Chapter 1

"Get back here you dumb cat!"

Paw pads dashed across the pavement, running from a very ugly and quite overweight human. Try as the human might, he just did not possess the leg strength (or any strength for that matter) to keep up with the calico cat. He was just too fast, and the fat waste of space gave up the chase within a matter of minutes. The human ended up watching the cat disappear in a crowd of people, losing sight of it almost immediately. Not very surprising considering this was New York. It didn't matter though, that stupid cat had gone off with his fish! It was his very expensive fish that he had planned on eating that night. Along with a few burgers…and maybe some fries and a large milkshake. Whatever, he'd never catch that cat; it was already too far gone. The human just growled angrily and stomped off toward where ever he lived.

Down the street, however, the same cat which had stolen the human's fish was still running, albeit more slowly than he was before, and eventually came to an alley way. He ducked inside after seeing it thinking it was a safe place to eat his fish. The calico male dropped his fish, sat down, and panted. Running from that fat tub of lard had been tiring. He wondered how he would have done with an actual fit human. It probably would have wiped him out, assuming he would get away. Even with a physically active human chasing after him, he would still have the advantage of being hidden by the crowd. It was safe to assume there would be a crowd since the city was very large. Probably even larger for him since he was a cat.

Iredes was a stray cat that had been living on the streets since he was a little kit. He didn't remember much from back then but from what he could recall he had been born on the streets and not abandoned, like some of the other strays. Since this was the case, he had an advantage over most of the other strays. He knew these streets from top to bottom, from one end of the city to the other. He knew how to take care of himself and knew how to stay hidden (most of the time) from humans and other predators, like dogs. Iredes preferred to stay out of the way of other cats, so he was mostly alone. He never really interacted with other strays and never really felt the need. He felt he was doing just fine on his own. He never needed help and he figured he never would.

In the next moment, after that thought, he dug into his fish, barely savoring the flavor simply because he didn't care. He was eating the fish to live, not to eat just to eat. Plus, he always ate his food quickly just in case someone, or something, wanted to take it from him. That never ended up happening but you never know.

While devouring the fish, he felt a rain drop on his head. That was weird as he could have sworn there were no clouds in the sky. He confirmed this as he looked up to check, no clouds in the sky save a lone one slowly floating across the baby blue, smog filled sky. If that wasn't a rain drop where did it come from? He looked from his left to his right seeing nothing but trash cans. Iredes suddenly became even more confused when it happened again, except this time he felt it on his rump. The moment he felt the drop, he looked over his back…and saw large muscular legs…which connected to a large muscular chest. Which, in turn, connected to a…large, tooth filled, growling head.

'Oh, Feli Gods, a dog!' Iredes screamed in his head. He turned to face the dog, his ears automatically pressed flat against his head, his back arched up high; his hackles began to rise on his spine. The dog growled low in its throat and showed its teeth, twitching it's lips upward. Drool leaked from the beast's mouth, almost as if it was infected with rabies. It foamed at the mouth only slightly but it was still enough to look that way. Iredes gulped and began to back away slowly. Maybe if he only moved slowly and didn't make any sudden movements…

Iredes' hopes fell when the large dog pounced at him! Iredes moved out of the way of its large jaws, trying to clamp down on him, and weaved through the dog's legs while the monster attacked and tried to bite him. Finally, after a few moments, Iredes made his way from under the slobber machine without the dog biting him, only just having the dog's teeth graze his tail, and ran out of the alley at his top speed!

Iredes weaved his way under and through the crowd of humans, still hearing the dog barking, growling, and snarling. As he ran he also heard a few of the humans scream as if the dog was chasing after them. Iredes continued to run down the long street, trying to come up with some kind of plan to get him out of this mess. He, suddenly, broke through the crowd and paused at a cross walk that was still letting the cars go through. The people were standing there, waiting for the light to let them know that they may cross. Iredes looked behind him and saw the dog wasn't far behind him. A few more seconds and he would be dog meat. Iredes had to think quickly, and he did. He ran for it, across the street, hoping the running cars would stop the dog. As he ran, he was hardly aware that the cars were barely missing him. He ran under one barely missing the wheel and being run over by it. He just reached the other sidewalk when he heard the screech, the honks, the bangs, and the loud yelp that resonated from behind him. His eyes went wide and mouth flew open at the sounds. He looked behind him only to see a circle of cars and a herd of humans gathering around the spectacle. He heard the people gasp and whisper around him, telling him that the scene was not good. Sure, he didn't like dogs, but that didn't mean he wanted them to get hurt. He hung his head down and sighed, feeling only slightly guilty. He was just about to turn and walk away when he heard the humans yell and scream. He looked back only to see a familiar, large, muscular body jumping over the circle of cars, snarling and growling even more but instead of drool dripping from his mouth, blood was. Iredes gasped, turned, and ran away from the terrifying looking dog, which was now chasing him once again.

