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Cat That Got the Canary

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Shōta blinks his eyes open and finds that the world has suddenly gotten a lot bigger. Or, rather, that he’s gotten a lot smaller. He attempts to struggle into an upright position, but is abruptly confronted by the fact that not only has he gotten smaller, his body has been altered in other ways too.

That is to say, he has fluffy paws instead of feet.

For a horrible moment, he thinks he’s been turned into a dog, but on further inspection his paws don’t seem to be quite the right shape. He brings up a paw to swipe at his ears, which appear to be triangular and pointed upright, and then experimentally flicks his long, fluffy tail.

He supposes there are worse things than being turned into a cat.

However, a moment later he realizes that if he’s been turned into a cat, then that probably means that the thief he was perusing got away – or, rather, that the thief and his accomplice got away. Shōta curses his faulty intel. He’d subdued the first thief just fine, but he hadn’t been expecting someone to manage to sneak up behind him and, judging by the pain at the base of his skull, clobber him in the head.

Shōta clambers out of the pile of clothes he’s stuck in the middle of and makes his way out of the alley, dismayed to find that he can already see the first rays of sunlight appearing over the tops of the buildings. The thieves must be long gone by now.

It also means that this cat transformation might last for a while.

If that’s the case, he’s going to need to get some help. Normally he doesn’t bother to notify anyone before going out to do evening hero work, so it’ll probably be a few hours until anyone starts looking for him, when he doesn’t show up for class.

He sighs – or at least lets out the cat equivalent of a sigh. He glances back into the alleyway, but quickly deduces that there’s no way he’ll be able to drag his clothing along with him. For a moment, he considers heading over to UA, but after some consideration, he goes in the opposite direction.

Hizashi’s place is closer, after all.

Unfortunately, with his now drastically shorter legs, it takes him longer than he anticipated to get to Hizashi’s apartment. By the time he finds himself standing in front of the building, the sun’s fully risen and although Shōta doesn’t know the exact time, he suspects that Hizashi’s already left for work.

He manages to sprint through the door and into the building as a harried-looking office worker powerwalks out, probably too busy worrying about getting to work on time to notice Shōta. However, as he makes his way through the hallway, he realizes that he’s not going to be able to pull the same trick with the elevator. Being so small is making things more difficult than he’d anticipated.

The stairs it is.

Why did Hizashi think it was a good idea to get an apartment on the tenth floor?

By the time Shōta makes it up all the stairs, his legs feel like they’re about to fall off, but he forces himself to walk the rest of the way to Hizashi’s apartment door. He plops himself down in front of it and then meows a few times, on the off chance Hizashi might still be home. When he receives no response, he paws at the door a couple of times, careful to keep his claws sheathed so he doesn’t ruin the paint.

There’s still no response, so Shōta curls up in front of the door and settles in to wait. He’s not about to try to navigate public transportation in his current form, and after how long it took him to just get to Hizashi’s apartment, he’s not eager to try walk all the way to UA.

And anyway, he could use a nap.

---

Hizashi doesn’t come home until around six that night, and Shōta’s long since gotten antsy, with nothing other to do than nap and pace up and down the hallways.

However, as Shōta gets a better look at Hizashi, his agitation is replaced by concern. Hizashi looks harried, stress clear on his face. In fact, he’s distracted enough that he almost trips over Shōta as he goes to unlock his door.

“What the – how’d you get in here?” Hizashi mutters, staring down at Shōta.

Shōta tries to reply, but all that he’s able to produce is a loud meow.

“You’re blocking my door,” Hizashi huffs, attempting to shoo Shōta away. “C’mon, go find someone else to bother. I’m sure Ms. Sato in 1021 has some treats she could give you.”

Shōta doesn’t budge, instead head-butting Hizashi’s leg.

“Do I look like a cat person or something?” Hizashi complains, shuffling backwards a little as Shōta paws at his legs. “My friend Shōta’s the cat person, not me. I’d hand you off to him, but he’s…” Hizashi trails off, a pained expression on his face. “Look, just move over a little, would you? I don’t want to hit you with the door.”

