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19 March 2012 @ 12:18 am
[fic: white collar] Cat and a Hat  
Title: Cat and a Hat
Characters/Pairing: Neal, Peter; Gen
Genre/Rating: Fluff; G
Word count: 1100
Warnings: None
Notes: Written in response to this prompt by love_82 at collarcorner.
There is… not a lot of plot to be found here *gg*

Summary: Neal encounters a kitten.

- o -

"What's that noise?" Neal asked.

"Neal, focus," Peter said automatically — it had been a somewhat trying morning — and then actually registered the words. "What noise?"

Neal shook his head, momentarily frustrated. "I heard it a moment ago — there!"

Now Peter caught it too — a high, faint bleat, coming from near the garbage bins of the tower of offices. "Probably a rat," he said, doubtfully. "Leave it alone."

Neal, however, had never been one to go for the sensible course of action. He was already crouching down, his best investigative expression on his face. "I think it's coming from this shoebox," he said, and flipped off the lid.

Peter had remained a few feet back, not wanting to encounter a face-full of pissed-off rat, but at Neal's surprised exclamation he stepped forward to look.

Inside the box was a kitten.

It didn't look to be more than a few weeks old; a tiny tabby-striped thing staring up with huge amber eyes. Then it opened its mouth and mewed. Neal scooped it up into his hands, making small comforting noises at it.

"It's so thin," he said worriedly. "What do we do?"

"We should drop it off at an animal shelter," Peter said. "Cute thing like this, someone's bound to want it."

Neal was staring at it transfixedly. "Don't you think we should feed it, first? What if it gets detained in processing?"

"It's not going to prison," Peter said, exasperated. Then he looked at the way Neal was cradling it to his chest, his face anxious, and he rolled his eyes. "Fine. We need to head back to the office anyway — you can give it some milk or something there."

Neal beamed like he'd just stolen the moon or something.

- o -

Really, Peter shouldn't have been at all surprised that most of the work-related activity in the office would stop when Neal Caffrey walked in with a kitten curled up inside his hat.

"Thought you were trying to find a loan shark," Jones commented.

"We still are," Peter said, pointedly. Most of his people took the hint and went back to their jobs.

Diana stroked the back of its head gently with her forefinger. "Not that I'm complaining, but what's it doing here?"

"She's hungry," Neal said, slightly defensively.

The kitten lifted its head and blinked at the sound of his voice. Mew.

"Come on," Peter said, and steered Neal towards the break room, his two agents trailing behind them. He was struggling to maintain a stern facade, but someone needed to be the adult in this frankly bizarre situation.

The kitten was found a saucer of milk and it lapped it up quickly, pausing every now and then to look up at Neal, as if making sure that he hadn't gone anywhere. Diana was standing behind Neal and failing to entirely hide a grin behind her hand. Jones was kneeling down on the floor, also watching the kitten with fascination.

"So," Peter said, halfheartedly, "There's this nice shelter in Brooklyn, it's not too far out of my way home."

Neal looked up at Peter with such a beseeching expression that Diana broke down into laughter. "Peter?" he asked.

Peter sighed. "Yes?"

"Can't I keep her?"

Peter raised his eyebrows. "You want to adopt a cat."

"Please?" Neal begged. "She was abandoned. I can't do that to her again."

"Stop being so melodramatic." Peter looked to Diana and Jones for help, but Diana was still laughing silently and Jones merely shrugged. "Doesn't June have a dog?"

"It's okay, he likes cats."

"Of course he does," Peter muttered. "Neal, you can't just go around adopting kittens you find in boxes."

"I'll only do it this once, I promise," Neal said, and his face was so ridiculously earnest that Peter found himself grinning despite himself.

The kitten tiptoed over to nuzzle the toe of Peter's shoe before dashing back to the safety provided by Neal. She mewed again.

"I'm sure this is violating your release terms," Peter said. "And I'll have to hear from June herself that she's okay with this."

The kitten began purring, and Peter had an urge to ruffle Neal's hair to see if he would make the same noise.

- o -

The next day was a Saturday, and Peter made it to mid-afternoon before he gave in to the urge to see how Neal was getting along with his new charge.

Neal didn't seem at all surprised to see him when he opened the door. "I bet you've just been interrogating June," he said.

"Not exactly," Peter said. "Just making certain that she hasn't reconsidered."

Neal didn't look at all perturbed. "There's some beer in the fridge, I think," he said, waving vaguely.

