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Yixing always knew that something fishy was happening when Lu Han called him out for lunch and that whatever problem that his elder had tangled himself in had to be especially awful when he'd been summoned to their favourite restaurant, as usual, he prepared himself for the worst.

His half-brother, a cat-boy, had been the result of an affair their father had with his hybrid assistant before Yixing had come into the world. However, after their father and Lu Han's mother had absconded, leaving the poor little cat-boy behind, Yixing's mother graciously took him in as her own. The three were unquestionably close but usually Lu Han's cat side came out, meaning that he had temperamental traits. Yixing ended up being the one who fell foul to his elder brother's antics without him actually being aware of it. It wasn't until he started the same high school as Lu Han that he realised how much of a prankster the cat-boy had grown into, he no longer found himself being unwittingly dragged into sticky situations, nevertheless, he formed conscious decisions to follow his brother. The last straw turned out to be an incident involving a boxful of live mice, which resulted in them being dragged to the principle's office. It was here that Yixing really noticed how mischievous his brother had become. He'd used Yixing as a scapegoat, claiming that he couldn't contain his feline instincts when it came to the pocket-sized rodents and that Yixing had been an enabler in the situation. Both he and his mother knew that wasn't the truth, yet, it just happened that the principle fell for it. The uptight man had inevitably dismissed the issue in understanding that Lu Han wasn't fully in control of himself and that Yixing had merely been fulfilling his duty as a younger brother to aid his elder.

It was during the drive home that their mother punished Lu Han through a flick on the ear, telling him that he couldn't continue dragging Yixing into his shenanigans.

During the rest of high school and the beginning of college, free of his cat-boy brother, Yixing settled into his life. He moved seamlessly into his dream job as a museum curator, indulging in his love for history and being able to share that adoration with like-minded people. This normality, of course, wavered slightly whenever Lu Han managed to come by trouble, the last case being a run in with a pet store that mainly sold fish. It had been a disaster. Thus, Yixing had taken Lu Han's call with caution.

"Brother, to what do I owe the pleasure?" Yixing groaned tiredly as he sat down at the table.

"I need a favour," Lu Han said bluntly, cutting to the chase.

"When don't you?" Yixing's voice turning teasing. "Let's get it over with, what is it?"

"In truth, I have a friend and he needs somewhere to stay," the doe-eyed boy began and Yixing knew what to expect.

"The answer is no, the last time I took one of your 'friends' in, it turned out that they were a drug dealer."

"This person isn't like that, seriously. He needs somewhere until he is back on his feet and anyway, I already told him you'd agree," Lu Han smiled in a creepy way and Yixing groaned loudly.

"You can't just tell people they can live in my home without consulting me first!"

"I know, it was spur of the moment," Lu Han's posture shifted, almost dejectedly. "I cannot say no to those in need."

"I'm in need of you to stop pulling me in to stuff. I love you, you're a wonderful brother but please learn to differentiate between being helpful and dragging us into unwanted situations," Yixing felt horrible for saying it, yet it needed to be done.

"Where did your sense of adventure retire to? You used to love playing around and taking risks together..."

"At fourteen I had been highly impressionable, I realised I needed to grow up and make something of myself if I am to support you and mum," Yixing's voice softened and the constantly flicking dirty blonde ears on Lu Han's head stopped moving.

"I'm sorry if I'm such a burden on you," the now kitten looking man mumbled sadly, sipping on water.

"There is no burden when it comes to you," he assured his older brother. "It isn't your fault that there are laws that restrict you and other hybrids, it's the world we live in. I knew what my responsibilities were when I took over 'ownership' of you when mum retired, you think I could let you be put up for adoption? I've heard the stories and frankly, I would not be able to live with myself if those atrocities happened to you. I cannot bring myself into trouble with you if I'm to be deemed an appropriate 'owner' for you by the government, okay?"

Lu Han peered down at his hands, "I understand, I can only ask you to support my judgement this one time? My friend desperately needs help otherwise he'll be put down."

The idea that hybrids were still subject to involuntary euthanasia when overcrowding became an issue or when they went over their desired ages made Yixing feel sick, it was as if the world's population didn't care that they were half human who felt everything they do.

"Just this once," he found himself muttering.

 

~#~

 

Lu Han had confirmed to his friend that Yixing’s townhouse was available for him to reside in for the time being, much to the homeowner’s apprehension. He wasn’t exactly enthralled to be sharing his own personal space with yet another of his older brother’s delinquent friends, there was always a reason why these people didn’t have homes of their own or an owner, in a hybrid’s case. Nevertheless, he tried his hardest not to judge this newcomer before he’d even had the chance to meet him but past experiences always influence the future. In reality, it was illegal to house a cat-boy that wasn’t registered to be owned and Yixing knew that this one that would be living with him had not been adopted. It made him nervous, if things ended badly then the possibility of Lu Han being taken out of his ‘ownership’ would transpire.

Said cat-boys were on their way, travelling via subway and bus as law state that hybrids were not permitted to own a license and many taxis rejected them without an owner, and Yixing was growing increasingly nervous.

What if they were stopped? Only Lu Han would have the papers to withstand a search and then he’d be punished for harboring a stray, that was one of his biggest fears whenever it came to his older brother. The doe-eyed cat had managed to acquire an absurdly large number of stray friends and Yixing thinks it’s because of what his own birth mother had put him through, the trauma of both parents leaving him behind had to have had lasting damage. No person, half cat or not, could withstand that sort of rejection and come out unscathed at the other end.

The sound of keys rattling in the door broke him from his reverie and he stood on the balls of his feet anxiously, two figures visible through the frosted glass - one considerably larger than the other. Lu Han strolled in casually, as normal, with the guest behind him. Both were wearing snapbacks with their ears tucked away and he guessed that their tails had also been hidden when he took in the contact lenses they’d adorned too.

“Xingie,” Lu Han greeted, relief clear on his face. “Thank you so much for this.”

“I didn’t exactly have much choice in the matter, brother,” he bit back before smiling widely at the taller cat-boy. “Hello, I’m Yixing, the younger brother of this idiot.”

“Yifan,” the stern faced human-feline mumbled.

“Take your hats off, free your tails,” Yixing waved his hand around as indication for them to do so. “Lulu always gets antsy whenever his have been cooped up for too long.”

“I do not,” the elder brother cried out in a whine, whipping his cap off and pulling his fluffy tail out from the back of his jeans.

Yixing moved into the kitchen, pouring coffee into three cups and bringing out a tray of biscuits that he knew Lu Han loved, he could hear the two cat-boys muttering quietly and decided to eavesdrop.

“I thought you said he was your owner,” Yifan said in an almost accusatory tone.

“He is, we’re just brothers too. Not every pairing are romantic,” Lu Han hissed defensively.

“You made it seem like you were, unpartnered hybrids with humans who are paired off platonically aren’t trustworthy.”

He heard Lu Han hiss loudly, a cat-like growl rumbling in his chest, “My little brother is nothing like those twisted perverts, watch your tongue when you talk about him. I will not hesitate to cut your ears if you step out of line with him.”

Having heard more than enough, he decided to break up the tension by entering the room and he saw Lu Han with his ears pressed to the back of his head and his pupils were small slits. He’d only ever seen that expression once before and that was when they’d run into their father once when they were younger. It was not a good sign.

“I have coffee,” he hummed and tossed the biscuits to Lu Han whose reflexes let him catch it easily. “Are you staying the night, Lu? If so, I’ll put your bed up in my room.”

“I think it would be best if I go home,” he mumbled, frowning but his eyes were back to their golden hue with round black centres. Yixing always loved his natural eyes. The contacts he wore outside weren’t anywhere near as beautiful but they made Lu Han feel like he wasn’t different.

“Are you sure, it’s no trouble?” Yixing assured hurriedly, not wanting to be left with the intimidating cat who thought he was a pervert.

“No, you pay my rent and the least I can do is live in the apartment,” Lu Han imagined he was being helpful, to the hindrance of Yixing, once again.

“Okay, you have food, yes?”