Shōta meows again.

“God, I’m trying to reason with a cat,” Hizashi sighs, running a hand through his hair. It’s messier than usual, Shōta notices.

Apparently Hizashi’s had enough of waiting for Shōta to move and digs his keys out of his pocket to unlock the door. Shōta backs out of the way of the door, but then darts inside the apartment as soon as it’s open wide enough for him to fit through.

“Hey!” Hizashi yells. “That was not an invitation to come in!”

Shōta blinks at him for a moment, before climbing onto the couch and making himself comfortable.

“Seriously, what is wrong with this cat?” Hizashi mutters under his breath, setting his bag down in the entryway and then striding over to Shōta.

Shōta expects Hizashi to try to shoo him off the couch and out the door again, but instead he reaches out and Shōta abruptly finds himself hefted up into the air. Shōta lets out a displeased mewl, squirming and trying to get Hizashi to drop him back down on the couch. Unfortunately, Hizashi just grips him tighter and starts heading for the door.

“You better not have fleas,” Hizashi complains. “But based on how my day is going, you probably do.”

Shōta responds to the flea comment with his best indignant glare.

When it becomes clear that Hizashi’s not about to drop him, no matter how much he squirms, Shōta decides to try a different tactic. He leans in closer to Hizashi, snuggling up against his chest, and tries to look as cute as possible. Hizashi’s always been an animal lover.

“Really?” Hizashi complains, looking down at Shōta. “You’re trying the ‘keep me, I’m adorable’ routine now?”

In response, Shōta rubs up against Hizashi’s chest and purrs. Hizashi falters for a moment, holding Shōta a little tighter. However, before he can decide whether to kick Shōta out or let him stay, his phone rings. He shifts his grip on Shōta a little, holding him in one arm, and digs his phone out of his pocket with his other hand, fumbling to answer it.

“Did you find him?” Hizashi demands, worry resurfacing in his tone. “Please tell me you found him.”

Whoever is on the other end of the line says something that doesn’t seem to abate Hizashi’s concern.

“His clothes? In an alleyway?” he asks, sounding bewildered. “You’re saying Shōta’s running around naked somewhere?”

Shōta meows loudly and paws at Hizashi’s chest, willing him to put the pieces together. Unfortunately, Hizashi just ignores him, too focused on his phone call.

“No, I checked all his usual haunts, but no one’s seen him since yesterday,” Hizashi sighs, unconsciously tangling his fingers in Shōta’s long, dark fur. “You don’t think the League of Villains…?”

He trails off, a pained expression on his face. Shōta headbutts him again gently, feeling guilty about being the one to cause such an expression.

“Yeah, I’ll keep an eye out,” Hizashi says, his tone resigned, and then hangs up. He looks down at Shōta and says, “Now what am I supposed to do with you?”

Keep me, Shōta tries to say, but it just comes out as another meow.

“You’re kind of talkative for a cat, aren’t you?” Hizashi snorts, the barest hint of a smile on his lips, and Shōta takes a moment to appreciate the irony.

Hizashi reaches a hand up to stroke Shōta’s ears and Shōta can’t help but melt into the touch, unable to keep himself from purring.

“Damn, you’re cute,” Hizashi mutters, still petting Shōta. “You’re a manipulative little bastard, aren’t you?”

Shōta takes offense at that. He gives Hizashi the best glare he can manage with his current fluffy face.

“This is a horrible idea,” Hizashi says to himself, still cradling Shōta in his arms. “If you’re going to stay, you have to find a way to summon my friend Shōta, alright? I swear, he can sense a cat from a mile away.”

Honestly, part of Shōta wishes he had a quirk as useful as that.

“This is just a trial period, alright?” Hizashi continues. “Because I’m feeling weak in this particular moment. I’ll take you to a shelter tomorrow if you’re not well behaved.”

Shōta gives him an unimpressed look. Hizashi’s too much of a softie to actually follow through on most of his threats.

