This might be my first fic where Izuku and Katsuki didn’t grow up knowing each other. That’s my usual preference, but the idea of Katsuki finding an injured Izuku in the woods was too good to pass up, so I guess there is indeed a first time for everything.
I was really on the fence about including Kirishima and his role in this story, but I said “Screw it” and did what I wanted. I can’t pass up an opportunity for either Kirishima or Izuku to be jealous of each other. I can’t. It’s too good (and yes, I know in canon there’s none of that because they’re buddies; fanfic is for indulgences).
Speaking, I’d like to give a shout out to Morpheel because I saw “Dog Kirishima Eijirou” in the tags for one of his fics (“I Run From You”) and I immediately went like “Yes. There needs to be more of that. Kirishima is absolutely a giant puppy.” So thank you for that inspiration. :D
Enough notes. Enjoy the fic & thank you for reading!
Hunters were common, blessed with the permission of the rangers that took care of the forest and hiking trails that ran through it. They were happy to take advantage of what wild game the forests had to offer and keeping some of the excess population in check, but none that Katsuki had met on his many hikes in those same woods used leg-hold traps.
Whoever had set the trap up had missed the memo that they were illegal. They must have dragged the thing out of storage somewhere, because Katsuki knew you couldn’t buy them legally anywhere near here.
The antiquated metal trap bore sharp teeth along the edge of its clamp and clung tight to the leg of the motionless hybrid it had ensnared. As old as the trap looked, it was sturdy and had done its job. Katsuki scrunched his nose at the smell as he got closer, glancing at the infected wound which looked to be the cause. At first, he thought a rabbit hybrid had been caught, but upon closer inspection the creature was much too large to be any sort of bunny.
The black tipped ears and long, muscled legs belonged to a wild hare.
Katsuki approached the trapped beast out of curiosity. He’d never managed to catch sight of a wild hybrid before. Combining human level intelligence with the instincts of a wild animal meant no one caught sight of one unless the hybrid itself decided to be seen. Katsuki had never been deemed worthy enough to make that list, despite his regular hikes in this area of the forest.
The poor thing was thin and the lack of movement led him to think the it might be dead, unable to escape the trap. But if that was true, why hadn’t a scavenger come to nibble? There were enough raccoon dogs in the area that any carrion leftovers would be long gone after death, even if it was a hybrid.
A kick to the face answered his question.
“Shit!” Katsuki exclaimed, falling back into a pile of leaves.
He pulled his hand away from his bleeding nose and glared at the leg still in the air after it attacked Katsuki. The hybrid it was attached to glared at Katsuki with bright green eyes that matched the color of his fur. The thin hare breathed in heavy, fast gasps, scooting away as far as it could without further jostling his injured leg.
Katsuki looked at the trap again, cursing when he noticed the release latch had broken off. The hybrid must have tried to free himself, but the most important part of the old device hadn’t stood up to time as well as the rest of it. The trap itself had been chained to a tree, the iron loops wrapped around the thick trunk and held in place with a lock that looked as old as the trap.
Who knew how long that poor thing had been out here to be in such a miserable state.
“I guess it’s your lucky day,” Katsuki said to the hare. He stayed far enough away that the hybrid couldn’t reach him and took a seat. Katsuki pulled out his phone and dialed the local ranger. “Hey, I found a hybrid in a steel trap up here. Send a hybrid doc up with some tools, would you?”
After giving them his exact location from the GPS, Katsuki settled in to keep an eye on the hare. It glared back at him, digging the claws of his furred hand into ground. Dirt smudged his human-cheeks, almost completely covering his spattering of freckles.
“Sit tight, bunny. Give or take twenty minutes and you’ll be out of there,” Katsuki said, smiling when the hare scowled at being called a “bunny.” Katsuki moved back to rest against a tree, staying quiet and making sure to appear harmless to the on edge hybrid. He read the news on his phone, ignoring the way the hare continued to stare at him while they waited.
“I have no idea how this guy is still alive with that infection,” the doc said. He used a pen light to inspect the wound while his assistant worked on destroying the lock that held the trap to the tree. “And even if by some miracle it hasn’t spread into his blood, I wouldn’t be surprised if we take him back to the clinic and find that his needs to be amputated.”
Katsuki winced. Unaware of his surroundings or the exact details of his plight, the sedated hare slept on, his chest moving up and down with the shallow breaths of sleep. Katsuki crossed his arms and considered that statement. Hybrids were as smart as any human, so he was sure this guy could figure out how to work a pair of crutches, but he didn’t imagine that made living out in the woods any easier.
“But we won’t know until we look him over,” the doc said. “Let’s go.”
The assistant snapped the lock off the tree and gathered the chain. Together with Katsuki and the vet, they carefully moved the Hare onto a small stretcher to take back down the mountain in the small all terrain vehicle. Fully outstretched, the hybrid had to be at least five feet and some, which made him pretty tall for a hybrid.
Once the injured hare was secured, Katsuki took a moment to really look the hybrid over:
Unlike most domesticated hybrids, this guy leaned more toward the animal half of his biology. Long, hare ears came from the fur-like hair on his head, green and dipped in black at the ends. Under the back of his hair, a small line of fur trailed down the back of his neck, thinning as it reached the human-like spine and staying a thin line until it spread out again near the bottom of his waist, leading into a lower half that was distinctly that of a hare from about mid-thigh down to the toes.
Fur covered his hands like gloves, ending in small claws near the nails. His hind legs were shaped like a hare’s, with large hind paws that Katsuki had become very familiar with when the hybrid kicked him in the face.
The torso, arms, face, and head, however, were all very much human-like in appearance and solidifying that this was indeed a hybrid and not just a freakishly large hare.
His nakedness was a dead giveaway as well. Almost all domesticated hybrids had taken to wearing clothes, either by their own choice or from the glee of owners picking out outfits to style their favorite pets in the latest fashions.
With his inspection of the wild hybrid finished, Katsuki hopped into the back of the truck to catch a ride back down. Finding the hybrid had killed his mood to finish his hike and now all he wanted to do was go home.
But he was curious about the fate of the furry stranger.
“What happens to him if you do have to take his leg off?” Katsuki asked, nodding his head toward the hare.
“That’s up to him,” the doctor said. “Most choose to return to the wild as soon as possible, no matter what the injury. They’re not like the domesticated line of hybrids who prefer human companionship.”
“Makes sense.” Katsuki remembered the way the hybrid had glared at him and licked his lip. That was an independent soul if he’d ever seen one. There was no doubt in Katsuki’s mind if given the choice between the life of a pet or going back to the wild, he’d choose the wild.
Katsuki stuck around the clinic long enough to hear the final word on the furry patient he’d found and left relieved that not only would the stubborn hybrid keep his leg, but after the wound was cleaned, they found the infection was not as serious as they originally thought.
They had to keep him sedated during treatment, but they predicted the hare would be back out in the woods in a day or two, hopefully taking more care with where he hopped.
The clinic staff said they’d take care of reporting the illegal trap on his behalf, and with that, Katsuki was more than happy to go home.
Up until he actually got there.
“You’re late,” Kirishima said, just on the other side of the door when Katsuki opened it. The dog hybrid did not look amused and held up his phone, pointing to a long stream of texts with Katsuki as the recipient. “And you didn’t answer my calls or texts.”
Katsuki pulled out his phone, holding it in a mirrored pose. He showed off the dead screen to his pet. In Katsuki’s boredom, and desperation to provide himself with a distraction from the staring hare, he may have been careless with the battery life. “Sorry. Something came up and I forgot to pay attention to how much charge I had left.”
“Is that something why you’re late? Or why the side of your nose is bruised?” Kirishima asked, not moving out of the way. His upright ears twisted back, unamused in his worry. Kirishima tugged at the bottom of his shirt, twisting the fabric. “Because you are really, really late—and you smell odd. Like sickness, but it’s not from you.”
Katsuki patted Kirishima on the head and gently nudged him aside so he could enter his own home. “I found an injured hybrid in the woods. His leg was infected and I stuck around until help could come get him.”
“You should have called,” Kirishima said, his tail flicking back and forth behind him. He trailed after Katsuki, his metal tags clinking together on his collar. “I really don’t like it when you go hiking alone like that, especially if you’re going to let your one source of communication die.”
“There is nothing in those woods I can’t handle,” Katsuki said, dumping his gear in the closet on its rack. He stretched out his back and debated if he wanted to take a shower tonight or in the morning. “I also always check in with the ranger station when I go hiking. Which means phone or not, if they don’t see me by dark, they will come looking.”
Kirishima didn’t look impressed by that logic, but he had enough sense to drop the topic.
“What sort of hybrid was it?” Kirishima asked. He dropped his shirt, and scratched the underside of his chin. “I didn’t think we had any wild ones in the forests near here.”
“A hare. He was a real survivor, too,” Katsuki said. He pointed at the darkened bruise and said, “He kicked me in the face when I went to check if he was dead or not.”
Kirishima frowned, ears still plastered to the back of his head.
That information hadn’t helped the poor dog hybrid’s worry at all.
Katsuki decided to take his shower in the morning and walked over to the couch intent on comforting his upset pet. Katsuki took a seat and patted the side of his thigh. Kirishima’s ears shot up, like Katsuki knew they would—like horns on the top of his head—and bounded over to jump on the couch. He curled up on his side, putting his head on the waiting thigh. Katsuki turned on the television, flipping through the channels.
He settled on a pet show, knowing Kirishima loved to watch other dogs on television.
His hybrid nuzzled Katsuki’s thigh, making himself comfortable and pulling his legs up on the cushions. He rubbed his back paws on the side of the couch for a moment before he settled properly. Katsuki massaged his fingers through Kirishima’s hair, pausing to scratch behind his ears every so often. Kirishima relaxed under the petting, his tail gently tapping against his side.
“I wish you’d let me go hiking with you,” Kirishima said into his thigh during the first commercial break. “It’d make me feel better knowing you weren’t out there all alone.”
“No dogs on the trails, hybrid or otherwise,” Katsuki said, quoting one of the more prominent forest rules posted at the ranger station. He rubbed Kirishima’s ear, rolling small circles along the edges. “It upsets the wildlife.”
“Like humans tramping through the forest don’t do that,” Kirishima said, snorting as his tail smacked the back of the couch. “And I know how to behave better than any dog.”
“Liar,” Katsuki said, tugging on Kirishima’s ear hard enough to get his attention but not to hurt. “We both know if you saw a rabbit or squirrel, you’d go sprinting after it.”
“I only did that once,” Kirishima said, grinning and putting his razor sharp teeth on display.
They’d been at Katsuki’s parents house when a rabbit snuck into the backyard, looking to nibble on his father’s attempt at a small vegetable garden. Kirishima had jerked up from his spot on the porch, attention entirely on the small cottontail before he went for it. He’d put his back paws to use, giving him the edge needed to be one step faster than the rabbit. Kirishima had used his fangs and teeth to catch the rabbit by the throat, killing it instantly. He’d come back proud, licking blood from his lips and holding his prize up by the ears.
Katsuki cleaned the rabbit for him and Kirishima helped himself to the entrails as he worked. It’d been pretty good, even if his dad had looked ill the entire time they ate it while Katsuki’s mom had cooed and called Kirishima a good boy the rest of the evening.
“You’ve only been around a rabbit once,” Katsuki countered, smiling at the memory. He ruffled Kirishima’s hair and sunk further into the couch. His loyal pup shifted with him, wrapping his arms around Katsuki’s leg to hug it while he continued to use his thigh as a pillow. “I am not chasing you around the woods because you saw something small and furry, and besides, they might count that as hunting and I don’t have a license.”
“I won’t tell if you don’t,” Kirishima said, snickering. “Tag is fun, by the way. You should play more.”
“I’ll let that stay between you and your buddies at the dog park,” Katsuki said. He went back to petting Kirishima’s fur, scratching the line of it at the back of his neck. “Watch your show, mutt.”
Kirishima bumped his nose into Katsuki’s thigh and went back to paying attention to the screen now that the commercials had ended. His tail continued to wag and Katsuki petted him as he felt his eyes droop shut.
At the rate he was going, Katsuki was going to fall asleep on the couch—not that it’d be the first time. He gave up fighting it about an hour into the show and closed his eyes and breathed out.
“Night, Katsuki,” Kirishima whispered.
Katsuki patted his pet’s back twice in response and let sleep claim him.
A few days later, Katsuki returned to his favorite hiking trail armed with a new portable charger for his phone.
Kirishima had picked it out when they’d gone to the store and demanded that Katsuki take it with him if he wouldn’t agree to bend the rules and bring Kirishima with him when he went hiking. Katsuki accepted the compromise and was amused that it was his dog’s favorite color: red.
Unlike his last excursion, however, Katsuki stuck to the trails. The rangers frowned upon off-trail exploration, but Katsuki had gotten permission and had the wilderness survival training to prove he was qualified. Exploring the depths of the forest was always more fun, but he’d had enough adventure this week between the hare hybrid and his own worried pet at home.
Sticking to the trails guaranteed he’d be home on time.
Katsuki climbed a steeper part of the hill, glad for cloudy weather and the lack of other people. He typically avoided the trails to avoid small talk or seeing other hikers, but the threat of rain kept the area blessedly empty.
It left Katsuki alone to his thoughts and the fresh air—or so he thought.
From the corner of his eye, Katsuki caught a flash of green. Not wanting to spook his stalker, Katsuki continued on like he didn’t notice the slip. Another mile down the trail, in an area more thickly wooded, his follower grew more relaxed and guarded his presence less and less.
By the time Katsuki stopped for a quick snack and a rest, he could easily see the hare hybrid watching him from a bush about fifteen feet away. From the distance, he couldn’t see the details of the hare’s leg injury, but he could make out where the fur had been shaved to properly clean the wound. Katsuki raised his hand and waved and the hare cracked a shy smile and waved back.
He didn’t come any closer, but Katsuki didn’t expect him to.
Katsuki enjoyed the silent company for the rest of the afternoon, happy to wave goodbye when he left the trails to go back home.
