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Exploding Cats

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“How’s that new guy doing? Both of you settling in nicely?” Shouto asked him as they sat outside a Starbucks around the corner of Izuku’s apartment, his hands cupping his steaming coffee cup tightly.

Izuku swallows a bite of his chocolate croissant, a sigh escaping his lips when he feels the warm chocolate filling linger in his mouth. He sucks at his frappe a bit before responding. “He’s… Good. I think. I mean, I’ve… Uh— cats aren’t like dogs?”

Shouto snorts. “Uh, yeah, they aren’t.”

Izuku narrowed his bright emerald eyes at his friend, “Of course, I meant more… Like… I never grew up with a cat, though. Mom and Toshi both loved dogs. She never would’ve guessed that I’d adopt a kitten.”

“Tell Inko and Toshinori I say hello, by the way. I swear, even though you guys aren’t blood-related, you both act the same. Both always breaking bones, bright eyes, always crying—”

Izuku quickly interjected. “Hey! The bones breaking is in the past now! High school sports are deadly… I can’t say much about the crying part… All three of us can fill the oceans with our tears,” Izuku chuckled. “Toshi’s a good guy, I’ll tell them both if you promise to stop spreading rumors.”

“Can only promise so much, Izuku. Now, for spreading rumors, that’s more of Ochako’s forte, right?” Shouto sipped at his coffee, his lips lingering at the mouth of the plastic lid. 

They both fell into a comfortable silence afterwards, the autumn air already dropping by the minute, the breeze gaining more force. Izuku shivered involuntarily, already regretting his cold coffee drink. “Have you heard from Hitoshi lately? I feel like he’d like to visit to see the cat.”

Shouto hummed in agreement, “I can ask Tenya. I’m sure Mei keeps in touch with our insomniac friend. Tenya tries to get Mei to sleep too, from what I’ve heard. And seen on her late night Snap stories.”

“Tenya should just give up already, the girl will never sleep.” Izuku chuckled and uncapped his dome lid to chug the rest of the drink down. He smacked the now empty cup down on the cool metal of the table, another harsh shiver vibrated his body from head to toe. 

“It’s already November and you’re still religiously chugging down those slushies. Get sick, I guess. Inko will probably kill you if I take you to the Emergency Room.”

“I’ll manage…,” Izuku said confidently, before adding a soft, “I think.”

Shouto snorted as he scooted his chair back, the metal feet scratching against the cold cement like nails on a chalkboard. “Gotta stay a good body temp for the new kitty. You know if ya brought the little noodle to your parents that All Might will tear him to shreds. That dog is terrifying.”

“All Might is not terrifying. You’re just a coward and a fool,” Izuku stood up stiffly, wrapping his jacket closer to himself to create some heat. “You’re just scared of that old mutt because Enji only had cats.”

“Don’t forget that little pigeon, Hawks.”

Izuku snorted which only caused him to cough into the cool air. “How can I forget your little Hawks? Why did you even name a pigeon that?”

“Can you blame me? The old cat’s name was Endeavor! What kinda shitty name is that?”

The pair paused before laughing out, Izuku moving quickly to Shouto’s “warm side” and cuddling closer as Shouto wrapped his left arm around his shoulders. “Are ya heading to your Mom’s now?”

Shouto shook his head, “I told her I’ll be late today. She told me to visit her tomorrow morning instead. I’m sure the hospital wouldn’t enjoy another late night visit from me. Plus, I wanna see Baku.”

“He might not like you, just a warning. He scratched Mom’s arm when she picked him up.”

“Oh, so I guess now I gotta defend Inko’s honor. Would you call the police if I wrestled your cat?”

Izuku gasped and looked up at Shouto’s mismatched eyes. “That’s abuse! Mr. Todoroki, that’s not professional in the slightest. What would your father say?”

“Don’t make me laugh, Izuku. The old bastard’ll probably send me away like he did with Mom,” Shouto snickered before sighing when he watched Izuku’s face fall. “I won’t wrestle the cat. Maybe play wrestle, but nothing too violent. I promise.”

Izuku held out his pinkie, his hand cold and shaky. Shouto rolled his eyes and scoffed at the childish action before linking his own warm pinkie and hooking them together tightly. “Let’s go inside already, you look like a block of ice.”

Izuku took that as an invitation to run around the corner to his apartment building, quickly sliding through the front door and waiting by the stairs inside for his friend. He saw Shouto move swiftly inside, cracking open the door a bit to slide inside, then shedding off his puffy jacket as the warm lobby air hit him. They both went upstairs to Izuku’s floor, and turned the staircase to the other side, stopping in front of his door.

“Have you signed your new lease yet? It would suck if they rented out 1-A already to some other folks,” Shouto joked, teasing Izuku about his rental problems from the year before.

