Title: Sekai ichi Catsukoi
Category: Anime/Manga » Sekaiichi Hatsukoi
Author: Don't Preach
Language: English, Rating: Rated: M
Well... this is done in honor of The Black Flamingo 101, Cerberus Seme's Uke Bird bride. Merry Christmas, BF101! Your tri-pup is waiting under the plastic mistletoe to give you big sloppy tongue kisses!
The neko mania is spreading and I am branching out. So here is a little Christmas Story (it will be a multi-chaptered fic) of what SIH might look like if half the characters were turned into hybrid cat people. Hope you enjoy it!
Sekai ichi "Cat"sukoi
Chapter One: Intro
It was a week before Christmas and Kisa was sitting in the window of the pet shop. He looked over at the clock on the wall and saw that it was just about time. The ebony neko moved out a bit from the edge where he normally sat, scooting just far enough into the open so he could have a clear view of the Marimo bookstore across the street.
Try as he might, it was all the small catman could do to keep from pressing his nose up against the chill glass as his large, dark-brown eyes watched anxiously for him to arrive.
Right on time the tall youth with the thick, auburn mane and the sparkling smile hurried up the busy street and into the store. Kisa's black ears flickered and his lithe tail twitched with yearning. He'd been watching the Marimo clerk for two weeks now, ever since he'd been placed at the pet shop for adoption as part of a program with the Hybrid Humane society.
For several minutes, he watched the beautiful youth through the window. The man had changed into his work uniform and taken his station in his section of the bookstore. Kisa's ears flattened as he observed the usual gaggle of young women begin to show up: whatever genre the man was in charge of, it seemed to have a significant appeal with the ladies.
Kisa sighed and blushed.
Or maybe it is just him.
He had never seen anyone so handsome or so sparkly; just looking at the clerk filled him with want. Kisa cursed his uke tom nature; it was what landed him here in the pet store to start with. His lean tail twirled peevishly.
He had run away from his first owner just a few days after the man had taken him from the breeders. Since then, he'd been a truly successful feral (until he'd been caught, at least). He'd gotten forged papers, put himself through school, and had even held a decent job in a publishing house for a time. Throughout this Kisa had been through literally dozens of male owners, none of them lasting more than a few weeks at the most.
Since it was illegal to rent property to a neko, unless he or she was emancipated, so over the years Kisa had developed a strategy for shelter. He would see some handsome guy (he'd had always been a sucker for male beauty) and play the sad stray kit-teen. This ploy had worked beautifully for him, helped by the fact that though he was now almost thirty, he still looked so much like a kitten, eager and often slightly perverted men snatched him up quickly.
Not that he minded the perversion; it actually quite appealed to him.
After a few days or a couple weeks at the most, he would run away again and pick up a new "owner." As he'd been a stray to begin with, not many of his previous adopters ever put too much effort into tracking him down once he fled. Unfortunately, due in part to a poor economy, there had been an explosion in the stray neko population. As a result, the government had been cracking down much harder on ferals lately and Kisa had had the misfortune of trying to pick up an undercover neko-control officer.
The mistake had cost him everything.
He had been immediately thrown into the pound, lost his job, and his history had been gradually pried from him by the authorities. He had been labeled incorrigible: a "fuck feral," and now had "flight risk" and his real age stamped on the papers that hung outside his cage. Provided with this information, of course, no one wanted to take him home.
The pet store adoption program was his last chance. If he wasn't adopted by New Year's, he'd be sent to a feral "rehabilitation" program and either end up doing manual labor or possibly even be shipped out of the country.
The thought sent shivers down Kisa's spine.
Rousing from these musings, Kisa looked back across the street, deciding he much preferred contemplating the sparkly bookstore clerk to these other troubled ruminations. His eyes widened when he realized that the object of his dark-eyed peeping was staring out of the bookstore's front window, looking back at him. Shocked at this realization, the stalkerish catman immediately scrambled back into his usual corner and out of sight. His heart pounded at the thought the bookstore clerk had seen him.
It started thudding even harder when a noise across from him indicated the other neko he was sharing the front window holding pen with was waking up from his nap. Kisa pressed himself into the shadows. His licorice-whip tail curled round his bent knees and he tried to be as still as possible because the other neko terrified him.
