acatwhowrites: (Default)
A Cat Who Writes ([personal profile] acatwhowrites) wrote2015-04-07 02:07 pm

The Way to My Heart

title: The Way to My Heart
players: Byun Baekhyun, Park Chanyeol, Do Kyungsoo/D.O. (as a tuxedo cat)
word count: 5,440
rating: PG
summary: (Cat AU) Kyungsoo is a sassy cat but quite easily won over by fresh bakery.

a/n: Written for a prompt on EPM. I've had this in my drafts for a long while, over a year, now, and it got away from me. The point of view does change a bit, but it should be obvious. Should be. I like it, though. I'm not happy with the ending, but I just want it done, now.





Kyungsoo the tuxedo cat watches the city bustle with energy and movement from a safe place high in one of the few trees surrounded by wrought iron fence at the edge of the sidewalk. No one notices him, too busy getting to wherever it is humans feel the need to hurry to, and Kyungsoo likes it that way. Too often, humans assume that he’s some poor, helpless kitten who will just roll over for tummy tickles when he’s actually more than capable of taking down a fat pigeon or two, or even a rat, and disemboweling it for dinner.

He licks his feline lips, wondering what he should catch for lunch, but something more appetizing wafts up to his nose.

Smells like someone went to the bakery.

Being a cat, Kyungsoo prefers to not hang in one spot too long, much less someplace known to gather giggly female humans who try to catch him and coo obscenely in his face. The bakery is one of his favourite stores, regardless, because of the delicious cupcakes and donuts and breads that are simply thrown away if they’re not bought.

Sometimes, however, necessity demands fresh food.

Kyungsoo climbs down the tree, hopping the last couple of feet to the grass and looks around, nose in the air. It couldn’t have made it too far. . .

Aha! The human with the big ears. Kyungsoo trots after him, tail high, waiting for the opportune moment to turn on his charm.

The human stops, however, when another man, much shorter—Because dayumn, this big-eared human was big!—greets him and pulls him aside to chat. Kyungsoo follows, impatiently waiting for them to stop talking while his stomach growls, eyes on the prize held in the big-eared man’s hand.



Something catches Baekhyun's eye. He leans a bit to he side and looks around Chanyeol. “Did you grow a tail?”

“What?” Chanyeol looks over his shoulder, but rather than a tail of his own, he spots a handsome tuxedo cat with its tail tucked primly over its socked paws, staring up at him with very large, very green eyes. He smiles, turning and dropping slowly to his haunches. “Hi there. . .”

“Chanyeol, don’t. You don’t know whose cat that is. He’s probably a stray.”

“Exactly. Which means he’s probably hungry.”

“Chanyeol. . .” Baekhyun whines, disbelieving when his friend opens the bakery bag and breaks apart the filled donut he’d bought for lunch. "I thought you were allergic!"

His friend ignores him and holds out his hand, a small piece of the baked good pinched in his fingers. “Here. You like donuts?”

The cat stretches out its spine, not quite standing up and sniffs the donut suspiciously. It pulls back, licking its lips—Do cats have lips? Chanyeol wonders.—and looks up at his face before taking the bit of donut in its teeth and crouching to the pavement, tossing the crumbly treat around in its mouth to keep from dropping any.

“It’s good, right?”

The cat licks its lips again and swipes a paw across its face, licking it twice before dragging it across its muzzle once more.



Kyungsoo decides this must be heaven while he washes his face. The human’s offering him a bigger piece of donut, which he pretends to not want, just to watch the crestfallen expression.

Not because of the big smile that returns when he daintily—Monstrously, he is so hungry right now.—snags from the human’s fingers and holds on his paw to eat.

The spell is broken when the human has the audacity to try touching him.



“Chanyeol, I don’t think he wants to be pet.”

“But he’s so cu—Ouch!” He jumps back, shaking his stinging hand. Laughing through the pain, he grimaces at the cat. “I suppose I deserved that, petting you without permission.”

