One Stormy Night
"Kittens!" Oz cheered gleefully, scampering down the street ahead of his friends and crouching down over a box set against the wall on the side of the street, just a few metres away from the front door of Gil's apartment. Adorable little fluff-balls rolled around within, making Oz grin and near giggle with joy. He absolutely loved cats; they were elegant and confident, refined and independent in a way dogs could never be. They also never let anyone tell them who was boss, and were adorable yet dangerous, the whole package in one!
However, as cool as they were, there was nothing, absolutely nothing cuter than a box full of kittens!
"They're so cute~" Oz cooed, reaching in and petting a tiny black kitten on the head, giggling when several others began rubbing against his arm in an attempt to get some attention. "Why do you think they're here?" he asked to no one in particular, smiling when Alice, who had crouched by his side, reached in and began curiously prodding a few of the cats gently, smiling when the little creatures mewed quietly in response and bumped their noses against her outstretched hand.
"They're left for anyone who wants them…" Gilbert's voice answered and Oz paused: why did he sound so far away? Turning slightly so that he could look over his shoulder, Oz noticed his servant had walked several steps ahead of them, leaning against the wall at the opposite side of the small alleyway, his arms folded tightly across his chest and his eyes focused on his master, rather than the box by the blond's feet. He was far enough away that he could not see the kittens, but close enough to be able to see and speak to his master without much effort.
Oz shook his head; well, it was partly his fault Gil was like this around cats, so he couldn't really complain. "Left here?" Oz asked.
"They're abandoned?" Alice frowned, once again poking the little kittens nose.
"I guess…" Gilbert sounded wary, his eyes narrowed suspiciously at the pair.
"Poor things…" Oz reached down and gently petting a tabby kitten, "Maybe we should-"
"You're not taking them." Gilbert snapped, his voice tense.
"But Giiiiil," Oz whined, "They're only babies! We can't leave them here."
"No way in hell," the servant refused, pushing himself away from the wall and making his way back to the chain and contractor, "this happens all the time; they'll get taken or just become alley cats like the rest, so leave them."
Oz yelped when he felt a tug on the back of his shirt, forcibly lifting him to his feet and dragging him down the street to the entrance to Gil's apartment building. "All the time?" he asked. So this was a normal thing to do? He supposed not all alley cats had to be born on the street… It was sad, but there was hardly anything he could do about it. What would he do with a box of kittens? Ada already had two of her own, and Sharon did not seem to fond of cats. He himself was moving around far too much for a pet, plus there was Gilbert's fear to consider, so there was nothing he could do.
Still… He found himself peeking out the window of Gilbert's apartment to check on the kittens below several times that evening, pleased when he saw a few of them being picked up by children and adults alike and taken home. He wished them a silent 'good luck' each time, before returning to whatever conversation he was having with Gil or Alice, content enough with merely watching over them. However… once night fell, he found himself unable to stop worrying, and that only got worse when it began to rain. He really hoped they were okay…
Gilbert blinked, surprised to find that it was still pitch black outside. What had woken him? His eyes moved from the ceiling to the window above the couch that he was sleeping on, frowning at the sound of heavy rainfall against the glass. Had that been the sound that stirred him? No… When he paused to listen, he heard the lock of his front door, and was sitting upright in a flash. Though it was dark, he could make out the shape of someone standing by the door, hunch over awkwardly, feet shuffling quietly across the floor as they turned and made their way towards Gil's bedroom. Almost instantly, Gilbert knew who it was, but just to be certain he took his matches from his pocket and struck one to life. The startled sound was easy to recognize, even if he did hear it often. "Oz? What are you doing?" he asked as he lit one of the candles by his side, unwilling to use any electricity this late at night. Picking up the candle holder, he made his way across the room to his master, who appeared to be frozen in place. When he was just a few feet away, Gilbert stopped.
The blond was dressed in his regular clothes (hadn't he changed before bed?) and was soaked to the skin, blond hair wet and sticking to his face. "Oz! What on earth are you-?" he stopped when the boy hid something behind his back, eyes narrowing. As concerned as he was for the boy's wellbeing, something about the way he was acting made Gil keep his distance.
