A/N: So, I saw a prompt that mentioned Makoto finding Haruka (who is a cat) and taking him home and caring for him. So, yeah, this is the end result. And I decided to make Haru a catboy cause hey, why not? We need more fanfiction cliches in the Free! fandom.
And Haru is still a weird boy who loves water, even as a cat. Nothing can stop that. Not even being a cat.
Warning: Fluffy (no seriously, this will probably rot your teeth)
Disclaimer: I don't own Free!/Swimming anime
Makoto cursed mentally as he ran down the street, his jacket protecting him from the pouring rain. Although, given the way that the wind was blowing, the jacket wasn't really helping much. But it did save him from the brute of the cold rain. It had hit suddenly, so suddenly that it had completely caught him off guard. Normally, he was able to tell when rain was coming and would go and find shelter or get back home to wait it out. But this one had started when the sun had been out and shining. It hadn't even mentioned in the broadcast that it would start raining that day, so he didn't even take his umbrella with him. It just wasn't his day.
The sound of thunder rumbled in the distance and Makoto flinched a bit before running faster. Well then, it really wasn't his day today. So much for this just being a down pour, now it would turn into a thunderstorm. He really needed to get home as fast as he could. Running in the rain was one thing. Running in a thunderstorm was another thing all together and he wasn't stupid enough to hang around. He saw the stairs that lead up to his house and sighed in relief. Almost home. Making a sharp turn, he ran up the stairs as fast as he could without falling. But as he was climbing up the slick steps, he ended up slipping on something that had been lying around haphazardly. His eyes widened as the ground approached him and he tensed, preparing himself for the fall. A grunt left his mouth as he landed on the cold, wet steps, his jacket falling a few feet away from him.
The pain hit him first, his hip and elbow throbbing in pain. He hissed softly and lifted himself up and look down at his body. He noticed that he had few scraps where he was hurting, but nothing serious. Clicking his tongue, he pushed himself up and groaned. The rain had already soaked through his clothing, chilling him to the bone. He could feel himself starting to shiver due to the coldness. Frowning in distaste, he limped down the steps and picked up his jacket, wiping the rain out of his face. What in the world had caused him to fall anyway? He looked around nearby, but couldn't really spot anything that would have made him trip. He knew that he didn't have any time to dawdle, although he was a bit curious on what he had ended up tripping on. It hadn't felt like just a wet step that he had slipped on. It felt like something else.
Noticing something towards the bottom of the steps, Makoto ran down and picked it up, furrowing his eyebrows. It looked like...a piece of cardboard. He hummed curiously, not quite sure why there had been a piece of cardboard on the steps. It probably came from those kids that hung around the steps all the time when they were playing. He would have a talk to them in the morning.
Thunder shook through the skies, breaking Makoto out of his thoughts. He looked around for a moment and noticed a cardboard box sitting a few feet up the stairs where he had been heading up. He really didn't have the time to linger. He needed to get back home before the storm got worse.
Placing the cardboard in a nearby trash can, the tall male began to walk up the stairs again when he heard a strange sound over the rain. He froze for a moment, body tense. It wasn't thunder that he heard. It had been too soft. Gazing over his shoulder, Makoto noticed something dark sitting at the base of the steps that he had just come from. He didn't move, curious about what the thing sitting at the bottom step was. The thing was just sitting there, staring at him for a moment. It didn't seem phased by the fact that it was pouring rain.
When the mass started moving up the stairs slowly, Makoto turned and knelt down. It didn't look that big from where he was standing, so it was probably a small animal. As the mass got closer, he recognized it to be a cat. It was pretty small for a cat, but it wasn't a kitten. He had grown up around cats, so he could tell the difference between a cat and a kitten. Perhaps it was just a runt of a litter.
Holding out his hands, Makoto picked up the little cat and tucked it into his jacket, shielding it from the rain. While he didn't make a habit out of taking in strays off of the street, he would make an exception just this once. It was going to be a pretty bad storm, so he would feel really guilty about leaving the cat out in this nightmare. Just as he thought that, the rain was starting to fall harder and the thunder was getting louder. They both needed to get out of the rain. So, making sure that the cat was secure under his arms, he ran up the stairs towards his house.
Makoto walked into the dining room, a towel over his head as he dried himself off. He could hear the wind and thunder outside, rumbling every few seconds. A frown came to his face and he stared out into space for a moment, letting the noises of the storm wash over him. It wasn't bad enough that the power might go out, but if it did get worse, then there was the chance that he could lose his power for the night. So, he went over to his chest of emergency things and pulled out several flashlights and batteries. He never liked having candles because his younger siblings regularly visited and he didn't like leaving open flames where they could run by.
