He should have known that after the first time he encountered Gojo Satoru as a cat that it would not be the last. He was not bothered by it, really. Honestly, Gojo was much more agreeable as a cat. So, he didn’t really mind the on and off presence of a huge, fluffy orb of fur in his life. It was fine. Almost nice, even, if anything that Gojo was involved in could be nice.
There was one thing they did not discuss, ever. It was like an unspoken agreement, and Kento was unsure whether Gojo was being weirdly respectful or just plain uninterested. But he never asked Kento whether or when he was coming back to Jujutsu High. He never prodded or begged or teased or wheedled or did anything that Kento honestly expected him to.
He just sometimes sat on his doormat, screaming like a dying cat (hah), and then when Kento let him in, he would proceed to stick his head in the water bowl because he still did not know how to drink as a cat.
Sometimes he disappeared during the night, leaving only hairballs and wet paw prints in his wake. Sometimes he stayed a cat until after Kento left for work, trailing after him and then disappearing down an alley somewhere. And sometimes things from the first time repeated themselves. Very pleasantly so.
But it was as if Gojo was separated from the rest of Kento’s life. He lived in a bubble, just barely grazing Kento’s path, coming and going like an ephemeral ghost. Which was why Kento was surprised when he found that it started to affect him. His everyday.
“Ehh, Nanami-san, I didn’t know you had a cat!” exclaimed one of his coworkers. He did not remember her name, since she worked for a different department, though he had seen her around.
“How did you get that idea?” Nanami asked in return, a little baffled, but mostly surprised that this was likely the first time he was speaking to this woman. And she was asking about … his cat?
She pointed at his sleeve.
“Your suit jacket. Ahh, it must be a long-haired breed with bright fur. Is it a boy or a girl?”
He stared at the dark pinstripe fabric of his suit and the long, white hairs clinging to it.
“A nuisance,” he replied to her question, and she laughed.
He sighed and made a mental note to buy a lint roller later.
But the lint roller was not the last acquisition he was forced to make because of Gojo the cat. Nor was it the last time someone approached him with the intent of sharing cat owner stories. He didn’t own a cat though, was the issue. So why? Why did he keep getting deeper and deeper into this mess?
“It’s all your fault,” he told Gojo the cat one late evening as he tiredly got ready for bed. The monster of course only meowed at him and rubbed more fur all over his clothes and sheets. And once Kento was in bed, he sat on his chest again, purring and kneading like there was no tomorrow.
He told himself he did not care about Gojo, whether he was human or cat shaped. As both he was annoying and demanding and far too much trouble for what little comfort he offered. And yet. Every time he went home to find a white blob of fur sitting on his porch, he could not help but feel … something. He was amused at the continuously horrid sounds Gojo the cat made instead of meowing cutely. He liked the way the cat rubbed its cheeks against his hand and climbed into his lap to beg for hugs. He especially liked how easy it was to lift, carry and manhandle Gojo the cat as opposed to Gojo the human. That man was far too tall for his own good.
The first mark Gojo made on Kento’s apartment was the damn water bowl. Not the one he offered him the first time, or the first few times after that. No, the water bowl that Kento specifically went out of his way to buy because he could see that the cat was having trouble with such a deep bowl that threatened to tip over every time he put his fluffy head even near it.
It was a heavy ceramic bowl, more shallow and wide than the makeshift one he had used the first couple of times. It would not tip over, it was more accessible, and it did not scoot around on the floor.
Gojo the cat seemed to appreciate it, even though he still mostly ended up with a dripping wet face after drinking.
The next thing Kento bought because of the damn cat’s unshakeable presence in his life, apparently, was the lint roller. It was just pragmatic. If he ended up getting cat hair all over his suits, that would diminish his professional appearance. And he was nothing if not a professional with an image to maintain.
After that, it was quiet for a while. Not that Gojo stopped visiting as a cat, no. But each of their needs seemed to be met and there was no need for further acquisitions.
Kento got used to giving scritches and the sound of purring. He got used to a weight on his chest while he slept. He got used to the semi-regular prospect of rather mind-blowing morning sex. A different sort of itch scratched.
From there on it went downhill.
One night Nanami tiredly returned home after a very long workday. That in and of itself was nothing new. He couldn’t remember the last time he clocked out when he was supposed to.
What was unusual, however, was the extremely bad weather. He had thankfully stored an emergency umbrella at the office for cases exactly like this, but he still ended up with drenched shoes and cold feet as a result of that. On top of that it had been so freezing and windy that he was honestly worried that he might have caught a cold.
