The danger of walking quickly while looking down is that the person coming past in the opposite direction might well be doing the very same thing, in which case collision is imminent. For example, a rather black tom was looking at the paperwork he had been sent out to fetch, running a paw through his thick black headfur as he strode quickly across the college campus, a hint of chill in the autumn air though the day was sunny enough. Flipping through the papers again, Mistoffelees sighed to himself in slight frustration at the errand.
Coming from the other direction, Coricopat examined the map in his paws again, frowning at it, wondering if they just modeled the entire campus after a rabbit warren. He finally looked up just in time to collide with the smaller tom, whose paperwork went flying up, and Mistoffelees tried to grab as much of it as he could before it fluttered to the ground. "Er, sorry," he said, not really looking at the tom he ran into, more concerned with gathering up the papers.
Cori quickly moved to pick up a couple of the scattered ones. "Same. Least they're none the worse for the wear."
"Ah, thank you. And good, that secretary really doesn't need any more reason to threaten to hang me up," Mistoffelees said, picking up the last of the papers and finally raising his eyes to look at other tom, blinking them once. The tom was taller than him after all—like almost everyone else was, but Coricopat 's height was made more striking by how angular he was, his grey stripes matching his grey eyes.
Cori glanced back down at the map. "I do wonder, could you perhaps direct me to the performing arts center?" he asked.
Mistoffelees smiled at him, brightening slightly at the prospect of being helpful, tail swishing behind him. "Certainly. I can even do better since I'm heading there myself."
The taller arched an eyebrow, but offered a bit of a smile in response. "Thank you, much."
Mistoffelees turned, heading that way. "Got confused by the map then did you? It's a bit of a terror if you're not used to the place. What you going for there, anyhow? I mean, you're not a student so far as I know, unless you just started but the quarter's a few weeks over so I doubt… that…" he managed to shut his mouth off finally.
Cori fell into step beside him. "I'm supposed to be looking at the computer they've got some of the technical boards hooked through. Some sort of glitch."
"You're the computer guy?" Mistoffelees said, glancing over at him. "Oh thank god. We were starting to worry that the thing wouldn't be fixed in time.
"In time for?"
"Tomorrow's performance. It's the premier of A Tale of Two Cities. It's a musical version, and we need the computers to be up and running," he explained, tilting his head up to look at the other as they walked, getting some of his headfur in his eyes. "Um, you can fix it by tomorrow right?"
"I should be, my guess is it's something minor, but I won't know until I get a look at it." After a pause, Coricopat continued. "So you're a Theater major then?" He managed not to roll his eyes at himself, leaving the question there.
Mistoffelees grinned. "What gave you that impression?" he teased. "Yeah, I am."
Cori chuckled. "What's your involvement with the production coming up?"
"Charles Darnay," Mistoffelees replied, downplaying the fact it was one of the main leads. "I mean, Carton is the character with all the best lines, but I have never the physical presence, nor the voice for such a role in any way shape or form." He paused, shoulders hitching slightly. "Sorry, I can ramble a bit. It comes from standing on a stage and expecting people to listen to me I think." Cori nodded slightly as they finally reached the PAC. "Right, well then, I can show you exactly where you need to go and who to talk to if you want," Mistoffelees said, dropping the papers on the front desk and getting a glare from the secretary behind it.
"That would be helpful, thank you," Cori replied.
"Sure," Mistoffelees said, heading for the stairs. "This way." Coricopat followed the black tom through the building, his grey eyes looking it over as they went. Mistoffelees finally stopped in front of another student who was standing by a computer. "Here you go," he said to Coricopat . "Good luck."
"Sure," Mistoffelees said, nodding to him before going back downstairs. It was only when he got to the bottom he realized he had forgotten to ask him his name. The same thought occurred to Cori but he shrugged it off, turning to confer with the student at the computer.
