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Raining Cats and Kittens??? - (6 Parts)


chui

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ok..here's the info:

Characters: Cloud Strife and Zack Fair (both originally from Final Fantasy now taken totally out of context and placed into my own little wrongy world) so it really has absolutely no relation to the original fandom...just their looks and friendship. now they are ex military, living normal lives.

Spoilers: none..i just wanted to be able to type spoilers in here somewhere... :P

Random stuff you should know: hmm...nope, nothing comes to mind. oh wait....did you know that there is a type of toad that lays eggs on its back and...ok..im gonna stop now....on to the story!!!

for the lovely (hippo), i hope you like!!! :)

Part 1

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A bolt of lightning arced across the sky followed by rolling thunder and the sharply pungent scent of ozone. It would rain soon, that much was obvious. Knowing just how miserable riding his bike would be, Zack decided to leave work a few minutes early. He slid his arms into the leather jacket, black as pitch and worn soft and supple as velvet. When he zipped it up, it molded to his body, revealing, rather than disguising a muscular chest tapering to a trim waist and narrow hips. He grabbed his helmet and walked towards the doors, with just the slightest sway to his hips, winking and blowing a kiss over his shoulder to the receptionist. "Night Greta. Don't let them work you too hard." He pushed through the doors, not noticing how Greta leaned over her desk to get one last view of his derriere, or how she sat back with a satisfied grin and enough daydreams to last the rest of her day.

Taking one last look at the sky, Zack pulled his helmet over his spiky black hair...so spiky that no helmet could flatten it. He stepped over his bike, adjusting himself for a split second before firing up his toy. She was a beauty...black and sleek, with far too much chrome, and almost enough muscle to rival her rider. He kicked up the stand, and boyishly showed off to the invisible crowd by peeling out onto the highway headed towards his apartment. He loved this lonely stretch of road, so quiet and out of the way. He was free to go as fast as he wanted...it didn't even bother him when the rain began to fall. Softly at first, a few scattered drops landed here and there. When he was still a good ways out of the city, the rain began to fall faster and harder. Large drops began to spatter along the pavement, soaking the roadway, leaving it slick, and started to fill in the ditches lining the sides. Even with his full helmet, the rain fell in torents so heavy Zack had trouble seeing much further ahead of his headlight.

The rain obscured all but the brightest markings on the road, and it was only by some miracle he saw the little orange bundle padding into the edge of his lane. Turning aside so as not to hit it, his bike began to skid. He tried to compensate for the slide, but there was too much oil and the road was too slippery. He felt his bike falling, he knew there was no way he could keep it upright. Zack dove off the side, rather than be stuck under, and rolled gracefully off to the side of the road. Right into the ditch, now half full of water. No amount of leather could keep him dry as he splashed and sputtered to regain his footing. Rising to his feet and out of the ditch, he paused to remove his helmet and dump the water that had begun to slosh about inside. With a sound of disgust, he pulled a clump of grass from under the visor before climbing the short bank of the ditch and going to collect his bike. What was that thing? Zack thought to himself, while muttering a curse under his breath. This was the first time he had dumped his bike...and all because of some little thing...something he couldnt even identify. Great, just great! When he reached his bike, he awkwardly picked her up and stood her along the edge of the road. A quick examination revealed two huge scrapes along the body, but the damage seemed to be only aesthetic.

More shaken from his fall than he would admit even to himself, Zack sat down beside his bike, leaning back and letting the rain wash over him. It wasn't as if he had to worry about getting wet after all. He closed his eyes and lifted his face to the rain, which miraculously had slowed to a steady fall, but no where near as strong as the deluge he just encountered. Pulling his knees to his chest, he wrapped his arms around them and just sat for a while, taking the time to gather his thoughts and prepare himself for the rest of the trip home. Just then, a horrendously loud thunder, accompanied with a sky-piercing flash of light, hammered overhead. The blast was loud enough to slightly startle him, but when something small and very wet flew into his lap, he jumped so quickly as to hit his head on the handlebar just above. Zack winced and rubbed his head, and looked down at the little orange ball of dripping fluff now trying to crawl under his jacket.

