Written for the word of the day 'hotchpot'. Such a pines word, don't you think?
"Elijah, we need to sit down and talk," Sean said.
Elijah tilted his head to one side consideringly. "That sounds serious."
"Not 'serious' precisely, but important."
"Dish of tea important? Or beer important?"
Sean smiled. "Tea important. It's only nine o'clock, Elijah."
"It's never too early for beer, Sean."
"You only say that because, unlike the rest of us, you don't require sleep."
"Not true," Elijah protested. "I require lots of sleep. It just depends on your definition of sleep."
"I will not allow this conversation, and us, to get derailed into sex. We're sitting down and talking first."
"You have a one-track mind, Woodjin."
"Of course I do. It's the mating season."
"Well, your pedicles are simply going to have to wait."
The tea was made and they settled at the kitchen table with Maggie, Rocky and Fred.
"So what is this important thing we need to discuss?" Elijah asked curiously.
Elijah stiffened. "What about them?" He'd gone wary as a rabbit when a fox is near.
"With all my worldly goods I thee endow," Sean quoted.
"No, Sean, you can't. It's too much money."
"I can and I mean to. Elijah, I love you. You're my life partner, my mate, and I want everything I have to belong legally to you, too." Sean took his hand and kissed it.
"But it's hundreds of millions of dollars."
"Don't sound so appalled. Most people would be overjoyed."
"I'm not most people."
"And I thank god for that every day. Now please, let's not argue about this?"
Elijah was silent for a minute. "All right. But it has to be a hotchpot, Sean."
"A hotchpot. If you're going to insist that I share your money, then you have to share mine, too."
"But I don't need your money. I've got too much of my own as it is."
"And I don't need yours. The Woods have always managed just fine without anyone's help." Elijah raised his chin, a Piney through and through.
"Of course you have. You know that's not why I'm doing this. I want us to be equal partners in everything, whether it's three dollars or three hundred million."
"Then you can't object to a hotchpot. We combine all our worldly goods and share them equally. I insist."
Sean knew when he was beaten. "All right, a hotchpot it is."
Rocky, perched on Sean's shoulder, let out a spate of chatter then emptied the contents of his cheek pouches onto the table: five plump ripe acorns.
"What's this?" Sean asked, raising his eyebrows.
"Rocky's worldly goods," replied Elijah gravely. "He wants to be part of our hotchpot, too. So there's one acorn for each of us: you, me, Maggie, Fred and Rocky."
"Then I'm a wealthy man indeed," Sean said softly, "to be sharing in such riches." And he wasn't laughing.