Not just for Christmas

It was cold.

That’s the only thing Jaycee knew for sure anymore, that and he was hungry. He walked slowly down the street his head hanging down to the ground and his feet leaving small prints in the already settling snow. There were not many people about at this time of night but still he had to be cautious. The ones that he did pass he was careful not to meet their eyes and to look as unthreatening as he possibly could.

Tired and half frozen he took refuge in a deep doorway and sat watching the continuing falling snow as he shivered uncontrollably. His stomach rumbled and he gave a small pathetic whimper. He had forgotten what it was like to have a full belly, to be warm, to have someone stroke his hair, to be loved.

He curled up as small as he could in an attempt to keep warm and looked out of the doorway into the white unforgiving streets. He gave four small whimpers as a man and woman passed by, hoping that they might show him a little kindness but they just scowled at him, the man muttering “why don’t they just get them off the streets,” before taking his lady’s arm and steering her away.

Jaycee sadly watched them go and put his head down to try to sleep. He trembled as the dampness in his hair started to freeze and he wondered if he would see another morning.

A loud noise behind him and a hard kick to his rump shook him from his exhausted sleep. He yelped and scrambled to get away before the man attacking him could hurt him too much.

“Fuck off you mangy animal,” the man yelled at him as he scampered away.

Even though he was weak and hungry Jaycee could run when he needed to, and run blindly he did, straight across the road. Incredible agony filled his body and he hit the ground. The driver of the car got out and ran around to see what he had hit and bent down brushing Jaycee’s hair from his eyes. Jaycee looked up at him pathetically and whimpered softly from the pain. The man picked him up and put him in the back of his pickup truck and Jaycee cried again.

“It’s alright boy, I’ll get you some help,” the sweet faced man said softly, comfortingly, as he wrapped Jaycee up in dry warm blankets.


Justin had been working late again. That was the rotten thing about this time of year; he was the only single member of staff and the only one that seemed to do the overtime that had to be filled. He hated Christmas. It was a time that reminded him that he was all alone. The rest of the year he could push the fact that he had been rejected by his family to the back of his mind, forget about the emptiness and the ache in his heart and concentrate on making a living. But at Christmas when all the decorations were out and the store was bustling with smiling happy people buying presents for their loved ones his loneliness came flooding to the surface.

“Goodnight,” he shouted to the security guard as he clambered into his pick up. The old man waved back giving Justin a scowl that Justin knew was the closest the man ever got to a smile.

Justin chuckled to himself as he started his engine and still chuckling he pulled out of the parking lot.

One of the pleasures of pulling the graveyard shift was the drive home. Nice empty streets, no traffic jams just you and the road and good sounds blasting from your sound system. The snow had started to fall about half an hour before the end of his shift and already lay thick on the ground and was getting thicker by the minute. Because there was no traffic on the road it was still easy to drive in although Justin made a mental note to put his snow wheels on for the following day. The CD he was listening to came to an end and Justin fumbled in his glove compartment for a replacement. Unable to find the one he wanted he took his eyes off the road, a grin spread across his face as he found the one he was looking for but was quickly replaced with on of horror as he spotted a streak of dark brown dashing out in front of him.

Justin slammed on his breaks and closed his eyes. A sickening thud informed him that he had hit something, someone. He leaned forward his head resting on the steering wheel as he composed himself. Much as he didn’t want to he knew he had to get out and look. Maybe the person was still alive. Hesitantly he got out of his truck afraid of what he would see, and then sighed with relief when he saw it was only a dog he had hit.

The dog looked up with pain filled eyes and cried piteously. Justin started back to his truck then paused his hand resting on the handle as the injured animal whimpered once more.

His conscience wouldn’t let him walk away and he returned to the dog, kneeling at its side. He stroked away the matted fur and caressed his triangular head.

“It’s alright boy,” he whispered softly. “I’ll get you help.

The dog yelped in pain as Justin lifted him up putting him gently in the back of his truck, wrapping him in a soft clean blanket that he kept on the rear seat.