"Whoa, little fella....just where do you think you're going?" he questioned the squirming fluffball, before reaching a hand down and deftly snatching it up by the scruff of the neck. A tiny little face, complete with drooping and dripping whiskers, and a bright set of blue eyes peered at him, before releasing the most plaintive meow he had ever heard. Looking down at the kitten, no bigger than his hand, he began to understand just what had caused him to swerve... "so you're the reason i..." He was drowned out by another clap of thunder, this one louder and closer than the last. The kitten was obviously less used to such sounds and began to whine and whimper in that soft, high pitched voice only kittens can manage...that voice designed to penetrate even the most irritated expressions and worm its way into the heart of unsuspecting humans. Too scared to even try to escape, the kitten tucked his tail in, and looked up at Zack with the most pitiful face. Torn between exasperation at this little bundle that caused him to wreck his pride and joy, and sympathy for the poor thing lost out here all alone, Zack sat there staring at it. Apparently able to sense his weakening defenses, the kitten mewed pleadingly. "I cant take you home...my roommate is allergic to cats"

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About twenty minutes later, Zack pulled up outside the apartment he had shared with Cloud for the few years since they had been out of the service. He stood outside the door shaking water out of his hair and wiping it carefully off his jacket. Letting himself in, he immediately smelled the aroma of something wonderful in the kitchen....Cloud was cooking....He paused just long enough on his way to his room to poke his head in. "What's for dinner?" Even with just a partial glimpse of him, Cloud could see that he was drenched. "What happend to you?" A strange look crossed Zack's face as he responded "Dude, it's raining cats and dogs out there..." before promptly vanishing and hurrying to his room to change.

(TBC)

yes...i know there wasn't any actual sneezing in this part....but bear with me..i had to set it up..i promise there will be much wonderful wrongness in the next part...im sure you can all guess that Zack has a secret....oh i wonder what it could be....you'll just have to read the next part to find out....

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:drool: YIIIIIIIIII!!!!! :P

Dude, i LOVE your style :blushing:

And Zack is a cutie :blushing:

I'm so freaking grateful... grruhh... :)

I SO like where this is going :mellow:

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Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness!!!!!!!!!!!!!

there's no sneezing yet, but I'm already drooling in anticipation XD

chui, you're amazing!!! =D

I love your writing style!

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oh guys..im so glad you like it...im diligently working on the next part, and hope to have it up soon...thanks again guys!! :proud:

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OMG! MORE! I can't wait, that was awesome! I love the whole premise of this story, with the cat in the rain! You are an amazing writer, chui! :)

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oh Sneesee...thank you so much....im glad you like it. :winkkiss:

well....here it is...without preamble...or me rambling...

Part 2

Once in his room, he gently unzipped the neck of his jacket, where a tiny orange face soon appeared, and let out a meow that seemed to echo off the walls. Hurrying to shush the kitten, Zack pulled it out of his jacket and deposited it on the bed. It began to paw around on the comforter before settling down to groom itself. Zack began to remove his wet clothing, looking at his prized jacket with a bit of a grimace. It would dry, but it was looking decidedly worse for wear at the moment. He tossed it onto the edge of the bed before concentrating on his shirt and jeans, both of which stuck to him like a second skin. He had just managed to peel the first off and was starting on the second when he noticed the little furry bundle was no longer where he left it. It had decided that his jacket seemed to be the perfect solution for sharpening his claws, and was proceeding to stretch and pad away at the supple leather. With a garbled yell and a quick snatch, he rolled the kitten off the jacket and completely over onto its back. "Now dont make me regret bringing you here! It's bad enough Cloud is allergic, without you trying to perforate my favorite jacket!!!" The kitten merely looked up and mewed.

