Logs:Christmas Tree Kittens

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Christmas Tree Kittens


Characters: Ian and Tris
Date: 2019-12-31
Summary: Ian and Tris try to take all the semi-feral kittens out of the CCC's Christmas tree while discussing things far more serious. It all goes sideways.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

The partying is over, and Ian is currently in the process of taking down the Christmas tree, which involves putting away the ornaments and peeling kittens out of it. Which... honestly, let's face it, is the only reason he's doing it. He's got a goofy grin on his face and a little tabby in his arms, and the wings are wrapped around them both protectively - he's in a thin tank top and baggy jeans. "You can't," he tells the kitten with amusement as he scratches her chin. "You're not allowed. I said so." She chomps his fingers, oblivious to the glass.

--

Tris' approach to the process of de-kittening the tree is not especially stealthy, though nor is it terribly loud. He's not aiming to have snuck up on Ian and his incorrigible feline friend when he comments from about five feet back, "Mine listen about that well, too. But they're bigger." The length indicated by Tris' hands shows full-grown cats, rather than the itty bitties. He doesn't ask Ian if he needs help as he slings his messenger bag down onto a nearby chair. Instead, the scarred man simply invites himself to the best part of taking down Christmas decorations: kittens.

Tris' people would have delivered the car for Ian, probably with an eye to getting ahold of Ian's people to deal with the actual paperwork involved, but Tris, himself, is changed from the last time he was here. Notably, there's a new scar running from temple to nearly chin tip on the right side of his face, the veins of glowing gossamer (orange, blue and green just now) stretching up as though they'd like to fully invade his cheek but not quite getting there. The scars around his ears, under his jaw and down the back of his neck as well as those around the mismatched tattoos on his bared forearms are all echoing the color in their naturally glimmering state.

--

"We don't bite," Ian is telling the tabby, shifting his touch so that it's all gentle attention and no 'play' gestures, and then he looks up to greet Tris with something a lot like understated wild happiness - and freezes, eyes on that brand new scar. "Oh no, what happened?" His wings part and he moves to let the kitten down - and of course she promptly goes bounding back to the tree and scrambles up it in a shimmy of claws and fierce, light-murdering fury.

--

The scar is still new enough that Tris' hand rises to scratch it when Ian freezes and looks at it. There's a beat of silence before Tris' shoulders rise and fall. "New too-real nightmares and when I woke up," a gesture indicates the addition to the other souvenirs of his durance. "One of us who's been back longer than I have told me it happens sometimes when we grow more powerful. He said sometimes people seek it, sometimes they don't. But things change when it happens." That makes Tris grimace and the implication that he was not seeking it is pretty plain from both look and words. "I'm alright. Talked with my therapist. Worked on some more things." He does reach up to rub his face though, as though perhaps even though he's 'okay,' he's also a little extra tired these days.

"Thank you for the Christmas gifts, Ian. They were thoughtful. I'm youtubing how to play the harmonica." It's a good way for a man to spend his free time, right? Meanwhile, he peers into the limbs of the tree, seeking a hard-of-hearing fuzzball of his own. A black one is pretty swiftly procured, even if there's a little trouble unhooking the tiniest of claws from the limbs of the tree and several yowls of complaint (but not pain).

--

This explanation gets solemn silence from Ian, who stares with worry written plain across his face... but after a moment he nods, then offers a shy, small smile. "Thank you for yours. You didn't have to." That car will never see the light of day again. "I'm glad you liked the harmonica. I was going for a musical theme this year. Phoebe got a flute and a violin and I got Robin a ukulele." Right, kittens. He reaches into the tree to begin reclaiming the little escaped tabby. "We have a box for kittens too." They're not /very/ young kittens, just past the pointy-tailed phase and into the nyoom phase - they've been weaned. "Over here." He carries the tabby to a large box where there's a big bowl of gushy food and three other kittens. "They just forget they're hungry until they see the food." Myaaap! In goes the tabby to fight her way to the front of the bowl and get a faceful of food.

--

The shrug from Tris isn't dismissal of Ian's thanks, but rather is an expression of, "You seemed to like it. And I thought I should get something with a backseat for the next time I needed to take people somewhere, just in case one of them can't handily turn into a cat." The scarred man directs a wry smile to the being of glass. "Robin offered to serenade Jules. I'll make sure once they have a chance to adjust to the ukulele, they have the chance." Because who doesn't want to see Robin serenade the Winter King with a ukulele? There's a brighter grin for the idea that is, perhaps, a shade impish.

Tris follows along to the box willingly enough, not that he seems at all inclined to put down his tiny friend who's being petted and gently played with by the man's soft fingertips; he doesn't seem to notice the needle teeth making tiny pricks of progress in fighting the foe fingers. He looks down at the box and nods, "Cute. I got mine as adults. For some reason the shelter thought I'd do better with grown cats." Perhaps it's because Tris doesn't much seem one who knows how to take care of himself let alone small animals.

"Actually, though, animals is part of why I'm here. I have a couple of dogs, and I got to thinking that if I had them trained for therapy, they might be able to come help some of us here from time to time." Nevermind that there might also be other reasons that Tris' never before trained dogs would benefit from lessons now. "What do you think?"

