"What is this, the Canadian wildlife reserve? What is that rodent doing in my consulate, Turnbull?"
Ah. Yes. Well.
That is a difficult question to answer, isn't it?
The answer is that he wants to be and that I had not intended to be caught, but this is not an answer I can offer, for obvious reasons. It is late in my shift. Why she has chosen to bother me now is beyond me. The Inspector's nose is positively wrinkled, and I breathe away the adrenaline spike of her whip-crack of a tone and equally as abrupt appearance. There are days I could swear the woman can apparate, and wonder if perhaps her school letter missed her when she was a child.
"--he is not a rodent, sir. He is a mink; they fall under the Mustelidae family, more commonly known as weasels--"
"Answer my question, Constable."
I tip my chin up, giving no ground to the fantasy of a well-aimed wingardium to leave her hanging from the chandelier. The warmth wrapped about my neck shifts, and I feel him tighten around me, watching her as well.
"He is mine."
She gives me the same baffled, contemptuous expression to which I've been subject since I came to Chicago, and I know my reason falls vastly short of enough to her. That is all right. It is everything to me.
I am subject to this expression for a long moment where she appears to cast for words, but in the end, she only shakes her head at me and points toward the front door. "Remove your weasel from my premises, Turnbull, before I call a taxidermist, and count yourself lucky not to receive a formal reprimand."
In one bright, angry moment the chandelier seems so very simple and reasonable an option; I can so clearly envision the sway and fall of her hair as she swings from it, stunned. My nostrils flare, but I feel the warmth at my shoulders squeeze another time and I know better again.
"...yes, sir." I hide the clench of my fists behind my back.
She huffs a long-exasperated breath and stalks off. I watch her go, standing straight for several moments before I reach up to pet the soft presence about my shoulders. His fur is so very tactile under my fingers. It doesn't last. I can feel him shift under my hand before he bounds off my shoulder and on to my desk, shifting his shape with the same grace I'm certain is infused in his very skin.
Ray looks back at me in all his human beauty, leaning on my desk. "Sorry, Ren."
I shake my head, managing a smile. In all honesty, she leaves me weary of her, and at this hour I would prefer to simply ignore her empty threat of a reprimand. "I'm not."
He smiles back at me, and the warmth of it is enough to forget my weariness. I rest a hand at his chest, grasping a lapel and stepping closer.
"So I'm yours, huh?" His smile lights up with all of his loving smug, and he rolls his shoulders.
"Uh-huh. Don't I get a say in that?" This is a game we play, now and again. "What, you think just 'cause I play stole to a guy for a while he gets to wear me any time he wants?"
"Oh. Yes." I take hold of his other lapel, pulling the man close by his clothing. It is a risky venture, with Inspector Thatcher about, but in this moment I do not care. I am nearly lip-to-lip with him now, and some half-clever reply regarding just how I would wear this man is nearly out of my mouth when the clock chimes.
Shift is over.
Ray winks at me.