Mochi isn't your usual house cat; the first indication of this is that he's a Japanese Bobtail calico. And most calico's aren't male. However, other than this minor detail, Mochi was actually originally raised on the streets as a stray - the same as Tadashi and Hiro. The only difference between the Hamada bros and Mochi though, is that Mochi never grew up with his parents.

They had died when he was a kitten, before he was even capable of sight. All things considered, Mochi shouldn't have survived. But he did. He'd had to fight tooth and nail to carve his niche into the world - had to climb to the top of the trash pile and make a name for himself. And that name?

Big. Boss. Calico.

Far and wide, cats all over San Fran knew his title and feared his no-holds-barred scrap fighting. For years he was left unchallenged; he had the largest territory, got the most food, and had the most females during mating season.

This all changed however, when a newbie named Yama rose up out of nowhere and challenged the Big Boss Calico to an all-or-nothing fight, announcing it for all of the back streets to know. It was to take place in a secluded lot where no one could interfere, and the cat who returned after sundown would be the winner. The loser was to be left for dead.

Filled with his years of unchallenged pride, Mochi accepted the challenge, naively believing the juvenile Yama would be just like the rest of the power-hungry cats he had faced before... He hadn't exactly been wrong.

When Mochi had arrived at the secluded lot to face Yama, mano-a-mano (cato-a-cato?), he was greeted not by the cat who had issued the challenge, but by an ambush of Yama's goons; they had all ganged up on him from behind, their numbers going at about thirty strong. Mochi fought them well beyond sundown, struggling to take them all down by himself (and even then, Mochi knocked out more than half).

The unfortunate thing though, was that while the calico was fending off Yama's troop of thugs, Yama himself strolled onto the back streets of San Fransokyo, unharmed and alone once the sun started to set. Not knowing of Yama's dirty tricks, the strays accepted Yama as the superior cat and made him the new "Big Boss". After that, it was the talk of the streets for weeks to follow - the Big Boss had fallen to some wet-behind-the-ears cat: the Siberian tabby Yama.

Mochi was at his ultimate low at that time, limping from the wounds he had sustained from the fight, and shamed from the back streets; he struggled to hunt for himself with his injuries, and by the time he was nearly starved to death, he was found by a human. They took him home, gave him food, tended his injuries, and then fed him some more. It was love at third (cat-safe) doughnut.

Later on, after Mochi fully recovers, he wakes up from a nap to realize he's seated in a human's lap with a collar around his neck and a new family to protect. His heart is made up then and there to stay with his human.

Yama and Mochi have a few run-ins after that, and while Yama is still king on the streets, Mochi finds that he doesn't regret being pushed off his throne - it plopped him right into the lap of the most nicest person he would ever find: Cass. Since then, Mochi completely left behind the street life for the domestic life, content on playing companion for his saviour and watching out for his now significantly smaller - but so much more precious - territory.

Paw Print 03 - Big Boss Calico


Thundering laughter followed Tadashi around the corner of the alley, chasing him as closely as the three fog-streaked figures nipping at his tail. He couldn't outrun them - not while carrying Hiro. They needed to find a place to hide. At least until Tadashi could avoid confrontation with Yama and his goons.

A pained whine came from Hiro, and Tadashi belatedly realized his jaw was setting, pinching his brother's scruff between his canines. With a hastily mumbled apology and broken reassurances, Tadashi made a sharp right into their fourth alley, nicking his shoulder on the crumbling brick. He barely had enough time to grunt before Yama's goons were upon them again, turning the corner with noisy whoops of excitement.

Growling in frustration, Tadashi picked up speed, sprinting down the rest of the narrow space and clearing the upcoming wooden fence in two vertical strides. Landing almost soundlessly on the other side, the elder Hamada didn't bother looking over his shoulder to check if the thugs were still in pursuit.

They were. He knew they were.

In the spare few seconds he had, Tadashi shuffled on his belly under the closest dumpster he could find and, as soon as he saw it would be to his advantage, slid into a little nick in the wall. Hopefully the reek of garbage would be enough to hide their scent.

The clatter of unsteady paws falling over the fence echoed off the buildings' sides, and the elder Hamada desperately tried to mute his laboured breathing into the fur of Hiro's neck. His brother was limp and nearly unresponsive at his side, though still shivering - still alive.

The black cat fought down the panic roiling in his chest. They had to find a place to get warm quick. Otherwise Tadashi wouldn't make in time and Hiro would either freeze to death or be taken away from him.

Neither was an option.

A rumble of confused chatter had Tadashi slinking further into the little niche in the stained brick wall, silently folding Hiro away between his forepaws and purring lowly in the back of his throat; he honestly wasn't sure who it was he was trying to reassure anymore - himself or Hiro.

Tadashi held his breath when the three cats stiffened, all of them turning towards the fence. A loud thump and a low growl signaled Yama's arrival.

"Well? Where's the runt?" Tadashi heard the other cat ask, the Siberian's feathered tail visible from where the Hamada's hid under the dumpster. It was flicking back and forth in irritation.