The cat seems to snort in agreement, finishing the donut, washing its whiskers, and sashaying back down the sidewalk. It disappears around the corner, into an alley, and Chanyeol wipes his hand on his jeans as he stands.

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah. . . I feel kind of bad for it, though. It probably doesn’t know what affection is.”

Or,” Baekhyun stresses, snagging Chanyeol’s arm, “it has had its fill of little boys pulling its tail and calling it ‘love.’”

“I never did that!”

“You’re right. It was a ferret, not a cat.”

“That ferret adored me!”

“You didn’t give it a choice!”


▽▽▽▽▽



The next day, Kyungsoo is back in the same tree, dozing off a light meal of baby mice, when he smells the unmistakeable odour of crepes.

And wouldn’tcha know it, it’s the same big-eared human with grabby hands.

Stretching until the stubborn vertebrae in the middle of his spine pops, Kyungsoo makes his way down the tree and follows the human. This time, he’s not stopped, so Kyungsoo has to jog to keep up with his long legs, dodging other humans while keeping the big-eared man in sight.

He follows him into the park. Somewhat surprising. Kyungsoo doesn’t think humans make enough time for being outside, but the park is filled with the two-legged creatures, especially little ones, which makes Kyungsoo cringe and hurry after the big-eared man.

The human finds an empty bench and finally notices Kyungsoo.



“Hello, again. My hand is still sore, you know.”

The cat cocks its head to the side angelically, not looking sorry at all.

“You’re right. It was my fault. I shouldn’t have assumed.” He opens the paper bag beside him. “I’ve got crepes today. Want one?”

The cat meows, standing eagerly.

Chanyeol laughs. “Come on up. Feeding you on the ground is too much like feeding the pigeons.” He pats the seat beside him, not really expecting anything but pleasantly surprised when the cat hops up beside him. It situates itself primly again, curling its tail over its feet and not letting the tip touch the bench. “You are very proper. My friend Minseok would like you.” He pulled out a warm crepe wrapped in wax paper and pulled the end off, setting it on a piece of torn paper bag before the cat.

Ohhh maaaan,” Chanyeol sighs, patting his stomach contentedly some minutes later. “I guess I didn’t need to buy so many. Breakfast tomorrow.” He knows they won't last the day.

The cat is lying with all four paws tucked beneath itself, tail curled up along its side, eyes half-closed in satiated bliss. It looks unassuming, but Chanyeol has the forethought to be cautious this time, reaching towards it slowly.



Kyungsoo is in Cat Heaven. The crepes were absolutely divine, his stomach is full, and the sun is warm, which means it’s time for a nap. He vaguely sees long fingers in his periphery, and he sniffs them.

They smell like crepes.

He pushes his nose against the fingers and slides his chin over the tips, a purr rumbling in his throat when the fingers tentatively start to curl and flex.

Now, it is truly Cat Heaven. The only way it could get any better would be if the human had longer nails for a deeper scratch.



Chanyeol can hardly contain himself when the cat accepts—even pushes for—chin scratches. He misses his mom’s cat. This stray is nothing like hers, but he misses the company of a cat. True, much of his time in the cat-fur-infused household was spent sneezing and sniffling and crying, but cats are too cute to not want to stuff his face into.

They sit in easy silence, the cat purring in its near-sleep and Chanyeol lazily dragging his fingers over its face and ears, marveling at the silky smoothness.



▽▽▽▽▽




For a few days after that, Kyungsoo waits in the same tree for the big-eared human to pass by, following him to the park for lunch.

Then, he begins to wait for the human in the park, on the same bench the human claimed as “the usual spot.”

The human is good at noticing when Kyungsoo’s uneasy, namely when children gather around. He distracts them or talks to them, and they may offer their hands, but they usually walk away with down expressions.

The big-eared human doesn’t visit the park for a few days, and Kyungsoo squashes his concern. He’s a mature cat; he doesn’t need a human to look after. The company was nice while it lasted, but c’est la vie d'un chat. Life goes on. Humans and cats are not co-dependent. Never have been; never will be.

