Fandom: Kobato.
Title: Overprotective Dog
Author: SweetFirefly
Rating: G – K
Genre: Comedy/Romance
Pairing: Implied Kiyokazu Fujimoto X Kobato Hanato.
Spoilers: Up to the Christmas episode.
Summary: There was something wrong with that dog.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kobato. Shucks.
Warning: Anime continuity.

A/N: One of the things that I found funniest in Cardcaptor Sakura was how Touya, every now and then, would stop and stare at Kero as if he just knew what Kero was about (which he did, but, whatever). When I was watching this delicious piece of anime that is Kobato., I couldn't help but notice how Fujimoto is a bit like Touya (even though he looks like a grown-up Syaoran), and I thought it would be hilarious to have him stare at Ioryogi this way (which he only did once, if I recall). Without warning, this fic had already come to life in my head. I hope you enjoy yourselves! If there are any mistakes, please warn me so I can fix it!

Overprotective Dog

Fujimoto couldn't tell what, exactly, but there was something wrong with that dog.

It was early afternoon, and the children were taking their daily nap. Sayaka was out, seeing someone about donations to the kindergarten, and he had taken the opportunity to study a little in her office – so he could, you know, see the books he was trying to read, for a change.

However, when he found himself reading the same sentence over and over in the book, he realized his concentration wasn't on its best day. It was probably because of Kobato; the klutz had said she would take care of everything, and that he should study and stop worrying. From previous experiences, that meant she'd soon break something, or trip, or burn herself, or all of the three at the same time, and he would have to rush to help her. Knowing it was bound to happen didn't work wonders for his focus.

This was how he found himself staring at the stuffed dog.

He couldn't really pinpoint what was wrong just by watching it. It looked like a stuffed toy, if a bit of a gloomy one – it was blue, for starters, and, though okay-looking, it had an apathetic air about it, as if it was inanimate and proud of it.

Which it was. Inanimate, that is. Not proud of it.

He sighed. The reason why he felt like the dog was a living thing had probably more to do with Kobato than with the dog itself. She kept speaking of it as if it was alive, calling it "Ioryogi", saying idiotic stuff about how the dog had scolded her for something, as if the dog was a grumpy person instead of an apathetic plush toy.

…Or perhaps he meant tense plush toy.

Yes, tense seemed more fitting. Working in a kindergarten, Fujimoto was in constant contact with stuffed toys, and, though it was hard to say that for sure, he thought they usually looked softer, more pliant – relaxed, so to say.

Kobato's dog was a plush toy, all right, but he – it – was a tense stuffed toy, like… like it was trying really hard to stay immobile and it felt uncomfortable.

…And he was wasting precious studying time making up nonsense in his head.

Grumpily turning his eyes again to the book, he decided he blamed Kobato for it.

Speaking of the devil, she was opening the door.

"Fujimoto-san, I brought you – Ah!"

Fujimoto acted purely on reflex; if he had thought about it, he wouldn't have gotten there in time. He crossed the room in two large steps and broke Kobato's fall with his body, using one hand to support her and the other to steady the tray she was carrying. The cup trembled a little, but, miraculously, the tea remained unspilled.

Crisis averted, he inspected the small, fragile figure he held against his stomach, assessing the damage. She looked up at him with an embarrassed, kicked-puppy look. "…I brought you tea."

The warmth of her breath against him sent a rush of small, cool shivers throughout his whole body.


He decided not to think about that for now and help the girl get into an upright position without spilling the tea.

"There's nothing here to trip in!", he said frustrated, holding the tray in his hands while she steadied herself. "I mean, there's clumsy, then there's you!"

Kobato's blush grew fiercer, which had an even stranger effect in him; at the same time that he was hit by something that was definitely not guilt, the sight of her reddening cheeks and bright eyes made his own cheeks feel hot. He spent a few moments looking at her small, dry lips, the small, cool shivers running throughout his whole body again.