He had a good feeling he’d see that hybrid again.
If you have never looked up the differences between rabbits (bunnies) and hares (jackrabbits), I implore you to do so. It’s really neat how two animals so similar at first glance are so different when it comes to pretty much everything else.
I have also researched way too much about Hares for this fic, by the way. I even looked up breeds specific to Japan to make sure it was plausible for Izuku to be running around in the mountains/forest areas (it is).
Fun times. Short chapter is short, but it’s all good. Thanks for reading!
The hiker reeked of dog.
When they first met face to foot, Izuku had mistaken the human for a dog hybrid and instinctively lashed out, kicking what he thought had been a predator looking for an easy meal. Instead, he’d knocked one of the local hikers flat on his backside.
He felt bad about it later, when his heart wasn’t pounding in his chest and his “flight” instincts weren’t yelling at him to run, despite the injured leg.
Izuku rubbed the short fur around his healing wound. The square cut had been shaved near down to the skin and it itched. Izuku touched the edge of the scarred skin and breathed out as he huddled under his favorite tree while waiting for the morning.
The human vet had cleaned it out, helped it close with temporary sutures, and kept Izuku under observation for a day to make sure everything had healed. The accommodations weren’t awful—Izuku had had a soft place to sleep and warm blankets, but Izuku ran out the door the moment he had been cleared to leave all the same.
He wasn’t ungrateful for the care, but he’d spent most of his time wanting out of the small, stuffy building full of sickness and humans with sedatives an arms length away.
The woods welcomed him home and Izuku reminded himself that if shaved fur was the least of his complaints, he’d gotten off easy. If that hiker hadn’t found him, he might have died. The stench of his own wound had made him dizzy and nauseous. Izuku couldn’t even enjoy a snack of the bark on the tree while he figured out how to free himself.
He was lucky that hiker never stuck to the trails.
Izuku had seen the blond human many times out where other humans didn’t usually tread. He could usually be spotted climbing the steeper inclines or darting around the rocky areas. The hiker had always looked at home in the woods and Izuku liked watching him more than the other humans whenever he was bored.
Izuku prided himself on knowing pretty much all the local hikers in the area, though he hadn’t gotten close enough to any of them to know what hey smelled like.
Or to be seen.
Izuku covered his face with his arms and rolled into a ball, trying to sleep. He’d been curious as to why the hiker who favorited the roughest area of the forests had chosen to walk the regular trails and gotten too relaxed.
He’d been too caught up wondering why the man smelled so much like a dog, or why he liked to be out in the woods so much, or what his name was that Izuku had gotten caught.
By the time he realized the hiker was well aware he was being followed, Izuku had given up on hiding. The hiker acknowledged him and then went on his way with no attempts to tie him down or catch him.
It’d been a relief…and a disappointment.
Izuku almost wished the hiker had been more curious and followed him off the trail. He wanted to say “Thank you.”
The hiker’s weekly routine had been easy to figure out. The blond visited the forest at least three times a week, usually once in the middle and twice on the weekends. Izuku dared to hide near the entrance of the woods where the hikers gathered for the trails, looking to spot the man as he approached with his pack. The human waved to the ranger station and followed the trail about a mile down the path before he veered off in a random direction and entered the heart of the woods like usual.
Izuku followed him every time he showed up, sometimes showing himself, sometimes making sure to stay hidden. It was fun watching him look around for Izuku when he moved through the woods. The hiker looked forward to seeing Izuku as much as Izuku had looked forward to seeing him.
For about two weeks, they enjoyed silent companionship.
However, two weeks was also the extent of Izuku’s limit of curiosity.
“Why do you always smell like a dog?” Izuku asked, a few steps behind the human.
The hiker jerked to a halt and spun around, eyes wide. The red color looked like fall leaves and was very pretty. Unlike the hiker’s angry face. He pointed at Izuku and shouted, “You can’t do that!”
“Do what?” Izuku asked.
“Suddenly start talking out of nowhere,” the hiker said. He pressed the side of his hand into his forehead and huffed.
Izuku’s ear twitched. “Did I scare you?”
“No, but I did think someone else got the jump on me,” the hiker said. He huffed and looked around. “I’m usually pretty good at telling when other people are around and it didn’t occur to me it could be you speaking since you’ve been so quiet this entire time.”
“You learn not to talk unless you need to out here,” Izuku said. He dared a step closer to the hiker, scrunching his nose. “You didn’t answer the question. Why do you smell so much like a dog?”
“Because I have one.” The hiker pulled out his phone and tapped it a few times. He turned it around in front of Izuku’s face and showed off a picture of a dog hybrid with bright red hair on his head. His fur, though, on his tail and his hind feet was pure black. “He’s a big old mutt that has more energy than he knows what to do with and for a guy who has so little fur, it still gets everywhere.”
Izuku reached up and tapped the screen. The picture switched to another one of the hybrid with the hiker in the picture as well. The dog hybrid’s collar was more prominent in the second picture and Izuku tapped the screen again. He didn’t understand pets. Why would someone willingly shackle themselves to another?
The third picture was of the hybrid sleeping, collar still on. Did they ever take those things off?
“We’ve been together for,” the hiker, ignorant to the uncomfortable feeling growing in Izuku’s stomach, paused as he thought. “Six years now? Yeah, I got him when I was sixteen, so it’s been six years.”
He smiled at his phone and put it in his back pocket. “So I’m not surprised his Scent’s everywhere on me and my stuff at this point.”
“How’d you two meet?” Izuku asked, curious despite himself.
So far he’d gotten the impression the hiker was rough looking, but seemed to be a good person. As much as he’d left Izuku alone, it was hard to picture him being a hybrid’s master.
“Petsitting,” the hiker said. He pulled his pack off and set it on the ground near a tree. It hit with a thump and Izuku noted it must have been heavy. “My neighbor got a hybrid under the impression they’d let him take the guy with him on business trips, but they took it back after he’d gotten the dog.
“I was in high school and wanted the pocket change so I volunteered to pet sit while he was out of town,” the hiker said. He laughed and rubbed the back of his neck. “Before I knew it, Kirishima—my dog—was over at my house more than he was his owner’s. After a year, the guy asked me if I wanted the dog and I said, sure. He handed over Kirishima’s registration and we’ve been together ever since.”
“Though technically his name is Eijirou,” the hiker said. “Kirishima was my neighbor’s last name. It’s sort of rude to call a pet by their first name when they don’t belong to you. I got so used to calling him that, I forgot to switch over when I became his owner.”
“Does he mind?” Izuku asked. It stood to reason that if it was rude for other people to use a given name, it must be normal for the owner. “That you don’t use his first name.”
“Not that he’s said,” the hiker admitted. “He started using my first name about a month after the switch of ownership was official, but he’s never corrected me.”
Izuku nodded and clapped his hands together. “Thanks for answering!”
“Any time,” the hiker said. He looked down toward Izuku’s leg before he blushed and his head shot back up. The hiker cleared his throat and looked to the side. “How’s your wound?”
“Still sore, but it’s not stopping me from doing anything,” Izuku said. He thumped the hurt leg twice on the ground and said, “It’s healing well.”
“I’m glad,” the hiker said. “The doc was talking about maybe having to take the leg off when he first saw it, so I’m glad it didn’t come to that.”
Izuku nodded and blurted, “Thank you! For calling for help. I wanted to say that earlier, but it didn’t seem the right time to come over.”
“Any time,” the hiker said.
“I guess that’s all I wanted to say,” Izuku said. He nodded and took a step or two back. “I need to go now and get dinner before it gets too late. It was nice talking with you.”
“Same,” the hiker said. “I’ll see you later, I’m sure.”
“Yes,” Izuku said. He felt the awkward tension continue to grow and breathed out. He darted away, leaving the hiker alone to his trail before he skidded to a stop and turned around. “I forgot to ask! What’s your name?”
“Katsuki Bakugou,” the hiker said, holding up a hand. “What’s yours?”
“Izuku Midoriya!” he shouted back. “And I’m not a pet, so you can use my first name!”
Katsuki laughed and Izuku darted off for real. His heart pounded harder in his chest and he felt excited in a new way.
He might have just made a friend!
This thing is so fluffy it almost hurts me. Well, most of it is. Part of it. ALRIGHT. It’s fluffy for me. I’m not sure I know how to write things without a little bit of drama. HAH. Yes.
Also we get more description of how Izuku looks. Katsuki finally got a good look at him now that he’s come closer. I’ve got such a clear vision of him in my head and I’m like “Have I described him accurately enough!?” Probably not, but it’s close. I hope.
On a funnier note, referring to the hybrids as just their animal half is really hard to keep from being confusing. Am I talking about a dog-dog? A dog hybrid? I sure hope it’s clear from context which is which because tacking “hybrid” after every animal name gets really annoying to read after a while. Lol. It’s very important to keep those things straight. XD
Ah, but whatever. Thanks for reading!
It had to be insulting to bring a wild hybrid clothing.
Katsuki wished he hadn’t noticed.
Izuku had been naked the entire time Katsuki had known him, but Katsuki hadn’t realized the extent of it until the other day when the hare hybrid had first decided to speak up. Katsuki had looked down toward his leg wound and on his way to the leg, he saw that Izuku was very, very naked.
The hybrid hadn’t noticed Katsuki’s embarrassment at seeing his loins on display just under the small patch of green fur, thankfully, but Katsuki had seen it all the same. It had become impossible not to notice whenever Katsuki saw the hybrid.
When he’d first looked over the hare, he’d been on his side. Later when the hare hybrid had followed Katsuki around, it was always from the side or a distance. He was small enough that unless you were looking for it, you’d never notice what hung between his legs—likely a good thing since the hare hybrid ran around a lot. But small or not, Katsuki had seen the hybrid’s goods and now he noticed them every time Izuku crossed his vision.
Which happened more than Katsuki could count.
Izuku had decided that Katsuki was his new favorite hiker to bother and follow around. The hybrid appeared instantly whenever Katsuki stepped off the trail, eager to see him and a bounce in his step. Their first conversation must have left an impression, because instead of trailing from a safe distance, the hybrid had taken to scurrying around next to him, jabbering about whatever topic of the day was on his mind and unaware of Katsuki’s discomfort at his lack of modesty.
Looking at Izuku’s backside to distract from his exposed front didn’t help either, because that’s when Katsuki finally noticed his tail. It normally sat flush against his back, but every so often it would flip up and show off the white coloring and that was just as distracting.
Katsuki forced himself to pay attention to the interesting fur pattern instead now that he could see the rabbit from all angles and not curled up on a stretcher or trying to stay half out of sight. The fur from his spine spread out to the tail and his furry hindquarters which trailed around to the front of his legs like a pair of chaps, but with his entire backside still covered in fur. The front of his torso and top of his thighs were human skin that merged into the hare hind legs.
Compared to Kirishima, whose legs didn’t morph into that of a dog’s until about mid-way down his shin, there was much more fur on the wild hybrid. It looked coarse, but he imagined it was still soft to the touch.
Katsuki really needed to stop staring before the hare hybrid noticed or he just caved and bought the hybrid a long, tunic sweater.
“Hey, Izuku,” Katsuki said, interrupting the hybrid from his monologue about a pair of hikers he’d seen the other day who’d snuck off trail to make out behind a tree. “Do you get cold in the winter? There’s only fur on a third of you and you don’t hibernate or anything, right?”
“No, I don’t hibernate,” Izuku said, dropping the other topic and switching discussions without a miss. He tugged off a piece of bark from the tree Katsuki had sat against and snapped it in half. “It gets chilly, but it’s nothing I’m not used to. My body temperature is higher than a human’s. It’s only a few degrees, but it helps more than you’d think.”
“I should have guessed,” Katsuki said. Izuku wouldn’t appreciate a sweater if that was the case. Katsuki might have to get used to the hybrid remaining firmly all natural. “That’s impressive though. It’s already jacket weather now that fall’s hit and you’re just fine.”
“Are you going to stop coming out when it gets colder?” Izuku asked. He squatted next to Katsuki and chewed on his bark. “I’m usually too busy in the winter to pay attention to what few hikers come out, so I don’t remember what you do.”
Katsuki nodded. “Once it starts snowing, I put up the hiking gear until spring. The rangers only tolerate my off trail hiking because I know not to go out when the weather’s bad.”
“I see,” the hybrid said, fiddling with the last piece of his bark. “It is dangerous out here for normal humans in the winter.”
Izuku’s ears drooped on his head and he looked disappointed.
“You look like you’ll miss me or something,” Katsuki said, crossing his legs at the ankle as he stretched out.
The hybrid jerked, dropping his piece of bark before he cleared his throat and got up. He stretched and changed positions to sit in front of Katsuki instead of next to him. Izuku spared Katsuki’s nerves when he put his hands between his legs, covering himself inadvertently. “Is it bad if I will? It’s been nice talking with someone that doesn’t keep trying to pet me every second.”
“Do you not like being pet?” Katsuki asked.
“No.” The hybrid thumped his foot once. “It makes me nervous when humans get that close. You never know when they’re going to grab you or do something worse. Petting distance is way too close.”
Katsuki bit his lip and crossed his hands on his lap. “You know, we’re within petting distance right now. You’re okay with that?”
“Like I said,” Izuku said, turning to the side. He watched Katsuki from the corner of his eyes as he folded his arms over his legs. “You keep your hands to yourself, so I don’t have anything to worry about.”
A statement like that made Katsuki want to tease the hare. It would be easy to reach over and ruffle his hair like he did to Kirishima when the dog hybrid was in a playful mood. Izuku might not appreciate that, though.
Katsuki had to remind himself he was with a wild hybrid and trust was hard to earn—it’d be a shame to lose it over something like a quick laugh.
“But you know,” Izuku said. He put his arms out and rubbed his hands together. “If you wanted to pet me, and promised to stop when I told you, it might be interesting to see what it feels like.
“For an experiment,” Izuku said, dropping on all fours. He crawled over using a small hop to close the distance until they were almost face to face. His hand rested near Katsuki’s thigh, the fur almost touching him. “Just to see what all the fuss is about when I see hybrids begging their owners for it. I saw a lot of that when I saw pets in town on the few times I went people watching.”
