Curly hair barely poked out from under the blanket and a mass of fur was purring close to that very head, a paw batting at the blanket.
“G’away Uriel,” Louis sleepily murmured, his hand coming out from under the blanket to push the cat away from his head and off of the bed. The cat returned again and sat on his chest this time. Groaning, he lifted his head and met the eyes of the feline. “Dad already fed you.”
Uriel responded by lying down and resuming his earlier purring. For a cat so small, he purred louder than any of the others and practically vibrated with it. But it was Saturday and one of the few days that he could sleep in and he didn’t want this noisy cat to ruin it. Not that Uriel cared; he just kept purring and kneading into his chest.
If it had just been the weight, he could have fallen back asleep. He’d had one of the cats sleep with him many times, but it was the purring that kept him from going back to sleep.
“I think he wants you to get up,” Louis lifted his head again to pout at his mother who was standing in the doorway now.
“I don’t want to get up yet,” he groaned, pushing at the cat again only to have him come back. But he knew now that it was already for naught. If his mother was up, so was everyone else in the house. He couldn’t blame them; he enjoyed spending time with her too.
It took time for that though. The Hayes adopted him years ago and he could still remember the disappointment that came from watching all the other kids get adopted. But they’d bypassed all the other kids, the ones that were vying for their attention, and sat with him in the corner where he liked to read.
They hadn’t treated him like he was weird for staying away from the other kids. He’d always been rather different, set apart from the others. Having an unusual gift for learning did not help. Louis found complex things simple and was able to make the connections that it others years to learn in only moments. The others shied away from him because of it, as if they could sense that he wasn’t quite normal, and after awhile he just avoided the pain of rejection by not bothering with the others. Books were enough for him.
It wasn’t until Tucker and Winona Hayes walked into his life that he wasn’t the only one different from everyone else. They were interested in how easily things came to him and for the first time, he could explain his thoughts without judgment. When Winny finally asked if he’d like to come home with them, he remember just nodding since he hadn’t trusted himself not to cry.
And once there, he found a new level of acceptance in that his new family was as odd as he was. His new dad could alter things on a genetic level, which was ridiculously cool to him. Not only was he no longer allergic to cats but he also didn’t need glasses anymore. Halloween was great; he could dress up as the Hulk without having to paint himself since his dad could just change his skin color to green for the night.
Winona, the sweet woman who made him feel as at home as she could, had a special power with her voice. Sonic Scream was how she described it but he never once saw it get like that intense. She could mimic anyone, in any tone, or any animal. Birds were her favorite to sing to but she never told him no when he asked her to sing either.
They became his parents and introduced him to their friends, who also had special powers. In one week at eight years old, he got parents, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents who all accepted him. One even helped him figure out what his power was; Hyper Intuition, the ability to learned at an extremely accelerated rate and make connections far beyond his years without formal education.
“Can you take Uriel?” He pushed the cat away again and looked up at his mom. She was only shook her head and smiled at him.
“Sure thing,” deft hands picked up the cat from his bed and the feline settled in for attention from her instead. “Though, if you do change your mind about getting up, I made waffles.”
Immediately he popped up and grinned up at her, pushing the blanket away. “Peach Waffles?”
“With bacon on the side.”
At the promise of his favorite breakfast, he pushed away sleep and practically darted around his mom to get to the kitchen. He could smell the food the minute he entered the hallway and by the time he got to the kitchen, Tucker was putting a plate down in his spot.
“Thanks,” he grinned again and almost immediately went about drowning the waffles in syrup. Both his parents joined him at the table while he stuffed his face. Dad was glaring at another student’s paper, no doubt having said something stupid, while his mom toying with her tea. It took him a few moments but he realized that there was an odd atmosphere in the air.
He glanced between the two of them and tried to access the situation. Neither one seemed upset, at least not obviously. Between the two of them, his mom was an open book and so she was the one who seemed to crack longer that they all sat there.
“Alright, what is going on?” He set down his fork and sat back. Obviously there was something else going on and he didn’t like how quiet they were being. Normally she’d be singing or talking about her first graders and he’d be explaining what his own students had done wrong and she’d tell him he can’t be too harsh. Louis loved those conversations and how they included him but this quiet was not normal.
“I should have known you’d notice,” Winny smiled at him, drawing her hand away from her mug. “Ten years old and I think you’re more perceptive than Ryker.”
“Like that is a difficult feat.” Tucker muttered and Louis couldn’t stop his snicker. Uncle Ryker was one of his favorite people and made it a point to bring him more and more challenging puzzles and problems for him to solve whenever he visited but he wasn’t always perceptive to what was right in front of his face.
“Be nice,” his mother couldn’t even manage to sound like she was scolding them, the laughter was too obvious in her voice. Even so, the laughter died down again and Tucker put his paper down. They shared a look before she turned back to him.
“Well,” she started and sensing her hesitation, he stuffed another bite of waffle in his mouth and nodded for her to continue. The normality of things always seemed to help her. He never really understood why but never asked either. “We were wondering how you would feel about becoming a big brother?”
Louis stopped mid chew to avoid choking on his food. The last thing he expected to be asked was that question, not that he didn’t know she wanted more kids, just that he figured they’d decide when without his input. He was smart but he was still a kid, why did they feel the need to ask him?
The answer was so blaringly obvious a second later. Because they loved him and didn’t want him to think otherwise or to feel less. Adopted or not, they were the only parents he ever knew and wouldn’t get angry if they wanted more.
Looking up, he noticed the hope carefully hidden in his mother’s features. She was normally better at hiding things but he probably caught it because he noticed how she’d always looked rather longingly at babies whenever she thought no one was looking or how she doted on her first graders. Not nearly as much as she doted on him when he did something but he still noticed it. He wouldn’t tell her no, not when he had dreamed of siblings who loved him when he was still an orphan.
“About time,” he muttered after he swallowed, picking up his bacon and taking a bite out of it while trying not to laugh at the shock that overcame her features. “Are you going to adopt again or try yourselves?”
Though he was enjoying his mother’s shock, it didn’t stop him from switching from his chair to her lap when she opened her arms. Her hugs were some of the best and squeezed her back for a moment before pulling his plate closer.
“We hadn’t decided yet,” she finally answered, brushing her hair back and smiling widely across the table at Tucker, who was just watching them with what Louis could call as close to a soft look as he really ever got.
“I think you should try,” he put in between bites, gratefully taking a sip from her tea when she offered it.
“Why is that?” His father asked, his pen posed to write down another comment on the paper he was grading. Even while working he was always listening, always paying attention to them as much as he did to his work as a professor.
“Haven’t you noticed the way mom looks at babies? Besides, you both missed out on all that with me.”
He could hear his mother choke on her tea behind him and he chuckled under his breath at the curious look his father was sending her. Uriel had returned from wherever he’d run off to and had taken up a spot near his father, his loud purring the only other sound in the room.
“You look at babies a certain way?”
As she sputtered to explain why she hid that for two years, he reached over to get another waffle. Soon enough, he’d have a baby brother or sister to help tease their mother so for not he’d do all he could on his own so he could properly teach his sibling.