Let's keep this train a-rolling. The first few chapters will likely be a bit slow while I get used to writing these guys again. The goal is to post a chapter every week, but that may get a bit trickier once my classes start again and I have to focus on those.
Thank you everyone who's followed, favorited, reviewed or even just clicked on the story to read. I haven't posted stuff in a long time and it's nice to see people are interested, even if just a tiny bit.
I'd like to start naming chapters after song titles…guess I may as well start here. I might toss lyrics into descriptions at some point for fun. Music is a good inspiration for writing.
Hope you enjoy!
Chapter 1: The Year of the Cat
"Okay, so WHY was there a box of cats at our door? Haruka, were you ordering illicit goods online again?" Shizuka asked, exasperated. Haruka smiled and shook her head.
"I promise I have no idea what you're implying, Shizuka. And no, I didn't order kittens online. That's a terrible way to get kittens."
"And they're all different kinds too…I mean, just look at them. There's no way they're all from a litter, did someone just take a bunch of random cats and throw them into a box?" Yume remarked, examining the group of them.
The largest of the kittens was a deep blue-gray color, emphasis on blue, with thick shaggy fur. Following in size was a dark brown one with strangely colored eyes that were a bit disconcerting to stare at for too long. A lanky black one with long fur sat next to the largest one, looking warily up at the girls outside the box.
The angriest of the group was a sleek silvery one with purple-red eyes that hinted towards some form of albinism, hissing and spitting any time someone reached towards it. A creamy-colored one with long hair and pale blue eyes watched it with something like wry amusement. Next to the cream one was a longer-haired red one that mostly looked bored, or as bored as a kitten could look.
The only one that seemed to behave normally was a marbled black one that had an odd swirled pattern of lighter color on the face. It seemed to be frantically meowing, jumping between trying to climb out of the box and jumping on the fluffy white and yellow one, who responded with a hiss and a swat when he did.
"Could be. They're all acting weird too. Probably some kind of inbred rejects from a breeding farm. Poor things." Shizuka commented, raising an eyebrow at a chorus of mews and hisses from the kittens in response.
"What the fuck did you just call me you little bitch?! Inbred?! I'll cut out your eyes and feed them to you!" Hidan hissed in a fury, Kakuzu swatting him upside the head.
"Idiot. You're only proving their assumptions with your behavior. Though clearly whatever being brought us here has a twisted idea of what a 'new form' entails. I may not have taken the offer if I knew we would be…this."
"I suppose all of us may have gotten the same offer then, hm. Good to see you by the way, Danna. Tobi…not so much." Deidara remarked, once again swatting away the excitable striped kitten who seemed unable to make up his mind.
"Oh, but Deidara-senpai, Tobi missed you so much! It was so scary being stuck in the scary void with the scary voice! You must have gone through it too, you could stand to be a little nicer! We have something more in common now, after all!"
"Tobi, I will make sure you die again if you don't quit—"
"Cut it out, brat. Those girls are speaking again." Sasori growled in a warning, Deidara immediately shutting up.
"So, are we planning to keep them, then? I don't know what else we could do with them. The animal shelter isn't open today, and if they were ditched here in a box then it may not be an option in the first place." The tiniest of the three women, Haruka, smiled ever so softly as she reached in and lifted up Tobi up out of the box and into her lap. "And they ARE really cute…I wouldn't mind some cats around the house. I've been thinking of getting one anyway."
"Yeah, but there's seven of them." That was the girl with the tired eyes, looking at her friend with a bemused expression. "I know we're all still single but come on, isn't it a little early in life to turn into crazy cat-ladies?"
"Never too early, Shizuka. Besides, Haruka owns the house. If she wants to keep them, then I guess we keep them." The girl who had carried them inside chimed in with a grin as she reached into the box and began petting Kisame, who instinctively arched his back and purred. Itachi looked at him, amused.
"What are you doing, Kisame?"
"Gotta admit, Itachi, it feels pretty good. You're missing out."
"See, Yume knows what she's on about! That's two against one, Shizuka!" Haruka said cheerfully, continuing to pet Tobi as he pawed at her long black hair. Shizuka rolled her eyes and laughed a bit.