--

"That sounds... wonderful," Ian decides, regarding the serenade, back to grinning now. "Careful, you want to make them understand that fingers are not toys. These ones are being fostered until they're ready to go back to the shelter, they need to be as adoptable as possible. That one's at a disadvantage - black kitties have a harder time getting adopted." He pauses thoughtfully. "They should interact with dogs too, so that's a good idea. The friendlier they are the better." There is a large black void hiding beneath the Christmas tree which can only be spotted by the gleam of the lights against her eyes. "Don't let the other cats jump in the box, they're not allowed to have kitten food." Ian goes back to the tree to peel off a few ornaments. There's another kitten in here /somewhere/.

--

"I think so, too." That the serenade sounds wonderful. Tris grins at Ian, grins at the kittens, just grins. "Oh," is genuine-- well, not quite surprise, but acknowledgement of information he certainly didn't have before. He flips the kitten around carefully and gives it another scratch and then settles in the box. "Ninja's a black cat. I'd think black cats would be the best choice. But then Cleo has coloring in addition to black. Like Tiny." Nevermind that Tris hasn't bothered to explain that these are his animals and some of them are felines and some dogs. Some of this might be made clear when he says, "Tiny and Tank are very friendly dogs and they're used to cats from being around Nin and Cleo. I took them to a center that fosters dogs while they train for emotional support work. I hear it's a helpful form of therapy for some people. I'll bring them by when they're trained up."

For his part, he does keep a little bit of a watch over the kitten box, but he also looks in the direction of the glass Changeling. "Did you and Robin have a nice holiday? I wish I'd been able to make the party. I wanted to, but it turned out to be a bad day for me. Safer to be away from people on days like that." It's not quite an apology, but it's a sincere explanation for his absence.

--

"It was good," Ian says blithely. "I bought Robin a grenade and they got very excited. And a bunch of smoke grenades to play with." Real grenades are so illegal. Ian is oblivious to that. "It's okay. I know what it's like to have bad days, I have them myself." He leans up, wings spreading, to take down the star... and nearly gets swatted by a little gray kitten. "Found him." He leans up on his tiptoes, wings stretching wider for balance. This could be difficult, he's not that tall.

--

"That sounds like a great gift!" Tris definitely knows that legal issues do arise with certain explosive devices, being a Millennial and a former journalist at that, but there was zero hesitation in brightly affirming with real enthusiasm Ian's choice of gift for their fiery friend. Legal shmegal. "I think they're going to teach me about some more weapons sometime." Briefly, Tris' expression is distracted and he shrugs.

The next requires a little more seriousness, a little more thought. The tilt of Tris' head as he looks at Ian shows an open expression paired with that body language. "Is there anything that helps on your bad days? Anything I could do to help?" Evidently this is one friendship Tris is willing to make an effort for. "I like to run. I run forever. The music helps. I put some of what help most on the player I got for Robin." Perhaps he offers this just in case the offer makes the asking less apt to make a Lost feel vulnerable. He flicks his eyes to the conundrum of kitten and tree and glances around. "Is there a ladder somewhere?" Tris is tall, but the tree is taller and perhaps he doesn't trust the base enough to be willing to try to climb it. He is, however, looking around the immediate area for things which might make a good stand-in for more practical tools.

--

"I just turn into a cat," Ian says, and relaxes down to his feet again - damn, he was wobbly for a moment there, and no one wants the glass sculpture to fall. "I think there's a ladder. But hang on, I have an idea." He reaches down into the box to grab a tiny smudge of kitten food and offers it up to the little gray fuzzball. This gets a "MYAA," and then cautious wobbling. "Maybe you should get ready to catch him when he gets into reach..." He folds his wings firmly behind him to keep them out of the way so Tris can get closer. "Being a cat makes a lot of things not matter, especially human things. Humans are very strange and sometimes they bother me." He can say that because surely, surely Tris understands. "There's so much stuff they just expect you to understand. Even other Lost! And then you're stuck feeling like a jerk because you don't."

--

"Human things are very strange, a lot of the time. They bother me too. I think they might even bother humans, thinking back, but that feels like a lifetime ago," because it basically was. Tris may look all of 28, but that's not the sum of his age, not after time in Arcadia is figured in. He does keep his demeanor very casual, understated even, both as it applies to these harder topics and to whatever concern he might have for the wobble of the glass man and the kitten. "I can catch a kitten," he claims. Fortunately for all involved, even kittens typically land on their feet if Tris' assurance proves false. Still, he moves over toward the tree with a sort of grace in his movements that is reassuring for those that might worry.

"It's okay to not understand things. It does sometimes help to have some of the right people to ask questions of. Some... especially some of us, aren't very nice in a lot of ways once we're back. Some are fine. Good even. You can always ask me, you or Robin, or-- whoever." Tris might get cool points for getting Odile to Google 'Baby Yoda,' but he also didn't go around bragging about it or making her feel silly afterward. He's good like that. It's a standing offer, it sounds like. "Any questions now?" He goes so far as to add nonchalantly as he positions himself for being cat-safety-net.