Katsuki pulled a knee up and rested his arm on it as he turned and kept his eyes on Izuku’s face, fighting the temptation to glance down. “I wouldn’t mind helping with that.”
Izuku gave a small, quick nod and leaned closer to Katsuki. He lifted his hand, slowly reaching over toward the thick curls between Izuku’s ears. Katsuki’s finger touched the first curl and—
His phone rang, blaring a rock anthem.
Katsuki jerked against the tree, tugging his phone out of his pocket. He answered, silencing the ringer and held it to his ear. “Hello?”
“Where are you?” Kirishima asked from the other end. “You said you’d be home an hour ago.”
Izuku inched closer from where he’d darted to from the startle around ten feet away. His breath stayed heavy and the panic remained on his face and tense body language. Izuku shook his head and calmed down when it became evident the phone was the only culprit behind the noise. With the hare okay, Katsuki pulled the phone away from his ear long enough to check the time and cursed.
“I’m sorry, I was talking with someone and lost track of time,” Katsuki said to Kirishima. Izuku returned to his side, staring at the phone with a pronounced frown. “I’ll be home soon.”
“Who were you talking with?” Kirishima asked. “You don’t like interacting with the other hikers. That’s why you go off trail in the first place!”
“I wasn’t talking with a hiker,” Katsuki said, turning his head to look at Izuku.
The hare shook his head and hunched in on himself. Katsuki bit his lip. He didn’t want to lie to his pet, but the hare clearly didn’t want to be mentioned. After a moment of consideration, Katsuki sided with Izuku.
Dogs would forgive anything, but he had no idea what grudges hares could hold.
“One of the rangers wanted to talk,” Katsuki said. “He just left, so I’ll make my way back to the car now.”
“Okay,” Kirishima said. “Be safe.”
“I will,” Katsuki said. He clicked the phone off and rested it against his head. He looked at Izuku and shoved it back in his pocket. “Why didn’t you want Kirishima to know we were talking?”
“I’d rather not be on a predator’s radar if you don’t mind,” Izuku said. He scratched at the small patch of cut fur, slowly growing back in. “Pet or not.”
Katsuki understood that on some level, though he felt insulted on Kirishima’s behalf. His pet was a dog on some level, but only part of one. Kirishima could stop himself if he put his mind to it. Hybrids indulged their instincts, but they weren’t ruled by them.
He stood from the ground, gathering his things into his backpack. “I do need to leave now, though. Dog hybrids get just as upset about being left alone as regular dogs do.”
“Pack animals are so weird that way,” Izuku said, snorting. The hare got up and brushed off a leaf from his lower fur. He looked up at Katsuki and asked, “When are you coming back?”
“A week,” Katsuki said, hauling his pack up. “I think I’m going to skip a few hikes to give Kirishima some attention. I’ve been out here more than usual and I don’t think he appreciates his routine being upset.”
“Then I’ll see you in a week?” Izuku asked.
“Yeah,” Katsuki said. He reached over and ruffled Izuku’s hair like he’d wanted to earlier. The curls were as soft as they looked and he laughed as he pulled his hand away and Izuku stared at him like Katsuki had betrayed him with his jaw open. “I’ll see you in a week, bunny.”
“I’m not a bunny!” Izuku called after him as Katsuki jogged back to the trail.
When he got to the bottom of the hill, he turned over his shoulder and watched the rabbit put both hands on his head where Katsuki had petted him. He blushed red and flattened his ears back with his hands before he clapped his hands together and darted off deeper into the woods.
“What’d the rangers want for so long?” Kirishima asked when Katsuki was finished his shower. He brushed out his long, fluffy tail on the side the bed, sticking his tongue out as he tackled a small mat. “Were they finally tired of you going off trail?”
“No,” Katsuki said. He tugged off the towel he’d been using to dry his hair and tossed it over the laundry hamper. Katsuki dropped onto the mattress and yawned into his hand. “We were just catching up. I’m one of the only regulars with wilderness survival training.”
The lie came easily enough after he’d practiced it on the drive back home.
“Are they still against dogs on the trail?” Kirishima asked, putting his brush up. “Because they should make exceptions for hybrids. If I can go to the grocery store by myself, I think I should be able to run around the woods. I know everyone calls me a dog, but they do know hybrids aren’t actual dogs, don’t they?”
“They do,” Katsuki said. He reached up and put his hand on Kirishima’s head, ruffling it back and forth. The coarse hair wasn’t as soft as Izuku’s, but it was familiar and comforting. “It’s not a trust thing. They don’t want you scaring the wildlife on accident.”
“Those are just excuses,” Kirishima said. He leaned into Katsuki’s petting and fell over on his side. He cuddled up and let out a soft huff, his tail smacking into the bed. “I looked it up, you know. Most places let people have normal dogs come with them as long as they’re leashed. This place has no reason to be so picky.”
“I will bring that up next time I see them,” Katsuki said. “Though I’m curious about when you got so interested in hiking.”
Kirishima flicked his tail. “When you stopped coming home on time. There must be something out there worth seeing.”
“Trees and more trees,” Katsuki said. He rubbed Kirishima’s back and reached up to run his finger along the back of Kirishima’s collar. “Also there are rocks that I enjoy climbing. You don’t like rocks, remember? They hurt your feet.”
“Not that much,” Kirishima said. He curled the edge of his pajama sleep over his hand and breathed out. “I want to go hiking with you, that’s all. It’s not complicated, Katsuki.”
“Okay, I believe you,” Katsuki said, tugging on Kirishima’s ear twice. He yawned and tugged over the blankets. He turned on his side and closed his eyes. “Night.”
“Goodnight,” Kirishima said. He shifted on the bed, pulling his pillow over to the other end. He curled up with his head near Katsuki’s feet under the blankets and went to sleep.
Katsuki went to bed thinking of ways to cheer his best friend up. Maybe if he could distract him enough, Kirishima would give up on the hiking thing.
He had a strong feeling that his dog hybrid and that hare hybrid shouldn’t meet.
After a week of extra dog park visits, a few brand new chew toys, and experimenting with various kinds of treats, Katsuki returned to his favorite hiking location with a skip in his step. Kirishima had flourished under the extra attention and after he figured out Katsuki was intentionally trying to cheer him up, the dog hybrid admitted he felt a little silly for being jealous of the woods for taking so much of Katsuki’s attention.
He’d solved the problem of his upset dog, but created a new one where he felt guilty for having lied to his pet about his visits with the hare.
Kirishima had been jealous of something, but it sure wasn’t the woods and Katsuki felt bad knowing the real reason for what had upset the pet when Kirishima himself did not.
“You’re back!” Izuku said, popping out from behind a tree and startling Katsuki from his train of thought. Katsuki had to lean back as the hare invaded his personal space, pushing up on his hind legs so that he had a inch on Katsuki’s height. He leaned over almost nose to nose. “Did you have a good week?”
“I did,” Katsuki said, heart beating harder in his chest. It moved so fast he could have been mistaken for a rabbit himself. Those green eyes were wide and so excited to see him. He’d seen that look a thousand times on Kirishima, but he’d never felt this nervous having that sort of attention on him. The hare hybrid kept grinning, his hair bouncing and Katsuki swallowed to calm himself. “Did you?”
“Yes,” Izuku said. He darted away, hopping ahead down Katsuki’s usual path and occasionally dropped to all fours as he scampered ahead. “Those hikers that keep sneaking off the trail to mate got caught by the ranger and it was hilarious! The one fell over as he tried to get his pants back on while the ranger yelled at him and his mate turned so red I thought she might turn into a berry.”
Katsuki forced his feet to move and followed after Izuku, eyes on his tail and thighs before he caught his own blush starting.
“And that was only at the start of the week,” Izuku said. He turned around, grinning and said, “You’ve missed a ton of forest gossip!”
“Then you’d better catch me up,” Katsuki said. For someone who had been so quiet, the amount of words that spilled out of Izuku’s mouth whenever they saw each other now astounded him. He’d turned into an entirely new person now that he was comfortable around Katsuki. It was flattering. “We’ve only got so much time.”
“I know,” Izuku said, smile dropping for a blink. He plastered it back on his face and ripped off a piece of bark. He chewed on the edge and went back to sharing. “I’ll keep it to the good stuff.”
Katsuki nodded, listening as Izuku shared details about hikers and the other animals that lived in the woods between chewing on his bark snack.
He had missed this more than he’d thought.
If you pay close attention to my tags, you may have noticed “Dubious Consent” has disappeared. That is because this fic is going in a much softer, gentler direction than I first anticipated and I am going to embrace it.
The Kirishima vs Izuku drama is still going down, though. It’s my achilles heel and I adore it. *slowly hugs it*
Thanks for reading!
Hares were solitary creatures while humans were social beasts.
As a hybrid, Izuku found his own longings somewhere between the two, preferring to be on his own for most things while still craving company from time to time. His compromise of those two desires had resulted in Izuku’s favorite hobby of watching unsuspecting hikers from safe hiding places.
When he felt particularly adventurous, Izuku would travel to the nearest town and observed humans in their natural homes from the shadows. He’d gotten pretty far into the heart of the human settlement without much trouble. Humans were easy enough to avoid, but Izuku kept his trips short to avoid stray pets of both the hybrid and animal variety.
It only took one bad run in with a stray dog hybrid to remind Izuku that domesticated predators were as dangerous as their wild counterparts. Killing a hybrid counted as murder in the human world, no matter who did the deed, but hybrids had their own ideas of how nature worked and some indulged their inner animal far more than others.
Eating the evidence did wonders for not getting caught and not many humans would notice or miss a wild hybrid that had gone missing.
Katsuki would notice if Izuku went missing, though.
That hiker threw Izuku’s compromise and expectations out the window. He demanded a new sort of longing Izuku hadn’t been prepared to feel. Katsuki had snuck up on him worse than any stray dog, providing company Izuku didn’t know he’d been missing. He had heard pack hybrids talk of loneliness, but he hadn’t expected to feel it himself.
Despite only knowing each other for such a short time, a week had been too long to wait for the hiker to come back. He’d been dejected and in a slump the entire time, fighting the urge to talk with other hikers to fill the void. Izuku didn’t know how he would make it through the winter without seeing Katsuki.
Izuku touched his head and tugged on the hair. He wanted to feel Katsuki’s hand on his head again. Izuku wanted to touch Katsuki’s own hair and see if human’s enjoyed being petted as much as they enjoyed petting.
Katsuki had a nice smile when he dared to wear it. Izuku caught a glance once or twice when he had followed him around in secret. Katsuki hid his gentle side and Izuku wanted to draw it out. He’d seen a pet place their head in their owner’s lap once, half asleep and full of bliss as their hair was stroked.
Izuku could picture that scenario with him and the hiker. Katsuki could nap on his thighs instead of against a tree, warm and safe. Izuku’s fur would be far more comforting than a pair of rough fabric pants.
“If only he didn’t smell so bad,” Izuku said, scrunching his nose.
The smell of Katsuki’s pet was entrenched in his clothes, hair, and skin. It’d a good scrubbing to get rid of it and reveal the unique smell that belonged to Katsuki alone. If the weather was warmer, Izuku would have considered accidentally tripping Katsuki into the small river that ran through the woods.
Soaked, Katsuki would shed his clothes and dry off. Izuku would get to see what Katsuki hid under those thick clothes and smell Katsuki and only Katsuki without the smell of dog or processed fabrics to cover it up.
Izuku’s tail twitched and his blood stirred. He went to sleep entertaining himself with that lovely thought.
“What are you looking at?” Izuku asked, stretching with his arms high above his head. He’d gotten up from his nap to meet Katsuki before his evening foraging and still felt stiff from sleeping under a new tree. The roots had dug into his back the wrong way and he couldn’t seem to get the knot out of his muscles. “You’re staring.”
“Your fur,” Katsuki said. He pointed at the top of his ears toward the black tips. “It changed colors. I knew Hares changed their fur color for winter, but I didn’t know hybrids did, too.”
“We do,” Izuku said. He pointed at his feet where the color had also started to spread up his legs. With so little difference, Izuku was impressed Katsuki had noticed the few strands that had changed. “In couple months, my fur will be completely white to match the snow.”
“And it’ll be back to green in the spring?” Katsuki asked.
Izuku nodded and dropped back on his hind legs after finishing his stretch. He watched Katsuki’s eyes follow the movement, trailing along his side until it stopped on his tail, and turned away to hide his grin.
“Why’d you come out early today?” Izuku asked, an extra pep in his hop knowing he had Katsuki’s full attention. “Did you miss me?”
“You wish, bunny,” Katsuki said. Izuku’s tail flicked and he thumped his foot on the ground once. Katsuki smirked at him and shrugged, “I came early because I wanted to talk to the rangers before my usual hike, but the conversation was shorter than I thought it’d be.”
“Talk to them about what?” Izuku asked. He moved within petting distance of Katsuki and walked alongside him. “Did you need something?”
“I wanted to clarify their dog policy and double check it included hybrids as well,” Katsuki said. He frowned and hopped up onto a rock outcropping as he climbed up the short hill. Izuku jumped up to follow, using his claws to keep hold of the rock as they climbed. “Kirishima wants to come hiking with me and thinks it’s unfair they’re treating him like a normal dog. They haven’t said yes or no yet, but they’re going to bring it up with their boss.”
Izuku slid a few inches down when he missed his handheld. He crawled over the edge and caught up on all four as Katsuki marched on. “You want to bring your dog hiking?”
“I wouldn’t mind if he came,” Katsuki said. Izuku felt the twitch grow and started formulating plans to talk him out of that. “He’d like it out here.”
“A house pet?” Izuku hopped ahead and walked backwards while he faced the hiker. Katsuki immediately looked to the side and licked his lips. Izuku looked down at himself and bit his lip as he realized what had Katsuki so shy. He returned to walking forward and noted Katsuki went back to watching his tail. “I find that hard to believe.”
