To copycat-capycot, my wonderful beta. I hope you like this fic. Yes, I intentionally chose a cat fic because of your username. :P (And I like cats.) This is just a little something to show my appreciation. You're a great beta! Punctual, not too pushy, and a perfect grammar police! :D
To all: As I intended for this fic to be a surprise, this is unbetad, so please excuse any terrible grammar.
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN KINGDOM HEARTS.
I Blame the Cat!
Chapter 1: The Peculiar Cat
Riku was the strangest cat in many, many ways. For one thing, he walked like a King no matter what the occasion. For another, it seemed that at times he understood human speech (when Sora would ask his silver cat where he misplaced his car keys, his homework or his cell phone, the cat would readily lead him to his lost object, or even bring it to him, much to the brunette's delight.) And lastly, Riku was always present whenever Sora would undress in the house. Always.
"Sora, I think we should buy a muzzle for Riku," Roxas Strife said during breakfast as he eased a spoonful of cereal into his mouth.
His older twin brother, Sora Strife, looked offended by the very thought. "What?" he exclaimed. "Why?"
"'Cause your stupid cat keeps meowing at, like, three in the morning." The blonde jabbed an angry finger at the silver feline, who was sitting on Sora's lap contently. Riku lifted his head and twitched a lazy ear.
"Really? I don't hear him," Sora said. "And he sleeps in my room."
"That's because you're practically comatose when you're asleep. Riku's getting a muzzle," Roxas said definitively.
"Give him a break, Roxas!" The older Strife whined. "He's a cat! Riku doesn't mean it, do you, boy?" The brunette cooed. Riku looked up at him and meowed innocently. Sora affectionately stroked his soft, furry head. "Honestly, Roxas, just because you don't like him—"
"He doesn't like me!" The blonde clarified, picking up his cereal bowl and placing it in the sink. "I swear! Yesterday, I was walking downstairs and Riku tried to trip me by weaving around my legs!"
"He was being cute and loving and adorable!" Sora protested. Meanwhile, Riku's turquoise eyes fixated on Roxas and the younger Strife could have sworn the cat was smiling.
"He was trying to kill me!" The younger Strife insisted.
"Will you two get ready for school already?" Cloud, their father, said as he lifted his eyes from his newspaper. "Roxas, Riku's a cat, not a diabolical, criminal mastermind. He's not trying to kill you. Sora, control your pet. End of argument. Now go, the both of you."
Frowning, the twins excused themselves from the table, climbed up the stairs, and entered their respective rooms. Riku followed Sora the entire way, the bell on his collar jingling softly.
"I don't know what Roxas is talking about," Sora mumbled, crouching down to scratch the cat's chin. "You wouldn't harm a fly."
Riku meowed happily. The brunette smiled, went to his closet, and opened the door.
The routine was always the same, Riku had long-sinced memorized it. Sora would strip to his underwear (the shirt came off first, then the pants) and stand in front of his closet for several minutes as he decided between one of six identical uniforms. Then he would place the long-sleeved shirt on, fumble with the tie, place on his slacks, and his blazer was donned last. Then, Sora would scramble for his backpack, bid Riku good-bye before grabbing his lunch from his mother, Aerith, and walk to the bus stop with Roxas.
The rest of the family was out of the house within an hour. Cloud would leave for work by 8:00 AM and Aerith went to her flower shop around 8:30 AM. Once the door slammed shut, Riku patiently waited in Sora's room for another thirty minutes because sometimes Cloud or Aerith would forget an article or two and come back.
When 9:00 AM rolled by, Riku slipped his collar off his neck as his back shivered. His fur stood on end as his bones popped, twisted and lengthened. He grimaced. The bones morphing were always the most uncomfortable part of the process. The fur on his body melted away, revealing pale, smooth, white skin. His feline nose flattened and his human mouth and lips began to form. His long, silver hair spilled down from his head, stopping just before his shoulders. Riku's arms and legs grew longer, and his human hands and feet became more distinguishable.
Once his tailbones had completely retracted into his human spine and his opposable thumbs took shape, the silver-haired teen planted his feet on the ground, stood up and stretched his arms. Being stuck in his cat form for a long while always made his limbs a little stiff as a human. Riku yawned. Perhaps he shouldn't have spent half the night meowing by Roxas' door.
'It was time well-spent anyway,' Riku grinned. He did enjoy annoying the blonde.
