Well, at least Rocco isn't nekkid. He's barefoot and bare chested, but at least he has on a pair of flannel sleep pants as he stumbles, still half-asleep, from the hallway. There's a bowl of cereal in his hands. November would probably be angry. But she's not heeeereee so Rocco takes full advantage of the fact. His eyes show he's clearly stoned and now he has the urge to eat All The Cereals. Starting with this bowl. And it's not a regular bowl. Nope. It's one of those big serving bowls that's twice the size of a regular bowl.
Corentyn walks into the wayhouse, though more just to try and get to know the locals. Oddly enough the giant of a Ogre is wearing a snappy suit rather then his usual clothing. Almost giving him a professional look, though there is abit of a hunch to him, tailor worked hard to fit him right. He moves over and takes a careful seat on a couch.
The life of a feline can be vastly improved by two things: 1) the application of food, and 2) NOT BEING RAINED ON. The limited shrubberies around the Wayhouse's exterior are far, far too insufficient for her purposes, and so, she lies in wait. And waits. And waits, tail-tip curling as its floofy length sprawls out behind her, eyes fixed on the door. When the hunched ogre approaches, she tenses, and when Corentyn steps in through the outer door of the building, she makes her stealthy ooooooze of an entry, nipping in through the crack and, before he can stop her, across the mudroom floor to dart through the second door into the living room as well. Once there, she looks around, gives herself a little shake to shed water, and promptly sneezes.
Corentyn looks to Rocco then down to the cat curiously reaching down with a far to big hand "Why hello there, sorry I did not see you before" offering a finger for the cat to sniff at. Trying to not scare it away. "You are a very pretty and fluffy one are you not?" waiting to see if the cat would come and smell or avoid him like the plague.
Rocco isn't the only one in the Wayhouse who keeps an unusual schedule. There's a clown in the living room, looking faintly bleary-eyed as she sits about, nursing coffee from a mug painted in stripes the color of a big top. There's a plate of toast on her lap, too, and some mostly-devoured scrambled eggs next to that.
Gert herself is clearly not a morning person. Or a noon person, as the case might be. Her hair and dress are exactly as severe as ever, but her eyes aren't quite so bright at the moment. The shadows around her are still dark and heavy, though, and when she turns and spots the new arrivals, she breaks into a wide, snaggletoothed grin. "Hello, dearies," she says, in that high, scratchy witch-voice. "I was wondering if I was the only one awake today." She eyes Rocco and his oversized bowl for a moment, then snickers and shakes her head. "Looks like I just might be."
Corentyn gets a longer, more considering look - but then there's a cat, and Gert's beady little eyes flash green for a moment. "Oooh, hello, lovely," she says. One of her gloved hands comes down to dangle from the side of the chair, and she wiggles her fingers at the cat. "She's a pretty one, isn't she? Is she yours?" This, to Corentyn.
Rocco has settled into the cushions of one of the leather couches, TV remote in one hand as he turns it on and starts clicking around for something to watch. The bowl of cereal rests in his lap, held steady with one hand. "I'mawakeimawake," he grumble-mumbles in the way of someone who was forcefully ejected from sleep by the needs of a bladder and not because he was actually done sleeping. He only got into the bed an hour past dawn and the fact that he decided to wake-and-bake before raiding the kitchen's offerings means he is a mess of hair over a pair of glassy eyes. "Thatta /cat/? Who the bloody hell let a cat in here? It'll claw up the furniture and shit on the rug. Hey cat, OUT. Go on, /git/."
Avoid. Definitely avoid. The fluffy, rain-damp feline eyes the giant warily, then slinks backward, keeping her eyes on him until she can turn and dart and spring up first to the arm of an armchair, then to its back, where she has a much better view of her potential domain. Rocco's aggression startles her, and she hits the floor with an undignified *thud* after she slides off the back of the leather (and does NOT scratch it!) chair, darting around to hide behind a different set of furniture. Gert being the shortest of the Tall People present, and not yelling at her, draws the cat vaguely clown-ward, albeit slowly so, and watchfully. Who knows? Rocco could chuck his bowl at her. Milk on fur would be even worse than water.
Corentyn looks to Rocco "Hey she won't scratch... or poop... and no it is not my cat. She just followed me inside" looking to the cat then between the two Lost curiously. "Cat can't do any damages around here." large ogre in suit looks as the cat keeps away from him but does not try to follow it, letting it do her thing.