“Why do you not look like you believe me?” Hizashi complains. “First you barge into my apartment and then you judge me. You and Shōta would get along swimmingly.”

Shōta has to resist the urge to bang his head against something. When he’d headed over to Hizashi’s apartment, it was on the assumption that Hizashi would be smart enough to realize who he was. Apparently, though, he has his work cut out for him.

Hizashi sets him back down on the couch before going to get his bag, pulling his laptop out of it and settling down next to him. Shōta perks up as Hizashi turns on the computer, wondering if it would be possible for him to type anything coherent with his awkward, unfamiliar paws.

Oblivious, Hizashi goes about checking his email. When he tries to reply to a message from Principal Nedzu, though, Shōta strikes, paws darting out to press at the keyboard.

“Seriously?” Hizashi says, his hands wrapping around Shōta’s stomach and dragging him off of the keyboard before he can actually type anything. “You have a whole apartment to walk over, but you choose to step on my laptop while I’m using it? See, this is why I’m not a cat person.”

Shōta lets out a meow of protest, trying to crawl back onto the keyboard. Hizashi defends it remarkably well, though, and Shōta isn’t able to do much more than smash at a few keys, not producing anything coherent. After the third time Hizashi sets him back down on the couch next to him, Shōta gives up and curls up against Hizashi’s thigh instead. He sincerely hopes that he turns back into a human soon.

Eventually, he’s lulled to sleep again by the rhythmic tapping of Hizashi’s fingers against his laptop keyboard. He’s not entirely sure how long he sleeps, but it can’t be more than an hour, because he’s soon woken again by the smell of something cooking. He cracks his eyes open and manages to force himself to his feet, stretching for a moment, his tail in the air and his back arched. Then, he jumps down off the couch and makes his way over to the kitchen.

There he finds Hizashi standing at the stove, humming along with some soft music playing in the background. It takes Shōta a couple of tries, but he manages to claw his way up onto the countertop, padding over to inspect what Hizashi’s making. Shōta can’t help but lick his lips as he sees that Hizashi’s panfrying some sort of fish, and tries not to drool as his newly enhanced sense of smell is flooded with the scents of fish and sesame oil.

“Hey, get down from there!” Hizashi says, finally noticing Shōta and trying to shoo him away from the stove. “This isn’t for you.”

Shōta blinks at Hizashi and stays put on the countertop.

“Fine, it’s not all for you,” Hizashi sighs. “It’s still cooking, though, and the pan is hot. You’ll burn yourself if you try to steal any too soon.”

In response, Shōta lies down on the counter and settles in to wait.

“If I put you back down on the ground, are you just going to climb back up here again?” Hizashi asks, eyeing Shōta dubiously.

Shōta just blinks at him again.

“I’m going to take that as a yes,” Hizashi sighs, and goes back to cooking.

It’s actually pretty interesting to watch Hizashi cook, Shōta thinks. Normally they go out to a restaurant or order takeout whenever the two of them eat together. Not that Shōta thought that Hizashi didn’t know how to cook – he’s just never seen it before, never had the chance to watch Hizashi hum to himself as he flips over the fish in the pan, relaxed and at ease in the kitchen.

Briefly, he wonders if Hizashi would cook for him when he’s in human form.

“Alright, here you go,” Hizashi says when he finally turns off the stove. He breaks off a small section of the fish and puts it on a plate for Shōta, who perks up. “Don’t get used to it, though. I’ll buy cat food tomorrow.”

Shōta does his best to produce a disgusted expression, but he’s not sure how well it comes across on his feline face. He only spares a moment to protest, though, before leaning forward to take a bite of the fish.

As soon as the taste hits his tongue, it occurs to him how hungry he actually is, after not having had breakfast or lunch. It takes him all of ten seconds to scarf down the fish, and soon enough he finds himself eyeing Hizashi’s own plate speculatively.

“Oh no you don’t,” Hizashi says as Shōta slinks closer to him, putting a protective arm around his food. “I gave you a perfectly body-size proportional helping.”

