It starts with a ginger tom. Stiles isn’t quite sure how it gets into the apartment but there it is, stretched out on the awful beige carpet in a patch of sunlight. Stiles pauses, bottom lip just touching the rim of his Wonder Woman mug. He doesn’t take a sip of coffee due to the presence of well, a ginger cat. It’s mystifying to say the least. He puts the cup down on the coffee table and proceeds with caution. He stands over the cat, nudging it gently with his foot. The cat flicks one beady eye up to look at him and evidently thinks Stiles is not worth his time because the eye closes and it continues to sleep on peacefully.
“Scott,” Stiles hollers, “Did you bring work home with you again?”
“What?” A bleary eyed Scott yells back as he stumbles into the living room, yawning and scratching his belly where his tank top rides up. He wanders up to Stiles, snagging the Wonder Woman mug off the coffee table and downing it. Stiles points at the cat that has taken up residence on their carpet.
“That’s a cat,” Scott says. Stiles resists the urge to roll his eyes.
“We don’t own a cat.”
“Congratulations Scott, you win the prize for the most pointless statement at 9.30 am.”
Scott punches him in the arm, which with werewolf strength hurts more than it should.
“Ow,” Stiles grumbles, shoving Scott playfully. “Seriously though, did you save this kitty from the vet clinic?”
“It’s not one of ours.”
Stiles expression is skeptical.
“Scott you have a habit of bringing home injured animals. Remember the Yorkshire terrier with the broken paw.”
“His owners were mean to him,” Scott whines, pulling out his trademark kicked puppy face. Stiles has only really just developed an immunity to it. Only just.
“Or the duck with a broken wing. The pregnant Great Dane, which gave birth in our bath. And my personal favorite, the porcupine in the laundry. I had quills in my lacrosse shorts for two months.”
“I said I was sorry. And I’m telling you I didn’t bring this cat home. It’s probably a neighbors that got through the open window,” Scott says, pointing to the window before meandering off to the kitchen.
“Well excuse me for jumping to conclusions given that previous evidence shows that your soft heart has lead to our apartment becoming an impromptu animal sanctuary,” Stiles retorts. He glares at the cat, and nudges it with his foot. It refuses to budge. Stiles is a little more forceful. The cat simply rolls over.
“Go home,” Stiles mutters. The cat yawns and flicks its tail lazily. “Get out. Vamoose. Skedaddle. Shift it.” The cat does not move.
“Scott come be the alpha and get it out,” Stiles demands.
“Not a chance,” Scott replies.
The cat, which Stiles calls Cat due to lack of originality and care on his part, decides not to mosey on home and continues to lounge around the apartment like it belongs there. Scott is thrilled to have a pet and ends up bringing home all sorts of food and toys. Stiles however, hates Cat with the burning rage as it has a habit of sleeping on his laptop keyboard when he’s trying to write essays for his Psych 101 class. Cat is a menace in Stiles opinion and he’s fuming because no one wants to claim the bloody animal. Scott, reluctantly, put up flyers in the Animal Clinic with Cat’s picture on them whilst Stiles went to the police station and around town.
“Why can’t we keep him?” Scott asks, his eyes taking on a shiny, pleading quality.
“Because,” Stiles grumbles, wrestling his t-shirt away from Cat who is using it as a sunbed, “It doesn’t belong to us. Somewhere out there is a grief stricken owner who – give it here you little shit – is heartbroken over the loss of their little angel.”
Cat is malicious and conniving and needy. Stiles does not like him one bit. Cat however, seems to adore him. Cat rubs himself up against Stiles legs, winding his way through them. He sleeps in Stiles bed and by sleeping, Cat climbs onto Stiles head and purrs loudly for at least two hours. He curls up on Stiles chest when Stiles is lounging on the sofa. Stiles has unwittingly gained a tiny ginger fan. Scott is a little heartbroken, seeing as Scott feeds and plays with Cat but Stiles puts this down to the fact that Scott is a werewolf and Cat is just racist.
“Do we really want a racist cat in this household?” Stiles points out over Vietnamese takeout one night. Cat is curled up on Stiles lap and no amount of shoving will remove him. “It that what we want to promote, species inequality.”
Scott tries to look less mournful but still eyes Cat with the sort of longing he used to do to Allison. And Kira. And more often than not Isaac.
