K on the Side: short story 1 Kuro and Zenjou by Furuhashi Hideyuki

It’s a side story to the main novel K Side: Blue.

So, Awashima isn’t the only woman in the Blue clan (although Suzuki Shingo said in one of the interviews that he considers her to be the only woman among the men of the Blue clan).

Kuro and Zenjou

"I would like you to lend me your cat." A female officer came to the file room to ask this of him.

She was rather petite, with big glasses, and she introduced herself as Yoshino. It couldn’t have been long since she joined Scepter 4, Zenjou guessed. It was obvious that she had yet to get used to the brand new internal affairs division uniform she was wearing, and to him she looked like a kid who tried on those clothes. As soon as she saw Zenjou she first nodded, then suddenly realized something, exclaimed, “Ah! The bow!” and bowed deeper in haste.

The general affairs section office got infested with mice, she explained. “So they came up with the idea that we need a cat. And you keep a cat that looks perfectly suitable for the task, Zenjou-san.”
"Well, there is a cat around here, but it’s not like I keep it…”

A cat’s meowl resounded from around his feet. The cat in question was black and young.

"Oh, excuse me." Zenjou was about to open a can of cat food. Once he unloaded the contents into the cat bowl at his feet, the cat stuck its head into it and started eating. When it first came here, it was a little kitten that could easily fit into one’s pocket; since then, three months had passed, and now the cat weighted at least twice what it did back then.

"What is the kitty’s name?"
"I call him Kuro."
"Kuro-chan, then?"
"Yeah… he’s black, after all." [T/N: ‘kuro’ means ‘black’ in Japanese]
"I see. Black, indeed," Yoshino agreed meekly. "So, Zenjou-san, you feed him regularily like this and keep his litterbox tidy, is that correct?"
"Yes."
"Isn’t that what’s generally called ‘keeping a pet’…?"
"I don’t know about that."
"Then, in your opinion, what does ‘keeping a pet’ imply?"
"Well… if the kept himself says that he’s being kept, then it’s probably true."

Yoshino looked at the black cat on the floor, then shifted her eyes back to Zenjou. “The kept himself, huh…”
"Yeah."
"Then, whom should I ask to lend me this Kuro-chan…? Him directly?"
"No… Just take him. Being a cat, he won’t understand you anyway even if you ask him."
"Since he is a cat, huh…"

The mice usually appeared at night, so the two decided that Yoshino would take the cat and its belongings to the general affairs office, and the black cat would live there for about a week.

"I promise I will take good care of him."
"Alright."

However, the next morning Yoshino visited the file room again, and Zenjou was expecting her.

"Ah, I thought so."
"Yeah, well, I was about to go to your office myself." Zenjou was holding the black cat with his only hand. When he got to work that morning, he found the meowing cat in front of the file room’s door.

"As I thought, he came back here."
"Yeah."
"It does look like Kuro-chan is your kitty, Zenjou-san. He himself seems to think so."
"I wonder about that."
"Still, he is indispensable to us, too, as we’re in need of his help. Only yesterday, he has already caught three mice."
"I see."

Yoshino squatted before the door and pointed her finger at its lower part. “So, for example, we could make a catdoor here.”
"Huh?"
"So that he could go to our office from here, I mean."
"I don’t really mind, but…"
"If we do this, the cat food expences would be deducted from the general affairs budget; that would be of help to you, too, Zenjou-san, right?"
"I see where you’re going with that. Even a cat should work off its keep."

At that, Yoshino raised her head and said resolutely, “No, this is only between humans. It does not concern Kuro-chan.”
"…Huh?"
"A cat should remain a cat."
"Really?"
"Really."

The cat jumped off Zenjou’s arm and looked up at him, meowing as if to complain about something.

"Seems like he’s hungry."
"…Yeah."

Zenjou turned and headed into the room only to remember that he had given all the cat food stock he had to the girl yesterday.

"Here, please take it." Yoshino produced a small can from the pocket of her uniform and presented it to Zenjou. "I’ll go bring back Kuro-chan’s litterbox and bed."

With this, she turned on her heels, walked three steps and suddenly exclaimed, “Ah! The bow!”

The can of cat food in hand, Zenjou returned the greeting.

"Meow," the cat at his feet meowed.