Shōta sits down next to Hizashi’s plate and stares.

“You are such a menace,” Hizashi mutters, taking another bite of fish. “I am not going to cave to your every demand, you know.”

Shōta just blinks at him, unfazed.

Hizashi manages to eat another four bites before he finally says, “Alright, fine! Just stop looking at me like that!” and breaks off a bit of fish with his fingers. Shōta does his best to accept it delicately, careful to keep his sharp teeth from scraping against Hizashi’s fingers.

“You know, if you had opposable thumbs I’d make you wash the dishes instead of just mooching off my hospitality,” Hizashi huffs, finishing up the last of his dinner.

Shōta meows in response and hopes it sounds thankful.

After he’s finished eating, Hizashi washes the dishes and then spends some time grading papers. It’s kind of amusing to listen to him mutter to himself about some of the more outlandish mistakes students make. Shōta attempts to steal a pen to write with once, but Hizashi manages to snatch it back, saying, “Please do not make me have to tell my students that my cat ruined their homework.”

Eventually, Hizashi stands up from the couch and yawns, before heading towards the bedroom. Shōta pads after him, but quickly scrambles back out of the room when Hizashi pulls his shirt off, and finds himself waiting outside the door awkwardly.

Truthfully, part of him is just a little tempted to go back inside the bedroom. He’s a cat right now – it’s not like Hizashi would think much of it if he’d stayed and watched. The thought of violating Hizashi’s privacy in such a way makes Shōta’s stomach twist, though, and he feels dirty just for considering it, however briefly.

It’s a couple of long minutes before Hizashi reemerges from his room, but then he heads for the bathroom, so instead of following him, Shōta makes his way into the bedroom. He’s been inside Hizashi’s bedroom before, but only a couple of times. Normally when he comes over he sticks to the living room and kitchen. He jumps up onto the bed, pleased when it only takes him one try, and makes himself comfortable, curling up on one of the pillows.

A moment later Hizashi returns, his hair down, falling loosely around his shoulders. Shōta tries not to stare, but he’s always loved seeing Hizashi with his hair down, loves being trusted with a side of Hizashi most people don’t get to see.

“And now you steal my bed,” Hizashi says, but thankfully he sounds more amused than annoyed. “You better not walk over me in the middle of the night.”

Shōta shifts a little on the pillow, trying to find a more comfortable position, tail flicking.

Hizashi sighs and shakes his head before sitting down on the other side of the bed. He takes a moment to pick up his phone off the bedside table, checking it and setting an alarm for the morning. Shōta perks up a little as he notices that Hizashi’s background photo is of the two of them at New Year’s and leans over to tap his paw against it.

“What is it now?” Hizashi asks, and Shōta paws at the phone again. “Yeah, that’s my friend Shōta. He’s the one you’re supposed to summon with your feline wiles.”

Shōta lets out a frustrated meow, willing Hizashi to understand.

“Sorry, but I don’t speak cat,” Hizashi says dryly, reaching over to scratch Shōta behind the ears. Shōta lets out his best cat-equivalent of a sigh and slinks back to his pillow, curling up on it and settling in to sleep.

He really hopes he turns back into a human soon.

---

When Shōta wakes up the next morning, it’s because Hizashi’s thumping around the room, getting ready for work. Shōta blinks his eyes open lazily, watching as Hizashi pulls on his leather jacket and gloves. After a few moments, he forces himself to his feet, yawning widely as he stretches.

Shōta follows closely on Hizashi’s heels as he heads for the door, grabbing his bag and pulling on his boots. However, when Shōta tries to follow Hizashi out the door, Hizashi says, “Woah, wait a minute, where are you headed off to?”

Shōta blinks at him and then gently headbutts his leg.

“I’m not taking you to school with me,” Hizashi replies, trying to corral Shōta back into the apartment. “My students have a hard enough time paying attention as it is. Do you want students poking at you and trying to pet you all day?”

Shōta shudders internally. He supposes Hizashi has a point.