Plus, now he had a cat in his care.
Speaking of the cat, Makoto looked around for a moment. Where was the cat, now that he thought about it? It didn't look like it was around. It probably went off somewhere to groom itself. That what it had been doing when he had placed it down in the house. Smiling gently, he placed the flashlights and went into the kitchen to get himself some food. He might as well eat dinner, since he hadn't been able to eat before he came home. And while he might not have been hungry on his way home (he was much more worried about the sudden storm), now his stomach was demanding food.
Heading towards the fridge, Makoto was about to open the door when he heard a soft hiss. Blinking for a moment, he gazed down and noticed that the cat was sitting in front of the door, staring up at him with bright blue eyes. It looked as though he had accidentally interrupted it during its grooming. Smiling gently, Makoto knelt down and held out his hand for the cat to sniff. Its large blue eyes continued staring at him with a blank expression before glancing down at his hand. The cute little nose on its face twitched for a moment before it meowed softly.
The cat lifted itself up onto its legs and crawled into his lap, sniffing him a little bit more before sitting itself down as though it belonged there. Sighing softly, Makoto gave a soft smile and petted the feline along its back. "You can't sit there little buddy. I have to get some food. I'm sure you'd like some fish too, right?"
Almost comically, the cat's head lifted up immediately at the mention of fish. It stared at him for a moment before shooting off of his lap and sitting itself down a few feet away from the door. If the cat had been a person, Makoto would probably say that the look he was getting from the cat was expectant. He chuckled softly before standing up and opening the door.
Pulling out a plate full of fish, he moved over towards where he kept his spare plates and pulled one off of the shelf. Makoto then split the fish so that both he and the cat could have their dinner. Thankfully, there was enough fish from when he had cooked for his family just yesterday. Probably way too much for him and a cat to eat alone, but that was just fine. They could have some later if they got hungry again. Another soft meow caught his attention and gazed down to see the cat rubbing itself against his leg. Chuckling, Makoto took a small piece of fish and leaned down to give it to the cat. He nearly cooed at how cute the small cat looked eating the fish from his fingers, its rough tongue lapping at his fingertips.
"Does it taste good, little buddy?" he asked softly.
Getting a happy mewl in response, Makoto nodded his head and got the two plates before walking towards the dining room. "Come on little buddy. We're gonna eat in here."
The cat followed behind him dutifully, sitting itself right next to Makoto's seat. It was really adorable. He placed the plate down next to the cat before taking his own spot, pulling out a pair of chopsticks to use. He said a quick grace before he began eating silently. Neither of them said anything (or in the cat's case, meowed) while they ate, too absorbed with their meal. However, Makoto did let his free hand move down to pet the cat on its head lightly when it had finished eating.
Finishing up with his own meal, Makoto sighed happily before turning towards the cat. "I suppose you're thirsty, right little buddy?" he asked curiously.
The cat just mewled again before going back to grooming itself. Nodding his head in understanding, he went to get the cat some milk. Walking into the kitchen, he headed over towards the fridge, a bright smile on his face. However, upon opening his fridge, that smile quickly left his face and was replaced by a frown. There wasn't any milk. Humming curiously, he knelt down and searched through his fridge, pushing boxes and containers out of the way. He could have sworn that he had bought milk earlier that week. In fact, he was sure that he had. There was no way that he could have run out of it already. He didn't even drink it a lot of milk.
...His siblings on the other hand...
Sighing softly, Makoto shook his head before reaching for the container of water. Well, he supposed that he had a trip to make in the morning. He hoped that the cat didn't mind drinking some water. Given that it was thirsty, it probably wouldn't care what he gave to it. But he had had some experiences with spoiled cats and they weren't always the best. He really hoped that this cat wasn't like them. It seemed like a really nice cat and he'd hate to have it hate him already.
Searching through his cabinets, he pulled out a small bowl and poured a liberal amount of water inside of it before placing the container of water back in the fridge and heading back into the dining room. The cat lifted its head up to stare at him, tail swishing back and forth lazily. It seemed to be occupying itself by digging its claws into the carpet. Well, it was better than his furniture. Just as long as it didn't claw up the carpet, he was alright it that. Setting the bowl of water in front of the cat, Makoto bit his bottom lip nervously. Why was he acting so nervous all of a sudden? It was just a cat, a stray cat at that. It wasn't like he was going to end up keeping it anyway. So, what did it matter if the cat didn't like him or not.
(Well, except that it did matter, because Makoto hated it whenever someone or something didn't like him. He did his best to be civil and nice to everyone and everything.)
