Disclaimer: Stryfe, Cable, Aliya, etc, are owned by Marvel. And, despite certain injuries incurred during this section, are fine. No money is being made.

Diamonde is mine, mine, mine... Well, and PerK's.

This is the fourth story to feature Stryfe and his kitten. Please read the others, if you want some continuity.

Dedicated to Diamonde, 'cause Dia hasn't kicked my ass yet, and actually likes the other Dia. (the kitten)

Wine, Kitten and...
by Ana Lyssie Cotton and Persephone Kore


If there was anything worse, it would be grave-digging. And that was what he'd gotten out of to do... dishes. Stryfe threw the wash-cloth against the wall in disgust. It wasn't as if Dayspring didn't have several hundred lackeys who would *jump* at the chance to lick his dishes clean. No. The man had to request--no, ORDER Stryfe to wash them.

And there were a lot.

His vaunted new High Lord, Dayspring, had thrown a ball to consolidate proof of his holdings. And he'd invited everyone. Which left Stryfe to clean the dishes.

The only redeeming features of gravedigging had been... well, the fact that he'd been responsible for a lot of the deaths, oddly, didn't furnish much satisfaction, so the only redeeming *feature*, singular, had been the sun. Stryfe sincerely wished he'd designed his kitchen to be sunnier. It was well lit, but artificially, and for reasons he couldn't quite fathom it was making him fidgety.

And Dia didn't like it. Little miss go-anywhere HATED the kitchen. She apparently preferred sunning herself on rocks as he dug. Little minx.

He wasn't even sure *where* the kitten was now. Probably out in the sun. Or purring at Dayspring in hopes he'd pet her or give her fish. He'd probably expect Stryfe to wash the fish-plate, too.

In point of fact, Diamonde was sitting on a ledge in the Great Hall, watching the guests dance and mingle and generally attempt to prove they were better than anyone else. Deciding that watching was boring, she slipped down into the crowd.

Cable spotted her and began making his way in her direction. He knew the havoc the little kitten could play if she got bored. And it would NOT be conducive to keeping a peaceful atmosphere at his party. He grimaced. The party had been Aliya's idea, and she was enjoying herself.

A laugh to his right made him glance over to see Aliya holding court with several Generals in one of the other armies. She had dazzled them, and they were happily being smitten. He shook his head and sighed, turning back to kitten hunt.

Widening his eyes, he cursed softly. A small black and white ball of fur was gliding around the refreshments table, poking an inquisitive nose here, a searching paw there. As he carefully sauntered closer, she licked the frosting off a bit of cake and seemed to give it a look of distaste.

"Sir?" One of his many Aides tapped him on the shoulder.


"There's a minor problem, the High Lord from the Appletree district is..." The man coughed discreetly, "Drunk off his ass. He's about to create a scene."



Nathan watched the kitten stalk a napkin and swore again, "I'll deal with it if you'll get Diamonde off the refreshment table."

The Aide looked at the table, his eyes widening as the kitten danced through a bit of the fudge mousse. "Er, sir..."

All of them had encountered the kitten. She was a holy terror, and scared most of his people with her here now, gone a moment later antics. And she'd accidentally thrown up in several officer's boots. The Aide gulped and weighed the dangers. Offending a high ranking official, or fetching a kitten.

He folded. "Yes, sir."

"Good luck."

The Aide, whose name was Frederick, approached the table with trepidation. Diamonde was cheerfully batting around a piece of shrimp. "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty."

She looked up at him and appeared to smile. A moment later, she ducked under the lip of the punchbowl, disappearing from his view. Until a tail slipped above the edge of the bowl, waving. It disappeared, too. And then a nose poked above the lips followed by a face, and a paw.

Frederick watched in terrified fascination as she dipped a paw into the liquid and sniffed it.

Stryfe looked up as the door slammed inward, accompanied by the sound of a kitten in distress. He blinked. Dayspring was carrying the kitten out in front of him. And Dia was dripping pink liquid all over the floor, and mewling.

He took a step forward, fists clenching in fury even though he had almost no chance, collared as he was, of accomplishing anything. And then he smelled punch and remembered simultaneously that he wasn't supposed to like the kitten.

Then again, he'd probably blown *that* pretense some time back, humiliatingly enough.

"I suggest you give your kitten a bath. I doubt the alcohol is good for her."

Dia gave Cable an outraged look and struggled in his TK grip. Stryfe sighed and reached out, cupping his hands under her. "Let her go."

A wet plop echoed through the room as the kitten landed in his hands. She immediately began fastidiously cleaning her fur, giving Cable the occasional glare.

"What," Stryfe growled, "did you do to her?"

"I," Cable replied, "did not do ANYTHING to her. She decided to go for a swim. In the punch bowl. It might be appropriate to consider a transfer of the 'Chaos-Bringer' title."

Stryfe watched the kitten washing herself, estimated the amount of alcohol in the punch on her fur, and decided he *was* going to have to bathe her, or else she'd probably end up very sick. She'd be drunk at the least, and the thought of a cat with a hangover was just bizarre.

Actually, it was severely disturbing, if it turned out to be anything like the effects on that one feline-type mutant.

Ignoring Cable, he stepped to the sink and plopped the wet kitten into it. She gave him a look and hopped up on the counter. He shrugged and turned the water on, plugging the sink and reaching for the soap.

"Good. I'll leave you to it, then." Dayspring exited the kitchen.