“I’m the older one here, worry less,” Lu Han beamed. “Plus, you gave me your card and I just hide everything away to go to the store.”

Hybrids weren’t even allowed to have a bank account and the only ones who were supposed to own a credit, or debit, card were the married ones. Lu Han’s independence was important to the whole Zhang collective, thus why he lived on his own and had job as an agency worker for the hospital. The pay was minuscule and the small amount was paid into Yixing’s account anyway, so he thought it was only right that he gave a card to his brother. Despite what the law stated.

“Only making sure the drain on my resources doesn’t starve to death while I’m working my ass off for him,” Yixing teased and he got a face full of tail.

“You’re such an asshole, I hope you’re aware of that.”

Yixing looked over to Yifan who was staring between the two brothers seriously and pushed a cup of coffee his way.

“No, god knows what you’ve put in there,” the taller turned away and suddenly Lu Han’s ears pinned back.

“It’s only coffee,” Yixing coaxed, “I swear. I’ll even drink from both to prove it or you can smell it, if you’d like that?”

“Drink the fucking drink, pissface,” Lu Han reviled with his teeth bared.

“Lu Han,” Yixing scolded back, flicking his right ear once.

“What?! He’s being a princess!”

“Not everybody can trust others immediately and you, of all people, should know that,” he fired back, Lu Han submitting to the words once they’d registered.

Bowing down almost bashfully, he apologised, “I’m sorry for being mean, I do not like how lowly you think of my family and I implore that you refrain from treating Yixing in such a manner.”

Yifan appeared surprised by how the other cat-boy had reacted to Yixing, the normally boisterous Lu Han had become formal and like an owned cat at the flick of a switch.

“The next bus will be leaving soon, Han, you’re going to have to go now to not miss it,” Yixing said, glancing up at the clock behind his brother’s head. “Take the biscuits with you.”

“I’ll see you on the weekend then, Xingie,” Lu Han’s smile coming back with full force. “I’ll put my contacts in then run out.”

“See you at mum’s, be safe,” he called out to the older boy who was en route to the bathroom.

That left just him and Yifan behind, the taller eyeing him suspiciously and Yixing put in a conscious effort to ignore him as he settled on the sofa to watch the history channel.

“You can go wherever you like, apart from my bedroom,” he gave the hybrid a smile, only getting a glare in response. “Make yourself at home, breakfast is at seven before I go to work and dinner's at half seven every evening and if you miss them then it is your own fault. They’re the only time constraints you’re going to have, unless you’re willing to cook for yourself, of course. The key to the back door is hanging on the hook next to the fridge, if you want to go out into the garden and I’ll give you the spare key before I go to bed. Please do not think of my home as a hotel, do not invite friends over or vandalise any of my things. Lu Han’s previous friends who have stayed here haven’t been very gracious and I spare no thought over kicking you out.”

As if to act out in defiance, Yifan left for the back garden straightaway without sparing a glance to the human. It didn’t faze Yixing at all, he could deal with rude cat-boys and he continued to watch his documentary on Angkor.

Yixing woke up at three in the morning, a burning thirst and legs aching from the strange position he’d fallen asleep in. He made his way downstairs, making the journey to the kitchen silently without turning the lights on. Autopilot controlling his actions as he filled a glass with water and drank it down in four large gulps, soothing the dry scratching feeling in his throat. He turned around to go back to bed but spied something black outside in the garden, he went to grab the key but it was missing on the hook. He frowned when the door didn’t catch on the lock, swinging open to allow him full sight of the black lump. Eventually, he spied the iconic dream-filled ear flick of a catboy and his eyes widened in recognition, it was Yifan that was under the swinging garden bench. He was curled in a tiny ball, or as small as a body of over six feet could get, and he looked like he was shivering uncontrollably. He moved over and crouched down, just out of reach and spoke softly.

“Yifan,” he whispered, the ears on his head turning towards Yixing immediately. “Yifan, wake up.”

The tall man’s eyes shot open, fear evident in them as he scrambled backwards to get away from the source of the voice.

“Calm down,” he murmured softly. “Nothing bad is going to happen, I was coming out to tell you that you can come inside, you don’t have to sleep outside.”

He righted himself when he didn’t get a reply, resigning himself to the fact that he probably wouldn’t, as well as his urge to get back to bed.

As he saw it, Yifan didn’t want to be around him and he was okay with that, he hadn’t bonded with the hybrid and it was common decency to invite the man sleeping outside into the house. However, it wasn’t anything to him if the extended hand wasn’t taken. He had his own life to worry about, his early start for work was his main concern.

 

~#~

 

Grotesque. That was the only word that came to mind when Yixing laid his eyes on the artefact that had just been handed to the museum, he would rather have to examine fossilised excrement again than stare at the book of torture he was having to translate from an ancient language. It was the downside to his job, being the only person in his department who could understand a few dead languages meant translations of archaic punishments. He’d currently been reading about something akin to a lead sprinkler, the device would be filled with scalding hot oil then it would rain over the victim in rapid succession - it wasn’t the worst thing he’d read about, that number one spot would forever belong to The Sicilian Bull. He shivered just thinking about it. His superior had given permission for him to take the book document home and use his personal resources to aid in the study of the piece, not that he wanted such a thing in his home willingly.

Metallic case sealed and locked, he carried it out of the museum and headed to the staff carpark, he’d probably need to run to get some more groceries with Yifan’s stay having no time limit.

The journey home was peaceful, the lull of normality seeping into his bones and relaxing him into the driver’s seat. He’d been restless since Lu Han had told him that Yifan would be staying with him for the foreseeable future, the nervousness that came with taking in an unregistered hybrid. It wasn’t like he wanted to go to prison. Firstly, he was too pretty for that. Secondly, he had to care for Lu Han. Thirdly, that would not reflect well on him, even if it was to save the life of a nearly euthanised cat-boy.

He walked in and saw Yifan curled up outside, it was confusing to him that the hybrid spent most of his time outdoors but he guessed it was the cat side to the man acting out.

Yixing took time to consider the tall being.

He had dark brown fur on his ears, his tail the same shade but with flecks of black covering them. He’d not managed to get a look at his eyes but imagined them to look similar to Lu Han’s. The half feline’s were strange, each taking on different traits of either creature. Some hybrids took on the aloof nature of their animal counterparts but others had more human personalities. It most likely had something to do with the breeding and how they were raised, the whole nature vs. nurture theory.

It was half past six, so he began to wash up some vegetables to cook off before chopping up some beef. Cooking was another thing that soothed the curator, allowing him to escape from thoughts of the past and the world’s history. The process grounded him as much as his half an hour meditating sessions did.

He served two portions of food, knocking a little on the window to catch the attention of the hybrid, who Yixing assumed to be older than him if he was going to be put down for age. They were never sold past the age of twenty-five. It was truly barbaric, it made Yixing doubt whether or not people had evolved past the torturous minds that his ancient scriptures spoke of.

Yifan entered the kitchen, nostrils flaring as he took in the pile of noodles, vegetables and meat in the space opposite Yixing. He was obviously smelling to check if anything was off with the food, it didn’t bother him at all. He wouldn’t exactly trust him either if the roles were reversed.

“There is salt and pepper behind you, if you don’t like the taste,” he pointed across the room to the two shakers filled with the seasonings.

He was ignored again.

They ate in silence, the only sound being their chopsticks clicking and the occasional fork scrape bit it wasn’t exactly awkward. Neither had anything to each other, it was easier not to force conversation.

Yixing cleared their plates up, the hybrid leaving for the garden again and he wondered what on earth was so enticing about being beneath his swinging chair. It wasn’t anything grand nor would it give any shelter from the dropping evening temperature, all he could do was hope that it would not rain a droplet.

That hope was dashed when thunder woke him with a start later that night, a flash of lightning coming a few seconds later, the water was falling in sheets which drove his attention to the fact that Yifan was probably still outside. Yixing ran out into the garden with his umbrella in hand, the hybrid already awake from the storm but he still cowered from the human when they made eye contact.

