fluff; pg; 2.3k
fill for this prompt
(a longer version of this)
Kris always says that the problem with strays is that they don't trust humans anymore.
"They're vicious, Luhan." He says one day as he scratches behind the ears of his mixed Russian Blue and Junmyeon arches into his owner's touch. "God only knows why you would actually take home one of them yourself. Did you know that Junmyeon comes from an old family that has royal-"
Needless to say Luhan kicks Kris in the shin.
But then again, of course his infuriatingly rich and sheltered boss couldn't understand the draw that Luhan felt when he peered through a glass window and straight into the most beautiful, most guarded, eyes he's ever seen.
Ever since he'd moved to Korea he'd been looking for someone to take away the sting of homesickness, and somehow he found it in Minseok.
He'd first seen the catboy on his way to work one day.
It was the day of the all-important merger meeting and of course that meant it was the day that Luhan's alarm decided to stop working. He'd forgone breakfast and a shower, and last second panic had prompted him to get off at the wrong bus stop because he thought of a different way of getting to work that could be a shortcut.
(It wasn't, by the way.)
But the shortcut turned out to be a blessing in disguise, because as he was rushing past shop windows, trying to check his teeth in his reflections, he saw him.
At the time he barely had time for a glimpse, but the face stuck in his mind all day. As he sat through the meeting he keep seeing mischievous almond eyes and a pointed chin.
So it was only natural that after work, Luhan decided to backtrack through his newfound "shortcut."
The catboy was just as beautiful the second time he saw him. The tortoiseshell pattern that wrapped around his tail was a pleasing mix of blacks, golds and browns. At first he was facing away, but soon he turned to glimpse back and Luhan was staring into a pair of probing brown eyes.
Without thinking, he walked straight into the shelter and crouched next to the cage.
"What's your name?"
The catboy shifted on his side, and gazed up at Luhan suspiciously. His tail flicked from side to side, shifting the newspaper lining the cage.
"Minseok." The catboy whispered as he drew his tail tightly around him.
Most of the dirt comes off after a good half an hour of scrubbing. (At least Luhan assumed that's how long it took. Minseok wouldn't let Luhan within a foot of him, so Luhan had to resort to locking Minseok in the bathroom to make sure that he cleaned.) The collar that Luhan offered up was met with a quiet disapproval, but now that Minseok is cocooned in a thick, fluffy towel he seems a lot more accepting of his new living situation.
The catboy still won't let Luhan near him, but he settles on the end of the couch while Luhan is watching the Man U game, and the little bundle of cat and towel shifts about during the more thrilling moments, sometimes flashing a curve of calf or a pale thigh in his excitement.
(Not that Luhan is looking or anything.)
It is rainy the next day, and Luhan is reluctant to leave Minseok alone. The added humidity in the air makes everything feel heavy, and he'd gladly skip work to laze about on the couch and watch Minseok watch television.
The little progress he has made getting closer to Minseok only makes him want to stay home even more. By the end of the night Minseok had began to let Luhan within his bubble (he even let him scratch behind his ears!) although the catboy's expression remains one of tolerance, not enjoyment.
It would be so easy to call the office and make up some excuse about a summer cold... but just as Luhan is trying to think of a disease that would be deadly enough to warrant a sick day and mild enough that Yixing wouldn't start panicking, his phone beeps.
from Kris: you better come into work today
"There's tuna in the fridge if you get hungry." He calls out as he slips on his oxfords and scans the room for his tie.
The lump on the couch mews in response, and that's when Luhan finally sees his tie; caught in the cascade of blankets and pillows that has become Minseok's nest on the couch.
Luhan gets home late that night, and he is surprised to find the nest of blankets gone and the bookcase free of dust. The shirts he'd been meaning to wash are clean and neatly piled on one end of the couch and Minseok is curled up on the other end.
"Ah, you're back." Minseok's eyes flicker open sleepily, his ears twitching with the remnants of a dream.
Luhan hums, shifting aside the shirts so he can slide next to him.
"I cleaned up a bit, I hope you don't mind." Minseok's voice is nonchalant but uncertainty hangs in his voice. As if Luhan would actually be upset at him settling into the house and helping out.
"You didn't have to," Luhan murmurs, slipping down against Minseok's shoulder. Maybe Minseok is a bit more comfortable around him, or maybe it's because he's half asleep, but this time Minseok doesn't shy away from his touch.
"Of course I had to. Do you even know how many expired boxes of crackers there were hidden in your cupboards?" He snorts, a smile growing on his face. "And considering that it took me nearly half an hour to find the mop, I'm guessing you don't use it very often."
"I clean!" Luhan protests weakly, but his eyelids are already beginning to feel heavy, and the weight of Minseok's tail on his leg is warm and comforting.
"Your shirt's ironed today," Kris remarks when he stops by on the way to his office.
They fit into each other's lives surprisingly well.
Luhan leaves coffee for Minseok in the morning and Minseok records all the soccer games that air during the day. When Luhan comes home after work he slots against Minseok and they go through the games play by play as they stuff their cheeks with pizza or take-out.
Most of the time Minseok is more of a friend than a pet, unabashedly whacking Luhan on the head when he tells a bad joke or scolding him for leaving his socks in the hallway.
But there are times when it's painfully clear that Minseok is still part cat.
Like when Luhan clings to Minseok's arm during a tense match, and Minseok plays aloof, tensing slightly and refusing to look anywhere but the screen in front of him. He never initiates contact and never waits for Luhan by the door, even though he still lets Luhan drag him to the couch for movie marathons and lets him scratch around the base of his ears.