So he tells himself when he asks other cats where “his human” is. He’s simply staking a claim on the human’s baked offerings. Most humans immediately try to grab him; his human offered him food first, food the human easily could have devoured the entirety of himself. It isn’t because he followed Kyungsoo’s directions on just where to scratch his chin or stroke the outside of his ears. Good heavens, no.

Kyungsoo sneezes, climbing up the same tree once again to wait another day.

It was kind of touching, the way the human talked to him as if it were normal to talk to a cat and how he bought something different from the bakery for them both to try. Not that Kyungsoo is about to make a habit of conversing with or taking food from random humans.

He sleeps up in the tree that night. He’ll search for one more day. Then he’ll move on.



Chanyeol coughs into his sleeve and groans in abject misery. He couldn’t stay home from class for any longer, but he still feels like Hell froze over. Literally. He’s hot and cold at the same time. Men don’t get hot flashes, far as he knows, at least not men as young as he is. All of his classes were a blur. Hopefully, the professors weren’t teaching anything very important that will be on the finals.

He doesn’t have such good luck, though.

He shuffles out of the bakery after class, sniffling and feeling kind of bad for the people inside who had to listen to him, but everyone gets colds. They can deal with momentary discomfort. He is suffering more than them right now, anyway.

Finally heading home after what feels like years, he gets the feeling he’s being followed.

Sure enough, the big-eyed tuxedo cat is tailing him.

“I’m not going to the park today,” he wheezes. “I just want to go to bed.” There’s no reason to tell the cat this; it has no idea what he says, anyway. Still, the cat follows him passed the park and to the block of apartment buildings, showing no signs of turning away.



His big-eared human is very obviously sick. Kyungsoo can smell the strong odour of cold medicine, menthol rub, and herbal tea, although it's just a burning stench to his sensitive nose. He can also smell the zucchini cake in the bakery bag, which calls to his near-empty stomach like a siren.

They pass the park. They pass the small fountain Kyungsoo was once tossed into by a group of kids. They cross a large, noisy intersection that he certainly did not wait between his human’s feet until traffic stopped to allow the throng of humans to cross. They finally reach a new-looking apartment building.

The inside doesn't look as new as the outside, but Kyungsoo follows his human through the doors, regardless of the sketchy odours, and into the elevator, sitting a couple feet away from him until the doors opened again with a tinny Ding!.

His human stumbles to the door directly across from the elevator and leans against it heavily. Kyungsoo waits behind him, wondering if the human can even remember how doors work considering he’s sicker than a dog—which is really sick.

Oh, he was just searching for his keys after a quick power nap against the door. Kyungsoo's ears perk at the sound of metal clinking together.

The door swings open, and Kyungsoo follows his human inside, pushing the door closed with his head.



Chanyeol starts shedding clothing the moment he’s in his apartment, all thoughts on bed and thoroughly searching the inside of his eyelids for any light leaks.

He doesn’t even notice the tuxedo cat has invited itself in and closed his door for him.

He drops the bakery bag on the counter, trips to his bedroom, and crawls under the messy covers, passing out before hitting his pillow.



Well then.

Apparently, he’s expected to wait to eat the cake.

Kyungsoo leaps to the counter and sniffs the bag, practically drooling with anticipation. It’s really not fair to make him wait. He’s waited so long as it is. Maybe one bite would pacify his hunger until his human was conscious again... .



Chanyeol wakes some time later with a heavy weight on his chest. His head is still stuffy, his nose is running, his eyes are watery, and his arms are numb. It's dark out, which could mean nighttime, early morning, or rain clouds. Keeping his eyes open seems a useless endeavour. He’d much rather deny his mortal existence and sleep until spring.

But something cool against his face brings his conscious back to the surface. Forcing his eyelids to break apart the crust of sleep, he looks down his nose and follows the white paw and thin, dark limb to the lithe little body settled squarely on his chest.

