This chapter's pushing it as far as "song title chapter names" go, but screw it, Disney songs count!
AngelofKonoha: Whoops! The cream-colored kitty was meant to be Deidara, but somewhere halfway through the chapter I swapped to describing him as "Yellow and white." I guess with the breed and color of said breed I was using for him, they kinda ended up meshed. Also, you got most of the breeds right, so congrats on that! I don't exactly have a prize but still impressive, haha.
Deidara—Ragdoll (Cream Point)
Itachi—Oriental Longhair (Black)
Kisame—Norwegian Forest Cat (Blue)
Anyway, that's about it for this note. More at the bottom; read on!
Chapter 2: Human Again
It had been a week since the first day and naming incident, and the ninja cats had been doing their best to learn about their circumstances, as well as how the heck they could get back to their normal forms.
The most obvious factor was the unusual technology of the home. They had yet to figure out how to use the computers that Yume and Haruka were frequently using throughout the day, seeing as they were password protected, but the television was usually on and provided some info.
The city was unrecognizable to them by its name— "Suda," it was called—and any imagery was equally foreign. It was clear that Fate had not lied about them being sent to a different world. There seemed to be no shinobi, and a different level of technology than they were used to. Unfortunately, without going outside, it was difficult to truly judge just HOW different that level of technology was.
Not to mention that no progress had been made on returning to their normal forms. Their chakra appeared to be entirely unavailable, which made experimenting much more difficult.
From the girls' point of view, their kittens were extremely strange. Big Guy and Batman seemed to be the only particularly friendly ones, actively seeking affection and, in the case of the latter, playtime. The others were more stand-offish, and while Tinsel was the only highly aggressive one, they behaved in the more aloof manner typical to cats.
They also seemed to fight among themselves frequently. Tinsel, again, was the most hellbent on starting fights with the others, usually with Periwinkle or Cinnamon. Batman seemed to be frequently picked on or threatened by Periwinkle and occasionally some of the others. Big Guy and Spooks were the least interested in getting involved and usually seemed to serve as some sort of mediators.
Unfortunately, from the Akatsuki's end of things, no progress had been made over the past week. They still lacked chakra and had yet to find a way to return to their regular forms. With the time limit of the clinic looming just a few weeks into the distance, it certainly felt like an emergency to them.
None of them knew just how much that was going to change today, though.
As per usual, Shizuka had grabbed her bag and her coat and had headed out the door to her place of work, which from various conversations seemed to involve a lot of designs and choosy customers. Haruka was shut up in her office, taking phone calls and filling out paperwork as was necessary; they still weren't sure what she did. Yume was leaning back on the couch, eyes trained on her laptop screen as she typed away.
Deidara, irritated and bored, hopped up onto the armrest behind her head and looked over her shoulder trying to make sense of the work. To him at least, it all just looked like gibberish. Lines of letters and numbers and symbols that meant absolutely nothing, with the occasional words thrown in.
"The hell is this? It's like some foreign language, hm." Deidara scoffed in annoyance at the sight of it, unsure how anything like that could be useful or worth being focused on. Yume glanced up at him as he mewed and smiled warmly.
"Aw, hey Periwinkle. You feeling lonely or something? You're not usually this friendly." She said simply, reaching up a hand and scratching him lightly. Though irritated with the name, he reluctantly allowed it and hopped down to sit next to her while she worked.
"You're awfully cuddly today, brat." Sasori remarked with amusement from where he was perched on one of the armchairs, having been watching the TV screen for anything useful that could help them, though right now it seemed to mostly be on for background noise.
"Shut up, danna, hm. We've been here a week and haven't figured anything out. If I can at least convince her not to get me 'fixed' then it won't be as terrible." Deidara retorted.
"Ha! Like Blondie has any manhood to worry about losing in the first place!" Hidan cackled gleefully from the floor, which immediately caused Deidara to bristle and lunge for him. The two were almost immediately caught in a hissing, snarling flurry of fur and claws and Yume immediately shoved the laptop aside and jumped up to stop them.
"Hey, hey! Cut it out! Ugh, the clinic cannot get here soon enough, you two are way too hard to handle." She groaned in frustration, once again forced to pry the two kittens apart, grabbing them firmly by the scruff. As she did that, she suddenly frowned.
"You know, you guys are all looking kinda grungy. Aren't cats supposed to groom themselves? Come to think of it, I don't think I've seen ANY of you do that before." She nibbled her lower lip thoughtfully for a moment as her gaze swept over the group.
"Grooming? Like licking ourselves?" Kisame scrunched up his nose a bit at the thought and Itachi grimaced in turn. "I suppose it would seem odd for cats to not partake in that behavior, seeing as they usually do." He agreed.
