Title: Two Lost Souls
Series: Fluff Bingo
Pairings: Pre-Relationship Darrin Jacobs/Dr. Thomas Simons, Bianca
Characters: Darrin Jacobs, Dr. Thomas Simons
Summary: When Darrin finds a small kitten, lost, alone, and scared he had no idea how much that kitten would change his life.
Warnings: Mentions of emotional and mental child abuse
Tags: Fluff, Introspection, Meet Cute, anxiety, depression, anxiety attack, budding support animal, gay romance.
Beta: None. No non-consensual Beta
Darrin couldn’t help it. The kitten looked lost and afraid, her coat was dirty and her eyes were leaking fluid, but he didn’t care about that. All Darrin cared about was how lonely and afraid the little thing was. Luckily he had some of his sandwich left in his lunch bag and carefully he hunched down, opened the bag, pulled off a piece of the turkey meat, and reached out his hand towards the little thing. The kitten stretched out her face and sniffed at the meat, then slowly crawled over towards Darrin who sat patiently for the kitten to come closer. The kitten bit down on the meat and immediately started chewing it, Darrin let it go so she could eat the rest. He took off another piece and held it out which made the kitten come even closer. Once she was within reach, Darrin carefully used his free hand to get ahold of her before she could run off. Slowly Darrin stood and cuddled the little thing closer to himself after he gave her a little more of the turkey.
Darrin gently petted the kittens head which he got a little purr in return. Smiling softly to himself he started the rest of his walk towards home. The kitten crawled into Darrin’s jacket and after a moment she found the inside pocket, which she was just small enough to crawl into. Darrin laughed at the little thing as he began the rest of his walk towards home.
Stepping inside his apartment, Darrin carefully took off his jacket after he made it into his bedroom and laid it down on the bed face down. The kitten lifted her head out of the pocket and let out a plaintive chirp. It wasn’t quite a cry or a meow and Darrin could not help being charmed down to his very toes.
“You poor little thing. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you, but to do that I need to figure out a name for you. But, first, I hope you’ll let me clean you up.” Darrin picked up the kitten and took her into his bathroom where with one hand he held her tight against his body and the other he turned on the water in the sink. Getting the temperature just slightly warm, Darrin grabbed for the baby shampoo he kept for when his niece would come to stay with him for a day or two at a time.
Carefully Darrin held the kitten in one hand while he let some of the water pool in the other. He gently dripped some of the water over the kitten, hoping she wouldn’t freak out. When all that happened was another little chirp, Darrin slowly began to wash her. Only once did the kitten struggle, and that was when Darrin rinsed her off under the gently running spray. Once he was done, Darrin wrapped her in a soft towel to begin to dry her off. Once he got her clean Darrin was able to check her eyes and saw they were still a little rummy. Fluid leaked from one eye, but the other so far was clear. Since Darrin had the next day off of work he would call around and see if he could find a vet close by to check her over. But for that evening he kept her close and cleaned her eyes as they leaked.
Settling on his couch, Darrin turned on the television. He did not care what it was he watched, it was soothing for the both of them. Stretching out after the hard day Darrin laid the kitten on his chest where she curled up and after about twenty minutes the two of them fell asleep.
Something was brushing at Darrin’s face, then he felt little pinpricks scraping over his cheek. A loud series of sounds woke him up and it took Darrin a few moments to remember that he had brought home a little stray he found on the street the night before.
“Hey there, beautiful.” Darrin smiled at the big blue eyes staring at him and soft white fur brushing across his face as the kitten walked over him. “You must be hungry. Come on, let’s see what I have that you can eat.” Darrin stood with the kitten sitting on his shoulder he went to his kitchen to see what he could conjure up for them to eat. He found he had some eggs and fresh low sodium turkey sausage he had made himself a couple of days prior. He pulled things out of his fridge and after setting them on the counter he reached up into his cabinet and pulled out a small bowl where he filled it with some filtered water and set it on the floor. The kitten went to it and looked up at Darrin confused.
“Here, it’s just water.” Bending down he stuck his finger in the bowl and held it out for the kitten. He let a little drip on her nose so that it ran down her face. Licking it up, the kitten began to purr then stuck one of her front paws in the water, lifted it and licked it up. Darrin watched her for a few moments to make sure that she was getting it in her mouth and not all over the floor. The kitten flopped down on her little butt and began to drink in earnest. “There you go, little one. Nothing bad will happen to you I promise.”
Darrin scritched the top of the kitten’s head making her purr louder. Laughing softly to himself, Darrin stood and began to make the two of them something to eat. The act of cooking always soothed Darrin, it was one of his coping mechanisms. He battled anxiety and depression for most of his life. Some of it stemmed from his childhood and the chaos he had grown up in.
Darrin and his brother Robert, who was ten years older than him, grew up with their Mother and Grandmother. The problem was the women didn’t actually get along and almost every day was a fight. Darrin’s Mother wasn’t exactly maternal and would often stay out late after work with co-workers and only God knows who else. There was more than once when Darrin was little that his mother would come home drunk after going out with some man she had met either on the bus, at work, or at one of the bars or restaurants that she would go to with her work friends. As he worked on cooking the sausage in one pan and some potatoes in another, Darrin tried not to reflect on his childhood. While he didn’t have any physical scars, the emotional ones ran deep.