“Please come inside, you’ll get sick otherwise,” he attempted to coax but the cat-boy was still stuck in his place. “At least have my umbrella to keep the worst of the water off.”

He thrust the object towards his guest, who eyed it warily. Yifan shuffled around slightly, head with flattened ears - to show fear or anger? Yixing didn’t know - popping out from under the garden furniture, the rest of his body followed suit and he rose to his full height. The human had to reach his arm up further to bring the hybrid under the shelter of his umbrella, causing quite a lot of rain to fall on his own head and night clothing. He started for the house, surprised to find Yifan following close behind with his hands cradling his tail, and when they got inside the first port of call was his tumble dryer.

“I put some towels in here before I went to bed,” he explained, pulling out the still warm cotton and handing it to the hybrid. “Use it to dry your tail and ears, I know you don’t like getting those wet.”

Yifan actually accepted what he was offering without any qualms, which was an utter shock. Yixing watched as the cat-boy fluffed up his fur and then moved to dry his hair.

“You don’t have any spare clothes and you’ll get a cold if you keep wearing those,” Yixing began to say but Yifan tensed, a hiss leaving his lips as he moved backwards. Yixing realised his mistake and fumbled for words. “I don’t mean that you have to take them off right here, I’ll run upstairs and see if I can find anything that will fit you.”

He did exactly that, plunging his hands into a box of clothes ex-boyfriends and other hybrid guests had left behind in hopes of finding something that would fit the other man better than his medium sized clothes would. His fingers found a pair of jeans, a thin white shirt and a hoody that had Washington DC written across it - it wouldn’t be a perfect fit but it would do. He dashed back down the stairs to where the kitchen door had been shut.

“Yifan, I have some clothes here, I’ll leave them out here for you to change into and I’ll go set up the spare bed for you,” he placed the items on the floor before retreating to his own bedroom to find the fold-out bed he had.

He wouldn’t expect the cat-boy to take kindly to him setting it up in his own room but he had nowhere else to put the bed, he was nowhere near strong enough to get it down stairs and it was too big for the small corridor. The architect had clearly not considered skittish hybrids when designing the house.

The kitchen door opened downstairs and he could hear shuffling around, Yifan had accepted the clothes. He smiled at the small amount of progress that he’d managed to make whilst covering the bed with a linen sheet, the thin duvet enough for the hybrid whose core body temperature was a steady 40 degrees Celsius and he took two pillows from the unused side of his queen sized bed. Once he was done, he heard the kitchen door open again and he moved to the top of the stairs to show Yifan where he was.

“I’ll put your clothes in the washer and I’ll dry them in the morning,” he descended the stairs slowly, the hybrid watching his every move. “The bed is up in my room, it was too heavy to move too far and I didn’t have anywhere else to put it. Go and make yourself comfortable.”

Yixing moved past Yifan, lifting the soaked clothes from the floor and throwing them in the washing machine with non-biological detergent - apparently the biological kind itched for Lu Han, so he switched over years ago. The whirring of the drum inside was drowned out by thunderclaps and the crack of lightning, he’d always loved storms as they never really changed much through time. It was likely that even the dinosaurs would have witnessed such a phenomena, which was an exciting thought for him still. He stopped looking out the window as a yawn bubbled in his throat, his body finally remembering the time and that he still had to get up for work in the morning. His short journey to his bed was stopped short when he saw the hybrid teetering in the doorway to the room, eyes darting from place to place like a kitten when it’s following a laser.

“You can go in,” he whispered, not wanting to startle the feline but doing so anyway. “I promise that I’ll stick to my bed and you can have yours.”

Yifan finally entered the room slowly after many moments of deliberation and Yixing all but dived into his mattress, the warmth from his presence earlier still clinging to the sheets and it felt like pure heaven. The guest in the room was a little more hesitant as he approached the single bed but Yixing knew that it would smell purely of Lu Han - all his other hybrid guests had taken the sofa - and he hoped that would calm his nerves a little more.

“Goodnight Yifan,” he called as the tall cat finally settled but he didn’t get a verbal response, as always.

 

~#~

 

The weekend came swiftly, thankfully, and Yixing had no worries about leaving Yifan behind when he went to visit his mother with Lu Han. It wasn’t like the hybrid ever left the house, he obviously didn’t want to be caught and impounded. The biggest problem they had were clothes, the tall man couldn’t continue to wear his one owned outfit and the odd bits that Yixing could lend him, so it was decided that they would go shopping. The likelihood of a human and a hybrid together being stopped was a small possibility as very few humans would actually run the risk of being seen with an unadopted ‘pet’.

“Are you ready?” Yixing asked, earning him a shake of the head.

That was the extent of their communication, Yixing speaking and Yifan only answering in head signals. It wasn’t much but it was a vast improvement on being ignored outright. However, it did mean that Yixing could only ask yes or no questions.

“Firstly, we will go find you some new shoes. Owned hybrids always have comfortable but new shoes, is this okay with you?” Yifan nodded. “Do you know what size you are?” Yifan shook his head from side to side. “Do the shoes you have now fit okay?”

The hybrid nodded. Yixing felt relieved, the size would be marked on in the shoe which meant less interactions with the store clerk. It wasn’t that he had a problem with it, it was more that he was worried about how Yifan would react in the situation.

“I need to look inside your shoe, can you take it off for me?”

The tattered sneaker was handed to him almost immediately once they entered the shop, Yifan had sped off to look at all the footwear and Yixing was glad to see something other than disdain on the hybrid’s face. He looked under the lip of the shoe, it was a size twelve and Yixing was glad that the small detail hadn’t been worn away. The hybrid returned with what the human knew immediately as an Adidas Classic’s shoe, having owned a pair himself, and he smiled to Yifan to show that he approved. Yixing approached the female clerk, who was a cat-girl with pale blonde hair with the cat features to match.

“Could I get these in a twelve, please?” He asked nicely and the girl flared in a blush.

Few humans interacted with the hybrid store workers, often preferring the human ones that were dotted around in places.

“O-of c-course, s-sir,” he stuttered, darting to the back of the store to pluck the box of shoes from the warehouse like section. She was back in a matter of minutes, clearly eager to please the human who had paid her some attention, it actually made Yixing feel a little uncomfortable.

She handed him the box and he flashed her a polite but dimpled smile with a glance at her name tag, “Thank you, Yerin.”

Yixing was certain that if humans, or hybrids in this case, could actually embody a ‘heart-eyes’ emoticon this girl would have it. He thought of himself as slightly above average in the looks department, if he was to place himself on a scale, but it didn’t warrant being looked in such a way by the cat-girl. He turned back to Yifan who was frowning deeply and placed the box in his hands, settling down when he saw the tall hybrid’s posture relax a little.

“Try them on,” he encouraged, which drove Yifan to sit down and switch shoes.

The cat-boy nodded like a small child before Yixing even asked if they felt okay. The box was pressed back into his hands and the still blushing clerk guided them to the checkout where Yixing pulled out his wallet. The transaction was silent but as they were leaving, the girl turned to Yifan and bowed slightly.

She mumbled, “I’m sorry.”

The reasoning behind the interaction went over his head but Yifan eyed the girl warily before nodding and catching up to the human.

Shopping ran smoothly, other than that, though Yixing nearly had a heart attack when he saw Yifan eyeing the Givenchy and Lanvin stores, there was no way in hell he could afford any of that with his paypacket. When they’d finished, Yifan had acquired five shirts, three t-shirts, two sets of jeans (one black and the other dark blue) and a decent pair of slacks. There was no need for shorts, as it was winter and Yixing doubted the hybrid would spend that much time with him anyway.

“I need to run to the grocery store, if you say anything you’d like then pick it up and show it to me,” he said as they made their way down the street, Yixing knowing exactly where to go to find his favourite place to do a food shop.

He’d filled his basket with the normal perishables that he would; milk, eggs, vegetables and meats, and went to turn down the confectionary aisle but halted when he saw Yifan turn his nose up at it. He hadn’t pegged the hybrid to be somebody who didn’t like sweets. They turned to frozen section and Yixing hadn’t ever seen Yifan move so fast towards the fresh fish section at the other end of the row. The brown tail was swaying ferociously behind his back and the attendant looked intimidated by the tall hybrid, Yixing hadn’t had enough time to get to the counter before Yifan had a fillet of raw cod hanging between his lips.