"Is it okay to bathe cats? Because I think you guys could use a bath… HEY, HARUKA!" She shouted down the hall, waiting for a response and then trying again. "HARUKA!"
"DO YOU KNOW IF IT'S SAFE TO BATHE CATS?"
"YUME I'M WORKING, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN 'IS IT SAFE TO BATHE CATS?'"
"WILL IT HURT THEM?"
"NOT IF YOU USE SAFE SHAMPOO!"
The cats just stared incredulously at the shouted conversation which was punctuated finally by the sound of Haruka's office door shutting once again. Yume hummed thoughtfully to herself, considering the fact while petting Deidara. "I don't think we have any shampoo that would be safe to use, but a good rinse with just water can't hurt."
With that decided, she got to her feet and scooped a startled Deidara up into her arms.
"Hey! Put me down, un!"
"Don't whine, brat. You could use a bath." Sasori said with some amusement as Yume tucked the fluffy cat against her and went to retrieve the others as well. Eventually, with several trips and far too much time spent chasing after the astonishingly agile kittens, she managed to wrangle all of them into the bathroom.
"Damn it, this better not get infected…" She muttered a bit irritably, grimacing at a rather nasty scratch she retrieved from Tinsel when grabbing him. She currently had the silver cat trapped in a hissing, seething towel burrito of hatred. For her, it was just angry snarling. For the cats, it was a string of filthy language that does not bear repeating in writing.
"You brought it on yourself. Idiot." Kakuzu droned, though he chuckled with dry amusement at his partner's fury. Not for long though, as Yume set Hidan free so that she could apply some peroxide and bandages to the wound. The second that occurred he shot out from underneath it, lunging for Kakuzu who promptly swatted him back and the two began fighting.
"You two cut it out, you're going to hurt each other! Ugh…maybe burning off some energy will make it easier to bathe you." Yume said, glancing down at them and shaking her head a bit. She reached into one of the drawers, grabbing out a few hair ties and beginning to twist her long wavy hair back into braids to keep them out of the way for the upcoming cat spa. Finally satisfied, she walked over and began filling the tub.
"You two should be careful not to tear yourselves apart too badly. We don't know what kind of medical treatment may be involved in fixing those wounds…perhaps you'll end up having to go for an emergency vet visit and get fixed early." Kisame suggested with a snicker, and the two cats immediately lunged away from each other, horrified by the thought.
"Okay, that should be a good temperature. And a good amount of water." Yume said, testing it with her hands now that there was roughly an inch of water in the bathtub. "Just enough to rinse you off without making it miserable. Hopefully you guys don't hate it TOO much."
After a few more moments of struggle—how the hell were these kittens so agile?!—she managed to grab hold of Deidara and Tobi. Quickly getting to work, she set them into the tub to begin bathing them only to receive the shock of her life.
Their paws had just barely dipped into the water when there was a sudden POOF! And a burst of white smoke filled the room.
Yume let out a shriek of surprise and flung herself backwards away from the tub, scrambling to her feet frantically. "What the hell?! You guys were a little scruffy but not coated in chalk dust!"
"Oh, Deidara-senpai, look, look! We're not fuzzy kittens anymore! We're us again!"
"I noticed, Tobi. I'm not blind, hm…though right now I wish that I was."
As the smoke cleared, the confused girl's eyes went wide. Standing in the bathtub where once there had been kittens were two men, one with long-blonde hair and a deadpan expression, the other taller with black hair and a mask. Even the remaining kittens seemed to be gaping in shock at the sight before them.
"What the fuck?! How did they become people?!"
"I have to admit, I'm wondering the same thing." Itachi stated, glancing away abruptly when he realized that…
They were both naked.
Yume stared a moment as it sank in what was going on, then let out a shriek and scrambled out of the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. She stood pressed against it, her eyes wide and her face flushed a bit; it wasn't like she hadn't seen naked men before, but that had always been when she EXPECTED it.
Haruka came running down the hallway from her office at that point, a worried expression on her face when she saw Yume pressed against the door like that.
"Yume! What happened, are you okay?! You were just bathing the kittens and then I heard you start screaming!"
Yume let out a shaky laugh, looking back at the door.
"Yeah, about that…I put them in the water and, well, something weird happened. I'm not really sure how to describe it."
"Something weird…?" Haruka tilted her head slightly in confusion, then reach past her friend and opened the door. She stared silently for a moment, then looked back at Yume.
"Yume, why are there four naked men in the bathroom?"