Peter helped himself, and then joined Neal on the couch. On the rug there was a brand-new navy cat bed, one that was obviously expensive, and a bunch of toys. There was also Neal's hat. It was tipped on its side, and a tabby shape was curled inside it.

Peter couldn't stop himself from laughing. "Looks like you two really are suited for each other. You both have the same fashion sense."

"She'll get too big for it soon," Neal said. "But she really likes it, so..."

"She have a name yet?"

Neal laughed. "Vivien — after a lovely but rather morbid poet. Mozzie felt she was insulting him with her cheerfulness." He smiled fondly in the direction of the kitten.

"I just can't believe you've got yourself a cat," Peter said. "It doesn't exactly fit with the suave image you've been cultivating."

As if on cue, Vivien blinked awake. She flicked her tail and cast her head around. As soon as she located Neal she scampered over to him, to be scooped up into his lap. She was already looking much healthier than she had the day before. "Hey, you," Neal murmured to her, and was rewarded with purring. Peter hesitated, then reached out to stroke her. She curled up and rubbed her forehead against his palm.

"She's going to be beautifully suave once she's grown," Neal muttered, slightly indignantly, as if there had no interruption.

Peter grinned, and ignored him to scratch Vivien's neck. She purred louder. "You're a clever kitten, aren't you," he said, "Finding such a nice human with a nice place to live to look after a poor lonely waif like yourself." He let his eyes widen. "Hey, that story sounds really familiar."

Neal pouted. "Stop making bad analogies."

Peter tipped his head to one side. "You're right, she isn't a criminal. Yet." He poked Vivien's nose. "You're going to set a good example to your pet, aren't you?"

Neal beamed. "Peter, of course I am!"

"I wasn't talking to you," Peter said. He grinned some more. "I was talking to the cat. She totally owns you."

- o -

ETA: This story now has a sequel, written by sholio. Read it, it is lovely!


Posted at http://frith-in-thorns.dreamwidth.org/48108.html with comment count unavailable comments.
peaceformizupeaceformizu on March 19th, 2012 12:46 am (UTC)
d'awww. I'm totally a cat person. Anyway Peter is right, you never own a cat. The cat usually owns you.
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile shirtfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 12:49 am (UTC)
Totally :D And thank you! :)
morgansladymorganslady on March 19th, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
Oh yeah kitty has Neal wrapped around her little paw :) Very cute story.
Frith: NY - Stella - smile redfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:25 am (UTC)
Thank you! :) ♥
helle_d: vivienhelle_d on March 19th, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
KITTEN! Kitten called Vivien! *uses appropriate, if not remotely as cute, icon* Neal! ~all my feelings~

Utter brilliance. My favourite was the wonderful section:
Neal was staring at it transfixedly. "Don't you think we should feed it, first? What if it gets detained in processing?"

"It's not going to prison," Peter said, exasperated.

The sheer loveliness of the image of Neal - or Matt Bomer - holding a kitten cannot be expressed. It would be too much adorable for my brain to quite take in. Desperatly wanting Neal to hold a itten in an episode now...
helle_dhelle_d on March 19th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC)
Plus, there's the Vivian-the-Arthurian-sorceress figure, who was also a pretty powerful lady (or con-woman, depending on your interpreation) herself. Like the Heather Dale song. "I have come for your power, and my NAME! is Viviennnnn! Another good role model for Vivien-kitty!
(no subject) - frith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - helle_d on March 21st, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
calis_1stcalis_1st on March 19th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
How adorable (said the woman with a cat laying across both wrists!) Yup, Neal is merely Vivien's staff.
ladynikoladyniko on March 19th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
LOL! I think that's right! We are servants to our feline masters. (says the person whose felines are conspicuously missing at the moment... :-p)

Too cute and in a way, so Neal! :)
(no subject) - frith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:37 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
oh these heroes come and go;: [wc] peter/neal hug!!!!!!;;micheleeeex on March 19th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
Awww, I love this!
Frith: White Collar - Neal+Peter - shirtsfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:39 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :D
Nyxelestianyxelestia on March 19th, 2012 01:32 am (UTC)
Ahahaha, Peter is so right, the cat totally owns Neal by now. I love Peter's analogy between Neal and the cat, and "cat in a hat". I've had a plot bunny like this stomping around my head for a while, glad to see someone else finally wrote it. :D Absolutely adorable. ^+^
Frith: White Collar - Diana - mugfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:52 am (UTC)
Thank you! I just had the image of Neal with a kitten, and, well, it had to be written :D I'm glad you liked it!
robingal1: poopiesrobingal1 on March 19th, 2012 01:34 am (UTC)
okay, you got me: Awwwwww!
there! happy now?
Great job; thanks.
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile hatfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:52 am (UTC)
I'm very happy now, thank you! ;D :D
kcrenegadekcrenegade on March 19th, 2012 01:42 am (UTC)
Not a cat person but...but-


-cough- ahem. yes.

