Niels let out a deep breath, pressing the wooden door closed behind him.
Shuffling across the velvet-lined floor of his private study, the same study that had provided him with so many days of quiet comfort, he soon found himself sinking into his favorite chair. He pulled a thick tome off of his desk, "Claritser's Guide to Cleverly Keeping up with your Catboy: a beginner's manual to the careful health management of your new best friend, and tips on how to make your bond grow stronger." and set it in his lap.
He thumbed through the pages, stopping at chapter four: Weight Management. His light-blue eyes scanned the text, looking for anything he might have missed, though the repeated knowledge quickly turned his mind to a different thought-train altogether.
There wasn't anything in this book that he hadn't read and re-read, sometimes staying up all night just to pull a bit or two of new information from it, though he still felt he must have been doing something wrong. Sure, he was healthy, he was always clean, he never misbehaved, and he loved his master very much, but there was just one problem that Niels was having trouble fixing.
Haru, his dark-haired Neko, the love of his life, was getting fat.
Over the course of only three months at his home, his precious little kitty had gone from paper-thin, every rib on his chest visible under his thin, pale skin, to a full-blown butterball who had difficulty just bouncing up the stairs.
The change was gradual at first, a bit of poundage here and there over a few weeks, as to be expected of a rescued catboy enjoying his new pampered life. But after five weeks, Niels was ordering new clothing every other day for the chubby boy, who seemed none the wiser to his own growing body.
Changing his diet to include more vegetables and less meat hadn't seemed to work at all; by the end of week six, his belly was already edging out from under his shirt once more. Changing sleeping habits produced the same effect; a new summer wardrobe set had to be ordered at the beginning of July.
And now here he was, in August, with nearly 300 lbs. of spry Neko soundly sleeping in the sunny window seat right outside in the hall, with only one explorable option left: rigorous exercise.
It wasn't something he wanted to have to introduce if it all possible, but what else was there to do? Besides, he had just bought him the cutest exercise uniform: short grey shorts and a black shirt with a cute cartoonish cat design on the front.
Niels could practically imagine Haru huffing along beside him, the edge of his pudgy belly poking out from beneath his shirt, sweat dripping from his chubby chin, his tail bouncing above the tight shorts on his wide bottom, the stretchy fabric on the front forming snugly around his-
He snapped from his thoughts as the heavy book slipped from his lap and slammed closed against the floor.
No, no... that was silly of him to think like that. He was trying to get rid of the weight, he wasn't... attracted to it... was he?
Before he could linger on the thought a moment longer, there was a soft knock at the door.
"Niels? Master? C-Can I come in?..." a boyish, thinly accented voice called from the hall.
"O-Oh, yes, come in!" he said quickly, kicking the book under his desk, cursing himself as pain resounded up his toes and to his shin.
The door slowly swung open, a short and rotund boy shuffling in behind it, his hands held against the straining cotton fabric over his stomach.
Niels stood up and waltzed over to him, a soft smile spread across his lips as he approached.
"Is there something you needed, Haru?"
The pale Neko blushed a deep red and looked to the window with a look of obvious shame.
"U-Uh, I... I-I... P-Please don't be mad at me, master! I-I-It wasn't my fault!" he suddenly burst out, clenching his bright emerald eyes shut as tears began to form.
Niels knelt slightly to get face-to-face to him, his smile never faltering as he wipes the sobbing boy's eyes with his sleeve.
"Come now, there's no need for crying. Just calm down and tell me what happened." he soothingly whispered.
Haru sniffled and released his hands from the front of his shirt, revealing a missing button and a jagged horizontal rip that revealed his little belly-button.
"I-I didn't mean to, honest! I j-just got a snack from the kitchen, a-and when I was walking back upstairs I... I-It just ripped! Please, d-don't be mad at me, m-m-master..."
Niels just let out a relieved sigh, straightening back up.
"Oh! Dear, that's not something we can't easily fix. Here, let's get you out of that shirt so the tailor can fix it. Off to the wardrobe, come on."
Niels extended his hand to the boy, who slowly and cautiously accepted it. Haru's hand felt soft and warm pressed against Niels's own thin fingers as he led him out the door, down the long hallway, and along to a wide wooden door, the brand-new hinges not making a bit of noise as it opened with a little push.
"Here, sit on the bed and I'll help you with the buttons." he softly ordered, standing out of the way of the tubby boy.
Haru's cheeks flushed a light pink as he moved past him and sat himself upon the edge of his soft blue bed, his hands resting in his lap as his master swiftly glided over to him.
