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Chapter 2

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    As Kenny traveled along the gravel path, he began to think about the raccoon. Why would it be here if it knew the risk of being attacked was high? Simple, a voice in his head told him. Even though the risk of it getting killed was high, the rewards were great. There was lots of food, herbs and other resources to be found here that may not be as easy to obtain in other factions. This answer pleased him. As one usually does in these situations, his mind wandered to what he would do if he actually found the raccoon. Kenny began to daydream about him fighting the raccoon, a creature as big as he was and much more dangerous. He imagined flinging and killing the large animal like it was a mouse, and imagined the animals surrounding him and praising him for being rid of their problem. He also imagined bragging to Lavender, a local dog from another faction, and impressing her. 'Oh, Kenny! You're so brave for fighting off such a dangerous creature!' He imagined her saying, which caused him to purr quietly. He heard an odd noise which caused him to stop in his tracks, however. It was the sounds of struggling and a bush rustling. Kenny climbed a nearby tree to watch the bush where the noise came from.

    Out of the bushes crawled a small and dark colored creature. Kenny's eyes widened as he saw the features that signaled this was a raccoon. He noticed something about this poor creature, though. She was smaller than many raccoons, and she was skinnier as well. Her fur was battered and messy with patches where there had been scars, but most importantly, she limped heavily on her back leg. Was this the one who was causing so much trouble for the faction? The raccoon passed the tree that he had been hiding in and headed in the direction of the faction, mumbling something about not having enough food the night before. He suddenly felt terrible. All this raccoon was trying to do was survive, and if he didn't try and stop her from going into the territory, she could possibly be killed. At that moment, he made a decision and lept down from the tree.

    The noise startled the raccoon. She turned around suddenly, her fur puffing up. "Who are you, and what do you want?!" She snarled. It wasn't aggression. It was fear in those eyes. Kenny stood a safe distance away from her. "My name is Kenny. I'm from the faction that you keep stealing from... You have to stop doing it. You might be in danger if you continue..." The raccoon stared at him. "Why should I trust you?" "I wouldn't be warning you if I felt like you deserved it." He responded. The raccoon stopped growling, but eyed him suspiciously. "Then what do you suggest I do? I struggle enough just waking up let alone hunt and gather. I'm tired. My body always hurts, and my leg was crushed, so I can't even hunt on my own. The only option I see here is steal or die, Kenny. If I die, then so be it." She continued walking toward the faction. Kenny thought quickly. "You could always join us!" he blurted out with very little thought. The raccoon stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face him. "Now why the hell would I do that? I already know I'm enemy number one there. Besides, don't you have enough mouths to feed in your little pack already?" She asked. He thought rather quickly. "Well, if you joined us, you'd be less of our enemy and more of our ally. We always like allies, and you wouldn't have to steal. The faction would take care of you. There's things you could do to serve the faction without putting stress on your body." Kenny smiled slightly. Either she or Jethro is going to kill me for this... "Give me some time to think about this. Just know I trust neither you or any of your little friends. I will leave you alone for now as a sign of peace unless I can find no other food." She responded. Now, instead of walking towards the faction, she turned and walked back into the forest. When she was gone, Kenny let out a sigh of relief. He was glad she wasn't planning to head toward the territory, but he wondered if she would keep her promise about leaving the camp in peace until she decided. But the next question was what was he going to do about Jethro?

    He returned just before sunset. "Kenny! Jethro was just about to send me to look for you!" He saw Fern scampering towards him. Fern was a tad awkward when she ran as she was clumsy and often tripped over her paws. "Hi, Fern." Kenny smiled as she skidded to a halt in front of him. "Jethro said Honey wanted to talk to you earlier, but you were gone." She smiled. Kenny looked a little concerned at that thought and his smile faded. He was not close with his mother, and she usually never went out of her way to find him, either. "Alright. I'll talk to Jethro about it. Thanks, Fern." He walked past her and towards Jethro's car. He whacked his paw on the trunk door and it popped open. "I assume this is about Honey visiting?" Jethro peered from within the trunk. "Yeah... Why was she here?" Kenny asked. Jethro yawned and pushed his way out of the car, the trunk closing behind him. "She wanted you to go visit her as soon as possible." He began to walk towards the car which held the food, waving with his tail for Kenny to follow. Kenny walked besides him. "She never wants to visit, so what did she want?" He narrowed his eyes. "I don't know. The only thing she told me was she needed to see you as soon as she could. I told her I would send you if it wasn't too late. Whether you want to go..." He reached in and grabbed a small rabbit from the pile. "...Is up to you." He said with a mouth full of fur. He sat in a spot nearby and looked at Kenny. "Eat." Jethro pushed the rabbit to him. Kenny shuffled his paws awkwardly. "No thanks, Jethro... I'm not really-" He was interrupted by the wolf. "This isn't a request. This is a demand. Eat." He growled slightly, which startled the cat. He sat down and began to eat the rabbit. He didn't realize how starving he actually was until he took that first bite. Jethro watched him devour the food quickly. By now he had quit growling and now had a slight smile on his face. "Now, I want you to make a choice. Either go to visit with more energy or stay and sleep on a full stomach. Dusty told me your appetite has been awful lately." He stopped eating to look at him. "Well, Dusty is a damn snitch." He replied before continuing to eat. He finally finished eating and looked at Jethro. "Thanks. I guess I should go visit Honey..." He stood up and stretched. Jethro nodded. "I'll be here." Once again, Kenny made his way out of the Junkyard, but instead of following the gravel path, he followed a small dirt path that led to the suburban areas of town close to where he lived.