No wonder his eyes are watering.

The cat blinks at him owlishly and pats his face again. Thankfully, its claws remain sheathed.



His human is awake. Finally. After five—fifteen?—minutes of patiently papping his face, the cumbersome creature looks at him, clearly confused.

Kyungsoo jumps to the floor and meows a litany of Come on!s, leading the way to the kitchen. He’s hungry. The cake made him sleepy, but he slept that off while perched on his human’s chest.

His human follows, stumbling a bit and moaning.



The bags he left on the counter are still there, albeit in pieces. Tiny holes pierce the shredded paper, as if chewed. Big surprise, when the culprit didn't bother to get rid of the obvious DNA evidence—white fur sticks in tufts on the uneven edges of paper.

He collapses onto a stool and paws through the destroyed bags. The cat hadn't managed to chew through everything, only getting at a corner of cake. He throws a weak scowl at the cat, who chirrups and spins in a circle, looking eager and too cute.

"Get up here if you want some. I can't bend over," Chanyeol snuffles.

The cat sits, tilts it head to the side, and meows again. Chanyeol taps the stool beside him with a fingernail, and the tuxedo cat quickly gauges the distance before leaping up gracefully and leaning forward to catch a sniff of the bag it'd already destroyed.

Chanyeol sighs. His mouth hangs open a little; he's so congested that he can't even use his nose. The bread could be weeks old and filled with raisins; he'd not even be able to tell.



Kyungsoo eats the pieces of bread he's offered and even cleans the crumbs from the seat he's on. The wait wasn't quite worth it; he'd have preferred to eat right away, but he's content again and ready for another nap.

Evidently, his big-eared human feels the same way. After sloppily crumbling the paper wrapping around what's left of the bread and shoving it into its bag, he pushes away from the peninsula, grabs a bottle from the tall, humming box that is cold when open, and shleps back to his bed.

Kyungsoo follows.

His human tries to keep him off the bed, but too bad. Kyungsoo crawls over the human's long legs and lowers himself to sit over his feet at his human's side.

Curiously, the human grabs a blue jar and smears something over his chest, mumbling and sniffling and breathing heavily the whole time. Its scent carries to Kyungsoo, and it's like a blast of fresh air shooting up his nose and down his throat and clearing out the sleepy fog from his head.



Chanyeol sets the menthol rub back on his dresser and is all for passing out until he has to go back to class tomorrow, but the uninvited guest has different plans, apparently. It stands up and steps onto Chanyeol's chest, stretching its neck to sniff his lips and then his chest.

He squawks when it starts to lick the menthol from his skin and lifts the cat into the air like the baboon presenting Simba. "Hey! I need that to breathe!" He's whining. He knows he's whining. It has no effect on the cat, who licks its nose and starts to purr. "Weird thing."

He wrestles the cat under the covers to calm it down with heat or simply smother it. Either way, it stops shifting after a while and curls up just so its fur tickles the bare skin from Chanyeol's ridden up shirt.

It seems like the sick invalid blinks, and it's morning.

His phone says Baekhyun is stopping by after his classes. Chanyeol's slept through his own classes, already, but oh well. He's totally dying, anyway. He can't breathe. His body's on fire and feels as though it's weighed down with icy rocks. He'd rather be home and miserable than in class and more miserable.

The cat is curled up between his knees. Maybe that's why he's sore and couldn't move during the night.



Kyungsoo loves heat, but even he can only take so much. Sleeping under the canopy of blankets beside his human felt more like sleeping in a fire pit, so he'd crawled out but stayed close.

He's shifted when the human starts to shimmy backwards, sitting up. It's way too early to move. Too early to be awake, even, so Kyungsoo stands up with a wide yawn, clearly saying that he's still tired, and walks up the human's leg to tuck his feet under himself over the human's stomach.



"C'mon, cat. I gotta pee."

The cat opens one green eye and flexes its claws.