Yama's goons shuffled together as one in a collectively nervous movement. "Uh, w-well the thing is Boss, we kinda- we kinda lost them?"

A muffled thwack and a stifled yowl made Tadashi jump. Yama had hit one of his goons. The cat was lying on his belly now, grovelling and admitting submission. His head was low enough to the floor that if he twisted his head any further right, he would spot both brothers.

Jinxed it, Tadashi thought sourly as the goon did just that. The cat's ears flipped back in surprise, pupils slitting and ugly grin working its way past his jagged fangs. "Hey Boss, guess what?"

Yama grunted.

"Found 'em," the orange-striped thug sneered, lunging towards the dumpster.

His dirty paws swiped at the two, and immediately the older Hamada clamped onto Hiro's neck scruff and scrambled out from under the garbage bin, a chorus of yowling and chatters following after the black cats.

Streaking across the road, Tadashi ducked under oncoming cars and dodged around rolling wheels. He wasn't surprised that the risky move did nothing to deter his pursuers. Any good alley cat could cross the street during rush hour. Right now was the dead of early morning; this must have been a piece of tuna for them.

Still, the elder Hamada continued sprinting despite his front legs stumbling from Hiro's dead weight. He was tiring now, and with each yard he crossed, he was getting more desperate. Distantly, Tadashi considered his odds of winning if he were to just stop running around like a headless chicken and fight them. He quickly scrapped the idea; there were too many risks involved.

There were four of them and one of him, and if he lost the fight or got distracted, Hiro would be taken from right under his whiskers. He had to find a way to protect Hiro no matter the cost - hopefully within the budget of keeping both of them alive and together.

Racing into the next alley way he could find, Tadashi slipped on a slick patch of frost, hitting the pavement and scraping his side on cold concrete. Hiro shivered, still in his older brother's unwavering grip. The cackles of Yama and his goons were getting closer. They were catching up with them.

Tadashi staggered onto four paws, shaking from exertion. He couldn't stop here. Whipping around with the intent to race down the rest of the narrow street, the black cat twitched in surprise and faltered when he was met with a dead-end brick wall.

"There he is! The brat too!" Came from behind him.

They were trapped.

Maybe now was a good idea to revisit that plan to stop running around like a headless chicken and just fight the strays.

Far above the gathering crowd of alley cats, one lone feline hummed tunelessly under his breath, lounging on the sill of an open window - playing sentinel to his human's cooling pie.

A thud of a body hitting the concrete below him caught the calico's drifting attention, and soon a loud, familiar raucous set alarm bells ringing in his head. Ears pricked upright and alert, the cat peered over the edge of his window sill, taking in a sight that sent resentment and disgust rippling through his pelt.

Shifting onto all fours, the cat waited for the perfect moment to strike, then jumped.

They were taking Hiro away. They couldn't take Hiro away. Not like this - not when he was so vulnerable; not when his little kitten was putting up as best a fight he could in his weakened state, pleading mewls and minute struggles making him sway back and forth - hanging from a mouth that wasn't Tadashi's.

Yama wasn't even holding him right - his teeth were pressing in too hard; his grip was so far up on Hiro's neck, it was almost at the base of the kitten's soft skull, way too close to the jugular. Tadashi could only bet it was because Yama was too used to killing.

The elder Hamada struggled to get his paws underneath him. Everything hurt. He was probably bleeding from the scratches on his side, and it was definitely teeth marks that made his hide sting. "Give Hiro back," Tadashi panted, chest tight and throbbing in slow waves of pain. Something was most likely sprained, if not broken.

"No can do, Zero. No one - and I mean no one," the siberian tabby hissed, "refuses Yama."

The stray's crooked lips pulled back into an unsavoury smirk, revealing yellowing canines. Tadashi's stomach rolled. That mouth didn't look right flashing around the dark velvet black of Hiro's scruff.

Tadashi swayed onto his paws, but could barely even shift a muscle before there were claws and teeth digging into his flesh again. The black cat cried out, tail twitching pathetically before that too was clamped down on.

"Enough," Yama ordered. The mauling stopped, but the pressure didn't lift. The three goons were a heavy weight on Tadashi's back, pushing their filthy paws into the most uncomfortable places on his body.

"Y'know, I have to thank you, Zero," the tabby grinned, cruel laughter dancing in his voice. "Without you, it would have taken me a lot longer to find a runt to shut Mama up." Yama let out a deep-throated chuckle, his fat belly jiggling along with his misplaced mirth. "Say bye-bye to your kitten, runt - you won't be seeing him again." The cat turned to go, mocking tone still ringing in Tadashi's ears and tail signalling a final, silent command.

The goons leered at him, eyeing him like he was a piece of meat before resuming their mauling. Gritting his teeth, Tadashi tried to keep Hiro in his sights despite the tears of pain that clouded his vision. He needed to use that big brain of his to think of a way out of this, fast - find a new angle to save his little brother before Yama took him away for good!

