Robert Sean Leonard visits Ethan Hawke and Bradley Pitt and the new kitties
Robert Sean Leonard ( _rsl_ ) goes to Ethan Hawke ( hawke_eyed ) and Bradley Pitt's ( c_b ) home to meet the kitties
12 January 2008, will be backdated and crossposted
"He called about ten minutes ago, Master, to say he'd landed," Bradley says as he watches Pythias bound out of the only room in the loft that is off-limits to Ethan, Damon hot on his paws. "I told him Sergei's already there waiting. Sergei said he didn't mind picking Robert up. 'Mr. Ethan's oldest friend not take taxi'." Laughing as he quotes their driver, he smiles at Ethan. "He still gloats you know, when you're not looking."
Ethan turns, surprised. "Really? Hunh. Sergei must be off his game. He usually gloats no matter who's watching." Pythias springboards off the couch, vaulting over Damon's head, who hisses loudly at being denied tackling the little grey and white kitten. Unbelievably nervous at having his best friend over, he makes another lap around the apartment, making sure everything is in order. It is. Bradley keeps the apartment spotless - or as clean as he can with two kittens on the loose.
Watching Ethan do his fourth round, Bradley walks out of the kitchen and holds out a mug of coffee as he begins his fifth. "Master, please, don't be so tense. Things are going to be okay, I promise. Your boy is going to be trying his very hardest, promise. Promise." Holding the mug aloft, he smiles gently, eyes begging Ethan to believe him. "I invited him, Master, it will be okay."
Bradley's coffee is like a magic elixir that makes almost anything better and Ethan accepts the cup with gratitude. Sitting down in his usual spot on the couch after moving Damon out of it, he wraps long fingers around the mug, having learned that setting it down usually results in a spill. "I just want you both to be comfortable with each other," he sighs. "But if you promise, that's more than good enough for me."
"I'm nervous enough for both of us, Master. Honest." And it's true. Bradley has no idea how this visit is going to go. He hopes with the kittens running around there are enough distractions things won't get too serious and he won't have the opportunity to fixate on watching every single thing Ethan and Robert do and say to each other. "I'm going to go get a tea tray ready, Master, unlike you, Robert likes tea."
"Yeah I haven't..." The sound of hissing and yowling comes from under the couch and a split second later, Pythias darts out looking like a giant, striped puff-ball. Pulling his feet up, Ethan waits a moment to see if Damon's going to give chase or if he's waiting underneath for ankles to attack. Best to keep his feet propped up on the table. "Figured that out yet. Coffee's so much better."
Taking a single step back, Bradley tilts his head enough he can see the pink tip of Damon's little nose. "Coffee is... well, it's not my beverage of choice, Master. A lot of people quite enjoy it, and it's many off-shoots." Like espresso and cappuccino and cafe mocha and the million other things one can purchase at any Starbucks or, if they like the more genuine fare, in Italy. "Might want to pull your feet onto the couch, Master. He's debating your pants or Pythias' tail."
Moving quickly, Ethan stretches his legs out on the couch cushions. "Thank god it's Bobby coming over. He gets the whole feet up thing." When they entertain, which is fairly regularly, it's usually cast and crew from Ethan's latest project, or someone Ethan's trying to woo a few million dollars out of. Until the kittens stop attacking everything in sight, though, they won't have many people over.
As soon as Ethan's legs move onto the couch, Damon decides his brother is much more appealing and after three seconds spent hunkered down and preparing to pounce, he flies out from hiding, uses the coffee table as a spring board and lands smack on top of Pythias. Then it is on and the two kittens take what has to be the six thousandth fight-to-the-death to the other end of the loft. "You think Robert will like them, Master?"
Staring at the snarling ball of fur rolling the length of their apartment, Ethan shakes his head in disbelief. "I suppose it depends on how many bandages he leaves with." Smiling at his boy, he adds, "How come they can do that and not be covered in blood, but if Damon even thinks about tackling my feet, I end up with a dozen scratches?"