"I'll take you with me, if I have to." It's a weak threat, even to Chanyeol's cotton stuffed ears. He's not sure he's even able to lift the cat, with how noodly his arms feel.

He manages, though. The cat makes a low, growly sort of sound and sits on the sink to glare at Chanyeol while he peed. It hops to the floor when the toilet flushes, tail high and looking back once, as if to be sure Chanyeol is still upright and following him.



Rather than the uncomfortably warm, sick-smelly bed, Kyungsoo saunters to the couch. He's awake, hungry, and unhappy about both, so he feels completely justified in clawing the leg of the couch.


▽▽▽▽▽



Chanyeol stares at the blinds hanging on the window for an hour or so. It'd take too much energy to get up and open them or to get up and close the window that he didn't remember opening. The breeze feels kind of nice, and he isn't sure he's ready for sunlight, anyway. It takes all he has just to remain upright and breathing, although he wants nothing more than to burrow in bed and sleep.

At least his misery has company.

The cat sits beside Chanyeol's head on the back of the couch, consolingly licking his hair. Or maybe he just looks so awful the cat's clean-freak instincts are kicking in.

"Hey," he says as he flops his head to the side. "If I need to shower, just say so."

Bright, saucer round eyes blink at him. Chanyeol scrunches up his face when the cat drags its tongue up the bridge of his nose to catch the ends of his bangs.

"You need to shower."

"Baekhyun?"

"Who else?" His friend kicks the door shut and shoves his shoes beside Chanyeol's. "I brought some more medicine, and your mom sent soup. She'll stop by tomorrow afternoon."

"Fantastic." He feels like some coddling would be nice. The cat just doesn't cut it.

Baekhyun hangs over the back of the sofa. "You look like shit, Chanyeol, seriously. Go shower."

"I don't want to move."

The cat smooths Chanyeol's eyebrow with its tongue and purrs.

Baekhyun makes a face and shakes his head. "Being bathed by a cat does not make you smell any better." It possibly makes him smell even worse. Cats don't brush their teeth.

"No, but it feels nice to be looked after."

"I'm here for a bit. Now get your ass--and the rest of you--in the shower. I'll heat up some food."

Moaning and groaning and whining and snuffling, Chanyeol slowly makes his way to the bathroom. His tail follows him to the door, cocks his head when it's shut in its face, and sits to clean its face.



With his human closed off in the room with running water, Kyungsoo has nothing better to do than wait. With how sick the big-eared human is, he has a feeling staying upright to clean himself will be a chore. He'd helped as best as he could, but humans have a lot more body than a cat, and their fur is strangely clustered.

A can opener draws his attention to the food room. His human's friend stands at the stove with a spoon in hand. Whatever he's making, it smells interesting.

"Get off the counter!"


Kyungsoo jumps back onto the floor. How rude! This is his territory, now; how dare this biped swipe at him! He dodges the rolled up towel whipped at him and leaps to the sofa.

The human frowns at him but turns back to the stove. Kyungsoo lets him think he's won, waiting until the human starts singing a little before hopping to the floor soundlessly and sinks his claws into the human's pant leg, yowls his displeasure, and jumps to the peninsula countertop.

The biped's eyes narrow at him over his shoulder. He looks hostile, but Kyungsoo feels no threat. Just an uncomfortable kitten trying to look more impressive.

Kyungsoo meets the human's eyes without blinking, tilting his head in that certain way that humans find endearing, and pushes a glass off the countertop with his paw.



"Baek?" Chanyeol shuffles to the kitchen, hand up on the wall to keep himself upright.

"Your fucking cat just threatened me!" Baekhyun shakes a spoon towards the cat on the peninsula.

"Dude..." Chanyeol moans at the sight of the shattered glass. "You made a mess!"

"It wasn't me; it was the cat!"

Chanyeol looks at the tuxedo cat. He gets a questioning meow in response. "Yeah, sure. Just clean it up, please? I'll fall into it if I bend over right now."