“Excuse me sir,” the enraged worker said to him, “please control your pet better or you’ll have to be banned from the store.”

“I’m sorry, I’ll pay for the fish,” he tried to appease but the other man seemed to have other ideas.

“This kind of behaviour is unacceptable in public, whatever you allow your pet to do in your own home is your business but you should at least train him to control his urges.”

“Do you know how difficult it is for a hybrid to avoid their feline instincts? If he was an actual cat people would be more understanding but just because he looks like us doesn’t mean that he can control himself at times. You try having the urges of two different species raging inside of you at all times and see how you handle it.”

“Sir, if you cannot control your pet then please invest in a leash.”

“A leash?” Yixing spat back. “How dare you say such a barbaric thing?! He’s not a dog that will chase after cars, he is half human after all. I’ll put him on a leash when this store puts you on one.”

Yixing stormed off, heading to the exit and paying quickly - even for the white fish that was till half out of Yifan’s mouth but said cat-boy looked somewhat sheepish for the first time since Yixing had met him.

The human was still angry when he opened the front door, dumping all the bags he’d been carrying and leaning against the counter with his eyes closed. The idea that his own brother was seen as some second rate citizen by so many people upset him, the fact that all hybrids - even Yifan and the delinquents he’d housed - were viewed in that way was sickening. It was a wonder that there was so little being done to improve the social structure of the world.

He whipped his body around and didn’t miss how Yifan flinched, his body retreating to the corner of the room in a submissive state.

“I’m sorry,” the cat-boy whimpered, the first thing he’d said in days.

Yixing was struck by the scene and it broke his heart slightly; the older man had his eyes closed, his hands shielding himself protectively and he was shaking almost violently. Walking with slight steps, hands resting limply by his sides until he was in reaching distance to Yifan when he lifted his fingers to rub soothingly on his ears.

“It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault,” he dulcified his voice, hoping to sound as calming as he felt. “These things happen.”

Continuing the lulling movements of his hands, he moved a little closer to the clearly scarred hybrid with caution. It took almost five minutes for Yifan to open his eyes, body still vibrating but in a more mellow state. Yixing got a good look at the cat’s eyes; noticing that they were golden like Lu Han’s but there was a green ring around Yifan’s pupil and lining the outside of the irises. Although, the best thing was the orange freckle that was on the right eye.

“You have wonderful eyes,” Yixing complimented in a whisper, the pupils reacting by dilating slightly and he smiled at how much more green the eyes looked.

Yifan dropped his gaze, “You’re not mad?”

“At you? No. That idiot in the shop, on the other hand, was an utter ass. Things are different for you in ways that no non-hybrid could possibly understand, I can’t imagine how difficult it is to have two conflicting sides to you.”

Things were quiet but a quiet hum could be heard through the living room and it was long until he realised that it was Yifan purring. He didn’t say anything about it though, not wanting to ruin the slowly calming atmosphere.

 

~#~

 

Yixing woke up to the sounds of sizzling and he knew it wasn’t Yifan, the cat-boy never touched anything that Yixing hadn’t explicitly said he could, which was confusing for him. Trailing through the house, following his nose and ears to see Lu Han dancing around the kitchen with a spatula in hand.

“Hannie?” He mumbled sleepily.

“Oh, Xingie, you’re up!” His ever alert brother beamed. “I was going to bring you your breakfast in bed.”

“Really? You don’t even do that on my birthday…”

“I wanted to show my appreciation for how good of a brother you are to me, what with you putting up with all my drama and shit,” Lu Han was still smiling but his eyebrows were coming closer together.

He edged towards Yixing, his eyes and nose trailing up then back down the younger brother who shifted on his feet uncomfortably.

“Hmm,” Lu Han hummed, “Interesting.”

“What?”

“Nothing…” The older brother dashed up the stairs and there was a loud thud.

“Lu Han, what the fuck?” Yifan growled loudly and then a squawking noise.

Yixing ran up the stairs without any stops to see his brother sitting on Yifan, while he pulled on the older cat’s blonde ears.

“What on earth do you think you’re doing?! He’s my baby brother,” Lu Han was hissing, ears pressed back as Yifan tried to push the smaller boy off. “You promised that you wouldn’t!”

“You were the one who lied in the first place!” Yifan cried out.

“Stop,” Yixing shouted, halting both hybrids in place. “I do not care about what you’re arguing over but you will not fight under my roof. Lu Han get off of Yifan and Yifan, you let his ears go. It is too early in the morning for this shit.”

Both cat-boys obeyed his words, slowly standing and looking down to the floor in submission to the human.

“Sorry,” they mumbled like small children, ears set back against their hair and tails wrapping around their thighs.

“It’s okay. Now tell me what’s going on.”

Yifan suddenly looked at Lu Han while frantically shaking his head from side to side, Yixing’s brother looking between the two of them before sighing loudly.

“It was my fault, I just wanted to spend the day with you and he’ll get in the way,” Lu Han looked like he was lying and Yixing knew that his brother was, the tip of his tail always flicked unwittingly whenever he didn’t tell the truth. It was clear neither of the boys wanted him to know what they were actually arguing about, so he let it go.

“You better go check on your food, Lulu, it will burn soon,” Yixing left the room, not feeling like entertaining the two immature men. “Yifan, please have a shower and get changed.”

Keeping the two cat-boys from squabbling all day was the biggest stress for Yixing, neither of them were playing nice with the other but he found himself enjoying how much Yifan was talking. Things were normally quiet in the townhouse and all the noise was welcome, Yixing lived most of his life thinking about the past and his vibrant brother was good at keeping him grounded in the present.

“Xingie, anything interesting come into work recently?”

“Just some old scriptures that I’m translating, it’s all pretty gruesome but somebody has to do it,” he shrugged, looking up from his book for a second before returning to his position on the page.

“Oh, cool,” Lu Han mumbled, yelling out as he beat Yifan in a round of Tekken.

Yixing thought that he could keep both men at bay from killing each other by making them fight in a virtual world, it worked wonders in the beginning but now their tails were swishing from side to side and their ears were perched forward in concentration. They had started to take the video-game far too seriously. He was worried things were going to get violent in real life.

Yixing looked up at the clock and frowned, Lu Han normally had work at that time on a Sunday.

“Han, aren’t you supposed to be somewhere now?”

The elder Zhang brother froze and glanced to Yixing. “No…”

“But you work Sundays?”

“I do but not this week, I’m not needed,” he dismissed with a wave of his hand but his tail was flicking as it had done in the bedroom.

“Liar,” Yixing made his eyes into slits and the blonde cat paused the game, much to the dismay of his opponent who seemed to be winning. “Tell me what happened?”

“It wasn’t my fault that woman was a bitch,” Lu Han defended prematurely.

“Han, you did not scratch or bite your boss, did you?”

“She was a bitch,” Lu Han hissed. “Had it coming, that’s what I say.”

“What could she have possibly said that made you react like that?” Yixing was quickly growing tired of his brother.

It seemed his question was ignored, “Dogs are not better than cats, no matter what she says - especially with her in their species.”

“Lu Han! You can’t go around biting dog hybrids,” Yixing stood up and flicked the blonde ear. “God, when you said she was a bitch I thought she’d actually done something wrong.”

“She was born, that’s what she did wrong,” Lu Han snorted, still indignant.

“My god, you’re ridiculous,” Yixing threw his arms into the air. “Do you know how difficult it was to get you that job?! Barely anybody is wanting to hire hybrids as it is, try convincing somewhere to take on a cat-boy, that hasn’t just been fired once but three times because of his catty attitude.”

Lu Han began to bite his lip, something that he did whenever he was trying to make himself cry for sympathy, however, that trick had not worked on Yixing since they were young. “I’m sorry.”

“No, you’re not,” Yixing growled. “Just go home, I need some time to cool off before we talk about this again.”

