A/N: So, this is the long awaited (well, not sure how long awaited, but yeah) second installment of Feline. I have no idea how long I'm going to be continuing it. So, it'll just be that series that I may/may not continue.
Warning: Fluff. No seriously, there's so much fluff, you'll die of sweetness. Oh, and a touch of angst
Disclaimer: I don't own Free!/Swimming anime
"Haru, come on. We're going to be late if you stay in the tub for much longer," Makoto whined softly, holding up the towel for hybrid to dry off in. However, instead of getting out of the tub like he was hoping, Haruka just sat in the pool staring at him.
It had been about a month or so since Makoto had come across the small cat out during a typhoon, waterlogged and probably about to die. However, he quickly found out that that kitten that he had thought he had picked up was actually a cat hybrid. A cat hybrid with a weird fascination for water and mackerel. Not any other kind of fish, just mackerel. Makoto had made the mistake of getting him something other than mackerel and he ended up having to clean his entire living room and kitchen up from the bits of fish that Haru had shredded up throughout the house. Not to mention, his water bill was through the roof that month because of all the baths that Haruka had taken.
However, it wasn't all that bad. In fact, having Haruka around was really nice. He tended to get lonely sometimes, so having a cat hybrid to keep him company was great. Sure, Haruka didn't really like doing a lot of stuff other than eating mackerel and swimming, but he was interesting to talk to whenever he was in his human form. Plus, he was a nice cuddle partner.
But what made the entire situation a bit tiresome were the moments when he had to practically wrestled the hybrid away from whatever he was doing so that they could do something else. Such as right now. "Haru, come on," Makoto said sternly, approaching the tub.
A loud hiss left Haruka's mouth and he moved deeper into the water. His blue eyes glinted dangerously, promising horrid things for him if he ended up taking another step. Good thing for Makoto though, he had dealt with two younger siblings and knew how to get his way. He was used to temper tantrums, as well as unexpected attacks. So, he wasn't as afraid as he probably should have been as he slowly approached Haruka. The constant hissing didn't frighten him one bit, nor did the the glint of a fang in Haru's mouth.
Taking another step, Makoto froze as the hissing suddenly stopped. Blinking, he stared at Haruka with cautious eyes, immediately on the defensive. Haruka never just stopped hissing whenever he was made to do something he didn't like. Makoto had no idea what the cat hybrid was planning, but something told him that it wasn't good. So, when Haruka suddenly dunked his head underneath the water, Makoto cursed mentally and threw down the town before jumping towards the tub, thrusting his arms under the water to grab the other boy.
A yelp left his mouth as Haruka suddenly bit his hand while underwater, but Makoto held on. He pulled the male out of the water, holding him up in the air. Outraged hisses left Haruka's mouth as Makoto lead him right out of the bathroom. The hybrid flailed in his arms, trying to get back into the water. However, Makoto's grip around the cat was too strong for him to break, so all he could do was hiss, kick his legs, and mewl in sadness.
As they reached Makoto's room, he set Haruka down on the floor, quickly shutting the door so that the hybrid couldn't run past him to try and get back into the bathtub. He watched with a raised eyebrow as Haruka sulked on the ground, lip quivering slightly. His eyes were shimmering in the light, silently begging him to take him back to the bathroom. And if Makoto were weak-willed, he would have done just that. After all, who could resist those cute, glimmering eyes?
Makoto could, that's who.
Just raising an eyebrow at the display, Makoto walked past Haruka and pulled out a towel from his closet, throwing it towards the hybrid. Catching the towel, the innocent look on Haruka's face went away and he just glared at Makoto while drying off his hair. His tail was flicking back and forth in irritation.
While Haruka got himself dried, Makoto set out some clothes for him to wear. He glanced at his watch, noticing that they had about an hour before they had to head out. Haruka couldn't fight against him if they were going to make it to Rin's house on time. And he really wanted to head to his friend's house, because the redhead cared for a couple of hybrids of his own and knew some helpful tips in raising and caring for them. Plus, Haruka could possibly make some new friends as well. He'd probably want to be around his own kind.