Cooking had been his salvation. After high school, Darrin was lost. He was drowning in a sea of depression and anxiety as well as a deep shyness that made it hard for him to make friends, let alone very close friends. On top of all that he struggled with his sexuality. He still did, even though he had attempted to go on several dates since coming out as bisexual. His parents had a hard time understanding and it put barriers up between them. Darrin was learning how to keep his distance, but it was hard sometimes.
During his senior year of High School, Darrin had decided to try out for the cooking school that was housed on his campus. The school had begun to see a need for tradespeople in the state and they fought hard to bring back things like mechanic shop, wood shop, cooking classes, and more. The counselors even worked with individual students to find out if a college or a certified trade was best for them. Darrin, at that time, had been at the lowest point in his life. Every day was a struggle to even get up out of bed. He retreated even more inside himself and struggled with suicidal ideation. When he signed up for the cafe Darrin had no idea how cooking would change his life.
Darrin was pulled from his thoughts as the kitten butted up against his leg meowing. Laughing, Darrin looked down and saw those big blue eyes and his heart melted a little. The kitten made him feel not so alone anymore. “Don’t worry, little one. I’ll have something for you in a moment.”
Darrin finished the sausages, and the potatoes were almost done frying he was now working on some slow scrambled eggs. When that was done he portioned out a little bit of the eggs and some finely chopped sausage out onto a plate and set it down near the water. The kitten hopped over and sniffed at the food then took a couple of tentative bites. Once she got a taste, the kitten began to devour the food. Darrin plated his up then poured a cup of coffee from the pot that was on an automatic timer. Standing in his kitchen, Darrin watched the kitten and felt his heart tumble. The thought that he wasn’t alone anymore flitted through his mind and he ignored the wetness he felt on his cheeks.
Cleaning up took no time at all. When Darrin had his kitchen back to rights once more he grabbed his phone and began to research veterinarians in the area. One that was close looked promising, and it was on one of the bus routes Darrin often took. After he jotted down the information, he then looked for pet stores. He found one that he could walk to but wondered if this warranted him taking his car. Darrin didn’t drive often, it was part of his anxiety issues. He was working on it with the therapist he began seeing after he made sous chef at the restaurant he currently worked at. Looking at the kitten, which he still needed to name, Darrin knew the short drive would be worth it.
* * * * *
After getting help from one of the sales people at the pet store, Darrin had everything he needed to take care of his new little charge. It took him two trips from his car to his apartment, but when he was done getting it all in and set-up, Darrin let the kitten out of his bedroom where he had temporarily locked her up.
“Hey, sweetheart, come see what I got you.” Darrin laughed when the kitten ran towards him meowing in happiness to see her human. Picking her up, he took her to show her the new dish set, her kittie litter, the climbing tree, and a scratching pad. Setting her down, after cleaning out her eyes, he went about cleaning up. Darrin watched her explore as he walked around his apartment picking things up and throwing away trash that was lying around. He didn’t want the kitten to get into anything. Having her around was making Darrin realize how bad his depression had gotten. For the first time in weeks, he noticed the mess, except for the kitchen where he kept it pristine.
“I guess I kind of let things go, huh?” Darrin smiled as the kitten stopped and hopped over to him and tried to climb his jeans. Bending down, Darrin picked her up and cuddled her close which got him the loudest purrs since he had brought her home. “I guess I need a name for you, little one. Let’s see…” Setting the trash bag down, Darrin sat on his now clean couch and held her close. “I think I’ll call you Bianca. Those bright blue eyes and your soft fur, what do you think, do you like it?” Holding the kitten in his hand, Darrin laughed as Bianca bumped his nose with her paw. “You make me laugh, little one. I haven’t done that in far too long.” Darrin rubbed his face over her soft fur and felt tears fall. “It’s been too long.”
Darrin held Bianca close and let himself feel feelings he had buried deep down. Those feelings of fear that no one would love him, anxiety over having to be out in the world meeting people, and the depression that had plagued him since he was a teen. In one night, one little creature had shown him unconditional love and it both broke and healed something inside of Darrin.
* * * * *
“Mr. Jacobs, little Bianca will be fine. She has just a slight infection in her eyes, but these drops given to her three times a day will clear them up in about a week. They’ll still be a little rummy but just clean them with a soft wet cloth.”
“Thank you, Dr.” Darrin couldn’t help the butterflies in his stomach as he watched the extremely good looking veterinarian. The man was tall, dark, and handsome. Darrin, however, knew he had zero chance with the man. He was just glad that the Dr. had an open appointment to see Bianca that day, Darrin did not relish the thought of having to take some time off work to deal with taking care of his new little charge.
“You’re welcome. And, please, if you need anything else just call. But, I would like to see her in a week just as a check-up and to make sure the infection cleared up.”