His older brother obeyed his request, shifting on his coat before leaving out the front door and Yixing sat himself in the seat that Lu Han had occupied beside Yifan. He pushed the heels of his hands into his eyes to stop the tears from falling.

“Are you okay?” Yifan asked, his voice quiet and uncertain but Yixing nodded. “You shouldn’t be mad at him, it’s hard for us to get along with some people.”

Yixing lifted his head slightly, “Trust me, I know that but it’s hard watching himself pretty much throwing his life away. He’s so smart and great at everything he does but just because he was born different means that he can’t capitalise on any of that. It honestly seems like he doesn’t care, he makes friends with all these awful people and then wonders why life fucks him over. I’ve tried and tried and tried to get through to him yet he makes the same silly mistakes. I’m done with trying.” Yifan was silent but a large hand was suddenly in Yixing’s hair, stroking it all around which made the human look up. “What are you doing?”

“I’m petting you,” Yifan explained with his head tilted in confusion. “It helped calm me down when you did it.”

Yixing wanted coo at how adorable the concentrated look on the hybrid’s face was, it was his attempt at comforting the human and it warmed his heart.

 

~#~

 

Yixing moved the tie that was hung around his neck, hating how it constricted his neck, and readjusted the grey tweed jacket that sat heavily on his shoulders. “Are you sure you’ll be okay here alone all night?” He asked Yifan who was sat quietly on the single bed in the room.

“You’re not here during the day, I’m sure I will be fine for a few more hours,” the cat-boy had a book in his hands, though he wasn’t actually reading it at all from what Yixing could see.

“I won’t be too long,” Yixing walked from the bedroom and then checked his pockets for his keys. “See you later, remember that if anybody - other than Lu Han - comes to the door then stay up here.”

“Yes, yes,” Yifan dismissed quietly, giving the human little piece of mind as he locked the front door behind himself.

His museum was hosting an event for their latest exhibition and, as it fell under the ancient history department’s section, Yixing was required to attend. Which would have been fine, if he didn’t have an unregistered hybrid in his bedroom at that moment in time. Leaving Yifan alone while he was at work was nerve-racking as it was, he didn’t need the added pressure of the evening as well.

The walk to the museum was short, as it always was, but it seemed to last hours until he came to the outside of the building. He didn’t even need to show his invitation to the security guards at the entrance being a fellow employee, Yixing just smiled at the dog hybrids as he trotted past which they gave a nod of the head to. The event was held in the large foyer of the museum, there were archaeologists, sponsors and historians swanning around with champagne flutes in hand or stumpy tumblers of golden liquids.

“I thought you’d never show,” Jongdae, Yixing’s equivalent from another department greeted.

“These aren’t exactly my favourite things to attend,” he accepted the champagne that Jongdae was offering with a polite smile. “I feel like my heart is going to stop whenever some idiot goes near the new pieces.”

“I can understand you there, I almost fainted when the director touched that fossil last month.”

Yixing laughed in remembrance, “Oh god, I think everybody was screeching inside.”

“Rich human idiots thinking they can touch whatever they please,” Jongdae scowled, he was actually a cat-boy himself with the most kittenish mouth Yixing had ever seen. It’s extremely rare for hybrid to have a job like Jongdae’s but nobody could fault how talented and vigorous he had been since he started to work there. It was actually through Yixing’s recommendation that he was given the position of head curator in the fossil and rock department - they’d met in university after Jongdae had mistaken him as a hybrid, thanks to Lu Han’s ever clinging scent.

Yixing realised the underlying tone in Jongdae’s distaste and he frowned himself, remembering how Yifan had reacted when he’d first arrived. “This might not be the place to ask but have any of them, you know, touched you?”

The well dressed hybrid seized up with his pupils growing smaller under his contacts, “It’s happened a couple of times but we’re never alone long enough for it to go further, so don’t worry about it.”

Yixing felt guilty that he hadn’t realised his fellow human co-workers had managed to even put his friend in that position, “Where?”

“You mean on me or where in the building?”

“The building,” Yixing clarified.

“My office usually,” the catboy nibbled on his bottom lip, expression turning to one of shame.

“Why don’t you move into my office with me? It’s big enough for two desks and you’ll probably have more room in there than you do in your own.”

Jongdae gaped at Yixing before he started his pleased purring, making the human laugh a little, “Can I? I do get lonely at the back of the museum.”

“Of course, I get lonely too,” Yixing smiled back and then Jongdae started to smirk. “What?”

“Is that why you smell like a cat that isn’t your brother?”

“He’s another one of Lu Han’s friends, not as bad as the other ones though,” then Yixing paused, “I don’t think he’s very fond of me though.”

Jongdae snorted, “I think he’s more than into you.”

“What do you mean?” Yixing pouted, Yifan surely still didn’t like him even though he’d slowly begun talking more.

“He’s scenting on you to keep other cats away,” Jongdae had a devilish smirk on, the sign he was about to do something mischievous - it was an expression he recognised on his brother numerous times while growing up. “He wants you to himself.”

“You must be kidding,” Yixing gasped.

“I’m not,” the smirk was still there. “Do you want proof?”

Jongdae began to rub his hands and face over Yixing’s upper body and neck, gaining some questionable glances from the people around them, however, they looked away when Yixing caught their eyes.

“Dae, what are you doing?” He asked, completely confused as to what on earth his friend was doing.

“Nothing,” the smirk changed to a smile, “Just see how your little friend reacts when you get home.”

Yixing snorted at the word little but let the comment pass, starting his rounds of greeting people as he should have done when he first arrived.

The rest of the event went smoothly, with no strange behaviour from his friend though the cat-boy did remain at his side until it was time to leave. Most of the other museum workers had planned on getting a celebratory drink at bar but Yixing declined, as did Jongdae. The cat technically wasn’t allowed to go out drinking as he was still ‘owned’ by his parents and not a partner, Yixing just wanted his bed and to stop worrying about whether or not Yifan had done something stupid.

The two men parted with a quick hug before taking their own journeys to their respective homes, Yixing was thankful that he lived so close to his work and the warm townhouse heated his cold body straight away.

“Yifan,” he called, “it’s me.”

There was a thud from upstairs, the telltale signs of a door opening and then the tall hybrid was coming down the stairs.

“Somebody rang the doorb--” Yifan cut himself off before his ears went flat to his head, his tail swayed violently and he lurched towards a confused Yixing.

“W-what are you doing?” The human stuttered, holding a coat rack to keep himself upright as the hybrid loomed over his head.

“I thought I made it clear,” Yifan mumbled to himself, lifting the end of Yixing’s tie to bring it to his nose and inhale. “You were with another cat?”

“Yes, Jongdae is somebody I work with,” Yixing answered dumbly.

“You went on a date with this cat? You had wine and he was all over you, do you want to have him? Did you pet his ears like you did with me? You know what, I thought you were different to those other humans but you’re not.”

“Yifan, what are you talking about? I was working,” Yixing tilted his head to the side and he could see that the hybrid’s eyes were almost completely golden, the only signs of his pupils being a thin line of black. “Dae works with me, he’s the only hybrid who works at his level in the museum, he needs somebody to keep him company.”

“What? So you just use him because he’s got nobody else? Or do you like that he’s a cat that’s made something of himself, unlike me and your brother?”

The tall hybrid had a dark look on his face and he was beginning to unnerve Yixing as they interacted in the dark entrance hallway. “Yifan, you’re scaring me. Please calm down.”

Yixing lifted a hand to pet the silky ears that were still against his head but it was slapped away harshly with a hiss.

“Don’t touch me.”

“Yifan, I don’t know what you’re thinking right now but Jongdae is just a friend that I work with and I was with him because I’m the only person who actually talks to him.”

“That doesn’t explain why you reek, and when I say that I mean it, of him!” Yifan’s voice was feral and raw, just like his eyes were. If the hybrid had claws like a cat, Yixing could be certain that they would be out.

It occurred to him then, like a moment of enlightenment, what Jongdae had been doing when he rubbed himself over Yixing’s clothing, “Oh my god, that little shit.”