Or when Luhan has a slab of salmon in the frying pan and this time Minseok is clinging to Luhan's shoulder, watching the meat of the fish lighten.
"Do you think it'll be done soon?" Minseok's tail twitches in excitement, tickling Luhan's arm.
"Stop!" Luhan chokes out, laughing. The shallow breaths against his neck distract him and he nearly burns the fish. "Did you finish setting the table?"
Minseok clucks in annoyance. "Yes, yes. Now are you done yet?"
And Luhan isn't a fish person himself but the purrs that Minseok lets out between bites are enough to keep him full.
They never talk about Minseok's previous owner.
Sometimes Luhan is tempted to ask, but somehow it feels too much like a boyfriend inquiring about a past lover.
Are you happier here? he wants to ask, but the words never make it past his lips.
Whenever he thinks about it there's a weird sense of irritation that builds in his chest. At these times he's always a bit more sharp with Minseok, intentionally forgetting to make coffee or cooking vegetables instead of meat.
"Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed today," Kris likes to say when he sees Luhan's scowling in the office and Luhan snaps back that he woke up on the same side he usually wakes up on, thank you very much.
(But around lunchtime the anger sizzles out to regret and Luhan ducks into the restroom to call Minseok and ask him what he'd like for dinner.)
One day his junior at the company stays overnight after a particularly grueling project that kept Luhan at the company for days. Minseok takes to Tao surprisingly quickly, and Luhan definitely isn't jealous at the way Minseok's tail curls against Tao's waist and the way he shoves food into Tao's mouth.
"He has his own hands, you know." He tries to say it matter-of-factly, but his voice comes out as a whine.
"But look how happily he eats," Minseok coos as he continues stuffing dumplings into Tao's mouth.
And it's definitely not because he's jealous that he refuses to let Minseok give up his spot on the bed and forces Tao to sleep on the sofa.
The day that Minseok hugs Luhan of his own accord is such a momentous moment that Luhan marks it on his calendar with a star.
"Did you just-?" is all a shocked Luhan is able to say, and Minseok turns bashful, sinking back into the blankets and pillows strewn over the couch.
"No, I didn't!" he half growls in reply. His voice is muffled by a thick comforter, and Luhan is partly glad that Minseok is hiding beneath a blanket because it means that the catboy won't see the dumb smile plastered all over his face.
(Yet he can't stop smiling for the rest of the day and Minseok kicks him in the butt, calling him creepy.
And Luhan can tell from the answering twitch of Minseok's lips that he doesn't really mean it.)
When Minseok meets Kris it's nothing short of a disaster.
Kris' prize feline and Minseok get on well enough, exchanging stories about the hardships of being a catboy.
("Do you ever think you just have a cough but then you hack up a hairball?" Junmyeon whispers.
Minseok rolls his eyes. "Oh god, far too often.")
But then Kris just had to say that Minseok is too small for a grown cat and that he still looks like a kitten. At once, Minseok stretches to his full height (which still leaves him the shortest in the room) and tells Kris that he is older than all of them and that Junmyeon is wasted on such a clumsy owner.
That's the first time that Luhan actually sees Minseok's tail stand straight up, and if he had hackles Luhan is sure those would be raised too.
Luhan means to step in between them and stop things, but seeing his much shorter alley cat glare up at his slightly cowering boss is too amusing to pass up.
The few choice insults that Minseok lashes out with appear to be very effective, because with each word Kris' height shrinks a bit, and soon the height difference between them is hardly noticeable at all.
"Shouldn't we stop them?" frets Junmyeon at Luhan's side, and Luhan (regretfully) steps between them.
Sometimes Luhan makes soft whimpering noises in his sleep.
The first time Minseok hears them, he thinks that the other is awake and he tries whispering back into the interrupted silence.
But then he notices that the rise and fall of Luhan's breath remains steady and that his eyelids haven't opened. A glance at the clock tells him that there are still a few hours until Luhan needs to get up in the morning, so instead of waking him, he nestles Luhan's body against him. Luhan's head tucks nicely underneath his, and his tail winds around Luhan's waist. He likes feeling the soft strands of Luhan's hair brush the underside of his chin, and the soft breaths that tickle his chest.
At first he would try to wake up before Luhan did, and would try to untangle his body from his owner's (because Minseok doesn't want Luhan to get ideas that physical contact is okay or something), but as the days go on it seems to matter less and less and some days he wakes up to find his own head nestled beneath Luhan's.
"Are you happy here?" Luhan finally manages to ask when Minseok is busy with the dishes. Minseok's cheerful whistling gives him the courage to ask what he's always been wondering.
Minseok stops whistling and cocks his head as he glances back at Luhan. "The happiest."
Luhan's chest feels so light and heavy all at once and he thinks he'll mark today on the calendar with a heart instead of a star. But there's still one more worry lurking at the back of his mind.
"Do you ever miss your previous owner?"
Minseok hums, in that slightly cat way he does, where the sound is half purr half hum, "Sometimes." He sets down the dish he's drying and reaches for another, refusing to meet Luhan's eyes. "But I like you the most."
Luhan rests his head on Minseok's shoulder. "Me too."
(And later when Kris sees a day on Luhan's calendar marked with three hearts he leans over the cubicle to ask in a loud whisper if he and Minseok have done the dirty and Kris is rewarded with another bruise on his shin for his trouble.)
A/N: shameless fluff with gratuitous tsundere xiu
also kris is forever an old man at heart (imo)