Unfortunately, Cat has friends. Four friends that he brings home on the weekend that Scott is spending at Kira’s apartment. Stiles, who is shattered from doing essays on Sirens for his mythology class, wanders out to shove day old macaroni and cheese from the fridge into his mouth like an animal when he spots them in the living room, curled up on the leather sofa. Two tabby, one ginger (Cat), one black and one white. It’s a freaking epidemic.
“Excuse you,” Stiles says, addressing Cat as if Cat is a person or as if Cat really cares, “I don’t believe that you were permitted to bring home friends. You aren’t even a resident here. You are a pest, a parasite. Possibly a homeless man who we let stay on the couch for one night but now has overstayed their welcome by weeks. You are not supposed to even be here, let alone bring cronies. Out the lot of you.”
As expected, the cats ignore him.
“Great,” Stiles grumbles, “Why not invite the whole neighborhood? I’m sure there’s tons of space. We could start a freaking home for abandoned cats while we’re at it.”
When Scott gets home the next day, Stiles is smothered in cats. Cat sits on Stiles head, purring merrily whilst the others have taken up resident on his chest and thighs.
“I hate cats,” Stiles says venomously, spitting out cat hair.
“No,” Stiles says, arms folded and gaze hard, “We cannot have pack night here, I refuse.”
“But I’m the alpha,” Scott replies, confused as to why Stiles objection is so strong. Stiles gestures to Cat, Feline (white), Gatto (black), Kot (tabby) and Muca (tabby) who are all lounging around the apartment in various patches of sun.
“Our little C-A-T problem,” Stiles says, as Gatto rubs himself against Stiles legs.
“So?” Scott asks, his confused puppy expression coming out to play.
“The cats dislike you,” Stiles says slowly, “Because you’re a werewolf and they are racist. You are bringing werewolves, a banshee and kitsune into this apartment. Do you not see the issue?”
Scott clearly doesn’t because he shrugs and invites everyone over anyway. Stiles glares at the cats and threatens them bodily harm. They don’t care or even acknowledge the threats but at least Stiles feels slightly better.
The cats hate everyone. Stiles is buried beneath them and they hiss angrily like a many headed hydra any time the pack gets too close. Liam, Isaac and Derek have all been clawed violently. Kira, Scott and Lydia have had the sense to stay far away, on the opposite side of the living room.
“I told you this would happen,” Stiles, laments, his voice muffled by Gatto rubbing himself against Stiles cheek.
“I didn’t think they’d hate the whole pack,” Scott replies mournfully. Kira pats his arm comfortingly whilst Liam uses Scott as a human shield in case the army of cats decides to attack.
“I hate cats,” Stiles grumbles, attempting to fold his arms and failing. After struggling for several minutes, Stiles gives up being gentle and stands up, allowing the cats to slide down his body. They plop to the ground, Gatto landing on top of Feline’s head and Muca landing upside down. Stiles wrenches Cat from his head, dropping him on the nearby sofa. Cat yawns and stretches before curling up. Kot, Muca and Gatto clamber up onto the sofa to curl up beside Cat whilst Feline takes the armchair.
“Great, now we have nowhere to sit,” Isaac says, eyeing the cats angrily and rubbing his hand though the cut has long since healed. Stiles goes to reply that none of this is his fault when the doorbell rings. Stiles rushes to answer it, giddy with the feeling of being able to walk without being tripped up by cats.
Peter is lounging in the hallway when Stiles opens the door. Sometimes Stiles forgets that he’s actually on their side now and isn’t a raging megalomaniac with a thirst for blood. It’s difficult to remember seeing as Peter’s solutions to supernatural problems usually involve heavy bloodshed.
“A pleasure to see you as always,” Peter says as he passes Stiles. Stiles grumbles under his breath, mumbling something that sounds like ducking glass mole. He follows Peter but nearly walks into him when Peter stops at the entrance to the living room.
“Well, well, well,” Peter says, voice thick as honey but not as sweet, “What is going on here?”
“What are you?” Stiles mutters, shimmying past Peter, “A British cop from the 70’s.”
Peter ignores that comment, instead gesturing to the sleeping cats and nervous wolves.
“We accidently adopted five cats who have a problem with werewolves,” Stiles replies, “And Scott wouldn’t let me take them to the animal shelter.”
Peter chuckles, wandering over to the sofa to inspect the collection of kitties. He reaches a hand down to run his fingers over Muca’s head.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Liam says from his hiding spot behind Scott. Peter ignores him, stroking Muca with a gentle touch. And to the surprise of everyone except perhaps Lydia, Muca purrs, arching up into the touch.