Zack finished changing out of his wet clothes, and slipped into a pair of soft jogging pants, not bothering with a shirt, and looked around for a place to leave the kitten while he went to eat. He gazed about quizzically as he wondered what he was going to feed the kitten...what did kittens eat anyway? milk? tuna? cereal? He wasnt even sure they had any of that stuff in the kitchen. He generally let Cloud handle the food aspects of the apartment. After that last incident involving the hamburger helper and the fire department, they just decided it was better that way. While he was lost in contemplation, the kitten began to amuse itself with the ragged edges of a pair of jeans he had casually tossed over the edge of the bed. Deciding that would keep it occupied while he ate, Zack snuck out to the room. He stoppped by the bathroom to grab a towel to swipe through his dripping hair before padding to the kitchen.

As he walked in from the hall he was met with a forceful "eh'gshcuu!" and the sight of Cloud bent forward capturing the sound in his elbow. "Bless, mate." He responded. Surely this was just a fluke...he couldn't be reacting that quickly. "uh...thanks" Cloud replied with a soft sniffle and a sigh that bespoke of more to come...."You bout ready to eat?I made spaghetti." Just then a loud grumble erupted from Zack's stomach...the obvious answer to Cloud's question. With a sheepish, but horrifically amused grin, Zack proceeded to ravish the pot, piling heaps of the noodles and sauce on his plate before curling up on the couch to devour the meal. From the kitchen he could hear a few more sniffles escaping, until... "eh'tschu!..... ng'ktch!.... eh'...e-eh'...eh'ktshu!" the three sneezes seemed to sneak away from Cloud, if the bewildered look on his face was any indicator. He entered the living room, thoroughly perplexed.

"Bless! You ok, man?" Zack looked over at Cloud with just a hint of guilty concern. In their years of service and rooming together he had maybe heard him sneeze a handful of times...nothing like this...."Yeah...I'm fine... uh...I don't know what's bothering me." The seed of guilt began to sprout...soon it would have leaves and a stem!

Unsure what to say, and decidedly uncomfortable, Zack busied himself with eating...pausing only when Cloud's sniffles made him set his food aside and walk out of the room. A sound of utter disgust drifted out of the kitchen, seconds before a paper towel was ripped off the roll. Very gently, almost too soft to be heard, the telltale exhalation of a nose-blowing seeped through the door way. Now that was something he had NEVER heard Cloud do. It was as if the man had some irrational fear of blowing his nose...totally odd to Zack, but it wasn't as if he was going to hold a tissue to his nose and force him. To hear Cloud willingly do this to himself...Zack felt his throat constrict..the noodles somehow seemed to grow...and he gulped to swallow one last bite. Surely this couldnt be from the kitten...but the nagging voice in the back of his head began to whine just a bit louder. Definate leaves on the stem.

Cloud walked back into the room, sat down and continued eating. Zack eyed him speculatively. He was starting to get a little red around his eyes. For probably the first time in his entire life, Zack was unable to finish eating. He got up and walked towards the kitchen. "Something wrong with the spaghetti?" Cloud asked, stunned by how little Zack had eaten...this really was very unusual for a man more often thought of as a human garbage disposal. "Nah, it's great, mate. I just took a little spill on the bike and I'm not too hungry's all." He continued into the kitchen, unable to see the look of concern that flashed across Cloud's face as he jumped up to follow him. "Are you alright? Are you hurt?" The worry compounded the tired look that was beginning to fill his delicate, almost beautiful, features. Was that a flower blooming too?

"It's no big deal. Skidded on some water. I'm fine, just a bit banged up." Zack couldn't bring himself to look at Cloud, each word he spoke was thickening, and sniffles interrupted him every few seconds. "I'm just gonna go get cleaned up and call it a night." "Alright. If you're sure you're ok." Zack nodded and turned to walk out of the room, mumbling a thanks for dinner and the concern. He walked into the bathroom, not even thinking of what manner of mischief a little orange furball could be contriving on his bed.

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so..i hope you liked it so far...

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OMG!!!

Im so sorry i didn't reply to this earlier!! :laugh::yes:

I LOVE IT!!! EEEEeeeeeee and Zacks all guilty ;) Dawww Cloud, you sweet homekeeper...

Gotta rush out the door now, but i'm SO coming back to OGLE this some more and type my love for Cloud!!!!

:laugh::drool:

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Ok, back. :drool:

IHRGKDSNGPOIHREKDLMMEHGEHHARGLEDAH!!!!