Say something, his brain ordered. Now.

"The tea is cold", was the first thing his mouth came up with.

Though it was an idiotic thing to say, it worked like a charm, because Kobato went from blushing and awkward to full-on "epileptic reaction" mode, waving her arms in the air: "Is it? I'm so sorry, Fujimoto-san! I didn't know when to take the kettle off the fire, I didn't want it to be too hot, but the kitchen was full of steam, so maybe I left it cooling too long—"

"Stop it, stop it", Fujimoto said, his voice edgy. "Just – just go sweep the front yard. I'll help you when I'm done here."

"But the tea—"

"Since it's here, I might as well drink it. Saves me the trouble of you making tea again." And, before she could say anything else, he pushed her off the room as gently as he could.

The feeling that definitely wasn't guilt was growing too strong when she was out the door, so he added a curt "Thank you" to go with it. When he said it, Kobato turned around – he saw the bright eyes and the surprised expression – but he closed the door before he could experience any more weird shivery feelings.

He sighed, left the tray in a nearby table, and walked back to his desk of choice, bringing the cup of tea with him, blowing on it so that it would cool. He was lying when he said the tea was cold.

As he sat on his desk, however, he realized he really wasn't going to do any studying that afternoon; he tried to read the first paragraph, but found himself thinking of Kobato's lips, small and hurt from the cold. Aiming to distract himself, he sipped from the tea – and, surprisingly, found it suited to his tastes. She must have had put a lot of effort into it.

His mind conjured an image of Kobato making tea, and, unbidden, a secretive smile came up to his lips.

Then he glanced at the dog.

And the dog was looking at him.

Fujimoto blinked.

The dog was still looking at him.

Exposing a set of pointy, violent-looking, teeth the dog – Ioryogi? – indicated the door through which Kobato had just left. Then, it pointed at Fujimoto. At last, it pointed to his eyes.

The meaning was clear enough.

"Fujimoto-kun? Could you come help carry the boxes – Fujimoto-kun?"

Startled, Fujimoto almost jumped off his chair, only to see Sayaka coming up and subsequently shooting him a surprised look.

"Fujimoto-kun? Is everything okay?"

Her reaction just did not compute with the scene he had just witnessed, so, against the reasonable protests of his mind – which told him he should get Sayaka, get the kids, get Kobato, and run away as far as he could from that – he risked another look at it.

Kobato's dog looked as gloomy, apathetic and inanimate as ever.

"Fujimoto-kun?" Sayaka looked worried, now.

Worry was something he had never liked to invoke in Sayaka. "I – I'm all right. You just startled me, that's all."

"Are you sure? You looked—"

"I'm all right", he cut her short, mustering his best tough look. "You were saying something about boxes—"

"Oh, right – Kiyoko-san's brothers were kind enough to help me bring the donation boxes here, but they were in a hurry and couldn't bring them inside. Could you please help—?"

They were interrupted by a scream outside, followed by a loud thump, a subdued whimper, and several voices of recently-awakened kids asking for Kobato's state.

"Oh, my!", Sayaka said, and rushed outside to help the klutz.

As he himself went to look through the window to check if the klutz was okay, automatically shouting to the kids that they should fold their futons and keep the room tidy if they were all going to wake up, he decided it had never happened. And if it looked like it might have happened, it was probably due to an overactive imagination he didn't even know he had until now, coupled with too many part-time jobs and college courses. And lack of sleep. Surely, that was the reason.

And, as he risked yet another look to the very inanimate dog which couldn't possibly have signaled he'd be keeping an eye on Fujimoto – and was, thank God, still unmoving –, he decided another thing, almost as an afterthought.

He was blaming Kobato for it.

Kobato could never understand why Fujimoto-san all of a sudden had started to send half-scared, half-suspicious looks to Ioryogi-san.

Ioryogi-san had no comments.

Thanks to: CLAMP, for writing such a cute and delightful plot!