Turning back around to see how Haruka was doing, Makoto sighed roughly as he saw that the boy had transformed into his cat form. He wasn't in the mood to deal with Haruka's mood today. They were heading out today if it was the last thing that he had to say.
"Haru, stop playing around and change back. You're heading to Rin's house, no matter how much you don't to leave," he said sternly, walking up to the cat and kneeling down.
Reaching out to pet the cat, a cry left his mouth and his eyes widened as his hand was suddenly swiped. Hissing loudly, Makoto clutched onto his hand and looked down at it, noticing a bit of blood welling to the surface. Eyes narrowing, Makoto stood up and clicked his tongue in irritation, moving to the door to head out to the bathroom. Not even bothering to make sure that Haruka didn't leave the room, he headed down the hall, biting his bottom lip harshly.
Being scratched by Haruka wasn't anything new to him. The hybrid was temperamental and tended to snap at a moment's notice. But somehow, the fact that Haruka wouldn't even listen to him at today made him a bit upset. He had thought that they were at the point where they were comfortable with each other. He had thought that Haruka had liked him. The other times that Haruka had scratched him didn't feel quite as malicious as this time did.
Entering the bathroom, Makoto sighed to himself and leaned down to let the water out of the bathtub. Perhaps things weren't as nice as he had thought that they were. Which was kind of unfortunate, since he had actually been happy. Probably happier than he had been in months. But Haruka...he couldn't tell anything when it came to Haruka. The boy was an enigma that refused to be solved. He couldn't tell when the cat was happy or content other than when he was eating mackerel or swimming.
He didn't even know if Haruka was happy with him, or if he was just happy with the convenience that he offered. And that made him even more upset.
Haruka stared at the open door that Makoto had just walked through a few moments ago. A sad mewl left his mouth and his ears drooped down. He...he hadn't meant to upset Makoto...He had just been upset that his bath had been cut short. He wasn't used to someone monitoring his time while swimming. But what was exactly what Makoto did and it confused him. Haruka didn't like being confused.
Makoto did a lot of things that were confusing to him. He didn't feed him mackerel everyday like he was used to, he didn't let him swim when he wanted, and tried to keep him awake all day. It was so unlike his past life. He didn't like it.
However, there were things that Makoto did that he did like. He liked the hugs that Makoto gave him everyday, even if they made him sneeze sometimes. He liked how nice and understanding he was even if Haruka did something wrong. He liked how Makoto talked to him when they were sitting around. But what he really liked about Makoto was his scent. It was a calming scent that made him want to mewl and sit close to him all day.
He had grown used to Makoto.
So, standing up on his short legs, the cat trotted out of the room and went wandering down the hall, following Makoto's scent. His nose twitched, as well as his ears, as he followed the calming scent down the hall. However, there was a lingering property to Makoto's scent that made Haruka's nose turn up in sadness. It smelled just like irritation and sadness. While he wasn't unfamiliar with the scents coming off of the human, it wasn't something that he would classify with Makoto...
Slipping into the bathroom, Haruka stopped in the doorway. Makoto was sitting on the side of the tub, wrapping bandages around his hand with a frown on his face. He must have just started, because Haruka could see a little bit of blood blotting the material. A pathetic whine left his mouth before he could stop it, drawing Makoto's attention towards him.
The two stared at each other for a moment, not making any movement or sound. Then, the disappointed scent that Haruka had smelt earlier came back stronger than ever before Makoto went back to bandaging up his hand. A pit settled in Haruka's stomach and he slowly walked into the bathroom, not willing to change back to his hybrid form just yet. It was easier to interact with Makoto when he didn't have to talk. Plus, Makoto seemed a lot gentler whenever he was a cat.