I love it!! so very much!! I'm loving Cloud and Zack SO MUCH right now, and am off to do some hardcore illustrating :laugh:

Eeheehee! A sneezy, clueless Cloud!!! :laugh:;):yes:

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*inserting of the flaily waza*

im sooooo glad you like this!!! :laugh: i cant wait to see what you come up with!!!!! :yes: (neither can the guys of course!!!)im like ecstatic that you like my boys!!!! i :drool: them so much...

*SQUEEEEEEEEE*

Cloud is all about to blush now....

now i must go torture them some more.....oh whatever will Cloud do??? and my poor Zack-su ;)

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chui, you rock my planet!!! I love this! Can't wait for more!!!

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Wah!! This made me melt into a pile of goo on my floor. Now that I've finally suceeded in scraping myself back up, I thought I should let you know how much I loved it! :D

Zack's guilty conscience and Cloud's sniffles were oh-so-adorable! I'm on the edge of my seat waitin for more!

Thanks for writing such brilliant stuff!

*~*~Rika~*~*

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  • 2 weeks later...

I finally got around to reading this.

YOU TALENTED PERSON YOU!

YOU MAKE ME RIP OUT MY HAIR WITH JEALOUSY!

HOW CAN ONE PERSON BE ABLE TO CAPTIVIATE SO MANY PEOPLE WITH SUCH A WONDERFUL FIC???

AHHHH!

Now that I'm done screaming.

I love the part with the whole "Guilt flower" or something. Definately creative.

It's just WONDERFUL.

Great job.

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Guest love and music

this is wonderful, not only for the ADORABLE story line but for the beautiful flow of it all. Cute and well written, they don't usually go hand in hand!!! I'Wonderful! :(

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Rika, chancy, simply_me, love and music, thank you all so much! you have no idea how happy it makes me that you all like my work. i have been really busy, but im working on the next peice right now, and should have it posted in the next day or so.

thank you guys again....so much....

:hug:

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without further ado....

Part 3

Zack turned the water on, and stood under the spray. He let it run as hot as it could, pelting his skin, and easing some of the soreness that was beginning to set in from his fall. He was going to feel this in the morning, but right now, he just wanted to concentrate on the warmth. The water ran through his dark hair, rinsing the spiky locks flat against his head, the only time they didnt seem to stand up with a life of their own. He lifted his face and let the water rush over him. With a sigh, he turned the tap, and stepped out. Wrapping himself in a towel he opened the door and walked down the hall to his room. Just as he reached to door, he heard an intensly powerful sneeze erupt from the living room. "Eh' KTCHU!" Creeping down to where he could just peek around the doorway, he saw Cloud leaned over, his elbows resting on his knees, face buried within his cupped hands. A shudder was just passing through his body, as the sneeze shook him violently. "Ng'ktx.... K'tchuh ....hu-uh...ih'nk'gtx... " Each attempt at a stifle only seemed to make him shake more. Without speaking, Zack turned and walked to his room. This kitten was affecting Cloud worse than he ever thought possible.....

The guilt building up inside was brought to a sudden halt as he opened the door to his room. His jaw dropped in shock at the sight that met his eyes.... Apparently one little furball could do a lot of damage in an hour, not that there were many fragile things lying around. Just a lot of clothing that was now strung about, and covered in little orange hairs...and one fluffy addition to his favorite leather jacket. It was sprawled on its back, paws spread out while it purred gently in its sleep. Amazing how it could look so cute, while being so disruptive. Zack threw all the clothes over to one side of the floor, and gently picked the kitten up so he could stow his jacket safely out of reach of the little claws. The kitten rolled over and began to knead his chest with its tiny paws, rubbing its face along his skin as well. Zack squirmed a bit as the kitten continued to tickle him...and sat down to observe what it would do. "OY! Stop that!" The kitten must have decided that Zack was its mother....as it did what all hungry kittens do....and mewed plaintively as no milk came out.....

