Aurum gets Zach a cake for his birthday, and as a little prank includes a trick candle. But not the type of trick one would usually expect.
It took Zach a moment to register the doorbell ringing. He was at his computer with his headphones on playing a game he had been gifted for his birthday. It took him a bit to realize the sound had come from outside the game, and he quickly took off the headphones, stood up and stretched.
Who was showing up this time? No one had announced they were coming over today. But it was his birthday, so surprises were to be expected. It could be one of his friends. Then again, it could also be a solicitor trying to sell something, or worse, family.
Right now, Zach was completely naked, aside from his glasses. Naturism was still relatively new to him, but it was comfortable, he was home by himself, and it definitely made the weather more bearable as it started to heat up. And it made getting cleaned up in the morning faster. Just in and out of the shower and done. He hadn’t even combed his pale brown hair, just letting it kind of fall where it did. Of course, he wasn’t alone now. If it was one of his closer friends, they wouldn’t really care about the lack of dress. But if it turned out to be family… Well that was a conversation that would be a pain in the butt to explain. Like many people from Zach’s generation, he had parents who were a bit behind the times. And anything that came off deviating from the norm was to be feared and condemned.
It was best to play it safe. It meant keeping his guest waiting slightly longer, but Zach quickly ventured to his closet to grab a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that he could easily throw on before heading to answer the door.
“Finally. Was starting to think you might not be home.” A familiar figure was on the other side of the door. With brown eyes matching his dark brown hair, and a cowboy hat along with his jeans and shirt it was hard to mistake Aurum for anyone else. He was currently wearing a backpack and holding a large white box in his hands and had a grin on his face. “Happy birthday.”
“Ah, it’s you.” Zach grinned. “If I knew that I wouldn’t have bothered getting dressed.” Like Zach, Aurum was also something of a budding naturist. He was even newer to it than Zach, but it still meant he wouldn’t have minded Zach’s nudity. If he wound up staying long, he would likely ditch his own clothes himself.
“I suppose it’s only fair you spend your birthday in your birthday suit.” Aurum chuckled. “But, I promise you, I have a surprise that was worth putting pants on for. Well, shorts in your case. But you get what I mean.”
“You have a present?” Zach grinned cheekily as he looked down at the box. “Can’t say I would have guessed.” He stepped aside to allow Aurum to come in. “You can sit the box down on the kitchen table.”
“Thank you. It’s not heavy, but my arms are still getting tired after holding it for the entire walk here.”
Aurum stepped into Zach’s apartment. It was a modest one, like most apartments with singular tenants. One bedroom, one bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. The living room was cut into two sections. One half had a desk with his computer and all his computer accessories running. The game was still up on his computer screen, and there was still a towel sitting on the chair from when he had been sitting there naked. The other was devoted to a TV with a few video game consoles plugged in and a futon. The living room then on one side opened immediately into a kitchen where on the other it opened to a short hallway leading to the bedroom and bathroom across from each other.
Aurum proceeded to the kitchen. It was a small one even by apartment standards. The fridge and counters took up most of what space there was and Zach’s kitchen table was in a small corner with just enough space between it and the walls for a couple chairs. The table could in theory sit four people, and did have four chairs. But it was doubtful it could fit more than two meals on its surface without making people feel crowded. Not that this was a problem. Zach wasn’t really having fancy dinner parties in his apartment.
Aurum went ahead and sat the box down on the table. Then he grabbed a chair, pulled it out away from the table. He unslung his backpack, setting it on the floor next to his chair before sitting down and waiting, all the while smiling ear to ear.
“Come on, go ahead and open it. I bet you’re dying to know what it is.” Aurum pointed at the box.
“I’ll admit I’m a bit curious.” Zach approached the table and glanced at the box. “I mean, I don’t recall you fishing for present ideas before this meaning it’s something you picked out yourself. Coming from you that could be a million different things. Should be fun checking it out.”
“Well don’t keep talking about it, go ahead and open it.” Aurum gestured at the box again. “It’s not going to keep forever you know.”
“What does that mean?” Zach got his answer after he opened the lid of the box. The rest of the white box folded back revealing a two tiered birthday cake. The two circular layers were covered in white frosting with blue trim around the edges. “Ahhhh, a cake.”
“Everyone deserves to get a cake on their birthday.” Aurum still had the same mischievous grin. He was up to something. “And I figured you weren’t the type to buy your own cake, so I got one for you.” He paused. “Plus, since I’m here when you slice it, I can have a bite too. I mean I paid for it, it’s only fair.”
“I mean, I’m not going to make you sit there and just watch.” Zach giggled a little. Still, he hadn’t figured out what Aurum was up to yet. That grin made him feel like he was about to be the victim of some kind of prank. If it was someone else, he might have thought the cake was going to be some really weird flavor, or maybe he’d wind up with part of it shoved in his face. But Aurum wasn’t mean enough to do something like that. So what was he up to? “Let me just grab some knives and plates.”
