|What: Pete allows himself a bit of happiness in the form of feline therapy.|
It has been only a couple of days since Selina was turned into the form she is currently but already she has put in quite a few miles, her wanderings throughout the city fueled by curiosity as much as it has been fear-driven. Never really feeling entirely safe, the little black cat has kept herself on the move, meandering through numerous neighborhoods for as long as her body allowed her to. Sleep and hunger are the only factors she has allowed herself to pause for and even then it isn't for very long that she stops.
Currenly, the feline is sitting before an apartment building, cleaning her face and paws, licking away the ick an impromptu meal has left on her fur. Not too far the evidence of her lunch can be found in what is left of a rather sizable sewer rat. The people of NYC can breathe easily now as the rodent problem has been reduced by one.
Coming out of his apartment, unshaven and wearing a t-shirt and jeans under a suit jacket, it's a second before Pete Wisdom sees the little cat: he's busy lighting a cigarette. Cat-nose will detect vague familiarity of the man's general scent, though human senses would not have processed the data consciously, nor gotten such a clear picture. Ozone, an uncommon brand of cigarettes, cheap Scotch, lighter fluid, that which is chemically Pete...
Once the cigarette's lit, he /does/ spot the kitty, and abruptly scans the area for Hellboy. Because-- kitty. But no, there's only one, and it just ate a rat, and -- goodness, it's /adorable/. Tiny cats are stupid cute. Tiny black cats even moreso. So since honey badger don't care, he crouches down in front of the steps of the building, one knee on the sidewalk, and does the worldwide kitty-calling routine. Smoo smoo, pss pss pss, hold hand out and rub thumb and fingertips enticingly.
The cat is caught in mid-lick, her paw held poised just before her muzzle and the tip of her tongue stuck out, the pink of which contrasts with the dark color of her fur. An eye peeks open and then its mate, eyes that blink several times when she takes him in.
The scents that waft from him are familiar and impossible to miss, the combination distinct. The pad of her nose twitches slightly and then her whiskers, all in reaction to the tinge of chemicals that linger along with everything else. A quiet mew is given to Pete when he starts to call to her but she doesn't approach right away. Cats are wary creatures by nature to begin with and Selina's been made to be more so over time thanks to the numerous kicks and other mistreatment people have tried to visit upon her. Curiosity wins over prudence over the span of a few seconds, however, and she approaches slowly, sniffing towards Pete the entire time.
And this is where Pete's patience and actual kindness are easiest to see: tiny things, wild things, hurt things, wary things. He remains still, doesn't approach, doesn't reach further-- and the closer the kitty sniffs, the warmer the air is. Even in the chilly October air, as carelessly dressed as he is, he's like a space heater. "Here, love," he murmurs low and gentle, holding his hand out and open now, frozen so she can investigate it. "You're beautiful, you are. You going to let me pet you?"
She will and does after a few more seconds, Pete's tone and demeanor luring her in the rest of the way. He'll feel the dirt under his fingers once the petting's made good on, the grime that she's picked up off of the streets and only God knows where else, it more than enough to make her fur feel gritty instead of silky like it would normally. She's also thin. Not near enough to be considered unhealthy but it should be obvious that she hasn't eaten regularly.
As she stands there Peter's inspected, sniffed and watched, observed for signs that he's going to try and hurt her like others have, signs that do not seem to be present. Can he be trusted? It's something Sel will discover now she's close enough to rub against a leg, putting her well within range for abuse if he has it in his mind to inflict harm.
And no, not at /all/. The gentleness persists, the scritchings under the chin and around the ears commence, and Pete laughs a little as the kitty twines around his leg, trying desperately not to wobble off balance and fall on his ass. He even reaches over to put his cigarette out, mostly unsmoked, because KITTY. "Oo, sweetheart, you're hungry as hell, aren't you? Even after that rat. And you need washed, but I'm not suicidal-- brushed might do. Tuna? Do you like tuna?" Even if the words aren't understood, the tone's clearly an offer of /something/.
No, bathing Selina right now would be a very bad idea and would probably result in Pete getting hurt. Ironic, since it wasn't all that long ago that she would soak for hours in a bubble bath. And no, he is not understood. Not in the way one understands what's being said through word, at least. It's how he says it rather than what he says, the cooed mention of food and brushing soothing. Sitting back, she looks at Pete and meows, perhaps trying to say 'yes, I would love some tuna and if you'd be as kind as to brush me I'd be very grateful, thank you'.
So there we have it: a modicum of trust established. First he holds out his arms, in case she even knows what that means -- as in sure come jump up on me -- and if all he gets is blankly impatient catglare, it's standing up again and opening the tenement door, then waiting with it open, a clear invitation inside. Luckily, SHIELD pays enough (even if JUST enough) for him to have rented out a downstairs bedsit, so there aren't any stairs she'd need to follow him up. "Come on, come on, kitty," he says reassuringly.