The cat stared at the water for a long while, its blue eyes sparkling in the light. Makoto noticed that its tail stopped moving, frozen in place while the cat continued staring at the water. Its eyes flickered up towards him, almost as though it was asking for permission. Makoto just smiled at the cat and signaled it to go ahead and drink up. What appeared to be a smile came to the cat's face before it looked back down at the water. Then, the cat practically launched itself into the bowl, splashing water all over the place. A yelp left Makoto's mouth and he stared wide eyed at the cat as it sat leisurely in the water, lapping at it while purring loudly.
"What...?" he asked in confusion.
He had thought that cats hated water. No, he was fairly sure that most cats hated water. The cats around his home had despised water and knew for a fact that many cats didn't care for water. So, to see a cat that didn't freak out over one drop of water touching it, let alone dunking itself completely in water...
It blew his mind.
"Little buddy, that was for drinking, not playing," he said lightly, reaching into the water and taking the cat out.
Apparently though, the cat didn't like that. He sighed as the cat started hissing, kicking its legs as it tried to get back into the water. "Little buddy, come on. You can't swim in that. If you want to swim, I can take you to the bathroom and let you swim in the tub."
And just like before, the cat froze before looking up at him with those wide eyes. Now this was definitely getting a bit weird. He felt as though the cat could understand everything that he was saying. And not at a pet level that most people thought either. No, he felt as though he was talking to another person. He was pretty sure that cats didn't act like that, regardless to how smart they were.
It was really weird.
"You want to go to the tub?" he asked, standing up and walking out of the dining room, heading towards the bathroom.
A series of meows and mewls left the cat and if Makoto didn't know any better, he would have sworn that he saw the cat's eyes sparkle. He chuckled as the cat nuzzled against his hand, but that didn't distract him from the strangeness of the cat. No matter how cute it was, or how pretty its eyes were, he wouldn't forget how weird the cat was acting.
...It was pretty adorable, though.
Makoto laid his head along the side of the tub as he watched the cat swim through the water that he had filled through the tub. It looked perfectly content, purrs echoing throughout the small bathroom. Makoto let a couple of his fingers dip into the water, dragging them through the liquid lazily. Occasionally, the cat would swim over and lick at his fingers for a moment before nipping and pawing at them. But then, it would get more interested in the water before going back to swimming. There was also a toy dolphin that he had placed in the tub as well that the cat had played with for the first few minutes before it got bored with it and started swimming around.
It was almost hilarious how this cat seemed to love water. Nothing could hold its attention long when it was in the water. Except for the water itself.
Glancing down at his watch, Makoto noticed that it was quickly reaching his bedtime. He had to get up early tomorrow to greet his siblings when they came and he needed all the sleep that he could get. While he loved them to bits, they could be a handful and sucked him out of all his energy in no time at all. So, standing up and stretching, Makoto gazed down at the cat. He noticed that its movements had ceased for a moment, staring up at him with those baby blue eyes. He really just wanted to sit there and stare at them all day. They were so beautiful and made the cat even more adorable. And the fact that it was swimming around the tub, looking at him like that-
No! No, he wouldn't let this cat get one over him. He knew how cats were and this one wasn't going to fool him. He desperately needed sleep.
"I know that you're enjoying yourself little buddy, but you're going to have to get out soon. I'm going to go find a towel so that you don't drip water all over the floor," he said before walking out of the bathroom. He had to leave before the cat could shine those eyes at him.
As he walked down the hall, he let himself go into his thoughts for a while. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to leave a cat by itself in ankle deep water, but he was sure that the cat would be fine. It looked comfortable enough to be in water, but you never know. Although, cats weren't meant to be in the water in the first place, so maybe it wasn't a good idea at all. But he was pretty sure that if he had taken the cat out of the tub, it probably would have jumped right back in. So, grabbing a towel and a small washcloth, he made his way back towards the bathroom as fast as he could. He felt a faint twinge of guilt in his chest the closer that he got to the bathroom. Perhaps when he returned, he'd give the cat a piece of fish as an apology. That would make it happy.
As he reached the vicinity of the bathroom though, he vaguely heard the sound of running water. He frowned for a moment before slowing to a stop, looking around the hall. The only place that had running water was the bathroom, which was just a yard or so away.
And he knew that he hadn't turned on the water when he left.
Eyes widening in horror, Makoto dropped the washcloth and the towel and sprinted towards the bathroom. How the cat could have turned on the water, he had no clue. But now, he was freaking out. His heart was beating rapidly in his chest and several scenarios played in his head, ranging from the cat drowning in the water to it slipping down the drain into the sewers. Tears prickled in his eyes and he threw open the door, coming to a stop in the door way. And what he saw would probably always be in his brain for the rest of his life.