Therefore, he was doubly glad to have returned home where he was able to take off his wet clothes and take an extra hot shower. He also made himself a bowl of soup to further warm himself and hopefully prevent himself from getting sick.
But just as he got ready for bed, exhausted and worn out from work as well as the strain his body had been put under, he heard a strange noise. It was very faint, but his brain nonetheless registered it.
Kento froze, toothbrush in his mouth. Was that …?
He quickly spat out the toothpaste and rinsed his mouth, hurrying to the window. It was still pouring outside, the fat water droplets smashing against the glass with force. There was no way he was leaving his cozy apartment again.
“Fuck,” he said to himself. He grabbed a towel and his keys and then put on his slippers. He took the elevator, back to the ground floor, and opened the door to the pandemonium outside.
Like a streak of lightning, a white cat zoomed past his legs and into the building, leaving a trail of water behind as it went.
“Come here, you idiot!” he called after it, hurriedly bundling the trembling thing into the towel he had brought with him. White on white, it was barely visible anymore between the folds of fabric, but Kento could feel it shaking so hard it nearly vibrated out of his hands. “Shh, be still. I’ve got you.”
He carefully carried Gojo the cat into the elevator and back to his apartment, trying to rub some warmth into the small body while also toweling off as much excess water from its fur as he could. Both were easier said than done, because Gojo just had so much fur and it seemed to have soaked up half of Tokyo’s rainfall. Kento had to take a second towel and then a third, before he could reasonably say that Gojo was a bit drier than before.
All the while he kept crying and meowing pitifully, squirming and generally making things difficult. Kento ended up soaked to the bone again himself, and then they were just both cold and wet and miserable.
“Well, this wasn’t how I imagined tonight to go,” Kento said to the shivering cat curled up on his lap. Gojo’s fur was still wet and plastered to his body. It really showed just how much of his size was just pure fluff. Now that it was wet and deflated, Kento was surprised to see that the cat body underneath was very slim and long-limbed. Shining through was his tender, pink skin, and Kento had the horrible realization that Gojo was likely very vulnerable like this.
Could he get sick? What if he got hurt? Could he die? He was just a cat. A small, helpless little creature.
That’s when he realized … Gojo considered Kento and his apartment a safe space. A place where he could be small and vulnerable. A place to seek comfort and rest from.
Gojo meowed at him when he picked him up again and wrapped him up in a fluffy blanket. Kento carried him to his bed and placed him under the covers.
“Try to get warm and get some sleep,” he said, carefully petting Gojo’s head, which looked very strange and small now that all the volume of his puffed up fur was gone. His ears looked huge all of a sudden, and so did his uncovered eyes.
But Gojo kept crying and screaming, wiggling and shaking on the bed until Kento finally changed his clothes again and joined him under the covers. He held the bundle of blanket and cat to his chest, cringing only a little when Gojo pressed his cold nose against Kento’s cheek.
“Alright, alright. Now sleep. And don’t you dare get sick. I won’t nurse you back to health if you do.”
With that - rather weak - threat, Kento closed his eyes and soon fell into exhausted slumber.
Sadly, his rest was not uninterrupted. He kept drifting in and out of consciousness, feeling just uncomfortable enough to never be really deeply asleep, just … coasting on the edge of it. When he woke up the next day to his blaring alarm, Kento felt like he had been put through a meat grinder.
Turning around he pawed at his nightstand until he found his phone. Kento squinted against the bright glare of the screen and struggled to turn off the alarm. But once he succeeded, he felt so heavy and sluggish, he fell back against his pillow.
“You’re still here, huh,” he mumbled, patting the lump under his covers. The lump squirmed a little, wiggling until something warm and rough scraped across Kento’s stubbled cheek. “Aaand you’re still a cat.”
Kento groaned as he sat up, suddenly assaulted by a pounding headache. Oh no. Seems like he wasn’t so lucky after all, and the wet and cold of last night had taken its toll. But maybe it wasn’t so bad?
That’s when a massive sneeze shook his entire body.
“Apologies,” he sniffled, rubbing his temples to alleviate some of the ache. “I think I caught a cold after all.”
One look out the window told him that the weather still hadn’t let up at all. With that he had his mind made up. He decided to go back to sleep with the bundled up Gojo cat in his arms, snuggling it for warmth when a stray shiver wracked him.
The next time he woke up, he called his boss to tell him he was taking a sick day. It helped that he had another sneezing fit while on the phone.