But before he could even reach the human though, Makoto quickly finished up his bandaging before standing up and putting the supplies back. Haruka sat in the center of the bathroom, looking up at Makoto with hesitant eyes. However, it didn't look as though the human was paying him any attention. He tried mewling again, padding closer to Makoto. His mewls always brought a smile to the other male's face. If he remembered correctly, he said that his mewls were adorable. So, there was no way that he could resist smiling the more that he did it.
Except that he didn't do that. In fact, Makoto just continued ignoring him. Haruka mewled louder, nuzzling Makoto's leg before licking it slightly. He felt the flinch underneath his tongue and he shined bright blue eyes at the male. Makoto glanced down at him for a moment before sighing and shaking his head in sadness.
"Come on, Haruka. We're going to be late," Makoto said before walking out of the bathroom, glancing over his shoulder to make sure that he was following behind.
Haruka couldn't believe that this was happening. Makoto had actually ignored him and wasn't affected by his mewls at all. Not only that, but he actually called him 'Haruka' instead of 'Haru'. Makoto hadn't done that since about a month ago when he learned what his name was. He always called him by that nickname. It was so strange hearing his full name from Makoto...
It was a sad feeling.
Makoto gripped onto the handles of his backpack as he and Haru walked down the street towards Rin's house. It was killing him not being able to carry the cat in his arms, but he just couldn't bare to hold onto him right now. He wasn't the type to hold a grudge, or even to linger in bad feelings. But he just couldn't help but feel as though Haru wanted nothing to do with him.
Of course, he knew that that wasn't completely true. Haru wasn't the type of person...cat to stick around someone that he didn't like. Heck, he scratched up some poor kid for trying to pet him. Not to mention he hissed at some poor old lady that tried to talk to Makoto. He knew that Haru probably felt some feeling of possession or contentment around him. He just wasn't sure if that feeling alone was enough to drive Haru to stay with him.
Glancing down at the cat walking down by his side, Makoto sighed. Perhaps Rin could help him out. While his friend didn't like to admit it, he knew that the redhead was very knowledgeable when it came to cats. He practically lived around an entire family of them. Rin knew how Haru acted around him, so it would probably be easy for him to figure out what was going on between them.
As they walked up to Rin's door, Makoto pulled out his key and unlocked the door, swinging it open so Haruka could get inside. He knew that his friend probably wouldn't hear (or bother to answer) his knocks, so he just went inside, muttering a soft greeting before shutting the door behind him. He took off his shoes, resting them by the door before walking towards the living room. Sitting right in the middle of the couch was Rin, who was holding onto the remote with a frown on his face.
"Ever heard of knocking, asshole?" Rin muttered, not taking his eyes off of the TV screen.
"It's not like you would have answered," he pointed out before walking over to his friend, sitting down next to him.
A grunt left Rin's mouth and he turned off the TV before throwing the remote onto the table and turning towards him. Makoto just stared back at him, not quite sure what to say to his friend. The redhead raised an eyebrow at him, which caused Makoto to blink and stare back. Rin breathed loudly before leaning against the couch, rolling his eyes in the meantime. "What's got your panties in a twist?" he asked in a bored tone.
Furrowing his eyebrows, Makoto hummed curiously. "What do you mean?"
"You've got that kicked puppy look on your face whenever you're upset about something and it's getting on my nerves. So, what's wrong?" Rin grunted.
"But nothing's wrong-"
"Makoto, I swear if you say it's nothing, I will smack you so hard your kids will feel it. What. Is. Wrong?" Rin growled dangerously, his eyes flashing in warning.
Swallowing thickly, Makoto licked his lips nervously before glancing out of the corner of his eyes where Haru was sitting. The cat hadn't made a single noise ever since they had come inside. Instead, it was sitting in the center of the room, just staring at them. Rin followed his line of sight, staring at Haru for a moment before groaning low in his throat.
"You've got to be kidding me," Rin muttered under his breath. "Are you seriously having a fight with your cat, Makoto? I didn't think that was a thing."
A faint flush came to Makoto's face and he shrugged his shoulders. "It's not exactly a fight..."
