A/N: I have no excuse for this. Why oh why am I pumping out new stories now of all times?
Summary: Waking up to a naked, indignant blond sporting kitty ears and a tail in the middle of the night had definitely not been on Zack's Monday night itinerary.
It was raining outside in a steady, pounding downpour guaranteed to soak even the most well protected souls.
The small blond kitten caught in the downpour miserably mewled as he determinedly slunk his waterlogged form into the shelter of a stacked pile of trash bins; it was miniscule protection, but sufficient enough to keep him from drowning if he happened to look up.
'Great,' it thought sourly. 'If only I wasn't stuck like this…'
Wearily, the kitten curled himself into a tight ball, ignoring the distracting growl of his stomach as it begged for some form of sustenance.
Mondays totally sucked.
Of course, Zack being Zack, this undeniable fact didn't bother him much since he was determined to be as cheerful as possible, no matter what was going on in his life. In fact, his cheerful whistling even managed to cut through the sound of the rain and clearly echo in the alleyway as he carefully juggled his umbrella and bags in order to close up the shop, his young Uncle's harsh words of warning echoing in his head.
"Against my better judgment, I'm going to trust you to run the weapon shop on your own today," the larger man had said, sternly crossing his arms. "Goddess forbid it, but if you forget to lock up again and our store gets robbed…" The threat didn't even need to be finished, Zack and he both knew that he'd make Zack scrub every inch of the large building, including the not-so-savory porn shop next door owned by his volatile business partner, Genesis Rhapsodos.
"Aye, aye, Boss," Zack had replied readily enough.
Despite his easy answer, he knew that Angeal needed this vacation and he didn't want a thing to go wrong in his Uncle's absence while he managed to drag his business partner and best friend off to a weekend retreat somewhere in the hopes of "spending some well-needed alone time" with him. Zack had almost snorted aloud when the older man had told him that, and had just barely refrained from asking, "Don't you mean time to fuck each other's brains out?" The smug smirk on Genesis's face was telling enough as it was.
Distracted with his thoughts, Zack forgot to watch where he was going; as he turned to step forward, the industrial strength spokes of the umbrella caught on edge of the curved backlight frame, sending him lurching to the side and into a pile of old-fashioned metal trash cans in a glorious crash of epic proportions.
A startled hiss sounded from somewhere near the vicinity of his head as he blinked away the stars dancing in his vision.
"Shit," he groaned when he noticed the soaked state of his clothing after he'd propped himself up off the ground. Another plaintive mewl abruptly jerked his attention from himself to the cans he'd crashed into; a closer look had him raising his eyebrows in surprised bemusement.
Not three feet away from his head, a small, scruffy dirty tan kitten was warily peering at him from its spot wedged between the upended trash cans, its bright blue eyes seeming to bore holes right into his head; he could almost see a hint of disgust filling them as it gave a tiny, squirming wriggle as if testing how tightly it was stuck. Blinking, Zack stared for a minute at clear, intelligent blue eyes before stifling a laugh at the loud, demanding meow that was obviously directed at him for causing the whole incident in the first place.
"Okay, okay," he said sheepishly, reaching forward to carefully push the cans off the offended creature. "Sorry I'm so clumsy, but I didn't do it on purpose, y'know."
Despite his gentleness, an aggravated hiss met his ears, and he sharply watched the kitten for any sign of malice; his caution was met with a miserable glare and a hastily tucked away paw. Realization hit Zack with all the force of a bullet at the speed of light.
"Damn," he berated himself. "I hurt ya, didn't I little guy? I'm such an idiot!"
He made an odd high pitched clicking noise he'd often heard people use to call cats and other animals, but the tiny thing before him merely stared at him…kinda incredulously, with its head cocked and one eye lowered as if it were trying to raise its small, fuzzy eyebrows or something. Weird.
Careful not to startle it, Zack reached his hand out, alert for any sign of hostility or fear, but the bedraggled kitten just stared at him with those confused blue eyes and let him touch its scraggly fur before it gave a haughty huff and ducked its head a bit to begin licking its injured paw, one eye rolled warily up at him as if waiting for him to attack or invade its space.
