"Real Men Love Kittens" by Shiawase

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Real Men Love Kittens

A fanfic by Kitsuchan

“Kiri!” you frowned and called for your furry friend again. She was normally an inside cat, only a few months old, but had decided today was the day she wanted to be brave and take off for the outside world. You had been looking for almost an hour with no success.

You called her name again and some people on the street looked at you oddly, though no one said anything. You wandered into an area with quite a few more trees along the pavement and looked up to examine the branches. Maybe she ran up one of them.

You saw her in the third tree, her black fur standing out against the green and brown of the oak. You called to her again, but she only meowed back. You groaned and wondered if you would even be able to get up there. The branch she was on was pretty high up, and you weren’t exactly a master tree-climber.

You jumped up and caught hold of the nearest branch. You tried to pull yourself up, but your upper body strength was lacking. You got barely a few inches off the ground before your arms gave out and you fell back down to earth. You winced and blew at your raw palms. They had rubbed too hard against the rough bark. Kiri mewled at you again. You looked up at her, suddenly less enthusiastic about retrieving the annoying cat. She deserved some punishment for making you work so hard!

You sighed, knowing your parents would never let you have a pet ever again if your screwed up with your first, and scratched your head. You tried to think of a plan to get her down. Maybe you could woo her with tuna.

“You okay?”

You turned at the voice and immediately froze, recognizing the boy from your school. Kazuma Kuwabara was known for getting in fights and being one of the toughest boys around, not for helping girls get their kittens out of trees. You blanched.

“I’m okay,” you squeaked. If you weren’t careful he could call down an army of thugs to beat you up. This day was getting worse by the minute. You just wanted to finish your homework. Was that too much to ask?

He scrutinized you for a few seconds. “You look familiar. You’re in my class, right?”

You nodded furiously and backed up to the tree trunk. You couldn’t help but send a glare to your cat in the branches for putting you in such a mess. Unfortunately, Kuwabara noticed your movement and looked up as well.

“Oh! A kitten.” He laughed and his intimidation factor went way down. “Is it yours?”

“Um . . . yeah. She ran away while I was doing my homework and I can’t get her down.”

He moved before you could finish your explanation and before you could fully register that he had climbed the tree, Kuwabara was back on the ground in front of you with the black cat in hand. You gaped. He made that look so easy!

“How,” you started as he placed Kiri in your hands. “How’d you move so fast?”

“Hehe, I didn’t get to be the toughest punk around for nothing!” He held up his fist. “I’m just a natural born fighter.”

You smiled hesitantly. He was a lot nicer than you would have imagined, what with his reputation as a hardass punk. You heard he never lost a fight to anyone except Yusuke Urameshi. He wasn’t someone you would have thought to befriend. But now . . . .

“Besides,” Kuwabara continued. “I’ve had to climb a lot of trees for my cat Eikichi. He really likes climbing them, but has a hard time getting back down.”

He shrugged. You were surprised again. “You have a cat?”

“Yup. He’s almost a year old. What about yours?”

You blinked a few times and held Kiri out for him to hold. “Her name’s Kiri. She’s three months old and my first pet.”

He laughed again as he got her to play fight with his hand, swiping her paws at him. He was so gentle with her. He made funny faces and scratched under her chin. It was odd to have your scary image of Kuwabara shot down by an interaction with your kitten. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and you wondered why he would ruin that image with a life of fighting and rule breaking.

He gave the kitten back to you after some time while you watched in silence. Kiri purred contentedly against your stomach. You smiled up at Kuwabara again, your trepidation almost completely gone.

He scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment. “Sorry, I know you from class but I don’t remember your name.”

“{name}. Thanks for saving my kitten,” you said.

“Sure.” He gave you a thumbs up. “If I can help I’m going to do it.”

You nodded and an awkward silence settled between you. You shifted, wanting to ask a question but too scared you would offend him to do it. I t didn’t take long before it blurted from between your lips anyway.

“Why are you a fighter?” He blinked at you, confused, and let out a low ‘uhh.’ You elaborated, seeing that he wasn’t about to get mad. “I mean, you’re a nice guy and I don’t get why you’d fight people.”

You blushed, embarrassed, and stared at the ground. He spoke. “It’s fun, I guess. Never really thought about it. It’s just something I do. I’m good at it.”

You shifted your stance again. “Well, I guess . . . I’d better go.”

You looked back up at him, bit your lip, and decided you wanted to pay him back, maybe get to know him a little more. He nodded and moved to leave.

“Wait,” you said. He stopped and turned back to you. “Do you have a pen on you, by chance?”

“Sure.” He reached into his briefcase and pulled one out. He handed it to you. You grabbed his wrist and began writing on the back of his hand, cradling your kitten in one arm.

“My phone number,” you explained with a blush at his questioning look. “Call me sometime and I’ll take you for ice cream . . . or something. . . . In thanks.”

You gave him the pen back. He grinned goofily and you saw red dust his cheeks. You said your goodbyes and left, returning home where you were sure your parents were beginning to worry.

You reached your home in minutes and returned to your desk to finish the homework you started, dropping Kiri on your bed. You tapped your pencil against the paper, still thinking over the meeting with Kuwabara.

You supposed you shouldn’t have judged him. He turned out to be a nicer guy than some non-fighters you knew. You guessed that meant not all fighters were violent people and not all punks were really mean. At least, Kuwabara wasn’t. You wanted to get to know him a little more, to find out if he really was as good of a person all the time as he was with you today, and that you hadn’t found him just in a good mood.

He wasn’t as scary, and he wasn’t as intimidating once you took a good look at him. And his attitude was kind of charming. It brightened his face, in a way. You wondered why you had never noticed all that before. But, maybe you were too caught up in your own world, and too concentrated on the rumors to really look at him. Well, you would have to change that now.

Kiri jumped onto your desk and rubbed her body against your hand, asking to be pet. You ran your hand down her back. She purred.

“Who knew punks liked kittens?” you asked your furry friend.

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