By Marisa the All-Mighty Pineapple!
"I'll be trying to decipher the research all week."
What a waste of stolen data.
"Can't believe those labs could code their data so well..."
It was probably something useless.
"...this should be very interesting."
Like, an atomic coffee maker, or something. That's what everyone needs, a household "Mr. Nuclear".
"Leave me alone while I work."
...Although, that'd probably make some really good coffee...
"I don't know where, just don't come back until I call for you."
...not that Protoman drank coffee. Even if he could, he probably wouldn't like it. Although with the way Wily went for days without sleep, he'd probably need some really good coffee maker like that. Then he wouldn't have to have Protoman make it all the time. Why couldn't the old man just build a coffee-making robot master? He certainly had the free time to do it, considering that free time wasn't filled with ruling the world. He could call it... Folgers-Man, or something along that line.
...Not that Protoman didn't have the time to make coffee, of course. It was something to do, at least. He just didn't like doing it. In fact, he hated it with a passion...
Protoman's thoughts were interrupted by a loud string of curses that even he found disturbing. This was, of course, a lone street in New York. Protoman fully expected to get jumped, or shot, or mugged by some gang. In fact, he hoped for it. That would be a handfull less humans in the world when he was done with them.
Protoman looked upwards at the apartment to his right, near one of the top windows. Something had just been tossed from said window, and was hurtling toward a nearby dumpster with a loud wail, followed by a crash, a few clinks, and a moan.
Driven by curiosity and – was that sympathy? No, of coruse not... couldn't be... — Protoman found himself strolling casually toward the dumpster to see what bizarre creature had been discarded. As he looked down amongst the filth, he found... black cat, colored so by filth, which had probably not had the best its nine lives.
The cat was badly beaten, judging by the painful cries. Its front left paw was missing, but had obviously been gone for a while, judging by the nub at the end of the leg. The end of its tail was cut off as well, ending in a sort of sharp angle. Most notably was the cat's right eye, or lack therof.
"Well, you don't seem too happy." Protoman commented. The cat hissed in reply, struggling to stand up and attack, but managing only to wriggle.
Protoman tried to turn and keep walking, away from the ugly creature, but found that his feet wouldn't move. His gaze was forward, but somehow it had managed to drift back to the struggling feline. With a sigh, Protoman reached down and carefully picked the animal up.
There was a hiss in reply, along with the cat's futile flailing of its legs, trying to scratch the unwanted arms that held it.
"Oh, shut up." Protoman snapped. "I'm doing this to spite the human that beat you. Not... out of sympathy, or kindness... or something." He was saying that to convince himself of that more than the cat, however...
Protoman held the cat securely in his left arm, while trying to lift a loose tile in his room with his free hand.
"I'm gonna have to clear out all this crap before stuffing you in here..." Protoman mumbled, ignoring the cat's struggles. The space under the floor tile was about two square feet. The robot had cleared that space out himself, as a place to store the various odds and ends he had collected throughout his life. There wasn't much to clear out – nothing he couldn't store in his dresser, he figured. There was enough room for the cat to move about, if only slightly comfortably.
He knew very little about cats, but had learned enough from TV to almost sort-of know hot to take care of one. After clearing the junk from it, he set a small bowl of water down in the opening, along with an open can of tuna and a shoebox of sand.
Damn, that cat's not going to have much room. He could let it loose in his own room... people were rarely allowed into his quarters, but he couldn't risk somebody walking in.
Wait a second, why do I even care about this little fleabag? Protoman stared down at the angry, still-struggling feline. All I've seen him do is try to get away from me, and here I am, trying to make sure nobody finds him... The robot stared down at the cat for a moment. "I'll get in trouble." He told himself, setting the cat down into the small area. "And I don't want him scratching up my stuff." By 'stuff', he was referring to a lumpy mattress and worn sheets.
But still, they were his stuff.
"Protoman." Wily turned around to face the robot, "Is there any reason why you've reeked of tuna for the past three days?"
"Nope." He said cooly. "Although I'm sure if I had that particular sense, I'd find a bunch on interesting odors around New York."
"Protoman, a city smells like gasoline, hot asphalt, and cigarettes."
"...Well, I guess it smelled like fish today."
"And yesterday, and the day before that?"
"I see." Wily turned back to face the screen. "I've only deciphered a third of this, and I haven't found anything worthwhile... go make me some coffee, would you?"
"Hey there, Cat." It had been five days since the cat had been found. Protoman lifted the tile and peered down into the small closing. "How you feeling?"
The cat was lifted from its tiny prison and set down, wobbling as it landed on the tile, still in pain from its beatings almost a week earlier. Protoman noticed with relief that the cat had stopped struggling when the robot tried to handle it, probably realizing now that the cold, metal hands had no ill intentions...for the cat, anyway.
Protoman leaned over and watched as the cat explored what it had decided was its territory, judging by the way it rubbed its head against everything. Curiously, the cat glanced over at the robot's scarf and batted it once, delighted at the soft movements it made. The robot, however, was slightly appaled by the dark greasy mark the cat's paw had left.
With a sigh, Protoman came to a decision: Bathtime.
Wily watched Protoman on the security cameras, greatly amused. He had known about the cat the entire time – one just can't bring a wailing animal anywhere without someone noticing. In this case, it was Shadowman who had informed Wily of the feline.
At first, the scientist was ready to kick the cat out immediately - He despised animals more than Protoman hated making coffee. However, he wanted to see how long Protoman could keep it a "secret"—or try to, anyway.
At the moment, Protoman was trying to wash the cat, and was having limited success. Sure, he could get the cat in water for a few seconds, but it would soon jump out, hissing. If Protoman kept this up, Wily might be able to paste together a nice blackmail tape... just in case.
But Wily had more important things to do than watch his robot try to take care of a cat for some unknown reason, and he continued his work on deciphering the coded research. As he read what he had translated so far. he raised an eyebrow. Perhaps that cat could be useful...
Protoman lifted the flailing cat from the water. "That's probably as clean as you're going to get," he muttered, wrapping her (he had checked the gender earlier) up in a towel and hugged the bundle close to his chest. "...stupid cat."
The cat was indeed black, not just so from filth, except for her white paws, making it look like she was wearing boots.
Protoman quickly rushed from the bathroom back to his room, shutting the door behind him and setting the bundle on the floor. The cat wriggled its way out and wandered, while Protoman flopped onto his bed and closed his eyes. He relaxed. That cat had really been a lot of work... why was he trying so hard to keep it? After all, it was just a cat...
He felt something rub against the side of his neck and looked over, finding the little feline nuzzling up to him. Protoman found himself smiling at the touch, and he decided not to ask himself why.
----------------------There's one more chapter to go, everyone. :3
I'm trying to keep the cat very... cat-like. I don't know how I'm doing XD
Oh, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ATREYU-CHAAAAN!