That story was adorable. :D
Frith: White Collar - Neal - worried shirtfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:53 am (UTC)
KITTIES MAKE EVERYTHING BETTER. I'm glad you enjoyed it, thank you!
ivorysilkivorysilk on March 19th, 2012 01:59 am (UTC)
Loved this!
Frith: Zundry - Computer lovefrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:53 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! :)
love_82 on March 19th, 2012 04:15 am (UTC)
First of all, thank you for filling my prompt.

Now for the story, the first thing that comes to mind is awww. The image of Neal holding a kitten is so adorable and the kitten sleeping in his hat, just awww again.

I love everyone stopping work to come see the kitten and Peter making comparisons between Neal and the kitten. I liked Neal getting so defensive. Just an FYI men who are cat lovers are very attractive, for me anyway.

I loved this line:
"The kitten began purring, and Peter had an urge to ruffle Neal's hair to see if he would make the same noise."

Yes, you do not own a cat. They own you, as my two would attest. Speaking of them, I should go see if my one cat wants to come in (and go back out) for the umpteenth time tonight.

This also shows one of my thoughts, that you don't find your pet they find you. This was how I found my one cat. He was about 6 weeks old and I found him in the bushes. Well actually my dog I had then found him when I was walking him. The cat will be 8 this summer. I have had seven cats over the course of my life so far but the only one that was planned was the one my parents went to buy when I was 3. The rest just showed up. My house is a stray cat magnet. :D

Thanks again :)

Edited at 2012-03-19 04:26 am (UTC)
Frith: Zundry - raining heartsfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:56 am (UTC)
Thank you very much, I'm really happy that you liked this! I did originally mean to put in some plot to go with your prompt, but my brain got as far as NEAL WITH A KITTY and short-circuited :D And Neal would totally be owned by a cat. :)
(no subject) - love_82 on March 20th, 2012 05:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
Rumrouzrumrouz on March 19th, 2012 04:43 am (UTC)
Kitten! The kitten in the Neal's hat! You made my morning
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile shirtfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 08:57 am (UTC)
Your emoticons make me smile :D I'm happy you enjoyed this, thank you very much! :D
noiproksanoiproksa on March 19th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC)
How cute! :)
I like how Neal's sympathizing with the cat right from the beginning ("What if it gets detained in processing?" - "It's not going to prison" - *g* How can this be funny and sad at the same time?)

Another favorite bit was this one:
The kitten began purring, and Peter had an urge to ruffle Neal's hair to see if he would make the same noise.
Well, Neal has the kind of hair that does beg to be ruffled *g*. Also: imagine the look on Neal's face if Peter had actually done that! Somehow I doubt he'd have accepted the explanation "Just wanted to see if you'd purr like your cat".

And then there's Peter commenting on the similarities to their situation and Neal calling him on his "bad analogy". :) This whole fanfiction is just funny and cute and was exactly what I needed amidst all the post-Judgment Day angst.
Frith: Zundry - Computer lovefrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 09:00 am (UTC)
I shall return to my regularly-scheduled angsty hurt-comfort soon enough ;P

The processing line was my favourite bit from this, I think, so I'm glad you liked it! And Neal is so fluffy, his hair really does want to be ruffled. I'm really glad you enjoyed this, it was extremely fun to write :D
(no subject) - noiproksa on March 19th, 2012 01:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - frith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - noiproksa on March 19th, 2012 02:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
pipiljpipilj on March 19th, 2012 05:35 am (UTC)
This was so cute. Peter is right a cat totally owns you. Neal does seem like a cat person.
Frith: White Collar - Neal - smile shirtfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
Neal is totally a cat person :D Thank you very much!
Sienata: beebsesienata on March 19th, 2012 06:03 am (UTC)
awww. how cute. and the last line is perfect. neal has finally and at last been tamed! :)
Frith: White Collar - Diana - mugfrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Sholio: WhiteCollar-Neal hatsholio on March 19th, 2012 06:04 am (UTC)
AWWWWWWWW. Kitten in Neal's hat! This was deeply, deeply adorable. :D
Frith: White Collar - El - happy phonefrith_in_thorns on March 19th, 2012 03:15 pm (UTC)
Everything's better with kittens, even hats! :D