It was cold out. It was winter and the two boys were cold.
“You’re not dressed for the weather” Boris remarked calmly, happily, as he plunked down on the bench next to a dark skinned teen. The taller boy grunted and glared sideways at his orange companion.
Boris needed this bitchy asshole gone. He had an employer to meet, and soon.
“You probably should’ve checked the weather before you left the house this morning.”
“Didn’t get much of a chance”
“Do you like the way the snow sparkles?”
“Do you ever shut up?”
“Well there’s your answer.”
Boris pouted at his companion, turning on the adorable to maximum veloci-cute! The dark teen blanched, taken aback, as most people were.
It was one of Boris’ most surefire methods of killing his victims. Death by Cute.
“C’mooooon! We’re both stuck out here in the cold, you might as well try to be sociable!”
“I don’t tend to like people.”
“Well I hereby take it upon myself to stop that tendency!!!!” Boris’ attention span was, admittedly, lacking. Gone were his recent thoughts of making the boy leave- he had a new mission.
“Please just leave me alone” the teen groaned, shrinking away from Boris with a pained expression. “It’s too cold for this”
“I know a way to fix the cold~” Boris smirked playfully, something his companion really should’ve paid attention to. He stood dramatically, his tail whipping around behind him to help with his balance, and then plopped himself directly onto the larger teen’s lap.
“WHAT THE FUCKING HELL ARE YOU DO-”
Boris kissed him full on the mouth. Ew, coffee breath. It wasn’t even the sugary, fluffy coffee that Boris liked; it tasted like this guy drank it black. He enjoyed kissing girls so much more.
The teen’s breath was ragged, and his face had darkened considerably.
“I,” Boris cooed, “am conserving body heat by snuggling!~ Now” Boris unwrapped his red scarf from around his own neck- it clashed with his hair anyway- and wrapped it around the larger boy’s neck, “pipe down.”
“You are mentally infirm.”
“And you’re a bitch!” Boris chimed gleefully. “My name’s Boris, what’s yours?”
“Is this a habit of yours? Going around kissing people and sitting on their laps without even knowing their names?”
“While I AM an alley cat, that doesn’t exactly fit in my line of work.” Boris paused. “At least, not often, anyway.”
“That… wasn’t what I was going for.”
“So tell me youuuuuur naaaaame!!!!”
“Heehee! Hello Tiw!~”
“Now that’s not very nice!” Boris waggled his finger at the teen and winked with a pout.
Tiw grunted. But he didn’t shove Boris off, and eventually he just… settled into sitting with a small boy on his lap. After a few minutes, he hugged Boris loosely and rested his forehead on Boris’ shoulder- at convenient head-laying height- and Boris hugged back. Tiw was warm for the weather and his thinness. Boris was surprised at how thin the tall boy was. Apparently he was all muscle, bone, and skin, with maybe a semi-thick coating of clothing. He really wasn’t dressed for the weather.
Boris found him pitiful, as he found most other alley cats to be- and this boy was obviously an alley cat. Boris was lucky, in a sense. Having no qualms about killing made him an excellent hitman. Hitkid. Hitteen. Whatever he was. He enjoyed his job, how many people could say that!? But guys like this- teenagers like Tiw- they never asked for this, Boris knew.
Boris’ ears twitched alertly when someone sat down on their bench, in the spot Boris had once occupied.
Now, would this stranger say the code words Boris was waiting for?
“Why’d ya bring the tits with ya?” the man said, sporting some kind of obviously fake, hideous accent.
“I know you can’t see very well, but my lovely companion is actually a boy~” Boris chimed sweetly, smiling endearingly at the man. He really hoped this wasn’t the man he was supposed to get his next target from. He had sudden plans for this man to be his next target.
Boris didn’t mind getting confused as a girl. He did, however, mind people referring to girls as ‘tits.’
The man was quick to follow with many “woah you a dude”s and various indications that he wasn’t actually hitting on Boris. Boris started giggling halfway through and ended up having to cover his mouth with his hands by the time the man started winding down.
Oh this piece of trash was SO dead if he wasn’t Boris’ employer.
