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[personal profile] aerama
Title: Benton and the Kitten
Author: [ profile] aerama
Genre: Doctor Who, Pertwee era
Characters: Benton, Brigadier Alastair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart
Rating: PG
Summary: A kitten escapes into the Brigadier's office.
Word Count: 1,187
Notes: One-shot. Pure unadulterated fluff. Gen, but with the merest, teeniest glimmer of pre-slash, easily overlooked if one so chooses.
"Scritch" doesn't seem to be a real word, but it should be. Giftfic for [ profile] livii.
Thanks to [ profile] kayakinccou for looking over!

Benton and the Kitten

Benton looked in despair at the ruin that was the Brigadier's office.

"Mew!" insisted the marmalade-striped kitten, now clinging to the inside flap of Benton's jacket.

"Now then, miss, none of your lip; you've caused me a lot of trouble today."

The kitten's pink mouth yawned widely. Benton grinned.

"How could anyone as small and cute as you make such a huge mess?" he asked, awkwardly scratching beneath her chin with a cautious finger. The kitten screwed her tiny eyes shut.

Benton's hand cuddled the kitten for a brief moment before he sighed, recalled to his duties. "Come on then, Miss Mess," he said, starting for the door, "we'll get you back into your nice warm basket in the nice warm laundry room, and there you'll stay if I have to - "

"SERGEANT BENTON!" bellowed a familiar voice from down the hallway. A very familiar enraged voice.

"Oh sweet mother of mercy, he's back early," Benton breathed. He hastily nudged the kitten further inside his jacket, buttoning up as fast as he could.

"WHAT are my papers doing out in the hall?"

The voice was suddenly closer. Benton stopped buttoning. Out of long practice, he hopped nimbly out of the way as the Brigadier cannoned into the room, uniform enviably crisp and clean despite the sheaf of crumpled papers clutched in his hand and a harried expression on his face.

"Your papers, sir? I was just coming to get them - "

"Just coming to get them? Just coming to get them?" the Brigadier bristled, brandishing the papers at Benton, who tried vainly to grasp them, one-armed. "This is a military organization, Sergeant. Papers do not walk out on their own. Papers do not get tired of sitting on my desk in a nice, neat pile, and say - What have you done to my office?"

Benton winced. The Brigadier stared, mouth agape, at his desk, his file cabinet, the floor.

"Me, sir? Nothing, sir, that is to say - " Benton broke off. The Brigadier had just noticed the ceiling. Benton glanced toward the door for an agonized second.

"Stay right there, Sergeant."

"Sir!" Benton snapped his eyes straight ahead. A tilted picture of a scowling general glared back at him.

He felt the Brigadier's eyes pierce through him, darkly. "'Nothing, sir?'" he repeated. "You mean to tell me that none of this is your doing?"

"No, sir! I mean - yes, sir. None of this is my doing, sir," Benton stammered.

"Not the papers in the hall?"

"No, sir!"

"Not the litter on my carpet?"

"No, sir!"

"Not the pen lodged in the ceiling?"

"No, sir!"

The Brigadier stared at him for a moment, then wheeled about and started pacing angrily, papers abandoned, baton wedged beneath his arm, voice clipped and concise. "Perhaps I'm not making myself clear. My office is a ruin. My office was not a ruin when I left. You were IN my office when I left. You are in my office now."

"I know it looks bad, sir, but – erg!" and Benton grimaced, as the kitten chose that moment to dig a tired claw into his chest.


"I know, sir, I'm sorry, sir, it's just that…" Benton broke off. The Brigadier had just come up very close behind him, so close that Benton could feel him staring at his back with those dark eyes, raking him up and down.

The Brigadier's voice came from beyond his left ear. "I fail to see what's so funny about this situation, Sergeant. I suggest you'd better find an explanation. Now."

Benton hesitated.


"Well, sir, it's really not what it seems. I - " To his horror, the kitten gave an audible "Prrp?", and the tip of her tail curled out over his collar, flicking his ear. The Brigadier shot around him so fast that Benton nearly rocked back on his heels; the worst of it was that he just stood there, eyes narrowing, with absolutely no hope that he hadn't seen.

After a long, long moment, during which the floor refused to open up and drop Benton to the pits of hell, the Brigadier spoke. "What is that in your jacket, Sergeant?"

Benton affected a mildly puzzled expression. "My jacket, sir?"

"Don't you bluff with me, Benton. Not with me." For an instant, a hint of warmth deepened the Brigadier's voice, coloring his husky tone. It was gone the next moment, gone before Benton could react, could do anything more than grasp after the image that had flashed into his mind…

"Open it," said his Brigadier.



Benton unbuttoned his jacket. The Brigadier took one look and backed up to lean against his desk, baton hanging limply from his hand.

"Sir, I really can explain," Benton offered into the silence, careful to support the kitten with his arm.

"Yes, I think you'd better," said the Brigadier faintly.

"Miss Grant found the kitten, sir. It had arrived in a wheel-well of one of our jeeps."

