Light raindrops beat down onto his umbrella, causing everything to sound fuzzy to him. It was early April so it was still a bit chilly out, and there was a slight hint of mist enveloping the streets. Sugawara fumbled with his bags of groceries in one hand and his umbrella in the other, struggling to keep the objects from falling onto the wet pavement. While busy with the task at hand(s), Sugawara didn't notice he had walked right into a puddle, rainwater already starting to soak his socks. Damn it. These were my favourite socks. Sugawara frowned and wallowed in self pity, staring down at his feet and felt like giving up on even salvaging those socks. Sugawara recovered from his brief misery when he heard a small whimper above the fuzzy noise of the raindrops against the material of his umbrella, confused because that did not come from me. His head shot up from where he was staring and looked around.
There weren't very many people out at this time; a man in a business suit holding an umbrella in one hand and a cellphone in another, talking into it; a couple could be heard making light talk under their own shared umbrella; and a woman, seemingly in her late 50s, waited under the shelter of the bus stop.
Before Sugawara could remember what he had looked up for, another whimper echoed down on Sugawara’s side of the street, resembling a lot like a whine of a dog. Sugawara blinked and kept walking forward, wincing whenever he put down his wet shoe. He had only taken a couple more steps before he reached a small alleyway on his left between a veterinary and a children's hospital. This had to be where the sound was coming from.
Sugawara peeked around the corner of the building and into the dim alleyway, double taking at the sight. He had expected a dog perhaps, not two children kneeling on the wet tarmac, clutching to each other’s shivering bodies. At least, Sugawara thought they were children. Both children had wild orange hair, now flat against their heads due to the rain. Sugawara could have mistaken the outstanding tuffs of hair on the top of their heads for stubborn spikes, but realized what the hell are those ears? His eyes trailed down to where they were kneeling, and could indeed see tails in between their legs, quaking like a blown down leaf. Sugawara thought the animal parts were fake. They had to be costumes, right?
He snapped out of his thoughts when he remembered there are two abandoned children in front of him and he had to help them get home safely. Sugawara took a step forward so he was in view and the two children took notice of him immediately. The older one of the two, a boy, stared at Sugawara with tearful eyes. His dog(?) ears shot up in alert before lying flat against his head (Sugawara wondered how he got them to move like that, but that wasn’t important at the moment). The younger child, a girl, held on tighter to the boy’s shirt and let out a cry, as if Sugawara would go away if she gripped hard enough.
Sugawara stopped a good distance away from them and crouched down to meet their level, putting on a friendly and concerned smile. The boy blinked and it seemed like the tension from his shoulders eased.
“Are you two lost?”
There was no reply besides a muffled sob from the younger.
Sugawara tried again. “Is she your sister?” He spoke to the older, gesturing to the weeping girl.
Slowly, the boy nodded.
Sugawara inwardly sighed in relief. At least they understood him. “Where are your parents?”
He seemed to have hit a cord because the boy’s face showed so much emotion at once; grief, fear, pain. Then it all came pouring out with a hiccup and a sob, then downright wailing.
Sugawara panicked and put a hand out in front of him to calm the distressed boy. “Hey, hey. It’s alright. Hey, look at me. It’s going to be okay, yeah? We’ll find your parents,” he said in a soothing voice, trying to reassure the child.
The boy was trying to stop his crying now and let out a choked sob, his breathing uneven. Sugawara continued to coo comforting words and patiently waited a few seconds for the boy to compose himself. He thought he had finally calmed the boy down, not expecting him to reply with
Anxiety surged through Sugawara’s heart.
“What do you mean they’re gone?” Sugawara could barely form his words. It crawled out of his mouth in a raspy, uncertain manner.
The boy squeezed his eyes shut, tears springing back up. He feverishly shook his head. “They’re not coming back,” the boy said, voice cracking, trying to maintain the conversation.
Sugawara blinked, uncertain of how to respond to a child who just lost his parents. His thoughts of how everything is going to be fine and I can help these kids came to a halt. He opened his mouth but no sound came out, his voice seemed to be stuck in his throat. This was quite the shock to him. It wasn’t everyday you find children abandoned and orphaned, and never in Sugawara’s life had prepared him for this moment. Not even his years in teachers college taught him how to handle a newly-orphaned child.