“Not so fast.” Aurum shook a finger as Zach tried to move through the kitchen. “This is a birthday cake. And there are rules on how a birthday cake must be treated.” Aurum reached down and unzipped a side pocket of his backpack. Then he pulled out a single red candle that was enclosed in a Ziplock bag to keep it clean. Aurum quickly opened the bag, pulled out the candle and stuck it in the exact center of the cake. “Just a second, I know I have a lighter in here too.” He unzipped another part of his bag, and eventually found it. It was one of those long thin lighters with a handle. Useful for lighting candles and other various cooking related tasks.
“Ah, I have to blow out the candles.” Zach paused and looked at the singular red candle. “Erm candle.”
“If I tried to shove twenty-two candles into the cake I’m pretty sure I’d destroy most of it.” Aurum shrugged. “So… We can just pretend you’re one year old or something. I’m sure that will work.” Aurum teased playfully, knowing very much that Zach would be entertained by the idea.
“Yes, yes, I think we can do that.” Zach was already having fun, even if all they were doing was eating cake. It was just nice to have company. Plus, he was still sure Aurum was up to something and he had a pretty good guess as to what as he looked at the candle.
“Alright stand back a moment.” Aurum pressed down on the lighter’s switch making a clicking noise. It took a few more clicks before the lighter produced a flame. Aurum rose from his chair, lit the candle with the flame, then let go of the switch causing the lighter to go out. Once certain the lighter was off and not a danger to setting his bag on fire, he returned to his chair and put the lighter back in his backpack. Then he stared at Zach.
“Why are you watching me so intently?” Zach asked.
“Just don’t want to miss a moment of you enjoying your present is all.” Aurum had a terrible poker face.
“It’s a trick candle isn’t it?” Zach asked. No doubt, Aurum was going to have a bit of fun watching Zach attempt to blow the candle out and fail.
“Whaaaaaaaaaat? Noooooooo.” Aurum didn’t sound convincing at all. “But I can guarantee it’s not any kind of trick candle you’re thinking of. But anyway… If we’re doing this the proper way we need to do it the completely proper way. So…” He took a deep breath.
And then he began to sing.
“Happy birthday to you,
You belong in a zoo.
You act like a kitty.
And you look like one too.”
“Improvising a little there huh?” Zach asked.
“I thought you’d appreciate it.” Aurum replied chipperly. “Though I would replaced zoo with pet shop or something if I could have come up with a way to make it rhyme with you.”
“Riiiiight.” Zach rolled his eyes. “Am I good to blow the candle out yet?”
“Of course! Go right ahead!” Aurum leaned forward. He had eagerly been waiting for this moment.
“Alright then.” Zach bent forward from where he was standing and blew. The flame on the candle barely flickered. It stayed completely lit up. “I thought you said it wasn’t a trick candle.”
“I said it wasn’t any kind of trick candle that you’re thinking of.” Aurum retorted. “Trust me, you can blow this one out no problem. Assuming you want to at least.”
“I can’t help but feel you’re just having fun at my expense.” Zach shrugged, and he made another attempt to blow out the candle. The flame flickered a little more, but stayed completely lit.
But something felt… Off. Zach couldn’t see it, but his pale brown hair had changed colors to a darker brown, even darker than Aurum’s hair. His ears were also slightly pointed now, and his clothing a little looser on him. These were things he couldn’t notice. What he did notice, was he felt strangely more energetic after his second attempt to blow out the candle.
So, he tried a third time. He would have thought he would have started to feel winded with the multiple attempts. But instead, there was just playful energy swelling up inside him. He began to blow at the candle rapidly, now determined to extinguish the flame. Aurum was having a bit of fun at his expense. But if he managed to blow out the candle that would show him! Maybe this reasoning was a little childish. But it was his birthday! He could act childish if he wanted.
Though it started to feel like it made more and more sense as he continued his attempts to blow out the candle. At one point, he made an attempt and his glasses fell off of his face, and his shorts fell down around his ankles. A long flexible fluffy brown fur abruptly sprouted from the tip of his spine, and his pointed ears moved closer to the top of his head, becoming more triangular and were soon covered in fur. The candle was also getting harder to reach. Zach had to push himself up on the table with both hands to get another go at the candle. This was in large part because he was getting younger and shorter. He was only around eight years old now. Without his glasses, the cake and candle were a bit blurry but that wasn’t about to stop him!
Parts of Zach’s minds registered the changes. There was no fear, certainly surprise. A bit of excitement. Part of him dismissed it as a fantasy, just something he hoped for, not something that could be really happening. The other part of him was fully ready to accept both the changes in age and apparent species right away. If anything, they built into his excitement and determination to extinguish the candle.