Yokozawa awoke with a growl. He stretched out his long, lean body and before his gray eyes had even fully blinked themselves awake, his thick, black tail was already switching in irritation. The big tom pulled himself up into a seated position. Ears flat, he immediately turned his back to the large, plate-glass window to avoid the glances of the people passing by outside on the sidewalk.
This whole situation, finding himself on display in a pet store window, was humiliating, particularly as he'd been there for almost three months now and no one had showed even the slightest of interest in adopting him. He sighed considering this and the dark aura around him increased.
He'd been turned over to the pound about a year ago. His breeders had finally tired of keeping him. Due to his poor disposition, they'd been stuck with him since the time he'd turned the legal age to be sold. Because they were good breeders and he, a pure blooded Yokozawa, a rare strain of seke hybrid, they'd kept him, hoping to find him the perfect owner. While they had him they'd allowed Yokozawa to go school and eventually to college, thinking it might make him more desirable.
When he was college age, he had feigned "stray" and attached himself to a human male named Takano who'd been about his same age. Though, at the time, it really was Takano who'd been acting like the stray.
Yokozawa had fallen deeply in love with the man. In the years he was with Takano, he'd done everything that nekos were told were their duties (an indoctrination beginning in earliest kittenhood). When he wasn't in classes or at his breeders, Yokozawa cooked and cleaned and looked after the man he'd "adopted." He'd even offered Takano his body more than once, trying to bring his unofficial owner relief.
Despite all this, Takano had never made any move to formally own him. Not even after he'd helped Takano get a job in the very company he'd gotten employed with himself after graduating from college.
"Yokozawa-chan," the pet shop owner, Sato, called from across the store. "Turn around. You're never going to get adopted if you don't let people see you."
"Stupid woman," Yokozawa muttered to himself. His thick plumed tail took on a furious swish. However, he turned around obediently, though slow enough that Sato, if she was watching, would know he was displeased.
Once he was repositioned, he returned to his bitter thoughts.
His unofficial human, Takano, had actually owned an Oda neko when he was in high school. Apparently the kitten ran away not long after he had brought his new Oda home from the breeders. Takano had loved the kitten deeply and had never recovered from the loss. Because of this, though he claimed to like Yokozawa, Takano had no room in his heart for him.
It had been painful for Yokozawa, loving Takano as he did, to know the whole time he'd been with the man, Takano had still spent one day a week making rounds to all the pet stores and shelters in search of his runaway Oda.
He did so even now almost a decade later, still searching for his missing neko.
When Yokozawa's owners finally relinquished him, all this pain had only multiplied. Now, he saw Takano each time the man made his weeklyrounds. Takano, because of their past, always made a point to stop by and visit him in his searching. Though he had apologized numerous times, Takano had told Yokozawa, despite all the things the big cat had done to try and please him, he just wasn't the pet he loved.
Yokozawa frowned at these thoughts. He grimaced in an attempt to hide the fact he really felt like weeping.
A little boy passing by with his mother saw this through the window and immediately started crying in fear. Yokozawa looked up and saw the mother staring at him reproachfully as she gathered her frightened child into her arms. His face remained impassive, but his ears flattened further in dismay. Unfortunately this only made him look fiercer.
The woman scowled and stormed angrily into the store.
"What's the idea of putting such a creature in the window?!" she shouted at Sato, clutching her still sobbing child. "Scaring children out on the street… hmphhh. It certainly can't be good for your business!" Without waiting for an answer the woman turned with her wailing offspring in hand and stalked out again.
The flustered store owner finished with the customer she'd been assisting and then approached the window enclosure. This was not the first time she had received such a complaint from a passerby when Yokozawa was on display.
"Yokozawa-chan, why can't you try and smile?"
With his brow still furrowed and his ears back, Yokozawa bared his teeth.
"Oh, forget it." Sato sighed sadly, unlatching the door and ushering him out.
"Come on, Yokozawa-chan, I'm putting you in the back again." She moved towards the rear of the store; the black tom padded silently behind her.
Yokozawa was relieved to be out of the window. Though there was a secret part of his heart that wanted desperately to be owned, he didn't mind being stuck in the back. Though it was isolated in the holding area, he'd become used to being alone and had all but given up the notion of ever truly belonging to someone.
