And when I see you
kitten as a cat (meow)
Yeah as smitten as that (meow)
I can't get that small



JC is talking to a member of the crew when Chris comes up to him and starts petting him.


There’s really no other word for it. Now that his hair is long, all the guys like to run their fingers through it and sort of play with it. Justin even put it in cornrows once, which is an experience he never, ever wants to go through again. All those fingers tangled in his hair and he likes having his hair pulled, okay, yes, but not like that. He almost considered cutting it off again after that, just so Justin couldn’t get his hands on it again. But Justin saw he hated it and never did it again, just started putting it in Britney’s barrettes and shit.


So all of them play with his hair. But none of them have actually petted him before. It’s kind of weird.


But still, its kind of nice, too, and Chris is just standing there patiently petting him, not saying anything, so JC just goes back to talking to Gregory about the type of metal the stage is made of. But then Gregory sort of looks at them weird and excuses himself to get some more water, so JC sort of twists under Chris’s hand to look at him.


Chris just grins, and darts forward to kiss him on the cheek. “Kitten,” he says, and then runs off, to go play with Justin on the stage.




JC doesn’t get a chance to ask until they’re on the bus again. They just finished the show, and they’re all sweat-soaked and adrenaline-high, so Chris is jumping around like a maniac and JC can’t stop grinning. Divalake commandeered the shower first, though, so mostly they’re just sitting around in the lounge, watching cartoons til he gets his butt out of there.


The next time Chris bounces over to the couch, he sits down and puts his arm on the couch, above JC’s head. “Hey there, pussycat.”


JC narrows his eyes. “And what does that mean?” He’d kind of forgotten all about the whole kitten thing, but now its mutated into ‘pussycat’ and he feels like Chris is hitting on him. If he wasn’t pretty sure Chris was purely into chicks, he’d have to pull out his whole, ‘thanks, but I like you as a friend’ speech he used on Lance that one time, and he’s just too tired to remember it all right now.


Chris just looks at him weird. “Oh. I don’t get it either, but that’s what all the girls call you. I thought it was like, a groupie thing or something. Like you like to be leashed up and licked, or something.”


JC opens his mouth to speak, then stops. Now that he thinks about it, some girl at a club the other day had bumped into him and said, “Oh! Sorry, kitten.” But once again, he’d thought it was a pickup line thing. Especially since he ended up going home with her.


Inexplicably, what comes out of his mouth is, “You don’t put cats on leashes, moron.”


And then JC just wants to die, but Chris is laughing and his arm is around JC’s neck and his beard is sort of scratching JC’s ear, and JC feels less spastic and more funny. When Justin exits the shower, a cloud of steam follows him, and Chris gets up with only a parting noogie to the top of JC’s head.


Justin flops himself down on the couch, all wet and flushed, and JC isn’t sure whether to be pissed that he stayed in so long or pissed that he decided to come out right now. Then Justin switches from Cartoon Network to some news thing, and JC decides to just hit him anyway, without figuring out the reason why.




So now Chris calls him kitten, and pussycat, and kitty-cat, and doesn’t stop, even when Joe asks them if they’re dating. “Like, we’re cool with it and all, but if you are, we should probably have, like, a meeting or something.”


Which just makes JC glare, because it’d just figure that as soon as he got to that happy giddy phase of a new relationship, people would want to have a meeting about it. And the worst part is, he and Chris aren’t even dating.


And he’s not even all happy and giddy, either. Well, like…maybe a little. But its just, he likes nicknames, and every time Chris calls him kitten he’ll do something nice like get him coffee or pet his hair or something, which sort of makes him feel like a girl, but it seems to make Chris really happy, like he has a new girlfriend or something.


Anyway, Chris doesn’t really say yes or no, he just shrugs. “Its his nickname.”


“Oh.” Joey looks kind of confused, but then he narrows his eyes at JC, and smiles really big. “Ohhhh. I get it. Aw, kitten.” And he tickles JC until he smiles. Over his shoulder, Chris grins, and gets JC another cup of coffee.




So now Joey calls him kitten, which is nice, but not the same as when Chris does. And Justin does it too, without even asking what its about, because he always does everything Chris does. Lance is the only one who doesn’t, and from his wistful look, JC assumes it has something to do with the crush Lance used to have on him. But still, Lance seems to be his only refuge from kittenhood, so JC can’t stop himself from collapsing on him in frustration.


“Why? Why the hell are they calling me kitten? Still?” It’s been months since Chris first brought it up, and now even security is referring to him as such.


Lance pats him on the head soothingly, but just goes back to checking his email.


“Its not fair. I’m a guy. There’s nothing kittenish about me. Kittens are, like…Britney.”


