Sweat was trickling down his forehead as he had the class finish doing their cool downs and let them go off, either to their next class, to the gym to have more of a workout session or in some cases, off to the bar for a reward. He reached out with one scared and stitched up hand to grab his water bottle, he would need to fill it up before the next ‘class’ arrived, which would, he recognised as he glanced up at the cheap clock above the mirrors of the dancing studio, be in ten minutes.
Granted this next group wasn’t exactly a class, so it wasn’t going to be as fun as what he had before, this was a theatre group who were learning certain dances of the musical they were going to preform and he knew some of the dances from it, as did other dancers in this gym. Therefore the theatre company thought that their dancers should learn the moves from all the different teachers; and he wasn’t going to complain about it, after all he was going to be paid a hell of a lot more than he would have done if it was just another class, this group was also bigger than what he normally taught, but he did like a challenge.
As he came back to the room, checking everything was ready for the group, his own water bottle refilled and with some ice cubes in it, along with a new fresh clean towel to wipe up the sweat as the group came into the room and started doing their warm ups – he had been told that they would do this and he didn’t need to go through it with them, they were meant to be professionals after all – there was a lot more than he thought, most of his classes were ten maybe fifteen at most, this class was almost triple the size. It would be intimidating for him, if he weren’t so damn good at hiding it.
His electric blue eyes spotted him .
A man about the same age as himself; if he had to guess; with grey hair, scarred and terribly dry face but with bright red eyes that were currently looking over the dancing company as if he were the one to train them. As Dabi looked carefully at him he spotted it .
Those ears .
He knew the type, but these were well concealed, clearly the man’s messy grey hair hid them and given how his hair behaved – or appeared to behave – it wasn’t overly obvious, unless you also had those ears, then you knew what to look for.
Dabi knew what the tell tale signs were for those ears, it was the whole reason why he was working in this dance studio within the gym, he just had to get away from home before something worse were to happen to him. Of course he could have done something that would have earned him more cash, but with his father being so influential his options were limited, and he was good at this, his mother used to tell him that all the time when he was younger, he and his sister danced in the kitchen when she was making dinner and had the radio playing. Yet he had also been the first born, worse still he was the first born male of the family and his father wanted a son who was perfect , who was the ideal child to take on the family business. Although he barely spoke to his family, he had gotten word from his sister that he had finally got his wish granted, it just took over a decade to happen but it happened.
But this man was probably on the same boat, he was part cat and he hid it just as well as he could, possibly even better if he could be around the same people so often.
Red eyes caught his looking at him and he pulled his gaze away, yet the man never approached him about it, in fact he just turned his back to him and continued to speak to the brown haired young girl next to him, who seemed rather excited having a cheerful smile on her face as they spoke to each other.
Dabi wondered what was going on though, he had heard that those who were genetically modified into half cats would have some reactions similar to the animal in question, so the red eyed man should have taken that as a challenge of sorts, he would have tried to start a fight, but he didn’t. Now he was wondering if what he had been told was actually true, or if it was just because there wasn’t enough information on those like him and so it was just assumed.
He started his class, ignoring for the most part those red eyes on him; they would need to be on him after all he was the teacher, but part of him wasn’t sure what was lurking behind those eyes, was he plotting? Or was he kind of friendly? Did he want to know?
Of course he did, when was he ever going to be around someone like him? But that was going to have to wait, he had to focus on what he was teaching.
After the class, nearly everyone was sweating and wiping their face and neck with a towel, chugging on the water they had brought with them, getting refills to rehydrate even more and going to the showers because they needed it.
Dabi waited for the class to leave first before leaving the room, only for the grey haired cat man who stood in his way, red eyes gazed at those piercing blue ones, looking him over carefully and Dabi realised that this guy was sweating, but no where near to the extent as the rest of them, it was like he had just gone outside on a hot summers day and was glistening, not spending almost four hours dancing with small breaks between, with the rest of the group clearly sweating because of how challenging the movements were, even he was sweating due to the movements, so what was this man?
He knew he did the same movements during the class, there was never a need to speak to him to correct him in his form or movement, it was all perfect like he already…
“Why are you here if you already know the dances that I’m teaching?” Dabi wiped his brown as he spoke, but the man before him simply smiled.
“Because I need to be able to keep in time with the other’s, just because I know the dance doesn’t mean much if I don’t know how everyone else moves.” was the simple reply and one the dance teacher had to agree with, but right now he was hot, literally and he needed to cool down, but this guy wasn’t helping things. He had seen how he had moved during the class, his rhythm, the ease of his movements and he wondered something.
“Why are you just a background dancer in theatre? You would be better being the main dancer, or even being the teacher for the group.” he glanced at the room before his eyes locked on with those red ones again.