“I’ll be back later, okay?” Hizashi assures him, crouching down and stroking a hand through his fur. Shōta can’t help but lean into the touch, his eyes sliding shut. Who knew that getting pet would feel so good?

All too soon, though, Hizashi pulls his hand away, straightening up and hefting his bag back onto his shoulder. Then, he shuts and locks the door, leaving Shōta to endure another day of boredom.

Well, at least he can take as many naps as he wants now.

His stomach growls and he makes his way into the kitchen, wondering if he can figure out how to open the refrigerator in his current state. Thankfully he doesn’t need to, though, because he spots a plate of dried sardines left out on the counter. They’re not his favorite thing in the world, but he supposes that beggars can’t be choosers.

Once he’s finished eating, he still feels too awake to try to nap, so instead he finds himself exploring the apartment. It’s not like he’s unfamiliar with it, but he’s never been in it for more than an hour or so without Hizashi, even though he has his own key.

He finds a couple of places that might be good spots for napping later, with just the right balance of sunlight and shade. In the bathroom, he manages to figure out how to climb up onto the sink and turn on the faucet so that he can drink from it, but not before knocking over at least three different bottles of hair gel. Honestly, Hizashi has a problem.

Afterwards, he makes his way back into Hizashi’s bedroom, intending to maybe take a nap. However, with his new (shorter) perspective, as he comes up to the bed, he can’t help but notice a cardboard box shoved under it.

He hesitates for a moment before digging the box out, his curiosity getting the better of him. It’s probably not porn – Shōta’s pretty sure Hizashi keeps all of that on his laptop in the folder labeled “Justin Bieber.”

(Hizashi hates Justin Bieber. Shōta would say the label’s too obviously fake, but then again, he’s pretty sure no one would actually risk opening it, just on the off chance that it actually did contain what it says it does.)

Shōta opens the box.

It’s not porn, but it’s also… not what he expected. Then again, he’s not entirely sure what he’d expected.

The box is filled with photo albums. Shōta drags the first one out to flip through it, surprised to find that many of the photos are fairly recent, from the past couple of years. There’s the photo of the two of them on New Year’s that Hizashi has as his phone background and some photos from Hizashi’s birthday, along with more from other events that Shōta only vaguely remembers.

As he digs further into the box, the photos in the albums get older. In fact, in the album at the very bottom of the box, he finds photos from back when they were in high school. Sometimes it’s hard to believe they were ever that young.

Shōta finds himself staring at a photo of the two of them at an amusement park. It’s probably from when they were fifteen and Hizashi had insisted on dragging him onto the biggest rollercoaster in the park, only to puke his guts out as soon as they got off it.

It occurs to Shōta that in all the albums, the majority of photos are of him and Hizashi. Sure, there are ones of Hizashi’s parents and other friends, but Shōta doesn’t think he saw a single page without at least one photo of himself on it.

It’s strange to realize how connected their lives are, how – as of last April – they’ve known each other for longer than they haven’t known each other. They’ve spent literally half of their lives together.

It also occurs to Shōta that, right now, Hizashi thinks he’s missing.

As frustrating as this situation is for him, it must be a hundred times worse for Hizashi. He tries to imagine what it would be like if Hizashi didn’t show up for work for two days straight, without so much as a brief text goodbye, and decides that it would be nothing short of terrifying.

Maybe he should consider at least notifying Hizashi before he goes out for his nightly hero work from now on.

---

Hizashi comes home late again.

It’s almost eight by the time Shōta hears a key turn in the lock. He jumps down from where he’s been waiting impatiently on the living room couch and heads over to the door as it swings open. Hizashi looks harried as he enters the apartment and Shōta would demand to know where he’s been, if he could actually talk.

“Nothing? You’re sure there was nothing?” Hizashi says, his cellphone pressed up against his ear. “There must have been at least some fingerprints on his clothes! You don’t seriously think that Shōta took them off himself and just dumped them in an alleyway?”

Shōta gives in to the urge to rub himself up against Hizashi’s legs, hoping that he finds it at least a little soothing.