Lance chuckles at that. “You’re thinking of sex kittens. And I wouldn’t let Justin hear you say that.”


JC scowls, curling up against Lance. “I just don’t get it. Like, if it was just the guys, then maybe it would be okay. But its, like, everyone.” And it is. Girls at soundcheck keep giving him little toys and stuff, and he doesn’t know what to do with them. He usually ends up giving them to Brianna. Or Dirk. “Am I really kitten-like?”


Lance, who is petting his hair, stops, and JC looks up. “Huh? Why’d you stop?” Lance just stares at him pointedly, and JC pouts and burrows further under Lance’s arm. “Oh, shut up.”




One day Chris buys him a fuzzy pink hoodie with little cat ears on it. JC doesn’t know where the fuck he got it, since it doesn’t say Fu-anything on it, but one day it just shows up on his bunk, with a note saying, “The way you fur, the way you purr, it makes me want to paw you all.”


What the fuck does that mean? Also, hey.


Its pink. And fuzzy. With little ears on it. It was made for, like, a thirteen-year-old girl.


He hates it. Really. He didn’t rub his face against it at all. Or try fitting his hands into the little pockets on the front. And he absolutely didn’t wonder if it would go well with his new jeans. No.




After that, he makes a concentrated effort to wear manlier clothes. Anything that has fur, feathers, or the color purple goes into storage. Its all jeans and t-shirts and blue blue blue, because that’s a boys color, and JC finds himself nearly going into withdrawal. The next time they see Britney, she’s dressed entirely in pink, and JC has to resist the urge to stroke her skirt longingly.


It’s Justin who stages an intervention. “You’re acting really weird, Jayce.”


Lance interrupts. “Yeah, you don’t look like Wet Seal threw up on you anymore.”


Joey looks confused. “What’s Wet Seal?”


“Its, like, a girls clothing store.”


“Oh.” Joey looks at Lance. “How the hell do you know that?”


Before Lance can turn red, JC breaks in. “I’m fine, guys. I just…thought I should dress like a normal guy. I mean, just because I’m famous doesn’t mean I have to wear feathers.”


Justin’s face falls. “But JC, you love feathers.”


Chris cannot. stop. laughing.




Chris visits him later. He’s laying on one of the couches in the lounge, listening to the Cure on his Walkman because he finally looked up those lyrics online, when Chris jumps on the couch and drapes himself across JC.


Chris starts speaking before JC can even get his headphones off. “—ow why you don’t just give up and face it. You’re a kitten, Chasez. You like to bat around small objects and eat bugs. Kit. Ten.”


JC scowls at him and puts his Walkman carefully on the floor. “And what makes you think I’m a kitten? I’m a grown man. Kirkpatrick.”


“Well, see, I didn’t get it at first. I was bored so I borrowed Lance’s laptop, and I searched NSYNC and got some little girl’s site. But she wanted to marry Justin and that scared me so I searched again and got some twenty-year-old’s site.” Pause. “And she thinks you’re a kitten.”


“Yeah, but—”


“And I really didn’t get it at first,” Chris interrupts him, getting cozier on top of him. JC puts his arm around him, since it feels kind of numb, and Chris makes a little happy noise. “Anyway, I started calling you that cause I thought it was that groupie thing—”


“Yeah, I remember. Leash?”


“Shut up. But then you said it wasn’t, and I still didn’t get it. So I figured if I started calling you that, maybe I’d start to see the kitten within you. You know—like, the only way to truly know something is to give it a name.”


JC raises an eyebrow. “That’s deep, Chris. And?”


Chris smirks, and brings his arms up so that they’re on either side of JC’s head, supporting his upper body so he’s looking down, into JC’s eyes. “And, I realized that you’re cute. And sweet. And nice to pet. Just like a kitten.”




Chris’s lips come down on his, and everything is suddenly all soft and wet and wonderful, and JC doesn’t know if he wants to rub himself against this warm heavy thing on top of him or just lounge lazily back against the soft cushions underneath him. Then Chris licks into his mouth, and JC just has to moan and wrap a leg around Chris’s thigh.


When Chris finally pulls back, they’re both panting, but Chris still manages to ask, laughing, “Was that a purr I heard?”


And JC says, “Meow.”


And when I see you
Take the same sweet steps
You used to take, I know
I'll keep on holding you
In arms so tight
They'll never let you go




Lyrics from “High” by the Cure.

Many thanks to Ang, who made me listen to the Cure, and Dacey, who’s journal o’ kitten pics made me squee. And she also made a manip of JC in a little pink cap with ears, which totally inspired the kitten hoodie.


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