Fur had grown in over his hands and feet, and as his body got smaller it was getting hard to even properly see over the table. Zach climbed up onto the table surface, letting his shirt fall to the ground leaving himself naked. Of course, Aurum had already seen him naked before. There was the whole naturist thing. So he didn’t even feel a little shy. Though, he did feel silly about having put anything on to begin with. Clothes were dumb. Who needed them? Who cared if it had turned out to be family that had been at his door instead of Aurum. This was his home and he would dress or not-dress as how he pleased! And that was that!
And also that idea wasn’t that important as he saw the flame flicker, but still refuse to go out. Now it was a challenge. One Zach refused to lose. He crawled closer to the cake on the table and blew again. The fur spread further along his body. As it grew over his face, it started to push out slightly and take on a distinctive feline shape. Also, the candle was easier to make out now. The entire room was, even though he wasn’t wearing his glasses. Things should have been a little blurry, but Zach could see perfectly as if he had 20/20 vision.
This was in large part due to the fact he was now four years old, making him younger than when his eyesight went bad, and he had needed the glasses.
Fur now completely covered Zach’s body. His feet were now feline paws and he had digitigrade legs. Both his paw-like hands and feet had retractable claws which he used to dig into the table as he continued to blow at the candle. He was now a toddler, and had stopped getting younger, but was much smaller than any human toddler would have been. He was about halfway in size between a normal kitten and a human of his age.
Zach inhaled as hard as he could and blew once more. The candle flickered, and this time finally went out. He had won! He had beaten Aurum’s dumb trick candle! He threw up his arms and let out a cheer.
“Take that! Mrowwwwl! I win!” Zach giggled.
“Yup, you sure do.” Aurum stood up and scooped Zach up off the table. With his new smaller size he was just so pickupable and holdable. Zach might have protested, but Aurum began to scratch behind his ears and instead Zach just found himself purring happily as Aurum cradled him and continued to provide scritches.
“Mroooow.” Zach gave a yawn. He could easily fall asleep in Aurum’s arms right now.
“Hey don’t go nodding off yet. You earned yourself a slice of cake.” He sat Zach back down on the table. “Um… Where are the plates and knives?”
“Plates in the cabinet above the sink, forks and knives are in the drawer to the right of the dishwasher.” Zach replied as he perched on all fours staring at the cake with hunger in his eyes.
“Right then.” Aurum quickly fetched the required dishes, placing two plates down on the table before cutting two slices of cake. Though he had sat a fork down for Zach to use. The freshly transformed kitten kid chose to stand over the cake and just nibble at it with his mouth, using neither hands or silverware in the process.
“Ahhhhhh.” Zach purred. “So much sugar. It’s so good. I want a second slice.”
“Hang on, we don’t want to make you sick.” Aurum protested. “We can save the rest for later.”
“But I want it now.” Zach crossed his arms and pouted as Aurum removed the dishes from the table.
“Sooooooo…” Aurum looked to Zach. “You’re a kitten now.”
“Yeah? And?” Zach asked.
“Don’t’ you have anything to say about that?” Aurum asked. “About the fact you’re a different species and age?”
“What’s there to say?” Zach asked. “I’m a kitten. That’s 100% better than being some boring human adult. Sorry ‘bout that by the way.”
“No, you’re right, being an adult is boring.” Aurum sighed.
“I dunno what magic or ridiculously advanced technology that it might as well be magic that you used to make it happen, but I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth!” Zach stood up on the kitchen table, put his hand-paws on his hips and puffed out his chest proudly. “I’m a kitten. And it’s better this way. That’s all there is to it! Now come on! Let me have one more slice of cake!”
“I know you’re a kid again, so have a better sugar tolerance, but you also weigh like maybe five pounds now.” Aurum crossed his arms and tried to give Zach a serious stare. He failed miserably and just wound up laughing. “Maybe you can have another slice when we get home.”
“Home? I am home.” Zach looked around him.
“No you’re not.” Aurum shook his head. “A kitten can’t own an apartment by themself. I don’t know who owns this place now but it isn’t you. But don’t worry, I already paid the pet fee to keep you in my apartment.”
“Mrowl!?” Zach replied in surprise. “You’re making me your pet!?”
“I mean, who wouldn’t want to adopt such a cute little kitten?” Aurum teased. “Besides, having a pet who can also be your best friend and play video games with you, watch shows together and actually comment on them, is a pretty good deal. Don’t tell me you don’t like the idea.”
“I do… But…” Zach thought for a moment. “I wanna bring all my toys with me!” He ran over to where his video game consoles were in the living room, pawing at them, and the stack of video game cases. Then he jumped up onto desk and rubbed his cheeks against his computer tower to mark it with his scent as belonging to him.