"If you're awake, dear, then I'm a trapeze artist," Gert says in answer to Rocco's protests. Cheerful and warm, despite her inherent creep factor, and despite her own obvious tiredness. "But that's what coffee's for. Go fetch yourself some, love. You look like death with an appetite." And she gives a little... well, it's not a /giggle/, because giggles are girlish and happy and not at all terrifying, but that's probably the closest word to what it actually is.
The cat is still the center of attention, as cats tend to be. Gert waggles her fingers at it, making little "psspsspss" noises between her pointed teeth. "Here, pretty puss," she says. "It's all right. It's just your old Auntie Gert. Shame I haven't got any people food for you, but I don't think eggs and toast are good for kittens." She glances back towards Corentyn, taking a sip of her coffee. "Not yours, eh?" Back to the cat. "Well. I wonder whose she is, then. You don't look like a stray to me, love. Strays aren't so pretty and fluffy as that. Whose are you, I wonder?"
"I happen to be exceptionally attractive even at this ungodly hour," Rocco mentions before stuffing a milk-dripping spoonful of cereal into his mouth. He uses the now-cleaned spoon to point as he talks. And yes, his mouth has cereal in it. "Issa cat. No pets. They're messy and smell bad. And how do you know what damage a cat can do? It's a cat. They're clawed shitting machines and this one probably has fleas."
Curses! A person who pays attention to feline dietary health. The damp, but still-fluffy cat does, indeed, appear far too healthy to be a stray. Her fur is glossy, not lank, and it doesn't appear to be matted anywhere, though a few bits and bobs of dirt and twig are clinging to her tail and the feathery-fluffy fur behind her legs from where she had been waiting underneath the bushes. She also has no sign of a collar, or of any compression in the fur which would indicate a collar -had- been there. She slooooowly slinks closer to Gert, though her attention is on Rocco, and, while staring in pointed silence at the Moon, she plunks her fuzzy, fluffy bottom down right beside Gert in calm defiance, tail curling about her hind paws as she sits, and permits the clown the privilege of physical contact.
Corentyn shakes his head "Cat can barely do any damage... minute damage if anything.. something fragile perhaps" looking to Gert and the cat. "And it did not smell bad, just lightly wet.. and this cat seems owned so its probably box trained" shaking his head looking to Rocco
"Oh, I didn't say you were ugly, dearie," Gert says mildly. "Just that you look like death. Some people appreciate the look. But there /is/ a fresh pot on the counter, if you feel like a bit of a boost. Afraid you'll have to look elsewhere if you want anything stronger. Your old Auntie doesn't keep /that/ sort of stuff on hand, as a rule. But still, coffee is a good thing."
She says all this without looking up. Her gloved fingers have moved down to start scritching gently behind the cat's ears, a slow circling across the top of the head. Strange fingers, those. The pressure behind the gloves feels, somehow, off. The brain can't quite place /why/, but the feeling is there all the same. Not that it changes the petting any. The clown is, apparently, an entirely genuine cat lover, and makes little cooing noises as she rubs one of the kitty's ears gently.
"Oh, no," she says. "You don't have fleas, do you, love? Far too clean for that. Someone loves you, puss. And so do I. Such a good kitty, aren't you? Yes. Yes, you are." She grins like a shark and looks back up to Rocco. "Nothing wrong with having claws, lovey," she says brightly, and waggles the gloved fingers of her free hand at the Moonman. "They're quite useful. It's all about knowing when to bring them out. And this one doesn't strike me as one to claw up the furniture."
"Flea-bitten mongrel stray," Rocco mumbles between shoveling the cereal into his mouth again and actually chewing it a bit. "And mate, ya ain't had cats. We had a pack'a strays livin' in the alley behind me and Zee's old place. Kept screaming and whining at all hours. Plus ya ever try to get that kinda long ass hair outta your clothes?"
If Gert is a cat lover, why, this particular cat is a cat plenty willing to be loved. The 'off'ness of the pressure prompts a slight twitch of those ears, attention being paid, but the feline interloper evidently doesn't find it 'off' enough to stop the scritches. She angles her head to ensure that Gert finds whatever spots are deemed 'good' today, pressing that fuzzy skull into the gloves, but never quite takes her eyes off of Rocco. They may be half-closed in feline bliss, but those grey-green slits are staring, and my, how smug they seem. There's Rocco, bleary and mumbly and alone, and here she is, receiving her due.
"Cats are such perfect little things," Gert says. Her hand is stroking gently over the fluffy thing's head and neck now. "Marvelous performers. They eat and sleep and claw and bite and hiss and crap, but they're so good at their little fluffy purring acts that we never even notice. Or care. You've got to admire that sort of showmanship, love." She glances back up to Rocco, and her eyes gleam orange in the strange light of her Mantle as she takes a sip from her big top mug. "You especially, Shadowman." Her voice is teasing, then, and she sets her mug down, shifts her half-finished plate of toast and eggs onto the end table, and hops down from the chair.
