Birthday Present

Epee drew to a halt as he watched Sabre approach.

They were in the royal gardens, on their way to meet Dagger and Katan for lunch. He’d been running late; it looked like Sabre was as well.

He stared again, not quite believing what he was seeing.

“What is that?” he finally asked.

Sabre scowled in that way Epee was slowly figuring out meant he was not nearly as angry or annoyed as he was pretending to be.

The bundle on his shoulder mewled, and buried its head even further into the collar of Sabre’s jacket.

“What does it look like?” Sabre asked irritably. “Lash thinks he’s funny.”

Epee coughed to smother a laugh.

Sabre’s narrowed eyes said he wasn’t fooling anyone.

“It’s, um,” Epee struggled for an adjective that would not meet with his untimely demise. “Very small.”

For that, he got a withering glare.

“What’s its name?” Epee asked, grinning now because it was obvious he was busted.

“I have no idea,” Sabre snapped. “I’ve only been putting up with the thing for fifteen minutes.”

Epee reached out to gently pet the kitten that was little more than a teensy ball of fur on Sabre’s shoulder. It was the color of honey mixed with cream, and probably would be beautiful when it was fully grown.

“Can we just go to lunch, so I can then take this damned thing home?” Sabre said.

Laughing, Epee bowed and stepped away, indicating Sabre should lead the way. “After you – and Happy Birthday.”

“Oh, shut up,” Sabre groused, but Epee didn’t miss the way he reached up to make certain the kitten wouldn’t fall.