He wasn't giving up - not on Hiro. Never on Hiro.

But how!? How was he supposed to turn this situation around? How was he going to-?

A dark shadow flickered in Tadashi's field of vision, falling from the sky in a ball of blurred white-black-orange onto the Siberian tabby. A screech of rage left Yama, and the stray bucked the weight off his back, dropping Hiro in a limp pile as he spun on his surprise attacker. "Who dares attack Yama?" he yowled, chest sticking out and tail held high.

Yama stiffened as he took in the figure of a stout calico - a Japanese bobtail, from the looks of it - before slouching into a defensive stance a second later. "If it isn't the Big Boss Calico himself," he spoke up with derisive care, whiskers twitching uneasily.

Above him, Tadashi felt Yama's goons freeze and slide slowly onto their belies - almost as if in preparation to submit to the new cat.

The calico lifted his gaze and slightly shifted his head to the side to keep Yama out of his blind spot. The effect was a regal downturn of his snout, a look of disdain passing through emerald green eyes. "I thought I told you that this area was off limits to you and your goons, Yama," he said, sitting back on his haunches.

The hairs on Tadashi's neck lifted and bristled; the cat's voice was low, powerful, and controlled. It wasn't yet a growl, but even without the sound, the threat in his words were clear.

The Siberian tabby didn't seem to hear the threat. He sneered and began to circle the other, haunches rising and sloping in a predatory stalk. "Who are you to talk? You're no better than a lapdog now, Calico. I've taken your title as Big Boss from you a long time ago; you don't belong on these streets," Yama hissed.

The mysterious cat's tail flicked up in interest at the unsaid challenge, and Yama's goons jolted, their scruffs rising and tails frizzing. The scent of fear was rolling off them in heavy waves and Tadashi absently wondered if he should be scared with them.

"It's true that I don't belong on these streets anymore," the Japanese bobtail agreed, "but we all know you're the only one with lapdogs here." A quick glance at the goons on Tadashi's back, and they were slinking back, tails held low and eyes looking anywhere but him.

Yama too, seemed to shrink back at the words - tail drooping and ears folding back before he suddenly seemed to remember himself. Standing tall in an attempt to seem more intimidating and powerful, the tabby stepped forward, back curved and claws out. "Watch your tongue - I'm the boss here; You're just a fat, old house cat."

The calico remained unfazed at the words, a haughty smirk working its way past the Japanese bobtail's canines. His eyes roved once-over Yama's form. "I see you haven't looked in a mirror anytime recently," he scoffed.

The Siberian tabby's face contorted in anger, gait slowing and becoming tense.

"If anything, I would have thought you were the fat old house cat," the calico continued, riling up the other even further. "You look more like a potato than a cat, in fact!"

Yama roared in anger at the final insult, and there was a quick flurry of motion that the bleary-eyed Tadashi couldn't completely follow. Yama pounced, paws outstretched and teeth ready to rip into flesh. The calico however, had not moved from his spot; he merely lifted a mighty paw before thwacking Yama over the ear. The sound of the blow was solid and painful, and the Siberian hit the pavement with a sound of shock.

Tadashi watched as the tabby rose on shaky paws, indignation rising at the sight of the calico's fur laying flat across his back - slick, calm, in full control of the situation; he wasn't the least bit ruffled.

"Leave, Yama. This is my territory, and you know what happens to any unwelcome cat that trespasses on my land." The calico rose off his haunches, standing on all four paws in what Tadashi could only describe as an omnipotent stance.

The goons were the first to abandon. Yama was not far behind once his support left, and as soon as the weight was lifted off his back, Tadashi scrambled around the calico cat and to Hiro's side, tenderly scooping him up into his jaws. The elder Hamada's heart nearly stopped in his chest. Hiro's shivering was no longer there, and now he was almost eerily still, no matter how Tadashi called for him. Horror filled Tadashi's stomach. Was he too late?

The elder Hamada startled when emerald green orbs filled his vision and the weight of his little brother was taken out of his slackening mouth.

"Wait! Don't take him away!" Tadashi pleaded, voice wheezing out of him in a rush and paws stumbling over each other in his haste to reclaim his little brother.

The bobtail paused to look over his shoulder when the black cat crumpled to his knees in pain. "Please, he's all I've got left..."

Raising a curious brow, the calico cocked his head towards an open window high up the alley wall. The smell of warmth spilled out of the little opening. "I'm not taking the little one away from you," he explained, "but I need to get up there if he's going to last the night."

He jumped from the ground to the garbage can in one swift movement, and climbed onto the dumpster's lid in the next. Without looking back to see if Tadashi was following him, he took a final large leap up onto the window sill, hauling his round body over the edge with a given grace. In the blink of an eye, he was disappearing inside - Hiro in tow.

The black cat made a distressed noise and clambered onto the garbage can despite his aching body. If it meant saving Hiro, Tadashi would follow.