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half of your heart has yet to come home

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First thing Samol does every morning is make tea.

Then he drags himself to the bathroom and gets dressed, which, not a hard task since he rarely goes out, so it's not like it matters what he has on.

When he's done with all that he goes back to his tea. If he's in the mood he might make some pastries, preferably eat a thing for breakfast too.He waters his plants while he sips the tea, and enjoys the morning light coming through the window. One of the smaller windows is always open so the faint chirping of birds is heard from the outside.

The difference this morning is, when he comes back in a room that's both a kitchen and a living room, before he's had his breakfast yet, there's a fuzzy ball under his couch.
Samol frowns, bending downwards a bit so he can see better, in an attempt to make sure he's not just still sleeping.

But no, there is definitely a tiny kitten hiding under his couch.

He hums and looks around. Could it have gotten here from the window? Balcony? The doors are locked, he's sure. Even if they weren't, last Samol remembers cats can't open doors.

“Hello,” he says. To the cat. He's been alone for a long time. “Are you a magic cat?”

He's kidding. He knows it's just a cat, he knows it won't respond. But in his experience animals react well to his voice. They're like babies, he joked with his son, they might not understand what you're saying but still they enjoy you talking. As ridiculous as it might sound, the cat does seem to relax after he addresses it.

“I'm an old man,” he continues. “Can't get down to get to you. Would you come out here?”

A meow comes from under the couch, but no cat. Samol sighs. Well.

“That's okay. Take your time.”

He walks to his kitchen and starts preparing breakfast. He doesn't feel like making something that takes too much of his time, like he's going anywhere today. He scoffs. He gets his chamomile tea and a toast and sits down at the couch. After a moment there's another meow from underneath.

Samol hums in acknowledgement.

The morning stretches out like that, the kitten hiding and Samol lounging on the couch, humming and reading a book he borrowed from his grandson. It's not a light topic, which Samol appreciates. He has enough of those for worse days.

He stops his reading to take care of the plants, and as he turns around, notices a tiny thing watching him from down there. He waves. It retreats.

Samol doesn't own much, this place would be quite bare if it weren't for the, as others often say, ridiculous amount of plants everywhere. The plants make this place alive. They also need to be watered regularly so that gives him something to do, builds a routine, which he is a fan of.

As he's done with that, he goes back to the couch with a guitar. Even more than voice, music seems to be a thing animals enjoy as well. It's been a while since he played it and even longer since he's written a song. So he let's his mind wander and his fingers dance on their own.

Somewhere in the middle of the melody, or perhaps he's not there yet, who knows with improvisation, Samol hears some dim movement. More than that, he can feel a pair of eyes on him. He doesn't move, doesn't stop playing, shows no signs of realising that the cat has left it's hiding spot. This goes on for some time, Samol coming up with a song, the cat gradually coming closer to him, trying to be sneaky and failing, but he pretends he doesn't notice.

Eventually there's a small grey cat purring next to him, seemingly fast asleep. Well, he can't move now. So he plays on some more. He is old though, and soon enough his hands hurt and he has to put the instrument down, carefully, trying to not disturb his guest.

But after all this is a cat , and they're all mad perceptive. He sees the twitch of ears the moment he stops playing. As he put the guitar away the cat has gotten up and is looking at him, still scared but daring. Samol raises an eyebrow. Not that the cat can understand the gesture.

He stretches out a hands towards it, letting it come closer on it's own speed. Step by step, it sneaks towards him, and then he feels the cat bump it's head against his hand. The purring continues even louder. He gently scratches the cat's head, noting how soft the fur is. It seems well taken care of so, this has to be someone's cat. How it got into his place... Well. It's a cat. They find a way.

They spend a nice, peaceful evening like that, he and the cat. Laying on the couch and reading a book, playing guitar some more, even watching TV for a bit. Later Samol finds some food for it and makes himself get up to make pastries while the cat tries to find a way to climb up the counter.

The calm atmosphere is broken by the loud knocking at his front door. Samol squints and shoots the cat an accusing look. This hanging out has been nice but if this cat makes him deal with people–

The knocking repeats, louder this time.

Samol sighs and drags himself to the door.

Now, he may not get out a lot, except to get groceries and attend family dinners, he may be a hermit holed up in his apartment for the majority of the time, but he knows people who live in this building. He's quiet, people don't notice or know him well, so it's easy to hear and see who comes and goes. He's not trying to be creepy, oftentimes he doesn't even care, but the walls are thin. People are loud.