Justin pounded on the hard wood door until he saw the lights flick on. Then he ran back to his truck and dropping the tailgate carefully lifted the dog out and carried him back to the door just in time for it to open.

“Christ almighty Justin you scared the shit out of me and Lance!”

Justin pushed past the irate man and half ran to the examination table.

“I hit a dog Chris. Can you fix him?”

Chris moved beside the injured animal and lifted his head looking into his eyes, shining a light into them. “His eyes are reacting to light.”

“Is that good?” Justin demanded to know.

“Well it means that he’s alive.”

“What’s going on Chris?” a blond dressed in pyjama pants asked from the doorway.

“Justin hit a dog with his truck and of course we are the only veterinarians in the whole of the district,” Chris said sarcastically. “He couldn’t go to the one that is twenty-four hour could he?”

Justin bit his lip as Chris moved the dog’s rear leg and it whimpered and tried to lick at the thick blood that started to ooze from the wound. “I panicked,” he said explaining why he had driven halfway across the city.

“Will he be okay?”

Chris shook his head. “It’s hard to tell with out x-rays but I’m quite sure his back leg is broken pretty badly.” Chris listened to the dogs breathing through his stethoscope.

“Who’s dog is it do you know?”

Justin shook his head. “It just ran right under my truck. There was no one else around.

The green-eyed blond had returned, now dressed in jeans and black tee shirt and carrying three mugs of steaming coffee. “If you ask me he’s a stray. Look at him; he’s in pretty bad condition. His coat is all matted and dirty and you can see his ribs.”

Chris nodded in agreement. “Lance is right Justin. The dog is a stray. It would probably be for the best if I put him down. The poor thing is suffering.”

“No,” Justin wailed. “You can’t look at his face and them big blue eyes. I haven’t ever seen a dog with blue eyes like that before. He must be a pedigree.”

“The dog is a mongrel, a real Heinz variety.” Chris sighed. “You know Heinz, like in ketchup, 57 varieties.” He rolled his eyes when Justin still didn’t get his joke.

“Can you fix him?” Justin asked again.

“Of course I can fix him but who’s going to pay? Surgery like this can cost upwards of a thousand dollars. It’ll be best all around just to put him out of his misery.”

“I’ll pay.”

It’s not just the cost Justin it’s the aftercare. We just don’t have room to house him here,” Chris continued ignoring Justin's claim.

“I’ll pay Chris. I have some money saved and I’ll pay you the rest as and when I get it.”

The dog whined mournfully and looked up at the arguing men with big blue eyes. He licked at Justin's hand and whimpered once more as Lance injected some drugs into his rump.

“There you go boy, we’ll just get rid of that nasty pain for you.” He turned to Chris. “If Justin wants to pay for a stray then it’s up to him. Just decide because the poor thing is suffering here.”

Chris sighed. “Okay. You get the x-ray set up and I’ll go and get dressed.” Justin started to follow him through to the back of the veterinary practice. “Oh no you stay here out of the way.”

“But …but.”

“No buts Justin you stay here out the way until we know what we are dealing with.” He addressed Lance. “Can you manage to carry him to the back room?”

Lance rolled his eyes. “I’m gay not a weakling.”

Chris grunted and left to get dressed. Lance shrugged and gently picked up the limp pet. “I’ll let you know what we are going to do as soon as we know how bad it is.”

Justin looked on worriedly at the unconscious animal. “Is he alright he’s gone all floppy?”

Lance laughed. “I gave him a sedative. It’s easier and less traumatic for the patient if they are asleep.”

Justin wrung his hands nervously. “Oh okay. Should I just wait here?”

“Go home Justin I’ll call you and let you know what is happening.”

“I’d rather wait, just till he’s been looked at. Can I wait; I mean I won’t be in the way will I?”

“No you won’t be in the way, just stay out here.”

Lance disappeared through to the theatre leaving Justin to slump down on a hard wooden chair to worry.

Twenty cigarettes and an hour and a half later Justin crumpled up his empty package and threw it into on open waste bin. He checked his watch and then rested his head in his hands, closing his eyes, he was tired.

