It was morning. But at 5 AM in the beginning of the year, the day was still as dark as night. While most people were still asleep, Heero Yuy was wide awake. He put on his dark green turtleneck sweater and black training pants. He was about to exit the bedroom when the big bundle in his bed moved, revealing a head with disordered chestnut hair.
"Heero, it's raining for God's sake, " one Duo Maxwell moaned from where he was hogging the blankets. "Why don't you just skip your morning run and get some more sleep?"
"I'll use the rain coat then."
Duo mumbled something about a Perfect Soldier and his anal training then went back to sleep. Heero glanced at his lover fondly before letting himself out of their shared apartment.
The rain was quite heavy so Heero put on the raincoat and ran lightly. He'd just passed the apartment's boundary when he heard small meow among the heavy drops of rain. There on the street, just in front of him, was a very small, black bundle. As he approached the bundle, Heero realized it was actually a living thing. With disbelief and surprise, Heero stopped his running and bent forward to study the bundle. It was smaller than his fist but its voice was quite loud among the rain drops.
It was a very recently newborn kitten. Short, thin black fur covered its body. Its eyes were still closed. It was also wet and shivering.
How come the kitten was in the middle of the street? Alone? Where was its mother? Heero thought as he looked around but saw no other living being except himself and the meowing kitten. What should he do? Heero was perplexed, eyes never leaving the meowing kitten in front of him. Had its mother left it here, to be picked up once she'd finished moving its siblings somewhere? It was very small, wet, and shivering. With the rain continuously pouring on it, Heero knew it wouldn't last long. But if he moved or took this kitten somewhere, would its mother manage to find it then?
Knowing almost nothing about cat behavior, let alone what to do with a newborn kitten, Heero decided to just move the shivering bundle to the edge of the street where it was safe from being stomped on or run over. He looked around and snatched an abandoned plastic bag, using it as a tent for the newborn kitten.
Not knowing what else to do, Heero stared at the kitten for a moment before he left it. The fading small meows tore at his heart. Heero hoped the mother would come soon and save the kitten. Though he knew nothing about cats, he knew very well that a small, weak thing like it wouldn't survive the rain. He wanted to help it, really he did, but what did he know about a newborn kitten? If he did pick it up, what should he do next? He knew nothing about how to feed it, how to warm it up, and how to make it survive without its mother.
He knew nothing. He could do nothing else for the kitten. Or so Heero kept telling himself during his morning run.
He arrived back at his apartment from the other end of the street so he didn't pass the place where he'd put the kitten, but somehow, the small meows kept echoing in his head. Heero couldn't get it out of his head during his ride in the elevator toward his apartment. Oh, Duo pouncing him and dragging him back to bed for a different morning sport managed to make him forget about it momentarily. But as he came back from his high place, the pitiful mews echoed back in his mind.
It had been more than an hour since he'd found the kitten, Heero told himself. The kitten had either been saved by its mother or it had already...... Heero closed his eyes, not wanting to think about the certain outcome. However, deep down in his heart, he was almost certain what had become of the kitten.
Heero reluctantly left the bed and headed toward the shower. Although he had made a makeshift tent for the kitten, Heero knew it wouldn't have helped the kitten much. A gentle wind could blow the tent away. Trying to stop thinking about the kitten, Heero turned on the shower knob and hot water poured over him right away. Unfortunately, the sound of water cascading on the tile brought him the image of the small, shivering kitten. A newborn kitten. It was small and cold, hammered by drops of rain, sometimes heavier than itself. And it had been left out in the rain at least an hour.
"Heero, it has been half an hour! What are you doing in there? You are going to be late for your meeting!" Duo pounded on the bathroom door.
Heero started and realized he had zoned off. He cursed himself when he realized he now only had forty minutes left to arrive at his office on time. Quickly washing and drying himself, it only took him five minutes to complete his shower.
On the way out, Duo stopped him and looked at him accusingly. "You weren't jacking off by yourself in there, were you?"
"Of course not." Heero was proud that his voice sounded calm, but from the way his lover was grinning, he knew his face blushing red.
"Well, I know you have a meeting so you don't need to wait for me. I'll drive myself." Duo then gave him a long, thorough kiss and beamed at him. "Have a nice day!"