“I just spent the past three hours trying to retrace his steps, but I couldn’t find anything,” Hizashi sighs, setting his bag down in the hallway and pulling off his boots. “It’s like he just vanished.”

Shōta meows loudly, frustrated, but Hizashi ignores him.

“Yeah, of course I’ll tell you if I find anything,” Hizashi says to the person on the other end of the phone, a bit of a bite to his tone. Then he hangs up, letting out a groan as he shoves his phone back into his pocket.

Shōta rubs up against Hizashi’s legs again and this time Hizashi actually looks at him, before bending down and scooping him up. Shōta freezes for a moment as he finds himself pressed up against Hizashi’s firm chest, and he startles a little as Hizashi buries his face in his fur.

“When Shōta gets back, you’re gonna have to yell at him for me, okay?” Hizashi mutters, his voice a little muffled by Shōta’s fur. “He doesn’t listen to me, but maybe he’ll listen to you. You’re cuter.”

Hizashi’s wrong on both accounts, Shōta thinks. Maybe he doesn’t always follow Hizashi’s advice, but there’s no one’s opinion that he values more – or at all, sometimes.

Also, Hizashi’s pretty damn cute.

Unfortunately, he has no way to convey that right now, so instead he just lets Hizashi hug him for a long moment. Eventually Hizashi loosens his grip a little and makes his way over to the couch. He turns on the TV and flips the channel to something that looks like some sort of singing competition and settles into watch, although his body is still stiff with stress.

For a moment, Shōta considers trying to wriggle his way out of Hizashi’s arms, but then decides that the least he can do right now is give Hizashi a little bit of comfort. Absently, Hizashi starts petting him, running his fingers through Shōta’s thick fur and Shōta can’t help but melt under his touch.

A few moments later, Shōta starts purring. Briefly, he wonders if getting petted feels this good in human form, or if it’s just a cat thing. Then again, he can’t imagine Hizashi actually being willing to pet him while in human form.

(Alright, so maybe he can imagine it. It’s just not realistic. Also, the thought is making his mind go places it definitely should not go when he’s thinking about his best friend.)

Eventually, he falls asleep, curled up in Hizashi’s lap.

He wakes up again when he feels Hizashi shift slightly underneath him. When he cracks his eyes open, he finds that Hizashi’s turned off the television, and he wonders how long Hizashi has just been sitting here, thinking about god knows what. He bumps his head gently against Hizashi’s stomach and Hizashi looks down at him, reaching a hand out to scratch him behind the ears.

“Is that your way of telling me I should go to sleep too?” Hizashi asks.

Not really, but a glance at the clock tells Shōta that it’s probably a good idea anyway.

Hizashi stands up from the couch, still holding Shōta, and yawns. He shifts Shōta’s weight a little so that he can reach a hand up to sweep some stray hairs out of his face, his cockatoo hairstyle starting to wilt after such a long day.

Shōta lets himself be carried, but when they reach the bedroom, something occurs to him. He manages to wriggle out of Hizashi’s grip, jumping down onto the floor and darting under the bed.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Hizashi asks, crouching down next to the bed and peering underneath it. Shōta ignores him, though, intent on dragging the photo album box back out from under the bed.

When he finally manages to push it back out, he opens it and yanks one of the albums out of it, flipping to a random page and then pawing at the first picture of himself he sees.

“What’s gotten into you?” Hizashi complains, trying to drag the photo album away from Shōta. “You’re going to scratch them.”

Shōta lets out a displeased meow.

“These are important to me. I really will send you to the shelter if you mess them up,” Hizashi huffs, smoothing out the plastic protecting the photos. “Especially this one, because Shōta looks really handsome in it.”

Shōta stares at him. If he were human, he would be gaping.

“Seriously, it’s unfair,” Hizashi continues, still looking down at the photograph. “No one should look good with hair that messy. I can’t believe I’m in love with a guy who’s probably never even seen a comb before. A reckless idiot who’s never seen a comb before.”

There are multiple things that Shōta wants to address about that last statement, but mostly his brain is stuck on the casual love confession.