The skinwalker spent a majority of his morning lounging on the couch as a human in one of Cloud's spare bathrobes. Around lunchtime he made himself a simple tuna salad sandwich. Months had passed since Sora had adopted Riku into his family, and by then the silver skinwalker knew his limits. No one would question the new foodstuff in the fridge. They were all too absorbed in their quaint little lives and would simply assume that the tuna salad was made by someone else in the family.
Boredom came quickly in a house with no other occupants, so Riku soon found himself rummaging for his clothes in Sora's closet. True, if it was anyone else's closet, they would have noted that several clothes were too big or unrecognizable entirely. But Sora wasn't exactly the sharpest crayon in the box, and had yet to wonder the monthly additions to his wardrobe.
Slipping into some jeans, a white shirt, a casual, black blazer and a matching fedora, Riku discreetly made his way out the backdoor and into the back ally . Once he hit the street, the silver-haired teen promptly acted like a resident human would. He knew Twilight Town well and was very aware that because it was around 1:00 PM and a weekday the Gaming Axis would be sparse, leaving all games to him. Riku made his way there.
Loz met him at the door and welcomed him in without hesitation. He was a hulkish skinwalker with green eyes and short silver hair just a shade or two darker than the teen's. Riku had humorously labeled him as the equivalent of a club bouncer in the Rated-G establishment.
"Good afternoon, Riku," the large, older skinwalker said, bowing a bit to him.
"Hey Loz," Riku greeted.
Loz escorted him through the cashiers. All the employees who had seen him often enough no longer questioned the fact that he was invited inside and had his meals, drinks, and tokens at no cost. They had assumed that he was just their employers' precious nephew or some other sort of family relative.
"Back again, I see," Yazoo said, slinking from some dark corner with a smirk on his face. "Getting a bit too old for video games, aren't we, Cousin?" Yazoo was Loz's older brother, and was in charge of the finances of the Axis. His long silver hair fluttered behind him gracefully as he walked towards them.
"That's a bit of a contradition coming from a co-owner of an arcade," the youngest skinwalker replied, annoyed. He was only seventeen, and one was never too old for video games. Riku made his way into the gameroom, stretching out his hand to the long-haired skinwalker. "And anyway, Sora doesn't have an Xstation 3 or PlayBox 180. I get bored."
"It's Xbox 360 and Playstation 3," Yazoo corrected, rolling his eyes—which held the same shade as Loz's—as he deposited several tokens into the teen's hand. "You're still living with that human, obviously. Have you no shame, Riku? You're a direct descendent of the Silver Moon House and yet you flaunt your tummy for some mongrel human—"
Riku's eyes blazed. "Don't speak of Sora that way," he snarled lividly.
The grin on Yazoo's face grew wider. "Or what?" he challenged, his knees bending into a crouch.
A hand clapped onto Yazoo's shoulder and Kadaj appeared. He was the oldest of the three brothers, though he didn't look it as he was small in comparison to both Loz and Yazoo. His similar hair and eyes gave away his relation to the two. "Now, now," Kadaj said with a calm smile. "Leave him be, Yazoo. We're all family here, afterall."
Yazoo grunted, jerked his shoulder from his brother's grasp and stalked off.
"You'll have to forgive him, Riku," Kadaj said. "He's been in a bad mood lately. Of course you're welcome here. A member of the main branch is always received well by us cadet branches."
"Thank you," Riku said, placing a token into a nearby Tekken machine and hitting the A button. He grabbed the joystick and chose a player. Kadaj shuffled next to him, placed in his own token and pressed A.
"Speaking of your human, how is he?" The cadet branch member asked.
"SET. START…" the game announced.
"He's fine," Riku said, shortly.
"So, yeah, I think you should totally fuck him." Kadaj said casually.
Riku's hand jerked the joystick to the right, causing his character (a man with a jaguar head) to run right into Kadaj's fighter (a samurai bug-thing) just in time for Bug Samurai to unleash a massive, six-hit combo leaving Jaguarhead with less than half his life points.
"Cheater!" Riku shouted, pressing the combo buttons madly.
"I wasn't cheating," Kadaj replied coolly. "I was just giving you some advice regarding your sex life. You're supposed to appreciate it because I'm older than you."
Jaguarhead double punched Bug Samurai before retreating with his hands up defensively.
"My sex life is none of your concern," the shorter of the two mumbled irritably. Jaguarhead gave Bug Samurai a hard roundhouse kick. Bug Samurai countered with a hurricane-like slash, sending Jaguarhead flying.
"Your sex life is all of our concern, Riku. You're the last member of—"
Riku pushed himself away from the video game in disgust, his eyes catching a DDR game nearby. Kadaj immediately kept pace with the younger skinwalker as he made his way to the machine.