Izuku glared at him, before turning around to slip off his bulky red sneakers by his door. He beelined straight to his AC unit, turning on the heater to warm up quicker.

“Where’s the little guy?” Shouto questioned into the empty living room.

“He should…,” Izuku dropped to his knees roughly, he hissed as he looked under the couch, “if he’s not under here, he should be in my bedroom.”

“Are you sure I can’t defend Inko’s honor?” Izuku glared at him with a frown. Shouto held his hands up in surrender. “Fine, fine. I’ll get him.”

“Use food to lure him out if he’s under the bed!” Shouto heard Izuku call out as he moved to the small hallway. 

“I’m still gunna wrestle that bastard, no one hurts Inko on my watch,” Shouto grumbled when he opened the door to Izuku’s bedroom, his eyes scanning the bright, yet extremely messy, bedroom. He saw an orange tail slip under the bed quickly, and Shouto smirked. 

He dove under the bed, not before baseball sliding to the front of it, feeling his knees scrape against his jeans and the curly carpet underneath him. He hissed from the sting and the fact that the cat escaped just as quickly.

Shouto cursed, Izuku yelling out, “Are you okay?” in concern. “I’m fine, the brat is smart and fast. The bastard.” Taking in a steady breath, Shouto pressed against the floor to sit up criss-cross, his red-and-white hair peeking just above Izuku’s thick comforter. He heard some heavy movements on the mattress in front of him and he held back a laugh as he jumped forward to catch Baku.

Shouto didn’t feel a flurry of cat hair in his arms. No. Instead he felt skin and a leg. He looked up, swallowing back another string of curses when his eyes met bright red ones on a human face. A naked human male.

“Hey, what’dya do with Deku?” Baku asked.

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“Uh…,” Shouto froze. The very naked man laying on Izuku’s bed was definitely not a cat. “Izuku?” He called out, keeping his gaze strictly on the man’s pretty face. Nope, not lower. Don’t you dare look down, Shouto.

Izuku took his time to get to his bedroom, not even batting a surprised look at the blonde. “Oh, yeah. Baku does that. Some tragic backstory or something, or at least that’s what he told me when I woke up a couple days ago.”

Shouto swallowed, wanting someone to slap himself awake from this weird fever dream. “And… You just— just let him stay?!”

“I adopted him! I can’t just abandon him, Shouto! Who knows what other asshole would adopt him?” Izuku’s voice shook and Shouto saw tears already forming at the corners of his eyes. Izuku heard Shouto sigh in defeat, moving his hands to wipe Izuku’s excess tears. “I don’t want to give him back… The shelter was about to give him to a vet to, to—”

“Yeah, yeah. You wanna save everything,” Shouto interrupted, knowing about his green-haired friend’s hero complex. “Does Inko or Toshi know? Anyone else?”

Izuku swallowed. “I don’t think they know. Mom wants to stay away a bit anyways. Let Baku get comfortable and settle into the apartment before she comes back with Toshi.”

Baku cleared his throat loudly, annoyed that they weren’t including him in their conversation. “Hey asshats. If you’re gunna continue talking ‘bout me, at least fuckin’ include me.”

“Put on your clothes, Baku. You know where they are,” Izuku retorted without giving the man a sideways glance. “When you’re presentable we’ll continue this in the living room.” Izuku dragged Shouto out of his bedroom by his long sleeves, closing the door behind him.

“Why didn’t you say anything earlier? I’d rather not be that close to some dude’s dick without some alcohol and shitty pick up lines first,” Shouto questioned with a humorous bite at the end.

Izuku cracked a smile at his comment before swallowing. “I, uh… Didn’t really know he could do that up until… Uh, about two days ago? I went to sleep with him purring on my stomach; woke up the next morning being the little spoon to a jocky blonde.” A nervous laugh made its way out of his mouth, a faint blush coloring his cheeks. “Awkward. Very awkward.

Before Shouto could add his two cents about awkward, Izuku’s bedroom door cracked open noisily and Baku made his way into the living room with a confident stride. “So, what now?” Shouto asked instead.

“Nothin’, Halfie. Don’t talk ‘bout this shit with anyone, got it?” The blonde hissed out.

Izuku tried holding back a giggle, covering his mouth poorly with his scarred hand. Baku sent a fiery glare his way and Izuku snorted. “Don’t get mad!” He waved his hands around in the air, trying to lighten the atmosphere. “It’s just—you look so cute and peaceful when you sleep, but then… you, uh—you talk like you’re the king of the world.”

Shouto stifled a chuckle with a tight smile, watching Baku’s frown deepen. “Hey, hey, Izuku don’t get your little kitten upset, he’ll scratch you!” Shouto couldn’t hold back the snide comment even if he could.

