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Title: Life Without Knowing
Fandom: RPF
Characters: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Bisou Morgan
Rating: G
Disclaimer: This is 99.9% fiction. The other 0.01% is publicly available as fact.
Word count: 957
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] poisontaster’s Jdmmmm fic fest. My prompt was Jeff and a week-old puppy Bisou; I decided to start it a few days earlier.





Jeff drives straight to the vet. It’s the middle of August in Venice, but he’s got all the windows in his truck rolled up, and the AC off, because the puppy won’t stop trembling, even burrowed into the beach towel piled up on the seat.

At the next red light, Jeff scoops her up (she’s barely bigger than his palm) and drives the rest of the way with the side of his hand resting on his thigh, puppy secure between his hand and the warmth of the skin beneath his t-shirt. The puppy lets out a plaintive cry, and Jeff doesn’t need to rely on his 20-plus years of dog parenting to know what it means. You’re not my mom, you’re a big smelly human. Where’s Mom? I want my mom. Jeff rubs his thumb down the puppy’s back, and white-knuckles the steering wheel with his other hand. "It’s okay, sweetheart. Everything’s gonna be okay, you’ll see."

The vet is an old ex-surfer named Eric, and he raises an eyebrow when Jeff sets the puppy down, and because he’s known Jeff for going on twelve years, he’s comfortable enough to say, "Jesus, Jeff, this could be a real mess, you know that?" when Jeff explains about the cardboard box on the boardwalk. He’s also known Jeff long enough to know that there’s no way Jeff could have walked past that box without stopping, and that he’ll do everything he can to make sure this dog survives. Still, there’s really nothing he can do for this dog now, can’t even give her her shots for another six weeks. So Eric has one of the vet techs get Jeff a couple cans of puppy formula and a few bottles and reminds him to call if he needs any help.

Jeff stops by the pet store, spends a fistful of money, drives home, and calls his agent to let her know he really won’t be available for the next month. She’s annoyed, but Jeff knows she’ll get over it. There’s plenty of actors out there who don’t have construction gigs to fall back on, and Jeff’s done okay with that recently, so he can afford to take a little bit of time off.

Jeff’s in the kitchen mixing formula when Bear wanders in. He noses at Jeff’s leg, clearly bothered by being ignored.

"Hey, buddy," Jeff says, reaching down to scratch that spot under Bear’s jaw that he loves, "don’t look at me like that, okay? I know I’m late, but I’ve got a really good reason."

The puppy-and Jeff really has to figure out what to name her, because "the puppy" just won’t do-is curled up on a towel on the counter, and Bear jumps up, both front paws on the counter, to sniff at it almost immediately. Jeff keeps his left hand on the towel, because even though Bear’s a big old suck of a dog, he’s Jeff’s dog, and Jeff didn’t consult him before bringing home a stray.

Which is what Jeff (stupidly) realizes as Bear inches closer to the puppy. So it’s a huge relief when Bear sniffs once more, turns to look at Jeff as if to say, "Fine, I guess," and then walks away to lie in the patch of sunlight coming through the patio door.

~~~~~

"Bisou," Jeff says, and then laughs, because she bumps her nose against the side of the bottle, and it takes her a second to get her mouth back around it. The little kissyface she’s making would be really cute, if the puppy still wasn’t so terribly small. He’s relieved to see she’s eating well, though, and doesn’t seem worried by the fact that the nipple is just rubber. "Yeah, that’s gonna be your name, okay, baby girl?"

When it’s time for bed, Jeff’s ready in five minutes; teeth brushed, dirty clothes in the hamper. Bear gets let outside, another scoop of food and fresh water in his bowls, and when he’s satisfied Jeff’s not gonna leave him in the night, he goes and carefully settles down on his usual bed, which is the right side of Jeff’s bed. (The last relationship Jeff was in ended when his girlfriend shoved Bear off the end of the bed because he was "slobbering all over her pillow". Jeff got dressed, gave her $200 for a hotel room, and told her to come back in the morning for her things. He spent the night packing while Bear slept in the middle of the bed.)

Getting Bisou to sleep takes a more little planning. She’s too small for the actual pet bed Jeff bought her (it’s too big and too squishy, and looking at it now, Jeff understands why his sister refused to put bumper pads in both his nieces cribs when they were babies), so Jeff has to rig one up. He grabs a couple old towels, folds them in half, lays down a heating pad turned to low, and covers the whole thing up with an old Seahawks sweatshirt. He lays it on the floor on his bedroom, against the wall where he knows Bear won’t run into it, and sets Bisou down on the middle of this makeshift bed. It’s a relief when she circles twice and then flops down, even if she is too small to really flop properly. It’s kind of adorable, and almost makes him forget about the dumbass kids who thought taking newborn puppies away form their mother was a good idea. Almost. "There you go, baby girl."

Jeff makes sure his alarm is set before he turns over and closes his eyes, one hand idly scratching behind Bear’s ears. He’s pretty sure he’ll hear Bisou crying when she’s hungry, but better safe than sorry.

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August 2011

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