"So, what did you have for your snack?" Niels idly asked, unbuttoning the top button on his shirt, the sheer strain on the fabric nearly undoing the next one too.
"J-Just some cheese... and some m-milk, too..." he muttered, Niels gently working the next button away, the third following by itself as the buttons find themselves closer to the epicenter of the stress.
"Oh? You have always liked milk, haven't you, kitty?" he giggled, trying to get his fingers under the fifth button.
Haru blushed softly, nodding with a faint smile on his face, letting out a little surprised whimper as the next button popped completely free of his shirt, bouncing against the carpeted floor.
"Oops... good thing we're sending this back to the tailor, eh?" he chuckled, popping the next buttons away with ease.
"Alright, now let's get this off of you."
The pudgy catboy sat still as Niels pulled the shirt back over his arms, considerable tugging required.
"Ah, there! Now, let's pick out something new...." Niels said with satisfaction, walking to the wardrobe, leaving his Neko sitting with his arms crossed over his smooth, bare belly.
A moment later, Niels returned with a plain brown box with a red bow tied around it.
"Here, a gift for you. Go on, open it up." he said, smiling softly, Haru slowly taking his arms away from his stomach to accept the box, his chubby fingers working the ribbon away with ease.
Sliding the lid off, he set the box in his lap and pulled out his present: the exercise uniform.
He held the shirt in his palms, admiring the soft cotton and appealing design with a childish awe.
"Wow... Niels, I love it!" he shouted with glee, already slipping it over his head.
Niels smiled and breathed a sigh of internal relief, helping him get the shirt over his head and down over his stomach, the fabric fitting tightly but comfortably on his body.
"Oh, it looks great on you! How does it fit?" he asks, standing back to admire him.
"It's kinda tight... but it's really comfy and I like it!" the catboy exclaims, practically bouncing on the bed.
"Well, I'm glad you like it. I picked out the design myself... took me a while to find the right one, hehe. Now, need help with the shorts?"
Haru blushed a light red and held the pants close to himself.
"I-I-I've got it..." he mumbled, looking away from his helpful master.
"Alright, I'll be in the hall, then. Come out when you're ready."
With a caring smile, Niels stepped out, carefully shutting the door.
Leaned up against the wall, he patiently waited, turning his head back to the door as soon as he heard a loud thud.
"Haru? Hon? Everything alright?" he called, sounding more than a bit concerned.
"Y-Yeah! I just fell, b-but I got them on, come see!"
Just as Niels stepped back in, he was greeted with the sight of the chubby boy bouncing energetically in front of him, his body fully covered by his new, tight-fitting garments.
"How do I look?" he asked, eagerly awaiting an answer with a broad smile.
"You look absolutely adorable~" he chuckled, sending a blush and a wider smile to the catboy's face.
"Oh thank you so much!" he cries, bouncing over to hug him, his arms wrapping around his waist, snuggling his cheek against his chest.
A soft pink color appeared upon Niels's face as he reached down to gently squeeze the boy against himself, Haru's tubby belly squishing against his lap.
He was so soft... like a warm, squishy pillow, or a giant marshmallow. He closed his eyes, really extending the hug as far as he could go. The catboy felt so cuddly, he just wanted to reach down and-
His eyes snapped back open, greeted with the sight of Haru looking up at him curiously.
"Pardon? I-I apologize, I was daydreaming for a moment...." he explained, feeling his face go hot.
"I wanted to know if we could go outside and play now... w-we don't have to, if you wanna go and read that's okay too..." he muttered quietly, looking back out through the window.
"No no, going out sounds fun. You know I love playing with you."
"Yay! Let's go to the courtyard, I'll race you!" he giggled, bouncing up and out the door.
"Careful, don't run down the stairs!" he called after the bounding feline-boy, pausing a moment before moving out the door himself.
"Come on, hurry up, I wanna play already!"
Niels jogged down the wooden steps just in time for his spry pet to squeeze himself out the front door, leaving it swung wide open.
"Hey, hold on, I'm not quite as fast as you." he chuckled as he stepped outside, taking in the beautiful sight of the butterflies, flowers, and wide-open plains that surrounded the estate.
Haru pawed for a low flying butterfly, his stubby arms not quite able to reach.
"There you are, silly boy. You know, you're a lot faster than you let on..."
Haru bounced over and hugged his body against his master, the sun warming them both.
"Ooh, I love it out here, it's so warm~" he purred.
Niels felt his face grow hot again, and not just from the sun.
"D-Do you want to play now? How about some climbing? That's fun, hmm?" he suggested, kneeling down beside the pudgy boy.