“You wanna start over” Tiw angrily cut in as the man started reaching the end of his ramble. Boris giggled again.
“Yeah, man… great weather we’re having today.”
“I’ve seen better” Tiw muttered in a heartbeat. Boris couldn’t hear a thing, but he felt Tiw sigh.
Oh, so this man was here for Tiw…
Boris would have to wait until Tiw was done with his job before he could kill the man. And hunting him down afterwards would be a pain.
Ah well, Boris was a sneaky kitten.
Tiw picked Boris up, who shivered at the newfound cold on his front, set him down on his feet, and walked away from the bench with the stranger. Boris claimed the spot Tiw had been occupying, and watched the backsides of the two- one old and healthy, one young and desperate.
They would both be seeing more of Boris in the future. Definitely.
His own employer showed up almost immediately afterwards. Boris was taken aback when he was dressed with the royal symbol adorning his shoulder- petty nobles were normally the most Boris could attract. And yet, the Shrieking Assassin was growing in fame. The crown probably could use a terrifying assassin that had grown to something of an urban legend.
His target was noble. How risky of the crown! But Boris wouldn’t be caught, and he supposed the king knew that.
His employer handed him half the payment- customary for big jobs- and walked away. Boris was in the middle of double checking the amount when Tiw stomped moodily back to the bench.
“Oi. Asshole. You forgot something” he grumbled, as he pulled the red scarf away from his neck and extended it to Boris.
“Tiw, Tiw, Tiw~” Boris cooed, “If I had any plans of keeping that scarf, I never would have put it around your neck you silly kitten!!!”
Tiw’s hand flew to his skull, where he checked for his hidden ears, “How did you-…?”
Boris giggled and rocked back on his heels, “I didn’t know you were actually Half! I call everyone kitten!” Boris started purring, “And you have deeeeefinitely made yourself one of my kittens!
“No. No, no, leave me the fuck alone. I was just trying to help your stupid ass, I am done, I am never seeing you again.” Tiw seemed panicked.
“Suuuuuuuure!” Boris drawled happily. With a wink and a swish of the tail, he scampered off towards the nearest portal. While he couldn’t actually use portals with his stolen weapons, they sure were handy for figuring out where exactly he needed to go. Maps for deciding the endpoint of the portals and all that.
Now, Boris wasn’t very magical. He had just enough magic to shift the world around him. Not move, or change, or influence, but shift. As a teen, his powers were still massively underdeveloped, but he knew enough to know that if he blinked his yellow eyes slowly, and thought purple thoughts, and ate something sugary before he tried magic, he could ever so slightly alter anything that already had someone else’s magic in it.
So when he arrived at the noble estate, it was easy to shift the magical protection just enough to ‘convince’ the Marks that Boris was not an intruder, but rather a real, bona fide cat passing through. It would be years until he could ‘convince’ Marks he was a cat in his Half or human forms, but even as a teenager he could slip through as a cat.
The wife of his target thought he was the cutest kitten- rightfully so- and brought him inside. She was easy to slip away from, and his target was easy to find.
Lady Boiga, the first noble he would ever kill. She was at her desk, writing some sort of letter or something, Boris wasn’t inclined to care.
Boris did care, however, that she was wearing the tackiest pair of suspenders he had ever seen in his life. What did she think this was, the age of the ancients?! And that bowtie was hideous! Oh and don’t even get him started on those abysmal stiletto pumps. Stiletto pumps!!!! What was wrong with this woman!?
Definitely not cute.
“Mew!~” Boris purred loudly, and rubbed up against those hideous fucking pumps.
“Ugh, did Marianne let another stray in?” Lady Boiga sneered down at Boris, who could feel his face fall. Playtime’s over.
He shifted into his Half form, and giggled eerily as her eyes widened and she looked up to his face. All she saw, of course, was the garish, badly mutilated Mardi Gras mask that had had so much blood on it, it was now permanently stained pinkish-red.
Her face appropriately distorted in horror, and she screamed in the way Boris liked best. In response, he shrieked as well, laughing high pitched and loud and giggling like the maniac he was.