Sitting right in the center of the tub where the cat had been was a young male, probably a year or two younger than him. He had navy blue hair and bright blue eyes and sitting on top of his head were two black ears, flicking every few seconds. He was staring right at Makoto with a blank gaze, not saying anything. He was completely naked from what Makoto could tell, but he kind of didn't want to know if he was or not. Right now, he was still kind of stuck on the part that there as a boy in his bathtub and there was no window for him to sneak into.
This just officially got weird.
A faint groan came from Makoto's mouth as he slowly opened his eyes. A dull headache was throbbing behind his eyes, causing him to wince slightly. Blinking several times he brought a hand up to his face to try and rid of the white dots dancing in his vision, turning his head towards the window in the meantime. Moving his hand away a few seconds later, he was hit right in the fact with sunlight. He immediately shut his eyes to block out the bright light. Why was everything so bright?! Hissing softly, he turned his head to try and look away from the light. But upon doing that, he found himself staring right into bright blue eyes.
Gasping loudly, Makoto slid out of the bed in an instant, a hand on his chest. His heart was racing a mile a minute, making him feel as though he had just run a marathon. Makoto stared at the boy in his bed, mouth opening and closing several times. He pointed at him, trying to figure out exactly who he was and what he was doing in his bed. This was like some scene out of a movie and he was about five seconds away from calling the police. The only problem with that was that he didn't have a house phone and his cell was currently in his pants pocket. And he had no idea where his pants were at the moment.
That left questioning the boy as his only option.
"You fainted," the boy supplied, staring at him like there was absolutely nothing wrong with being in someone's bed.
Swallowing thickly, he croaked out, "Fainted?" He racked his memory, trying to remember what had happened before he got into bed. He didn't remember actually getting into his bed, now that he thought about it. All he remembered was the storm, meeting a black cat outside in the rain, the cat eating his fish, the cat swimming in his bathroom-
"Y-You...you're the...t-the cat?!" he asked incredulously. That sounded absolutely crazy, stupid, dumb, and just ridiculous. And yet, the more that he looked at the boy and his twitching ears, the more that it started to make sense. Why the cat could understand everything that he was saying, why the cat was so interested in water (well, not really), why the cat didn't seem phased by the rain (again, not really)...it was because he was part cat, part human. So the human side must like water and his cat side had learned to tolerate it. He was some kind of hybrid.
A grunt came from the boy in response and he gave a faint smile before moving out of the bed. It was then that Makoto noticed that not only had the boy been sleeping in his bed, he was also naked. In his bed. That they slept in. Together.
Blushing brightly, Makoto coughed into his hand. He couldn't believe this boy! Who did he think he was? And why had he thought that it was alright to go ahead and sleep with nothing on in his bed? Didn't he know that people didn't do that with people they barely knew?!
"Who are you?" he asked suddenly, moving back when the boy moved towards him. While he did doubt that the boy could actually end up doing any harm to him, he didn't want to take any chances.
The boy raised an eyebrow and he stopped walking for a moment, his head tilted. There seemed to be a look of confusion on his face, his eyebrows furrowed a bit. The pair of ears on his head twitched for a moment and Makoto noticed signs of a tail swishing behind the boy. What in the world was he? He knew that he was a hybrid of some kind, but why had he been hanging around outside his house? He had never seen such a thing like this before in person. He had only heard it mentioned on the internet or in books. To see it in real life was a bit disorienting.
Pulled out of his thoughts suddenly by the sound of the boy's voice, Makoto blinked and looked at the boy in shock. "W-what?"
The boy rolled his eyes. "You asked for my name. It's Haruka. I'm your cat."
"My cat? When did you become my cat?" he asked, suddenly really confused. He didn't remember making a decision over keeping the cat. He had just taken him in because it had been storming really badly last night. He had planned on letting him stay for a day or two before heading out and looking for his owner or something (although now it looked as though he was actually a stray after all).
"Yes, your cat. You fed me and gave me shelter from the rain. Not to mention, you allowed for me to swim in your tub," Haruka explained as though that was the explanation for everything.
Furrowing his eyebrows, he threw his hands up into the air. "That's called being nice! I wasn't about to leave you out in the rain! And anyway, I can't keep a cat in my house! Who would watch after you when I have to go to work?" he asked, horrified. Just the thought of what his house would look like was enough to make him shiver in fear.
Haruka looked at him as though he was an idiot, eyes narrowed. And if Makoto saw right, he could have sworn that he saw a bit of a fang as well. "...I can take care of myself. I am still human, although my feline traits are dominant. I raised myself for years, so it is not difficult to care for myself in a house setting," the boy bit out.