The words weren’t what Yifan had anticipated, clearly, and he faltered in his gaze.

“Dae mentioned about you scenting on me or something then did this thing where he rubbed himself on my clothes and only said about how you’d react; I’m not really sure what he meant but I think what he expected did happen.”

Yifan moved closer, his nostrils flaring then he sank to the floor with his head bowed down. “I’m so sorry, please don’t be mad at me but when I smelt him I didn’t even register that it wasn’t anything more than platonic in nature.”

“It’s okay, I’m sure it’s an easy mistake to make,” Yixing’s fingers finally for to the brown ears and he rubbed circles onto them, getting the same purring reaction as the last time. “Yifan, why did you react like that? What does all of this mean? I may know a lot about your kind but Lu hasn’t told me anything about scents, he said it was too complicated.”

There was silence for a while and he wasn’t sure if the cat had even heard him, however, he was proved wrong when a large hand tugged him down to the carpeted floor, though that hadn’t been where he landed at all. He was in Yifan’s lap, atop the long crossed legs.

“Hybrids scent on whoever they want to own them,” was the whispered response he’d received. “I guess what I’m saying is that I like it here. I like it with you.”

“Oh,” Yixing breathed out with wide eyes.

“It isn’t like you have to but out of all the humans I’ve met, you’re my favourite.”

Yixing blushed and pushed his chin down to his chest. “I’ll think about it.”

 

What Yifan had been saying about somebody coming to the door was completely forgotten.

 

~#~

 

Yifan kissed Yixing for the first time the next day, taking the human by surprise but the cat only had a pleased look on his face as he sauntered away in a feline way that he’d never seen before. He, on the other hand, was stood dumbstruck with his own fingers pressing softly against his lips. Yixing had realised then that Yifan didn’t mean that he wanted to be ‘adopted’ platonically, like Lu Han, but romantically. It was a huge shock, which had caused him to be late for work for the first time ever.

The second kiss happened when he returned home from work, but he was a little more prepared after Jongdae had explained that Yifan would be a lot more forward since Yixing said he would consider adopting him in order to woo him over. It was still a shock though, he had thought that the hybrid hated him not even twenty-four hours before, yet, there the two of them were, sat in the living room watching one of his historical documentaries. Yifan was laid out across the sofa with Yixing placed on top of him. It wasn’t like he had much of a choice when a six foot two hybrid with a muscular body was pulling him everywhere, however, he couldn’t deny that he that he didn’t like hearing Yifan’s content purring.

The biggest change came when Yixing got into bed and the cat-boy followed him, removing the two pillows from the single bed and placing them down beside Yixing’s. It was a little awkward for Yixing having not shared a bed with another person since he broke up with his last boyfriend at the end of college but Yifan seemed fine with wrapping himself around the smaller male, encasing him into a spooning position with his long, fluffy tail.

Jongdae just laughed at Yixing when he recalled the experience with a flustered blush.

Yixing had settled between Yifan’s legs on the floor next to the bed while he sorted through the clean washing, dividing it into two piles for the each of them, when Yifan pressed his lips to the side of his neck. The human squeaked in surprise. Their kisses had never gone beyond chaste quick ones, so the fact that Yifan had been so forward as so go to his sensitive throat stupefied Yixing into freezing up. The cat-boy only seemed to take his lack of movement as permission to continue his ministrations up and down the pale skin. The weirdest sensation happened when Yifan ran his cat-like tongue over where his jugular vein was, it sent jolts of pleasure through his body and gasp out of his lips. Yifan began purring louder than ever before after the small sound, showing how much he liked the sound breaking the silence. The rough edges of the tongue lapped at the tender skin next to Yixing’s jawline but beneath his lobe, a spot that had always been particularly sensitive for the human and he couldn’t halt the moan that slipped out.

“Yifan,” he pulled away a little. “I’m trying to do housework.”

The cat withdrew his mouth but tightened his grip around Yixing’s waist, not even letting go once he’d finished sorting the washing out. They sat in silence, the human wondering what he could cook with what was left over in the fridge but they stopped when Yifan spoke.

“Have you thought about it?”

“Adopting you?”

Yifan nodded by his head to confirm.

In all honesty, it was all Yixing could think about through the day and most of the night. Yifan seemed to be invested in convincing him to be his owner and, from what Jongdae had said, was scenting on him as much as married hybrids do on their partners. But, how would he go about adopting the cat? He’d have to go to a government building with Yifan to sign the papers but surely somebody would be looking for a cat-boy that went under radar suddenly, they’d be caught.

Yixing ignored the bad feeling in his stomach, “I would like to.”

 

~#~

 

They decided to head to the closest adoption centre that weekend, Yixing’s hands sweating more than they ever had but Yifan looked excited, in a somewhat excitable manner. The receptionist looked between the two men as they walked over to her.

“Adoption or marriage?”

“Adoption,” Yixing spoke up, taking a pen from the holder to his right and showing his ID card which stated his ‘ownership’ of Lu Han. “It’s not my first.”

The lady handed over the appropriate forms and directed them to a small tabled area, Yixing had been approved to adopt before, so a home visit wouldn’t be needed. He filled in all he could but when he was stuck over things such as Yifan’s birthday, identification number and other technicalities the form was handed over to the cat.

“I wrote that I found you as a stray,” Yixing explained, it was feasible for a hybrid to be a stray but it was rare for them to be taken in. “That Lu Han had taken a liking to you and convinced me, the ever doting owner, to take you in.”’

Yifan looked nervous all of a sudden, “I’m sure that will work.”

They completed the forms in ten minutes, both signing it and then taking it back to the receptionist.

“These will be submitted this evening, you’ll get your certificate and new identity cards by the end of the week. However, if they do not arrive then contact head office via e-mail or phone. This slip of paper will show that you’ve submitted your papers.”

The lady handed said sheet that had a seal and stamp on with both his and Yifan’s names.

Yifan was smiling widely as they exited, the cat obviously thought that the hardest part was over but Yixing knew there was a chance that their request could be denied by the adoption agency. He wasn’t sure what the rejection rates were but he was worried, he’d had this sick feeling hanging in his stomach since he’d said yes to ‘owning’ Yifan.

The sense of impending doom served to be correct as two suited men were stood outside of the townhouse when they got home.

“Mister Zhang Yixing?”

The man in question nodded.

“May we come inside to ask you some questions?”

Yifan hid behind Yixing slightly and he felt the need to comfort the hybrid, so he took the larger hand in his own. His other hand was shaking madly as he unlocked the door.

“Before I invite you inside, may I ask why you’re here?” His voice was steady in spite of his nerves.

“You are the owner of a pet named Zhang Lu Han, yes?”

He knew it was wrong, still, he felt relieved knowing that it wasn’t anything to do with Yifan. However, knowing Lu Han was possibly in trouble wrecked him in a whole new way; if his older brother had messed up badly enough then he’d lose both hybrids.

“I am, you better come in,” Yixing tugged Yifan, who had begun to shake slightly in the presence of two other humans who were shorter than him by a good few inches. Yixing turned to the tall hybrid, “You can go wait upstairs, if you want?”

“I feel better here,” Yifan mumbled, only loud enough for him to hear.

With that, Yixing lead the two newcomers through the entrance and to the living room, where he gestured for them to sit.

“We are Kyungsoo and Baekhyun with the Department of Hybrid Care,” the man who spoke  indicated to himself and then to his partner, both then showing their ID cards to prove their identities and Yixing scrutinised each with care - using a keen gaze to pick up on details of authenticity, like he would at work.

Once he was happy that they were who they said they were, “Would you like to see my card?”

“Yes please,” Baekhyun said, holding out his palm out flat.

Yixing fished his out of his pocket with the hand that wasn’t holding Yifan’s and gave it over.

“Would you like anything to eat or drink?”

“Could we have some water, please?” Kyungsoo smiled as his partner looked over the card like Yixing had just done to theirs. “We did come by a few evenings ago but nobody answered.”

