" Right, and for that reason, our arrival will be delayed by at least a week and a half. Completely unavoidable."

Nova heard William ending a call, as he came in.

" Wille? Are you busy? I've come to give you back your cat. It was in my room again," he called, holding her out at arm's length.

" Not now, just got off that call. Now hand me my Butter Baby," he said, motioning him over.

Nova plopped the cat in his lap unceremoniously.

" I still think you should give it a more dignified name," he said, watching it stretch and settle down.

" Glad to see you're so concerned about her dignity," William replied, scritching its back. The cat started to purr.

Nova did not let it show that William had mildly annoyed him.

" What were you talking about, anyway?" he asked, leaning down on the desk.

" Scheduling," William replied with a smile.

" Hmmm."

Nova evaluated him, searching for any give in his expression.

" Not really anything interesting. Just throwing smoke screens up about arrival dates. And other boring stuff like that," William specified.

" You're so you," Nova said with a sigh.

" Hm? What's so wrong with it? I've got to keep them all on edge. Gives me a tactical advantage."

" Haaaa, so keeping me on edge gives you some kind of advantage too?" Nova asked, getting up in his face.

" Oh, well of course. Seeing you flustered is rewarding as any other victory," William answered, scooting his chair forward so that their faces almost touched.

The cat meowed, stretched, and jumped up onto the desk.

Ear flick.

" Oh? You think you've conquered me? Isn't it the other way around?"

Nova pulled away, folded his arms.

" You love me. That's proof enough."

" My love is not unconditional. I'll rescind it if I feel like doing so."

" That's what Butter Baby thinks to herself when her food bowl goes unfilled for more than two hours."

" Fuck you."

" Yes, fuck me."

" ... Not in front of the cat."

William doubled over laughing.