Author's Note: Hey there everyone! I originally wrote this fic as a birthday present for a friend, but she's given me permission to post it here. It contains a couple lines from our RP logs, so you know where their coming from, but that's no reason you can't still enjoy the story.

X-X-X

Title: Our Family

Rating: K+

X-X-X

"I just need a few signatures here, Natsuki," Shizuru said as she brought the stack of papers into the Gakuencho's office and placed them on Natsuki's desk. "Nothing out of the ordinary today."

That last part was a lie. There was one thing out of the ordinary in this particular stack of papers, but Shizuru had a good reason for it. Since Natsuki normally refused to sign autographs for her fans, Shizuru had to trick the other girl into it whenever a fan was particularly deserving of a treat. In this case, her trick involved a faked form with a hole cut out of the bottom of it and the card to be signed taped to the back. It was made up to look like a standard room-requisition form, so hopefully Natsuki wouldn't give it a careful look before signing.

"Mm, thanks," Natsuki said as she took the stack of papers from Shizuru. Natsuki quickly signed her way through the papers, and Shizuru thought she was in the clear until the other woman shoved the fake form aside in the middle of signing her way through the stack. When she was finished, Natsuki glanced over the fake form Shizuru had prepared. "I did not approve the formation of a 'Shizuru and Natsuki Fanclub.'"

Cursing her luck, even while she found herself respecting Natsuki's attention to detail, Shizuru reached out to take the form away. "Let me get that out of your way then," she said. "I'll make sure the student in question understands that the club has to be approved before she can request a room for it."

"Wait," Natsuki said. She reached out to stop Shizuru's hand, eying the form. "I don't recognize that name... Hold on a second..." To Shizuru's dismay, Natsuki revealed that she'd spotted the deception, and she pulled up the edge of the form to reveal the card beneath. The woman's eye's narrowed, and she turned her head to Shizuru. "I thought I made it clear that I don't sign autographs. I do far more signing at work than any human should have to, and I'm not going to subject myself to any more of it."

"I know, Natsuki..." Shizuru said. She softened her gaze, giving Natsuki her best puppy-dog eyes. The look hadn't been 100% effective since early in their relationship, but it was better than nothing. "But I was hoping this particular person might be an exception, even if just for one signature."

"What's so different about this person? Is it someone we know?"

"Not directly, but we do owe a certain something to her," Shizuru said. It was time to play her final card. If this didn't work, nothing would. "Do you remember that doujinshi I showed you last month? She's the one you can thank for it."

X-X-X

"Zuru..." said the speech bubble near Natsuki's head. From the artist's style, Natsuki could tell that the version of herself in the story was quite shaken up. She was cradling something furry in her arms as she entered the room. "Someone... someone left this puppy in a box on the sidewalk... He's... he's starving... we have to... we have to help..."

Shizuru had placed the doujinshi on Natsuki's desk with little explanation, telling her simply to read it. Natsuki was a bit suspicious at first, but she recognized the art style on the cover. She normally didn't like reading these doujinshi - Alright, that was an understatement: She tried her best to forget about their existence - but she'd made an exception when she was planning her proposal to Shizuru.

In order to set up just the right mood for Shizuru, Natsuki had wanted to remind her love of how they'd gotten together. To do that, she'd used pages from a particular doujinshi that had gotten the events more or less correct. To this day, she still hadn't figured out how the author had managed to do that, but her suspicions centered around Mai being a little loose-lipped. It didn't matter, though. What did matter was that this particular memory had been enough to get Natsuki to give the manga a try.

"We'll do our best to help him," the vet said as Natsuki handed the puppy over to him.

Shizuru squeezed Natsuki's hand as the vet walked away, and she let out a sigh. "What kind of person leaves a puppy alone like that? Don't they have shelters that will take in any unwanted pet?"

Natsuki gazed at the floor sadly. "People do this... all the time... Shizuru... Many people don't even know how to properly care for their pet. Animal abuse is a crime worse than any other crime that can ever be committed," Natsuki turned, wrapping her arm around Shizuru. "There are animal shelters... all over the place. But some people... don't think to take them there..."

Natsuki had been too busy lately planning the wedding to think of much else, but she'd decided that she didn't just want to marry Shizuru, she wanted to form a family with Shizuru. She'd quietly pushed for funding into research on helping two women reproduce, but that wouldn't bear fruit for many years yet. Another idea had been bouncing around Natsuki's head for a while, and Shizuru had seemed amenable to the few hints she'd dropped, but it wasn't until she'd read this doujinshi that she really began to consider it.

A soft smile and a nod from Shizuru when Natsuki finished reading the manga was all she needed to figure out Shizuru's thoughts on the matter. The next day, Shizuru covered for Natsuki early in the afternoon, telling her love simply, "Find someone who needs our love."

Natsuki crouched down in front of the puppy's kennel, smiling at him. "Hey there..." she said, "I don't know how you wound up on the sidewalk in front of my house... You don't have to worry about that anymore... You'll have a much better home when you're better." She stood up and stepped back towards Shizuru. "Kiyoran... what do you you think of that name?"

Natsuki knelt down in front of the mutt. His whole litter had been dropped off at the shelter, but the rest had been lucky enough to find homes by now, leaving only this one puppy still searching for a home. He was the runt of the litter, and his brothers and sisters had all been more assertive in getting the attention of people who walked in. But Natsuki had come in looking for the dog that needed a family the most. This little puppy was still afraid of the world, but she could work to change that.

Natsuki slowly reached out her hand, holding it still in front of the puppy's nose. His eyes slowly opened, and he looked first at the hand, then up at Natsuki. "Hi there..." Natsuki said. Her voice caught in her throat as she spoke. She couldn't be getting this emotional now, not in public like this. But when the puppy gave her hand a slow, cautious kiss, Natsuki felt her control begin to slip.

X-X-X

A smile widened across Natsuki's face at this memory. "We need a better card," she said simply.

X-X-X

A few weeks later, a card arrives in the mail. On one side is a photograph of Natsuki and Shizuru, with a small puppy in Natsuki's arms. On the other side is a brief note:

Happy Birthday!

Much love, from Natsuki, Shizuru, and Kiyoran.