The red that spilled forth from her throat was satisfying, and he giggled even louder at the feel of blood splattering against his mask, his wrist, and his boots.
The pounding of guards’ feet grew nearer and nearer, but Boris continued laughing, and paused a moment. The red streak the flowed from her neck onto the white carpet looked ever so much like his old scarf…
Boris vanished before the guards entered, sitting quietly on top of a desk, behind a row of books, curled up and adorable as a kitten. The guards frantically searched the house, the grounds, the surrounding streets, and even checked everyone who had gone through the portals in that time frame, for hours and hours. Meanwhile the cute kitten waited for the room to empty completely, and then occupied himself comforting the mourning wife of the corpse he himself had made. Lady Marianne Boiga Mussurana was a good lady, perhaps naive, but kind. She’d married her less warm-hearted wife, Lady Selene Mussurana Boiga, for political reasons- or so the papers said. The way she wept, and cradled Boris helplessly, made Boris believe she also loved Boiga, for whatever reason.
It wasn’t his business.
He should send her flowers for her loss…
The image of the trail of red on white carpet stuck with Boris, for whatever reason. His scarf, the bloody brushstroke… it grew to an obsession of anything with red colors, and Boris had to admit defeat.
When he got home he pulled out an old, old phonebook, and then thought better of it. He went online, and simply looked up “Tiw.” This proved a bad idea, because all Boris got was a bunch of articles about an old Norse god of law and heroic glory- which, in a way, was funny as hell because the sullen teen he’d met was neither lawful nor glorious. Maybe he would prove himself to be heroic, though, someday. Apparently Tuesday was actually named after this guy, though, which was cool. “Tiw’s-Day,” heh.
So he found an online phonebook, and then looked up Tiw. The bitch was certainly the only one with that name. Tiw Köttur. Boris didn’t bother looking up whatever the last name was, but rather dialed the number.
“Hello?” That bitchy voice sounded quite familiar indeed.
“Oh hell no”
Boris had to do a double take, and then laughed as he exclaimed, “That bitch hung up on me!!!”
Oh what great fun!!!
Even without being intentionally creepy, Boris started seeing Tiw everywhere. He was the one who sold a baggie of cannabis to the owner of the flower shop Boris bought Lady Mussurana a sympathy gift from, he passed outside of Boris’ favorite dive, he frequently visited a pawn shop near Boris’ house, and he was always, always wearing that red scarf. Every time they encountered each other, Tiw would glare warily at Boris and leave as soon as he could manage. Boris had tried to strike up conversations at every chance, but Tiw was more evasive than Boris initially gave him credit for.
It took Boris an embarrassingly long time to realize that Tiw took the exact same route almost every day. That kitten was going to get himself killed!!!!!!! Oh someone needed to help that poor bitch.
“So now you’re off to Caesar’s Pizza, right?” Boris chimed, pouncing on Tiw’s shoulders and hanging off like a little kid. Tiw was already way too tall for Boris’ feet to touch the ground while hanging off his shoulders.
“GET OFF OF ME YOU ASS!” Tiw started flailing, which really didn’t work. Boris was dexterous as hell, and would continue to only get better.
“Well I’m riiiiiight, aren’t I?” Boris asked from his newfound perch on Tiw’s chest, who had managed to fall over in the midst of his useless resistance.
“Why are you picking on me?”
“I’m pitying you, you bitch. How new even aaaaare you to this trade?!”
Tiw growled at him, and Boris winked and waggled a finger at him, “Now tut tut! Listen from someone who’s been at this his whole life, will you? It’s important to take different routes so police and potential enemies don’t know where they can jump you! You have to be unpredictable!!!”
“How about I do something unpredictable and wipe your existence off the planet?” Tiw growled.
“Heehee! Like you could” Boris winked, “But seriously, pay attention to meee! You can’t just take the same route every day, even if all of your checkpoints are the same!”
Tiw stared at Boris, looked around at their scenery (empty, no one wanted to brave the heavy snow that was descending from the heavens) and then slumped, much like he had during their first meeting. His sigh rose above him in a little poof of mist, and he looked so pitifully defeated that Boris just wanted to cuddle with him and make it all better!