Afterwards, Kento finally managed to peel himself out of bed and take some medicine. He then made some tea, both to ward off the cold and to hydrate. All the while, Gojo kept winding around his legs and meowing loudly until he responded with a sigh or an exasperated question. It was weirdly sweet, as if he was checking in on Kento.
“At least you didn’t get sick too. I can’t imagine what kind of monster you’d be if you had the sniffles,” Kento observed after collapsing back into his bed. Gojo did not say anything except quietly installing himself right by Kento’s head and turning on his chainsaw purr. That Kento managed to fall asleep again despite that horrid noise truly spoke to his sickness.
Just like before, he woke up again to a raspy cat tongue clumsily licking at his face. He would have been mad, were it not time to get up and eat some lunch anyway.
His headache had dulled to a slight pressure and he did not sneeze anymore, though his nose was runny. Kento was therefore able to more or less enjoy the leftover soup from last night for lunch. Still, he had to wonder.
“Do I need to feed you as well?” he asked Gojo the cat. Who meowed loudly in return. “I have no idea what that means. But let me see if I have anything that a cat might be able to eat.”
His fridge did not offer a lot of choices. Cats were carnivores, right? However, Kento did not usually have too much meat in his diet. Thankfully, he had some ground beef. He took a bit of that and put it in a bowl, only to have Gojo turn up his nose at it.
“Well, I guess you still have human sensibilities,” he muttered to himself. “But now what? Should I cook it? That seems a bit silly.”
Gojo meowed at him again and crossed the kitchen, hopping onto the counter where Kento kept his rice cooker.
“Alright,” he sighed, giving up on finding anything else. “I guess I can prepare something for dinner as well.”
While he put on some rice to cook, he searched on his phone whether rice was okay for cats to eat. Apparently it was fine, just not great either, since it did not contain the nutrients a carnivore such as a cat needed. But since Gojo wasn’t actually a cat …
“This is giving me a headache,” he said out loud and debated taking some more aspirin. Before he could decide, Gojo was suddenly all up in his face, meowing and rubbing himself all over Kento. Rising onto his hind legs, he even attempted something akin to a hug.
Seeing this, Kento could only sigh and hold Gojo the cat in return. He was back to being fully fluffed up, no longer as thin and small as he had been last night when drenched to his bones. It made for a much better cuddling companion, even if some stray fur ended up tickling Kento and making him sneeze again. Even the steady purring felt pretty comfortable against his chest. Plus, he was very warm. It was … nice.
He then watched Gojo eat some of the rice, while keeping the rest for later. Perhaps he could make a stir fry or something with some other leftovers. But for now, he was worn out again. Gojo climbed into his arms and let himself be carried back to bed with a self-satisfied look on his face and a happily swishing tail.
Together, they bundled up under the covers, one vibrating cat against one human heartbeat. Warmth shared, Kento fell asleep again.
He awoke, bleary and feeling not at all human, sometime later that day. His head was pounding again and his nose was clogged, and he felt faintly shivery as if he had a slight fever. Worst of all, the warm, cuddly bundle in his arms was gone.
Especially the last detail bummed him out so much he groaned into his pillow and hoped to immediately fall back asleep - until he felt the very pleasant sensation of fingers carding through his hair.
“Wakey-wakey” whispered none other than Gojo, once again human. Kento grumbled and blinked up at the other man who looked far too chipper. “Do you want some ramen? I made some for myself, but there’s enough for two.”
“You can cook?” Kento groaned.
“Haha, no. It’s cup noodles!”
“Of course it is.”
Nonetheless, Kento was touched. Or addled enough not to mind. He did not mind the cup noodles, nor did he mind what were obviously his own clothes on Gojo’s body. He even did not mind the company, or Gojo’s constant chattering. As long as he did not talk with his mouth full and he kept his voice down, which he both did without having to be reminded.
After dinner, Kento took some more medicine and went back to bed. This time, Gojo joined him again as a human, which Kento found even more comfortable to hold and hug.
“Just don’t get sick as well,” he mumbled before falling asleep with his head nestled on Gojo’s chest. Instead of purring he got gentle hands stroking his hair and legs entangled with his.
He liked both, he thought as he drifted off. He liked Gojo the cat, because he was fluffy and cuddly, and Kento secretly loved his scuffed meows and the rough tongue licking his face. But the human Gojo had the decided advantage of being able to do things, even if it was just heating up water for cup noodles. And, at the end of the day, they were both just Gojo. Who apparently cared more than either of them liked to admit, and who was a surprisingly good cuddler.