Iredes ran faster, his heart racing in his chest out of fear, out of exhaustion. His lungs burned in his chest, feeling as though they were about to burst. He just wished this would end. He just wished that the dog had actually gotten ran over. He never thought his life would end like this, being dog food. He never got to live past two years, never got to meet a nice she-cat, never got to have kits. He regretted not socializing with other strays and making at least one friend. If he ever made it out of this, he promised to himself that he would at least make one friend.

He ran across the pavement faster, his lungs burned for the oxygen they begged for. Suddenly, he saw another alley way and immediately ran for it. He could hear the dog running after him, its claws slapping and clicking against the pavement. Iredes could tell by the dog's breath and the shortness of its snarls that it was getting tired also. Iredes came up to the alley and made a sharp turn into it. He paused only for a second to search for a hiding place, which was under a dumpster. He crawled all the way to the back wall and curled in on himself, all his muscles shaking. He knew the dog would find him here, it was quite obvious plus it could smell out Iredes. Just as he had predicted, once the dog turned into the alley, it ran straight towards the dumpster and started to growl, snarl, and spit blood at Iredes.

Iredes only curled into a tighter ball with his body vibrating even more. He was beyond frightened and couldn't think of any way to get out of the situation he was in. He was so sure he was going to die there, destined to be eaten by a giant mangy mongrel. There was no way to escape, nowhere to run. He was trapped and he knew it.

Then, out of nowhere, a voice called out, "Hey mutt! Look at this juicy flank!." From what Iredes could see, the dog had looked toward the voice. It growled and snarled before it ran deeper into the alley way.

CRASH!

The loud crash startled Iredes. The next second harbored an echoed yelp, presumably from the dog. His ears flicked forward just in time to hear a thump, a body landing on the ground. What had happened? Who had called out to the dog? Was whoever it was crazy? That dog could have killed them just as easily as it could have killed Iredes himself. Iredes frowned and crawled to the front to stick his head out from under the dumpster. He looked into the dark alley. It was a little difficult to see but he could barely make out a large body lying on the ground in front of a broken mirror. That was strange. Iredes struggled to make his way out from under the dumpster completely. When he was out, he stared at the tangled and bloody body sprawled out on the hard ground. His heart twinged for only a moment before he saw its chest rising and falling from short breaths. Good, he wasn't dead. Iredes sighed before turning and walking away from the messy scene.

"Ahem."

Iredes jumped, startled from the sudden noise. He was afraid for a second that the dog had risen from its unconsciousness. He turned quickly…only to see another cat. It had black fur that shined dark blue. Narrowed blue eyes shined mischievously along with a slight devious smile. Iredes' jaw dropped at the sight of the strange cat. It was possibly the most beautiful creature he'd ever seen…

"Aren't you going to say thank you?" The male stranger cat had asked.

"What?" Iredes was confused. What did he mean? Say thank you for what?

The stranger cat walked up to Iredes' face and smiled wider, looking up to no good.

"Aren't you going to say thank you for me saving your ass?" Oh. Was he the one that had called out to the dog? He could have gotten killed!

"You could have gotten killed!" Iredes voiced his thoughts. He really didn't like anything to get hurt, especially if it was his own fault.

The stranger cat frowned and furrowed his eyebrows, "Well…yeah. I think I can handle myself though." Suddenly, stranger cat smiled the same devious smile that he had on earlier, "Wait, that's not a 'thank you'!"

Iredes' eyes flicked to the left and back to the cat again, "Uh, thank you?" What was this cat up to? He seemed a little bit strange.

Stranger cat laughed, backing away from Iredes' face. He walked around Iredes looking him up and down. Iredes opened his mouth slightly, meaning to say something but nothing came out. He just simply watched the stranger cat walk around him in a circle, just examining Iredes. Was the cat…checking him out? Ok, that freaked Iredes out.