“Hikers and wild animals aren’t the only ones who appreciate fresh air and nature,” Katsuki said, sliding down a small incline. He checked his watch at the bottom and turned left toward the river. “Kirishima loves it outside.”
Izuku ripped a piece of bark off the tree as he passed and chewed on it. “I won’t be able to visit you if you bring him.”
“Kirishima isn’t going to hurt you,” Katsuki said, looking over his shoulder. “He knows better than that.”
Izuku held his head up and finished off his bark. “If you say so.”
Katsuki’s eyes narrowed as they watched him, but he dropped the topic. “So what’d I miss over the past two days?”
Izuku joined his side again, telling Katsuki the best gossip while considering his options to tackle the pet problem.
This was his time with Katsuki and he had no intention of sharing. If the dog hybrid came, Izuku knew for sure that Katsuki would spend his time petting the dog or cuddling with it before Izuku could even work up the nerve to ask Katsuki to do those things with him.
He had an idea in mind, but Izuku would have to be careful. Katsuki wouldn’t be happy if he found out what Izuku had planned.
“You want me to do what again?” Hitoshi said, crossing his arms. The deer hybrid watched him with the usual bags under his eyes, though they narrowed in his suspicion.
Izuku scratched his arm and avoided eye contract. He and Hitoshi weren’t exactly friends, since they both keep to themselves, but there weren’t many other hybrids he could ask in this forest. “I need you to go to the rangers and tell them you overheard a hiker say they wanted to bring their dog and you don’t want that. They need to maintain their policy that doesn’t permit dogs on the trails.”
“I gathered that part,” Hitoshi said. “But why do you want me to do it?”
“Because they can’t know I’m the one who asked,” Izuku said, lowering his voice. “Dogs would cause you trouble, too, so it’d make sense you’d want them to stay away. They won’t question it.”
“Is this about that hiker you’ve been stalking?” Hitoshi asked.
“Yes,” Izuku answered. His fur stood on end and he sat back on his hind legs, digging his claws into the ground. “Katsuki wants to bring his dog hybrid pet out here and I don’t want him to, but if he finds out I meddled he might not talk with me.”
“What’s in this for me?” Hitoshi asked. “I don’t like talking to the rangers any more than you do.”
“What would you want?” Izuku asked.
Hitoshi kicked his hoof into the ground and leaned on a tree. His antlers scratched along the bark and he shot Izuku a smug grin. “Make an offer.”
“I know a shop in town that has deer treats,” Izuku said, eyes narrowing. He didn’t have time to fool around with this when the rangers could already be on their way to changing the dog policy. He went straight for the mark he knew would get him what he wanted. “I’ll steal you as many as you want for winter.”
“Deal,” Hitoshi said, brows raised. He rolled his shoulders and trotted toward the ranger station at the bottom of the mountain. “No dogs, right?”
“Of any kind,” Izuku shouted after him. “Make sure that goes for hybrids, too!”
“I got it,” Hitoshi said, holding his hand up. He yelled over his shoulders, “I want the first delivery before the weekend.”
Izuku huffed and sat against a tree. He didn’t like stealing, but he wanted to see where his relationship with Katsuki was headed without interference.
No one would miss a few deer treats.
“It looks like it’s going to be just you and me on these hikes,” Katsuki said, setting his bag down to dig out his packed dinner. He sat on a small blanket and dug into the lunchbox full of rice and cooked meats. “The rangers said there was enough complaints when they brought up the change to the dog policy they decided to keep the rules as is.”
“How’d your pet take it?” Izuku asked, faking concern. Inwardly, he felt smug that his plan had worked without a hitch. Hitoshi had been pleased as well when Izuku dropped the bag of deer treats in his hand. “He must have been upset.”
Katsuki shoved a mouthful of rice in his mouth and chewed. “He pouted about it for an hour but he cheered up when I took him out to the dog park to see his friends. Kirishima doesn’t linger on much, so I’m sure he’ll be over this by the time winter’s over.”
“Good,” Izuku said. He watched Katsuki eat, already full from his own early dinner and curled up on the ground next to him, pillowing his head in his arms. They didn’t touch, but he was easily within petting distance. “Hey, Katsuki. You know, we didn’t finish my experiment the other day.”
“Experiment?” Katsuki asked, slowing his chew. “What experiment?”
“The petting,” Izuku said. He twitched his ear back and forth. “Your surprise attack didn’t count.”
“Do you want me to pet you?” Katsuki asked, his mouth cracking into a smirk that reminded him of Hitoshi.
Izuku tapped his claw on his arm. “What do you think?”
“Everyone loves being petted,” Katsuki said. He put his empty lunch back in his bag and got more comfortable against the tree. “But I might be wrong. Is it okay if I pet you?”
“Yes,” Izuku said, closing his eyes.
Katsuki’s fingers rested on his head and moved in a small circle, messing with the strands. Izuku melted into the warm touch and shifted his legs to release a bit of tension from the new stimulation.
“That feels really good,” Izuku said, murmuring into his arms. Katsuki kept petting his head, mixing it up between slow strokes and massaging Izuku’s scalp. When he touched Izuku’s ears, stroking it from the base to the top, Izuku kicked his foot and inhaled.
That felt amazing.
He needed to switch tactics before he got too excited and scared Katsuki.
“If everyone likes being petted, does that mean you do, too?” Izuku asked, sitting up. He grew bold and put a hand on Katsuki’s thigh as he leaned over. “Can I try it?”
The hiker swallowed thickly and his eyes widened. Izuku felt his leg shift under his palm and Katsuki licked his lip before he nodded and said, “Sure.”
Ignoring the smell of Katsuki’s pet, Izuku scooted closer and reached his hand up. He dropped it on Katsuki’s head and pushed his fingers into the short, rugged hair. Izuku crawled even closer, sitting on Katsuki’s thigh to get into a better position to pet the hiker’s head from the front. Human hair felt very different from fur, almost silky to the touch.
Katsuki’s breath grew heavier as Izuku sat in his lap. His hands hovered near Izuku’s thighs for a moment before he gently set them on the fur below. Izuku could feel Katsuki’s body shiver and felt satisfied.
Finished with his tease, Izuku hopped out of Katsuki’s lap and said, “Thanks, Katsuki.”
“You’re welcome,” Katsuki answered, exhaling and slamming his palms onto his thighs to wipe his sweaty palms off. He stared forward before shaking his head and standing up, gathering his things. “It’s time for me to head out. I’ll see you later in the week.”
The flustered hiker grabbed his pack and jogged back to the trail, leaving Izuku under the tree.
“I’d call that a success,” Izuku said. He got up and went looking for a snack before he hunted down a place to sleep for the night.
Next time they met up, he’d absolutely get Katsuki’s head in his lap.
It’s time for some good old Bakugou and Kirishima bonding time. Thank you for reading!
“Welcome back!” Kirishima said, jumping over the back of the couch. He wagged his tail as he ran over to the door and hopped on Katsuki with a hug. “You’re home early! How come?”
Katsuki hugged him back and rubbed Kirishima’s head between his ears. He nudged him off and carried his hiking gear to the closet. “No reason. I just felt like it.”
A certain hare hybrid sitting in his lap also helped that decision.
“Did you eat anything yet?” Katsuki asked, forcing him to think of something other than the hare’s stupid hands in his hair. He pulled off his coat and hung it up, stretching out his back. Kirishima didn’t answer. Katsuki turned around and saw his pet staring at him with a frown. “You okay?”
“Were you with another hybrid today?” Kirishima asked. He walked closer and leaned up, sticking his nose in his hair. “There’s another animal scent on you, but I don’t recognize it.”
Katsuki held his hand up and sniffed it—as he expected, he couldn’t smell a thing. Humans couldn’t compete with a hybrid’s nose.
“I was,” Katsuki said. Making up a story on the spot, he headed for the kitchen. “A couple had their pet on the trail and it was pretty friendly.”
Kirishima frowned. “Pets aren’t allowed on the trails.”
“Dogs aren’t allowed,” Katsuki corrected. He pulled out ingredients for dinner and turned on the stove top to preheat a pan. Katsuki's thoughts raced to think of a way he could tell a half truth without admitting he’d been seeing Izuku on a regular basis. “This couple had their pet bunny hybrid with them.”
“And you stopped to see it? The smell is coming from your hair and lap, so he had to have hugged you,” Kirishima asked. He wandered into the kitchen and leaned on the counter while Katsuki chopped vegetables. “Do you even like bunnies?”
“I don’t dislike them,” Katsuki said. He threw the first set of veggies in the pan.
Kirishima leaned closer and wagged his tail, thumping it against the counter. He watched the side of Katsuki’s face closely, observing the small hint of pink that appeared on his cheeks. Krishna exclaimed, “You do!”
“What?” Katsuki shoved his dog back. “I do not.”
“You like bunnies!” Kirishima pushed off the counter and put his hands on his hips. “I bet you’re embarrassed to admit it because bunnies are so cute.”
They did have their appeal, though at the moment a hare was much cuter. Katsuki cleared his throat and continued making dinner. Kirishima caught the full pink on his cheeks and went for the kill.
“Do you want a bunny, Katsuki?” His pet asked, grinning too brightly. “It’s okay. I won’t make fun of you if you do.”
“I don’t want another pet,” Katsuki said. He reached over and tugged on Kirishima’s ear. “I’ve got one that’s already a handful. You get jealous when I go out hiking too long, what are you going to do if I got a bunny?”
“I’d have some company when you spend all your time in the woods.” Kirishima flicked his tail back and forth. “Besides, bunnies are for cuddling and looking cute. They fulfill an entirely different roll as a pet than a dog hybrid, so it’s not like we’d be competing with each other.”
Katsuki pulled the pan off the heat and put the food in a dish. “Are you that lonely when I’m away?”
“A little,” Kirishima said, his tail flipping back and forth slower. He sat on the floor near the table and crossed his legs. “So if you wanted a bunny and were just holding back for my sake, don’t feel like you have to.”
The vegetables turned out perfect and Katsuki served them on a plate, with only a half portion for Kirishima. He filled the other half with the hybrid, nutrient rich soft food for pets and set the plate on the table.
He hadn’t really thought about another pet, but he did leave Kirishima home by himself a lot these days. Hadn’t Katsuki been the one to tell Izuku that dog hybrids got lonely?
“I guess it wouldn’t hurt to go look,” Katsuki said, sitting at the table. Kirishima joined him, perking up as he said, “Why don’t we go to the shelter tomorrow?”
“Yes!” Kirishima said. “We’ll get you a cute bunny.”
“If you can behave yourself and keep from scaring them,” Katsuki said.
“No worries,” Kirishima said. He put his hand over this heart and said, “I love eating rabbit, but I’d never touch a pet!”
“Glad to know,” Katsuki said.
The trip to the shelter would be a good way to clear his head. He wasn’t sure he wanted to see Izuku immediately again so soon after their moment in the woods until he figured out how he felt about the hare hybrid. Kirishima talked about the possibilities of where they’d house another pet and sounded pretty happy about future company, but Katsuki didn't know if he wanted to bring home a rabbit when it was a hare stuck on his mind.
“Oh, I didn’t know they were getting married,” Kirishima said, looking at a newsstand. A magazine listed one of the dog hybrid’s favorite actors with a large photo of her and her pet in full wedding apparel. Katsuki didn’t remember the names of either of them, but he did remember the news when the actor announced she and her pet cat hybrid were dating. “That’s happening more and more lately.”
Katsuki looked at the happy faces of the couples. “I guess it’s bound to happen once in a while if you spend that much time with someone.”
Kirishima flicked his ears. “I guess so.”
“Come on, mutt,” Katsuki said. “The shelter’s just around the corner.”
“Yeah!” Kirishima said. He raced ahead and wagged his tail as he approached the large building at the end of the street. “Hurry up!”
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” Katsuki said. He trotted up and followed his dog into the shelter, wincing at the increase in noise. The barking and chatter between perspective new owners and pets looking to find proper homes filled the room beyond the small check in desk. Katsuki joined Kirishima there and said, “We’re here to look at rabbits.”
“A wonderful choice,” the cat hybrid at the desk said. She purred and flicked her tail as she pulled up a small pack of papers. She spared Kirishima a dirty look before smiling at Katsuki. “Here’s a helpful guide to breeds just to make sure you find someone compatible. Make sure to note the skittish varieties since you already have a dog.”
“We’ll keep that in mind,” Katsuki said. He took the page and read the room numbers at the top. “Let's go.”
Kirishima behaved, holding back the growl Katsuki could see on the tip of his tongue toward the cat. He followed Katsuki and they punched the elevator button to head to the second floor where the small hybrids hung out, far from the noisy barking and mewing of the more popular cats and dogs.
“I’m sort of excited,” Kirishima said. He tugged on Katsuki’s shirt with his hand, grinning through his sharp teeth. “We could have a new family member!”
“Maybe,” Katsuki said. They left the elevator and walked down the floor hallway until they found a room marked “Rabbit Hybrids.” Katsuki shoved the information pamphlet in his back pocket and said, “Here we are.”
Kirishima let Katsuki open the door and he walked into the small room full of rabbit hybrids lounging about in the quiet area. A few children played with the younger ones, while a few older people spoke softly to the nervous bunnies.
Katsuki looked over the sea of short ears and fluffy tails in almost every color pattern you could imagine and he had to admit they were pretty cute.
Maybe he would think about bringing one home.
“I’m sorry,” Kirishima said, tail close to his body and ears down. “I didn’t think they’d be that scared.”
“It’s not your fault,” Katsuki said, putting an arm around his dog’s shoulder. He reached up and ruffled his furry head and tugged him over into a hug. “Rabbits are skittish and how were we supposed to know one of them would panic?”
They were five minutes into their visit when Kirishima knocked into one of the hybrids on accident getting out of the way of someone else. However, neither of them had known that particular hybrid had suffered a nasty run in with one of the area’s wild strays. A large scar ran across it’s thigh and the sight of another dog hybrid had sent him into a panic.
He’d screamed and lashed out at Kirishima, who’d instinctively barked back and the entire room had turned into a frenzy of scared hybrids.