She's very short. She doesn't have far to go when she bends down to scratch under both sides of the cat's chin at once. "And this one's /very/ good at it," she remarks. "Aren't you, sweetie? Yes you are. Yes you are." She straightens up again and reaches for her little Chaplin cane, adjusting her bowler hat with her other hand. "Come on, puss," she says. "Let's see if we can't find you something to eat, hm?"
Rocco makes a scoffing sound at the mention of 'perfect little things.' And for someone who claims to be concerned for the welfare of the couch, he has no problem with his bare feet digging into the cushions as he pulls his legs up under him and leans to the side to rest the bowl of cereal on the arm of the couch. "Rat poison," he suggests around the mouthful of milk and cereal. And when he looks back to the cat, he even makes a little hiss like he's 'playing' with her. You know, the way guys who are total dicks act sometimes.
Hear that, Rocco? She's perfect. The feline's smug look continues, and she accepts any and all pampering cast her way by the properly appreciative clown, chin lifted to permit the double-scritching for just long enough, a whiskered cheek rubbed against the glove when it is just about to be withdrawn. That fur? Yeah. It's going to be everywhere. Good thing the couches ARE leather. It's harder for it to stick. When Gert seems to be headed for the kitchen, the cat follows, tail held high, with the unhurried pace of one content and confident in her domain. She pauses only once, to look back at Rocco and stick out her tongue, before turning to trail after the clown.
"Oh, don't be rude, love," says the clown, without looking back at Rocco. "She's a sweetie. And even if she isn't- well, that just makes two of you, doesn't it?" And she gives another evil little laugh, vanishing through the door towards the kitchen.
When she re-emerges, she's got a little plate of deli meat slices. The gloves are perfectly clean. How she retrieved them from their packaging without staining them will be forever a mystery, because she seems in no hurry to explain it; she just saunters back to her chair and hops back up onto it, retrieving her fork.
"She's a smart one," she adds, as she uses the fork to pass a slice of deli meat to the cat. "But where are my manners? Name's Gert, dear." She says this, apparently, to the room at large. /Probably/ to Rocco. "Gertrude Wexley. Just call me Gert. Everybody does. And what should this old clown call you, hm?"
Enter Widget, provider of breakfast meats and annoyer of lovely kitties. Still smelling of dogs, still smelling of oil, still in her boiler suit. She's just sorta quietly humming as she walks in, noting the lot. Gert, neat, Rocco, okay, Corentyn, hello, and...the cat! She knows that cat! She wanted to help/catch that cat! Beelining over, the gremlin has a very determined expression on her face.
Rocco keeps one eye pointedly on Misty as if he's expecting her to be up to no good, and isn't that supposed to be his area of expertise? He stares at the door while they're in the other room, and when Gert comes back in and reclaims her spot and her plate, his eyes never leave the cat, following the movements and he probably stared right at the doorway while waiting for her to come back through it. Spoon is used to point again. "I'm Rocco," he says almost absently, staaaaring at the cat. "You get fur on me and I'll skin ya alive, ya damn beast."
The feline trails after the clown and the deli slices with an air of expectant interest, and when Gert lowers the fork o' meat her way, she delicately accepts, as if eating off of forks were a perfectly natural thing for a cat to do. Fastidious about getting any of the juices on her fur, she ensures never to take bites which are too large, only nibbling properly mouth-sized morsels, and licking her whiskers in between. Rocco's threat prompts her to give him another stare, then twist back and groom her shoulder as if he were the least threatening thing imaginable. Why, look at this fleck of dust on her perfect, fluffy coat. It is sooooo much more import--GACK! Widget!
The cat springs a good four feet straight up, bounces off the back of Gert's seat, and LEAPS away from the Gremlin's determined beeline, diving up the stairs and stopping halfway to glare down through the railing.
"Oh, come now, dearie," Gert says amicably. "If fur's the worst thing that you've ever had on you, you must have lived a pretty boring life. And you don't strike me as that type." She makes another little cooing noise as the cat starts to eat from the fork, and then blinks as it abruptly springs into the air, vaults off of her seat, and skitters up onto the stairs.
She stares at it for a moment, then turns to give Widget a broad, beaming, fang-filled grin. "Hello, Widget, love," she says. "I take it you two are acquainted."
