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Repost from an old comment fic

Originally prompted by a friend and left as a comment fic, I am moving this to my own journal.

Nino has been around animals for years. Ever since he helped Kazue open up the only petshop in a four island radius. Everybody assumes he works there because he's too lazy to work anywhere else but the truth is that Nino likes it.

Okay, okay, and he can play games while he works because Kazue doesn't give two shits about it as long as he sells things and takes care of the animals.

But that doesn't mean he's heartless.

"God damn it," he mutters, looking at the dumpster behind the store. "Seriously?"

The small cat growls at him.

"I only THINK you're a cat," he tells it. "Meowing would confirm this, you know." The cat growls again and Nino ignores it to toss the trash in the dumpster. "Whatever. Just stay there, okay?" He bangs his way into the shop and ignores the way it makes old Mrs. Sasaki jump. "I'll be right back to help you," he promises her as he picks up a can of cat food and slams back out. "Kibble has more calories," he tells the cat, popping the lid on the can. "But you'll probably like the gravy more. Eat that and don't cut your tongue on the can, okay?"

Leaving the cat, he goes back to work.

Mrs. Sasaki just wants food for her dumb dog. It's a little lap dog that wears rhinestone collars. Nino has no use for dogs that can double as floor mops. He's pretty sure Mrs. Sasaki knows this and that's why she takes so long. Once she's out he hangs the
'back in ten' sign on the door and goes out back again.

The cat is still there, licking desperately at the inside of the empty can. "Yeah, that's what I thought," he tells it.

The cat looks up at him and meows and actually comes toward him. Out of the shadow of the dumpster, it looks like a really dirty, possibly flea bitten, busted-up cat. Part of one ear is torn away and half its tail is gone. Nino can't even tell what color it is under all the dirt. Possibly gray. What he can tell is that it's too skinny and it's still just a kitten. Sighing, he picks it up.

And closes his eyes.

It obviously has some cracked ribs from the way it keens and from the bloat of its belly, it has worms. "You," he tells it, "are one busted cat." He brings it into the shop and takes the time to change the sign from 'back in ten' to 'closed'.

The cat DOES have fleas. It has so many fleas that it actually seems GLAD that Nino has put it in the break-room sink and is giving it a bath with flea shampoo. The water goes red from flea dirt and then goes red again after Nino changes it. It takes three baths to get the dirt off and a good number of fleas drown. The kitten, it turns out, is white. Its hair is medium-long and coarse but definitely white. "You're filthy," Nino tells it as he scrubs it with a towel. Or him, rather, since a quick check under the tail reveals some rather definite boy parts. "What am I going to do with you?" Nino asks him. "And why am I talking to you like—" He breaks off. There's a thought, he thinks.

He digs his cell out. "Toma? Do you have Ohno Satoshi's number?" he asks without preamble.

There's the sound of glass shattering. "What the hell? Didn't I tell you 'no' already?" Toma asks him.

Nino pats the kitten's head. "Whatever, it's not because I want to make a move on him. I have something for him." He looks at the cat in his lap. "You will love this," he tells him.

"I am not giving you his number," Toma says.

Nino sighs. "Toma, give me his phone number or I will tell your mother about the summer I was caught kissing that guy from Singapore. The part she DOESN'T know."

"…I really hate you," Toma says. "And if you give it to anybody I swear to god I will kill you myself and burn you up in the glory hole."

"Promises, promises," Nino tells him smugly.

For all the bravado, though, he's nervous when Ohno actually turns up at the pet store. "Hey, Oh-chan," he lets him in and is rewarded with Ohno's brilliant smile. "I have a seriously broken cat for you."

Ohno's face smoothes out in to the blankest frown Nino has ever seen. "Huh?"

Nino jerks his head back and leads the way back to the break room. The cat is sitting on a towel on the table, asleep at last now that it's clean and full of food. "I found it in the trash." He stuffs his hands in his pockets. "I thought you could use him as company for Nino."

Ohno's smooth-faced frown fractures a bit. "Wouldn't he eat him?"

Nino snorts, just a little. "You'd be lucky if Nino didn't eat HIM."

Ohno grins, blindingly. "That's what I meant," he says and for a second Nino forgets about his problem with pussy and shares a moment with Ohno. He wants to hold his hand.

He's actually reaching out to do it when he realizes it and he covers by touching the kitten's head, stroking two fingers between his ears. "He needs to go to the vet. He's got broken ribs and worms and he needs better flea medicine than what we can get here. His tail and ear need to be taken care of. He might need medicine. I…" he carefully controls his wince, the slight sting of shame. "I can't afford to take care of that. I…" he realizes then just how bad it sounds and lets the wince out. "I didn't call you because of the money thing," he says.

For several long minutes there is silence and when Nino finally looks at Ohno it's to see Ohno looking back at him. "Can we name him Pigeon?" he asks.

God damn it, Nino thinks. Seriously? He doesn't need to feel his heart race like this because of one stupid remark. One stupid 'we' and a smile. It's better if all he wants is into Ohno Satoshi's pants. "Well, he's going to live with you so you can call him whatever you like," he mutters, looking to the side. Ohno doesn't say anything and Nino hears himself keep talking, like an idiot. "I can look in on him when you're gone. If you let me know when you're going to be gone. And where you live."

Ohno's smile is clear in his voice. "Yes," is all he says and that's all it takes.

Nino's got it bad for this guy in the heart and not just in his pants. So he looks at the cat. The cat's eyes are opened in green-gold slits. "He named you Pigeon," he tells him. "You honestly think you can live with that?"

Pigeon meows.

Me too, Nino thinks as he gathers him up for the trip to the vet.