"Damn it, I'm outnumbered. Fine, but you two are going to be the ones cleaning out the litter boxes…ugh, we have to go buy supplies now. I didn't want to have to go to town on my day off." Though even Shizuka seemed to not be immune to the charms of kittens, lifting Sasori out of the box and into her lap as he blinked up at her with surprise.
"I can run in and do the shopping if you want, Shizuka." Yume said. She lifted Kisame out of the box and set him on the floor before reaching over to pet the brown kitten. HE promptly growled at her, and she removed her hand quickly. "Well you're a grumpy little guy, aren't ya? Fine, have it your way." She reached for the silver instead and he swiped at her.
"Well, fine then. I'll just…" The black one and the cream one allowed themselves to be lifted out without too much of a fuss, and she set them on the floor next to the large gray. And with that settled, she promptly tipped the box onto its side and dumped the last two out to a chorus of furious yowling.
"Fucking bitch! What the hell was that for?!"
"You two did threaten her, yeah." Deidara responded with a chuckle as the Zombie Brothers scrambled up and away from the box. Shizuka had started laughing, but Haruka's jaw dropped open.
"Yume, what the fuck! That's so rude!" It was almost weird hearing such language like that from such a sweet-looking girl, though Yume simply laughed in response.
"Oh, relax, Haruka. Those two weren't going to let me grab them. I can drop the box off at the recycling center while I go shopping." She got to her feet, grabbing the box and beginning to break and fold it as she did. "Let them explore a little bit on their own to settle in. Seems like they're at least partially feral."
"Good point. Hope that's not too much of a problem." Shizuka agreed, setting Sasori down on the ground while Haruka did the same for Tobi.
"Aww! Tobi liked being held by the nice girl! She keeps me away from all the other meanies!"
"They do have pretty gentle hands if that purple-haired one—Yume, was it?—is anything to go by. I wouldn't mind another light massage." Kisame grinned while Itachi chuckled and shook his head.
"Good to see you haven't changed much, Kisame."
"Haruka, you wanna come to town with me?" Yume's voice interrupted before their conversation could really begin, and the smaller woman nodded and climbed to her own feet as well.
"Yeah, sounds good. But if I go, we're walking, NOT taking the bike. Got it?"
"Ugh, Haruka, that's so boring!" Yume whined and Haruka placed her hands on her hips, giving her a stern look.
"Nope. But I'll pay for the bus fare if you don't feel like walking all the way. The groceries will go flying off of that death-trap, especially with the way you drive."
"Her name is Comet, thank you very much, and I'll thank you to use her proper name."
"I also can't believe you NAMED the stupid thing…"
The two friends' bickering faded out as coats and purses were grabbed and the door opened and shut behind them. Shizuka smiled slightly, glancing down at the kittens before finally standing up and stretching as she did. There was a loud cracking noise that caused the various felines to jump as she sighed contently.
"Ugh, I needed that…you kitties play nice, I need to finish my work. And my apple." She walked back over to the table located just past the living room, leaving the seven behind.
"Well. Now that that's over, I think we need to discuss the important thing…mainly, that we're all here for presumably the same reason." Sasori said, looking over the other six members, his soft voice getting their attention even in kitten form. "From what Tobi said earlier, it sounds like we've all experienced the same thing."
"More specifically, that we've been given a second chance after death." Itachi added softly, and there was a brief moment of silence.
"Not only that, but a second death for some of us, hm." Deidara confirmed. "I know Sasori, Kakuzu, Itachi and myself were all brought back by that Edo Tensei ritual for a while by Danna's former subordinate, along with…who was that skinny guy again, yeah?"
"His name was Nagato. He was our Leader's true body, as I learned while working with him…and judging by their absence, he and Konan refused or were excluded from the offer." Itachi glanced around as he spoke, as though just now noticing their absence.
"Pretty sure Konan was running Ame, last I remember. She left after he died." Kisame mused thoughtfully. "I suppose she could still be alive…Zetsu too, come to think of it. They were still around when I bit it." He chuckled a bit at the morbid phrasing, though the only one who understood it was a swirly-faced kitty who was keeping his mouth firmly shut on the topic of Konan and Zetsu. "Though I suppose Tobi was too, and yet here he is…how'd you end up dying?"
