The Cad and the Kaiser
Warnings: Rated T mostly because of Lovino and his cat.
Trees bowed gently in the wind, leaves whispering under the pearl-white sky. Gino breathed the air in, cool and clean. It smelled like it was going to rain.
"Feliciano, come on! One more month – just 'til the end of June! You – you still have so much to pack!"
Lovino's voice floated into the living room, making two tiny triangular ears twitch. A small cat was draped over a windowsill, staring morosely outside. He had cream-colored fur with russet patches on his head, back, tail, and legs. A long strand of hair curled out from the base of his left ear, giving him a resemblance to his human (or the other way around).
"Oh Lovi, I'm not going to need another month to pack things!"
"That's what you think!"
A breeze glanced across Gino's fur, making him shiver; Feli hadn't closed the window. If he had wanted, he could have leapt to the grass and gone exploring outside, but Gino didn't feel like going out right now, restless as he was, not even to look for cute girls. He hadn't felt like going out all day...
His humans' voices were a familiar murmur in the background; Gino hardly noticed them at all. He was looking over the wide lawn, broken only by the stone path winding from the front door to the street. Every day of every summer since Feli brought him here, Gino had sunned himself on the flat rocks, chased butterflies in the fluffy grass. He thought about the tall trees behind the house, how their highest branches stretched over the roof; in a few months, Gino wouldn't be taking siestas in their shade anymore.
His eyes trailed to the thick flowerbeds that bordered their property. Gino loved flowers, loved it when Feli put crowns of blossoms on his head. He would miss the flowerbeds, miss rolling in the ferns and violets, even if Lovi chased him out every time, yelling –
Gino flailed and fell to the floor with a thud.
Eyes, he thought frantically, flattening himself against the wall. He had definitely caught eyes in those flowers. Another cat? A d-dog? Or –
He paused. Maybe it was a pretty girl cat! Maybe she heard he was moving and wanted to tell him she'd miss him! He scrambled back on the sill, convinced this was the case (even though Feliciano had only told him about the move this morning and Gino hadn't told anyone else). "Ciao, miss, did you come to visit me? Did you – v-ve-meow!"
Gino didn't fall this time – he stiffened, every hair standing on end and his claws gouging the wood, because it was no pretty girl standing there but a big, dusk-gray tom with thin dark stripes; he was leaning on the daisies, panting slightly and staring with eyes so cold and blue they shot through Gino as if they were inches instead of meters away. Gino gave a little scream – "I h-have no tuna! P-please go away, this is m-my house and you're t-trespassing, if you're here because I flirted with a girl I swear I d-didn't know she had a b-boy…friend…."
His cries tapered away. There was something… off about the other cat. Those strange-colored stripes he had…
The tom's front legs were trembling. He made no sound, still staring.
They weren't stripes – they were scratches, all over his body. Blood had run down his fur, staining it. And now that Gino was paying attention, he saw the way the tom was standing, slightly shivering, like it took all his strength. Those clear blue eyes, too, looked weary and worn.
"Ve-meow… you're h-hurt." All those scratches, all that blood – how was the tom still standing? Gino swayed on the windowsill, feeling a little dizzy. He had never quite been able to stand the sight of blood, but this time, he somehow held himself together and nodded. "W-wait there!"
He half-fell, half-jumped off the sill and tore out of the room, nearly slipping on the marble hall as he dashed into the dining room.
"Are you sure you want to move in with him, Feli?" Thank goodness, Lovi and Feli were at the table. Without breaking stride, Gino raced around Lovi's legs, meowing. "Lovi, Lovi! Someone's hurt, quick, call the doctor –"
"Ve, I'm completely sure!"
"Are you absolutely completely sure?"
Gino ran to Feli's chair and reared onto his back legs, paws reaching up to Feli's knees. "F-Feli, please-!"
"Oh, Gino! Where have you been all day?"
Slim hands caught Gino around the waist and lifted him up to his favorite smiling face. "Ciao, kitty, did you want supper? I put some tuna in your bowl already~" Feli nuzzled Gino's cheek, cooing. Ordinarily Gino would have nuzzled back, but the cat outside needed help, so Gino gently pushed Feli away with a paw.
"F-Feli, it's an emergency!"
"Aww Gino, sooo cute!" Feli kissed Gino on top of his head and set him back on the floor.
"My cat is cuter," Lovi said. "Anyway, all I'm saying is, it's so soon, you've only known the bastard– what, a year and a half?"
"I'm telling you, there's someone hurt outside!" Gino meowed.
"Lovi, don't call him that!" Feli said sternly. "We've been together for three years and I've known him for four, and you already gave us your blessing, remember? Gino, your food is over there!" Feli motioned towards the kitchen without looking down.
"My blessing? I told him I'd cut his potato sacks off and choke him with them if he hurt you–"
Gino was frustrated enough to yowl, but at the mention of food, he got an idea. He darted to the nearest bowl, heart pounding – yes!
Gino grabbed a mouthful of pasta and dashed back to the window, noodles flapping behind him; hoisting himself up, he dropped the food on the sill and looked for the gray cat. Feli always says that pasta can solve any problem, Gino thought as he locked onto the ice blue eyes. The tom was sitting now, but otherwise hadn't moved; he looked tired and suspicious, but Gino only smiled. "Hello, I got some pasta for–"
Before he could cry out, something snagged Gino's tail and dragged him off the sill – and then he was on his back, staring up into the enraged eyes of his brother. "V-ve-meow?"