The thing is, it’s not even a good photo, in Shōta’s opinion. He’s pretty sure it’s one from Hizashi’s birthday a couple of years back, taken in a dimly lit restaurant that Hizashi insists has the best hamburgers in the city. (Shōta isn’t really a fan of hamburgers in general, so he can’t judge.) The lighting in the photo is horrible and honestly, Shōta thinks it makes him look vaguely orange. He’s pressed up against Hizashi though, who’s grinning widely, a light dusting of pink across his cheeks – probably from too many beers. Shōta’s own cheeks are vaguely flushed, but it’s more of a ruddy color than a cute one, he thinks.

Really, Hizashi must be at least a little love-struck to find such a photo attractive.

Oblivious, Hizashi closes the photo album and puts it back in the box. Instead of pushing it back under the bed, though, he picks it up and brings it over to his closet, sticking it up on a high shelf, well out of Shōta’s reach.

“C’mon, you were all sleepy just a couple of minutes ago, before attacking my photo album,” Hizashi says as he turns back to Shōta, lifting him up off the ground and setting him down on the bed. “Is this one of those indecisive cat things? When I’m awake, you want to sleep, but now that I want to sleep, you’re wide awake?”

Hizashi doesn’t wait for any sort of reply, and honestly, even if he could actually communicate one, Shōta’s still too shocked to come up with anything coherent.

While Shōta tries to process his thoughts, Hizashi turns to dig a set of pajamas out of his dresser drawer. He doesn’t hesitate to strip his shirt off, and while part of Shōta feels like a creeper as he watches, another part of him wonders if maybe this is allowed, now that he knows how Hizashi feels about him.

In the end, though, his moral compass wins out and he averts his eyes to give Hizashi some privacy.

When Hizashi finally climbs into bed, Shōta curls up on the pillow next to him. However, after a moment of consideration, he slides back off of it and presses himself up against Hizashi’s side instead.

“Remember what I said yesterday about not walking over me in the middle of the night,” Hizashi mutters, his voice already taking on a sleepy tone.

Shōta just buries his face in the soft fabric of Hizashi’s shirt and closes his eyes.

---

When Shōta wakes up the next morning, it’s because Hizashi lets out an earsplitting squawk and falls out of bed.

It takes Shōta a moment to realize that it’s probably because he’s turned back into a human overnight. He’s also very naked, considering his clothes are probably in some police evidence locker on the other side of the city.

“Shōta – what – how did you – ?” Hizashi sputters, his cheeks stained bright pink, his eyes darting around the room like he doesn’t know where to look.

Shōta yawns and stretches, the bedsheet pooling around his hips. He runs a hand through his hair, checking just to make sure he doesn’t still have cat ears or anything like that. If this had happened a day ago, before Hizashi’s unintentional confession, Shōta probably would have been quicker to cover himself up, but now he feels a small thrill run through him as Hizashi’s eyes slide over him for a split second before fixing intently on the floor.

“I was the cat, you idiot,” Shōta snorts, and Hizashi’s eyes widen.

Before Hizashi can reply, though, his phone rings. Reluctantly, he picks it up off his bedside table and checks the caller ID, letting out a sigh before answering with a, “So, I’m kind of in the middle of a situation – ”

He pauses as the person on the other end of the line says something.

“You have them in custody?” Hizashi asks, a relieved look on his face. “Yeah, I, uh, found Shōta.”

Hizashi goes quiet again for a moment, listen to the other speaker.

“It’s worth a try,” Hizashi says. “I’ll bring him over.”

Then he hangs up and looks over at Shōta. His eyes don’t stray below Shōta’s shoulders, but his face is still flushed a little pink with embarrassment. Shōta can’t quite help but feel smug, like the cat that got the canary.

“So, uh, apparently Kayama tracked down an art thief she thought you were after and got herself turned into a cat for her trouble,” Hizashi explains. “Apparently the thief’s quirk only works on one person at a time, which is probably why you…” Hizashi trails off, waving his hand vaguely in Shōta’s direction. “Anyway, do you think you could use your quirk to turn Kayama back?”