“Alright, I’ll switch up what roads I take; will you please get off me now?”
“Well, since you said pleeeease” Boris giggled and pirouetted off of Tiw, who grunted and stood up, brushing the snow off his back and out of his hair.
“So what are you doing this Tuesday?” Boris asked him, walking next to him with swinging arms.
“…why do you want to know…?”
“Because we’re frieeeeends and friends hang out with each other! Geeze, Tiw, this is common knowledge!”
“I never agreed to being your friend.”
“What a pity” Boris said, completely calm and self-assured.
“…Tuesday?” Tiw asked, quietly, ever so quietly, after an eternity of silent walking, without making eye contact.
“In the evening.”
“Where do you wanna meet at?”
A year later Tiw was sprawled out on Boris’ couch, Boris nestled quite contentedly on top of him, and the two were playing a mindless video game. Mostly they were talking about Tiw’s boyfriend, an older, muscular man who Tiw had met as part of business. Boris thought the guy was an asshole, and that Tiw could do better, and now it seemed that Tiw was thinking so as well.
“But how do I just tell him ‘Hey, we had a good run, but it’s sorta dying on my end so I’d like to call it off now’?”
“You tell him ‘Hey! We had a good run, but it’s dying on my end and I wanna call it off before we hate each other!’”
“I don’t think it’s that simple Boris.”
“It’s definitely that simple.”
“Whyyyyyy!?” Boris whined, killing Tiw’s character, “Why isn’t it that simple!?”
Tiw’s face scrunched up in thought, and he mashed the A button aggressively.
“Tiiiiiiw, do you think he’s gonna get pissed and start trouble? I can help you if he gets pissed and starts trouble!!!”
“Boris, he’s, like, five times your size.”
“Tiw, I kill people as my job.”
Tiw snorted, and got a 13X combo against Boris’ character.
“Seriously, Tiw, are you scared of him?”
“Nah. Just don’t wanna have to deal with it. If I was scared of him I woulda gotten the fuck outta dodge a while ago.”
“Don’t call me that!!!”
“Boris I will rip out your intestines and strangle you with them you fucki-” Boris cut him off by leaning over and kissing him. Tiw seized up, but relaxed with a drawn out exhale beneath the purring tabby.
“Works evvvvv’ry time~” Boris purred with satisfaction as he sat back up.
“Explain to me exactly what I am to you.”
Boris tilted his head to the side and his tail curled curiously behind him.
“I’m pretty sure you’re my best friend. I’ve been calling you that for, like, six months now.”
“Is it customary in Boris-daydream-land for best friends to kiss?”
Boris tapped a finger to his chin and paused the game with his thumb, staring wide eyed at the ceiling.
“Hmmmm… Yup!” he exclaimed with the cutest smile he could conjure. Give ‘im the ol’ razzle dazzle~
“Boris, turn off the cute-”
“The adorbs Tiw!”
“…Okay, you know what, fine. Turn off the fucking adorbs for a second and give me a straight answer.”
Boris set down his controller on Tiw’s leg and turned so he was crisscross on Tiw and facing him.
“Alright, Tiw, what do you think we are?”
“I just don’t even know. You’re such a fucking enigma and even though I have no romantic interest in you, like, okay, if romance is a scale of 1-10 you are a negative 50, but then you kiss me and it’s just, you’re, it’s just ‘oh, okay, that’s fucking fine’ and I don’t understand a damn thing.”
“Shut the hell up” Tiw muttered, running a hand through his hair.
Tiw stared at Boris, and Boris stared complacently back.
“No, fuck, wait, give me an answer just don’t fucking tease me.”
“Okay!!” Boris smiled, the adorbs were totally going back on, “Well, you said it yourself. You’re not romantically interested, and I’m not romantically interested, but I do care a lot about you” Boris bent over and booped foreheads with his moody friend, tugging on his scarf as he did, “and I want you to be happy in your little kitty heart. But you like muscular people and I am way more interested in cute girls, and so I guess us kissing isn’t really a thing most other people think kissing is? Oh!!! I know!!! It’s like parents! You’re my kitten, and I’m your momma cat!!!!”
