Disclaimer: I don't own Nightmare Inspector or any of the characters therein. ^^

A/N: Because I just couldn't resist. Enjoy!

-:-

The Thirty Six and a Quarter Night

-:-

Naamu had had kittens.

Hiruko sighed almost inaudibly as he listened to Hifumi and Mizuki fawn over the little balls of fluff, as they had been doing for almost an hour straight. Hiruko had so far managed to avoid being dragged into it by staying as silent and still as possible, but the squeals were getting harder and harder to take.

At some point, the baku decided he'd had enough. The problem was how to get away without being spotted. His chair was obviously in full view of the other two, so stealth was the only option.

Biting his tongue, Hiruko started to move his chair back.

It creaked.

Dammit.

"Hiruko!" Hifumi exclaimed, looking as if he'd just remembered his friend was there (which he had). "C'mere, check these little guys out!"

Mentally grumbling about his luck, knowing he'd get no peace now unless he went along, Hiruko grudgingly walked over to the box on the floor where Mizuki had placed the kittens.

Hifumi continued talking. "Mizuki-san and I took turns naming them." He held up a white one with grey spots. "I've named this one Shairo. Cute, isn't he?"

Hiruko fought the twitch that was developing in his right eye.

"This one," Mizuki chimed in, "is Mai." She petted the head of a poofy black kitten.

"You know, I have no idea how these things all turned out different colors..anyway, here's Yen," Hifumi said, holding up a cream-colored one.

"What, no Hifumi Junior?" Hiruko stated dryly.

"Of course not, you harbinger of gloom."

Huh. Maybe he isn't as big an idiot as I..

"I'm saving that name for my first child!"

Never mind.

"Want to hold one?" Mizuki offered, and without so much as giving him an opportunity to refuse, she handed him an armful of squirming fur. "That's Yume," she supplied, smiling. "She's a female."

Feeling distinctly uncomfortable, Hiruko examined the fluffball he'd been saddled with.

This kitten was a runt of a thing; not that he was any expert on cat offspring, but that level of smallness could not possibly be typical. She was white and green-eyed and, of course, very fluffy.

There was a sudden but subtle wetness on his hand. Hiruko blinked and looked down; upon closer inspection, it appeared that the little cat had licked him.

"Aw, she likes you," Mizuki observed.

"Feh. This place doesn't need any more animals. They're loud and annoying."

"Hey!" Hifumi exclaimed indignantly. "Naamu doesn't cause you any trouble!"

"Of course not," the baku replied with a smirk. "I was referring to you."

The lodger's angry response was ignored. Hiruko glanced down and watched the kitten rub herself against him, purring loudly.

"What are you planning on doing with the things?" he found himself asking.

"We'll have to sell most of them, I'm afraid," Mizuki sighed. "Lots of my daytime customers are allergic to cats. Even if we kept the kittens in the back rooms, fur and dander would still find its way out here when we let them out at night. Naamu is easy enough to clean up after because she's only one cat, but a bunch of babies.." Her voice trailed off while Hiruko glanced down at the kitten in his arms again, his expression carefully bland.

-:-

Yume might have taken to Hiruko, but the nightmare inspector had changed any positive tune he might have had by the next night. The balls of fluff had woken him up multiple times during the day, and one of them had scratched his Formalin.

I'll be glad when they're gone, he decided darkly.

-:-

A few days went by with no more sleep-disturbing incidents. One night Hiruko woke up and learned that the kittens had all been bought by the same "enthusiastic" customer.

He shrugged and made his way to his usual seat, wondering who in their right mind would buy four kittens at once.

"Whoever it was must have been an idiot," he observed aloud.

Mizuki winced slightly and spoke up. "Um..about that, Hiruko.."

Hiruko eyed her, frowning. "What is it?"

"It's just that..the customer who bought the kittens-"

She didn't need to finish the sentence. Hifumi burst through the Silver Star's door with a big grin and four kittens on his person; on his shoulders, in his pockets, etc.

"He promised he would clean after them and keep them away from the lower level during business hours," Mizuki explained almost apologetically.

Hiruko looked his fur-covered housemate over and leaned back in his chair, fighting a sudden migraine.

"I was right," he muttered. "An idiot."

-:Fin

A/N: Heh. I enjoyed that.

We (still) need more NI writers…but hey, the archive's up to 12 now!