He stood, releasing Yifan, and walked to the kitchen before filling two glasses halfway full of water, returning to see both the officials talking quietly to one another before Baekhyun looked to Yifan.

“Mr Zhang, it says on your identification card that you are only in possession of one hybrid and we know for a fact that this cat is not Zhang Lu Han,” Kyungsoo took both glasses from Yixing as Baekhyun spoke.

“We just came back from the registry centre,” Yixing revealed the official slip that he’d only been given twenty minutes before and the government workers settled in their seats. He looked at Yifan and saw him retreating back in the room to stand in the corner. “Can we make this quick?”

Baekhyun and Kyungsoo also took a glance at Yifan and understood what Yixing was saying.

“We have reason to believe that your other pet has been let go from his employer with the reasoning that he has violent tendencies that are beyond his instincts, it’s because of this that we have to formally look into his ownership for signs of abuse or neglect.”

There was a sudden thud and Yixing felt his body get shifted into something hard, there was loud hissing coming from above him a second later.

“Yixing isn’t like that,” he heard Yifan’s voice dripping with venom and he realised that the hybrid had put himself in front of Yixing, his whole body posed in an attacking but protective stance.

“We’re just here to confirm that, nobody is accusing your owner of anything.”

“Yifan, let’s sit down,” Yixing suggested and he moved to the floor, the cat-boy joining him. His ears were pushed forward in an alert way, if he has whiskers then they probably would have been splayed out and pushed forward. Yixing laced their fingers together again, both the officials watching the interaction intently.

“I’m willing to answer your questions, I have nothing to hide,” he declared, making the intruders settle on their seats a little more.

“We have a few questions for you, it is the second to last part of our investigation,” Kyungsoo hummed softly.

Baekhyun took out a folder that had a combined notepad inside, clicking his pen to show the beginning. “For how long have you owned Lu Han?”

“Since I turned eighteen, so five years but I’ve known him my whole life. He’s my brother.”

“Brother?”

“We have the same father,” Yixing explained. “My mother took Han in and raised him as her own.”

Both the officials looked at each other, “So, he’s not an agency hybrid?”

Yifan flinched, it didn’t go unnoticed by the other three in the room.

“No, he’s family raised.”

“Have you, or your new hybrid, ever been violent towards Lu Han?”

“No, I’ve never laid a finger on any hybrid - I only punish through an ear flick or verbal reasoning,” Yixing saw Kyungsoo smile for a second, obviously approving of the answer.

“And your new cat?”

Yixing turned to Yifan who only shook his head, the hybrid moving even closer than before.

Kyungsoo took over the next few questions. “With Lu Han being your brother, we take it that the partnership is platonic?”

“Of course.”

“Has he ever had a sexual partnering?”

“Not a permanent partner, he’s more in touch with his promiscuous side, shall I say?”

Kyungsoo laughed, “Yes, that’s becoming far more common, it’s nothing to worry about as an owner.” Yixing decided that he preferred Kyungsoo to Baekhyun, he seemed a little more compassionate and caring. “Owning two hybrids is not rare but it isn’t common, what made you make the decision to adopt another?”

“We met through Lu Han,” Yixing explained. “He has an eye for those in need and he’d happened to come across Yifan, so his first port of call was here.”

“Not an adoption centre?”

“No, Yifan is close to his twenty fifth birthday,” the owner mumbled, thumb smoothing over Yifan’s larger hand.

“Ah, I see.”

Baekhyun scribbled something more down.

“Is this relationship platonic?” Kyungsoo asked.

“No,” Yifan answered, gripping at Yixing even more tightly now and appearing defensive.

“We are only just establishing ourselves,” Yixing spoke more softly, trying to relax the tension in the room.

“Of course, do you think that Lu Han could be acting out in jealousy? A platonic owner having a romantic partner or pet can often have this effect.”

“No, Lu was fired before Yifan and I had any kind of romantic interaction.”

“This is our final question, can you see any reason why he would act out in such a way?”

“As much as I would like to say no, I can. He’s an extremely intelligent man who is capable of doing anything he puts his mind to but being a hybrid has held him back all through his life. If he were fully human, he’d be incredibly successful. I think he’s a little bitter, in all honesty, he wants to be something more than an agency worker who has to sponge off his younger brother to live.”

“I can understand your point. Thank you, Mr Zhang, for your co-operation,” Kyungsoo began to pack up but Baekhyun remained still before speaking.

“We will be in touch in the next day or two with the results of this investigation but I’m going to leave you with information about support groups that we’d like Lu Han to visit. While there is nothing wrong with home-raised hybrids, they do not have the same social conditioning as,” Baekhyun’s eyes glanced to Yifan, “agency pets.”

Yixing showed both men out and Yifan was heading up the stairs silently, closing the bathroom door with a click of the lock. The human followed him up but went to the bedroom, sitting on the bed in the darkness. He stripped off his day clothes in lieu of his night ones. The shower was running but it didn’t sound like anybody was in it, the water flowing straight into the bathtub rather than hitting a body. Something had obviously impacted negatively on Yifan during the talk and he felt it had everything to do with Baekhyun mentioning agency hybrids. It was strange. He laid back on his side of the bed, staring up at the ceiling and he was close to drifting to sleep when the water was shut off, Yifan emerging from the steamy room minutes later. He was completely dry. Yixing shuffled around to face the hybrid.

“Are you okay?”

“Me?” Yifan asked, dazed and distant, “Yeah, I am.”

Yixing moved closer, body pressing to Yifan’s side and he kissed him softly. “There’s nothing wrong with the past influencing the present, you know that, right?” Yifan hummed a yes. “You clearly have a past you don’t want to relive and I promise that you never will, it’s my responsibility to ensure you have the best life that you can.”

Yifan looked at him, his gaze shifting to a softer level. “Do you find me attractive?”

“Of course, you’re ridiculously handsome with your height, your physique, your idol-like facial features and those beautiful eyes.”

“No, I mean, sexually.”

Yixing choked on nothing at the bluntness of the statement. “Do I have to answer?”

“Will the answer hurt?”

“I don’t think so,” he mumbled.

Yifan smirked slightly, a break from his usual stoic expression. “Then you are attracted to me sexually?”

Yixing flared in embarrassment but the cat kissed both sides of his cheeks softly.

“You’re making me awkward.”

“I don’t know how I could have thought you were a pervert,” Yifan laughed softly, this being the first time Yixing had heard the sound.

“I can be perverted,” he whined but caught himself, quickly laughing aloud at how wrong it sounded.

“Prove it then,” Yifan smirked with a raised eyebrow, turning the mood playful - a much needed lift after an intense day.

Yixing tilted his head playfully, suddenly moving them so that he was straddling the hybrid’s hips and he poked his tongue out as one of his hands entwined with Yifan’s, while the cat’s free hand rested on Yixing’s hip.

“I think I really like you,” Yixing confessed softly, taking himself by surprise.

“I think I’ve made it clear that I like you too,” the cat laughed again, the sound melting Yixing’s insides more than anything else he’d ever heard.

He leant forward on his elbows to press a soft kiss to Yifan’s mouth but the cat lifted the hand from his hip to the back of his neck, keeping their lips connected. Yifan continued to move his own lips, ensuring that he didn’t want to end the kiss. Teeth nipped at Yixing’s lower lip, opening his mouth up for Yifan’s tongue to dip between him - it had been such a long time since he’d been kissed so intimately.

He pulled back when Yifan started to tug off his shirt, “Are you sure we’re going to do this?” The cat moved his hips upwards slightly, something that was growing harder while pressing to his backside and his eyes widened. “Oh.”

“Yes,” the feline sat up and kissed Yixing on the chin, lips working all around his jaw and neck. His actions were more tender than the human could ever have anticipated from such a large hybrid, the cross-species beings were iconically animalistic but this was anything but. “Yixing, I can go either way.”

“Huh?”

“You know, I can go on the top or the bottom,” Yifan mumbled, letting go of Yixing’s hand.

“Oh, that,” Yixing tried to concentrate but Yifan’s teeth had just started nibbling on his earlobe, causing his sanity to escape him a little. “Whatever you want.”