Chuckling, Bradley smiles warmly at Ethan, the idle and familiar conversation easing his nervousness almost completely. "Because, cats have thicker skin then us, Master. Damon and Pythias are just miniature versions of their larger counterparts in the wild. Lions, tigers, leopards and such. They are still built in part, for the same type of life. They can withstand a certain amount of rough play. You and I aren't built like that."
The buzzer goes and the kittens stop mid-tackle, both heads whipping around and staring at the door that leads OutSide. "That's Robert, Master." And it's an undeniable fact both kittens are going to attempt 'freedom' as soon as the front door opens.
"Bobby?" Ethan shouts through the closed door. "Grab anything that flies out of here!" He has no idea whether Robert heard him or not, but forewarned is forearmed and someone has to chase the damned cats down the hall.
Blinking in the hall at Ethan's muffled, but bellowed words, Robert holds tight to his overnight bag and waits to be let in. He's on guard now and guesses that Ethan must be referring to the kittens. Ready as he'll ever be for a full-on attack by them, he stairs at the base of the door.
The two kittens are sitting side by side at least seven feet from the door. What they're certain makes their humans think they won't get to the door in time to 'escape'. Ya. Right. Giving Damon and Pythias a very long look, Bradley elects to say nothing, smiles at Ethan then opens the door. "Robert, hi, come on in." The door opens wide enough to let Robert in and it's all of two milliseconds before two streaks of fur fly by.
Looking over his shoulder at Ethan, Bradley quickly says, "I'll get them, Master." Then ducks around Robert and into the hall. One quick look and he sees two cute little tails disappearing cautiously around the corner of the stairwell.
"Damon and Pythias," Ethan says dryly, stepping out into the hall to see if Bradley needs any help corralling their pets. "Damon's the black one, lurks in shadows and turns into a bat over night. Pythias is the mostly white one - and yes, his ears are supposed to be that way. Damon hasn't worn him down yet." Grinning at his best friend. "Go inside and make yourself at home. This shouldn't take more than an hour."
Robert smiles in bemusement as both of his hosts have now slipped out the door and left him standing in the hall. He's never stood much on ceremony before, though he is admittedly in a little different territory this time. Leaving his things behind the door and out of the way, Robert hangs his coat in the closet and goes in search of the bathroom. Long flights and then car rides are not his favorite things.
Coming back up the stairs a couple minutes later, a kitten in each hand, Bradley smiles at Ethan. "An hour? Honestly, Master, you doubt my kitten catching skills." Brushing his lips over Ethan's then smiling, he holds out Pythias. "You want a kitten or to get their treats from atop the fridge?"
Amusement dances in hazel blue eyes as Ethan takes Pythias from Bradley. "You give them treats after chasing them down the hall? No wonder they try to escape every time the door opens." Yeah, the pizza place has flagged their file. Waiting until his boy and the hellcat are safely inside, he pulls the door closed and carries The Sweet One over to Robert. "Bobby, meet Pythias. Pythias, this is a Nice Man. Don't eat him."
"Well hello there, Pythias." Robert grins, his voice soft and cajoling as he extends his fingers to be sniffed. Knowing enough to keep the approaching hand lower than they kitten's face, he approaches from slightly below and waits to see just what the animal will do to him.
Rolling his eyes as Ethan tells Pythias not to eat Robert, Bradley places Damon on his shoulder and heads into the kitchen to get the treats. "One second, Damon. You're not getting one before your brother." Heading back out, he sees Pythias bat playfully at Robert's finger then lick it, then bat playfully at it once more. "If you're not careful," he says softly, smiling some, "He'll attach himself to you for life."
"Traitor," Ethan growls at Damon as Bradley comes into the room with the black kitten perched on his shoulder like a pirate with a parrot. "Watch out for Damon. He thinks he's a panther and hasn't figured out that at two pounds, he doesn't stand much of a chance of bringing anybody down. Doesn't stop him from trying though."
Robert's scratching his finger under Pythias' chin and smiling as the little kitten just closes his eyes and purrs for a moment. He's not at all fooled that it will last, kittens are notorious for their short attention spans. But for now, it is a good thing. "You just have to respect his need for dominance, Ethan." It's said with a wink as Robert continues to look at Damon. "Anyone could tell by looking at him that he's the king of his pride."
