Disclaimer: I don't own Human Target and intend no copyright infringement.

Written for minx227 – couldn't resist….

"I can't believe he did that for a couple of mangy CATS!"

Winston's voice, muffled because he was downstairs in the kitchen.

"That's Jun… Chance… all over, dude."

Guerrero, sounding muffled, too. They were both in the kitchen. Judging from the intervals between the words, he was eating something… most likely picking away at Winston's egg salad, which explained the extra-grumpy note in the big man's voice.

"He could have gotten himself killed!"

"That's the way he is, dude… never underestimate the power helpless creatures hold over him … they appeal to his protective instinct… attractive helpless creatures owner didn't hurt either…"

A whistle. Guerrero must have brought his own kettle, the old fashioned one.

They were making him tea.

These two. Together.

Chance was surprised the kitchen was still standing.

A clock from a nearby church struck eleven. One more hour and a new year would begin. Maybe it was a side effect of the painkillers, but despite the blow to the head, broken ribs, scratches, sprained ankle and all, Chance felt that things were looking up.

Last year one hour before midnight he had killed a man, silently slipped away and spent the rest of the night getting drunk with Guerrero and Baptiste. Now Guerrero was downstairs, squabbling about tea with an ex-cop that had told him he was not as stuck as he thought he was.

Chance was slowly starting to actually believe him.

The security system announced a visitor. Chance couldn't quite figure out who it was. He felt a bit drowsy thanks to the drugs. Apparently the visitor didn't pose a threat, though, since they let him come upstairs unaccompanied.

Oh, it was a she.

The cat owner.

"How's your house?", Chance croaked.

She quickly reached for the glass on his nightstand and handed it to him. His fingers brushed against hers as he took it.

"I was lucky. The fire in the neighbor's house didn't spread after all. My façade is a bit scorched, but that's it. You went through all that trouble for nothing."

"Ah, no big deal…" Chance slightly shrugged his shoulders and gave her a lopsided smile. Was the slight wincing at the end of the shrug deliberate and planned? It certainly served to make her move closer to him…

"That long scratch by your collar bone… that was my little cutie, right? I'm so sorry." She cautiously traced the thin but deep red line. Guerrero had decided not to bandage it, hoping exposure to air would speed the healing process. "The little one has quite a temper."

"And the broken ribs…. You were carrying the diva and tripped over the big one, didn't you? Right down the stairs… the big one has a gift for always being in the way, I'm afraid…." Her fingers brushed against his rib area.

"How is…?" Chance took another sip from his glass and let out another maybe strategic wince.

"Drama Queen? Dealt surprisingly well with the situation. I'm really sorry about the cat toy that made you sprain your ankle. Queenie always leaves toys lying around… I gave them all trout, that helped. It's a miracle you managed to catch even one of them in the few minutes the fire brigade gave us, let alone all five of them."

She bent over and took a very close look at the bruise on Chance's forehead. "I can't believe Fraidycat did this…"

"Well, technically it was the edge of the table…"

"Which you hit, lunging out for Fraidy… Does it hurt badly?" She was so close now, her breath was cooling his skin.

"S'already getting better…", Chance mumbled.

… … …

"Guess we'll have to drink the tea ourselves", Guerrero told Winston, glancing at the ceiling. Somewhere in the distance a church bell chimed.

"Happy New Year, dude. Sugar?"

Winston glanced at the ceiling, too, then looked at the man who had just finished pouring him tea. Shaking his head at the twists and turns of life, he got up, reached into one of the drawers, retrieved a bottle of Scotch a client had given them and added a generous amount to both their cups.

"Yeah. Happy New Year."