"Look, I have to go…" Iredes told him in a shaking voice. He stood and tried to leave but the stranger cat walked in front of him.

"My name's Salem. What's yours?" Salem still had that smile on his face; that stupid, arrogant face.

"Iredes," He backed away slightly, wanting an escape. He looked back and forth trying to look for one, but the only way out was through the front of the alley, which Salem was blocking.

"Ehhh…I'll just call you Dees. So, Dees, what were you being chased by a dog for?" Salem asked him. Iredes grimaced. He didn't really want to relive all of that, so he just gave Salem the shortened version.

"I went into an alley on the other side of the city to eat this fish I…caught," Stole, but he didn't want to tell Salem this for some reason, "He saw me and started chasing me. I found this alley and hid over there," Iredes pointed to the dumpster he had hidden in previously, "I heard you call out and then…Well, you know." Iredes looked down. He still felt bad about that dumb dog getting hurt. He probably shouldn't care since they were mortal enemies, cats and dogs were. He just couldn't help it.

"I see." Salem made a face like he was thinking. One brow pointed down, his eyes closed, and his tongue sticking out a little. He made a little humming noise shortly before gasping so loud it startled Iredes. He looked up to Salem only to see that he had on a wide smile with his eyes just as wide. Iredes felt a little suspicious before Salem said something.

"You can come with me! To where I live so you won't have to worry about those dumb doggies chasing you, haha!" Salem had dropped into a voice as if he were talking to a little kit at the end. Iredes frowned at him and huffed.

"I wasn't aware you were house cat." As soon as Iredes stated this, Salem busted out into a loud, booming laugh.

"Oh no, I'm not a," more laughs, "House cat! I simply live in an area with a bunch of other cats; in the dock warehouses to be exact. Anyway, just come on." Salem turned around and simply walked out of the alley. Did he expect for Iredes to follow him? He could be taking Iredes to a place to murder him for crying out loud! No way was he was he going with that psycho…

"Are you coming?" Salem poked his head from around the corner, looking at Iredes.

Iredes furrowed his eyebrows and turned his lips down. Was he really thinking of going with him? Well, it wasn't like he had anywhere else to go. He moved a lot, going from alley to alley, never staying in one place for no more than two days at a time. He kind of did like the thought of having a home.

"Sure." He finally answered after a moment. He saw Salem smile before disappearing behind the corner. Iredes followed him out of the alley and down the street. Iredes wondered what Salem's home was like. He mentioned other cats lived there with him. How many cats lived there exactly? Was it a lot? Did they have plenty of food? Would they accept him, with the way he was? There weren't exactly many male calicos out there and usually when he met another cat they would look at him weird. He found it odd that Salem hadn't mentioned it but maybe he would eventually. For now though, he thought it was nice of the other cat hadn't said anything.

"Hurry up! You're walking too slowly!" Salem yelled. He was looking behind himself at Iredes with an annoyed look. Iredes stopped thinking and ran toward Salem, catching up to him and stopping by his side. "Finally, we're going to be there soon so keep up, O.K.?"

"Yeah, sure."

Iredes and Salem walked side by side all the way to the docks where the warehouses were. Iredes didn't realize how close to the river he was. He had run so far trying to get away from the dog. He was quite amazed at how far he could run when he was being chased by a terrifying monster.

Before he knew it, Iredes and Salem had reached the docks. The warehouses weren't far away now and it would only take a few minutes to get there. They had gotten through a hole in the gate that was there for blocking pedestrians from getting into the docks late at night. Iredes hadn't even noticed what time it was. It was already dark out by the time they reached the warehouse where Salem said that the rest of the cats were in.

"Now, here is where we stay. Everyone is inside, I'm betting, so you'll get to meet everyone at once! Isn't that great?" Salem looked rather pleased with himself disregarding the fact that Iredes was looking quite uncomfortable.

Salem moved in front of a hole that was in the door. Light was shining out of it, lighting up Salem's coat slightly, "Here we go." Salem slipped inside, disappearing through the warehouse door.

Iredes studied the hole for a moment before gathering his nerves, and his breath, before slipping through the gap himself.


Ok, this chapter was fixed slightly because I noticed many, many errors. I'm writing the second chapter after I upload this and I'll TRY and get on a decent writing schedule. I admit I'm a very good (or bad) procrastinator and I'll put things off for so long .w.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the chapter if you're reading for the first time :D Anything I can fix, just let me know ^_^

~Vee