Ethan locks gazes with Damon and it's obvious this is a battle neither of them tires of. "My pride. My kingdom. I am lord and Master here." In response, Damon makes a sound that is very much like a pejorative and leaps lightly from Bradley's shoulder to the coffee table, where he does his usual trick of vanishing in a cloud of purple smoke that only Ethan can see.
In order for his laugh to be mostly unheard, Bradley turns and heads in the general direction of the kitchen as he opens the can of treats. There's a sound Bradley makes, however, when he's holding in large amounts of laughter and Ethan well knows what it is. "Robert, what type of tea do you want?" Miracle of miracles, he got out words without snickering in the process.
"Anything with caffeine, please. It's been a long night." And not a particularly restful one either. Though he slept on the red eye flight, occasionally the woman next to him would shift and kick him in the ankles or elbow his hand. His own fault for doing something so short notice and not being able to get a first class seat. That won't happen on the return flight, Robert will switch his flights around if he has to in order to be comfortable. Turning, he smiles at Ethan and opens an arm. "Do I get a hug?" he asks quietly.
Eyes darting around for the demon-spawn, Ethan grins at his best friend. "Of course," he says, stepping into Robert's embrace. Wrapping his arms around the taller man, he inhales deeply before releasing his breath in a happy sigh. Taking a step back, he smiles up at Robert, then lets loose a blue streak of profanity as he clutches his ankle. "Hellion! Loathsome creature," he mutters, risking a glance down.
As Bradley sets the tea box on the counter he sighs, "Damon." Fishing two treats from the can he tosses them as far as he can in the opposite direction of Ethan and is rewarded with the quiet sound of eight paws bounding after them. "Are you alright, Master?" he asks as he steps next to Ethan before crouching and lifting his Master's pant leg to have a look. "I think you're no worse off than before, Master." In other words, two more scratches added to ten really don't mean a whole heck of a lot.
Doing his best to not laugh, Robert's got a hand clasped over his mouth and his eyes are twinkling brightly as Ethan glowers at the tiny kitten running after his treat. It's really rather amusing that his best friend has been beset with a child and then a set of frisky kittens in the same six months. "Oh Ethan," he snickers. "They're just babies. Think of them as slightly smaller Sabines." And now he has to laugh, hand still attempting to smother the sound.
Shooting his best friend a withering look, Ethan snorts. "She never tried to haul me out of bed by biting on my ear and dragging me in the direction of the kitchen. Damon thinks that's the perfect way to start the day. And this one," he points at Bradley who's doing his level best to appear mildly sympathetic, "finds it amusing." While Ethan's expression might say he's well put-out, his eyes are saying anything but.
"It is amusing, Master," Bradley says as he stands, "Because you just keep trying and you just keep losing. I can't remember how many times I've told you to stop trying to win. You can't win, you just can't." Smiling, genuinely, at Robert, Bradley then brushes a kiss to Ethan's lips before heading into the kitchen as the kettle starts to whistle.
"He's Absolutely right, Ethan. You cannot win with cats." Robert grins and crouches down, hand held out to try and entice one of the little guys back over for some petting.
"Someday I might," Ethan grins as both kittens bound over to investigate Robert's fingers as though they're new and exciting. Frankly, Ethan doesn't understand the excitement. Damon gnaws on his fingers every day. "This is my house, my boy, my best friend and they're just going to have to come to terms with that."
From the kitchen Bradley's laugh can be heard. Deep and merry, very much amused. "Master, they are well aware of that fact. You're just going to have to come to terms with the fact they really don't care." Wandering out, wiping his hands on a dish cloth, Bradley grins. "Try bribing them with treats more often, you seem to think that's how I do it." Shoving the dish cloth into his back pocket, he smiles at Robert. "He's convinced the reason they mind me and don't attack me is because I give them treats."
"That's a part of it, I'm sure." Robert laughs as he reaches out to stroke one of the kittens and they both dance back just out of reach. Dropping his hand down low again, he waits for their approach. "You're also non-challenging. Ethan challenges them, challenges their place. You feed them and indulge them, unless I'm off my mark."