"No problem!" Baekhyun sings, snatching a broom and dustpan from beside the trash bin. "Can't have you messing up your face. It's your only redeeming feature."

His friend ignores him and returns to slouch into the couch cushions.


▽▽▽▽▽



His human is sick for quite a while. Even Kyungsoo's tongue baths and purrs don't seem to make him any healthier, but he doesn't whine as much, which Kyungsoo takes as something of a win.

The short friend comes and goes, being sure to give Kyungsoo a look that's probably supposed to be threatening. One time, he brings a female with him, who makes a beeline for Kyungsoo's human and makes a fuss while touching him and talking loudly and then hustling to the kitchen. Kyungsoo has to jump onto a stool to get out of the way of her feet, and she only notices him when she's working at the counter with the short friend hovering nearby.



Mrs Park calls to her son from the kitchen. "When did you get a cat? You know you're allergic, Chanyeol."

"He followed me home," Chanyeol moans. It's been nearly a week. He's still miserable. Origin stories don't matter when he's miserable, although his mom would probably appreciate the story.

"He's doing nothing for your poor sinuses." She washes her hands after pushing chopped vegetables int the broth on the stove and holds a hand to the tuxedo cat. "Have you even taken him in?"

"For what?"

Baekhyun leans in. "That means 'no.'"

Mrs Park hums critically but smiles when the cat nudges her fingers with his nose. "He needs to go in to the vet, Chanyeol. Make sure he's healthy and not making you sicker."

"Sure." Chanyeol's pretty sure the room's changing colours. His insides feel as though they're on a hilly car ride. He lets his head fall back when his mom places her palm on his forehead. Somehow, moms could tell a lot just by how hot and clammy their child's forehead was. Chanyeol thinks it's magic.

"I think you're just about passed the fever," she says softly, more to herself than Chanyeol. She checks her watch and pushes aside Chanyeol's sweaty bangs to kiss his forehead. "Stay covered up and eat that soup, okay? I'll see you later."

Chanyeol offers a dreamy smile. He should have waited before taking another dose of cold medicine. "Bye, Mom."

Baekhyun waves cheerily from his post at the stove. "Bye, Mrs Park!"

The cat follows her to the door and sits by her feet while she slips her feet into her shoes and places her slippers into her bag. She taps his nose. "You watch him, okay? Make sure he stays home until he's well again." It meows and nuzzles her fingers with its cheeks.





Finally, finally, after four more days of misery, the human's no longer trying to burn Kyungsoo alive while they sleep. There are less paper balls tossed to the floor, too, and Kyungsoo can take a nap without being woken by hacking or sniffling.

On one of the better days, he sleeps through his human tripping out of bed and washing the sick away, although Kyungsoo had already taken care of the head-freshening stuff covering the human's chest.



He feels human again after a shower. He can breathe, for the most part, but his nose was in the drippy stage. He accepts it as progress, though, and dresses in something other than pajamas for the first time seemingly in forever.

Chanyeol parks himself on his couch and nervously opens his school email. He managed a somewhat coherent email to his professors about missing class. Most of them didn't care if students came to class or not, but after all the years of mandatory attendance, Chanyeol still feels obligated to explain himself and apologise, although a part of him feels as though he should be thanked for not spreading his sick and misery.

His professors really like him, though, and a few even reply to his email with a "take care of yourself; we miss you." It makes him feel good. It's always nice to be acknowledged.

He jumps when something reverberates through the couch cushions. The cat's on the floor, stretching itself so its back end and chest are to the floor with its forelegs up on the side of the couch, digging in and pulling threads loose rhythmically.

"Hey." The cat ignores him until its done. "I know this is a ratty couch, and I can't complain when I got it for free, but I can't afford a new one, if you pull it apart." The cat chirrups at him and turns tail to flop in a sunbeam.

With plans to return to class next week, Chanyeol does an internet search for nearby vets. The cat watches him through narrowed eyes, as if sensing the search, and Chanyeol smiles. "If you're staying here, you're going to be healthy. I just got healthy; you can do the same."