The owners of the shelter had apologized profusely that they’d put someone in the room that terrified of dogs, but the damage had been done.
“It’s only natural that prey hybrid species would be skittish around carnivores, but most of them are fine around dog and cat hybrids that are quiet and keeping to themselves,” the owner had explained. “The ones that are that scared are usually kept separate from general visits. I apologize again for this and I do hope it doesn’t keep you from visiting the future.”
Katsuki had thanked the man for explaining and left.
He hadn’t decided yet if he wanted to try again or not.
“I still feel bad,” Kirishima said. “He was so scared of me. If he was a normal rabbit, I’d get it, but he’s a hybrid! It’s not like he’s on my prey list.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Katsuki said. He hugged his dog one more time and pulled him along. “Let’s go home and get something good to eat.”
“You can’t fix everything with food, you know,” Kirishima said.
“Why not?” Katsuki asked. “It usually works.”
Kirishima snickered and his tail went back to hanging loose behind him. Katsuki yawned into his hand and put his hands into his pockets.
The worst part of the entire day was that Katsuki couldn’t help but wonder how Izuku would have reacted if he’d been in the room.
Welcome back to the fluff. And jealousy. Jealous Fluff. With Suggestive Fluff. All the fluff. I think. Again: Fluffy for me at least. What’s important is I’ve allowed these chapters to be short. It’s a nice break.
Enjoy and thanks for reading.
“He cheered right up after I broke out the pork loins. Kirishima loves any sort of meat and nothing works better than good food to distract that mutt.”
Izuku nodded, feigning interest in Katsuki’s story. The hiker had returned to the woods after a week and a half of absence and decided to immediately test Izuku’s patience with no idea how he’d left Izuku in ruins worrying about when he’d be back.
“But to my luck, he’s still absolutely convinced that I want a pet bunny.”
He hadn’t stopped talking about his stupid dog since he’d arrived.
Izuku jumped on the chance to change topics.
“What’s so special about a pet bunny?” Izuku asked, scratching the back of his shoulder on a tree. Katsuki watched the movement as he packed up his trail snack and thermos. Izuku flicked his tail, glad he finally had the hiker’s attention. “And why would you want one?”
“I don’t,” Katsuki said. He finished packing, standing up and putting his bag back on. “Like I said, he just thinks I do. Kirishima knows I didn’t ask for a dog hybrid, I was just given one, so he thinks if I’d gotten to pick my own pet that I would have gotten a bunny.”
“Does it even make a difference?” Izuku asked, turning to scratch his spine on the tree. Katsuki’s eyes watched his up and down motion, his pupils widening enough to satisfy Izuku. He put his hand on his thigh to draw Katsuki’s eye down for a second before the hiker darted his gaze back to Izuku’s face. “A pet’s a pet.”
“They’re quite different,” Katsuki said, crossing his arms and looking away. Izuku hopped away from the tree and helped himself to a spot in Katsuki’s path to spoil his plans to watch anything else. Izuku placed one arm behind his back, moving his finger on the other hand for Katsuki to continue. The hiker licked his lip. “A bunny hybrid and a dog hybrid are as different as an actual rabbit and a dog.”
Izuku tugged on one of his curls and played dumb. “How so?”
“Well, dog hybrids are more work companions? They’re more active and like to exercise and play. They keep you moving. Depending on the breed, they also act like guard dogs and protect your family and belongs,” Katsuki said. He dropped his arms and started walking, staring at the ground. “Whereas bunny hybrids are mostly for company at home. Their entire purpose is to basically cuddle and be cute.”
“Sounds boring,” Izuku said, hopping to catch up. He twitched his nose, scrunching it up. Izuku couldn’t picture a life of lazying about and doing absolutely nothing when there was so much to do and explore. “Or lazy.”
“I imagine being a constant emotional support is work in its own way,” Katsuki said, pushing a low hanging branch aside. He kept holding it for Izuku to pass by as well and let the branch go behind him. “They’re calm and dependent. Bunnies aren’t bad pets, really.”
Izuku watched Katsuki’s face as he watched. Izuku hated the tiny smirk on the hiker’s face. “I’m starting to see why your dog thinks you want one.”
“It did cross my mind while we were there looking at them,” Katsuki said. He hopped over a stone in their way on the path and watched Izuku when he jumped up on a higher portion of ground to travel on all fours near his head. “They’re surprisingly social and well, bunnies are cute to have around.”
“Cuter than me?” Izuku asked.
Katsuki stumbled over an upraised root and caught himself before he fell on the tree. Izuku hadn’t meant to be so direct so soon, but all his talk of rabbits was wearing on his nerves. Talking about his pet hybrid had been bad enough!
“You’re cute,” Katsuki said, pushing off the tree and continuing on his trail. “Hares are cute, too. Hybrids included.”
Izuku smiled and hopped off the raised path back next to Katsuki’s side. He twitched his ears and hopped ahead, letting Katsuki see his tail. “Trust me, you don’t need a rabbit when you’ve got me around.”
“I’m starting to see that,” Katsuki said, tightening his hold on his backpack strap.
Izuku pulled his ear down and tugged on the end. Katsuki’s fingers twitched, itching to touch it himself. His eyes said it all. Izuku let go of his ear and moved on ahead further into the woods. “Good.”
He’d made progress, but Izuku needed more ammunition to fully capture Katsuki’s attention. As they finished their walk, enjoying a companionable silence, Izuku plotted the best way to make sure he had the advantage.
Izuku refused to lose to some dog or a bunny.
Katsuki put his things away in the small car and got inside. Izuku watched him from a shaded spot on the hill just at the entrance of the park section of the forrest. He noted the color and numbers on the car, waiting for it to get down the hill before he sprinted after the vehicle along the side of the road.
He was fast, but competing with a car wasn’t on his list of abilities. Izuku had to follow the road naturally when Katsuki’s car got out of sight, but he was sure he’d be able to find it again once he hit the town.
The human residencies were confined to one or two sections in the human settlement and if he found Katsuki’s car in the right parking lot, he’d have a good spot to start looking for Katsuki’s home.
Izuku grinned under his breath. Observing Katsuki in the woods was a treat, but seeing the human in his home turf would be educational. The more he got to know about Katsuki, the better he could appeal to the human until he decided the wild hybrid in the woods was the better company.
To his luck, Izuku found Katsuki’s car after only a single close call with a dog hybrid that sniffed him out of his hiding place along the back alleys of the building. A kick to the nose scared him off and Izuku returned to his own hunt with great success.
Katsuki had already gone inside by the time Izuku entered the parking lot outside his building, but he still had other options at his disposal.
After sneaking inside through a back door, his nose led the way to the apartment that smelled of Katsuki’s pet. He stood outside the door, leaning his ear close to the door and listened.
Izuku heard nothing.
He backed up and frowned. It had gotten dark by the time he arrived at the apartment building—Katsuki had to be asleep. The hiker did mention once that he went to bed earlier than most.
There was no mistaking this was the right place, though. The dog hybrid’s scent was deep in the carpet near the door and the smell came heavy from the door. Izuku took a few steps back and made sure no one was in the hall or had snuck up on him.
Izuku might need to invest in stealing a pair of clothes. It was hard to lie and claim you were someone’s pet as a cover when you were naked as when you were a leveret.
With Katsuki’s location secured, however, Izuku searched the hallway for a place to stay for a quick nap.
He had a busy day ahead of himself.
Waking early came naturally to Izuku and he was up before Katsuki left his apartment. He watched from a corner as the hiker left his apartment and locked up. He looked odd without his hiking gear, dressed down in casual clothes.
They hung on his body in a nice way and Izuku appreciated the shape of his jeans on his backside.
Izuku left though the opposite stairwell that Katsuki left, making sure to move fast enough to catch him when he hit the street. He followed he hiker, guessing his path as he dodged around alleys. Izuku kept up fairly well, having learned the layout of the town over the years.
Katsuki went into a small indoor market and after a few minutes, he returned to the street with a bag of groceries.
And then went straight back to his home.
Izuku contemplated heading back to the forest now that he could come back to Katsuki’s place any time he wanted, but he decided to stick around. The noon sun hadn’t arrived yet and he wanted to observe Katsuki in his natural habitat at least once before he left to think about his options.
As he waited for another chance to get into the building, Izuku scrambled to hide when the lower floor door opened and a familiar smell hit his nose.
A small jingle from the dog hybrid’s collar accompanied him as the pet burst out of the building with a wagging tail and a bright smile. Katsuki followed him and Izuku felt a shiver when the dog stopped mid-sentence as he encouraged his owner to “Hurry up.”
“What’s the matter?” Katsuki asked, looking up from his phone. “You’re on alert.”
The dog hybrid’s ears were straight up and he stared at the spot where Izuku had been moments earlier. His tail flicked twice and the other hybrid narrowed his eyes. “I can smell the bunny you met on the trail last week.”
Looks like a certain Hare might be in trouble…Not.
I don’t even know what I’m doing with this fic anymore. Either way: Thank you for reading~
Kirishima made for the bushes before Katsuki fully registered what his pet had said.
The dog hybrid shoved aside the loose branches, looking on the other side of the hedges for any sign of the alleged “bunny.” His tail flicked back and forth as he looked around, clearly on the hunt and on high alert. “I know you’re here.”
Katsuki stared at his dog searching the bushes. There had to be some mistake. There was no way Kirishima could smell Izuku when he was in the woods far from here—but then again, his pet hybrid had an amazing sense of smell.
He didn’t make those sorts of mistakes.
Which meant Izuku had to be here.
And his dog was looking for him.
“Shit,” Katsuki said to himself. He dashed forward and grabbed the back of Kirishima’s shirt. Kirishima said he wouldn’t touch the rabbit, but as far as he knew, Izuku still didn’t want to be seen. “Kirishima! Stop it. If he is here, you’re going to scare him.”
“I won’t!” Kirishima said. He whined as Katsuki kept tugging and pouted. “His scent is here but I don’t see him. Where’d he go?”
“He probably ran off because a dog hybrid was running toward him,” Katsuki said. He flicked Kirishima in the side of the ear. “I know you won’t hurt him and you know that, but I doubt he does.”
“But I wanted to meet the bunny.” Kirishima sniffed and looked around, half listening to Katsuki. His ears went flat against his head. “He was right here, too.”
Katsuki ruffled Kirishima’s hair between his ears and reached down to pull him away from the bushes. He didn’t know if Izuku was still hiding nearby, but it’d be best to put distance between them. “How about this—next time I see him on the trail, I’ll take a picture for you.”
“Okay!” Kirishima said, perking back up. He walked beside Katsuki on his own, his tail swishing behind him. “I want to know what your type is since we didn’t get a good chance to look the other day.”
“You aren’t going to drop this bunny thing are you?” Katsuki said, sighing. He took the lead while his pet followed and looked over his shoulder.
Kirishima wagged his nail and laughed. “Nope!”
“I thought as much,” Katsuki said. His pet ran ahead and he looked over his shoulder, spying a flash of green fur dash behind a tree.
“Since when do you leave the woods?” Katsuki asked, dropping his bag next to the tree. He crossed his arms in front of the hare hybrid and held his head up. The hare opened his mouth to argue and Katsuki cut him off. “Don’t even try it. Kirishima’s got a better nose than any bloodhound which means you were in town and outside my apartment building.”
The hare pulled his ears down and tugged on the ends, twisting the black tips with his clawed hands. “I go into town sometimes when I want a change of scenery. It’s not my fault I ran into you and your pet.”
“Is that so?” Katsuki leaned closer and poked Izuku in the cheek over one of his freckles. “Why don’t I believe that?”
“I don’t know,” the hare hybrid replied, pouting. His ear twitched and he crossed his arms to match Katsuki’s stance. “Why don’t you believe me?”
Because Izuku’s ear continued to twitch and his body was too stiff—he looked guilty.
Katsuki snorted and leaned back.
He wouldn’t press it.
“Next time be more careful,” Katsuki said. “Unless you want to meet Kirishima. Because now that he knows you’re in the city somewhere, he’s going to be looking for your scent all over the place seaching for the mysterious bunny that caught my eye.”
“And you said he had a good nose,” Izuku said, scoffing. “Your pet can’t even tell the difference between a rabbit and a hare.”
“Or maybe hybrids have more unique scents and I told him the scent all over me came from a bunny hybrid,” Katsuki said, defending his dog. He cracked his neck both ways and reached up to pull a leaf off a tree. He fiddled with it, rolling it back and forth. “Give him some slack.”
“No,” Izuku said, his mouth twitching in a playful smile. “I’d rather not. I can already tell that you’ve spoiled him rotten, so why should I add to it?”
“My dog isn’t spoiled,” Katsuki said. He tossed the leaf and grabbed his pack again, ready to start the hike now that they’d established that Izuku had been in town. He’d been given his warning that if he snooped around that Kirishima was going to find him. Katsuki had done his fair work. “He earns his keep plenty.”
“Doing what?” Izuku asked.
“Guarding the house, keeping me company, and he cleans up around the house when I don’t have the time,” Katsuki said, counting off the list on his fingers. “You know, pet things.”
“It still sounds like he’s freeloading to me,” Izuku said. He hopped ahead, pausing only to scratch the patch of fur that had almost completely regrown. His winter fur had reached the middle of his feet and crept up his fingertips, working its way to covering him as the fall continued. “Since when is keeping someone company work?”
“Okay, you’ve got me,” Katsuki said, laughing. He jogged to catch up with the hare and tapped down the trail. “Pets are basically freeloading roommates, but you know what? Kirishima’s the best roommate I’ve ever had, so he can freeload all he wants.”
“I’m starting to doubt your taste in companions,” Izuku said. He stopped in front of Katsuki, leaning up on his toes again to put them nose to nose. “But you seem to like me, so you’re not entirely hopeless.”
He twitched his ear and backed away, darting off into the woods.
Katsuki smacked his cheeks to ward off the rising blush and continued with his hike.
Flirting hares could be dealt with later.