    He walked down the street when he found the house at the end of the street. It was nicer than most of the other houses in the neighborhood and noticeably larger, but distanced quite a ways from the other houses. Kenny sighed and approached the fence, squeezing himself through the iron bar gate with ease. A dog started barking nearby. When the dog saw it was Kenny, he stopped. "Evenin, mistah Kenny." The old Cane Corso greeted him and laid down. "Jonas! How are you? How are your pups?" Kenny wandered over to Jonas. The dog smiled. "They's doin' well. They's all grown now. Sunshine is gettin' strongah all th' time." He couldn't help but notice Jonas's appearance. He was older in age, and he was beginning to become more frail. His face and muzzle were growing gray, but the light never left his kind old eyes. "Ya mom's inside." "Thanks.. I'll see you later." He walked inside to find Honey. The house was grand in every aspect except for most of the other feline residents' personalities. This was the kind of house where the sofas were worth more than all the cars in the junkyard when they were still brand new. Kenny heard voices coming from the room that was specifically for the cats, so he went in that direction, nudging the cat flap open so he may enter. His mother was talking with a black cat. A kitten sat besides him, and in the back, two female cats about the same age as him tussled in the back. "Kenny!" The tiny kit suddenly noticed him and ran over, pouncing on him. Kenny laughed and fell backwards. "Castiel! You're getting big!" Honey and the black cat turned their attention to him. "Kennedy! My baby boy! My sweet son!" She smiled and approached him. Castiel got off of him and he sat up, smile fading. Honey had the sweetest smile on her face. Kenny was not even remotely convinced about it's authenticity. "Hi, Honey..." He sighed. The black cat approached as well. The two of them sat in front of Kenny. "Kennedy! This is Keith. You obviously met Castiel before, and you've heard of Keith. Here he is in the fur!" She purred. Kenny locked eyes with his supposed stepfather. As far as he knew, Kenny's father had been given to another wealthy family out of town as he had medical problems that the current family here didn't have time to keep up with. Afterwards, Keith had met Honey and had Castiel with her. Never had he actually met the tom up until this point, though. Keith made Kenny very, very uneasy. "Kennedy, huh? Your mother told me about you." He smiled slightly, but his demeanor showed he was slightly hostile towards the ginger tom. "Uhm, yes. I've heard good things about you... Keith..." He hesitated slightly before he said his name. "I must leave you and your mother alone... There was something she wanted to talk to you about. Let's go, Castiel." Castiel followed his father out of the room along with his two sisters. Before they left, Keith flashed him a soul-freezing glance. Kenny shivered slightly.

