Summary: Papa never wanted to be interrupted when he was working, but this was, like Daddy would say, for the greater good (or, the curse of "I hope that when you have a child, they're just like you," comes true).
Notes: For rilestar. ♥. I hope it cheers you up somewhat.
Caden peeked around the door frame, pulling back quickly when he saw Papa was in his office chair. He peeked again, saw that Papa was busy on his computer, and grinned. Papa never wanted to be interrupted when he was working, but this was, like Daddy would say, for the greater good.
Because Caden absolutely needed a kitty.
He'd planned it all out, too. Three weeks ago he asked Daddy for a kitty and Daddy told him no. So he couldn't ask Papa, because Daddy would probably ground him and not let him watch Peyton play for two games, and also not take him to go swimming or flying for a long time.
But if Papa wanted a kitty, well, that was different, wasn't it?
"Hi Papa," Caden said, holding onto the doorframe and swinging himself into the office.
"You know I'm busy," Papa said. He didn't even look at Caden. "If you're not bleeding or otherwise broken, please go away."
"I knows," Caden said, walking forward and patting Papa's knee. "But can I please use the telephone? I want to call my Maddy."
"Your Maddy, eh?" Papa said. He reached for the phone, still not looking at Caden. Perfect. "Your Maddy is at school right now, but you can call your aunt, if you'd like. You know the speed-dial number."
"Thanks, Papa," Caden said. He bit his lip hard, trying not to smile too much. Maddy would have been better, but maybe Aunt Jeannie could help him.
He darted out of the office, phone clutched to his chest, and ran up the stairs, jumping on his bed. He flopped down, burrowed into his blankets, and hit the speed-dial. "Aunt Jeannie? It's Caden. Can you helps me with something?"
Caden was busy at his art table when Papa knocked on his door. "Comes in," he said, peeking out of the corner of his eye. He pushed the phone from one end of the small table to the other, closer to Papa. "This table is too smalls," he complained. His knees always bumped against it. "Can I please get a new one?"
"Sure, yes," Papa said. "This weekend. What's all your money out for?"
"Countin' it," Caden answered, pushing a pile of quarters to the far left edge.
Papa sat down on the floor beside the table. "May I help?"
"Yeps," Caden said. "Can you counts the dimes? They always fall," he explained.
"Well, they're pretty small," Papa said, nodding his head. "Are we counting for no reason, or is there something you wanted to buy? A new table? You know that your Daddy and I will buy that for you."
Caden nodded, looking for somewhere to stack the nickels. "I knows. I want to take it to the kitty and puppy place."
Papa frowned. "The pet store? We don't have a pet, Caden."
"Nope, no," Caden said. "No, Papa. Aunt Jeannie said there was a place for puppies and kitties that no one wants to have and I wants to help so I am giving them money."
"Oh," Papa said. "You want to give to a charity, then."
"Yep," Caden said. "Didja know, Papa, that Peyton has a charity? Aunt Jeannie looked it up for me. So I is gonna give half to the puppy and kitty place and half to Peyton."
"Peyton has enough money for doing absolutely nothing," Papa said, huffing when Caden elbowed him in the ribs. "I mean, for running around a football field."
"Hmm," Caden said. "S'better, Papa. Be nice to Peyton. Apologize, please." He really didn't like it when Papa was mean about Peyton; he was pretty sure that Peyton would not be mean about Papa.
"I apologize," Pap said, but it was in a funny voice.
Sarcasm, Caden thought Daddy called it. But he didn't need to know what it was called to know that Papa was still not being nice. "Papa," he said, disappointed. "Papa, you gotta mean it."
Papa sighed. "If I promise to match your donation to both Peyton and the shelter, can I not apologize?"
Caden stopped counting at looked at Papa. "Match it?"
"Give them as much money as you are," Papa explained. The pile of change was almost gone now; Papa was really fast at sorting.
"Okay," Caden said, pleased. This way, Peyton and the kitty place – "Papa, is that what the puppy and kitty place is called? A shelter?" Papa nodded. Caden nodded once, decisively. "Yes, that's okay, Papa." Now they'd both get money, and Caden would get a kitty.
"Good," Papa said, patting him on the back. "Now, how about we count this and find the addresses to mail the checks to?"
Addresses? Caden panicked. If Papa wanted to mail the money, how would he get a kitty?
"But Papa," he said, "Aunt Jeannie said that I should go down to the shelter and gives it to them that way." He crossed his fingers under the table – it wasn't a lie if he did that, right? Maddy had told him so.
Papa looked at him funny. "Whatever you say, kid," he said. "If it makes you happy."
Caden nodded quickly. "It does," he said. "Really very happy, Papa."