Katsuki had thought Izuku had finished his visit for the day with that departure, but the hare hybrid returned twenty minutes later after Katsuki started his return hike. Izuku popped out of the bushes, brushing the leaves off the sides of his thighs. He moved up to brush the smooth, human portions of his skin free from dirt as well and Katsuki stared at his appearance.
“Did you fall down a hill?”
“No,” Izuku said. He blushed and looked away and scratched the side of his cheek. “Maybe.”
Katsuki reached over and pulled a leaf from the side of hair. He twisted it in his hand like he’d done earlier from the one he’d plucked from a tree. “Is that where you went for so long?”
“No. I was just moving on ahead for a bit, but a friend caught me before I could come back. I forgot something I was supposed to give him so I had to go get it on the other side of the forest,” Izuku said. He flicked his tail and tugged on the side of hair, curling it around his finger. “I was in a rush to get back so I’d catch you before you left, which is why I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have.”
“And you slipped and fell,” Katsuki said, finishing the thought. “I’m surprised you came back at all though.”
“Why?” Izuku asked.
“Because usually when you flirt and run, you don’t come back immediately,” Katsuki said. He stuck the leaf in his jacket pocket and reached over to put his hand on Izuku’s head. Katsuki felt Izuku lean into it, eyes smug. “It ruins the impact.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Izuku said. He took a step closer and put his hands behind his back. If Izuku got any closer, their bodies would be pressed against each other and Katsuki swallowed. “Does that mean you’re upset I came back to see you for the hike back to your car?”
“No.” Katsuki said, ruffling Izuku’s hair. He pulled his hand away and flicked the side of Izuku’s cheek as he put distance between them. He breathed in and out, calming himself down and decided they needed a change in mood before things got too heated. “Because I’m starting to think I really do have a thing for bunnies hanging around.”
Izuku’s fur ruffled and his ears straightened to full height as he gaped. Katsuki laughed as the hare hybrid hit him in the shoulder with a light punch. He ran ahead when the hare moved to hit him again and dodged outside of his not-so-playful punch. Izuku stomped his foot and shouted, “I’m not a bunny, you jerk!”
“You sure look cute as a bunny to me,” Katsuki called back. “Hare, rabbit! It’s all the same, anyway.”
The hare’s face turned red, but it wasn’t a blush of embarrassment—it was anger. Izuku snarled and leaned forward, thumping his foot on the ground three more times before he dropped forward into a sprinting stance.
Katsuki might have pressed the wrong button one too many times.
Izuku ran for Katsuki, tackling him hard on the side. Katsuki was the stronger of the two, but the hare’s speed and size gave him a boost of force that knocked Katsuki right off his feet and smacking into the leaf covered ground. Izuku sat on his side, straddling his hips toward the backside. Katsuki could feel every inch of Izuku through his jeans, but it was hard to concentrate on that when the hare hybrid shoved his face into the ground with his claws digging into Katsuki’s cheek.
“Call me a bunny again,” he said, leaning forward and hovering above Katsuki’s ear. “I dare you.”
Katsuki knew he’d regret it later, but the flustered hare hybrid looked so alive and angry that he couldn’t help but test his luck. “Bunny.”
“What happened to you?” Kirishima asked, watching his owner as Katsuki walked in. He dropped his damp backpack on the floor and glared at the wall. He shivered, continuing inside. “And why are you soaked?”
“I feel in a river and I don’t want to talk about it,” Katsuki said.
He shed his stiff clothes, covered in a mix of drying mud and algae, throwing them straight into the wash. Kirishima hovered behind him, tail down and ears back as he looked over Katsuki with a worried expression.
“Are you okay?” his pet asked. Kirishima picked up his coat, fingers testing the water that had seeped into the fabric. “It’s cold outside. You didn’t walk through the woods soaking wet in this weather did you?”
And a smug hare had followed him back, making sure he got back to the car okay. Izuku had not apologized and Katsuki didn’t expect him to. He’d looked proud of his handiwork.
After Katsuki’s defiance, the hare enacted his “punishment” for Katsuki by pulling Katsuki to his feet and kicking him forward. From there the chase was on and Katsuki was herded in a random direction in one intense game of tag. Only the direction wasn’t random, it was toward a river on a path Katsuki hadn’t taken before. He’d slipped. He’d fallen into the river. The hare hybrid had laughed.
Katsuki spent the rest of the evening plotting how to get the hybrid back.
“You’re freezing,” Kirishima said, his hand on Katsuki’s forehead. The dog hybrid’s warmer body temperature felt amazing at the moment and he leaned into it, brushing his skin against Kirishima’s sharp nails. “You should take a shower.”
“That’s where I’m headed,” Katsuki said. He patted Kirishima’s arm and rubbed it. “I’m okay.”
“If you’re sure,” Kirishima said. He watched as Katsuki grabbed a few towels and headed for the shower. The dog hybrid dropped his shoulders and went back to the living room. “I can’t wait for hiking season to be done.”
Katsuki turned on the shower water and stepped under the warm spray. The river water had had one benefit: It’d washed off Izuku’s scent from when he tackled Katsuki. The hare had been heavy and stronger than he looked.
He shook his head under the shower.
Katsuki needed to concentrate. He only had a few weeks left of fall before he stopped hiking for the winter, which meant his time to come up with a proper plan to get back at the hare hybrid would be short.
Assuming he came up with something better than making “Bunny” that hare hybrid’s official nickname. Izuku was stubborn, but Katsuki could be more so. He couldn’t wait to see the hare’s face when he found out his river plans had failed and Katsuki had no fear continuing to call him a rabbit.
But whatever he decided, time was ticking down and Katsuki had to make the most of what he had left.
I took a break from crossposting all my old fanfics to update something. Huzzah!
Have some Bunny—I mean *ahem* Hare!Izuku for the new year! :D
Izuku hadn’t planned on going into the human town so soon after his last run-in with Katsuki and his mongrel, but he’d burned through his supply of deer treats and Shinsou demanded more.
“Can’t it wait until later?” Izuku had asked, stomping his foot. It was nearing the middle of the morning and Izuku wanted to go to sleep after his breakfast. “I just gave you some like yesterday.”
Shinsou scratched scratched his cheek, looking up as he dug his hoof into the ground. The deer hybrid kept a straight face, “Well, I guess I might just have to tell that hiker of yours about the vendetta you’ve got against his precious pet. What a shame that would be after all that work you’ve put into flirting.”
“Are you being serious right now?” Izuku asked. The deer hybrid shot him a look that said “Yes” and crossed his arms. Izuku growled and stomped his foot one more time before kicking a tree. “Fine! I’ll get the stupid treats.”
“I’m glad we’re friends now.” Shinsou had wiggled his fingers in a “friendly” wave and laughed. “Get a lot. Those things are delicious.”
“I’ll show him delicious,” Izuku muttered, sneaking around the back alley of the nearest shop district. All he had to do was steal some treats and get back out. If the deer hybrid wanted treats so badly he should come into town himself and get them. Izuku had more than paid for the deer’s service! Izuku peeked around a corner, watching the human traffic as they shopped. “This is blackmail.”
His ears flicked as he looked around. The nearest stand with outdoor tables that had what he needed was about two rows down. Izuku kept near the ground, wishing yet again he’d had enough sense to steal clothes at some point. This would be so much easier if he’d pretended to be a pet on an errand.
When the nearest human turned their back, Izuku darted from the alley to slide behind a large sign listing the day’s specials near a restaurant. Undetected, he performed he same feat of quick movements and dodging until he was under the table he needed to be at.
Izuku rested under the table and caught his breath, counting to steady himself.
Grab the treats.
Get into the alley.
Shove them down Shinsou’s throat.
Izuku smacked his own cheeks for the untoward thought. He was the one that talked Shinsou into doing him a favor and didn’t specify a number of treats—so that was on Izuku and Izuku alone.
“Get the treats and go home,” Izuku whispered to himself. He watched the feet around him and waited for a clearing before he moved the table cloth that hid him out of the way and reached up.
A hand grabbed Izuku’s wrist and he did the first thing he could think of: Kick the person that held his arm.
Which did absolutely nothing.
His foot slammed into the rock-hard abs of the dog hybrid that dragged him out from under the table. His paw stung and Izuku felt like he’d slammed it into a bar of pure steel. The dog hybrid grinned with sharp, shark-like teeth and yanked Izuku into the air, holding him up by his wrist.
His tail swished back and forth in pride behind him as Izuku struggled.
“I knew I’d catch the thief if I kept watch!” the dog hybrid shouted, drawing the attention of everyone in the square. His coarse, gray fur itched against Izuku’s skin as he shook him back and forth. Izuku kicked but it continued to do absolutely nothing to the over-muscled mutt. “My owner’s going to be so proud! Ibara! Come look what I caught!”
Izuku might be in trouble.
The dog’s grip stayed tight around his wrist and Izuku couldn’t get it to let go. He was trapped and the dog’s teeth were too sharp. The humans around them stared and Izuku couldn’t get away. He was caught.
He’d been caught and who knows what humans did to wild hybrids and—
He and the dog hybrid snapped their heads to the side as Katsuki stood there with his phone in his hand and his dog next to him.
Or maybe Izuku had just been saved by the hiker for the second time in his life.
“So you were getting treats for your friend?” Ibara asked, setting tea out for Izuku and Katsuki. “I had wondered why there had been so many that have gone missing the past month or so.”
In the background, Kirishima and the other dog hybrid named Tetsutetsu roughhoused in the small yard behind the shop. Izuku kept his ears back and close to his head while Katsuki kept his eyes on Ibara, the kind shop owner. But his tense body language did not escape Izuku and he had a feeling he wasn’t going to like the conversation that came afterwards.
Especially when Kirishima recognized Izuku’s scent.
If the other dog hadn’t dragged Kirishima off to play mid-accusation, there might have been a different sort of fight in the middle of downtown.
“How much did he steal?” Katsuki asked. He pulled out his wallet and checked inside with a stern look on his face. “I’ll pay for what’s missing.”
“That’s alright,” Ibara said. She waved her hand back and forth and dropped her shoulders. “It isn’t the first time I’ve had strays stealing from me and it won’t be the last. As long as it stops, I’ll let this slide.”
Izuku huffed—half from being called a “stray” and half for when it hit him he’d have to find a new place to get Shinsou’s snacks from before the deer hybrid sold him out to Katsuki.
He couldn’t get out of meeting the guy’s mutt, but he could at least make sure their hiking visits stayed just the two of them.
“That’s generous of you,” Katsuki said. He put his wallet back in his pocket and picked up the offered cup of tea. He elbowed Izuku in the side and nodded his head toward the the girl with the green hair. “Isn’t it?”
“Thank you for understanding,” Izuku said under his breath. He folded his hands his lap over the apron he’d been given. It had a picture of a cartoon rabbit on the front to Izuku’s dismay, but Tetsutetsu had demanded Izuku cover himself before he met the dog hybrid’s owner. “I appreciate it.”
“I’m glad the mystery has been settled,” Ibara said. She laughed, covering her mouth with her hand. “Poor Tetsutetsu has been trying to catch you in the act since it started.”
Izuku grunted and kept staring at the table. He itched to leave and his nose twitched. The smell of dog surrounded every surface and there were too many people around. Izuku rubbed his arm and asked, “May I leave now?”
“Of course,” she said. “And you can keep the apron if you’d like to walk around with your friend more downtown while you’re here.”
Katsuki nudged Izuku again with his elbow and he rolled his eyes and said, “Thank you.”
“Have a good evening,” Ibara said.
“Kirishima! We’re leaving!” Katsuki called.
The other dog hybrid immediately dropped Tetsutetsu from a playful chokehold and waved goodbye before dashing over.
Izuku made a single step toward the front of the store to make a run for it before Katsuki grabbed the strap of the apron and held him in place.
“That’s not a bunny,” the mutt said. Izuku glared right back while Katsuki drank from a soda he’d procured from the vending machine at the end of the alley at the edge of the shopping district. The dog hybrid let a growl sneak into his voice as he looked at his owner. “Or anybody’s pet. Why’d you lie to me, Katsuki?”
“Bunny here didn’t want me to tell you about him,” Katsuki said. Izuku scowled at the nickname but he could get the hiker back for that later. Hitting the dog’s owner in front of him was a good way to get your throat ripped out. “I’m sorry, Kirishima. He’s nervous around dogs, hybrids included.”
“I wouldn’t hurt him,” the mongrel said, his ears flat against his head. He glared at Izuku and looked back at his owner. “You know that.”
“I do, but he’s not my pet and I don’t have any authority over him. If he doesn’t want people to know he’s in the woods I have to respect that,” Katsuki said. He turned to Izuku and put the cap back on his soda. “But since we’re here, let’s make proper introductions. Bunny, this is my dog Kirishima. Kirishima, this is Izuku, but you can also call him ‘Bunny’ because it makes him angry and he shoved me in a river the other day.”
Izuku gaped at Katsuki.
What was he thinking?
“He did what!” Kirishima yelled. A few passerby turned to stare at them but kept walking when the dog turned around and growled. “He’s the reason you fell in the river and walked home soaking wet?”
“He had it coming,” Izuku said. He crossed his arms over the bunny apron and glared. “Because he called me a bunny when I am clearly not a rabbit.”
He kicked Katsuki behind the knee, almost knocking the drink out of his hand.
“Your new name is Bunny,” Katsuki replied. He shoved the half-empty bottle in his bag and glared right back. “And if you want me to buy you deer treats for that friend of yours, you’ll accept the nickname and like it.”
What was it with everyone blackmailing Izuku today?
“I’ll get you back for this,” Izuku said, crossing his arms. The hiker was cute and Izuku still wanted him, but he wasn’t going to be a pushover either—he wasn’t a bunny that the humans could play around with and cuddle. “Just you wait.”
“Why do you hang out with him?” Kirishima asked. He looked to his owner, his tail flicking hard behind his back. “A real bunny would be much nicer.”
“I’d watch what you say.” Izuku flicked his own fluffy tail. “If he brings a bunny home, what would he ever need you for?”