    "So, Kennedy... How have you been doing?" Honey asked. His attention snapped back to her. "Uh, fine... Look, just cut the crap and tell me why you wanted to talk to me. You never want to." Kenny sighed. Honey's smile disappeared and the friendliness in her eyes vanished. There's the look that she always gave him that he knew so well. "Okay, well... You know this virus has been going on." She started. "Riiiight? And?" Kenny asked, unsure of what she was hinting at. "And you live in the wild with those fleapelts-" "Okay, okay, let me stop you right there." Kenny interrupted. "First of all, don't call them fleapelts. That's actually pretty damn rude to them and me and we discussed that. Second of all, I am not moving back in with you, hell or high water." He looked at her dead in the eyes. "What's the reason you want me to move back in anyway, huh?" Honey acted like she was almost offended. "I'm trying to protect you from that plague! Plus, your family misses you so dearly! Don't you love us too? Don't you love Daisy and Lucy? Don't you love Castiel? Don't you love me?!" She growled, but Kenny rolled his eyes. "Just like you had to 'protect' me from everything after they sent dad away? And tried to protect me from my own aunt? Besides, you guys treat me like crap, especially you. Castiel is the only one who treats me kindly here! That's sad, Honey!" Kenny snarled. His pelt bristled in anger. Honey's pelt began to bristle as well. From the doorways, his sisters Lucy and Daisy watched with slightly disgusted looks. "You absolutely disrespectful kit! All I am trying to do is protect you from the awful wild and the disease, and you're being a disobedient and awful child!" She hissed and stood up. He was too stunned and angry to do anything. "Instead, rather than coming home after Angela died, you choose to abandon us for a team of fleapelts." She circled him slowly. His eyes followed her, but he otherwise didn't move. "You ran off and achieved what? Nothing! You could've lived a fabulous life here, you know. All the food, warmth, attention... You could've had it all. You had to become like your deadbeat father, just running away from the ones who love you for a life not worth living." Adrenaline and rage filled every vein in the young tom's body. He had to resist the urge to physically lash his claws at her. Hearing about his father, though, caused him to jump up and stare Honey in the eyes again, causing her to stop pacing. "Dad was sick! That's why he was sent away! He didn't abandon us!" Honey laughed hollowly. "You seriously think your father was sick? He left one night and didn't tell anyone. He just acted sick so you three wouldn't learn that he abandoned us, just like you are right now." Kenny couldn't take hearing all of this. hundreds of thoughts and emotions swirled through his head, none good. "It's fucking pathetic if you think this is love." were the only words he could manage through the seething rage that filled his body. "Don't expect me back. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Not ever. And don't even consider yourself my mother. As far as I am concerned, I don't have one. Castiel is the only cat in this family who actually cares about me being here. Don't you dare even try to come talking to me either. I'm sick of yours and everyone else's shit here." With that, he turned and trotted out of the room, slightly shoving his sisters out of the way. Honey didn't try to go after him. His sisters did, however. "You're selfish and cruel, Kennedy. You know mother loves and misses you." Daisy hissed at him. "Yeah. You're just like dad. You abandoned us." Lucy growled. He just ignored them and kept walking. He left the house, not even bothering to stop and talk to Jonas, who would've been asleep anyhow.

    The walk back to the junkyard felt like eternity. He had to walk slow, though, to let his anger and anguish simmer down. The entire walk back, he just cried silently. As he approached the junkyard, he gave himself a moment to try and choke back any tears remaining. As soon as he felt like he had a strong enough reign on his emotions, he entered the junkyard. At the entrance sat Dusty. "Kenny! How did it go?" He asked him. "It went fine." was all Kenny could say and he tried to walk by him. The badger began to walk besides him. "Ken, are you alright?" Dusty asked, worry in his voice and eyes. "N-Never been better!" His voice cracked as he walked faster. Dusty stopped several feet behind him and watched him enter their shared car.

    Dusty watched Kenny enter the car the two of them shared. He knew he was lying and deeply shaken and upset by something, so he went to find Jethro. He found the wolf standing guard by one of the cars close to a small exit. "Uhm, Jethro? I would like to resign my post for the night..." He was nervous to do so. He was worried Jethro would think he was trying to dodge his responsibilities. After all, he didn't see how Kenny came into the junkyard trying to dodge him. "Why? Do you feel ill?" Jethro flicked an ear. "No, but... Kenny just came back from talking to Honey, and I'm just really worried about him." He admitted and shuffled his paws. Jethro looked at him, clearly thinking as he made subtle expressions with his face. After thinking, he responded. "Alright. Just have Stella take your post. Be kind to her when you do so- She won't be pleased to be woken up." Dusty nodded and walked over to Stella's truck, hoping she wouldn't be too angry with him. When he knocked on the back window, and the groggy fox appeared from the window, he explained the situation to her. "Fine. You owe me for this, fuzzbutt." She sighed and crawled out. He thanked her, going off to find Kenny.

    As soon as he was in, Kenny laid down and sighed, trying to control the tears that threatened to spill over. He tried to pretend to be asleep as he heard Dusty enter a little bit later. The badger sighed and laid besides him, curling around him and nudging him gently. "Ken, look at me... I know you aren't asleep..." His voice was soft and comforting to the cat. He just barely looked up to lock eyes with the badger. "Are you sure you're okay? He asked. It broke him. He suddenly broke down and cried hard, burying his face into the badger's shoulder. "Its alright... Im here." He mumbled. "Do you want to tell me what happened?" The tom started explaining everything that happened between sobs. Dusty's eyes darkened as he told him. "Who would think this is an okay thing to do to one of their own children? I'm sorry, Kenny..." He rested his head on his back on his shoulders. He stayed close to him as he continued to cry and shake. "Why does she hate me s-so much?" He whimpered. The question startled Dusty and caused the previously dark look to be replaced with a pained and sad look. "I don't know..." he finally responded, sighing. Eventually he became so tired that he could only cry silently with a feeling of defeat in his body. "I know you're tired... I'll stay with you. Just know that... Try to sleep, alright?" Dusty mumbled to him. Kenny sighed. "Alright..." He closed his eyes finally and fell into an uneasy sleep.

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