"I apologize," the elder said. "I didn't mean to upset you."
Kadaj sighed with an apologetic grin. "Yeah, I am."
The teen scowled.
"Don't cry," the cadet branch member chirped.
"I'm not crying!" Riku snapped. He stepped onto the machine, placed in the tokens and selected his song.
"Are you crying because you're sexually frustrated?" Kadaj teased. "Being gay must be tough."
"I am not sexually frustrated!" The main branch member retorted, his feet flying across the DDR stage with ease. "And I am not crying!"
The older skinwalker watched his cousin without speaking, letting him play through two songs before he spoke again.
"Have you even tried to seduce him?" Kadaj asked suddenly.
That made Riku stop playing. Within seconds he lost.
"NOOOOOOOO!" The announcer yelled obnoxiously, completely ignored by the two silver skinwalkers.
Kadaj tilted his head to one side curiously. "You're not seriously thinking of staying as his pet forever, are you?" he queried.
Riku sighed as he turned to face his cousin. "I want to," he said quietly. "It's nice."
"You know you can't do that," Kadaj said. "You're not a cat, Riku. Not completely."
"I know," the younger teen sank onto the stage and placed his face in his hands. "I know," he repeated softly.
Kadaj folded his arms on the DDR rail. "You like him a lot, right?" he asked.
"Yeah," came a muffled answer.
"So go get him." He said it so simply.
The younger teen glanced up at his cousin. "You really don't object?" he questioned. Ever since he was small he had been taught about his lineage.
Never marry outside your race. Keep the blood pure. These rules were particularly stressed to Riku due to his unique parentage. His mother and father were cousins from the main branch.
Kadaj shrugged. "We're a dying breed, Riku," he replied. "There was a time when our powers were revered, back when the earth was greener and the air was clean, but that time is gone. Many of us have forsaken our powers completely and assimilated into human life. What good does keeping the old ways do us? The human world is growing, and ours is slipping underneath it."
"So what are you saying?" Riku asked, fishing for a proper answer to his question.
"Sink or swim. Love is never shameful. Vive la résistance."
The silver-haired teen slipped silently into thought. Ignoring the last statement, his cousin was right. He'd been watching Sora for too long now. It was time to have him completely.
Riku nodded. Kadaj grinned. "So what are you planning on doing?" The older skinwalker asked.
"I'll enter his school as a transfer student and I'll make him fall in love with me," the adolescent said confidently.
Kadaj nodded. "That can be arranged," he said. "We'll prepare the necessary papers. Of course, you'll have to start studying for the entrance exam, as per the school's terms. I believe Marluxia is teaching there, and he can look after you once you pass."
"Marluxia?" Riku questioned, vaguely remembering his distant family member.
The elder nodded. "Will you continue to stay with Sora as his pet?"
"My current position is advantageous," Riku said briskly as he moved off the DDR machine and towards the concession stands. "I'll be able to watch Sora closely, gage my impression on him, and modify my actions as necessary."
Kadaj let out a pensive hum as he followed his younger cousin. Despite Riku's answer, he could tell there was alternative motive. "You're a pervert," the older skinwalker said.
"Shut up!" Riku retorted, his cheeks flaring and his shoulders irking.
"Are you saying you aren't?"
"Yes! I don't know why you enjoy throwing all these accusations at me."
"Because I know I'm right."
"You're not." The younger cousin jammed a small cup underneath the Coca-Cola dispenser, waited for it to fill up and slipped a straw into it.
"Is that so?" There was a definite amused tone in his question.
Riku glared at him. "What?" he asked impatiently, sipping his drink.
Kadaj smirked. "Don't act as if you don't know how big his dick is."
The main branch member choked on his drink, his face hot. The sentence was spoken loud and clear, drawing the attention of everyone within ten feet of them.
"You're an asshole," Riku hacked out in between coughs.
Kadaj only smiled. "You know me," he singsonged.
"Riku!" Sora called as he entered the house.
A flash of silver flew downstairs and the cat was at his leg, purring and meowing contently.
"There you are, my little Riri!" The brunette cooed, lifting the cat from the ground. "Oh, who's a good boy? You are! You are, my cute, adorable little kitty!"
Roxas made a rolled his eyes at his brother's over-demonstrative love for his pet, but he kept silent as he pushed passed Sora and went up to his room. Meanwhile, Riku was smiling inside. He treasured every instant in the brunette's arms.
