|The Art of Negotiation
Author: somethingquestionable PM
Kate and Doc butt heads all the time over the most trivial issues. Somehow, though, they always manage to find a compromise.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - Words: 1,675 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Published: 11-21-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4669119
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Doc Holliday Gets a Dog
"No, absolutely not."
The tone of Doc Holliday's voice was finalistic.
"Aw, come on Doc, just look at the poor thing."
Doc Holliday reluctantly looked again to where Kate was crouched in the street, fawning over the ugliest creature he had ever seen in his life. It was so thin you could see its ribs poking out from its side and its fur was matted and completely covered in dirt, mud, dried blood, flies, and probably a host of other distasteful things. The smell coming from it was putrid, to put it nicely. Also, one ear looked to be infected with some disease or another, judging from the yellow and white pus that was slowly oozing out of its ear and down its face.
Doc wrinkled his nose in disgust.
"I said no, Kate. Now come away from it before you catch whatever it's carrying or it bites you."
He coughed violently into his handkerchief and Kate glared at him pointedly. Doc ignored her, pulling out his watch.
"I don't have time for this. I'm already late. Leave the pitiful thing to its misery and come away."
Kate stood up and straightened her dress angrily.
"How can you be so heartless?" She demanded, dark eyes fixing on his unabashed blue ones.
"Oh, it comes quite naturally, I assure you." He smirked at her and reached to take her hand.
Unfortunately, this only served to make the hot-tempered Hungarian even angrier. She pulled out of his grasp and sank to the dirty street again, hovering over the disgusting creature lying there.
"Can't you find any sympathy at all Doc?" She implored, bottom lip quivering in that way he liked so much.
"Oh, alright," Doc sighed. He pulled out his two revolvers. Before he could do anything, however, Kate screeched and leapt to shield the creature with her body.
"What are you doing?!" She demanded.
Doc tapped his foot impatiently.
"What does it look like I'm doing, love? Pickin' daises? I'm going to put the creature out of its misery."
"Doc, you can't!"
He sighed again, his patience stretched to the breaking point. Angrily he put the guns away and straightened his jacket, turning away from the alley and looking out onto the street.
"Fine, let the damn thing suffer. I don't care one way or the other."
He started to saunter off down the street.
"But Doc, what about the dog?" Kate cried at his retreating form.
"You know what? I don't care anymore, darlin'. Do whatever you fancy, just leave me out of it."
And with that he disappeared down the street in the general direction of the Oriental Saloon, leaving Kate alone to tend to her new paramour.
Predictably, his night wasn't destined to get any better. He was off his game at poker and quickly ran out of luck playing faro. Having lost the better part of $1000 dollars, Doc finally stumbled out of the saloon, drunk and extremely irritable.
He would have liked a good fight or two but luckily all of his opponents that night had been of the sensible sort and had made an extra effort not to pick a fight with the ill-tempered gentleman. With no one to take out his frustrations on, Doc was forced to leave the saloon and seek his agitations elsewhere.
Unfortunately for him, there didn't seem to be anyone out who was willing to go a round or two with him. All of the Cow Boys had skipped town to go to some sort of festival off in Santa Fe, the locals knew better, and none of the drifters were drunk enough or stupid enough to approach him.
Stupid Cow Boys thought Doc drunkenly. Only want to fight on their terms. Selfish bastards. Never around when you need a good brawl.
Finally coming to his wits enough to conclude that he was in bad shape, Doc turned and headed for the Grand Hotel. His chest hurt worse than usual that evening, and by the time he reached the hotel's lobby he was coughing blood into his silk handkerchief.
The night clerk rose worriedly from his post to assist him, but Doc waved him off. He just needed to sleep and he would be right as rain.
Stepping into the darkened suite that he shared with Kate, Doc stumbled over to his side of the bed and collapsed on top of it. The bed, angered and surprised by his actions, yelped in surprise and started growling at him.