"Tobi…Tobi doesn't wanna talk about it!" Tobi protested nervously, Deidara rolling his eyes at that.
"Figures, hm. Suppose if Itachi's brat brother survived my ultimate art than you would have too. I swear, you're a damn cockroach." Itachi glared at the remark about his brother, but said nothing.
"I recall Hidan was still buried in those rocks in the Nara Clan forest during that war-time ritual." Kakuzu mused. "Suppose his immortality finally ran out then."
"HA! As if, Kakuzu! Lord Jashin never forsake me! That weird fucking voice even said it couldn't take away the rights he's granted me!" Hidan retorted with a furious hiss, his silvery fur standing upright.
"Speaking of that voice, I don't suppose any of us figured out what it was?" Kisame asked, looking over the group and receiving only shrugs in response.
"Assuming we all heard the message in the box, it seems quite fond of the idea of 'Fate.'" Sasori commented. "I never did learn their actual name, though. May as well just call them 'Fate' in the meantime." The others nodded their assent to that title.
"So, 'Fate' brought us here for some reason, turned us into cats, and dropped us into a box. Not only that, but we all received word that our chakra would be stripped from us as well for a time." Kakuzu scowled at the thought.
"Either way, it seems there isn't much we can do, un. No one here to order us around, and no obvious way to turn ourselves into people. Just stuck here with those girls." Deidara commented, stretching out lazily as he did. "I suppose we just need to learn what we can in the meantime about where we are, yeah?"
"I hate to agree with the brat, but he's right." Sasori said with a sigh. "For now, let's just play along and see what's in store."
Unfortunately, exploring the house proved to be a fruitless endeavor. The doors to any rooms of interest were closed, and reaching underneath to paw around for clues revealed next to nothing. The most they were able to establish was that it was a decently sized house, with each girl seeming to have their own room and an extra one to spare.
Before any attempts could be made to properly break into the rooms, the front door opened as Yume and Haruka returned with bags full of kitten-related supplies, ranging from food to toys to litter boxes.
"Honey, I'm hoooome! Did the kittens behave for you, sweetie?" Yume called out teasingly to Shizuka, who rolled her eyes and set her sketches aside.
"Yeah, they've been pretty quiet. Heard them meowing for a while after you guys left, but they quieted down and started exploring afterwards. Guess they're just getting used to the house."
"Makes sense. They seem pretty adventurous." Haruka chirped, setting her own bags down on the ground. "We'll sort these out later…Yume and I have been talking about names for them. Did you think of any?"
"Oh, damn. That's right, we have to name them." Shizuka grimaced at the thought. She'd never been great at naming things. "I suppose I'll have to think of something. Whatever ones you guys don't wanna name, I can handle."
"I'll go find the kittens then!" Yume said, running off to do just that, although it seemed unnecessary. Upon hearing the commotion, the large group had returned down to the living room, easily rounded up by the three young women.
"Okay, let's see here…how about, I name two, Shizuka names two, Haruka names two, and we all vote on the last one?" Yume suggested, glancing at her friends, both of whom nodded. The kittens looked at one another nervously.
"What exactly do they mean by naming, hm?" Deidara asked warily, and Sasori grimaced in response. "Exactly what it sounds like, brat. They see us as pets, people generally name their pets. Let's just hope it's nothing TOO unpleasant."
"Okay, so who wants to start? Let's see…" Yume hummed as she looked over the kittens. She closed her eyes and began moving her arm back and forth, pointer finger extended and counting to herself before finally opening them to look and see where she was pointing. Currently, the bulky brown cat was the one under her gaze.
"Okay, let's see…big, brown, grumpy…" She chewed her lip thoughtfully for a moment while Kakuzu braced himself. "Let's go with…Cinnamon!"
"Cinnamon?" Haruka laughed a bit at that as the kittens snickered, Kakuzu simply glaring at the girls. "He's not even the right shade of brown for Cinnamon, Yume."