--

"Sex," Ian says. "I have questions about sex. And no, I'm not going to ask them of you. It's fine. I basically got left alone in a house on a shelf with no voice, and Nobody was always there. I was nine. I was scared. That didn't change for... decades. Weeks. Whatever. And all of that time, the television played what it was supposed to and I could hear it in the other room, and the mirror showed me what I truly was, and now I'm back and I'm far too old for what I used to be and I haven't the foggiest idea about anything. The other night at the party people were talking about dates and sexy elf costumes and I'm sitting there like... can't run away, can't turn into a cat, this sucks." Ian makes a face and waits patiently, holding his fingers just a little out of reach as the kitten takes one cautious step, then another, slowly into range of Tris's grapple attack. "And then come the questions about bills, and taxes, and do you want to fire your record producer, and why would I even /have/ a record producer, people don't play records anymore... I'm taking fucking /high school/ courses," he gripes. "Doing /homework/ online like a kid. Because I don't know stuff like how far away the moon is or how the Constitution works, and that's important sometimes." The kitten is now in licking range and begins greedily nomming at Ian's fingers. "That's why I turn into a cat sometimes. Because it's way better than being a person."

--

Is it? The kitten might not agree as Tris' hands close around it and it's whisked away from the food source, which requires mighty objections. But then, the kitten is a kitten and not a cat who is a boy who is now grown and has questions about sex, so maybe the kitten's opinion doesn't count. Tris is quiet a moment, but he's not laughing nor reacting in a way that judges Ian for his lack of knowledge. The quiet moment is simply to digest all that's been shared.

Are there ever really good words to deal with trauma like the Lost face? The empathetic Beast starts to shift the kitten into one arm, apparently meaning to reach for the glass man-- boy? Only right as he's about to open his mouth to say something helpful (or maybe tremendously unhelpful), what comes out is, "Fuck!" because the kitten has escaped his grasp and launched itself upward, finding purchase on Tris' ear, tiny back needle claws scrabbling at his chin, and it causes the man to lurch unexpectedly as blood appears under the claws, across the scars of his chin. With the lurch comes a grab to try to steady himself. His grasp ends up on Ian's arm just as Tris manages to trip elegantly on his own feet and go crashing to the ground with an embarrassing yelp, the kitten climbing to his head and leaping beautifully back toward the tree. So much for comfort and understanding.

--

"Tris!" Total alarm from Ian, who moves to catch Tris and-- shockingly enough, somewhat /save/ him from tumbling further into trouble. "Oh god your ear," he says, and "Streak! Bad kitten!" That last is surprisingly loud and multi-tonic - Ian does not have a normal voice when he puts real breath into it. Tris is getting hefted with surprising strength - Ian may look young but he's fully adult, and has the musculature to prove it - off to the couch. "Shit," he adds in his normal quiet speech, "Let me get the first aid kit." The kitten will be fine but they might need a ladder. Ian bolts to the bathroom to get the first aid kit.

--

Ian's voice does draw Tris' attention, but so does the strength of his save and it's Tris' turn for limbs to scrabble under him to get their contact with the ground back properly. "Shit, sorry," the Beast seems oblivious to the blood, but is plenty aware of his own lack of grace and clinging state. He does manage to let go of Ian as he gets his feet, one hand rising a moment later, look slightly puzzled as he raises a hand to find the blood with his fingertips. "I'm sure it's fine." That might sound a little too like Robin after they were blown up, although in this case, Tris' internal organs are still on the inside, so he probably is fine, but he won't stop Ian from going to get the first aid kit. He will squint up at the tree and look for the kitten. "Well played, Streak," is probably not the kind of reinforcement the kitten needs right now, but then, the kitten probably doesn't care.

--

With a clicking of sock-feet on the floor, Ian comes scrambling back. "Sit still and let me look," he says sternly. The case gets popped open and he gets the iodine. It's not like he knows what to do but... this is what his mom used to do. Dab of something astringent, "Hold still," and a cotton ball of cold stuff is getting applied to Tris's cut ear. "I'm sorry about that..." It stings like a /bitch/. It actually stings worse than it ought to - what the hell is this stuff? Ian has not grabbed the iodine. "Streak's litter was semi-feral, he hasn't quite gotten over it yet..." He's oblivious to how bad this probably hurts.

--

For Tris' part, there's a wary eye toward the first aid kit, but since Ian doesn't produce a needle, the man with the gossamer thread scars stitching him together does sit still and he's alright until... son of a bitch, that stings. His eyes widen, widen, he chokes on a little air, trying to keep a groan down. "Ian," Tris' voice is gentle, but a little on the firm side, "don't use that bottle on anyone else." And he manages, "Excuse me," before he's fleeing for the bathroom to wash that shit off. What's a little extra wounding between friends?

--

Which leaves Ian sitting there going 'what'd I do?' and staring after Tris with confused concern. "Tris? Tris!" And he... caps the bottle and puts the first aid kit back in order and /then/ rushes after his friend. Oops.