He jerked awake at the sound of Chris coming back into the room and he jumped to his feet. “How is he?” he asked apprehensively.

“He’s going to be just fine. I had to put two pins in his back left leg but the good news is that there was no internal damage so you can take him home in the morning.”

“T-take him home! I can’t take him home.”

“Justin I told you I couldn’t keep him here, I just don’t have the room. He can stay here tonight but you will have to collect him in the morning.” Chris handed Justin the dog’s collar.

“I thought you liked animals,” Justin pouted.

“I do, just not in my house. Go home Justin, get some sleep. Jaycee will be fine here till tomorrow.”

“Jaycee?” Justin questioned.

“That’s the dogs name or at least that what his collar states. Now if you don’t mind some of us have beds to go to.” Lance wheeled Jaycee out of the theatre and smiled as he met his lover’s eyes.

“Nice cosy full bed at that,” Chris re-enforced with a wink and Lance blushed.


Jaycee woke up to find himself in a cage. His mouth was dry and tasted funny and he seemed to have a heavy feeling in his left back leg. He turned his head and sniffed at the strange white covering before lying back down. He felt too tired to investigate further right at this minute.

“Hello there Jaycee, you’re awake.”

A deep voiced human opened his pen door and reached in stroking his head gently. “Are you thirsty sleepy head?” a pan of water was pushed under Jaycee’s nose and he began to drink thirstily all the time the man continued to stroke him. It felt good. It had been so long since anyone had given him any attention and he needed physical contact desperately.

“Who you talking to baby?”

Jaycee winced a bit; he recognised the voice of the man from the night before, the one that had wanted to kill him.

“I’m just saying hello to this pretty little thing here before I take his vitals.”

Chris looked at Jaycee over his shoulder. “You groomed him,” he said and reached to pet Jaycee.

Jaycee growled and Chris withdrew his hand. “Well you woke up in a bad mood didn’t you?” he cooed. “See how he is by dinner time, if his vitals stay stable phone Justin and tell him to come and get him.” Jaycee’s ears pricked up. Wasn’t Justin the sweet-faced man that brought him here?

“Do you want me to prepare his bill?” Lance asked.

“Yeah; and give him a discount, he can’t afford to pay no matter what he says.”

“30%?” Lance asked.

“Make it 60. We can swallow the labour fees; just charge for the anaesthetic and the drugs.”

Jaycee watched as the deep voiced man turned around and wrapped his arms around the short dark ones waist and kissed him softly on his lips. “You really are a soft touch Christopher Kirkpatrick.”

Chris rolled his eyes. “Don’t say things like that, you’ll get me a reputation for being nice and I don’t want people to think I’m nice they start calling round for tea and all sorts.”

Jaycee batted his big blue eyes and squirmed a little before trying to get up. Now he had had some water he really needed to pee. The deep voiced man sniggered “I think Jaycee needs a walk.”

“Can you manage?” Chris asked placing a kiss on Lance’s cheek.

“Why do you insist on making out that I am incapable of lifting anything heavier than a fork?”

“Because I like the illusion that I can take care of you,” Chris answered softly.

The two men leaned in together and kissed lovingly. “Jaycee is waiting Lance,” Chris reminded his lover playfully slapping his ass.

Jaycee found it very difficult to take a pee standing up, firstly he couldn’t lift his favourite leg and secondly when he tried lifting the other leg he fell over much to the deep voiced man’s mirth. Eventually he squatted like he was a girl and empted his bladder. Lance let him try and walk back to the vet surgery. It took him a while but by the time he reached the animal compound he had learned to compensate for the heavy caste on his rear leg. Lance put him back in his cage and brought him some dinner. He sniffed it briefly before gulping it down, afraid that if he lingered over it Lance would take it away again.

“Take it easy boy, there’s more where that came from,” the deep voiced man said kindly. He reached in and tussled Jaycee’s head then left.


Lance called Justin a little after two waking him up. The young man listened solemnly as Lance explained what they had done for the dog and how much it had cost.