That seemed to be enough to silence the older man and Yixing’s shirt was gone in moments, Yifan’s being slipped off straight afterwards by the human’s dainty fingers. He saw rippling muscles under the skin, tensing and relaxing as he shifted around, his eyes stuck on the sight. It appeared that the hybrid noticed and tensed up, making it all the more appealing for Yixing. It was as if some higher being had constructed Yifan with Yixing’s ‘dream man’ in mind.

“I think I should enforce a no shirts in the house rule,” Yixing whined unwittingly and Yifan leaned back on the bed. The lithe body stretching out deliciously and Yixing found himself licking his lips, all of his attraction rushing down between his legs.

He met the feline eyes that had blown pupils, the irises only just visible and it was such a turn on to see arousal so plainly on somebody’s face. His hands began to undo the jeans he’d bought Yifan, wriggling down the bed to pull them fully from his body and Yifan settled his underwear by tugging them off and throwing them off the end of the bend to join his jeans. It was strange seeing the cat-boy so bare, especially when it wasn’t so long ago that he didn’t trust Yixing enough to stand in the same room as him. Yixing rid himself of his jeans and his own underwear. He was slightly shy as he made his way back on to the bed and sat on the cat’s torso once again.

Yixing leaned over and pulled a tub of lubricant from the bedside table, coating his own fingers and Yifan shifted his legs slightly more to open them. Yixing moved his hand around and seemed to surprise the cat by pressing them into himself.

“Holy shit, Yixing,” Yifan moaned with wide-eyes.

He made quick work of stretching himself, his erection had started to leak as soon as he has coated his fingers and he was growing impatient with himself. There was no way that he could wait much longer, he’d not had sex in almost a year and a half and he had a tantalisingly attractive cat-boy laying beneath him who seemed to want this as much as him, if his hard-on was anything to go by. He’d not opened himself particularly pleasurably, it was more driven by urgency but his fingers hit his prostate slightly, making him whine out and push back down on his hand. He spied Yifan watching him as if he was the most alluring thing he’d ever seen. The hybrid bucked upwards and he couldn’t hold back much more.

He slipped down to Yifan’s thighs, hand finding its way back to the lube to cover Yifan’s length with the slick liquid. The hybrid was larger than himself but instead of feeling self conscious about it, he found himself wanting to bury it inside himself.

So, he did just that.

Yixing allowed himself to pause for a few moments, adjusting to what his fingers couldn’t stretch and then he rolled his hips. He didn’t want to lift himself off yet, he’d not felt that full in months and he wanted it so much that his eyes had fluttered shut, breath had passed audibly between his lips. However, it was the groaning of Yifan that he loved the most - it almost rivalled the sound of his laughter on Yixing’s scale of favourite sounds.

When he finally did lift himself up, there were hands gripping tightly at his hips and he loved the pressure it applied, sinking back down was almost as good as the first time he’d done it. The hybrid sat upright, changing the angle of where his member was being directed and it pushed against his prostate almost teasingly, there was not enough pressure to make him stutter but it was close. He repeated to movement he had just completed but with so much more force and found himself crying out. The man beneath him was moaning deliciously; a deep, gravelly bass to match with his more alto tones. Yixing continued on his lifting and lowering with Yifan coming up to meet his movements swiftly, with equal ferocity. Skin slapping sounds filled the silences that their moaning left, however, they were both staring into each other’s eyes. The human suspected that his pupils were blown as big as Yifan’s. Yixing didn’t think it could become more intense or erotic until Yifan moved one arm to wrap around his waist, along with his silky tail, and the other pulled the hair on Yixing’s crown, revealing his throat to the purring man. Yifan pistoned up more harshly, making him scream out so ridiculously loud that he was certain his neighbours on either side could hear.

He felt Yifan’s hips begin to move erratically against his and then a large hand enveloped his free cock, holding tightly as it pulled up and down. The sensation made his eyes roll upwards as he spurted his hot, wet cum onto Yifan’s muscular chest, an image he never wanted to forget. Shortly after, the hybrid came freely into Yixing and he was sure it was because of how hard he’d been clenching around him.

They stayed settled in that position, lips pressing together in the tender kisses that their urgency hadn’t warranted and he felt showered in adoration. It had been rumoured that to have a hybrid enamoured with you was a heart-melting feeling; a pet-like trust in their owner but then the human lust and adoration entwined with it. He suddenly realised why so many people fell in love with those they adopted to be ‘pets’, it was so much more intense than anything he’d ever felt before. He wasn’t sure if it was because Yifan was a cat-boy or because he was Yifan, though he suspected that it was the latter.

The hybrid pulled him into a laying position, him laying across the cum covered chest but he didn’t mind. He felt content.

“I was a home-raised hybrid, my mother and her sister looked after me,” Yifan whispered quietly, making Yixing lift up to look him in the eye. “I was ten when she sent me to an agency, thinking it would be better for me if I learned how to be a ‘real’ pet who lived only to serve its master. I didn’t want to go but I couldn’t disappoint the two people who cared for me, so I left without an argument. It wasn’t bad there, in fact I enjoyed it up until I turned seventeen, when we’re tested for our sexual aptitude. You’re taught to a pornographic level how to pleasure a human and make them feel good, both men and women. It’s drilled into your head that you’re only there for physical gratification and when I told my mother about it, she was distraught. She’d imagined it to be something like a prep school, not a place where you’re forced into watching the ‘teacher’ have sex with his own hybrid. She pulled me out of the agency but I had to go into an adoption centre because there was nobody to adopt me, I was always looked over because I hadn’t finished the agency training - I wasn’t seen as good enough. I’d been there from when I was eighteen to just before I got out, I slept on the streets like a stray until I met Lu Han, then you. The only human I’ve met or known to defend my instincts instead of shun them. I didn’t ever think I would ever want to be adopted until the day of the storm, you didn’t question why I slept outdoors or why I was such a negative person to be around. You didn’t want me getting sick, you washed my clothes and gave me a proper bed to sleep on. I know you were just being yourself but it’s honestly the best thing that’s happened to me since I last saw my mother.”

Yixing looked down at the pained hybrid, not knowing what to say and so he kissed him again, trying to show him that it was okay.

 

~#~

 

Yixing had to attend a tribunal for Lu Han’s actions, his brother needing to be punished for being violent in a workplace, and in all honesty, he found it all tedious. Lu Han was temperamental, anybody who spent longer than four minutes with him would know that but he was Yixing’s to care for in the eyes of the law. The process had actually meant that his adoption of Yifan was being suspended and that the brown-eared cat was having to stay in a hotel four blocks from the townhouse, Lu Han was placed there too. Yixing had needed referees, other than Lu Han and Yifan, to speak in his favour and Jongdae jumped at the chance. Making a statement about how Yixing had been a mentor for him through university, how he’d reacted once Jongdae had confessed about being manhandled by co-workers and sponsors but he mainly spoke about how his best friend was ridiculously devoted to those he loved. It was deemed that he was allowed to remain the legal owner of both cat-boys and he’d been thrilled by that notion, however, the real drama came when Lu Han was given his punishment. The cat had yowled at the thought of having to go to anger management, still claiming that the female dog hybrid was indeed a bitch and that she had it coming - like some dramatic rendition of Chicago.

Though, Yixing’s favourite part of the whole day was being able to hug his brother then scold him for being an idiot but not before he’d kissed Yifan enough to make even Lu Han and Jongdae cough awkwardly.

“You,” he scowled at Lu Han. “You’re cleaning my house from top to bottom for a year and you’ll be working for me and Jongdae as an assistant. I’m not going to let you run riot in the city anymore.” He looked up at Yifan and smiled softly, his eyes creasing. “I’m never letting you out of my sight again, okay? You’re staying with me until I die and if you ever leave, I don’t care if the government force it, I’m going to hunt you down.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” Yifan smiled back, laughing lightly before kissing Yixing’s forehead.

“And here you were, saying I had ruined your life, once again,” Lu Han muttered with an eye roll at the disgustingly cute couple.