Baku growled deeply, his sharp nails digging into the surface of the old wooden table. “Don’t make fun of me, fucker!” 

“Don’t scratch the table! Mom’s gonna get pissed!” Izuku cried out in between the two glaring boys. When he looked sternly at Baku, really staring into his rosy red eyes, he cleared his throat. His owner only replaced his stern frown with a bright smile when Baku scoffed and dropped his focus on Shouto.

“Yer lucky I haven’t bolted Deku, even if I could without getting sent to the labs, I totally would,” Baku rolled his eyes at his bright-eyed owner. 

“You’ve been saying that since I’ve seen you like this. It’s not much of a threat anymore. Try harder.” Izuku turned his focus back to his friend, who just stared in awe at this whole situation. “So… Did you see any new movies? Catching up on Star Wars and Jurassic Park?”

Shouto sighed before answering. “My shitty dad saw me watch JP and wanted to join. With the fuckin’ cat. I swear, that asshole doesn’t understand how long it takes to remove his long ass cat hair from everything I own.”

Baku scoffed and quickly shut up when Izuku sent him another glare. “Enji means well… I hope. Maybe next time ask Rei? I think she’ll enjoy watching them with you, if you ask first.”

“I think so,” Shouto starts, rolling the idea around in his head, “plus, that sourpuss is going to seriously injure my eye! I don’t like having a patch over half my face from some bloody scrapes!”

Izuku smiled at that, having already been well accustomed to Enji’s prized cat, Endeavor. “The cat hates you. He hates me too. He’ll probably hate Baku. The cat most definitely only likes Enji cause that’s who feeds him. Enji treats the fur-ball like a god.”

“I hate that what you just said is completely true.” Shouto groans, hanging his head forward in defeat. 

“I guess I should tell you some things about this guy, huh?” Izuku states to Shouto, throwing his thumb backwards to point back at Baku. Shouto nodded slowly, not really understanding the entire thing. “Okay, so… ah— I don’t even really know either. He doesn’t spill much, so he’s no help.”

Baku growled at Izuku, offended at his statement. “Excuse you, I know I probably don’t look it, but I have some semblance of how to switch back and forth and shit.”

Izuku glanced over, curious as Shouto asked, “Okay, well, can you tell us?”

Baku coughed, uncharacteristically not liking being in the spotlight, even though he set himself up for it. “Uh, there’s certain… Certain shit that happens? Yeah. Like, if I’m in my normal form for too long, my ears will show and my tail forms again.”

Izuku raised his hand to interrupt him, “Wait… ‘Normal form’? The kitten form isn’t your—isn’t your ‘go-to’ form?”

“Hah?!” Baku sounded offended. “Fuck, no! This is ‘cause of some stupid lab experiments! The bratty asshole kid that had me before I ran away had a cat that had a litter and I went to pick up a kitty! The fucker’s dad decided to play Frankenstein and experimented!” Baku shivered, feeling the memories of needles and cold metals on his pale skin. “It was like I was—fucking, Nina Tucker and her fucking dog.”

“I understood that reference,” Shouto muttered, before giving Baku a sad look. “Hold on, aren’t those experiments very prototype?”

“Yeah, as in: don’t fucking do it in your fucking nasty basement. The fucker thought he’d win like a Nobel Peace Prize or something… Then he gifted me like I was some god damn puppy on Christmas morning to his brat.” 

Izuku shuddered. “Well! I’m done with depressing shit today! Shouto, are you staying over tonight or are you heading back? I’ll make dinner if you’re hungry. I was gonna call Ochako ‘bout those rumors. Can’t soil my already bad reputation with her gossip.”

Shouto blinked before answering. “I think I’ll stay. You’ve got the new Star Wars movies right?”

Izuku nodded excitedly. “Good! I’ve got some theories about Han and Leia,” Shouto smirked as he cracked his knuckles.

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Shouto ended up staying overnight and into the next day’s afternoon. Baku was going to lose his mind if he heard one more thing about Rey’s and Kylo Ren’s future relationship. 

“Who the fuck cares about two space nerds fighting in space about some past family drama? This whole series is bullshit.” Baku throws the TV remote at Deku, growling at him to change the channel when he catches it. 

“Baku, please, he needs to catch up with the nerd cultures! The poor boy doesn’t understand much!” Izuku teased. “Weren’t you into any of this stuff when you weren’t, uh… Like this?”

“Gotta be the best, there’s no relax time for this crap. Any time I would spend obsessing over this I could be either sleeping or working.”

Shouto cracked a smile. “No wonder you’ve got a whole ass tree trunk up your ass.”

Baku stood up quickly, his eyes narrowed darkly and his face an angry red. “I’m going out. I’ll be back, and when I am, this half-assed bastard better kick the curb. Bye asshole and Deku.” Baku turned around to Izuku’s bedroom to change out of his lounge clothes, opened the window and jumped out without closing it back.