A few minutes later, Heero found himself dressed for work and driving his car out of the apartment's garage. The heavy rain had lessened into a drizzle. Though he passed the street where he'd found the newborn kitten at a hasty speed, his sharp glance caught a certain makeshift tent on the street side where he had set the kitten aside. However, he couldn't determine whether the kitten was still beneath it or not.
Heero felt himself torn, not knowing what to do. One side of him told him to just press the gas pedal and speed to the office. The kitten's mother had certainly come and picked it up. However, another side of him argued that he should stop and check. The kitten might still be under the tent.
Even if the kitten was still there, his first side argued back, it wouldn't have survived the heavy rain. There was no point of looking under the tent.
But, his other side argued again, he wasn't an expert on cats. The kitten might still be alive. But it wouldn't stay alive if Heero abandoned it, again.
There was nothing he could do, his selfish, practical side shouted, it had been left too long in the rain.
Maybe the tent had protected it, his hopeful, gullible side countered, certainly there was something he could do.
Leave, his practical side shouted.
Turn back, his gullible self ordered.
Leave. We can do nothing. There was no vet near here.
Turn back. It still could be alive. One of our neighbors might know about cats.
Leave. It was dead!
Turn back. Were we going to let our selfish ignorance repeat the same mistake like the girl and her dog?
With a cry, Heero stepped on the brake and turned around. It was very fortunate for him that no other vehicles were on the street. Within a minute, he was kneeling on the street side. His shaking hand reached for the plastic bag while his heart thumped loudly.
He didn't know what he expected to find when the plastic bag was set aside. What he did know when he saw the small newborn beneath it lying stiffly, was that his heart felt like breaking.
His throat was suddenly dry and his eyes felt suddenly hot.
A couple of ants were crawling on the small black bundle.
He was too late. It was...
A small mew reached his ears.
Heero blinked rapidly.
Another, louder meow and four limbs flailing around, throwing the ants off their course.
The weak, ugly black kitten was still alive.
Joy, relief, absolution, honored. There was no single word that could describe what Heero was feeling as he scooped the newborn up, along with its makeshift tent. Not giving himself time to think of the consequences of his actions, Heero headed back toward his apartment. He drove with one hand while the baby kitten, in his other hand, kept on meowing during the short journey.
Once he arrived at his apartment, Heero found that Duo had already left. Totally blank on what to do next, Heero did the obvious thing. He went to the sink and cleaned the newborn with warm water, getting rid of the crawling ants and dirt. He made sure to keep the kitten's head from the water.
But that was the extent of his knowledge.
He knew he had to warm the kitten but he didn't know the limits between warm and too hot for a newborn kitten. He was certain though that using Duo's hairdryer was not a good idea. He also had to feed it some food, but how? Give it some milk? Hell, Duo and he didn't stock any milk. They were both black coffee people (or in Heero's case, tea). Even if he had milk, how to feed a newborn who wasn't able to chew or slurp its food by itself?
Starting to feel panicked, Heero ran outside and knocked on the door to another apartment on his right. He remembered the occupant was a single mother.
With an eight month old baby.
Heero knew exactly how old the baby was since the baby was often the reason their sleep or night activity was interrupted. Oh, ordinary people would have no problem, what with the thick walls between apartments, but ex Gundam pilots with heightened hearing certainly did.
The door was open by the single mother. "Yes?"
"Sorry to interrupt, " Heero spoke nervously, "but I found this... "
The mother let out an startled exclamation when she noticed the small bundle in Heero's hand. No more explanation needed. She seized the weak kitten then started fussing over her. Heero found himself kicked out, back to his apartment with the order to find a small box, a cloth for the kitten's blanket, and a small bowl.
When he returned to the single mother's apartment, the kitten had been dried and given milk. It was a very fortunate thing that she had a baby so she had milk ready and also a pipette to feed the milk to the kitten.
Half an hour later, Heero was on his way back to his office. The mother had promised to take care of the kitten until he came home and collected it. Heero wondered how he should tell Duo that they'd just got a baby.
He was already late for the meeting, but Heero smiled nevertheless. He had decided to tell Duo that he was right.
It was a very nice day indeed.