Chapter 1

The only difference between a gentleman and a tramp is the quality of their clothes. Some wretched fool said that once. Why was he wretched? Because he was right.

Baron threw his cane at the cobbles in the alley, disgusted. Disgusted with the world, with the fool who got it so damned right, but mostly disgusted with himself. He was the perfect gentleman: brewed tea, wore a fine suit, had impeccable manners, made polite conversation easily and was always happy to help anyone who needed it.

That last one had been his downfall.

There was a time when helping people made him feel more alive, once he had even felt his heart beat, something that had never happened before, just because he was helping someone… helping her. Helping her to realise who she was.

Now, helping someone else had landed him out on his tail, and Baron was, for once, the person in need of help. Muta had stayed at what was once the Cat Bureau, making sure it didn't get too dented by its new residence, and Toto was off looking for somewhere new that he and Baron might be able to stay. Of course, Toto just had to find a cornice somewhere and he'd be fine. It was a bit harder for Baron, who lasted better indoors.

"I suppose I could try a shop window again," he said to himself. It was not an appealing idea though, and with a sigh he jumped down from the crate he was sitting on and picked up his cane again. "I'm probably not window standard any more, just get shoved in the back to gather dust."

At least it wasn't bent; it had been a gift from … her. Oh, it had been time and past to get a new cane since she had given him this one, all the use it had had, but he couldn't bear to part with it all the same, even when Muta and Toto had gotten him a new one. Oh yes, he took that one with him when he went places, it was for using, and this one… stayed behind, safe, where no one else would touch it.

When they had come though, no where in the Bureau was safe any more, and he had left, wanting to find somewhere quiet again, taking this cane. Hook had finally driven the Lost Boys out of the Neverland, and they were living in his little house while Muta tried to find them families. Half of them didn't fit! He couldn't stay there.

Couldn't stay where he was either. A back alley shouldn't be home for any one.

"Baron! Baron I found a place where you can stay!" Toto yelled excitedly into the dark alley, swooping down from the starry sky, a more solid shadow than the rest. "Jump on, it's a bit of a way," the crow said, landing between the crate and the toppled-over garbage bin.

The orange cat-gentleman gripped his cane, held his top hat firmly between his ears, and leapt lightly on to the back of the crow.

High in the air, over the cities and towns, Baron had time to think. He didn't want time to think. His mind kept coming back to why he had done such an irrational thing as throw his cane. The next thing, he found himself asking why he kept it, a question he promptly turned away from, only to be confronted once again by the first.

She'd be about twenty by now. He shook his head furiously – where had that come from? What did it matter anyway? Baron distracted himself by observing that Toto had begun his descent. The cat figurine nearly groaned.

It was a museum. Of all the places it could have been, why did it have to be a museum? Please don't misunderstand – Baron was a great appreciator of art and education and such things as are found in museums, but he would be catalogued and dusted in a museum. If he was lucky, he might be put in a glass case where people would be able to see him, though they would be far more likely to just pass him by.

"No where better available, I take it?" he asked when his friend landed on between the eaves at the back.

The over-sized black bird shook his head.

"I was going more on emergency housing, rather than idyllic," Toto said, his tone both apologetic and reproving. It was a roof over his head, which was the most important thing.

"You're right of course Toto, my apologies," murmured the Baron, jumping down from the feathered back. A glimmer of light, and the figurine didn't have to turn to know that his friend had turned into stone again for the day. "Sleep well, old friend," he said, climbing down the side of the building.

Rather than going down to the basement and admitting to being an antique of the dusty kind, Baron spent an uncomfortable night in the lost-and-found box.