▽▽▽▽▽



Kyungsoo is planning the eminent demise of his human.

Bright and early, about noon, he's bundled up in the big-eared human's arms and carried outside the apartment. He recoils from the curious faces pressing in towards him on the street, but his human does a decent job of waving them away.

However, his gratefulness dies pretty quick when he's carried into a building that smells of cats and dogs and rabbits and other animals. He settles as comfortably as he can on his human's lap, ignoring everything around him, because it was nothing important, but he's lifted once again--and he can only handle so much touching all at once for so long--and is taken to a bland room with a smiling human wearing bright blue.

He's touched and poked and lifted, and he mewls pitifully at his human, but he's ignored. Another human comes in, and sharp things poke him. He's held fast by large hands when he hisses and tries to escape. His claws are clipped. His mouth is pried open. They even have the audacity to lift his tail to look at his butt.

By the end of it all, he's had enough of Mr Nice Kitty. The next person to touch him is getting clawed.

But the next person is the blue human, and they rub inside Kyungsoo's ears with something soft. It feels nice enough that he lets a brief purr break through the upset mumbling in his throat.




"That wasn't so bad!" Chanyeol's pleased that only one of the techs got bit. The kid had merely flinched and washed the wound, wrapped it in a bandage, and returned to murmuring soothing words to the cat as the vet cleaned its ears and administered shots.

He has a new pet carrier and recommendations of pet stores for collars and dishes and cat food after telling the vet how the cat had come to his home. The vet even suggested a couple different allergy medications for Chanyeol to try, as well as rattling off how to properly care for the cat and his home to lessen the effects of the allergens.

All in all, Chanyeol's feeling pretty good. He feels ready to really embrace this new chapter of his life, as a pet parent.

The cat, unsurprisingly, is not nearly as thrilled. It--he--huddles at the very back of the carrier and is very obviously not thrilled about much anything at the moment.

Chanyeol carries the cat as steadily as he can, avoiding bumping into people and calling a cab rather than taking the train back to his apartment. He makes a quick stop at the bakery, ignoring the offended looks of the bakers and focusing on the smiling cashier who asks to see his cat.

"He's so handsome! What's his name?"

"Uh..." Chanyeol never thought that far. He's only ever thought of the cat as The Cat. "I'm not sure, yet; I haven't had him all that long." Good enough answer.

The cashier coos and adds a small bag of baked cat treats for free, tucking them into the paper bag with the fresh cookies Chanyeol orders.

The walk home is uneventful, but everything feels bright and simply good. They ride the elevator to his floor, and Chanyeol greets the grumpy man who lives at the opposite end of the hall, getting a "Harumph" in return but still smiling.

Inside his own apartment, he sets the carrier on the floor, takes off his shoes, and opens the door. "Welcome home."



Kyungsoo senses his human's good mood. Anyone would feel good if they hadn't suffered the humiliation Kyungsoo had just gone through, but his big-eared human is smiling and offers his hand. A truce, perhaps.

He glowers at the carrier and ignores the hand, sauntering beneath the human's bent knees to rub along his pantlegs. A curious finger catches the base of his tail, and it flops forward of its own accord.

A paper bag crinkles, drawing his attention to the treats in the human's hand. Kyungsoo meows and sits with his tail over his feet. "You hungry?" If possible, the human smiles even wider and crooks a finger for Kyungsoo to follow him to the kitchen peninsula. He murps in surprise when he's lifted off the floor and set on the human's lap. He scrambles to the empty stool, licks his shoulder, and rubs his head on the human's arm. There's food to be had; he knows this game.

Whatever is set before him isn't anything Kyungsoo's tasted before, and it is very, very good. He allows himself to let his guard down and fully indulge in the treat, even allowing the human to stroke his fingers down Kyungsoo's spine.

He's not a bad human, Kyungsoo supposes, as he dodges a pat to his head and cleans his whiskers. He's kind of nice to have around.