So he knows of Fero Feritas, a halfling who moved a floor up about two months ago. Not just a floor up, he's literally above Samol. Of course, he knows of him, doesn't know him as a person, they've never met, he doesn't even know what he looks like. He had noticed though, as much as he doesn't care or want to stick his nose in someone's business, how quiet he is in comparison to other people he knows live here. Granted, he lives alone, so sure. But Samol remembers the man who lived there before him, also alone, and regularly blasted music during wee hours of the night. He stopped only after he had the pleasure to meet Samol in person.

Fero on the other hand is quiet enough so that it took Samol a whole month to realise that there is a person living upstairs.

The halfling looks nothing like Samol might have imagined him but he's still not surprised. His curly hair is a mess, strands of it falling out of the loosely tied bun that's barely held together. It's funny, the cat currently laying on his couch has just as messy fur, only this person's hair is brown. His frowning face is covered in freckles and he's glaring at Samol like he has every right to.

“Hello,” Samol drawls, eyebrow raised in question. “Good day to you too. Is there something you need?”

For a second Fero just keeps glaring at him, which Samol might have laughed in a different situation, because Fero is considerably shorter than him and has to tilt his head backwards to look him in the eyes. Then he seems to remember himself and blinks.

“Have you seen a cat around here?” he asks, frown still on his face. It seems to be his neutral expression, Samol thinks.

Ah yes. The cat.

Samol nods and walks inside, showing Fero to follow him. He doesn't seem to have a problem doing that. He's inside quickly, passes Samol and finds the kitten without him having to explain a thing.

“You idiot,” Samol hears him mutter to the cat and watches him sit down beside the couch where the cat is. It meows back and settles in his lap, obviously familiar with this grumpy person who just walked in. It took Samol a better part of the day to earn even a little of the cat's affection. “I know, I'm sorry.”

Samol refills his tea.

“The cat is yours?” he asks, out of politeness if nothing else. It's pretty obvious that the cat is his. The halfling hums and keeps petting it. “How did it get here, I can't say I know.”

Fero groans. He doesn't look away from the cat. “Yeah it's– I left the balcony door open and went to work. Thanks for not kicking her out I guess.”

Of course. Samol scoffs. It gets him a mildly annoyed glare from Fero that he ignores and just sips his tea.

Fero looks around the place, gaze lingering on the small plant Samol got from Maelgwyn a month ago. He has to admit it's not in a best shape, but he's never seen one like that and isn't too sure if he's taking the best care of it. Not that he'd admit that to his grandson.

He looks at the halfling inspecting his home and waits for some sort of confusion, maybe even judgement, as he usually gets from people. Okay, so maybe he has more plants in his home than most people do, but what do they care about that. He lives here.

The only reaction gets from Fero is... Well it is judgement, in a way, but not the sort he's been expecting.

“This one looks bad,” he says, like Samol asked him. Like barging into people's homes and criticising their plants is what he does every day.

Samol likes him. He nods. “A little bit. No need to be rude to it.”

“It needs more water.”

“Oh? You know about plants?”

“My sister had one of those. Just water it more often,” he says nonchalantly. To be fair, he sounds pretty confident in what he's talking about, and it's not like Samol knows better. In this case at least.

“Will do. Thank you.”

“It's for the plant.”

“I'm thanking you in plants name then,” says Samol, not hiding the amusement from his voice.

Fero doesn't seem to mind. “You're welcome,” he says, looking at the poor plant.

So to prove that he's been listening, Samol waters the plant, pointedly looking at Fero. The cat, whose name he learns is Daisy, has not moved from his lap, now soundly sleeping there.

Samol finds that he doesn't mind him being here. Fero is quiet, as he already expected. When he talks he is loud though, as Samol got from what little they spoke. He doesn't mind it. Usually Samol finds people exhausting, but there's a comfortable silence that comes with Fero's company. He doesn't have the need to speak, doesn't expect Samol to fill the silence.

He doesn't even notice that he's still here as Samol picks up the guitar and plays his song again. Fero barely reacts, just looks at him, then goes back to petting his cat.

After a while, when the sun has begun setting, Samol finishes the song and puts the guitar down. He takes a look at Fero, who has let his hair down sometime during his time here, and is now letting Daisy play with the hair tie.

“Tea?” Samol asks, standing up.

Fero looks up from the cat and squints, then relaxes and shrugs. “Sure.”

So Samol brews some tea for the two of them.