"Ooh, can we play catch? With the ball? The one with the little strings?" he asked, practically bouncing with joy.
"Sure, we can play ball. Go get it from the playroom, I'll wait right here for you."
"Okay!" Haru giggled, running off back towards the mansion.
Niels looked off at the flowers, hoping to distract himself with the sights and sounds, though his mind drifted back to his chubby little love.
Why on earth was he so heavy? Was it magic? A curse from his previous owner? Did he indulge himself late at night, long after his master had gone to sleep?
No, no... he was screened for curses and charms before he was adopted, and he always felt uncomfortable moving around the house at night without Niels himself by his side...
Without the cause, was there any hope of losing the weight?
Did he... really want it gone?
Of course he did, there was no doubt... though, the boy didn't seem unhappy with the weight. His tail fur is shinier, his appetite healthier, and his energy bountiful, not to mention how much more he loved belly rubs, now that there was much more of it.
Besides, there was no problem with having a big marshmallow to cuddle with, Niels was sure of that. Perhaps... he should just try and get him to lose the weight now, and get him back to his private physician for a checkup tomorrow, just to be sure.
Or... he could just hold off and watch him another month or two, to try and pinpoint the cause like the doctor asked before, as to avoid an embarrassing lack of an answer to give the man he visits so often. That's it, just one more month...
Niels jumped at the sweet cry of his loving friend declaring his victory.
"Master, I got the ball!"
Niels turned back, nearly jumping again at the startling sight before him.
Haru, in all of his glory, was now stuffed into the previously-fitting exercise uniform like a bratwurst in a hotdog package, his little belly-apron spilling down to his thick thighs that threatened to swallow the crotch of his shorts, with no help from the massive rear that tightened his pants to thread-ripping tension.
"G-Good heavens..." he muttered, stumbling to the side a bit.
Haru tossed the ball into the air with his stubby arms, catching it as it came back down. He bounced to a stop just before his master, his happy face turning to one of confusion.
"Master Niels? Are you okay? You look funny..." he questioned, moving closer, belly wobbling slightly.
"I... y-you...h-how about we head back indoors? Perhaps this heat is getting to me..." he muttered, slowly stumbling back towards the mansion.
"Oh, okay. Can we still play with the yarn inside? Please? I really want to..." he pleaded, tugging Niels along, his tail swishing about.
"Oh, yes, that's f-fine..." he muttered, trying not to look over at him.
"Yay, thank you!" he giggled, bounding up the stairs before him.
Niels held his breath, face flushing crimson, as the catboy's booty wobbles and bounced in his face, the tops of his smooth (yet enormous) cheeks exposed above the waistband.
"Come on, let's go!" he urged happily, pulling him inside, closing the door behind the two.
Determined on his path, Haru tugged him all the way to the sun-lit playroom, throwing the ball into a box of other outdoor toys, exchanging it for a soft blue ball of yarn that sat on the table by the window.
Haru dropped beside the window-seat, rolling the ball around in the sun.
Niels slowly sat down beside him, careful to leave the not-so-little cat plenty of warm sun space. As the ball rolled back towards him, he snatched it up, holding it in the air, Haru batting at it with his pudgy little hands.
"Hey, I almost had that, stop moving it!" he giggled, bouncing to grab it, pouncing onto Niels as he pulled it away.
Niels fell back, Haru atop him, his big belly forming around his abdomen, practically covering him in warm flab.
"Hehe, gotcha!~" he giggled, grabbing the yarn ball from his hands, though he didn't move away. Instead, he dropped the ball, clenching his hands onto his master's shoulders, resting his chubby cheek against his chest.
"Mmm, so warm~" he purred, his whole body rumbling over him.
"H-Haru... you're too cute, whatever am I to do with you?" he smiled, slowly petting his head.
Haru purred a little louder in response, relaxing atop him. With a little sleepy sigh, he settled against his shirt.
"C-Can we... get more milk when we wake up? I drank the rest right after I got the ball... I-I'm sorry..." he mumbled quietly, his voice wavering.
Claritser's Guide, Lesson 46: Weight Management.
If you suspect your catboy has a lactose allergy, limit the intake of cheese, milk, and cream to once a week, followed by rigorous exercise. If not handled swiftly, it may cause rapid weight gain.
"We can get all the milk you want, even the sweet kind." Niels smiled, continuing to pet the purring boy.
"T-Thank you, master..." he spoke softly, slowly falling asleep, chest still rumbling.
"Anything for my little puffball..."