With a startled yell, Doc bolted upright and shoved the animal off of him and onto the floor. Immediately the creature retaliated with a serious of high-pitched keening and yelping. Between the two of them, they managed to wake up Kate, who sat up in turn and said, in a very loud voice that Doc thought was supremely unnecessary,
"What in the world is going on here? Doc! What did you do?"
She reached over and lit a match to light the gas lamp on the bedside table, before turning swiftly back to him and once again fixing him with an accusing glare.
He glared at her accusingly right back.
"What did I do? I didn't do anything but expect to be able to come home to my own bed to sleep at night! Would you care to explain to me why I had the pleasure of coming home to find my place already taken by the day's road kill?"
"You said to do as I pleased," Kate retorted defensively, crossing her arms in front of her chest in defiance.
"I also remember telling you to leave me out of it!"
"I did leave you out of it! I got him home all by myself and got the hostler to help me give him a bath and everything. He's good as new, Doc, look…"
Unwillingly, Doc glanced once more to the animal now sitting at the foot of the bed, watching the two of them curiously.
Despite his earlier suspicions to the contrary, it was indeed a dog. The dirt, grit, and blood had been washed off and he was able to see its coat was a light gray, splashes of black, red, brown, and white visible here and there. It had long legs, a large barrel chest, well shaped muzzle, and large, awkward paws that looked misshapen and strange on such a skinny creature.
And while definitely more presentable than yesterday, he could still see ribs poking out from its side and the wound in its ear still oozing slightly. It seemed to be having trouble breathing.
Doc felt no stirrings of sympathy. He glanced at the dog coolly and dismissively before turning his attention back to his quarrelsome lover.
"Get rid of it."
Kate stared at him for a moment, uncomprehending. Doc, the argument having sobered him up sufficiently to remember to remove his shoes and fold his jacket, proceeded to do so, studiously avoiding looking at the woman sitting in bed next to him.
When she spoke next, her voice was deceptively calm.
"And what, exactly, do you expect me to do, luv? Throw him out onto the street?"
"Certainly not, it's much too late an hour. Ring up one of the night staff to do it for you."
Clothes meticulously folded, Doc climbed back into the bed, and turned over on his side, pulling the covers up to his chin.
Kate didn't move. She sat as still as a statue in her place in the bed, staring at him. After a long moment, she threw back the covers and got up. Doc let out a silent sigh of relief when he realized she wasn't going to push the issue further and would do as he asked. It was just as well, he was tired and could already feel the beginnings of a killer migraine coming on. A few more moments and he didn't know if he would have the strength to resist her until at least noon tomorrow.
It was then that he heard the creak of the bed under her weight and felt her cool breath at his ear. Immediately, his eyes snapped open.
"What are you –"
"Shhhh…" she put her finger to his lips even as she leaned over him to kiss the small patch of exposed skin at the base of his neck.
"Maybe we can compromise?"
Her voice had dropped to her patented low, sultry purr that he knew so well. Before he could summon his defenses, her expert hands had slid the blankets back and were now working on undoing the buttons of his undershirt. He made a move to stop her but damned if his limbs didn't feel like lead tonight, and she easily intercepted his warding arms and pinned them to his sides.
"Relax, luv. Let me show you what I have to offer. Then maybe you'll change your mind…"
Her hands let go of his arms and were soon busily occupied in other, more needy areas.
Needless to say, the rest of the night was passed in much the same manner – a blur of bartering that left them both very, very satisfied with their final purchases.
Satisfied that is, until he woke up the next morning with a leftover migraine and the smell of putrid doggy morning breath blowing in his face and the sight of his ruined clothes all over the floor and torn to pieces.
Careful not to wake Kate or the dog, Doc slipped out of bed and wrapped himself in a robe before ringing down to the front desk for coffee, breakfast, and the morning paper.
Having it promptly delivered, Doc sipped the bitter drink and glanced at his ruined clothes that were still riddled all over the place. He immediately decided that a renegotiating of terms was in order. There was only so much a man could take, after all.