"Bastard!" Enrico spat, looming over him, "You think just 'cause you're leaving in a couple of months you can take my food? What the fuck did I tell you about touching my food?"
" Ve-meow, Rico, it's not for me, I swear! It's for the cat who's hurt outside, ve-meow!" Gino flailed; Enrico was pinning him down with paws on his chest and throat.
"For the – what the fuck are you talking about?" Gino gasped for air as Enrico stepped away to look out the window – and promptly screeched, hair flying up in spikes.
"F-fuck, Gino, it's a streetcat! The hell is he doing here?"
"LOVI, LOVI! THERE'S A STREETCAT OUTSIDE!"
But Enrico could scream loud enough to shake the dust off walls, and within seconds Lovi had rushed into the room. "Enrico?"
"Gino!" Gino found himself swept into Feli's arms, Lovi already peering outside.
"Che, Feli, it's a stray cat! And it looks just like the potato bastard, ugly and macho –"
"Ludwig is beautiful!" Feli said hotly; Gino was squirming, trying to see the tom again.
"–probably eats rats and it has that constipated scowl on its face like the potato gets whenever he's, like, awake, and even their eyes look exactly the same. Mio Dio, it's probably a fucking German cat."
Lovi threw open the window and leaned out, shaking his fist at the tom.
"Gatto bastardo, the hell are you staring at us for? Go back to Germany, we don't want you here!" Enrico stuck his head out after his master and screeched loud and long. "Yeah, get the hell out of here you son of a bitch!"
The gray cat's eyes flew open wide. "Ve-meow, how could you say that?" Gino cried– fratello had always been mean, but this was a new low!
"Because it's true," Enrico purred.
"W-wait, Lovi, he looks hurt," Feli was saying.
"Who cares, stray cats get into fights all the time – I swear, there's more of them every day, what is the city doing–"
"M-maybe he's not a stray?"
"It's not one of the neighborhood cats, and it's so dirty, it's got to be! Just chase it away, damn it! And– is this pasta? Feli, how many fucking times do I have to tell you to clean up after yourself?"
"Lovi, I didn't put that there!"
But Lovi had already seized the noodles and flung them at the tom; they landed short of their target, but the cat had flinched at the first sharp movement and whirled into the flowers. "No, he was supposed to eat it," Gino wailed.
"Serves the bastard right for coming over here," Enrico growled, "And you for taking my food!"
Lovi made a frustrated noise as he slammed the window shut. "What was that for?" Feli cried.
"I chased it away, didn't I? We have enough cats here as it is." Lovi bent down and petted Enrico on the head. "Good job, Rico. I'll cut a tomato up for you."
"Meow!" Enrico ran up and down and finally out of the room as Lovi walked out, voice trailing away with him. "What was I saying? Oh yeah, and does he even know how to cook?"
Feli shook his head. "Whew – sorry about that, Gino. Did the big cat scare you?" He crouched to put Gino back on the ground. Gino sat, ears drooping, eyes lowered to the floor near Feli's feet. "Ve, it's okay, Lovi chased him away– even though he was really mean about it." Feli stroked Gino's back. Gino drew even more into himself– he loved being petted, but this time it didn't feel as nice as it usually did. "Oh, I know you're worried about moving, but it won't be for another few months, and trust me, you're going to love it. You like Ludwig, don't you? And I'll be with you– it's going to be so exciting!" With a final pat, Feli got up and walked away. "Come to dinner soon, you don't want Enrico eating everything~"
When Feli had gone, Gino stayed staring at where Feli's feet had been. He'd only been trying to help, but he just ended up making everyone angry, and what would happen to the tom? All those scratches, and those tired eyes…
Gino could hear forks tinkling on plates, Enrico meowing, and Feli and Lovi's voices… and then a light pattering beside him.
He looked up. "Ve-meow…"
Rain was running down the window in thick drops, and the sky was the gray of the brooding sea. Gino walked to the sill and pulled himself up, but couldn't see much apart from the leaden sky and the darkened hues of the garden, blurring together through the watery glass.
He stared into the dark. He was moving in two months; Feli had said so that morning, and for the rest of the day Gino had been trying to understand it. One day soon he would be living with Feli in a new place. He'd be leaving home, and he hadn't been able to help the other cat at all, and Enrico was probably still angry with him, and he was hungry, but he didn't feel like eating, not now….
Gino sighed, dropped off the sill, and padded to Feli and Lovi's room. His bed would be there, and in his sleep at least he could forget about all this for a little while…
In front of the house, a bed of flowers shivered, almost imperceptibly. Rain dripped off of daisy and bluebottle petals, trickled down the heads of marigolds. A dark form crouched within the green, two pale blue eyes peering out between the tall stems. Water matted his fur, seeped cold and stinging into his still-fresh cuts, but he didn't move.
A pointed ear flicked. For a while, he stayed staring at where the housecat had lingered, by the window. Then he stood, and slipped like a shadow through the rain, into the slick black streets.
A/N: Because the first time I saw Itabby and Germouser, I thought of the pasta scene in Lady and the Tramp.
I started this fic two years ago, if you can believe it, and I'm picking it up again now. Other than Gino (Itabby's official name), Tama (Japaneko's official name), and the name I will be using for Germouser, I made up all the other cats' names, unless Himaruya named them already and I didn't know about it. I'm going to try to make each name fit each cat, and I hope it'll be obvious who is who. (And I also hope no one hates the names too much.) If Germouser has a real name, it's too late to change this fic :P
The fic will be mainly GerIta, with other pairings scattered about.