Zack sat up and put the kitten back on the bed. He had forgotten that it might have been hungry, but after such a pointed reminder, he began to wonder what to feed the little bugger. "I guess you'd like some milk, eh?" "Re-awr!" the kitten responded, sounding so pitiful that Zack just had to go get something for it. He quietly opened his door...listening to hear if Cloud was still awake. A bowl of milk would be hard to explain...even as weird as his eating habits tended to be. No sounds emerged from Cloud's room, or from the living room...so Zack snuck down the hall. He saw that the tv was still on in the living room...and stepped in to turn it off. Just as his hand reached for the remote, a moan drifted over from the couch. Cloud was passed out, a tissue held loosely in his hand, his nose a slight pink, and all in all looking pathetically allergic. Zack turned off the tv, and finding a blanket, draped it gently over Cloud, trying not to wake him. He really didn't like seeing him this ill...but he couldnt have left the kitten all alone....could he?!?

Opening the fridge, he saw the usual array of leftovers and takeout boxes that cluttered all bachelor's apartments...and after shoving quite a few of them aside...he found a carton of milk. He opened it up, and sniffed to see if it smelled ok. It smelled a bit strong, but with a shrug he figured he would still drink it, so surely the kitten would think it was alright..... He searched around the cabinets to find a bowl, and settled on one hidden far in the back, and coated with not a little dust. He blew it off, and poured a bit of milk out for the kitten. After putting the milk back into the fridge, he dipped a finger in the bowl....just to be sure...and promptly made a face. He would definately have to do better tomorrow, but it was all he had tonight...unless the kitten ate spaghetti.

Sneaking down the hall, and back into his room, he put the bowl of milk down, and plopped the kitten next to it. After a few seconds of sniffing it tentatively, the kitten began to lap it up hungrily. "I guess I should name you something, huh little fella? I cant just go around calling you cat, now can I? hmph....but what do I call you?" While Zack contemplated names, the kitten finished off the bowl of milk, and walked over to his feet, and began rubbing itself around his ankles. He scooped it up, and laying back on the bed, set it on his chest, where he could get a good look at it. After a few seconds he began to notice how thin and dirty it was. This kitten would need a bath tonight....its name could wait....its name wouldn't stink up the bed, and he had a feeling no matter where he put it, it would end up in the bed.

Zack stood, leaving the kitten cleaning itself futilely on the cover, and began to think of what all he would need to bathe a kitten. Once again tiptoeing down the hall, he raided the kitchen and emerged with a set of heavy yellow gloves, an apron and a brush he had seen Cloud use a few time on really dirty dishes. Donning the apron and gloves, the kitten tilted its head to the side and looked at him most quizzically. Maybe it was the picture of a strange bird on the apron, which read "Kiss the Chocobo" or maybe it was just the overall foolishness of the getup, but the kitten seemed to realize something very odd was happening. Before it could scurry away, Zack scooped it up and crept to the bathroom, where he plunked it down in the tub. He didn't really know how to go about bathing a kitten, but he figured some hot water, and a dollop of Cloud's shampoo might get the job done. He turned the water on, and pushed the kitten under the faucet, completely understimating the slipperyness of the furball, and its aversion to being wet. It began to howl and scratch, one swipe of the paw leaving a long red line down his hand. As he yelped and pulled his hand away, the kitten jumped out of the tub and began to run around the bathroom, trying to avoid him. Around the counter, towards the tub, and back to the counter when Zack started to follow it. In its sopping wet state, the kitten dripped water all over the floor, and in his hurry to catch the kitten, Zack slipped and fell, letting out a stream of oaths and a few choice words, before snatching up the kitten from where it had backed away behind the toilet.

The soft thud of footsteps and a knock at the door was followed by a congested voice muttering "Zack, are you ok? I heard a crash in there." Looking about the room, hoping to find somewhere to stash the kitten, Zack glanced at the toilet he was using to push himself off the floor and then at the kitten.....Without a second thought, he dropped the kitten into the toilet and closed the lid. He quickly walked to the door and cracked it just a bit. "Yeah, I'm fine. I just slipped on some water while.....er....cleaning! Yeah, I was cleaning up a bit and I slipped and fell." Cloud quickly scanned his outfit, and after noting the gloves, and the apron, raised an eyebrow. Just as he was about to make a comment about Zack preparing for battle, his eyes closed and tightened. He turned to the side and, covering his face with his hands, released two sneezes, "H'gktshu!.....eh....Eh'ktchu!"