Izuku swallowed, pointing to his open bedroom. “I’m gonna— I’ll close that.”

“You should get him microchipped. Buy a little collar and bell for him too,” Shouto commented when he saw Izuku move back towards his small living room.

“I’d have to ask if he’s okay with that first, I think. I think when he’s in his ‘normal form’ we can find each other with our phones… But with him as a cat would be harder.” Izuku slumped against his couch, already lost in thought.

Shouto hummed and scooted near him, his mind’s gears running as well, but for an entirely different reason. “Do you think the Skywalker legacy will be carried over with Ben and Rey?”

Izuku groaned, “It was a mistake to let you watch all those movies.”

Shouto left an hour later, with three missed—ignored—calls from his dad and left two voicemails for his mom to let her know he was heading over. Izuku walked him outside with a rushed shuffle before yelling out a “good bye!” and shutting the lobby door behind him. Izuku stiffly moved his body back up the stairs to his apartment, the minute outside already too much for his frail bones and bare legs.

“Shoulda slipped on jeans instead of these old shorts,” the man mumbled as he made a burrito blanket nest on his couch, efficiently wrapping himself in everything remotely warm in his little apartment. 

He didn’t realize that he slipped into a warm nap criss-cross on his couch, the only thing waking him up was scratching on his front door. Izuku wiped at his eyes a bit, still thinking he was dreaming about god-knows-what, until he heard a long mewl and a loud thump that could’ve been considered a body slam of sorts.

“I’m comin’, comin’… Jeez,” Izuku yelled out sluggishly, instantly upset when a cool AC breeze hit his exposed legs and arms. He looked through the peep-hole of his door, the fisheye glass not really giving him the view of below. Izuku sighed and unlocked his door, the mewling on the other side stopping instantly as Izuku wrestled with the stiff frame.

The cat, Baku, brought over a guest. The green-haired man yawned as he watched a dog pick up Baku by his neck and carry him inside, the dog’s tail wagging happily even when Baku started to hiss and scratch at the mutt’s nose.

The dog then let go of Baku, and Izuku watched the little kitten land gracefully on his four paws, before he ran across the room to jump on top of the kitchen table from one of his chairs. The cat meowed, almost sounding annoyed that he brought home the dog.

“Well, why’d ya bring him home?” Izuku questioned the cat, giving the red-haired dog a sideways glance.

The cat’s meows took a long, deeper pitch. Izuku can almost hear Baku tell him to “Shut the fuck up, Deku!” Baku pointed with a paw to the dog, then proceeded to address the mutt. 

“You know I can’t actually understand you when you’re like this Baku, it’s funny in front of Shouto, but I don’t wanna embarrass myself in front of this guy,” Izuku looked back at the dog, his green eyes scanning it’s fit body for a collar or ID tag or something to help Izuku bring him back to his owner. Instead, Izuku noticed his small, almost cream-colored, “eyebrows” over his wide red eyes. 

The dog whimpered, upset about something. Izuku sighed and turned to the dog, petting his head softly, hoping the dog wasn’t going to bite him. “You can stay tonight, doggo. But tomorrow we’ll find your owner! I’m sure they’re worried you aren’t home for dinner.”

The dog barked softly, giving Izuku a smile. Or an attempt of a smile. Izuku returned a bright smile of his own anyways.

Mornings with a shifter changed mornings forever for Izuku. Baku as a cat was a light sleeper, waking up if Izuku’s arm twitched or he groaned as a response to a dream he was having. Human Baku was anything but a light sleeper. Izuku’s mornings were impossible to start if he’s stuck in two beefy arms, getting pulled tighter to his pale chest. 

Izuku sighed, currently stuck in Baku’s constricting grip again. He tried everything to wiggle out, even pinching his arms—there’s no fat, all muscle, Izuku noted—and biting the man’s biceps as hard as he can. 

It all resulted with Baku grumbling something and pulling him tighter, which Izuku honest to god thought it was impossible. So, he admitted a silent defeat and got comfortable, snoozing off after a couple of minutes.

The next time Izuku woke up that morning, he wasn’t a body pillow to Baku but he was smelling bacon. He doesn’t actually know if Baku can cook, but he was a human before the incident happened, so he had to at least know how to cook basic soggy bacon and bland scrambled eggs.

His stomach grumbled, urging the rest of his body to go investigate. Izuku peeled off his blankets and stood up quickly, his nose leading himself to the kitchen to greet his cat-roommate-shifter-man.

Izuku’s stomach growled louder, the deep whale call noise attracted not one man standing in Izuku’s small apartment kitchen, but two. The red head stood near his stove very naked and very happy about bacon.

Izuku might just faint.

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