“I thought Chris said it would cost more?”

“It can if it makes you happy,” Lance said seriously. “But it isn’t very often that Kirkpatrick works for free, so I wouldn’t complain if I was you.”

“What’s going to happen to Jaycee now?” Justin asked.

“What’s going to happen is that you are going to come get him and take him to your place,” Lance said pointing out their agreement of last night.

“You meant that? Justin exclaimed. “I thought Chris was just kidding.”

“No he was deadly serious. Justin we can’t keep him here, we don’t have the room. Christmas is coming and it’s our busiest time. Jaycee is taking up the space that we could use for ten puppies.”

“Won’t the pound take him in?” Justin suggested.

Lance sighed on the end of the phone. “Yeah they’ll take him. Why did you insist on us operating if you intended to give him to the pound? Chris could have put him down last night and be done with it.”

“I don’t want the dog to die that’s why,” Justin snapped.

“What the hell do you think the pound will do with him, they won’t keep him, and he’s old, at least nine or ten. He’ll be dead by tonight”

Justin went silent on the other end of the phone.

“Justin?” Lance questioned thinking the younger man had hung up on him.

“Can you supply me with some basics; you know food, toys and basket?”

Lance grinned triumphantly. “I’ll have them and Jaycee ready to go in an hour.” Lance sniggered as Justin snorted and hung up.

Jaycee’s tail went into overdrive when he spotted Justin walk in to the back room of the vets. He tried to stand up so that he could greet the sweet faced man properly but he still hadn’t got used to his leg being in plaster so he just yapped happily instead. The deep voiced man, Lance, walked Justin over to him.

“Here he is,” he said. “All clean and brushed; he’s not a mongrel at all; he’s actually a long haired Labrador.”

“I thought Labradors had brown eyes.”

“They do,” Lance said. “But I think Jaycee has a genetic abnormality, a bit like the albino gene but not so sever.” He opened the cage and clipped a leash to Jaycee’s collar then helped Jaycee stand up, waiting patiently for the injured animal to hobble out.

“You have to walk slowly for him; he’s not used to the weight of the caste yet. He will adapt. But it will take him a few days.”

Justin watched distastefully as Jaycee hobbled to him, his tail wagging gleefully. He squatted down and petted the triangular head with begrudged affection. “Well it looks like I’m stuck with you boy, do you want to come home with me?”

Justin fell back giggling as Jaycee pushed him over with his front paws and began to lick his face. “Stop …stop it,” Justin laughed.


Jaycee limped up and down the hallway of Justin's apartment sniffing at the floor. Justin had disappeared into one of the rooms nearly an hour ago and Jaycee was getting bored not only that but he needed to go for a pee too. Sighing he gave up looking for his new owner and limped back to the living room, the plaster on his leg clicking on the hard wood floor.

His ears pricked up and he cocked his head to one side. There in the corner of the room was a tree. Jaycee hobbled to it and relieved himself against the trunk.

“NO! Jaycee no bad boy… bad, bad boy.” Justin came into the room just in time to see Jaycee pee up his newly erected Christmas tree. Jaycee cringed and tried to hide behind the sofa, peaking out with his soft blue eyes at the sweet faced man that had taken him in.

Justin raked his fingers through his hair and stared in despair at the ruined afternoon’s work.

“This isn’t going to work boy. I’m not a doggy person. Someone out there must know who you belong to.”

Justin snapped his fingers and beckoned Jaycee, calling the apprehensive pooch to him. He caressed the golden brown ears gently then stood up and set about cleaning up the mess.

Jaycee didn’t mean to be a bad dog; it was just that he got bored easily. He was used to being in a household where he was never left alone, so when Justin went to work and he was left to his own devises he went looking for something to do.

Jaycee first decided to go looking for breakfast. He sniffed around the kitchen bin detecting the appetising aroma of fried bacon. He pushed his nose into the bin and rummaged about a bit, unable to find the tasty morsel he decided to probe deeper. He yelped and stumbled backwards, loosing his balance as the trashcan tumbled over spilling the contents all over the kitchen floor. Jaycee pushed himself back up and regarded the mess, “Oh well,” he decided. “Might as well see what there is to eat.”