“Heel!” Katsuki yelled. He grabbed the back of Kirishima’s collar with two fingers and dragged him back over. “Watch it, Bunny. Don’t pick a fight in the middle of the street. And Kirishima, you know better.”
The dog’s ears flattered further on his head and he breathed in and out through his nose, his sharp teeth gritted together.
“Come on, I’ll get deer treats for your friend and a new bone for you, mutt.” Katsuki let go of his dog and reached over to tug on the strap of Izuku’s apron. “Then the three of us will all go home and tomorrow, we’ll have a civil conversation about all of this. Okay?”
“Fine,” Kirishima said. He turned around and walked back into the main part of the street, his tail continuing to flick.
“Let’s go, Bunny,” Katsuki said. He patted Izuku’s head, his fingers ruffling his hair before he pushed Izuku ahead of him. “I’ll walk you to the edge of town.”
“I don’t need it,” Izuku said. “I’ve told you before that I can take care of myself.”
“I know you can,” Katsuki answered. He patted Izuku’s back and gave him a soft smile. “I want to, though. It’s nice walking around with you downtown.”
“Oh,” Izuku said. He swallowed and flicked his ears back up. He stayed close to the hiker to avoid the overwhelming smells of the humans and their pets walking around them. He wouldn’t call it pleasant, but the smile on Katsuki’s face—that was nice. “Then I guess I’ll let you walk me back.”
“And next time, ask if you need something from town,” Katsuki said. “I don’t mind getting it.”
“Sure,” Izuku said. He lowered his voice as they caught up with the dog hybrid standing in front of a pet supplies stand. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
Katsuki bought the treats like he said and the walk back to the edge of town was pleasant, despite the dog hybrid chatting at Katsuki the entire time, clearly intending on keeping his attention.
He shut the dog up pretty fast though when he hopped up to kiss Katsuki goodbye, dashing away before either the human or his pet could react.
I long debated whether Deer Hybrid Shinsou was going to have two deer legs or four and decided to continue keeping it vague because both are awesome options and I refuse to commit. All the same, I finally remembered to add his character tag since his role in the story has increased.
Thank you as always for reading & enjoy.
“He kissed you,” Kirishima said, staring in the direction the hare hybrid had sprinted for the woods in the distance. His tail flicked aggressively, agitated in a way that resembled a cat more than a dog. Kirishima’s ears folded back and he turned his head in shock. “On the mouth!”
Katsuki touched his lips sucked in a breath. That hare grew more and more bold every time they saw each other. “Yeah, he did.”
“Why did he kiss you?”
“We may have spent the past few weeks flirting with each other,” Katsuki said, licking his lip. Kirishima opened his eyes wider, his tail stopping. Katsuki held his hands up and shook them. “But that was it.”
“That was it.”
His dog’s ears flattened against his head and he drew his mouth down in a frown.
Kirishima didn’t believe him.
“The most we did was petting!” Katsuki yelled. A few passerby turned his way and he dropped his voice. Katsuki put his hand on Kirishima’s shoulder and squeezed. “That was all. I petted his head, he petted mine and…okay, so he sat in my lap once. But aside from flirting and some head pats, we didn’t do anything else.”
Kirishima’s ears stayed back and his tail went back to swaying, clearly agitated. His clawed feet dug into the dirt and he shifted back and forth. “So do you have a thing for him or what?”
That stupid Bunny certainly had captured Katsuki’s attention.
He had a great smile, a cute face, and that tail certainly begged to be tugged. Katsuki liked the energetic way he kept up with gossip and he liked the teasing. And he’d certainly thought about a few naughty possibilities and things he could do with the hare.
But most the most telling part of it all, was that Katsuki liked spending time with Izuku.
“I think I do,” Katsuki said, crossing his arms. It felt good to admit and he ached to find the Bunny and see where he really stood on the matter, too. However, there was someone important right here that needed his attention. Katsuki turned to his dog and asked, “Is that a problem?”
“If you like hybrids, I think you should stick with getting an actual bunny,” Kirishima said, something cold settling over his eyes. It made the warm feeling in Katsuki’s chest evaporate. Kirishima growled and narrowed his eyes. “And maybe you shouldn’t date the wild hybrid that shoved you in a river when it was freezing out and you could have gotten hypothermia!”
He finished his shout with a bark, stopping everyone in the immediate area.
Kirishima breathed heavily and drew his shoulders as he felt the weight of everyone’s stares. He turned away and bit his lip. “I’m going home.”
His dog curled his tail under between his legs and turned to head back to their apartment.
Katsuki sat on a bench and waited for twenty minutes before he got up and headed after his mutt.
Kirishima had curled up on his side of the bed, holding himself with his arms over his head and his tail still between his knees.
Katsuki sat behind him on the bed and rubbed his side back and forth, moving his hand up his pet’s back until he settled it on his head between his ears. Katsuki rubbed and sprawled next to his dog on the bed. The hybrid didn’t roll over or move to shove Katsuki away.
“I know you’ve been worried about me, and I appreciate it, but that river thing only happened once,” Katsuki started. “I promise that the hare was much more well behaved the rest of the time, aside from the flirting. He’s never tried to hurt me.”
Kirishima grunted and curled in tighter on himself. “So far.”
“Look at me,” Katsuki said, pulling his dog over by the shoulder. Angry eyes stared back at him and he flicked Kirishima’s ear. “I can take care of myself and a hare isn’t going to hurt me. You don’t have to worry, okay?”
“How can I not worry?” Kirishima asked. “The woods are dangerous enough on their own and you’re running around with a wild hybrid.”
“Kirishima, he’s a hare not predator,” Katsuki said, sighing. He ruffled his dog’s hair between his ears and huffed. “The worst he’s going to do is kick me and run away.”
His pet looked to the side and licked his lip in a quick flick. “How can you be so sure?
“Because the hare can’t get any if I’m hurt or dead.”
Kirishima shoved a pillow over Katsuki’s face.
The dog hybrid laughed though, so Katsuki counted that as progress.
The next day, Katsuki returned to the woods fully intending to have that talk he’d promised when they said goodbye at the edge of town.
He shivered, rubbing his arms through his coat as he stepped off the trail. The temperature had dropped and winter had started to sneak into fall. The imminent end of his hiking days encouraged him to figure out where he and the hare stood as soon as possible, for both Katsuki’s sake and his pet’s sake.
Katsuki didn’t want to have a conversation with Izuku and Kirishima at the same time until he’d figured the rest of it out first.
He walked through his frozen breath and made his way to the hill he usually ran into the hybrid at.
Alone, Katsuki took the time to survey the area, pulling up his hands to warm his hands through his gloves with his breath.
“I’m going to save you some trouble,” a voice said.
Katsuki turned and came face to face with another wild hybrid, though this one was part deer. The man had shaggy blue hair and bags under his eyes that were almost as dark as his hair. Two large antlers came from his head and he had small deer ears that popped up next to them.
His hoof dug in the dirt and he yawned, scrunching his nose. “Izuku’s not in the woods.”
“Then where is he?” Katsuki asked. “Did he go back to town?”
“Yup,” the deer hybrid said. He cracked a sly smile and his brow rose. “If I had to guess, he went looking for you.”
Katsuki smacked his face with his hand and groaned. “I said we were going to talk today, but I didn’t specify where.”
He couldn’t blame Izuku for going to town, either. Katsuki had said the conversation would be between him, Kirishima, and Izuku and Kirishima couldn’t go to the woods so to have a conversation with all three of them, it had to be in town.
But where Katsuki had planned to meet Izuku in the woods and then drive him back, he’d forgotten to tell Izuku that.
“You only missed him by like ten minutes,” the deer hybrid said. He threw his thumb over his shoulder toward a denser part of the woods in the direction of town. “I think he went that way to gather some bark and snacks for the road.”
“Thanks,” Katsuki said. He rubbed his hands together and trotted the indicated direction. “Maybe I can catch him before he gets to the road. Thanks—what’s you name?”
“You’re the one Izuku was stealing deer treats for, right?”
“The one and only.” Shinsou smiled again, all teeth and amusement. He took a few steps the other direction and held his hands up as he walked away. “Good luck.”
Katsuki waved at the hybrid as he left and picked up his pace into a light jog. If Izuku was really moving, Katsuki would have to run to catch up with him. If he was smart, he’d turn around and go to the car. A quick drive would beat the hybrid to town if he was running.
Hares were fast, but they weren’t known for stamina.
But if Izuku was gathering bark or food, he might have paused and Katsuki would still have his chance to catch up.
Katsuki sped up, turning his jog into a light run as he weaved through the trees. He looked around for any sight of green or white fur in the distance. Katsuki knew Izuku had to be around here somewhere. What he wouldn’t give for Kirishima’s nose right about—
His foot dropped into a section of soft dirt, sinking enough that it tripped him. He fell hard and hissed, feeling his ankle twist. Katsuki smacked his forehead into the ground, gasping at the pain.
“That’s a sprain,” Katsuki said, sucking in air through his teeth. He’d done it once before while playing with Kirishima in high school. A game of tag ended in a trip in the backyard with an easy sprain that healed in two weeks. This, however, hurt a whole lot more than that. “Okay, let’s see how bad it is.”
Katsuki twisted so he could sit up and carefully removed his foot from the hole. He rolled up the cuffs of his jeans and placed a finger down the side of his hiking boot to check for signs of swelling.
The slightest touch hurt and Katsuki knew he was screwed.
“Great,” Katsuki said. He shoved the leg of his pants back down and turned to grab the side of a tree, hauling himself up. “Please don’t be bad enough that I can’t walk.”
Katsuki tested his weight and the pain shot up his leg hard enough to make him gasp. He immediately leaned on his other leg and rested against the tree.
There was no way he was walking on that.
His cold breath continued to gather outside of his face and he looked around the empty trees. He saw no one, as he expected, and Katsuki reached into his back pocket to pull out his phone.
“No signal.” Katsuki stared at the device. That didn’t make sense. Katsuki always had a signal out in the woods. He’d spot checked nearly the entire forrest to make sure that he could get help if needed. “It figured I’d twist my ankle in the one dead spot in the entire woods.”
Katsuki held his phone by his side and breathed out.
His ankle hurt, but he needed to find a spot with a signal so he could call for help.
Kirishima would never forgive him if he froze in the woods because of a twisted ankle while looking for a hare.
Sorry about that wait after that cliffhanger, but we’re back! Thank you for reading!
“What do you mean he’s not here?” Izuku asked, glaring at the mongrel that opened the door. Izuku did not want to deal with Katsuki’s pet when all he wanted was to get things straight with the hiker. “He said we were going to talk.”
The dog huffed and his ears were flat and glued against his head as he glared. He shared Izuku’s irritation with the situation. “And he left early to go see you in the woods.”
Izuku dropped his ears and took a step back, crossing his arms over the apron he’d remembered to wear into town. Not having to hide from everyone did make things easier as he strolled down the street and was mistaken for a pet—even if he grew more and more frustrated no one noticed he was a hare and not a rabbit.
“I guess I should wait here for him then,” Izuku said, breathing out. “I’m sure he’ll figure out I’m not there when I don’t come to greet him.”
“Or I could call him,” the pet said. He pulled out his phone and pressed a button and held it near his head. The small speaker rang as they waited. “That way we can get this talk over with.”
“You have no complaints from me,” Izuku said.
The two of them waited as the phone continued to ring until it eventually clicked and Katsuki’s voice replayed a small request to leave a message and he’d get back to you.
“That’s odd,” the dog hybrid said, staring at his phone. He clicked the button again and it dialed once more. “He always picks up.”
They tried two more times before the dog shoved the phone back in his pocket and his ears flicked back up. “Something’s wrong.”
The hybrid grabbed a coat and a pair of keys, locking the door behind him. Izuku followed, not willing to be left behind. The mutt headed down the hallway with intention and nearly broke into an all fours run by the time they left the building.
“I know the fastest way there,” Izuku said. He didn’t want to help the dog, but if something had happened to Katsuki, Izuku wouldn’t mind abusing the dog’s nose. “If we’re running.”
The dog looked over his shoulder and shook his head. “I can get us a ride that’ll be much faster.”
Izuku drew his ears back, but followed the dog. Both of their instincts told them speed took priority over their pride.
Izuku found himself shoved in the back seat of a small car while the mutt and his friend his friend sat up front. They sped toward the hiking area of the woods with little regard for traffic laws and while they were moving faster, Izuku wished he’d ran.
His stomach twisted as they took a sharp corner and he dug his forehead into the side of the car door, praying they stopped soon.
The driver, a woman with bright pink hair named Mina Ashido, gave Izuku little attention as she kept driving. “So Bakugou’s not answering?”
“No, he still hasn’t picked up,” the dog hybrid said. He stared at his phone, his breathing growing heavier as they remained out of contact. “I’m really worried.”
“I’m sure Bakugou’s fine,” the woman said. She reached over and patted the dog hybrid’s head and ruffled his hair. “He’s a tough guy.”
“Toughness can’t fight against the weather.”
Izuku gathered himself enough to sit up and look out the window. The three of them went quiet as soft snow started to fall.
He looked down at his own white fur crawling up his limbs and breathed out. He’d forgotten that winter had arrived.
And humans didn’t have naturally high body temperatures or fur to keep themselves warm.
“Drive faster,” Izuku whispered.
“You got it, rabbit,” the woman said.
She slammed on the gas and Izuku didn’t care to correct her.
He was too worried to care.
The dog took the lead when they left the car. He went straight to Katsuki’s car, breathed in and stopped. He closed his eyes and exhaled. Izuku stood by him, watching and ready to move when he did.
After a second the dog’s eyes shot open, his pupils sharp and his ears forward. The dog growled under his breath and shot forward, running on all fours.
Izuku followed, matching the pace with ease. He yanked the apron off when it got in the way of his third jump and tossed it aside.
“Hey! Wait up!” the woman yelled, but neither hybrid listened.
The dog hybrid didn’t talk and put all his efforts into following the scent trail of his master. Izuku picked up traces of Katsuki’s scent himself as they ran, confirming the dog’s nose was worth its salt.
