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Unstinting

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The Obscure Bird Calls of Japan and South East Asia clock chirps out three am just as Sam bolts the door behind him. He sighs and again contemplates taking up skeet shooting, but his nephew gave it to him, genuinely thinking Sam would love it, and he doesn't have the heart.

Someday, Sam tells himself, I'm going to be less of a soft touch when it comes to cats, teenagers, and blond superhuman boy scouts.

As Figaro winds himself around Sam's ankles in an attempt to make him trip and fall to his death, presumably with the aim of eating him, Sam concludes that that day isn't going to be today. It's a near thing, though. The brat already has food and water, so Sam ignores him and starts peeling off layers of street clothes and costume.

He also ignores the temptation to kick the sweaty clothes under the couch, collapse in a heap on top of it, and never move again. Instead, he makes it through looking after his costume, a minimal shower and actually crawling under the covers before he passes out.

The only bird call Sam has been able to figure out on that damn clock is the noon cuckoo, which is the one that finally wakes him up. Figaro, who has curled around Sam's head and is drooling in his hair, digs his claws in when Sam sits up. It hurts less than when Redwing's pissed at him.

The news has him and Steve punching Nazi-wannabes. After about a minute, he decides he needs way more coffee than he's had in the last twenty four hours, and switches to football.

Stretching back on his recliner with a bowl of corn flakes and a mug of instant coffee, Sam makes a solemn vow. No matter what happens, he is not going to give in to a certain pair of big blue puppy eyes for at least another twenty four hours.

This, of course, is a lie.