Zack reached for the fallen umbrella and hastily snapped it open to cover both of their heads. "There now, isn't that better," he asked, smiling gently at his newest…friend? Victim? Who knew?
He held his hand out, eyes twinkling with life and vibrant color in the dim, gray atmosphere. "Well? You comin' along with Zack, little fella?" he cooed in that annoying way people tended to do with small furry creatures. "It'll be warm and dry and we'll get to keep each other company, y'know? Promise I don't bite."
Zack watched in puzzled amusement as it glanced between his hand and face for nearly a minute before giving a long huff—almost a sigh, really—and cautiously limped forward to grudgingly press its small, shivering body into his large, relatively warm hand. Before it could react, or get any more skittish, Zack scooped it up and cradled it against his chest, ignoring the startled yowl it gave him as he shushed it and stood. He was careful not to touch the injured limb, because let's face it, it was already a shitty enough day without adding getting clawed up by a pissed cat to the equation.
"See? That wasn't so bad, now was it?" the human asked, his cheerful grin widening as he released the tan-turned-gold kitten from the confines of the fluffy towel.
The indignant cat feebly shook its wild fur, knowing that it was useless, but trying all the same; oh how he wished for a brush right about now. Two days in this hell hole and the only thing he had to show for it was bath-roughened fur and this disgustingly cheerful human.
Who had picked him up and was now making cooing noises at him and bobbing a string in front of his face. As if he were a common house cat.
He gave the wild-haired one his most baleful stare, steadily ignoring the string, despite the cursed feline instincts urging him to bat at the enticing object and snatch it for himself. This would not do! One such as he shouldn't be subjected to such indignities, no matter how far from grace he'd fallen! Oooh, Sephiroth would pay for this.
Once he figured out how to stop this fool from trying to keep him. Like a godsdamned pet. He nearly growled at the thought, but settled for planning his revenge. The drow were a clever bunch and had managed to kick him out of his rightful place, but as soon as he replenished his reserves, it was going to be war. There would be death, and resurrection for more death, and he'd bind those four silver-haired bastards and turn them into Odin-damned mice and chase them and shake them until they squeaked for mercy and and—
"—so whaddya say, buddy? Wanna stay here with me? I'll take real good care of ya," the Hume boy-man promised, running his fingers soothingly through tussled blond fur. In spite of his current ire, the kitten found himself relaxing and allowing the contact, surprised that this human was so skilled with his hands. A rough, grating sound echoed around them, and he blinked in startlement when he realized that it was him making those odd noises.
Shit, he thought, narrowing his eyes on the human again. He had to keep himself alert, or this body would take over and get distracted by all kinds of unwanted instincts. Hairballs, helplessness, odd noises—he had not been purring godsdamnit—but every single thing was only one more penalty added to the long list of offenses he'd return threefold once he got his paws on Sephiroth.
He sneezed as a finger poked his nose and rolled his eyes up to glare at the big oaf grinning down at him. "Well? I can't just go around calling you that cat, or kitty, now can I? So what'll I name you? Fred? Bob? Oh, I know! George!"
The cat reared back in alarm, his blue eyes wide as he stared at the crazy human. What sort of blasphemy was this? Those mundane names were nowhere the magnificence befitting one such as he! He growled in annoyance, gratified when the idiot human stuck his hands out in a pacifying gesture before nervously conceding, "Ok, ok…sheesh, just trying to help you know? Shiva, sometimes I think you know what I'm saying or something…"
Because I do, you fool.
He watched disinterestedly as the human settled in thought, occasionally firing off a name that was met with narrowed eyes or a disinterested huff. Bored, the kitten yawned and curled up on his lap, graciously allowing the big hand to stroke his fur into some semblance of order. It was rather nice when the Hume was quiet…at times like this, he could admit that he was rather attractive for a mortal and would look quite nice with the transparent veil of a consort on his person…or even bowing at his feet like a good little subject…
Sleep came easily then.