"Hey, guess what, Riku?" The eldest Strife twin asked. "Something great happened today!"
The cat tilted his head, noiselessly asking Sora to continue.
"Wow," came a new voice. A tall teen with fiery-red hair appeared from behind Sora, his amused green eyes on Riku. "You really do talk to your cat," he said, grinning.
Sora pouted, clutching the silver feline to his chest. "It's not weird, Axel!" he said, stubbornly.
Axel, Riku knew that name. The older Strife twin had mentioned him once or twice.
"Yeah, it is," Axel said, chuckling. Before the brunette could even protest, the redhead stepped forward and silenced him with a quick kiss. "But it's cute," he amended.
Riku's eyes widened, his body suddenly felt numb and cold even though he was so close to Sora.
The brunette looked down at his cat. "Riku, this is Axel," he introduced as an exhilarated blush painted the human's cheeks. "He's my boyfriend."
"Riku, listen carefully. Head to Twilight Town. Find Kadaj, Yazoo, and Loz."
His father's words rang clearly in his mind, but they weren't enough to stave off his hunger. Riku was starving. Even as a cat, he couldn't even scrounge up enough food to get by.
The afternoon sun was beating down hard on his back, the pavement was scalding his soft paws. His throat was dry. When was the last time he had any water? He didn't remember.
Riku knew that any minute now he would keel over and die. It was taking every last ounce of his strength just to walk and hold his shape at the same time. Each step jarred his small, thin, feline body. It won't be long now, and his vision was getting blurry.
At last Riku collapsed. The remainder of his mental power instantly shifted to keep himself stable.
Don't transform back, he told himself. 'You can't. Not out here.'
Footsteps. Human footsteps. Someone was coming.
"Hey…" came a soft voice. A gentle hand patted his scrawny chest. Whoever-It-Was clicked their tongue in an attempt to call him. "Hey, Kitty."
"Sora, don't," said another human. "It's already dead."
"He," the first voice, Sora, corrected after lifting up Riku's tail, "is still breathing."
"Well, we can't take him home!"
"Yes, we can, Roxas!" Riku felt someone lift him up.
"Sora!" Roxas complained.
"Listen to your older brother! We're taking this kitty home!" With that, Sora held Riku close to him protectively. The skinwalker finally managed to glance at his savior.
Sapphire eyes, hair the color of chocolate, and a soft, childlike face. He was beautiful.
"Just because you like cats…" Roxas mumbled. "And you're only older by two minutes."
"Still older!" Sora argued as they began to walk.
"Can you even take care of a cat?"
"Of course I can! What's there to it?"
 the back ally where the cars came and went. For all you suburb folks like me, in the big cities, usually their garages don't open into the street (I hear it's for aesthetic purposes.) Instead, the garages are located in the back, opening into an ally that leads into the streets. So Riku's pretty out of sight when he sneaks out of the house.
Okay, okay. This story was inspired by four things (1) a SoraRoxas fic I read long, long ago about Roxas being an alien cat from some planet and Sora taking care of him. Or something like that. I can't really find that fic anymore. (No, Riku ISN'T an alien in this fic.) (2) an episode of Supernatural; that one with the skinwalker who lived with the family. (3) this funny webpage I saw called 'Secret Cat Diary.' (4) I like cats. So there.
Yay! Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz! I love them, they're such a cute trio. :) I'm happy I finally get to write about them. All right, so just to make this clear: Kadaj, Yazoo and Loz are Riku's cousins, but their blood isn't as pure as his. They're from a cadet branch with more diluted blood and Riku comes from the main line. Riku's like royalty.
Okay, just for clarification, Riku is a HUMAN who can transform into ANIMALS. Skinwalker. I don't like using this word, though, because it makes it seem like Riku's an animal that turns into a human. I wanted to say 'shapeshifter' but that implied too large of an area. Skinwalker was the closest thing. I KNOW I'm bending the lore because a skinwalker is supposed to have, like, the skin of the animal they want to transform into. Riku does it like, *poof.* I was sorely tempted to call Riku an animagus but then I remembered that this isn't Harry Potter. Hahaha. If someone has a better noun to describe what Riku is, please don't hesitate to tell me. PM or review, doesn't matter.
Copycat-capycot, rock on. :D (Um, and also, I can send you this document for betaing if the grammar's too abhorring. Hahaha.)
P.S. I don't know if this is a good idea to ask since it's the first chapter - so obviously there's a lot of things that have yet to be revealed - but I encourage you all to ask questions. (Not exactly a ploy to receive more reviews.)