Menagerie - A collection of Short Stories and Drabbles in the world of White Collar. (I don't own anything but I do like playing with the characters when I can.)

Drabbles #1 - Alley Cat
(Humor, Friendship)

oOoOoOo

Peter was frustrated at Neal's antics yet again. He had almost cost him his job while trying to catch him with his paws in another mess. Elizabeth tried to soothe him but he refused to be calmed.

"This has to stop, El! I can't have him stealing stuff because he feels like he's entitled to it. I know he's had a hard past but ever since I brought him here, he's just gotten worse!" Peter sounded frustrated and angry but El continued to hug him, rubbing his neck gently.

"Honey, he's troubled, you know that. He's from a broken home. You just have to give him time after everything that's happened. He lost Kate and Mozzie was hurt out on the street. He's going to act up with his family broken up like this.

El turned as she saw Satchmo barking, his attention at a figure over by the sofa. It was Neal. She blinked as did Peter, neither of them having heard him enter.

"Where have you been? Don't act coy with me..." Peter was firm as he stood and walked angrily from the dining room towards the sofa. Neal just sat there and practically purred at him.

"And how many times do I have to tell you NOT to get on the sofa! Stupid cat!" Peter bent over and lifted the feline up from the seat and placed him on the floor. Satchmo padded over and smiled his little doggy smile as if to say 'I told you so.' The cat looked at him without emotion, blue eyes glimmering with mischief.

"Now come over here and eat. El was worried about you all night when you didn't come in." Neal sat there a moment where Peter had placed him before slowly following his owner.

oOoOoOo

They had originally found Neal hiding out in an abandoned building filled with remnants of occupants past when Peter was out on his rounds with Animal Control. Stories of a thief stealing small items around the neighborhood had brought police to investigate. When they discovered the small cache of items, mostly shiny or soft things of minimal value in the abandoned building next door, they called in Peter to come flush the animal out. Neal, as they ended up calling him, had been dirty and disheveled but bowing it seemed when they caught up with him. They found him playing with a large empty Bordeaux bottle, one of his many treasures. He looked sorry for what he had done but he looked more frightened than anything. Still, when Peter had approached, he promptly jumped into the man's arms as if he had known him forever, purring softly and taking over the front seat of his car on the way to the animal shelter.

The family they had chosen had been more than happy to foster another animal. Everyone loved Neal, a beautiful black snowshoe with white feet and belly, blue eyes glittering once he'd been cleaned up and brought back to weight. He was a challenge to keep in control as he had the habit of hoarding 'borrowed' objects and returning to his old habitat apparently to visit other cats that were either litter mates or some sort of kitty tribe he'd come into. One was a female cat with dark brown hair and very elusive. They only saw her once or twice but never for long. They nicknamed her Kate. The other one was a bit skittish, short-haired with a coloring around his eyes like a mask or glasses. He was nicknamed Mozzie because he was skittish like a mouse. Neal seemed to do well with them, sad when Peter would come and take him home again. They had finally opted to putting a small tracker on his collar to keep him from roaming far from his new family although that didn't deter Neal's roaming.

At one point, Neal showed up on the doorstep of an elderly woman who lived in a big house not too far from the family Peter had placed him with. Her name was June and she came to care for the alley cat as much as his little friend Mozzie who often tagged along. Peter allowed Neal to stay at the palacious house when June said she didn't mind the company. She was happy when she discovered Neal was from a shelter. She spoke of another cat she used to own who had been of a similar background, a loving pet she missed every day. She let Neal play with the other cat's left over toys and use their former bed in a spare room on the top floor. Neal had lucked out it seemed.

(TBC)