Title: Our House (Is A Very, Very Noisy House)
Word count: 1850
Author's note: for DarkSeraphim in Hetalia Holiday exchange. Human AU. Prompt was "bringing a dog into a household of cats."
Thanks to Feral Phoenix for the beta.
"It's time for an important discussion. Corporal cat, now is not to be cleaning yourself."
None of them paid any heed. A gray cat settled down to go to sleep, while Corporal cat licked her tail which Blackie was now batting at. Greece got up and got the bell, and shook it. Now a lot more eyes were fixated on the bell, following its every move.
"I know you've noticed I've been gone more often...and I figured it's best to tell you now. You're going to a new sibling."
Blackie let out a loud discordant and disapproving meow.
"Now, now. Be good. I really like him. I'm sure this will all work out. You'll get another papa..."
The cats started to look away, so he shook the ball again to catch their attention.
"He cooks a lot of fish in his kind of food. I bet he'll share with you...Remember the tuna he brought last time?"
A small black and white kitten began to climb up his pant leg until it was riding on his shoulder.
It wasn't as if he'd carried on the affair behind the back of his cats. Kiku had already gone through the stages of grief in relation to a house free of cat hair. Kiku had bought them gifts of food (and yes, tuna) and already some of them had warmed up to him.
Now, if only they'd warm up as easily to what Kiku was bringing into the family.
A calico cat avidly watched them as Kiku brought in several small boxes.
"You don't have to take them all," Kiku said.
"I don't want you hurting your back again," Herakles said. He set down the box in a pile with the rest. Already four cats were sniffing them with much interest. Blackie had even managed to get inside one which the tape had come off during moving.
Kiku sat down on the once-beige and now cat hair colored couch, moving three cats aside to do so.
"In that case, could you please remove your shirt? I think I will sit a while and watch you work."
Herakles looked up sleepily, as it took a moment for him to get it. When he did, he smiled and slowly pulled off his white shirt and threw it on the floor. Two cats leapt up from their perches on the couch to run after it. Herakles did his best imitation of a stripper pose, but actually came closer to 'tired half-naked mover' pose.
"Much better," Kiku said.
Herakles brought in more boxes of clothes, laying them aside. He rose up and pushed his hair out of his face, only to find that Kiku was watching him intently.
"Perhaps you'd like a break?" Kiku said. He crossed his legs. "In the other room..."
"That sounds nice," Herakles said. "Very nice."
Kiku wasn't expecting it when he leaned down and plucked him up and carried him bridal style to his room. In his mind, it would've gone the route of putting Kiku on the bed, ripping off of clothes, and the obvious result.
However, there were seven cats on the bed, and that put a bit of a damper on his ardor.
"Your papa and dad need some alone time," Herakles said.
The cats gave him perhaps the most no fucks are or were ever given expression he had ever received. He set down Kiku on the edge of the bed, and began to pick them up, one at a time. One he'd recently called Mouthy, since Kiku thought more of his cats should have names, let out an angry meow. Two others got off in a huff, while a third turned over on its back, cutely looking up at him.
Just as Herakles thought he had removed the cats from his bed, he felt a little ninja kitty attack on his feet.
"There you are, Sparta," he said.
Sparta, a little brown cat striped cat sunk his teeth into Herakles's feet before fleeing away.
"You see where he gets his name," Herakles said as he cradled his foot. Sparta hadn't even broken the skin, but it still hurt.
"What troublesome children," Kiku said.
"We should christen every part of the house," Herakles whispered into Kiku's ear.
"Ah...I think we'd have to move the cats," Kiku said.
Experience told Herakles that Kiku was entirely right.
"Right...we'll start with the bed, first," Herakles said.
"That sounds like a good idea," Kiku said.
He pulled Herakles down to the bed with surprising strength. Kiku always found ways to surprise him.
He didn't get anymore moving done that day, though he did have to take a break in post-coital napping to feed the cats who had begun to yowl outside his bedroom.
"It's your turn it feed the children," Kiku murmured sleepily.
Herakles got up, and was sure to put the covers back in place over Kiku.
Blackie let out an accusatory meow as he came into the kitchen.
"I know, I know," Herakles said sleepily. There was a sea of many colored cats gathering around him as he walked, tripping him up and all rubbing against his legs.