"Well, what if I can't afford to keep you? What if I don't have any space to keep you?' he asked immediately. "You can't just assume that I'll take you in just because you're a cat...boy...hybrid." Makoto waved his hand in emphasis. He was really confused and overwhelmed by this and all he wanted to do was just sit down and drink some coffee or something. Clear his mind and whatnot.
The boy's face went blank the minute that he said that, which caused Makoto to tense a bit. He could sense the tension slipping into the room and he watched as the boy slumped, his ears drooping and his tail swinging low in-between his legs. HE was like the embodiment of a kicked dog, excluding the fact that he was a cat and not a dog. It made Makoto's heart twist in sadness. He hadn't meant to hurt the boy's feelings, he really hadn't. But the boy didn't know anything about him. He couldn't just...just assume things about him.
Scratching the back of his head, Makoto frowned and walked towards the boy, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Haruka...Haru...I didn't mean it like that. Well, I did, but that doesn't mean that I won't take you in...I just...I don't know anything about you and you don't know anything about me, and yet you're talking about staying with me."
Haruka's ears were still drooped and his shoulders slumped, but his eyes were looking up into his, sparkling ever so slightly. There was a hesitance to the way that he was looking him. It pulled a few heartstrings inside. A faint smile came to Makoto's face and he moved a hand to comb through the boy's hair. For some reason, he just couldn't stay annoyed with him. He looked too adorable. His fingers brushed against Haruka's ears, which was surprised felt silky to the touch. Mouth opening curiously, he let his fingers pet the fur of the boy's ears.
The sound of a soft purr left the boy's lips, which made Makoto smile even more. Another feeling of fondness came over him and he was really starting to think about this whole arrangement. Maybe keeping Haruka wouldn't be so much of a bad idea. He did feel a little bit lonely in his house, even if his family did come to visit him ever week. Having a cat...boy around could give him a reason to look forward to coming home. He seemed nice enough and well-behaved, for the most part. Sure, he'd have to make sure that his bathroom was locked, because he had a feeling that Haruka would end up running way too much water. But other than that...there didn't really seem to be a reason not to keep him. He did have a bit of money to support someone else, and he had a spare bedroom as well, although Haruka seemed comfortable next to him.
They'd have to talk about the whole sleeping naked thing though.
"Okay...you can stay," he whispered as he continued to pet Haruka on his head and his ears. "Just as long as you don't get into too much trouble, alright?"
A purr was his only answer before he found himself with an armful of Haruka. The boy nuzzled his neck, mewls leaving his mouth. He could hear the boy sniffing him while he nuzzled him, rubbing his cheek against his chest, his neck, and everywhere else that he could reach. Gosh, this boy would be the death of him, what with how cute he acted.
Makoto stared blankly at the movie playing on his TV screen, his hand lazily playing with Haruka's hair. They were watching some action movie, although both of them had already seen the movie several times, so neither of their attention was on the movie at all. Instead, they were much more interested in petting each other. The cat boy was laying on top of his chest, purring softly and mewling every once and a while whenever Makoto scratched an area that he particularly liked. He could feel Haruka's nails pressing against his arms, although he wasn't quite worried about them. Thankfully when he was a human, the boy didn't have claws like his cat self.
"Would you like to take a bath with me later on after the movie, Haru-chan?" Makoto asked softly, turning his gaze away from the movie to look up at the boy.
Haruka looked down at him with a blank expression on his face, as was standard. Makoto had learned very quickly that Haruka didn't really show a lot of emotion on his face. However, one thing that always gave away the cat's excitement and it was the fact that his eyes were sparkling like crazy. His eyes and the way that he nuzzled up against him much like a cat would. Plus, his ears and tail got twitchy in a way that was just too cute for words. And speaking of his tail, he noticed as it moved in his eyesight, swaying back and forth happily. Chuckling, Makoto moved his hand down to pet Haru's tail, drawing another mewl from the other boy.
"Makoto," he gritted out, huffing softly before laying his head back down on Makoto's chest.
Grinning from ear to ear, he continued running his fingers through the fur while he pressed a kiss against the boy's forehead. He heard another huff from Haruka before the boy lifted his head up and licked a strip up his cheek, causing him to jump at the touch before laughing softly. He knew that Haruka pretended not to like his teasing, but he knew the other male enough to know that he enjoyed the attention. And Makoto loved giving him that attention.
He loved it more than anything else in the world.
A/N: I had Makoto a few years older than Haruka, but not much older. I imagined him somewhere around 20/21 while Haruka is 18/19.