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A Bird in the Hand

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Title: A Bird in the Hand
Rating: PG13
Summary: A kind gesture.
Warning: Glitch/Cain pre-slash

 

Wyatt turned at the end of the block, his patrol rounds having brought him around again to the part of the city where the ever-increasing flood of homeless and despondent people gathered near the last functioning soup kitchen in the area.

Having personally seen the abuse and generally indecent ways people treated each other these days, he slowed his steps as he passed by the slightly propped-open door. It was getting to be closing time, the last few patrons straggling in to get what they could.

A huddled figure sitting on the sidewalk caught his eye and he glanced down to see a man like no other he had seen around here before. The stranger was sitting cross-legged on the filthy cement, leaning back against the brick wall a fair distance from the door. He wore the uniform of the royal family, making him stand out from this crowd far more than the zipper running down the middle of his head did.

Crouching next to the man out of curiosity as much as civic duty, Cain tapped one protruding knee to get his attention. The man looked up immediately, eyes burning with a kind of intelligence and dignity that Wyatt had rarely witnessed in his line of work. "Would you like me to leave?" he asked, already pressing a hand to the ground to push himself to his feet.

Cain put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him. "No, you're fine," he found himself saying. He knew he should ask the man to move along; headcases were never given a warm welcome even in places of charity. "Did you get some muglug?" He asked, pointing toward the soup kitchen's door.

The headcase stared at him in confusion, mouth moving but no words coming out. He winced, bringing a hand up to his temple before trying again. "I - no, they don't serve my kind here," he said with a bitter twist of his lips. "It's all right, though," he suddenly smiled, holding up something in his hand. "Someone was generous enough to offer me their bread. You know what they say, a bird in the hand is worth...something."

Wyatt studied the man's delicate features, the way he held himself with an air of distinguished pride. Headcased or not, this man didn't deserve this kind of treatment. "Wait here," he instructed, standing up and walking through the kitchen's door.

"Do you have any muglug left?" He inquired of the bored-looking worker behind the counter.

Said worker eyed him suspiciously. "Don't pay the cops enough to feed themselves anymore?" he shot back.

Deciding this person wasn't worth starting a civil rights movement against, Cain simply nodded. "Lost my job," he lied easily. "Didn't much feel like taking off the badge."

Accepting the story with an uninterested shrug, the kitchen worker handed Cain his soup in a paper bowl along with a cheap wooden spoon. "Good luck to you then," he said, not sounding as if he meant the words.

Outside, Cain knelt next to the headcase he had left moments ago. "Here," he said, putting the bowl and spoon in the stunned man's hands. "You take care of yourself now, got it? Might be better off heading out of the city, there's plenty of ways to live off the land."

Blinking rapidly at the unexpected kindness, the man nodded in a daze. "Thank you, sir," he said quietly. "I really hope I don't forget you."

^^