"A wheel-well." The Brigadier's flat voice made it a statement.

"Yes, sir. She was meowing up a storm, from what I was told. The joker – the corporal driving the jeep had heard her but thought she would just fall out, or something." Benton shook his head in indignation.

"I see. And I suppose you reprimanded him?"

"Yes sir; I don't hold with cruelty to animals," Benton said stoutly. "I mean she wasn't hurt, she's a real trooper, sir, but in any case –"

"In any case, Miss Grant's pleading eyes helped convince you to be the hero in this case." The Brigadier's mustache appeared to twitch.

Benton was affronted. "No, sir, it was just the right thing to do!"

The Brigadier folded his arms crisply. "So you decided to bring this creature inside my base – a high security military base - instead of arranging for the pound to come pick it up?"

"I did, sir," admitted Benton.

"And why was that?"

"Well, sir," Benton burst out, "She's just so little and lost and cute, and she's such a fighter, sir, she deserves a chance just like anyone else, not to rot in that old pound!"

To his horror, the mustache did more than just twitch this time; the Brigadier barked a short, sharp laugh. Benton stiffened.

"I suppose I should be used to such things by now," the Brigadier mused out loud. "Maddened monsters, feisty Doctors, Miss Grant's knickers…and now you, Benton; a valiant guardian of stray cats. While presumably on duty."

"Sir," protested Benton.

"All right, Sergeant, all right. I suppose, under the circumstances, you felt you had no choice. Certainly Miss Grant would have taken her cause to a less conscientious man, or worse, bothered me when I returned. Not that I haven't been bothered anyway…" The Brigadier trailed off, looking again at the ceiling. "Yet I fail to see how you found the time to take care of this demonic furball when you're assigned to help the Doctor with anything he needs. Which have always been considerable if not downright ridiculous."

"Oh, sir, you know the Doctor's knee deep in his scientific experiments, he doesn't need us right now," Benton suggested anxiously.

A smile crossed over the Brigadier's face. "That's certainly true. Never can figure out what half his gadgets are for, even when he's waving them in my face and talking at 100 words a minute." He laughed now, fondly, genuinely; face alight with memories. Benton felt an unexpected pang, but cautiously laughed with him, glad things were back to normal, or as normal as they could be…


Benton stopped laughing. "Sir?"

"None of this quite explains how your kitten came to be in here. I trust Miss Grant didn't tell you to stow it away with none the wiser?" The Brigadier's voice took on a derisively higher pitch. "'The Brigadier will surely never notice, not if you take care of it, Sergeant Benton.' Well?"

As Miss Grant had said exactly that, Benton opted to answer indirectly. "Ah, well, she just got out, sir."

"I can see that, Sergeant, but out from where?"

"The laundry room, sir. I'd fixed up a basket, see, and closed the door, figuring she'd be all right as it was warm and I'd left her a bit of food from my own lunch, a turkey roll I had today, and some milk…" Benton hurried on, seeing the frown start to crease the Brigadier's right eyebrow. "Sir. I told my men to be careful when going in, but somebody must have left the door open, and so…"

"And so she escaped this paradise. And came here."

"She's got good taste, anyway, sir," Benton said, immediately wishing he hadn't. But the Brigadier only grunted.

"How long was she in here?"

"Oh, it couldn't have been more than 15 minutes, sir. I was reporting to the Doctor as you'd asked, to see if he needed anything, and then when I was passing by your office, I, er, noticed the papers in the hall."

"With that creature just sitting in the midst of them, grinning fiendishly, no doubt," the Brigadier remarked.

"Actually, sir, at that point she was on your desk, grinning fiendishly."

The Brigadier underwent a small convulsion. Stemming Benton's anxious movement with a look, he tossed his baton behind him on the desk – Benton hadn't realized how tense he'd been until he found himself breathing a sigh of relief – and reached forward to scritch between the kitten's ears. The kitten stretched out a paw and batted at his fingers.

"She likes you, sir," Benton said, greatly daring. The kitten purred in agreement, leaning into the hand now cupping around her ear, touching the tip of her nose, caressing the softness of her little face; Benton hadn't known he could be so gentle.

The Brigadier's eyes smiled up at him, and Benton finally, completely relaxed.

"Carry on then, Benton, take our little escape artist back to where she belongs," said the Brigadier, gesturing expansively. "You have my permission to put a notice up for adoption. Perhaps one down in the village as well."

"Thank you, sir!"

"Then you're on clean-up duty, I'm afraid," the Brigadier continued, smiling wryly.

"Yes, sir," intoned Benton, appropriately downcast, though it was far more lenient than he'd expected.

"Come to think of it, you'd better get back here first and help me find my reports," the Brigadier added. "That's why I came back early, you know." His mustache quirked as he leaned back, dropping his hand on the desk in support – and he froze. A peculiar expression came over his face.

Benton had already leapt toward the door when the Brigadier slowly turned over his hand and looked at it. The kitten mewed merrily.


"Sorry, sir, better get her out of here, she sounds hungry!"


The kitten seemed to enjoy Benton running.

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