When he had finished rummaging around he hobbled down the hallway to the living room looking for something to play with. He spotted a sneaker sticking out from under the couch and pulled it all the way out. He pushed his nose into it and tossed it into the air catching it in his mouth. He repeated this action three or four times before settling down to chew on it. Funnily this seemed to occupy him for a few hours before he began to feel lonely again. Jaycee struggled up on to his paws and yawned. He was missing Justin. He peered out into the hallway at Justin's bedroom door then padded softly to it. He sat outside for a few minutes trying to decide if Justin was behind the door or not before reaching up as far as he could without falling over and pressed down the latch lock.

Now this was going to be an adventure. In the few days he had spent with Justin he had never been in the bedroom and now he knew why. There were toys, lots and lots of toys. Jaycee pulled a black plastic thing that had a long wire hanging out of it then cringed as a silver box tumbled to the ground just missing him. A thick blanket hung off the side of the bed and Jaycee sniffed it curiously; it smelt of Justin. Grabbing it with his teeth he tugged it until it fell on the floor. He nestled into it, circling around and around clumsily until he felt he could be comfortable then settled down to sleep.

Justin can home just after 2 and was surprised when Jaycee didn’t greet him at the door like he had the previous couple of days. Unperturbed he went to the kitchen stopping dead at the sight of his trash spread around the room.

“Holy fucking crap!” he exclaimed. “Jaycee!”

He went to the living room finding an equal amount of destruction. “I’m going to kill that fucking dog,” he muttered. “No! no, no, no,” Justin groaned as he fished his favourite sneaker, now covered in drool and chewed to tatters, from a pile of equally mauled cushions. He hunted the entire room for the naughty dog, scratching his head when he couldn’t find him. His eyes rested on his bedroom door.

“Oh no,” he groaned. Tentatively he opened his bedroom door. “My X-Box!” he exclaimed as he fished up the remains of his precious games console. “Where are you, you mangy mutt?”

He looked around. “My blanket!” Justin went to pick up his favourite snuggle only to find it wrapped firmly around a furry golden body.

Jaycee looked up at his new master and blinked his bright blue eyes and wagged his tail.

Justin sighed. How could he be angry? Jaycee didn’t know that he had been naughty, instead he untangled the dog and helped him up on to his feet and took him for his nightly walk.

After that first night of destruction Justin was careful to lock Jaycee into the kitchen before he went to work, of course ensuring first that he had removed the trashcan from harms way. It was Christmas Eve and still no one had claimed Jaycee and in all honesty now that Jaycee was settling in, Justin found himself more and more drawn to the pretty pooch with the unusual colour eyes. He had taken to curling up on the couch with Jaycee pressed up against him while he watched movies and even had started taking the dog to bed with him, basically because if he didn’t Jaycee whined all night.

“What-cha think Jaycee, shall we can watch Die-hard or K9.”

Jaycee barked twice.

“Die-hard it is then.” Justin turned on the movie of his choice and Jaycee growled nudging the remote control that was still in his hand.

“Stop it Jaycee,” Justin said batting the fussy dog on the end of his nose. Jaycee was unperturbed and hit the remote again barking.

“I want to watch Die-hard.”

Jaycee barked loudly over and over until finally unable to take anymore Justin turned the TV over. Jaycee yapped happily and rested his nose on Justin's thigh as the titles for K9 filled the screen.

Justin wiped his eyes self-conscious of the fact he had just sobbed over a dead dog and then rubbed Jaycee’s head affectionately. “I’m taking that notice out of the paper tomorrow boy. I don’t want to give you up.”

Jaycee looked up meeting his gaze and licked Justin's chin making him go ewww. “I know you love me Jaycee. Now if only you were human we could be set for life.” Justin scrubbed Jaycee’s head and got up off the couch. “Let’s go to bed boy, tomorrow is Christmas. Who knows we might both get what we wish for.”