Watching as Damon covers the small space to sniff at Robert's fingers, Bradley smiles easily, glad to know his green-eyed monster and possessiveness are sticking to the shadows where they belong. "Not off your mark at all, Robert." Suddenly, it's important to him to know if Robert likes the kittens, approves of the new members of Ethan's household. "Do you like them?" he asks quietly in that tone only Ethan knows. The one that means depending on the answer, Bradley might be hurt.
Wriggling his fingers gently, Robert chuckles as the kitten bounces back and then swats at him before sniffing at his fingertips again. "Oh, they are adorable." He throws a quick smile up at Bradley before looking at Damon again. "Such cute little babies," he coos at the kitten who is getting closer.
It's as if a weight has been lifted from Bradley's shoulders and only Ethan can see the relief. "I'm glad, Robert," Bradley says with a smile, watching as Damon plays with Robert easily, something he never does with Ethan. "Tea and coffee should be ready now. Master, if you and Robert want to go into the living room, I'll bring in the tray."
Hazel eyes linger for a moment on Bradley and even Ethan feels a measure of relief. "Thank you, boy. C'mon, Bobby and don't let Damon trip you on the way." Grinning, Ethan watches as Pythias takes a cautious sniff at Robert's pant leg, mewing softly like he does when he wants to be petted. "He must really like you. Doni's the only other one he does that with." Out of the two of them. Imagine that.
Robert leans down again and scratches Pythias gently beneath his chin. "Well, I like him too. C'mon with us, little guy. Come sit with us." He trails his fingers along the floor as he moves slightly toward Ethan and the living room.
Pythias stalks Robert's finger, dropping low to the floor and creeping up on it, while Damon, tail lashing, crouches down and fixes his green eyes on his brother kitten. The second Pythias pounces on Robert's finger, Damon springs up out of nowhere and they're off in another tangled ball of hissing fur. "While they're doing their cat thing, can I show you the loft?"
Laughing, he nods and smiles at Ethan. "Sure, I'd love to get a look around." It's the longest that Ethan has ever lived somewhere without Robert having seen the space. Just as everything else in their lives have changed over the past few years, it's one more adjustment to make.
The loft is a few thousand square feet of tastefully decorated open space plus a few rooms they've carved out for the sake of privacy. "That's Doni's room. We decided he needed a place that was exclusively his," Ethan says, gesturing to a closed door by the hammock. Skipping over the boy-child area and their playroom, he points out the library, their bedroom (which he does take Robert through) and both baths. "We've discovered that the cats have a real addiction to toilet paper so we keep the doors closed - most of the time." He shoots Robert an abashed look. "Sometimes I forget."
"It gets easier to remember over time. Mom finally got Dad trained on keeping the doors closed so the cats didn't get out. Took a good year, though." He murmurs over the loft as they go through, asking questions here and there about the different rooms, the workmanship and in one case an actual view -almost unheard of in Manhattan. "You both have built a nice home here."
Eyes soft on his boy waiting patiently on the couch for the two of them to return, Ethan nods his thanks. "It's all Doni. He found the place, bought the furnishings, decorated, everything. If this is a home, it's because he made it one." He smiles at his best friend. "C'mon. He's got tea and from what I hear, it's not as good cold."
Robert shudders. "Cold tea is vile unless it is specifically iced tea." Standing, he stretches and takes another look around. "Whether he decorated it or not, it's a home because the two of you live here. You both have made it what it is, Ethan."
Ethan shrugs. Robert is both right and wrong about what makes the loft their home. For him, it's Bradley's presence; the trappings are immaterial. Different words for the same thing. Settling into his usual place on the couch, his cup filled with steaming coffee waiting for him. "Yeah, well, home is where the heart is and all those lovely cliches. That one just happens to be true." Leaning back, his hand steals into Bradley's hair because that's where its home is.
"That it does." Taking his own beverage, the tea hot and fragrant as he sips at it, Robert settles back into the couch and smiles at them both. It's good to be back in Ethan's home, to be a part of Ethan's world and he's so glad that Bradley called him.
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