He shrugged. “I don’t have that kind of patience.” he looked at him once more, carefully looking at Dabi’s hair and the man knew that he knew the truth. “Get changed, I’ll be waiting at the reception desk.”
With that said he turned around and walked out of the room, giving Dabi a few moments to realise that he had managed to get himself some time to hang out – or maybe even a date – with the man in question without having to do any real work.
“Son of a bitch.” he muttered to himself and went to the changing room, he needed a shower after all that.
He couldn’t believe that the man had the guts to just do that, and as he got out from the changing rooms he wondered if the man really just wanted to talk, since they were of the same rare kind, or would this be something else.
His gut was telling him that this wasn’t likely. He would need to be on guard, although he pushed that thought to the side, not wanting to think about it, or even to consider it. Yet how could he be getting infatuated with someone who he had just met? Sure the man was attractive, in a unique way, he had the moves that just made Dabi want to stop doing his own job and just watch him dance around, and then of course there was the important stumbling block.
He didn’t know the man’s name.
Hair still wet, but not dripping he walked towards the reception desk and there he was, standing in the sunshine, basking in the heat that surrounded him like a cat would. Normally people would be startled when he approached them, given how he looked with his stitches and burnt skin, but he just turned his head, opened his eyes and looked at him, not even taken aback by him coming close.
“Ya know, most people would introduce themselves before going off with a stranger like this.” Dabi commented and the other man chuckled.
“I have no idea what you are talking about, I said my name at the start of the class like everyone else, although what was a bit of a time wasting exercise, you never did call anyone by their names anyway.”
That was true, Dabi did it as a habit, having seen his own favourite teacher use it in their classes, not just for the dance teacher to learn their names, but for the whole class to do so and be on somewhat friendlier terms. Though he was right, for this at least it was a bit pointless.
“I mean your real name. Tomura Shigaraki doesn’t seem real to me.”
“Tch, maybe you have to earn it Dabi.” He walked away, uncaring if he was following him, he moved with purpose, he knew where he was going and it didn’t matter if Dabi was with him or not.
As much as Dabi wanted to just go the opposite direction, as this seemed to prove that Shigaraki was a bit of a dick, but he didn’t, he couldn’t. He still seemed like an interesting guy.
So he followed like that of a loyal dog, but again Shigaraki never turned around to see if he was there or not he just kept on walking, heading towards the park not far from the gym and then walked to a small drink stand which was where Dabi finally got to stand next to him, making it obvious that he had indeed followed him but he still wasn’t phased by it.
“So, how do I earn it?” he asked, as though there hadn’t been silence, with him simply following this mysterious cat man to the park, this man who had easily grabbed his attention like he was a moth and Shigaraki was the flame, likely one that would burn him badly too.
But what was wrong with that thought? He’d already been burnt badly by his own blood family, so how much would it actually hurt if it was by a complete stranger?
“Heh, you’re keen aren’t you?” he commented after paying for his red and yellow drink, walking away towards a bench that was in the shade before he took a sip. He looked so content, so at peace that Dabi wondered what that felt like, and how long had it been since he himself had felt any kind of peace.
“So ya gonna tell me?” he disrupted the peacefulness, though once more Shigaraki didn’t seem bothered by it.
“No.” was his reply, taking another sip of his drink, and Dabi wondered if he was simply using him for some kind of twisted entertainment, but what would be the point to that?
Or was he simply getting him back for earlier? Yet what would be the point, this was a lot of effort for something like that surely?
“I know what you are.” he said instead of trying to figure out Shigaraki’s actual name, because maybe this way he would get more out of him.
“Oh and what’s that?” he sounded genuinely curious about it and that just put Dabi on edge.
“You’re like me, part human, part cat. Likely you were used as a science experiment, but the only thing is… you seem to be rather at ease with it. How?”
He put his cup down on the ground and then he began to stretch, pointing his feet out and lifting his arms to the sky, allowing people and Dabi see his rather soft belly, and the dark haired man thought that was rather unusual considering that he was a dancer and many were rather toned, at least those he had seen in a profession setting.
Shigaraki now relaxed and picked up his cup again, taking another sip before glancing over at Dabi who had sat down next to him on the bench.
“You’re stating something I already know about.” he said with a shrug.
“I bet, but whatever you went through, you got out before they could abuse you too much and scar you mentally.”
“No, I went through a lot, probably like you did, but the difference between us? The thing that makes me all right with this side of me and therefore makes me accept that this was forced on me? I made friends who accepted me as I was, and helped me to accept myself as I am now.”
Blue eyes widened in surprise. He has friends, but he never had the guts to tell them what had happened to him because… he didn’t wanted to remember, he didn’t want to think about it.