“Of course they’d like you,” Stiles says, “They’re malicious little devils, they recognize that you are basically Satan in a V-neck. You are evidently their master and as their master you should really take them off our hands.”
Peter continues to stroke Muca, ignoring Stiles proposal.
“Well as fascinating as this is,” Lydia says, flicking cat hair from her cardigan, “This meeting is reconvening in the sushi bar down the road. Stiles, you join us when you don’t look like a walking fur ball.”
Stiles looks down at his hair covered clothes, shocked to discover that his jeans now look like a pair of ugly furry trousers. He curses the cats, slapping the hair from his jeans and flipping Peter off when he hears him laughing.
Peter ends up visiting every weekend to see the cats. Scott ends up spending more time at Kira’s, which leaves Stiles to deal with Peter. It’s actually surprisingly easy. Peter arrives, curls up on the sofa with a book and the cats and leaves after a few hours. Stiles potters around the apartment, doing work or cleaning and sometimes he’ll join Peter on the sofa to read. Peter ends up staying later and later, allowing Stiles to pick his brain over supernatural queries. Peter will occasionally cook for Stiles, constantly berating him for the lack of fresh ingredients in the cupboard. Stiles likes to point out that he is a lowly college student whose funds are spent on books and his jeep, not organic produce. Peter ends up bringing his own ingredients after that.
“You don’t think it’s weird?” Scott asks. They’re both using the college gym, although it’s not like Scott really needs to. Stiles wipes sweat from his forehead.
“What do you mean?” Stiles asks in return, filling up his water bottle from the tap.
“That he keeps coming to the apartment to hang out with the cats,” Scott says, “He’s never wanted to spend this kind of time with us before.”
“Correction, spend time with me, you are otherwise occupied engaging in the horizontal tango with Kira.”
“Dude I’m serious.”
“Hello serious, I’m Stiles.”
“Dad jokes really?”
“Don’t knock the classics Scotty. And stop making that face, Peter is mostly harmless. Yeah occasionally, he has that glint in his eye which usually signifies that he’s thinking about murder but apart from that he’s fine.”
Scott looks dubious but drops the issue.
It hits Stiles in the middle of an exam. It’s the most inopportune time and he makes a mental note to think about it later because you know, exam, good grades future, but the fact is, he realizes why Peter is hanging around with the cats so much. It’s because they like him, they don’t shy away from his touch. They enjoy his company and stroking and generally like to climb all over him the same way they do Stiles. This knowledge fills Stiles with a strange sadness or at least pity for Peter. Then he mentally shakes himself because Peter doesn’t want his pity.
Stiles starts small, a gentle brush of fingers when he hands Peter a mug of tea, moving marginally closer to him at the dining table, looking straight at his face with he’s speaking. Once Peter is comfortable with these interactions, Stiles steps up his game to lingering touches on the arm when they make dinner together and clapping a hand on Peter’s shoulder when Stiles leans over to look at Peter’s new book. If Peter knows what’s going on he doesn’t say anything. He eats up the attention, returning the soft touches and moving closer into Stiles space. One night, he kisses Stiles cheek as he leaves. Stiles cheek tingles for hours afterwards.
Stiles didn’t mean to fall for Peter, it just sort of happened. Between the talks and the touches and the meals, it happened. And maybe, just maybe, Peter feels the same way too. Stiles isn’t entirely sure, it’s based off a gut feeling; a gut feeling that he plans to follow through. He invites Peter over for Friday night, makes sure that Scott is out with Kira and the rest of the pack is otherwise occupied and sets up the living room with soft candlelight, using electronic tea lights instead of real open flame. He cooks a proper meal, even using some of the money he was saving to get the Jeep a new paint job to buy fresh, organic ingredients. He even wears a nice suit, no tie and shirt unbuttoned slightly. He even manages to force the cats into wearing tiny bow ties, much to their distain.
It leaves Peter almost speechless. Almost.
“All this for me,” Peter says, arm curling around Stiles waist to pull him close, “Am I being wooed?”
“100% yes,” Stiles says, pressing his cheek to Peter’s and scent marking him, “All the wooing. I am a wooing master.”
Peter laughs. They kiss, a soft, sweet, slow kiss that leaves Stiles lips tingling and his heart pounding.
“Well then, woo away.”