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Six Crows and Four Dirty Paws

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The Barrel hasn't been interesting for Kaz in years. Everytime he patrolled, he remembered the times he was amazed by its seize, the secret paths and hiding places.

Now it was always the same. He didn't find hidden ways or new places. The alleys didn't lead to another part of Ketterdam he hasn't been before and in them he didn't find other gang member threatening passengers.

At least it's quieter, he thought, while absent-mindly kicking a shard of glass out of the way.

Faintly he heard footsteps of people, that were walking the streets.
It was the only sound really. With nothing to distract himself with, his mind kept wandering of.

Kaz shook his head.
Concentrate!, he scolded himself. I should have asked Specht to patrol tonight. Or Anika.

He turned. The next few alleys weren't any different.
Not even some rich guy he could steal from. Not that those were common here anyways, but it would have been a nice end to a crapoy day.

His whole day was just looking at papers, going to meetings, helping Jesper with a small heißt, his leg hurting all day and eating a strawberry.
All in all, Kaz really didn't have the energy to go through the whole Barrel and climb up and down buildings.

He was near the University District, in a part that technically wasn't part of Barrel. Still, you can never be careful enough.

He turned into another alley on his left, it should lead him right behind the Crow Club.

Kaz sighed. He had hoped that at least the Las alley held a surprise. But no.
Nothing.

With boredom taking over, he started to limp faster.

Let's finish this quickly.

Seems like he was right.
At the end, the alley divided in two directions, left and right.
On his right, he could already see the outline of the Slat and Crow Club. He made his way to it, but stopped.

In the left alley something was stirring. Kaz narrowed his eyes, as he went to investigate. The stirring stopped when he was halfway through the alley.

Interesting.

Kaz shrugged. Maybe whoever it was got scared and ran of?
He would send Rotty later.

"Meow!"

Kaz froze. "What?", he muttered.

"MeOW!"

Kaz turned to a dumpster, where the sound seemed to come from.
He crouched down next to it and stared at the gap between it and the wall of the building on its side.

He was greeted with two wide, chestnut colored eyes and a small, pink nose.
A white cat peeeked from behind the dumpster and stared up at Kaz curiously.

Kaz could only gape at the scrawny thing, as it carefully, stumbled over to him.

It didn't seem to be all to old. Maybe a year at most.
Its head was pearl white. Its whole body probably was. But he Kaz couldn't tell, because the thin frame of the creature was stained with mud and blood (that was not supposed to rhyme, but hey)

The Barrel Boss looked it up and down. All of its paws were pitch black.
It took another, bumpy step towards Kaz.

And he noticed why.
It was limping. Its right front paw was barely on the ground.

And it stared at Kaz.

Chestnut eyes searching Coffee one's.

Without thinking, Kaz held out a gloved hand. A little hesitant, the cat bumped its head into the palm of Kaz's hand.

Carefully, Kaz started scratching it. After a few seconds the purring echoed lightly hrough the alley.
Kaz withdrew his hand.

The black pawed animal looked at him.
"Meow!"

It seemed starved. Craving love. Mistreated.

Kaz frowned at the thought. He understood when people hate people, he himself does, but an animal? They were mostly defenseless, had no one besides there owners and couldn't do wrong.

They can scratch and bite you, yes, but again, they are animals!

He grew up on a farm, surrounded by animals. All of them were in good condition, even when he and Jordie left, they made sure that they had it good with their new owner.

It had never accured to him that not everyone wanted the best for their pets.

The cat, apparently, got annoyed at Kaz's staring and not acting, as it started scratching the gloves and took it in its mouth, ready to slip it of.

Kaz's eyes flashed.
"Hey!", he snapped and carefully pushed the cat's head aside.
"Leave it!"

The cat's eyes narrowed in a bored expression, with a flick of its tale, it jumped a forward and pawed on Kaz's pant.

With a frown Kaz pushed it away again.
"What is it?", but of course the cat didn't answer, but at least it stopped to stare at him.

"Meow!"

Not knowing what else to do, Kaz scratched it again.
It leaned into his touch.

Kaz raised an eyebrow.
"Ah, so you want attention?"
His answer was a loud pur.

Kaz withdrew his hand again and stood up.
He glanced down at the cat.

"I should get going. And you should get some meat on your bones, so...", with that he went on, back home.
He immediately stopped, as he heard the tapping of the cat's feet behind him.

Kaz glared mildly at it. "Go catch a mouse or something, I don't have time for this!"

Again he started limping away and again the tapping of cat feet made him stop and look down.
The cat limped next to him.

He took a step forward.
The cat limped with him.

Somehow, Kaz felt something for this cat. It had no where to go, was hurt and hungry and it reminded Kaz of...himself. In a weird kind of way.

It didn't help that it was stained with blood and had glove like paws.

With a sigh of defeat, Kaz bend down and picked the cat up.

The chestnut eyes looked at him curiously.

Dirtyhands rolled his eyes.
"You can stay until you are better. I may be heartless, but even I won't stand for abuse. If I kill someone, I don't torture them, it's a quick death."

He stared. "Most of the time..."

The cat wiggled its way out of his arms and crawled up to his shoulders, where it layed down.

Sighing, Kaz went to the Slat and begged to Ghezen that he would not be seen.