Kisa breathed a sigh of relief and stretched out as soon as the terrifying black hybrid had left. Once the owner of the shop had Yokozawa secured she brought out another older, but also kitten-looking, neko uke for display in the window.
This new addition was a slender, dark-chocolate hybrid with a sweet face and large blue-gray eyes.
"Hi, Kisa-san!" the small catman chirped in greeting. His soft ears were perked forward and his tail swished amicably.
"Oooooooh, look at all the people!" the new neko cooed, immediately forgetting Kisa as the peoples' motion on the sidewalk caught his eye.
Kisa watched the Yoshino neko's innocent eyes widen in fascination as he pressed his nose against the glass, making a series of soft purrs and excited cheeps.
The older neko sighed.
While it was much more comfortable having the other small uke with him in the window than the menacing Yokozawa, the Yoshino hybrid's blatant ignorance and short attention span made him rather tiresome. Still, Kisa could hardly blame the Yoshino: Chiaki's case was actually quite tragic.
The blue eyed neko had been one of a number of feline artists owned by well-known but unscrupulous manga-ka. She'd kept her nekos prisoners while reaping the profits of her creative hybrid's productions. The manga artist/author had been busted recently for the abuse and neglect of her feline hoard, and her pets had been dispersed through the Hybrid Humane Society to various locations for adoption.
This was how Chiaki had ended up at Sato's.
Chiaki stared out of the window with awe. Though he'd been put on display before, each time it seemed completely new to him. He took in the street activity with rapt fascination. He'd been purchased by his former mistress for his storytelling and drawing talents as soon as he'd turned eighteen (the legal age for sale) and hadn't been the outside of the woman's house until the authorities had removed him and the other nekos from it, just a little less than a month ago.
"Waahhhh, Kisa-san, look at that neko!" Chiaki's thin tail tapped contentedly as he watched a neko and its obvious owner hurry past. He turned to the former feral. "I can't wait to be adopted! I hope it's someone nice."
The lean neko's stomach suddenly growled. Chiaki's ears flickered and he blushed with embarrassment. "And someone who's a good cook too!" he smiled. Near-starvation had been one of the conditions at the manga-ka's and was why Chiaki hadn't been put up for adoption earlier.
Kisa offered the innocent Yoshino a mild smile in return.
"Ah, Yoshino-chan, it's time for your snack. Here's your notebook and your pencils too, so you don't tire poor Kisa-chan out with your chatter," Sato said kindly as she opened the enclosure and handed the various things to the wide-eyed hybrid.
"Yay! Thank you, Sato-san!" Chiaki squeaked.
Chiaki open his snack bar. "Do you want some, Kisa-san?"
Seeing the painfully thin wrist holding the treat, Kisa shook his head. "No, thank you."
"Hooray! That's more for me!" Chiaki cheered, then, realizing how rude that sounded he looked at Kisa. "Sorry, Kisa-san, I don't mean to sound greedy."
"Don't worry, Yoshino-san," Kisa said mildly, but the little blue-eyed bubblehead had already shifted his attention and was now doodling in his notebook as he nibbled his treat.
It was rather amazing to Kisa that someone with such a short attention span could literally spend hours drawing. Also, despite the fact the Yoshino generally seemed to possess an intellect only rivaled by garden tools, when it came to telling wild stories; kitten-minded as he was, Chiaki really had an amazing imagination.
Kisa watched Chiaki draw for a bit, taking the chance every now and then to glance out the window and peep at the gorgeous book vendor across the street. Then his attention was caught by the sight of a man leading a very cross looking young neko on a leash down the sidewalk towards the pet store. Kisa's ears perked forward in curiosity. While all nekos were legally required to wear collars, it was rare to see a neko hybrid on a leash. More often than not it just meant trouble.
The bell over the door chimed and the man entered the shop followed by the brunet hybrid. "Ah, Sato-san," he called out as the shop owner stepped out from behind the counter to greet him.
"Hello, Kohinata-san. I take it this is the Onodera you called about?" Sato stepped up and caught the neko under his bowed chin and lifted the young male's head up. "Nice coloring," she observed gazing into the furiously flushing feline's uncomfortable green eyes.
"Yes." Kohinata blushed a bit himself.