“You don’t have to talk to me about it, just because we are both human cats doesn’t mean a damn thing, there is no need for you to tell me a thing, but you should probably talk to someone, you might be able to accept yourself more if you do, and with someone that you trust.”
“Talk about it huh?” Dabi thought about it, frowning as he wondered who he could talk to about this, and his past. Did he trust any of his friends enough to tell them about it? “It’s all I ever think about, one of the reasons why I do what I do. It means that I can use my skills, but isn’t that the same thing as accepting it?”
“Do you feel like you are accepting it?” hearing his voice Dabi’s ears twitched and as he looked over at the other cat man he saw that Shigaraki’s own ears were now twitching around without a care that people would stare and gawk at him, of course for a man like Shigaraki he was certain that people did that already, young children in particular.
“No.” he admitted, shaking his head and sighing, feeling his frustration slip out, although he guessed that Shigaraki didn’t really care, but maybe talking to a stranger would be easier than a friend.
“And why is that? Because of how it was done to you?” Shigaraki knew the answer to that, but Dabi just needed to be vocal about it.
“Yea, obviously. My father wanted a perfect son, but he got me. So he had me used as his own personal science experiment, so next time he could make sure his son isn’t imperfect.” the anger he was feeling slipped out. “That’s why I’m this now, a fucking human cat, covered in scars all because he wanted perfection instead of a child to raise.” he took a deep breath to calm down. “Though that doesn’t matter, he now has what he wants.”
“Hmm.” was all he said, because he didn’t really need to say a thing.
“I remember every slice, every injection and then there was all the training that I had been put through. It was difficult, broken bones meant little to him, and my mother had no chance of protecting me, he kept her away, and I lied because he twisted it around, to make me feel like I had to protect her.” he wanted to fight now, he wanted to feel the blood of someone coating his fists.
Dabi just wasn’t prepared for the fist that hit him in that moment, knocking him off his seat and he quickly sprang to his feet, ready to defend himself if he needed to. He saw Shigaraki stand before him, appearing to be at ease but his fist had the tell tale sign of blood, Dabi’s blood.
His hackles were raised and he hissed at him, ready to attack but Shigaraki didn’t appear to be affected by his cat side at all, like it didn’t slither into his mentality.
Without a warning Dabi moved, hitting the grey haired man in the chest, almost making him fall to the ground, but Shigaraki moved in such a way that that Dabi’s feet fell from under him causing him to fall to ground and at his feet instead of Shigaraki.
The fight, the anger had left him.
He lost the short skirmish and although he could have continued it, but for what reason? Shigaraki wasn’t egging him on, to continue the fight and really it wasn’t like him to start a fight without a just cause. Like him fighting a guy who just kept hassling him when he was out for a drink.
He had stupidly gotten angry.
He had reacted in a similar way that his father would have.
What had he become?
Who had he become?
“I...” he slowly started to stand when Shigaraki offered his hand to him, and after a moment of utter confusion he took it, stunned that someone would do that, particularly since he was the one who started it to begin with.
“You’ll figure something out, I can tell that it wasn’t you fighting.” he commented and Dabi wondered if Shigaraki was spouting bullshit or if he was actually smart, or even, hell, maybe wise.
“You think so?” he certainly didn’t think it was possible, how could he overcome something like this?
“Tch.” he grabbed his drink and took another sip. “I know so, here.” he gave him a business card. “If you are wanting to talk to someone like me.” he turned around and walked away.
Watching him go Dabi noticed something that he hadn’t spotted before.
Shigaraki didn’t just have the obvious ears of a cat.
He also had a tail.
The dance teacher had been certain that it wasn’t out on display before, otherwise people would have commented on it and his life would have been a little bit tricky. So perhaps Shigaraki had gone through a lot more than he had, but what had happened to him? Was he really okay with the cat side of him? And did friends actually help him? Or was he still being experimented on?
As Dabi considered it, he felt like the latter part could be pushed away, Shigaraki didn’t seem like he was still being experimented on, and he wouldn’t have the time or indeed energy to be part of a dancing group for the theatre.
He glanced down at the card, noticing that it was in a rather risqué dance hall and smiled, realising that it was something more about Shigaraki that caught his interest, it wasn’t just him being a part cat, being mysterious, but also his scent that caught his interest, he just wasn’t able to figure it out until now.
He pulled out his phone, wanting to find out where the dance hall was, because he wanted to pay a visit to the little BakeNeko as Shigaraki’s title was on the card; clearly he was using his more modified looks in a way that would pay him well, there were a lot of people out there who were willing to look at a rather hot looking cat man, and Dabi found that he was probably going to be one of them.
He smiled to himself, realising that perhaps that he could accept this side of himself, and maybe he would get some extra help from this rather interesting man too.