Despite Sugawara’s internal panic, he didn’t show it for the children’s sake. He cleared his throat, “Are you sure? Are you sure they’re not coming back?”
The boy’s bottom lip quivered. “I saw them. I saw them taken away, and…” he seemed to choke on the words that were about to come and Sugawara had a good understanding of what happened to their parents. What a horrible thing for a child to see.
Sadness. All he felt was sadness and sympathy for these orphans. Left here in this alleyway. They could starve or freeze to death here if he didn’t do something, and that was when Sugawara decided he had to do something. Sugawara approached the children and set his umbrella next to them.
“I want you to use this umbrella until I get back. Don’t go anywhere, okay? And keep your sister warm and safe,” Sugawara instructed the shivering boy. The determination in his voice seemed to relax the boy and he slowly nodded.
Sugawara made sure he had all of his grocery bags before jogging out of the alleyway, then quickening his pace into a run, not minding if his tomatoes were squished at this point with its contents bouncing all over the place. Several minutes passed by the time he reached his shared apartment. He left the front door open and dropped the grocery bags on the counter before rushing to his closet to get two towels, tracking in and dripping rainwater all over the hardwood floor. He quickly shoved the towels into a plastic bag and bolted out the door, not before coming back and remembering to lock it.
It was getting dark and still raining when he returned to the same alleyway, his legs burning from all that running. Sugawara caught his breath and proceeded down the path, relieved to see that the children were still there and using his umbrella. He crouched down in front of them, this time none of them flinching away from him. Sugawara pulled out the towels and passed it to the children, holding his umbrella out for them while they wrapped the towels around their shoulders.
Sugawara made sure they had the towels wrapped securely around their frames and spoke in a soft tone. “Do you have anywhere to go? Any relatives?”
The boy shook his head, eyes trained on the ground.
“What’s your name?”
“Hinata.” It came out as a whisper but Sugawara heard it nevertheless.
“Is that your first name?”
The boy shook his head again. “Shoyou.”
“Shoyou,” Sugawara repeated with a smile on his face. “What about your sister?”
“Natsu,” a voice small squeaked beside Shoyou. It was the first time she’d said something and that made Sugawara smile wider.
“Well Shoyou, Natsu, do you want a new home?”
“Suga, I’m home!” Daichi called from the front door and locked it behind him. He toed off his shoes and took a step into a puddle of rainwater.
“What the he—Suga? Did you forget an umbrella earlier? Wasn’t it raining all day?” Daichi followed the trail of water around their apartment, tip-toeing around the puddles. Honestly, how can one guy track in so much water? He pursed his lips trying to contain the smile creeping onto his face, more amused than annoyed at the mess. He could never truly get mad at the ash-blond no matter how hard he tried. They’ve been together since their first year of high school and started dating in their third. The two have known each other for almost a decade, so of course Daichi was used to Suga’s antics. Daichi stopped reminiscing over the memories of his boyfriend when the water trail stopped before the bathroom, light pouring out of the room. Splashing and giggling could be heard from inside and two things went through Daichi’s mind.
1. Suga never takes a bath with the door open. And
2. Why do the giggles sound 15 years younger than Suga?
Daichi appeared in front of his bathroom and his jaw dropped at the spectacle.
There, in his bathtub, were two excited young wolves thrashing around, splashing water onto the tile floors. They were giggling. Do wolves giggle? Were they supposed to sound this similar to a human child’s giggle? And there Suga was, sitting on a stool beside the tub and watched the pups play. The smaller of the two wolves splashed soapy water at Suga with his arms brought up in front of him, doing a poor job at deflecting the water. Suga laughed and flicked water back at them and one of them yipped and actually stuck their tongue out what the fuck are wolves even capable of this behaviour?
“Suga… Are those wolves?”
Suga’s laugh was cut off and he turned to Daichi, the two wolves have seemed to stop their playtime as well.