Widget shrinks back a little at the reaction, just as jumpy as the cat. She's not hurt, just happy it didn't go for her face. "Yes. Fed it. At the diner? No collar. No tags. Yes." Widget shuffles a little closer, looking aat Gert with a very lost expression. Cats are tricky!
"Trust me, love, fur is far from the worst thing I've ever had on me. Or in me." Does Rocco mean that as disgustingly sexual as it came out or is it just the leering, creepy way he has that makes it that way? He does pull back a little in confusion as the cat finally reacts to him, only to turn his head and realize it's not /him/ that made the cat react that way, but the gremlin that just entered. He cradles his cereal bowl closer as if afraid someone might try to take it.
The feline, while interested in food (who wouldn't be?), is too wary of Widget to approach Gert for the time being, and remains standing on the stairs for a good while before eventually daring to, slowly, lower her fluffy rump to sit. Her posture is still tense, prepared to bolt at any moment. Looks like Rocco has been knocked off the totem pole of concerns.
"I'm sure it is, love," Gert says, smiling at Rocco. It's probably meant to be a warm and familial expression, but that mouth is grotesque, even when the teeth aren't on display. Far too wide. Far, /far/ too wide. And those eyes - they gleam so horribly in the low light. "You're a proper Freak, I can tell. Always glad to have another in the show."
She looks back to Widget, and glances up to the cat. "Well, Widget, dear," she says, "you have to understand that the cat isn't here for you. It's here for itself. It's putting on a show, lovey. Most cats are, most of the time. And you shouldn't interrupt a show in the middle to run up and hug the performers, unless they want you to. Just show your appreciation a little with some treats, and if they want you to join in and pet them, they'll let you know."
And she holds out the plate of ham slices to the gremlin, an encouraging expression on her face.
"Put a cat in y-" Thankfully, that line of questioning is entirely and thoroughly killed, the gremlin pausing to listen to Gert. Nod. Nod. That makes sense. She was going to try and loot Rocco's cereal but the ham is a way better option. She takes up a slice, scuttling a bit closer. Ham? Juicy ham? Ehhhh?
Rocco's eyes remain narrowed on Widget as if he's beaming out his intention of 'I will stab you with this spoon if you come too close to my food.' And when that attention is pulled away from Widget to Gert, the expression shifts a little. Almost like he's tentatively reaching out a finger to touch something to see if it's still hot or not. "And what's that mean? A proper Freak? You callin' me names? Cuz I like it if you are." He leers a bit at her, smiling, head moving the tiniest bit in a knowing nod. But then he slides his gaze over back toward Misty. "Least ya got good taste," he teases.
The cat is not having any of it. When the gremlin approaches, those eyes are narrowed to watchful slits, ears turned back at an angle ominous to anyone with a scrap of knowledge about feline body language. The very, very tip of her tail shifts now and then, fluffy floof moving dust on the stair which is presently serving as her perch, and unless Widget is very fast, that food-offering hand is going to be batted at. With claws.
"Of course I'm calling you names, dear." Rocco's little inquisitory look gets a broad, beaming, demonic grin, so broad that it somehow seems to stretch out farther than the actual confines of the face should allow. A trick of the light, certainly. "It's what you are, isn't it? A freak. A right and proper freak. And your old Auntie Gert takes care of her freaks."
There's another flash of lurid orange in the shadows around her, and for a moment, the air around her smells of dry straw and distant carnival food. She just reaches up and touches the brim of her hat - and then looks over to Widget as the cat bats at her hands, making a clucking noise like an old mother hen. "Looks like she's in no mood, dear," she says. "Just leave the plate so she can get some when she likes. You can try again later, when she's in a better mood."
Widget's seen a lot of angry alley cats in her day. She's from a part of the world and part of the time where a cat could be a valuable tool who occasionally bothered to exist close to humans. Vermin-catchers. Then came the hobo days with the abandoned ones. So sh-
WEll, she was /going/ to pull her hand back. Now she does, with a nice new scratch. She hisses back, broken-steam pipe pressure release. But she does leave the plate, as per advice.
Rocco's response to all this? To laugh. Belly-shaking laughter when Widget is scratched. He /was/ going to tell Gert something, probably something off-color or some commentary about how he just happened to come into a fifth of tequila that he woke up with and it was barely gone so far and he's in a sharing kind of mood, but the laughter overflows and blots that out. And when he finally does stop laughing (and really, the situation isn't even that /funny/ unless you're as stoned as he is), he finally mentions, "Fuck this cereal, I shoulda made popcorn."
Dignity bruised, the narrow-eyed feline pointedly turns in place to put her back to them all, then twists to start grooming her shoulder, so she can still watch them. She's making a point, not stupid.