"I know, but I don't care. It's a cute name. I haven't eaten breakfast yet and damn it, now I REALLY want some cinnamon-sugar pop tarts."
"Then go eat breakfast, you goof! You can name the cats afterwards! I'm not going to go around naming all of our kittens after food!" Shizuka chided, giving her younger friend a playful shove towards the kitchen. Yume grinned right back.
"Okay, fine, but I'm not changing the name." She said cheerfully before turning and walking off to get some real food. Haruka shook her head in amusement
"Cinnamon it is, then. Okay, I'll name…this one's been pretty sweet, so I'll name him." She held out her hand to Tobi, who ran up immediately to investigate it. Deidara sighed in exasperation.
"Tobi, it's a hand. You've seen them hundreds of times, hm. You've seen this girl's hands most of the morning."
"Yes, but you never know, senpai! It could have changed!" The hyper ninja cat retorted as he was scratched between the ears. "And Kisame-senpai was right, this feels really nice!"
"He has a very cute coat-pattern. The face is a little bit odd though. Haven't really seen a lot of cats with that."
"He looks a little bit like he's wearing a mask." Shizuka agreed, glancing down as Kisame now rubbed against her legs to earn the same attention Tobi was currently receiving. She reluctantly relented, earning a steady purr.
"You're making that weird fucking noise again, Kisame." Hidan snapped, though the shark-man (shark-cat?) seemed unfazed. "It just happens, Hidan. I have no control over it."
"Got it!" Haruka finally declared, snapping her fingers triumphantly. "I'm gonna name him Batman! Because…well, Batman's cool and he looks like he has a mask."
"Batman isn't THAT cool." Shizuka said, only to be promptly smacked in the head by a packet of pop-tarts. "Hey!"
"You shut your whore mouth! Batman is SO cool!" Yume declared with a dramatic point as she stalked back in from the kitchen, promptly retrieving the pack that she had flung and tearing it open to eat.
"What the hell is a Batman, hm?" Deidara asked, giving Tobi a somewhat confused look. The newly dubbed superhero shrugged his shoulders innocently.
"Tobi doesn't know, but at least I got a cool name!"
"Okay, so I guess I have to name the next one…shit, I'm bad at names. Um…" Shizuka frowned thoughtfully, looking down at the large blue-gray kitty rubbing against her ankles. "He's…big. So…Big Guy. There. Name done."
"She wasn't kidding." Sasori noted dryly while Kisame simply snickered. "I suppose so, but it's better than Cinnamon."
"I will kill you, Kisame." Kakuzu growled warningly, but was interrupted when Yume now scooped up Deidara. He stared at her with baleful blue eyes, and she stared right back with her own mismatched ones.
"Let's see…wow, he's super soft. Should I just name him Fluffy?" Deidara's eyes widened in horror at the thought and Shizuka slapped her forehead.
"Yume, I will personally shave your head in your sleep if you unironically name a cat 'Fluffy.'"
"Fine, meanie." Yume stuck her tongue out at that before looking back to Deidara. "Okay, so names having to do with the fluff are out…wow, his eyes are pretty…okay, perfect! How about Periwinkle, because that's kind of his eye color? Plus then we can call him a bunch of cute nicknames like Peri or Winky!"
There was an immediate chorus of delighted meows from the kittens while 'Periwinkle' glared murderously at Yume, who set him down, apparently oblivious to his seething fury.
"How the hell does Tobi get named for something 'cool' while I get named after a fricking flower, un?!"
"Tobi thinks that it's a lovely name, Periwinkle-senpai!" Tobi stated cheerfully. Deidara immediately turned his fury onto him as per usual and lunged.
"That's it, you're dead!"
"Hey, hey, no fighting!" Haruka nudged her foot lightly between the two kittens to separate them as Periwinkle flung himself at Batman in a fury, giving just enough of a delay for him to escape his pursuer. She then reached out and pointed towards Itachi, who stiffened with impending dread.
"I'm naming that one Spooks."
"Why Spooks?" Yume asked, tilting her head at the smaller girl who smiled.
"I've always wanted a black cat named Spooks. And his eyes are so dark that it looks like he doesn't even have any. I'd say that's pretty spooky." Haruka said with a satisfied smile, holding him up to show the others what she meant before setting him down when they confirmed her words.