"Then what is it? Your cat is sitting in the center of my room, staring at you with those large eyes, which are glimmering in ways that are not physically possible unless it were some cheesy romantic comedy. Plus, you're still looking like someone stole your heart or something and just crushed it. You're so pathetically predictable, it's not even funny." Rin wasn't amused in the least, if his expression said anything.
Looking at Rin, Makoto thumbed the back of his hand for a moment before sighing. "I just...I don't think he likes me."
A surprised look came to Rin's face before it changed to an incredulous look. "...You're not serious, are you?"
"Yes, I am serious! I really don't think that Haru likes me!" Makoto said almost hysterically.
Right as he finished that sentence, Rin reached over and smacked Makoto right over his head. A surprised yelp left the other male's mouth and he stared up at the redhead in shock. He opened his mouth to say something, only for a hand to slap over his mouth.
"No, you don't get to talk. You're not going to talk until your done listening to me, you got that?" Rin drew closer to Makoto's face, glaring at him heavily.
Makoto stared wide-eyed at Rin for a moment, not able to say anything in response. His eyes instinctively flickered over in the direction where Haru was sitting. He could see that the cat's eyes were narrowed, but he didn't make any movement to attack Rin, which was a bit strange to Makoto. Usually if someone looked like they were threatening him, the cat was quick to hiss and attack them. But then again, Haru knew Rin well enough, so maybe he knew that the redhead meant no harm. Eyes flickering back to Rin, Makoto slowly nodded his head.
Nodding his head, Rin's eyes narrowed before he pulled his hand away from Makoto's mouth and pointed a finger in his face. "Now you listen here, Makoto. Your cat here adores you. Sure, Haruka may not cuddle up to you like other cats, but even I can tell that he likes you. You must have got it somewhere in your mind that Haru likes you because you feed him and satisfy whatever weird water fetish he has, but I know it's not just that. Since when has Haruka done something that he doesn't like, just to get something?" Rin asked with a raised eyebrow.
Mouth opening to response, Makoto found himself stilling as his mind worked to think of even one moment when Haru had done that. There was a moment, he just knew it! ...He just...he just couldn't think of one right now. Looking back towards Haruka, Makoto frowned and sighed. Rin did have a point. Haru didn't like doing things that required him to do something that he didn't like. Even if there was a reward afterward, he didn't do it. The same held true to being around people that he didn't like. Haru didn't like Rei and refused to be around him, just because Rei had made a passing comment about swimming being unnatural and a joke. Even when Rei had apologized and offered mackerel, Haru refused to get closer to him.
"Finally getting it, idiot? Haru likes you. Just because you two had some weird misunderstanding, that doesn't mean that your cat hates you," Rin remarked, surprisingly soft in his tone.
Makoto's heart skipped a beat and he looked over towards Haru, who had gone to grooming himself. However, he could tell that the cat was still looking at them out of the corner of his eyes. It made Makoto smile slightly. Looking back at Rin, Makoto chuckled as he saw the disgusted look on his face. He knew that the redhead was just playing around with him. So, when Rin stood up and waved at him to go ahead and do what he wanted, Makoto jumped up and moved over to Haru, kneeling down in front of the cat.
Bringing a hand up to Haru's head, he pet the soft ears gently, giving a faint smile. "Was Rin telling the truth, Haru? Do...do you actually enjoy being around me?" he asked the cat.
Haru ceased his grooming for a moment, looking at Makoto with those bright eyes of his before he gave a soft mewl and moved closer to him. A chuckle left Makoto's mouth as he felt the cat nuzzling his chin, a rough tongue lapping at his jaw line. Chuckling even louder, Makoto petted Haru's head more.
"I'm so happy to hear that, Haru-chan~"
"Ugh, you two are disgusting. Your cat better not get fur on my floor, Makoto, or you're cleaning that up!" Rin shouted from the kitchen.
Makoto just beamed in happiness, bringing Haru into his lap and petting the hybrid happily. Haru just purred in his lap, grooming himself while occasionally pawing at Makoto's free hand.
A/N: I have no idea.