When Justin woke up the next morning he was surprised to find Jaycee gone. He searched the small apartment high and low knowing that the dog had to be there somewhere. He was about to give up when there was a sharp knock at the door.

Justin gapped open mouthed at the man on his doorstep. He was encased in a tan leather jacket and had a Burberry scarf wrapped around the lower portion of his face just revealing a pair of sparkling silver blue eyes framed with thick dark lashes and thick curly brown hair.

Gathering his wits about him Justin gave a small cough clearing his throat before he spoke.

“Can I help you?” he asked

The man unwound his scarf. “I hope so. Did you put this ad in the paper?” the man asked holding out a news cutting.

Justin nodded reluctantly and motioned the man to come in. the man draped his scarf over the back of the hallway chair and unbuttoned his jacket revealing a narrow waist and tight tee shirted chest.

“My name is Josh and I think it’s my dog. I just got back from overseas to find out that my dog sitter lost my baby over two months ago.”

“Two months?” Justin repeated not sure that he had heard correctly.

“Yeah there was a problem in our London office and it took that long to sort out, of course I though Jaycee was being well taken care of. If I had known that that silly bitch Britney had lost him I’d have come straight back.”

Justin's heart sank; Josh knew the dog’s name.

“Where is he?” Josh asked hopefully.

Almost on cue Jaycee came trotting out of the bedroom having gotten bored with waiting for Justin to find him. A familiar smell reached his nostrils and he yapped excitedly and galloped down the hallway as fast as he could on his three good legs. He leaped at Josh knocking him onto the floor and clambering all over him licking and nipping at his face while Josh tried to fight him off and not cry at the same time.

Justin took pity on the slender man and hauled Jaycee off him. “Well I guess he does belong to you,” he said sadly indicating that the handsome young man should follow him to the kitchen.

“I’ll pay for the vet’s bills,” Josh insisted, accepting the glass of juice that Justin handed him. “And any other expenses you incurred.”

Justin shrugged. “No it’s okay. I hit him with my car so it’s only right that I pay.”

“But if my idiot of a sitter didn’t lose him then you wouldn’t have hit him,” Josh pointed out.

Jaycee sat and watched his two masters in turmoil. On the one hand he loved Josh unconditionally. He had belonged to him since he was a puppy and he knew that Josh loved him too. But then there was Justin. He had really grown to like the curly headed man. An idea suddenly came to him and Jaycee toddled off to the living room leaving the two young men temporarily alone together.

“Jaycee is an unusual name for a dog,” Justin said trying to engage Josh in conversation.

“That was my mom. She bought Jaycee for me when I was about to go to college but the campus wouldn’t let me take him with me so I had to leave him at home. When I got back mom had changed his name from Casey to Jaycee.”

“Why?” Justin couldn’t resist asking.

“It was my nickname, JC; you know Josh Chasez ... that by the way is my full name Josh Chasez, Joshua and I’m rambling aren’t I?”

Justin sniggered. “Just a bit.”

Jaycee came back from his wanderings a magazine in his mouth. He pushed it into Josh’s hands and sat back wagging his tail. Josh coughed and blushed as he opened it and Justin burned bright red, trying to snatch it back.

“You’re gay?” Josh asked holding up the soggy copy of The Gay Times.

“No, it’s a friend’s.”

“A friend’s?” Joshua questioned unconvinced. “The label says Justin Timberlake.”

Justin opened his mouth to deny it then sighed. “Okay I’m gay,” quickly turning defensive and snapping “what of it?”

Josh lowered his eyes and then looked up through his thick lashes. “I’m gay too,” he confided. “You know I don’t have anywhere to go today. Would you like … I mean maybe if you aren’t …”

“I’d love to,” Justin butted in saving himself from Josh’s further embarrassing attempts to ask him out.

Josh smiled brightly and stood up, pulling Justin closer to him by his hand. They kissed softly and tenderly just exploring each others mouths.

Jaycee rolled his doggy eyes and got up, leaving his masters to get acquainted besides there was a brand new sneaker in the lounge that had his name on it.

The end.

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