“Sure. I have Thursday’s off every week. I can arrange to come back next Thursday.” Dr. Simons smile had Darrin’s stomach fluttering. Darrin took his eyes off the Dr as he picked-up Bianca and got her settled in her carrier once more. When he turned back around to take the information and prescription from Dr. Simon’s Darrin found the vet giving him a rather cheeky smile. Darrin took the papers and the box with the eye drops trying not to meet Dr. Simon’s eyes. “I um, I just have one question, well, uh actually two really, because you know I found her as a stray in an alley near my apartment and didn’t find any other cats or kittens, so you know…and I uh, I’ve never really had an animal…”
“Hey, hey relax. It’s okay, Mr. Jacobs.” The concern in Dr. Simons’ eyes had Darrin picking up the carrier and holding it close to him almost as a shield, or a barrier.
“S-sorry. I uh, I don’t really get out much. People…” Darrin looked around the small office and felt confined, his breathing ratcheted up as he stepped back almost stumbling over the chair against the wall. “People…are Ummm, they’re hard for me.”
“Mr. Jacobs,” Dr. Simons took a step forward but had his hands were to his sides. “Why don’t you sit down and take a few deep breaths. Would you like a cup of water?”
“Y-yes, th-thank you that would be nice.” Darrin usually had no cause to stutter as much as he had as a kid, another thing his Mother and Grandmother held against him. Sitting down, Darrin opened up the carrier and held Bianca close to him, burying his face in her fur. Bianca purred away and cuddled closer to him. She did not once struggle to get away. When the door opened once again, Darrin felt calmer and when Dr. Simons held out the cup with water, Darrin took it and slowly sipped it.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“I know you’ve only had Bianca for less than a day, but has she helped you before now?” The vet sat down in a chair opposite Darrin and leaned forward, trying to look less intimidating.
“Hmm,” Dr. Simons hummed and sat up, but kept his body relaxed. “I know of a place that trains and certifies support animals. And I don’t mean one of those internet sites that claim any animal is a support animal. There are real places that help animal and human to work together to help them with anxiety, depression, and other emotional issues. It might help to contact them and see if little Bianca here might just be that for you.”
Darrin thought about it as he held Bianca to his chest, with her purring the whole time, then looked up again at those compassionate eyes. There was something about the vet that Darrin felt easier around than other people outside of the restaurant.
“I think I’d like that.”
“Good. Now, how about you ask me whatever it is you wanted to know.”
Darrin felt calmer as he put Bianca back in the carrier. “Do you know how old she is?”
“Oh, I’d say about six weeks old. She’s alert, highly mobile, and has a good voice on her. Not much older, though.”
“Is she okay away from her Mother?”
Dr. Simons leaned forward and gently scratched under the kitten’s chin as she sat in her carrier. “Since she’s doing fine eating on her own and drinking water, then yes, she’s going to be fine.”
Darrin finished off his water, closed up the carrier and stood. “Thank you, Dr. Simons.”
“When you come back next week, I’d like to ask you something.”
Darrin swallowed hard but was able to meet the Dr.’s eyes without flinching away. “Why uh, why can’t you ask me right now?”
“Hmm, I could ask you now and let you think about it. Then you can give me an answer next week.” The vet’s smile widened as he leaned against the exam table.
“It all depends on the question, though. Doesn’t it?”
“Oh, yes. Yes, it does.” The Dr. stood up and took a step closer to Darrin. “What I’d like to ask is if you would take me up on an offer of a drink next Thursday. I close up here about 7 and we could meet up, have a drink, maybe a little something to eat, and talk.”
Darrin’s heart rate sped up a little and there was that little voice in his head that he hated telling him this wasn’t a good idea. But, looking down at Bianca, Darrin thought that maybe someone might actually like to spend time with him.
“I will definitely think about it.” Darrin grabbed the carrier and felt the smile spread across his face. He tried not to run out of there after he paid for the visit, but he looked back and the Dr. was still smiling at him. “Oh, uh, you can call me Darrin. If you want to.”
“Darrin. I would like that. And, please, call me Thomas.”
“Thomas.” Darrin felt himself relax some more and he said the man’s name once more before he turned and left. Getting home didn’t take long, it was only six blocks to his apartment, but Thomas smiled to himself the whole way there. When he got inside, he first gave Bianca a little bit of food after he let her out of the carrier, then he made himself something to eat. Sitting down with a plate of food, Darrin turned on his television to a show he had been watching off and on, took a bite of his food and smiled once more. “Thomas,” he said to himself once more and chuckled softly.
Bianca ran around the apartment for a few moments, burning off some of her kitten energy, then began to climb up on the couch where she crawled onto Darrin’s lap and started to purr away. Scratching at her head, Darrin felt his heart fill with love. He thought about how they were two lost souls that had found each other and had a long journey ahead of them. Darrin also thought of Dr. Thomas Simons, the sexy vet that asked him out and something wonderful settled over Darrin. A feeling he had not had in far too long, a connection and hope that he had a better future ahead of him.