“Ah, Daichi! I didn’t hear you. Welcome home!” Suga showed his cheeky grin.
Daichi slowly lifted a hand and pointed at the scene in front of him, eyes unblinking and voice surprisingly calm though he felt otherwise. “Suga, there are wolves in our bathtub,” he repeated.
Suga and the wolves exchanged glances before looking back at Daichi. “Uh, yeah. Surprise, we have kids.”
“Wait, so let me get this straight, they’re werewolves?”
It had been a half hour since Daichi got home; since Suga directed him to sit in a chair and made him tea before he passed out on the spot; since Suga explained how he found Shoyou and Natsu and how, surprise surprise, they’re not like regular human kids.
Suga sipped at his own tea. “Technically half werewolves? They’re more human than wolves, since Shoyou and Natsu’s mom was human?” Suga replied with an uncertain tone and looked at the wolf children for approval.
“Yep!” Natsu bounced on her heels. A towel was wrapped around her shoulders and her hair was half dry, starting to gain its fluffiness back. Natsu had been exploring around their apartment with that towel like a cloak since both Suga and Daichi’s shirts were too big on her. She didn’t seem to mind for a five-year-old.
Meanwhile the twelve-year-old boy had on Suga’s smallest t-shirt (it had a shrimp graphic on it) that hung loosely around his frame and had on his own underwear from when he first arrived in (the rest of Shoyou and Natsu’s clothes were hung over unoccupied chairs to dry).
Daichi pinched at the crease between his brows still trying to process this information. “And you want us to keep them?”
Suga tilted his head to the side as if the answer was obvious enough. “Yes.”
“Suga, they aren’t… pets. We can’t just keep them,” Daichi said in a soft voice, trying to reason with his boyfriend and not have the children hear him. He didn't do a good job at keeping it down because Natsu and Shoyou looked like they were kicked puppies (wolves) upon hearing his words.
“Daichi!” Suga scolded, “We can’t just leave them out on the streets. And we can’t just give them away! Can you imagine how quick the media would get involved? What if they turn them into some kind of attraction? What if they do experiments on the kids?” Daichi had to give Suga credit for really thinking this through.
“Eh? E-Experiments?!” Shoyou cried out and Natsu eyes started to water.
“N-No, Shoyou! I won’t let that happen, okay?” Suga reassured the Hinata siblings with a hair ruffle and Shoyou wiped at his nose.
Daichi put his hand over Suga’s to get his attention. “We’re only twenty-four, Suga. Do you even know how to raise children? Do they even have the same needs as human children? We can’t provide for them when you have your dream too.”
Suga hesitated and his bright expression faltered ever so slightly. He shook his head then grabbed Daichi’s hand in both of his, leaned in close with determination in his caramel eyes. “What about my dream? How can I claim to want to help children if I can’t help these two? I think we are plenty capable of raising them. Sure, it’s going to be a little tight with two more mouths to feed but we can make it work!”
Daichi stared at Suga, not believing what he was saying. Was Suga really willing to throw away everything he’d worked for for the past 2 years? The money he’d saved up from working at the dry cleaners would go to the children instead of his education, didn’t he know that? Alas, it was impossible to refuse Suga whenever he gave him that look.
Daichi watched Suga as he moved behind the Hinatas and crouched down with his hands on their shoulders. “Besides, how can you say no to these faces? Honestly Daichi, have a heart!”
Shoyou and Natsu looked at each other in confusion before looking up at Daichi with their wide golden-brown eyes, simultaneously tilting their head to the side, their wolf ears twitching on their heads.
Daichi’s heart did a thing and Suga’s right, how could he say no to those faces?
He closed his eyes and exhaled through his nose, reluctantly giving in. “Okay—”
“—but will they be able to hide their ears and tail?”
“Of course we can! We can do it super quick. Look!” Shoyou shook his head like a wet dog. When he stopped, his wolf ears were gone while his human one’s came back.
“Onii-chan, you still have your tail!” Natsu giggled and pointed at Shoyou’s backside.
“... This is going to take a while to get used to.”