Pete doesn't get glared at but he doesn't get her jumping into his arms either, Selina instead looking at him blankly due to the gesture not having any context for her to go by. There is understanding when he gets up and opens the door, however, and the kitty follows, acting as if she's the Queen of Sheeba for how she holds her head aloft and all but prances in. Even her tail is held at a lofty, regal angle, bobbing and swaying behind her like a black banner. As soon as she's inside all royal bearing is forgotten and she once again becomes curious and kitten-like and the inspection begins.
Though the front tenement door is closed -- building safety or rules or something -- Pete leaves his flat door open. He doesn't want the kitty thinking she's trapped, after all. First thing the Briton does is go find the can opener amongst the mess on the kitchenette counter, then fish through cupboards for a can of tuna. He /does/ have a lot of cans of things. Fresh things are so likely to go bad between drunken binges that it's never worth it to him to buy them. The entire can of tuna gets forked out onto a tea saucer and placed on the floor, and he actually has to wash a bowl before he can put water in it for the tiny cat. And all the while, he's humming without realizing it, really. Some Cure song or other.
The smell of the fish causes the kitty to immediately halt in her nosing at a dust bunny. The errant piece of lint and dust is saved by the mighty hunter's need to fill her belly with more than the rodent she got rid of earlier. A hurried meow is given to her host just as her nose meets tuna and the lunch is made to disappear. A good half, maybe two-thirds of the treat is eaten before she even thinks to stop, that being enough to slow her down. Sitting back away from the dish, Pete is watched, observed from below while he continues about his business.
"Fucking hell, don't puke it all up," Wisdom says amiably, looking down at the little black cat, then crouching carefully to put the water bowl down next to the tuna. "Though I don't suppose it'll do any harm to the decor. I've got to have a brush around here somewhere, I was supposed to do something with one to my hair for some SHIELD inspection or something..." Putter putter. He looks like his hair's never even seen a comb. He also looks like he's still half asleep, or maybe just hung over. He goes sorting out stuff falling in slidy piles off a table.
There's no danger of the feline being sick on Pete's carpet as she stopped before getting to that point although probably only /just/ before. The tuna was delish and she was hungry, after all. But now she's sated and sleepy and her host is watched through eyes that grow increasingly heavy-lidded. The rustling of his belongings and shifting of items is kept an ear on, each new sound causing one triangular peak to swivel this way and that while she stares straight ahead, trying so very hard to not fall asleep.
And there! A human brush, with the tag still on it-- this gets clipped off more out of habit than out of any overwhelming need for the tag to be off. And then Pete goes over to shove some stuff off the futon, and parks himself there, waving the brush at the kitty. "Here, pretty, brushings. And then you can kip down here, I'll leave the window open..." Not that she can understand him at all, but cat people talk to cats as if they /can/, always.
The talking is appreciated although perhaps not exactly on the same level as it is by humans who do it for the sake of companionship and other similar human-ish reasons. For Selina it's soothing, yes, but his tone also helps in making her feel like he means her no harm. Yes, he could be trying to mask ill-intentions by the gentle way he speaks to her but such notions doesn't really sink in. With the brush now in his hand, Selina's half-drowse is broken and she gets onto her paws, shakes herself and pads over, all within a span of a few scant seconds. The futon is hopped upon and his lap is claimed, the cat seated so she can face him. Meow.
Ha! Lap! Pete slouches back, pleased with life, the universe, and everything. Just this once. Just for right now, this moment. He starts brushing the little black kitty gently, following each brushstroke with a stroke of his warm hand, smoothing her fur down afterwards. And here, where no one can see him, he sings to the little creature in a low voice, in some language not English. It doesn't matter, she can't understand anyway.
The attention is soaked in, feasted upon rather like her lunch was. It feels soooooooo divine to have the brush ran though her fur, the attention basked in like one might relish a kiss from a loved one, leaned into and thoroughly delighted in. Purr-purr, content mew inserted here. Pete's lap is soon kneaded, complete with teeny pinpricks each time the kitty curls her toes in. Ten little pinpricks that happens over and over again for as long as she's allowed to be content or is made to stop.
Apparently today is 'fuck responsibility' day-- or maybe week-- because unheeding of the pinpricks of kitty claws, Wisdom basically just sits there brushing her until *he* falls asleep. Because purring really *is* better than melatonin. <3 And! He's left the window open, so she's not stuck if she wants to jump down while he's dead to the world.
The open exit point is noticed but not used just yet. Selina instead takes a bit of a nap first, curled up into a ball upon the snoozing Pete's lap. Her rest lasts only about fifteen minutes but it's enough to refresh her, revitalizing her after the hearty meal and relaxing brushing. Pete's lap is carefully stood upon and the man is given a whiskery 'kiss', complete with cool nose upon his neck, a 'thank you' given before she leaves. The sill is leapt onto and then jumped down from and the cat is gone, a little shadow that leaves as quietly as she had arrived.