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[personal profile] asphaltcowgrrl
Title: Chatty Cathy
Fandom: White Pine original fiction
Pairing: Ethan McDowell/Travis Murphy
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,319
Summary: Travis talks. A lot. But he doesn’t always say everything that’s on his mind, either.
Author’s Note: Written for the weekend challenge at 1_million_words. My prompt was: I know I chatter far too much but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't!

“Hey Ethan,” Travis said, wandering into the dining room, his phone in his hand. “Wanna know what I just read?”

Ethan looked up from the paperwork on the table in front of him. Alex Jordan, the lead detective up in Garret, had called Ethan looking for his opinion on a case. The file that Jordan had emailed was currently spread across the table, weighted down by a sleeping cat in various places. “Can it wait? I’m kind of busy. I promised Jordan I’d call him in the morning about this.”

Travis frowned but shrugged it off. “Sure, later.”

Ten minutes later, Travis returned holding his tablet. “Ethan…”

Ethan held up a hand. “Still busy, Travis. I’ll come find you in about an hour so we can eat. You can tell me whatever then.”

“I’ll have forgotten it all in an hour.”

“Take notes,” Ethan said, never moving his eyes from the page he was reading. “You’re good at that.”

“Hmph,” Travis grunted before storming off.

Brennan rolled onto her side and yawned.

“I agree, cat. None of this is very exciting.”

**

“White Pine Sheriff’s Office,” Ethan said into the phone. “How can I help you?”

“Oh my god,” Travis practically squealed into the phone. “I found the most delicious sounding cake and I was thinking that maybe –”

“Travis,” Ethan laughed, “why are you calling me to tell me this?”

“Because my mama is asleep this late and no one else I know cares. I figured you might care at least a little since you’ll be eating it tomorrow.”

Ethan rubbed a hand across his face, trying not to laugh at his husband. “Make a grocery list and we can go shop when I get home in the morning. You can bake and I can sleep.”

“It’s a deal, baby.”

**

“Hola, gato,” Travis said, scratching Ryan under his chin. “¿Cómo estás?”

“Murphy,” Ethan sighed. “Must you talk to the cats? And do you really have to talk to them in Spanish?”

“Si y si,” Travis laughed. “I am half Mexican you know. “Mbeadh an Ghaeilge níos fearr?”

“I don’t know what the fuck you just said, but you’re starting to worry me.”

Travis shrugged. “This is what you get for being barely lingual, baby. Te amo.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Ethan laughed, relieved to finally understand something coming out of Travis’ beautiful mouth. “I love you, too.”

**

“Mama said we should be at the house by five tomorrow,” Travis said, reading a text message off his phone. “My cousins will be there and she wants us present and accounted for which, in her world, means early.”

Ethan put his book on the coffee table knowing that any conversation about Travis’ family would not be a short one. He adored the people who gave Travis life and raised him to be the amazing man he was. His extended family, on the other hand? They all spoke rapid fire Spanish and Ethan always felt lost. At least he had Liam to commiserate with. Although he’d spent the majority of his life with a Spanish speaking wife and a son who could more than hold his own, Liam hadn’t ever picked up much Spanish. That, they definitely had in common. “Okay.”

“Okay? That’s it?” Travis shook his head and raised his eyes to the ceiling. “For the love of God, Ethan.”

“What? What am I supposed to say other than ‘okay’? I know that I don’t have any choice but to go when you say because neither of us wants to upset your mother. And god only knows, I think sometimes your dad still wants to clobber me for how our relationship started out.”

Travis made a face. “My pops loves you, Ethan. Rocky start and all.” He looked away for a moment, probably gathering his scattered thoughts. When he looked back at Ethan, his confused look had turned into something darker. “Look, I know I can be a damn chatterbox sometimes and that it annoys you, but I can’t help it.”

Ethan sighed and crossed his arms over his chest. Leaning back against the couch, he waited Travis out. It never took long for him to speak again, something about silence bothered Murphy greatly. Often, Ethan would come home from work and hear Travis talking to himself or, more likely, to his characters, just to fill the quiet of the empty house.

Rolling his eyes, Travis started to pace the living room. “I know I talk a lot. Nonstop if you ask my father, but I can’t stop it, okay? It’s how I am. I have all this shit up here,” he pointed an angry finger towards his head, “and the trivial crap has to get out so I can focus on the important stuff. Plot lines. Grocery lists. You.”

“Me?” That last part shocked Ethan. “Why do you need to focus on me?”

“Because I love you,” Travis said, as if it explained everything. He stopped pacing and settled onto the couch next to Ethan. “Besides, if you had any idea how much I didn’t say, I think you’d be surprised.”

He held out an arm and beckoned Travis to his side. Always one to seek comfort, Travis immediately curled into the warmth of Ethan’s body, resting his head against the back of the couch. “What do you keep to yourself because honestly, you talk so much that there can’t possibly be anything left unspoken.”

“You can be such an ass sometimes,” Travis sighed.

“You could have left that unspoken, Murph,” Ethan teased.

“I didn’t tell you that I was thinking about killing off one of my characters,” he started. “That detective that you hate so much? I’ve been contemplating it.”

“Don’t do that, Travis,” Ethan said. “He’s a prick, but he’s what gets the rest of the team to do their jobs so well.”

“Yeah,” Travis agreed. “Maybe you’re right.”

“What else to you keep to yourself? And not writing stuff because I get that. I’m not likely to understand half of what’s going on in your mind while you’re working, kind of like how you’d be confused by my thought processes when solving a case.” They both knew that from experience already. Even more so since Travis’ oddball perspective had helped Ethan crack one of the cases he’d been working while stuck in Garret.

Travis shrugged against Ethan’s side. “Nothing important.”

“Liar,” Ethan said gently. “You wouldn’t be so evasive if it wasn’t important to you.”

Ethan watched his husband’s handsome face scrunch into something unreadable before smoothing out into its usual smile. “I think about you and how lucky I am to have you. How I hope you don’t leave me again, not for any reason. How – oh, hell. It’s all so much crap.”

He wrapped his arms around Travis and held him close. Murphy was the most emotional man Ethan had ever met. Admittedly, Ethan had believed this would make him crazy long-term and, at times, it did. But honestly, after spending so many years working with cops and dating unfeeling assholes like Reid Farrow, Travis’ emotions were a blessed change for the better. “It’s not crap, not if it matters to you.”

“You matter to me,” Travis muttered into Ethan’s shoulder.

“And you matter to me,” Ethan whispered into Travis’ hair. I know I get cranky sometimes but don’t ever feel like you can’t tell me something. There will be times when I can’t listen right then, but I’ll always make time for you.”

“You damn well better,” Travis laughed.

“I will,” Ethan promised. “But didn’t you say something about cake yesterday?”

Travis snorted and pulled away from Ethan. He ran a knuckle under each eye and winked. “Yeah, it’s been in the kitchen waiting for you. Ready?”

“Always.” Ethan rose to his feet and offered Travis a hand. Murphy allowed himself to be tugged to his feet, happy to share his newest creation.

--
End note: Yeah, I do speak Spanish to my cat. Sometimes I practice my Romanian on her. She remains unimpressed.

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