too good to be true. It made no sense, no cat could learn to climb down places overnight, though it had been more than simply ‘overnight’ but still. It was more than a little surprising.

“I don’t know, Quentin. Cat trees are one thing, they’re made to be climbed on, real trees are different, what if she gets caught again? I have no issues about getting her back down but I don’t know that I want to.” Yael shook his head, watching Astra for a moment longer. “I guess we could give it another try but I just don’t know. I suppose we can’t know unless we try it. We can give it another shot in a few weeks if she’s still showing signs of this not being a fluke, somehow.”

He rubbed his eyes then, Quentin nodded and settled one hand to Yael’s waist, leading him back out of the play room and to the living room once more.

“Earlier, when you were wanting to show me Astra’s newly developed climbing technique, you said aliens had taken her and replaced her with a not-quite right copy. Why did you say that?”

Settled side by side, sitting in front of the still warmly crackling fireplace, there was quiet music playing in the background as Yael closed his eyes, trying not to think too much about things. His mind had spent most of the day trying to figure out how it had happened and he still hadn’t managed to understand it.

Beneath his head, he felt Quentin as he rolled his shoulders gently. “It’s just one of those things, I’ve heard people say while I was traveling. They usually say that when someone they know starts acting strange or in a way that’s really different from how they might usually do things.”

Yael shifted his head, looking up somewhat though he was so close it was a moot point to even open his eyes, he merely tilted his head back slightly, still leaning against that shoulder. He remained that way for a couple of heartbeats before he settled his head back down once more. “I guess that makes sense, in a way.”

“Humans are strange.”

“Not all of them and I know you think most of them are idiots though you’ve mellowed out a lot since I’ve moved in. It makes me feel warm inside, like I’ve actually done something right with my life, like I’ve done something to actually deserve being on this planet for.”

“Yael, don’t do that.” Quentin’s words were low, barely above a murmur as he hugged his companion a little closer to his side.

“Do what?”

“This thing where you start talking like you believe that you don’t belong on this planet and that you think you need to prove yourself. That’s not the case, plus, if it somehow were the case, you’ve proven your worth more often than I can count, I’m here right now because you’re with me and it’s the only thing that counts.”

“Thank you, Quentin.” Yael sighed, a soft, tired note as he relaxed where he sat. He was as close as he could get away with, without changing their position and he didn’t really feel like moving much. “Thank you for just being you, for not letting me sink into my moments of self-pity though I know there are days where I have more of those than I should. At times I feel broken and I think the only reason I still have all my pieces is because you’re with me. You’re my glue.”

“So you sniff glue?” A soft snicker escaped Quentin and Yael prodded him in the ribs with a roll of his eyes.

“Thank you for ruining the moment. I swear at times.” Yael was doing all he could to not start laughing, the moment was hardly ruined though it was still just one of those things.

“You adore me for it anyway.” That was the truth, as pure a truth as it would ever be. There were no other ways of looking at it.

“I think I was put on this very planet so we could meet and so we could learn more about the world together. Not that I really believe in things happening because of fate, I do want to believe that certain things do happen for a reason and that reason is something or other. My mind is done trying to be romantic, I’m too comfortable to be mushy.”

Their silence was gone, laughed, the good, relaxing kind replaced it though before long they both were quiet again, content to relax in one another’s soothing presence. This was all either one of them could ask for.