He didn't have a cat dish, so much as a trough. There was a cat box and cat dishes in every room of the house, but the main feeding times were always held in the kitchen. Herakles poured some dry food, and then began to open a few cans of cat food at the automatic can opener. None of his cats would come when called like a dog would, but they knew the sound of the can opener. Any that weren't already waiting bounded out, squeezing in for their turn.
Some, like Blackie, growled as they ate. Others ate slowly, and were too gentle to fight, so he would have to put them in other rooms and give them food the other cats didn't know about.
He couldn't find Poochi's food—not unpacked, yet?—so he simply opened another can of cat food and put it in the crate. Dogs loved to steal cat food, anyways, and he certainly didn't seem to mind.
He meant to come back to bed, but when he sat down on the couch, several cats gravitated to his lap as if magnets were involved. And then he just drifted off.
Poochi had stayed with Kiku's friend Alfred, who got pet sitting duty whenever Kiku stayed over, as the poor dog hated to be alone. Herakles wished he'd thought of getting Alfred to watch his cats, but petsitting twenty-four and counting cats might be asking too much.
The minute Kiku set Poochi down, the little ball of fur began to yap. It had always been peaceful around Kiku's household, but put it anywhere near cats and suddenly nature trumped Kiku's nurturing.
Poochi sprinted towards the cats, and Herakles could only watch in surprise as the chaos unfolded around him. Blackie hissed and jumped up the mound of boxes, knocking several over as he did. The little black and white kitten raced behind to hide in his pants.
Kiku regained his senses first. He gripped the little dog by the collar, and gave him a glare that reminded Herakles a little of Medusa.
"Bad dog. Go to your crate and think about what you did," Kiku said.
Poochi whimpered, his tail between his legs as he scampered towards the crate. Kiku closed the door behind him.
Just watching Kiku's icy transformation made Herakles feel like apologizing and hoping it was never directed at him. Then again, he wasn't about to start barking at any cats anytime soon, so he was probably safe.
Herakles vowed to be extra good and especially not flirt with anyone else, just to be sure.
Herakles got up and made the water for tea. Usually, Kiku was up long before he got up out of bed, but for once he was sleeping peacefully with a cat on his chest, between his legs and sleeping on his pillow. Poochi was whining at the door of his crate, begging to be let out. One of the braver cats, a ginger with tiger stripes was sleeping on top of the crate. And no surprise, Sparta was batting at Poochi's wagging tail through the grate.
Herakles opened up the door, and Poochi scampered out, whining and scampering. Herakles let him out and sipped at his tea while the little dog did his business. When Poochi came back in, however, the climate had changed.
Sparta stood there, like some little last guardian of the cats. He looked up, mischievous, and pounced straight on the little dog. Poochi let out several cries and tried to escape, but Sparta had him in his sights, and wasn't about to let his playmate go. He dug his back claws in and bit and did all those Sparta things to show love.
Poochi wriggled, but couldn't get free, not until Herakles plucked him up and out of Sparta's grasp. Sparta puffed himself up and then raced off to hide wherever cats hid when they were playing the feline game of 'nearly bite your foot off and run away with your tail wagging.'
"And thus Sparta defended a Grecian household," Herakles said.
From then on, the situation changed. There were no barking fits, and sometimes Poochi would just put himself in the crate and whine until the door was closed. All too often he'd want to sleep in there, and when they woke up, Sparta would be sleeping on top of the crate.
"Poochi seems better behaved," Kiku remarked. Several days had gone by and it had become surprisingly peaceful, save for the cat kerffufles that Herakles was so used to that he barely counted as chaos.
"My cats scare him... I think," Herakles said.
Kiku looked down to where Poochi was sitting in his lap. Sparta walked by, and Poochi began to try and bury himself in Kiku's khakis.
"Stop that," Kiku admonished quietly.
Poochi looked up and whined. Kiku petted him.
"Your children are behaving poorly," Kiku said.
"I'll take care of that," Herakles said. He pushed himself up from the cat-hair colored couch and plucked Sparta right up.
Sparta was all too happy to run and jump up the way to the sink to take a nap.
"There, peace and quiet for a little while," Herakles said. He stretched, almost in tandem with several cats. Then he laid his head on Kiku's shoulder and began to drift off.
Sparta had the right idea. It was a good day for a nap.
Then again, in his household, every day was a good day for a nap.
Yes, Sparta is a reference from the Mean Kitty song. Youtube it if you haven't seen it. I couldn't resist.
A lot of the behavior of the cats is based on cats I or my family have owned through the years. Also youtube "dog afraid of cats" and you'll get some pretty hilarious results.