Stryfe watched the kitten continue to clean herself as the sink filled. He estimated about a third of her punch-filled fur had been licked dry when he picked her up and dropped her in the sink.

The resulting explosion of kitten-into-air, knocked him backwards as a soapy, sopping wet kitten landed on his chest.

He winced, carefully sitting up while she dug in her claws and stalked up his chest, trailing water. "Mrrrowww."

Washing a cat was, Stryfe reflected, far easier with telekinesis. He pried her loose and held her up. "You're only going to make yourself sick. Stupid cat." She raked him with a claw. "Ow. Now hold still." He returned her to the sink and held on this time.

She fought the whole time, even when he rinsed the soap off her fur, she still fought. Finally, after acquiring enough scratches that he looked like a junkie, he dropped her on the towel sitting on the sideboard.

Before she could escape, he wrapped her in it and began rubbing the water from her fur. She furiously screeched at him, finally succeeding in squeezing out of his grasp and diving for the floor. Where she stood for an instant, looking like a drowned rat.

"It's for your own good," he told her, glancing angrily between kitten and claw marks. "You ought to be more appreciative."


And, with one last glare, she dashed out of the room. Stryfe shrugged. Someone else could deal with her now. HE had scratches to clean. "Damned cat."

Nathan, having returned to his party, was somewhat surprised to be accosted, or rather cannonballed into, by a damp cat. He looked down at the impact with his calf and picked the kitten up. She seemed slightly dazed, having hit his left leg.

He looked down at her. She stared at him. "Meow?" she said, plaintively, weaving ever so slightly as she stood there, looking up at him.

So he picked her up. She crawled out of his hand and climbed for his neck. With a slight purr, she settled down on his shoulder and watched the people.

Nathan thought seriously to himself that this was probably stupid. He was at a party with a lot of Canaanites, voluntarily, bearing upon his shoulder a kitten who was known to be mischievous and strongly suspected of being inebriated.

Ten minutes later it wasn't suspicion anymore.

Aliya raked him over the coals later that evening. "You knew the kitten was drunk, Nate, *why* didn't you just take her back out of the room and lock her in a cell?"

Nathan tried not to look like a guilty schoolboy, and failed. He rather doubted that Aliya would be happy with him. Especially if she realised he hadn't wanted to get rid of the kitten. Diamonde had been a wonderful distraction during the otherwise stulifyingly boring party. "Have you seen us TRY to lock her up? She gets away, Aliya."

"Uhuh." Aliya crossed her arms, looking unconvinced, "And that was why you just 'accidentally' let her flop into the middle of the cake."

Nathan looked at the kitten in his hands and wiped a smear of icing out of the long fur, then offered it to her. She ate it, only nipping him slightly. "That... was an accident."

"Yes, I can see that." Aliya reached out and poke the kitten's fat belly with a finger. Dia burped. "I think that's enough icing, unless you want her sick."

"Well, she can be sick on Stryfe."

"Is he back in his cell?"

Nathan nodded, "Had him finish most of the dishes, then sent him back. I also had someone look at the scratches."

"Sympathy for the devil, Nate?"

"I'd rather him be able to use his hands than lose them to infection." Diamonde wriggled languidly in Nathan's hands and burped again. "Anyway, I'll go drop her off with him."

Aliya smiled like a cat, "And then you'll come back to me, right?"

"Yes, ma'am."


Nathan headed for Stryfe's cell. He wasn't quite out the door when he very distinctly heard Aliya purr. The sound made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. In a good way.

Stryfe was curled up on the pallet he used as a bed. His hands hurt, and not in a good way. Sure, one of Dayspring's surgeons had been by to clean and bandage them. But he hadn't given him a thing for the pain. "Damned cat."

It was with those words that the door opened and Cable stepped in to set the kitten on the floor. She tottered on her feet, then seemed to give a shrug and curled up in a ball right there. "Sleep well, Dia."

"What's the problem with the kitten?" He asked, against his will. She didn't normally weave like that nor fall down and sleep where she fell.

"I'm afraid she got a little drunk. And then a little stuffed." Nathan shrugged, "She should be fine, come morning."


Stryfe stared at the ball of kitten resentfully as Dayspring shut the door. She'd scratched his hands, and for nothing. She was still drunk. And asleep in the middle of the cold floor. He glared at her.

One green eye opened and she stared at him blearily. "Meow."

"Don't meow me."


"You never listen."


"I'm not happy with you at all. You go off to play with Dayspring at his party, go swimming in the punch, and inebriate yourself licking your fur clean *even though* I tried to wash it off for you. And you clawed enough lines to write a book all over my hands and arms for it, too."

The kitten stood on none-too-steady feet and tried to come towards him. She tripped over her front paws and went tumbling. "Meow."

"Sleep on the floor, you scratching nuisance."

"Meow," she said plaintively.

He should never have let her sleep on him, or in his bed, in the first place. The only problem with that was that he hadn't exactly *let* her.


With a mumbled curse, Stryfe got up and went to stand over her. "Hush."

She looked up at him. "Meow."

If he didn't let her sleep on the bed, he *knew* she would meow all night at him. He picked her up and stalked back to his bed, muttering under his breath about barmy kittens and Dayspring. She settled down next to him. And then burped.

"Phew. How much *did* you drink, you little sot?"


Stryfe sighed. It was absurd to be gratified because an intoxicated kitten purred at him. Or even a kitten not under the influence. It was still kind of nice, except for her breath.

He just hoped she wasn't going to be sick all over him. Or have a hairball from all the washing she'd done.


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