"Bless! Are you ok, man?" Zack blushed just the tiniest bit along his nose, as the source of that little outburst was trying to push the lid of the toilet up, and meowing frantically. Only the sounds of Cloud's sniffles preventing him from hearing the racket. "Dude....I dunno....N'gtsh!....I dunno what's bothering me today." "Maybe you should go lay down." "Yeah...I think I might. Don't kill yourself in there....I know the toilet's a nightmare." Zack gave a hesitant chuckle and ran his hand through his hair.... "You have no idea mate!" Cloud sniffled and stifled his way down the hall back to his room as Zack closed the door....and eyed the glove he had just run in his hair before making a disgusted sound and stomping to the toilet.

TBC......

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JAAAAARRRRGGHHH!!!! :lol::innocent:

Holy CRACKERS this is....AMAZINGFANTABOLOUSSUPERFRAGIAWESOME!!

*pants*

GEeeeezus.... there is SO MUCH i want to draw from this right now... so much!!! :lol::bleh:

Thankyou. So much. SO MUCH!!!! :laugh: HRrrgggnn... :laugh: wighrdsbnweuigh! :hug: :hug: :hug:

Thankyou :cryhappy:

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ACK! FLAIL! SQUEEEEEE!!!!

:cryhappy:

EGADS WOMAN!!! i am ever so pleased you like this...and of course that my evil plan to see your cracktastic amazingly hot art is working.....i mean who said that!!!! :whistle:

so yes....thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much for giving me the chance to write crack for you!!! :notworthy:

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MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!!!! Oh God Please More Sneezing Cloud. OMGWTFBBQ!!! This is soooo goooooddd!!! (BTW I really like this story and hope you post more soon)

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awe........chui! :innocent: !i love this fic, its so beautifully written...and you make cloud sound so cute! :twisted::twisted: hope you post more of this real soon!

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:P omg...thank you guys sooo much!! i am so glad that you like it!! i am working on the next bit and it shouldn't be too long. i really am insanely pleased that you all like Cloud and Zack, and that you enjoy their sneezy antics! :laugh: ill be sure to have lots of wonderful wrongness from my chibi chocobo and his spiky companion....
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He would definately have to do better tomorrow, but it was all he had tonight...unless the kitten ate spaghetti.

"I guess I should name you something, huh little fella? I cant just go around calling you cat, now can I? hmph....but what do I call you?"

Naming it? Better tomorrow???? He's keeping it then. :yes: Wicked! :wub:

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how could i not be hurrying to write as much of this as possible, what with all of your wonderful comments and the irrisistable art by the amazing hippo!! (if you havent seen it already, you MUST go see the amazing illustrations she has been doing...they are just perfect!!!!) so....here is the next installment, i hope you like where it is going....

Part 4

"Alright you!" he flipped open the lid, and a drenched and pathetic looking face was pulled up onto the rim by two tiny little paws. It was hard to stay aggravated when it kept slipping and splashing as it tried to climb out. With a sigh, he reached in and grabbed it by the scruff of the neck, turned to the tub and held it under the running water. Very gently he scrubbed it, with copious amounts of Cloud's shampoo, why that guy used vanilla shampoo he'd never know, but at least the kitten would smell decent! With no further mishaps, and only a few loud sneezy sounds penetrating the door, he finished bathing the kitten, and bundled it up in a fluffy towel. Throwing the apron and gloves on the floor, he carried it back to his room, and with more than a few grumbles and mews managed to dry it off.