"H-Hi Gil, what are you doing up?" Oz asked with a quiet laugh. Alright, something was definitely wrong.
"Oz, what happened? Why were you outside?
"Um…" Oz shuffled awkwardly in place, making Gil even more suspicious. "what's behind your back?" "Nothing~?"
The boy looked like he was trying to figure out an escape route, eyes darting everywhere but in Gil's direction… But before he could find one, Alice had appeared - probably awoken by the noise - right behind the blonde. Reaching out, she gripped the back of the blond's jacket and lifted it up sharply. Oz yelped, but the act forced him to move his arms in front of him so that what he was holding did not fall to the ground. With the coat flaps pulled back, Gilbert could fully understand what the boy had been hiding.
There was silence. There was tension.
And then Gilbert near screamed and stumbled back until his back struck the wall behind him. "OZ WHAT THE HELL!" He yelled, covering his mouth as the shock of what he saw sunk in, his heart beating so fast and hard it hurt.
"Ah… heh…" Oz grinned sheepishly, glancing down ward. "I, uh… I needed a free hand to open the door and… well…"
There, hanging out of the waistband of his shorts, were two tabby kittens, their front legs stuck out before them and startled eyes flying around curiously. Worse still, when Alice tugging Oz a little to the side, Gilbert could see another cat poking out from the back (Really, if Oz hadn't been wearing suspenders his shorts would have been on the floor in a flash). Those three, plus the one he held carefully his left hand… Four cats. FOUR? In his HOME? Gilbert felt ill.
God. Oh god Oz could carry kittens around with him completely concealed. Gilbert had had no idea they were even there! That thought made him feel positively nauseous. "Get them out of here!" he yelled, pointing at the door.
"But Gil, I can't leave them out in the storm!" Oz protested, holding the kitten in his hand to his chest and reaching down to try and remove one of the others from his shorts, clearly uncomfortable (if his slightly pained expression was anything to go by). "It's just for the night, just until the storm pass-ES~?" Oz squeaked when Alice shoved her hands into the back of his shorts and pulled out the third kitten, his face turning red at the sudden intrusion.
Alice didn't seem to notice at all. "They're all wet," she said, holding it it her chest with a surprising amount of care. "You're really gonna put them out?"
Gilbert froze as Oz yelped, the final kitten slipping down the waistband of his clothes and falling out the left leg of his shorts, crying out in protest. Looking as distraught as he probably would if he dropped a child, Oz leaned down and apologized profusely to the little creature, placing it's two siblings next to it and trying to keep them in place by petting them continuously. "Please Gil?" the blond asked, "Just for the night, until the storm is over, then we'll let them go. Please?"
If those horrible little monsters were left inside his home he'd never sleep again! Those claws.. those eyes… those disgusting ears, UGH! He couldn't even bare to look at them!
Unfortunately, that left him to turning his attention to his master, who was looking at him with those stupid, irresistible puppy-eyes of his, looking so worried and desperate that he could feel his resolve weaken. "But…" he tried to protest weakly, heart sinking at the disappointment that flitted across the blond's face.
"Just… Just keep them as far away from me as possible!" he yelled, turning his back on his two companions and the demon spawn around them, "And the second it stops raining they're back on the street!"
"Yes!" Oz cheered, scooping the three kittens into his arms gleefully, "Thank you Gil!"
"Seaweed head isn't all bad, it seems," Alice observed with a smirk, nuzzling the kitten in her hands.
"Come on Alice, let's put them in Gil's room!"
"M-My..? Wait! No!"
"It's the best place Gil~!"
But they'll get fur on everything!"
"Stop being such a worry wart!"
In the end, they hadn't ended up tossing the kittens out the door at sunrise like Gilbert had originally hoped. Instead, he had been forced to follow his master around all day as the blond tried to find a good home for each and every one of them.
The only consolation for all this was the proud smile on his master's face whenever he handed a kitten over to a happy child or adult, glad that at least in this small way his master could feel accomplished. "Thanks a lot Gil!" he said at the end of the day, to which the elder man simply shrugged.
"As long as we don't have to-"
"Oz? OZ DON'T YOU DARE!