"Four…wait, four?! I only saw two! Are they multiplying?!" Yume said incredulously and shoved past her friend to stare. Seemed the blonde man and masked man were now accompanied by a redhead, who was staring down at himself with a puzzled expression, and a black-haired man who was currently tying back his long hair and looking at the girls with amusement.
As the girls watched, the masked man gleefully dropped Big Guy and Cinnamon into the water as well, resulting in another poof of white smoke and two more nude men, one covered in stitches and the other one massive and shark-like. He cast a grin to the two girls.
"Like what you see, eh?"
"FUCK!" Yume slammed the door again, sharing an incredulously look with Haruka. "Why the hell are our cats people?! Cats don't turn into people!"
"I guess that explains why they were left on the doorstep…" Haruka remarked, shaking her head. Her cheeks had gone crimson from the sight, not being quite as 'experienced' as Yume was when it came to such things.
A knock came from the bathroom door behind them, followed by a deep, soft voice. Different from the others that had spoken earlier.
"Excuse me…we, borrowed some towels, if that's alright."
Both girls paused at that, exchanging looks, and then turning back to the door.
"Er…yeah, that's fine…I guess…do you guys, wanna explain what the heck is going on?"
"That…may be easier to do on the same side of the door."
Haruka nibbled her lip, thinking it over, and then nodded.
"Alright…we'll open the door and talk in the living room. Yume, can you text Shizuka and ask her to just, get a bunch of men's clothes from Goodwill or something on her way home from work?"
Yume nodded her agreement, and they opened the door once more and led everyone downstairs.
A short while later, they were still admittedly finding it hard not to stare. For one thing, all of the men were admittedly attractive, ranging from the lean long-haired blonde to the muscular, still-shirtless silver haired man who was smirking whenever he noticed them staring. For another, the two tallest among them had traits that even the plastic surgery fanatics in the city would find extreme, between the stitches and the shark traits.
Itachi was the one who finally spoke up, against all odds; it seemed he'd been the one speaking through the door earlier. "I think this situation is, a strange one for all of us involved. My name is Itachi Uchiha, and I would like to apologize for imposing like this. We don't exactly have many options."
"Yeah, no kidding." Yume agreed, snapped out of whatever daydream she'd been having while eyeing the men and trying to be subtle about it. "How the heck did you guys end up as cats on the doorstep anyway?"
"You're not with Masquerade, are you?" Haruka said suddenly, mostly staring at Tobi. He'd been the only one to show up with any semblance of clothes after all, what with the mask and such. He cocked his head to the side innocently.
"Eh? Masquerade? What's that?"
Haruka studied him a moment longer, then shook her head.
"Never mind. Dumb question, you're obviously not from around here anyway. Most people don't really turn into kittens and get dumped in boxes, after all."
"You girls seem to be taking this rather well." Sasori noted, one red eyebrow raised slightly as he absently traced his fingers along the couch. He was human now, not a puppet, and it was both disorienting and fascinating to be able to properly feel the textures of things again. The 'Scorpion' symbol from his heart-piece was still emblazoned on his chest, more of a tattooed reminder than anything else now. "After the initial screaming, at least."
"Well…I feel like it's mostly shock setting in to be honest." Yume said with a slight giggle.
"Anyway, to answer your question…" Kakuzu grumbled. "I believe we're from another world, where we died and were offered a, second chance, by some entity."
The silence grew so thick it could be cut with a knife. The girls stared, waiting for someone to laugh and say "Just kidding!" The men stared back. After a moment, Haruka spoke again.
"That's, um…I suppose I don't have any better explanation for a bunch of strangers showing up in our house as kittens."
Thankfully arriving to save everyone from further painful awkwardness, the front door clicked and opened as Shizuka made her way in, a massive bag being dragged along behind her.
"Honestly, Haruka, I don't know what you guys need all of this clothing stuff for, but…"
She turned, saw the scene in the room, and stared. That seemed to be a common reaction today. Her eyes swept slowly across the room, and then focused in.
"Yume, why are there SEVEN naked men in our living room?"
Yume throw her arms in the air as Haruka, Hidan, Kisame, and Deidara all snickered.
"Why the hell do you guys always blame ME?!"
Hmm. Shorter chapter this time. I guess it's a bit of a transition more than anything else. Next one should have a little bit more going on. My classes started this week and that plus the holiday (if you're in the US) have been taking over my mind.
Question of the chapter: Favorite video game? Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town was the first video game I ever owned, so I'd probably say that's my number one video game. So excited they're remaking it for the Switch!
I'll probably reduce updates to once every two weeks from here on out since I won't have as much time to write going forward. Sorry about that!
Thanks again to all who have been reading! I'd love to see some more reviews, but I'm just as happy seeing that people have been clicking the story at all.
Until next time~