"She's got an interesting point there, Itachi. I don't think we've ever seen you without your Sharingan activated." Kakuzu commented thoughtfully when the sleek black cat was placed back on the floor.
"I know. I haven't been able to activate it. Seems to be one of the 'limitations' that Fate set for us. Perhaps it will return later." The Uchiha stated, seeming unfazed by the behavior and somewhat amused by the name he'd been given. It was a bit odd for the other former Akatsuki to hear him speak so much, but he seemed at ease with the new circumstances. More than the others were at least.
"Okay, so we've got two left. Shizuka, you have to name the next one, and then we can all three decide on a name for the last one." Yume declared, Shizuka groaning at having to name another one.
"Okay, I'll do…this one. Can I just name him Red?" The green-haired girl questioned as she once again held up Sasori, who glared silently as thought daring her. Haruka shook her head.
"Nope! You wouldn't allow Fluffy, so we're not allowing Red! It has to be a unique name!"
"Okay, fine…" Shizuka studied Sasori for a long moment, suddenly pulling him closer and pressing her nose into his fur in a cuddle that caught him entirely off-guard. That was probably the only reason she didn't get clawed for it. After a moment she pulled away and nodded.
"Cedar. He's red and he smells good so I'm naming him Cedar."
"Yay, I knew you could come up with a name if you wanted to!" Haruka cheered while Yume clapped her hands in dramatic applause. Shizuka laughed and shook her head, setting Cedar back into her lap. "I hate both of you, I hope you know that."
"As far as names go, I suppose it could have been worse." Sasori said with a sigh and a shake of his head. "I could have done without the bizarre sniffing, though."
"Okay, so the last one is the silver meanie." Yume said, looking at Hidan along with the other two. "So we need to vote on a name for him. I vote 'Butthead.'"
"We're not doing that. Immediate veto." Haruka said, shaking her head. "He's mean but he's probably just a little bit feral. We could name him after one of the Warrior cats?"
"Geez, haven't thought of that series in years…do we even remember any names from that series? I don't remember any silver ones."
"I remember a few, but they were girl cats. And tabbies, for that matter. He's not striped." Haruka said, frowning. "So maybe not that, then. Let's see, what else is silver?"
"Ooh, Tinsel!" Yume suddenly squealed. "Like what we hang up for the holidays! It's pretty and shiny and it gets everywhere like cat hair!"
The other girls were unable to think of a reasonable argument, and so 'Tinsel' was unanimously agreed upon. Hidan just looked confused.
"The fuck's a 'tinsel?'"
"Apparently something that's pretty, shiny, and gets everywhere." Kisame chuckled. "Weren't you listening?"
"That's not what I meant, fish-fuck!"
As the two began to bicker with the rest watching, Shizuka suddenly snapped her fingers. "Oh, shoot, that's right…they're all boy cats, aren't they? Tomcats can end up with some nasty behavior when they grow up. We'll have to get them fixed at some point. I think there's a Spay/Neuter clinic sometime next month, right?"
The cats all froze, slowly turning their eyes to one another, mouths agape. After a moment of shock, Itachi spoke up somewhat awkwardly.
"Well. It seems we now have a time limit to regain our normal forms, unless we want…that."
For the first time since the Akatsuki's founding, they all agreed unanimously.
I'm surprised I haven't seen more spay/neuter jokes in Akatsuki Cat fics before. Especially seeing as the vast majority would be tomcats. Then again I'm a vet student so I probably just put way too much thought into it.
I missed being able to write this much at once. I've had a hard time writing in recent years and it's amazing how fast the words flow out when it's with these characters. I should've gotten back into Fanfiction sooner.
Question of the Chapter: I used to do this a lot, and it was fun, so I'm doing it again. This one is mixed with a fun fact: All the Akatsuki members are unique, specific breeds of cat. Can you guess who is what?
Here's a hint: No two members share the same breeds, and all the breeds can have a natural color (excluding eyes and Tobi's face marks) matching that of the respective member.
Anyway, until next chapter, hope you all have a wonderful week!