"I so appreciate you agreeing to help with this. You see, as I explained on the phone, we got this Onodera for our daughter to entertain her while we were living abroad. The two have been fast friends for a number of years now… But now we've returned to Japan and our daughter is getting married soon…
"Her fiancé won't tolerate another male in his house. Erm…" Kohinata hummed uncomfortably. "Even though we're fairly convinced, Ritsu-chan is yaoi… an uke at that."
The Onodera neko kept his mouth shut at these words, but he pulled his chin out of the shopkeeper's hand and looked down. His heated cheeks burned and his ears and his tail twitched madly at this disclosure.
"Anyway," Kohinata continued "An was beside herself at the idea that her Ricchan might end up at the pound. As you know, older nekos are not always easy to place."
"And how old is the Onodera?" Sato-san asked.
"He's twenty-five, though we got him at fifteen."
"Fifteen!" Sato exclaimed, "Why, that's not even legal!"
"I know," Kohinata looked dismayed. "Unfortunately, the breeder wasn't honest. She forged that part of Ritsu-chan's papers and he didn't tell us until we were already out of the country." Kohinata added this as though the hybrid wasn't standing there, mortified, beside him.
"To be honest, I don't even think we were his first owners, but Ritsu has never been willing to talk about that. At any rate, that breeder has long been out of business now, thankfully."
Sato eyed the Onodera thoughtfully. "As you said, it is hard to place an older neko, even one that looks so kittenish still. You know, Kohinata-san, I am rather full with difficult adoptions now already. So many I hardly have room for regular stock."
"I know you said you couldn't guarantee you'd take him, but you came so highly recommended as someone who would ensure he got a good home," Kohinata's voice held the slightest edge of desperation.
Sato was silent as she eyed the Onodera thoughtfully. She knew she was a soft touch when it came to neko hybrids. She had eight of her own at home, now that the one neko law had been lifted (all but one of her pets were female).
"Well, it just so happens I have someone who has been looking for an Oda. Though he's incredibly picky, I wonder if your Onodera might not do. He's relatively close to the description of what he wants. And it is near Christmas: hybrid sales and adoptions are usually brisk right up through Christmas Eve."
Seeing the light of hope in Kohinata's eyes, Sato finally caved. "Okay, I'll see if I can place him for you. I'll have to put him in the back for now. It's the only free kennel I have."
Walking over to the counter, Sato pulled out a rather thick stack of papers. "Here, I'll trade you."
She handed the sheaf of forms to Kohinata and picked up the neko's lead. "If you would please fill these out, Kohinata-san, while I get Onodera-chan situated."
"Sorry for all the paperwork but neko legislation keeps changing."
"No worries," Kohinata said cheerfully, incredibly relieved that he would be able to go back and tell An's fiancé that everything had been taken care of. An, herself, wouldn't even know that her Ricchan was gone for another two days; she was on a trip to attend a friend's wedding.
Because she had been too young to legally own a neko, Onodera's papers had been put in her parents' name. So, despite the subterfuge, everything Kohinata was doing was technically legal.
Sato led the silent Onodera to the back. Rummaging through a shelf, she pulled out a pair of tight, black shorts and a tank top in the Onodera's size.
"Here, you'll need to take off your street clothes and put these on."
She then ushered her new neko into a meshed run between the brooding Yokozawa and a very fragile napping Araki neko she was currently fostering.
"You can change here." Seeing the look of consternation on the neko's face she supplied, "All adoptable pets wear them, so that potential customers can see better what they are buying." Sato nodded over to Yokozawa, who somehow even managed to make the scant garb he sported look threatening.
"I'll call the man I know who has been looking for something like you." Sato took off the Onodera's lead, then closed and locked the kennel door. "If you're lucky, you won't even be here that long."
The Onodera said nothing, he just looked down at the small pile of fabric in his hands and then moved over into a corner and began loosening his tie. His ears were limp now after all their furious action earlier and his tail held no life at all.
Sato nodded sadly at this: so many people didn't give their pets credit for how deeply the human-hybrid's feelings ran. She knew how difficult transitions of ownership could be, especially when a neko had been with a family as long as the Onodera had. With a sad sigh she went back out to the desk to deal with Kohinata and his relinquished pet's paperwork.
As she did, throughout her store, five troubled nekos all sat in their various spaces, considering what their fate held for them.
Reviews are always welcome! Thank you for reading!