Coricopat returned to the flat late that evening, stepping in and closing the door firmly behind himself. It turned out the issue hadn't been a "little" glitch, but required a lot more time and energy than he'd expected.
"You're home late," Macavity said from where he was sitting and using Cori's computer at the small table that stood to the side of the living room, in front of the sliding glass door to the apartment's small balcony. "What held you up so long? We're sorta supposed to be working on that one really big project, remember?"
"Yeah, had to take more time to fix a problem at the—Is that my computer?"
"Maybe," Mac answered, typing away.
"Why?" He made his way over, looking over Mac's shoulder
Mac shrugged and gave the other a cheeky grin over his shoulder before returning his attention to the screen. "Don't want them tracing my id using the computer."
Cori frowned, "So you used mine?" He reached past Mac and shut the computer, picking it up from the desk.
"Sure," Mac said, watching him. "The confusion would give me long enough to get out the window. And hey, I was in the middle of something rather delicate."
"I don't care. How many times have I told you you don't get to use my computer for that sort of thing?"
"Apparently not enough," Mac replied with a smirk.
"Damn it, Macavity, stay the hell off of my computer with your illegal dealings. I just changed the password again too."
"You're password changes are so obvious though," Mac drawled, leaning back in the chair and putting his hands behind his head.
"I hate you," Cori informed him.
"No you don't," Mac said with a smirk.
"Right. I hate the fact that you seem to think that everything that's mine is yours."
"'Cause it is," Mac said blandly.
"Is not," Cori protested.
"Might as well be then," Mac said, rising and going to the kitchen.
"And how do you figure that?"
"Cause," Mac replied, hunting down the coffee.
"Not a logical answer, Mac."
Mac turned and gave him a long look. "Logic? You wanted a logical answer, move in with your sister."
Mac laughed, making the coffee. "Then don't tell me about logic."
"Just stay off my computer, hm?"
Mac nodded, even though they both probably knew it wouldn't last. Cori rolled his eyes, but moved into the kitchen to see about finding something to eat. Mac just continued to make the coffee, turning to lean against the counter and crossing his arms. "So, what kept you so long?"
"There was an issue with one of the computers at the college. Was more extensive than I expected."
"You misjudged something? Sure the sky's not collapsing? Which department anyway?" the ginger tabby asked, teasing tone evident.
"Theater. Figured there wasn't much they could have done to their computer. Three hours later I finally finished..."
Mac raised a brow at that. "Well, never underestimate the power of college kids to screw up."
"Yeah, no kidding."
Mac turned back to the finished coffee. "You want any?"
"Please. How was your day?"
Mac shrugged, pouring the two cups. "Nothing terribly exciting. Any plans for the next couple days?"
"Was considering going to the theater's performance tomorrow night."
"Hm," Mac said, his interest perking, "What are they putting on?"
"A Tale of Two Cities."
"Ohhh," Mac said, his interest definably perked. "There's a musical of that? You buy a ticket yet?"
"No. I didn't want to listen to you complain if I did and you wanted to go," Coricopat returned dryly.
"Oh good. Because I do. And now I don't have to yell at you for going without me."
Cori grinned. "I'd consider it fair after you used my computer again." He went over and picked up the phone to call.
Mac smirked and shook his head. "Oh, but you don't put up nearly the fuss I do when I don't get my way."
"True. Very true." He muttered before turning his attention to the cat on the other end of the line. Mac laughed, drinking his coffee then, glancing at the food Cor had gotten out. Coricopat hung up a few minutes later. "Alright, we have two tickets for tomorrow. You owe me thirty-four for yours."
Mistoffelees came off the stage finally to the bustle of the back, being nearly lifted up by Bombalurina. "You did good tonight," she said, setting him down.
"You were amazing," he informed her, slipping toward the backstage with her following. They were two of the first changed and out, Bombalurina glomping her latest boyfriend who was waiting at the back, and Mistoffelees looking around to see if Victoria had made it.