Tiw exhaled, and smiled in exasperation at his little orange friend and rustled Boris’ hair.
“You’re an asshole.”
“And you’re a bitch!!!”
Tiw paused, and Boris might have smelled a bit of indecision with his Half Cat nose, but then Tiw lifted his head up and kissed Boris, who squealed and giggled and wiggled his ears like it was the greatest thing in the world.
A year after that, Tiw was dating an elegant woman he’d met exiting a gym. Her thighs could probably crush the skulls of grown men, and she and Tiw had many fun-filled ‘fights’ for dominance.
A year after that, Tiw got over his inhibitions about showing off his Half form while on the job, and Boris learned that he was, in fact, Half Cat, and his ears were perfectly adorable. Black cat or no, Tiw’s ears were almost as cute as his, and that just wasn’t fair. Boris was sure to verbally appreciate how well Tiw used his ‘omenness’ to keep people away from him on the job.
A year after that, Tiw moved into his own apartment.
Boris kept these little tabs on Tiw. Who he was dating- almost always someone who looked strong enough to crush bones one-handed, where he lived, big accomplishments, little accomplishments.
His own work for the crown grew exceedingly more frequent. Sometimes they would send him overseas. He was certain that the assassination of a foreign lord kept the two countries away from the brink of war, which was something good he could pride himself in. Eventually it got to the point where he was working exclusively for men dressed with the royal seal on their shoulders, and the Shrieking Assassin went from urban legend to country-wide nightmare. Even internationally-feared nightmare.
Soon enough, he got to meet the core of his employment. He was surprised to learn that it was not the king who had ordered the deaths of who-knows how many, but his son, the allegedly useless, worthless, air-headed heir to the throne.
Prince Jii Cuniculus was shorter than Boris himself, and his air-headedness added to his cuteness factor, and his face shape was just so round and boyish!!! Boris had never felt threatened in such a way before!
Prince Cuniculus didn’t know how to work with his cuteness, though, so Boris was still the cutest in the room. That is- if he wasn’t wearing his blood stained mask- he would be.
All of the prince’s guards were on edge at having an assassin so close to their heir, but Cuniculus himself didn’t seem particularly fazed. Boris wasn’t sure whether he should be insulted or impressed.
The prince had spoken with him inside of a cozy parlor room about permanent employment. Boris was left agape when the prince told him the payment he would receive as a royal assassin- provided he remained only a royal assassin, and never breathed a word of it to King Cuniculus or any form of local press. Or anyone, really.
Boris liked killing people a lot. It brought a sick, demented joy into his life. But, this way, he could get paid royally, kill people who were somehow a threat to the throne, and maybe do some sort of good with his depraved talents.
He, of course, accepted the offer, and loyally served the boy he would soon learn to fondly regard as “Jii” from that point on.
His friendship with Jii was questioned thoroughly by all of the staff in the palace, even those who didn’t know he was of a bloody occupation, but neither Jii nor Boris minded. Elliot Berus, the best friend of the crown prince, was much like Tiw in many ways, just way more stuck up. He ‘didn’t like’ Boris at first, but the kitten grew on him through persistent adorable antics and the three of them became loose comrades. Games are hard to play in groups of three, however, so one evening a year and a half after Boris was hired full-time by Jii, Boris suggested he invite his best friend to their little get togethers.
Tiw, of course, was wary.
“The fucking castle, Boris? The fucking castle?!?! How did you ever even get in the castle in the first place, much less make friends there?!?”
“I” Boris said, puffing up with pride, “just so happen to have a lovely line of work that pays well and lets the nobles think their hands aren’t all that dirty~”
“Are you sure they’re not going to arrest us on sight?”
“Absooooolutely!!! So whaddaya say? Wanna play with us this Saturday?”
“…If this goes to shit I’m blaming you.”
It didn’t go to shit, but Tiw did have to excuse himself to the bathroom when he learned that not only were Boris’ friends in the castle, but one of them owned the castle.
Well, almost. But still, the crown prince!
Four and a half years later, Boris met an adorable, well-built slave, whose hair ran red and long, much like the scarf he once gave to his most cherished friend.