Chapter 1: Conscience-Smitten
Kakashi held the fuzzy bundle of grey and white in an outstretched hand, his disdain for the creature evident even with three quarters of his face hidden. He weighed it, arm shifting up and down, watching it's little oversized head bob in time with the movement.
Wide, azure eyes stared back up at him.
"It's a cat," he stated blandly, glancing down at all eight of his ninken. "Why?"
"Born that way." Pakkun replied gruffly, sitting back on his haunches.
Kakashi's eyebrow twitched.
"Technically, it's a kitten." Bisuke corrected, his correction proceeded by a sneeze, then a sniffle. "I think I'm allergic."
"No," Kakashi continued, deceptively calm. "Why is it here?"
He did not like cats.
He was not a cat person.
"Well," Pakkun drawled in a familiar manner. "When a mama cat loves a papa cat—"
"Uuhei?" Kakashi snapped, his harsh reaction jolting the kitten. It mewled, claws digging into the leather of his standard ANBU gloves.
"Don't give me that look, whelp." Uuhei replied, her ears twitching as she stood her ground. "We brought the kit back because there was no other choice. She wouldn't have survived another day out in this downpour."
"So you brought it here?" Kakashi repeated, an annoyed frown forming beneath his mask. They'd brought a kitten into his home, violating his sanctuary, and they were expecting what? His cooperation? "This isn't a halfway house for strays."
"And what would you have done?" Uuhei shot back in a low growl. "Left her there to die?"
"Well I wouldn't—" A soft, padded paw attentively tapped his wrist. Kakashi's eye widened. He couldn't help but watch as the little feline stood on four stumpy legs, it's balance slightly off. It couldn't have been more than seven weeks old. "I wouldn't—" he tried again, only to snap his mouth shut as a small, rough tongue darted out and licked him.
It. Licked. Him.
"You were saying…?" Uuhei scoffed.
"Uh," Kakashi pulled his gaze from the little fuzz-ball in his hand to the ninken by his feet. The smug ninken by his feet. He scowled. "I don't know."
"Nonsense," Uuhei raised her paw and brought it down on her master's bare foot. "You'd have brought her home, and don't pretend otherwise."
Kakashi snatched his foot back, taking several steps away from the vindictive dog. "I have no idea what you mean." His gaze returned to the kitten, and with his free hand he tapped it on the head. It blinked and tried ineffectively to bat at his fingers.
"Brat…" Uuhei followed.
He continued manoeuvring around the room to get away from her, stepping over Shiba's sleeping form, and almost tripping up as he passed Pakkun. He gave the pug a baleful glare, knowing full well the little mutt had sat up like that on purpose.
Pakkun stared right back at him, unfazed.
"You'd leave a defenceless animal, feline or not, out in this storm to fend for itself?" Uuhei's nails clicked on the floorboards as she rounded on her summoner.
"Fine, no." Kakashi took two steps to his left, placing Buru's bulky form between himself and the persistent greyhound.
Buru raised his head, glanced from Kakashi to Uuhei and back to Kakashi before pushing up and relocating to the opposite side of the room.
"Hey," Kakashi protested.
His female canine sent him a toothy grin.
"Fine, you win. Okay?" he huffed, throwing one hand up in the air before marching over to the sofa chair and gracelessly flopping down. His fingers furled protectively around the kitten's torso, reluctantly protecting it as he fell. "It can stay."
"And if you'd just agreed to begin with," Pakkun trotted over to the sofa and jumped up. He circled in place three times before making himself comfortable. "You could have saved yourself—and us—the trouble."
Kakashi tugged down his mask and sighed. "What am I supposed to do with it?"
"Feed it?" Pakkun offered, the wrinkles on his face shifting as he attempted to mimic Kakashi's raised brow.
"But what?" Kakashi asked, sparing the feline a bemused glance.
Seemingly ignoring all those around it, the kitten watched in rapt attention, face scrunched up as it mewled and tried to attack the bunched material of Kakashi's mask. A tiny paw slipped from its perch on his arm, and it stumbled forward, tumbling from his hand into his lap.
Pakkun snorted. "Food."
"What kind of food?" Kakashi growled. "It's too small for any of the meat cuts I have."
No one replied.
Kakashi turned back to Uuhei, arching a brow. "Well…?" he queried. She was the one who insisted he keep the thing.
Uuhei lowered her head, eyes darting to the side.
"Let me guess," Kakashi deadpanned. "You don't know."
"What do I know about felines?" Uuhei snapped irritably.
Kakashi sighed. "Anyone?"
The room remained eerily silent.
With a groan, Kakashi's shoulders slumped. "None of you know what to do with it?"
"You could always take it to Iruka-sensei's." Pakkun sent Kakashi a knowing look. "He seems to like strays."
Chapter 2: Omake
"So, what'd you do with it?" Kakashi asked casually.
Warning: PG. For general Anko-ness and possibly disturbing imagery.
My own beta wanted to hit me (several times) for writing this, and then a friend who read it over my shoulder (while i was too busy cackling) laughed, covered her mouth scandalized at the reaction, bopped me over the head and refused to talk to me for an hour. ^^
If you read it, don't complain. I did warn you. (Remember, it's all in jest.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"So, what'd you do with it?" Kakashi asked, sitting casually at Iruka's kitchen table.
Iruka stepped out from his small kitchenette, two mugs of tea in his hands, and raised a brow at the older man's question. "The kitten?" he queried.
Kakashi happily accepted a mug with one hand, while slipping his mask down with the other. "Hn."
Iruka shrugged. "Anko. She… likes kittens."
- - -
Anko held the tiny grey and white kitten against her chest, fingers tickling along its underbelly. "Mei…" she cooed. "Look at what mama's got for you."
She skipped down the hall of her apartment and into her bedroom. "Oh yes, who's a beautiful girl. Who loves their mama? You do, yes you do…" she gently tugged the kitten's tail.
"You see this, Mei?" Anko leant over the wall-length glass aquarium set up beside her bed, and flourished the kitten about for her pet python, Mei, to see. "Uncle Iruka brought you dinner!"
For those of you saying "She did NOT!" Oh, she did. But never fear, Gai breaks in at the last moment in a shroud of sparkling sunshine and rescues the kitten... possibly. *looks shifty*