The newly clean and shiny little furball pranced along the bed, shaking out its paws one at a time, ostensibly to remove any lingering water, but really only causing Zack to shake with silent laughter. "Hmmmm......what to call you? Fluffy? nah...too boring... Crusher? *at this point the kitten released the wimpiest mew in history* uh...no...not that either....hmph!" Zack sat down on the bed and pulled the kitten into his lap, where it curled into a little ball, and began to purr contentedly while he scratched its ears. "I guess I'll just have to think about it." Zack lay back in the bed and set the kitten next to his chest, absently petting it, and was soon lulled into sleep by its soft purring.

He woke in the night to a fierce burning in his nose. He had the strangest urge to sneeze, but could almost feel something holding his nose. In fact, he could feel something holding his nose. Battling the desire to sneeze, he opened his eyes to see a small pair of shiny green eyes looking at him, and two tiny little paws kneading his nose. The shock made him forget about fighting the building pressure, and he sneezed violently. "He'tchu!" The sneeze was powerful enough to rock him back off the pillow, and sent the poor kitten flying. "Reeeeeawr!" It wailed as it fell backwards off the bed and landed with a soft thump, and the proceeded to try and bury itself in the mound of clothes hidden just under the mattress, all the while whining in fear and confusion. "Settle down, Reno!!.....THAT'S IT!!!!!! I'll call you Reno, you little red-headed spazz!!!"

He pulled the squirmy bundle out from under the bed and plopped it next to him where its frightened cries seemed to echo across the room. "Shhhh....shhhh...it's ok....quiet down..... you're gonna wake up Cloud" He pleaded with the kitten, before realizing that a well placed scratch behind the ears was all it took to silence the kitten. After a few more scuffles and mews, they both settled down for the rest of the night, Zack comfortably buried in his favorite pillow, and the kitten even more comfortably nestled under his chin.

Zack awoke somewhat later than usual the next morning, and in his hurry totally failed to notice the absence of the kitten. He grabbed the least wrinkled pair of jeans off the floor, and threw them on, along with his usual black shirt, not noticing the speckles of furry decoration. He grabbed his jacket and hurried to the kitchen, partly as he was running late, and partly as he was starving...neither unusual occurances. Cloud was already sitting at the table, drinking a cup of coffee, and looking much less miserable than the night before. "How you feeling?" "Dude....i dont know what was wrong last night. I only sneeze like that when I'm around something I'm allergic to, but there shouldn't be anything like that here." "Hehe...yeah man, I dunno either." Zack decided it might be better for him to grab something to eat on the way, and quickly fled the apartment.

Cloud sat at the table a few more moments, enjoying the rich aroma of the dark roast, each deep breath filling him with the smells he indulged in every morning. "N'gtxch!" The sneeze almost managed to escape, and Cloud was left looking bewildered...but not for long..... "He'ktchu!.......Heh....He'Tschu!....N'gktss!" After catching each sneeze in his shoulder, he brushed the back of his hand across his mouth, and rose with a sniffle. Something ws not right, but he just couldn't figure it out....couldn't put his finger on it. Of course not, at that moment, it was gamboling about under the table with a discarded bottlecap, just out of sight and reach. Cloud continued to sniffle and even had to stifle another sneeze on his way to the door..."N'gtch!" With one last confused glance about the room, he left for work, and hopefully to find peace from whatever was plagueing him.

While the boys played at their respective jobs, Zack, an explosives technician for a local offshore drilling company, and Cloud, a defense training consultant for the local police force, one furry little problem began to run rampant throughout their apartment. All over the living room, rolling on Cloud's blanket, chewing on the shoestrings of Zack's smelliest boots, back into Zack's bedroom to deposit a little present on his clothes....and ever so cautiously....to the room at the end of the hall. The door was partially open, and a warm glow of sun was falling on the bed, just the place for a kitten to stretch out and relax after a hard morning's playing. Oh that bed looked so tempting, and Reno bounded in, jumped up on the bed and curled up right in the center of the pillow, before settling down to waste the rest of the day.

TBC.......

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Aunthor's note: yes...i did say Vanilla smelling shampoo....my muse has a thing for vanilla...don't ask me why, im not really sure....but he does... and the kitten is purposfully named after the feisty red-headed Turk from Final Fantasy VII. I just love picking on Reno, and what better way than to name this loud little hairball for him...all in love.

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