“I can’t… Carry all that.” Aurum replied, somewhat taken aback. He hadn’t thought about Zach wanting to keep any of his old stuff. But Zach was both a kitten and a kid. It made sense anything he played with he wouldn’t want to let go. “I think we might have to come back with the car later to get everything. For now let’s just take the cake back and we can come back later when I have use of the car.” Aurum stood up from his chair in the kitchen and began to box up the cake. He sat the candle down on the side of the table while cleaning up. Then he went to rinse off the dishes and put them in the dishwasher. Just because no one was going to live here anymore there wasn’t an excuse to just leave dirty dishes around.
As he did that, Zach jumped back up onto the kitchen table and watched Aurum clean up. He then looked to the candle. Being a kitten was pretty great. He wasn’t even remotely mad at Aurum. In fact, he felt like he owed him a debt that could never be repaid. But as he studied the candle and saw it still had a wick an idea formed on how he might repay him.
Besides, kittens did better in pairs. They were less likely to break things around the house and cause trouble if they had a playmate.
Zach quickly put the candle back in the bag Aurum had hid it in the ziplock bag, then snuck the candle back into Aurum’s backpack. He’d let Aurum play pet owner for now. But when it came time for Aurum’s own birthday he’d make sure he got promoted from boring human to awesome pet.
There was of course the matter to figure out who would adopt both of them after that. But Zach had plenty of time to figure things out. It’s not like Aurum’s birthday was right around the corner or anything. For now, he could just enjoy the pet life. In the months leading up to Aurum’s birthday, he’d find a suitable new pet owner to take them both in after he repaid Aurum’s kindness. It was important to pick the right person. Obviously, he wanted someone who was going to spoil them. He was a kitten, which meant he was a cat. And as a cat he was entitled to be pampered. That was just one of the laws of the universe. Like the laws of physics, it was set in stone, something that couldn’t be broken. That was just the way it was. Cats were supposed to get whatever they wanted simply by being cats.
“Alright, everythings cleaned up and good to go.” Aurum turned back to the table and grabbed the box. It had not occurred to him that the candle might be usable a second time and so he had completely forgotten about it. He didn’t notice it missing as he picked up the boxed cake and looked down to Zach who was on the floor next to his backpack. “You wanting to ride in there on the way back?”
“Hmmmm maybe.” Zach considered. “On the other hand…” He ran on all fours up to Aurum, did a quick circle around him, then ran up his friend’s back and perched curled around his shoulders. “Actually, I think this is good.”
“Zach, how am I supposed to carry the backpack if you’re on my shoulders?” Aurum asked.
“I dunno, by doing human things? Whatever those are.” Zach replied.
“You were a human five minutes ago, you know what human things are.” Aurum rolled his eyes.
“That knowledge is no longer relevant or needed, so I have chosen to discard all of it.” Zach spoke proudly. “But I guess I see your point… And that hat is very big and tempting.” Zach stood up on all fours on Aurum’s shoulders, then leaped up atop his head, balancing himself on Aurum’s cowboy hat before he curled up into a ball atop it. He let his head rest over the side of the hat so he could watch their surroundings as they left, in case he saw anything interesting.
“I guess that works.” Aurum chuckled again then picked his backpack back up and slung it over his shoulders. He grabbed the cake and pushed his way out Zach’s front door. It was time to go home. Of course, cats didn’t take the best to change. It usually took them a few days to get used to a new home.
But… Zach on the other hand was taking his change quite well. Aurum suspected Zach would make himself completely at home before Aurum finished putting the cake away in the fridge for safekeeping.
“Soooo, do I get my own room?” Zach asked.
“You’re a cat.” Aurum replied as they headed out the door.
“Okay, but I can at least have like one of those cat condo scratching posts! With the little cubby hole! Right? That can be my private room.”
“I’ll see what I can afford.” Aurum replied.
“Trust me, you’ll find it’s very much worth it to invest money in a nicer one.” Zach purred smugly. “We’ll get more mileage out of it than you think.”
“You planning to savage the thing with your claws that badly?” Aurum asked, completely clueless of Zach’s plan to have Aurum join him in kittenhood.
“Something like that. But trust me, you’ll be happy you got a good one in the long run.” Zach purred smugly. He had no intention of announcing his plan. He’d have to figure out how to disguise the candle or trick Aurum into blowing on it without knowing what it was. Maybe he could make him blow out the candle blindfolded? Plenty of time to figure out. One good deed deserved another, and he wasn’t going to let his friend live with the terrible fate of being a boring human.
But, in the meantime while he figured that out, he was absolutely going to live life to its fullest as Aurum’s pet. There was no reason not to. And he knew Aurum well enough to know that begging little kitten eyes would be too much too bear to try to say no to.
Yes. It was good to be a kitten.