“Probably,” Shōta replies, standing up from the bed. He takes pity on Hizashi, though, and keeps the bedsheets wrapped around his waist.

“I’ll get you some clothes,” Hizashi says quickly, turning around and busying himself with digging through his dresser drawers.

Thankfully, they’re relatively the same size. Sure, Shōta’s a little stockier and Hizashi’s a little taller, but the (artfully distressed) jeans and (stupidly tight) t-shirt that Hizashi lends him fit well enough. After that, Shōta quickly brushes his teeth and washes his face. He doesn’t want Kayama to be stuck as a cat for any longer than she has to be.

Then he and Hizashi are out the door and headed to the police station.

For a long moment, the car is silent. Then, Hizashi says, “So. You were my cat.”

“I tried to tell you,” Shōta snorts.

“Yeah, the whole jumping on my laptop and stealing my pens and poking at photos makes a lot more sense now,” Hizashi laughs, but there’s an undercurrent of nervousness to his tone. “Sorry about that.”

Shōta shrugs in response. There’s not much they can do about it now.

“So, uh, when you were a cat, could you understand me?” Hizashi asks, and Shōta knows that he’s trying to sound casual, but he’s not very successful. “Or was your brain rewired for cat speech or something? Because I’m pretty sure I said some really embarrassing things and if you could maybe just forget them, I’d really appreciate – ”

“Hizashi,” Shōta says, interrupting Hizashi’s stream of babble. “Pull over for a moment.”

Hizashi’s eyes widen, like he’s expecting Shōta to punch him or get out of the car and abandon him. He pulls the car over on the side of the road, though.

And once he’s put the car into park, Shōta leans over and kisses him.

He feels Hizashi freeze against him for a moment, clearly caught off guard, but then he relaxes into the kiss. The gearshift in between them is digging into Shōta’s stomach uncomfortably, but he doesn’t pull away, instead bringing a hand up to twist his fingers in Hizashi’s hair. Hizashi lets out a little moan as Shōta’s teeth scrape against his bottom lip and Shōta feels a rush of heat, but he reluctantly pulls away before they get too caught up in each other.

“You’re an idiot,” Shōta says. “But I love you too.”

Hizashi stares at him with a dazed expression.

“And I’m sorry,” Shōta continues, clenching his jaw. “For not telling you when I go out to do hero work. I didn’t think about how it would affect you if something were to happen to me. I’ll try to tell you from now on.”

I don’t want to ever see you make that sad expression again, Shōta thinks, but doesn’t quite manage to say out loud.

“Thanks,” Hizashi murmurs. “I just – I worry.”

Shōta pulls him into another kiss, a softer one this time, an apology.

“Well,” Hizashi says when they break apart again, his cheeks a little flushed. “We should probably go help Kayama, shouldn’t we?”

“Probably,” Shōta snorts.

“Honestly, I should send her a fruit basket or something,” Hizashi says as he starts the car again and pulls out onto the road. “I never would have figured out you had been turned into a cat. Why did you even come to me instead of going to UA or the police?”

“Why wouldn’t I go to you?” Shōta asks simply, frowning. “Although admittedly, I thought you were smarter than that.”

“Shut up,” Hizashi huffs, embarrassed. “Animal transformation is not what immediately comes to mind when my best friend goes missing and a cat appears on my doorstep.”

“You’re a hero – you’re supposed to think outside of the box,” Shōta replies.

“Uh huh, well you were the one who let a couple of art thieves get the jump on you,” Hizashi retorts, but his tone is more relieved than accusing, still too glad about having Shōta back to really be angry.

“My intel was incomplete,” Shōta huffs. “I wasn’t aware there was an accomplice.”

“Maybe I should come with you next time,” Hizashi says. “You know, in case there are any unexpected accomplices again.”

Shōta hesitates for a second before saying, “Maybe you should.”

The smile Hizashi gives him in return is nothing short of brilliant.