The white-furred psychology student slipped over to her cousin, a small bouquet in her paws which she pressed into his as she gave him a quick hug, murmuring in his ear. "You did great...Dad came, so...don't let him get to you. You were fantastic."
He squeezed her back. "Thank you," he said, taking the bouquet and glancing around, suddenly more wary for his uncle. Bustopher Jones was not too hard to spot though, his bulk making a path through the crowd. Mistoffelees bobbed a quick bow. "Sir, thank you for coming," he said.
Jones inclined his head. "There were perhaps worse things I could do with an evening," he huffed, making Mistoffelees twitch slightly. Victoria glanced between the two of them, sighing softly.
"Thank you for coming anyway," Mistoffelees said quietly.
Jones huffed again, nodding. "Well, your voice was slightly off, and the stage too crowded, but it was a passable show."
Mistoffelees swallowed and nodded again, thankful that the other had not commented on the fact that he was playing the nephew to what could only have been considered an evil uncle. "Thank you."
Jones gave him a look and turned to his daughter. "Well then, we should get home. Mistoffelees," he said nodding to his nephew and turning back the way he came.
Mistoffelees glanced over at Vic smiling and giving her another quick hug. "Thank you so much for coming."
She returned the hug. "You're very welcome. He's out of his mind, it was gorgeous. Keep up the good work, and let me know what the rest of the schedule's looking like," she offered him a smile before slipping after her father.
"Of course," he told her, and watched her go, glancing around the milling crowd. Spotting a tall and angular form that looked familiar, he considered him for a moment before recognizing him and moving toward him. "Hey," he said, approaching the mottled tom. "Thank you so much for fixing that. We really would have been in trouble if you hadn't," he said before he could think better of it.
Coricopat turned, pausing momentarily before he fully registered who the tom was. "Oh, of course. It's what they pay me for."
"Still," Mistoffelees said, his head tilted slightly. "I never did get your name either."
Mac paused, having been in front of Cor, and turned at his flat mate talking to another cat, considering the smaller black furred tom. Extending his hand, the mottled tom replied, "Coricopat Zimmerman."
Mistoffelees took the hand, smiling at the other. "Mistoffelees Quaxo . I just really wanted to say thank you."
"You're quite welcome. It was a good performance."
"Thanks for that as well," Mistoffelees said with another grin, nearly bouncing on the balls of his feet.
Cori returned the smile. "Well, it's true. Especially for an opening night. Bravo."
Mistoffelees's smiled actually widened. "Well, I'm glad you came to see it then."
"It was my pleasure."
Mistoffelees was half tempted to ask him what he was doing for the rest of the night, but bit his tongue on the question. Post show hyperness aside, it was probably unwise to flirt with the tech guy he just met. "Well then..." He needed to learn something about taste anyway, and that was never a good plan with strangers. Eventually he would figure that out, he hoped.
"Perhaps I'll see you around?" Coricopat offered.
"Certainly," Mistoffelees replied, smiling easily. "Especially if you like to come to the theatre."
"I do. Well, good evening to you, and enjoy the rest of the run."
"Thank you, a good evening to you as well," Mistoffelees said.
Mac had been watching the pair without commenting, though he gave Cori a raised eyebrow as they left. Cori glanced at his friend. "What?"
"I didn't say anything," Mac replied as they walked out into the November night.
"You didn't need to. What was that look for?"
"I don't know. He seemed pretty cheerful to see you."
"So?" Cori arched his eyebrow.
Mac shrugged. "So nothing. Just interesting." Mac actually thought about his next statement before saying it, which was rare for him. "He's pretty cute too."
Cori's blinked, ears flickering. "Oh? I hadn't noticed."
"Oh sure you hadn't," Mac said, turning his collar up slightly. It was chilly.
Coricopat shrugged, his hands deep in his coat pockets. "So what? He's probably a good several years younger than we are, and with my luck doesn't swing that way anyhow."
