Written a while ago, never posted. Companion to Majesty. I own nothing you recognize.
She wasn't home when he arrived.
It was unusual for her – no note, no indication that she'd be back at a specific time. Her change purse was still on the little table by the door.
He spent ten minutes pacing the floor, trying to determine whether to wait or to bolt blindly in pursuit of her, before the back door opened.
She rushed past him toward the stairs. She was carrying something. Groceries? No, groceries didn't belong in such a bundle. Her poplar green eyes glanced at him before she started upwards.
He intercepted her easily. "Princess..." He looked her straight in the eye. "What do you have there?"
"Um." She looked around nervously. "Nothing...?"
"Are you asking me or telling me?"
She stared at him blankly.
The bundle sneezed.
A look of sheer terror crossed her face. Her bottom lip quivered. Her eyes reddened. Oh dear god, she was going to cry.
"No. No. No. No. Stop," he protested, but it was no use.
"I'm sorry! I saw them yesterday in a box on my way home and I couldn't help myself! They were so cute and they were looking at me and-and-!"
The bundle sneezed again, then whined loudly.
Puppies. She'd brought home puppies. A little scruffy white one poked his head out.
"You expected to hide puppies from me?" She began to apologize again at the question. "No. No. Stop that." He paused. "How many are there?"
Her answer was unintelligible.
He took the bundle from her, walked it to the living room, and opened it on the floor. In addition to the white one, there were two curly ones: one brown and one brown-and-white.
"And what were you planning to do with them?" he asked, watching them teeter around on the floor.
"I don't know." She stared downward. The white puppy had chose to sit on her foot.
There was a pause. "How badly do you want to keep them?"
"How badly do you want to keep them? After all, they are almost as cute as you."