After he put Papa's money in with his, they had a little less than seventy dollars for both Peyton and the animal shelter. Papa pretended to be shocked by how much money Caden had, but Caden knew he was faking. Just two days ago he had given Caden twenty dollars; fifty cents for every minute Caden could go without talking so Papa could get his work done.
Caden got a lot of money that way.
"Here we go," Papa said, pulling the truck out of the driveway. "You stay buckled, you hear me?"
"Uh huh," Caden said, frowning. He knew to keep his seat belt on, he wasn't a baby. "Papa, I only take off my seat belt when we are done driving."
"I'd rather you not take it off yourself at all," Papa said.
Papa talked to him on the way to the shelter – the check to Peyton was already in the mailbox – but Caden didn't really listen, too busy reviewing his plan. When Papa stopped the car, he waited until his door was opened to take his seat belt off, and Papa rolled his eyes.
"I knows, sorry," Caden said quickly, not wanting to make Papa mad. If he was mad, his plan would not work at all. "Want me to buckle again and lets you do it?"
"No, that's fine," Papa said. He started to turn around, but Caden tapped him on the shoulder and held both arms out. "Oh, for the love of—" Papa said. "You're almost too heavy for this."
"Daddy carries me," Caden said.
"Your Daddy also regularly works out," Papa said, shifting around until Caden ended up settled on his hip, "because he's clearly insane."
"Clearly," Caden repeated, making Papa smile.
The donation given, Caden headed back for the lobby, Papa's hand firmly in his own. "I wanna look at the puppies, Papa, can I look at the puppies, please?"
"The kittens are just over there," Papa said, pointing with his free hand, "and they're closer. Why don't we see the kittens and then the puppies?"
Caden looked away so Papa wouldn't see him smile. His plan was working so far, he didn't want to ruin it. "Because you won't lets me have one," he said. "I don't wanna look at a kitty unless I can has one."
Papa stopped walking. "When did I say you couldn't have one?"
Caden sighed deeply. He didn't want Papa to ask him that, and he didn't think crossing his fingers would count this time, especially if Daddy found out. "Wells," he said, "I asked Daddy and he said no."
Papa frowned, looked at the door with the kitty on it, and frowned again. "Why did he say no?" he asked.
"Daddy said I wouldn't clean up after a kitty," Caden said sadly.
"Well, can't argue with that," Papa said.
Caden frowned. That was not in the plan. He'd counted on Papa wanting a kitty – Aunt Jeannie had told him that Papa used to have kitties, way back before he had Caden. "Yeah. But I really did want one," he said. "Maybe when I's older, Papa, can I have my own kitty?"
"Sure," Papa said. "But let's look at them anyway, okay?"
"Okay," Caden said quickly. Maybe once Papa saw one he wanted, he would let Caden get it.
Caden sat still, letting the little black kitty climb over his legs. Her fur tickled his skin, and he laughed. Behind him, someone cleared their throat.
"Caden," Daddy said, "please tell me why there is a cat in your lap when I already told you that you couldn't have a cat?"
"S'not my kitty," Caden said, reaching out and carefully picking up the kitty before holding her to his chest. "It's Papa's kitty, Daddy."
"So I heard," Daddy said. His voice wasn't happy. "I know you were behind this."
"Was not!" Caden protested, twisting around to look at Daddy. He wished he could cross his fingers so he wouldn't be lying. "Papa and I gave money to Peyton and the animal shelter and I wanted to look at puppies but Papa wanted to see the kitties. Then he picked up this kitty," he paused and kissed the kitty's head, "and said that we was gonna bring her home."
Daddy still didn't look happy, and Caden was afraid for a moment that he was going to take away Peyton games anyway (even though Caden didn't actually ask Papa for a kitty), but then he sighed and held his hand out, letting kitty sniff it. "Well, what's her name?"
"Doesn't got one," Caden said, grinning. He got to keep kitty, he knew it – even though it was Papa's kitty, she would like him best. "Papa doesn't wanna name her Peyton, Papa wants to name her somethin' silly that I can't say very good."
"Huh," Daddy said. "Well, can I name her?"
"Okays," Caden said. "Kitty would like that, I think."
Daddy scrunched up his face for a moment. "Okay. We'll call her," he paused, wiggling his eyebrows, "Raven."
"What?" Caden said, loudly, making Daddy wince. "But – no! That's the Baltimore name!"
"I know," Daddy said, grinning. "But that's her name."
Caden scowled at him. "Fine," he said. He waited until Daddy left the room, bent down and whispered, "I's still gonna call you somethin' different. Oh! I's gonna name you Ronon, likes my Uncle. He's big and strong, you's will like him." He pet Ronon, and then kissed her again. "Yep, Ronon, you's gonna love my Uncle."
Ronon the Kitteh!