Mac shrugged. "Oh come on, it's been ages. At least check things out before making assumptions like that. You don't know, it might work out. You have to try first though, and it's been, what, over a year? Two years almost? Since the last time you tried a relationship?"
"And we all remember how well that went." Cori muttered. "I seem to recall her throwing a vase at me on her way out."
"Well," Mac said, spreading his hands out. "He doesn't look like the vase throwing type."
Coricopat looked at his friend, unimpressed. "I've met him twice and I don't know if you can call yesterday afternoon a 'meeting'."
Mac grinned. "Just saying."
"I'll consider it."
"You do need to get out more," Mac said with all seriousness.
"I get out."
"Not enough," Mac said, thinking about all the computer time he could have if Cor was out on a date. And, well, it would be good for Cor too, of course, it wasn't all about Macavity's need. Just most of it.
"You realize if I do start going out, I'm taking my computer with me, right?"
Mac gave him a dark look. "That will get you odd looks, going to a movie with your computer under arm."
"Better than let you get the government on my tail with it," his flat mate returned shortly.
Mac laughed and shook his head. "True enough. I should probably stop abusing you but..."
"But why start now, it's only a habit of twenty-five years." Cori replied sarcastically.
"Exactly!" the taller tom replied with a grin, leading the way back to their apartment, which was in walking distance from the college campus.
"That was sarcasm, Mac."
Mac grinned at him. "So? Doesn't make it untrue."
"The habit part, perhaps, but the other part would be preferable that you changed it."
"Not going to happen though."
"Wishful thinking," Cori rolled his eyes.
"If wishes were horses," Mac said in a sing-song voice.
"Beggars would ride," Cori finished "I know, I know."
Mac grinned. "And that would be a damn travesty." Coricopat shook his head as Mac laughingly got the keys out to their building, letting them back inside.
Several days later Pounce entered his flat, flopping down in his chair, dropping his bookbag next to it. "Never. Going. To class. Again," he informed his flatmate.
Mistoffelees glanced up from where he was working on reading a book—a source even, so Gus didn't have his head. "Oh?"
"Nope. Never again," Pounce assured him.
"I'm sure that will go down well," Mistoffelees said with a wry smile. "With your father about as much as your teachers. No, sorry, it'll go down worse with your father. Way worse."
"Mrgh. So? I don't want to study business anymore." Pounce let his head flop back against the back of the chair.
Mistoffelees laughed softly and shook his head. "Well, sorry then. You'll do fine though. Only one more year right? And fall term is almost over."
"Right. Almost done. Twenty Two more weeks of this hell. Not counting any finals weeks."
"Which is much better than it was when you were a freshman," Mistoffelees pointed out, flipping through his book and distinctly not wanting to read it.
"True," Pounce said and paused. "Went and saw the performance last weekend, forgot to mention it...You all did well."
"Thanks," Mistoffelees said, brightening at the compliment. "It went surprisingly well. I'm just glad we got the technical glitch fixed in time."
"Yeah, that wouldn't have been good," the patched tom agreed.
Mistoffelees smiled somewhat at that, giving up on the book and rising. "You hungry? I can make something." When Pounce murmured a agreement, Mistoffelees grinned,"Fantastic," he said, heading for the kitchen. An excuse not to be reading, just what he wanted.
Pounce sighed, running a hand over his face. "I'm stopping by the theater department tomorrow, just so you know."
"Alright, any particular reason?" Mistoffelees asked from where he was shredding cheese.
"Cause I'd rather not spend my life chained to the business school?"
"Well, yeah, but why tomorrow in particular?" Mistoffelees asked, humming slightly as he dumped the cheese into a bowl.
"Cause I figured that was as good a time as any?"
"Fair enough," Mistoffelees shrugged, hunting up some vegetables from the fridge, realizing he would have to go shopping soon. The flat mates settled down into comfortable conversation and banter about classes and the merits of the theatre department rather than business school.