When they got a mile in, Izuku picked up a trace of Shinsou mixing in as well and frowned—what would the deer hybrid want with Katsuki? He avoided humans more than Izuku did.
He put his thoughts aside as they kept moving and the deer hybrid’s scent disappeared. They may have interacted, but Katsuki moved on by himself.
Izuku looked around as he recognized the area of the woods they were in. This was his usual path to the city—Shinsou must have given Katsuki directions to find him. He hated humans, but even Shinsou would help a lost hiker. But if that was the case, why didn’t Katsuki make it to the city? Why was his scent so strong in the woods still?
“This way!” The dog hybrid picked up his pace and sprinted. “He’s close!”
Izuku picked up the increased smell of the hiker as well. He moved up to the dog’s side and looked around for any sign of Katsuki. The dog did as well, slowing down to put his nose closer to the ground. He put his hands in the dirt, his fingers clawing against the fallen leaves and breathed out in heavy puffs of white breath.
“Where is he?”
The dog kept his ears forward as he stopped, listening and looking around. He took a few steps and kept sniffing the air. Izuku went in the other direction, following the scent that covered the small area. He stopped by a tree, putting his hand on the bark and leaning close.
He found a blond hair and pulled it off. Izuku held it up and yelled to the dog. “He was here!”
Renewing the scent, the pet looked around before pinpointing the direction he went. Izuku followed and they both moved another twenty feet until they found an incline.
“Katsuki!” The dog hybrid yelled first. He slid down the hill, rushing to the human’s side at the bottom. Izuku hopped to the other side of the human, allowing the pet to pull him up and take his pulse with his own furry fingers. “Be okay, please be okay.”
Izuku watched small breaths leave the man’s mouth, but his skin had turned pale and the falling snow clung to his hair and lashes.
“We need to get help,” the dog said. He checked his phone and cursed at the screen. “No signal. That explains why he didn’t call for help.”
The other hybrid picked the man up and draped him across the dog’s shoulder with ease into a fireman’s carry. The dog looked to Izuku and asked, “Do you know where we are? What’s the fastest way back to the ranger station?”
“This way,” Izuku said. They switched positions and Izuku took the lead as they made their way back to the trails and the public area of the woods. They had to move slower with the dog hybrid unable to run on all fours with Katsuki on his back, but he showed no signs of exhaustion and his strength did not waver. Izuku breathed out and ran through his solid breath. “It’s not too far.”
The two made their way to the station in silence, both listening to the sound of Katsuki’s wet breaths and weak heartbeat.
Thank you for reading!
Katsuki did not want to open his eyes.
Disinfectant tickled his nose and cheap sheets scratched on his skin. Since the last thing he remembered was his face smacking into a pile of wet leaves on the ground of the woods, it was safe to say he was somewhere in a hospital.
Though he had to wonder what random hiker or wild hybrid managed to find him.
The only way to discover this information, as much as he dreaded to admit it, was to open his eyes and alert the nearest nurse or doctor that he was awake. He groaned and shifted on the blanket, wishing he had another option.
“Katsuki!” Kirishima shouted. Katsuki’s eyes shot open as the dog smacked into the bed, with one furred hand on either side of his face as the dog hybrid hovered over him. Kirishima’s eyes watered at the edges and his limp hair hung in his face. “You’re awake!”
“Hey, mutt,” Katsuki said. He reached up and put his hand on Kirishima’s head, ruffling his hair between his ears. They were held tight against his head and the dog leaned into the touch. “Did I scare you?”
“You jerk!” Kirishima yelled. He dropped his head down and rested it on Katsuki’s chest. He sniffed and his entire body shook in heavy tremors. “You could have died! What were you thinking?”
“That I was sure I had checked the cell reception in all of the forrest,” Katsuki answered. Kirishima hit him in the chest, not appreciating the joke. Katsuki patted him on the head and rested it there. “I’m sorry you were worried, but accidents happen.”
“Which is why you shouldn’t go hiking alone,” Kirishima said. He sat his chin on Katsuki’s chest and glared. He slipped away and sat back down in the chair, but kept both hands on the edge of the mattress. “What would you have done if Izuku and I didn’t find you?”
“You were with Izuku?” Katsuki asked.
“Yeah,” Kirishima said. Katsuki’s pet gave him a short rundown of how Izuku had showed up at their apartment, followed by their frantic race back to the forrest to find him. Kirishima’s ears flattened further against his head and he nodded his head toward the window. “He’s here, too, but they wouldn’t let him in the hospital without tags.”
Forcing himself to sit up through his aching body, Katsuki scooted to the edge of the mattress. He steadied himself on the edge and leaned over to look outside, and sure enough, he spotted the hare huddled next to a tree on the edge of the hospital grounds. Out in the open and wearing a pink shirt he thought he’d seen Mina wear a week or two ago, he stared at the ground.
He tapped the window a few times with his knuckles and watched the hare hybrid’s ears pop up on his head. Katsuki tapped harder and smiled as the Hare’s face scrunched in annoyance. Two more knocks got the Hare to look up. Izuku’s chest expanded as he sucked in a shocked breath and his shoulders fell in relief.
Katsuki waved at the hare and Izuku waved back.
Before he could open the window, however, a nurse arrived and demanded that Katsuki get back properly into bed.
The hare laughed at him from the ground from the corner of Katsuki’s eye as the nurse ushered him away from the window with a firm shove.
Two days of a worried dog never leaving his side and visits from his friends—in which he confirmed that Mina had lent Izuku a few outfits so he could stay closer to Katsuki in town—he was finally allowed out of the hospital.
Kirishima put his nose to use and helped Katsuki find where Izuku had wandered in town to keep himself busy while Katsuki had been trapped inside. He found Izuku hanging out in a small park near the hospital, full of trees and greenery.
The dog hybrid showed an odd amount of consideration for the hare hybrid’s feeling, considering their tense relationship, and gave them some space so they could speak alone. Kirishima went for a jog and Katsuki came face to face with the hare hybrid he’d been watching from a window for two days.
“Katsuki!” The hare yelled. He hopped over, tripping himself for a moment on Mina’s large board shorts, before tackling Katsuki in a hug. He squeezed hard and dug his sharp claws into Katsuki’s back. If he held on any harder, he’d draw blood. “You’re okay! The stupid humans wouldn’t let me in to see you.”
“Hey, Bunny,” Katsuki said. It spoke of how worried the hare had been when he didn’t correct the teasing nickname and squeezed harder. Katsuki lifted his arms and hugged him back. “I’m sorry I worried you.”
“I’m so mad at Shinsou,” Izuku muttered into his chest. “He should have gone with you.”
Katsuki squeezed Izuku and broke the hug. He held the hybrid by his shoulders and exhaled. “You really think a wild hybrid was going to follow around a hiker he has no interest in?”
“He should if he still wants to get those deer treats he likes so much,” Izuku said, narrowing his eyes. “He knew who you were. That should have been enough.”
“You can bring that up with him later,” Katsuki said, deciding to stay out of that conversation. He reached up and rubbed Izuku’s head around his ear, petting him gently. “Thank you for helping Kirishima find me. I really owe you two my life.”
“I’m just glad you’re okay,” Izuku said. He stepped back and held his hands at his waist. His ears dropped and he reached up to grab his shirt and stretched the fiber. “You were so cold. I didn’t think you’d ever be warm again.”
“I’m okay,” Katsuki said. “Though I think I’m done with hiking for the season.”
“Oh,” Izuku said. He looked to the side, his face falling. Izuku dropped his arms at his side and his ears twitched. “That means I won’t see you until spring.”
“Does it?” Katsuki asked. He crossed his arms and looked around the square. “It’s not great for me to go running around in the cold in the woods, but is there a reason you can’t visit me?”
“Visit you?” Izuku asked.
Katsuki scratched the back of his neck and pressed his lips together. “You’ve already come into town to see me, why not a few times more? It’s not like I’d kick you out of my apartment if you dropped by.”
Izuku rubbed his fingers together and his breath picked up. The hare reached up and grabbed his ear, rubbing his fingers back and forth on the white fur near the black tips. “What about your dog?”
“He’d be there, too,” Katsuki said. “Is that a problem? I was under the impression after your team-up to save me that you were at least civil with each other now.”
“That’s not what I’m concerned about,” Izuku said. He took a step closer and pushed up on his hind legs, stretching until he was eye to eye with Katsuki. He put his hands on Katsuki’s chest and leaned in until their breath mingled. “Being out in the woods together meant that we were alone.”
Katsuki held his breath.
The air felt heavy with new tension as Izuku’s warm body heated the air around them. He moved a leg forward and his thigh brushed against Katsuki’s leg.
“I had a nest under a rather nice tree I wanted to show you,” Izuku said. The hare dropped away and Katsuki’s face followed him, hoping to close the distance but he missed. He swung his arms out to get his balance out before he fell forward and that cheeky hare smiled as he stood a few feet away after a confident hop. “It kills the atmosphere if your pet is hanging around.”
Kirishima watching would put a damper on the whole “make out with the hare” thing Katsuki had on the forefront of his mind after having those lips so close to his own.
“He doesn’t have to be home,” Katsuki said. The hare leaned on his back leg, looking like he wanted to get chased. He could do that. Katsuki moved toward him, not surprised when the hare hopped away when he arrived where the hybrid had been standing. “Kirishima has his own friends he can visit while you’re over.”
“Absolutely,” Katsuki said.
He moved closer, taking slow steps. When Katsuki got too close the hare hopped away again with a laugh and an even more blunt “come hither” look. Katsuki felt his heart race with the game and felt glad they were alone in the deserted park. Izuku prepped to jump again as Katsuki made another move for him, but instead of going where the hare had been, Katsuki paid attention to his legs.
When the hare jumped, Katsuki darted that direction and managed to catch the Hare, pushing him up against the nearest tree. He boxed the hare in with both arms and Izuku looked like he didn’t mind. The hare’s chest rose and fell in anticipation and he licked his lip.
“And if that fails, my bedroom door has a lock,” Katsuki said, dropping the hints and teasing for blunt intentions. “No offense, but I bet my mattress is better than leaves on the ground.”
“I guess we’ll have to test both and find out.” Izuku reached up and drummed his fingers on Katsuki’s chest. “Your place in the winter and mine in spring.”
Katsuki reached up and touched Izuku’s cheek. He brushed his fingers over the freckles and felt the hare tremble with want. “How about we start today?”
“Today is good.” Izuku put a clawed finger through one of Katsuki’s belt loops and pulled down. “Today is very good.”
“Good for what?” Kirishima asked.
Izuku groaned and smacked the back of his head into the bark of the tree and crossed his arms. He used the hand closest to the tree to rip off a piece of bark and stuffed it in his mouth. Izuku chewed while Katsuki slowly leaned away and put himself in a less compromising position.
“Kirishima,” Katsuki said. He looked at the scowling hare and over at his equally scowling dog. It would be in his best interest to stay honest—he’d kept enough things secret when it came to his pet and the hare. “How mad would you be if I asked you to visit a friend for a few hours so Bunny here and I could have some alone time.”
His pet flicked his tail and huffed. Kirishima looked away with red on his cheek and a frown. “I’d be irritated, but it’d be better than sticking around.”
Katsuki owed Kirishima all the treats he could eat.
And a new toy of his choice.
Or whatever else his dog wanted.
“I’ll go visit with Mina,” Kirishima said. “She wanted an update on how you were doing, anyway. I’ll be sure to let her know you’re healthy enough for physical activity, so she shouldn’t worry.”
Katsuki brought the hare back to his place in record time.
“This won’t work.”
Katsuki looked over his shoulder with his shirt on his arms after pulling it over his head. Izuku stared at his bed with his shoulders high and his face twisted in disgust. Mina’s borrowed shirt stayed in place along with her board shorts, but whether he could see it or not, Katsuki knew the hare was far from aroused.
“What won’t?” Katsuki asked, tugging his shirt off. He dropped it on the edge of the bed and stared at the hare still standing on the edge. Izuku continued to look unsure and took a step away from the bed. “Did you change your mind?”
“No,” Izuku said. He growled under his breath and pulled the collar of Mina’s shirt up over his nose. “Your entire apartment smells like your dog, including the bed.”
Katsuki picked up the edge of his sheet and sniffed it. He could smell Kirishima’s fur and if he could, it had to be worse for the hybrid with enhanced senses. “I didn’t think about that.”
“I was hoping I could ignore it,” Izuku mumbled into the fabric of the shirt. He pressed it hard against his nose and glared at the bed. “But it’s worse than I thought.”
The hare looked miserable. Katsuki couldn’t appreciate the cute glimpse of his belly from the raised shirt when Izuku looked ready to jump out a window to get away from Kirishima’s scent.
Katsuki sat on the edge of his bed.
It was too cold outside to get naked—no matter how much body heat they might generate—and they couldn’t stay in Katsuki’s room.
He couldn’t bring Izuku to a hotel, either. A wild hybrid with no tags would never be let in the door of a large business.
Asking a friend if they could use their bed was such a bad idea, Katsuki scratched that possible move of desperation from his list of options.
“I wonder how much an outdoor heater costs,” Katsuki muttered into his hands. That could solve the cold problem, but he didn’t have a patio or yard to put one up. They’d still have to go out into the woods and a fire was no go, so he’d have to have an electric one. “Or if battery powered ones exist.”
Not that the rangers would allow Katsuki to have one of those. They didn’t allow camping, so they’d hardly let him drag that sort of thing up there.
“I don’t suppose you’ll just get used to the scent if you stay exposed to it long enough?” Katsuki asked. “I mean we could try it anyway.”
Izuku threw Katsuki’s shirt at him and stomped out the bedroom door.
Izuku has been one grumpy hare since that last update. I can’t really blame him. Hopefully I make it up to him soon. XD
Thanks for reading!
“Why did he have to own a dog!” Izuku exclaimed. He kicked the tree hard enough to rattle it, sending a group of birds into flight. Shinsou rolled his eyes at him from the other side, sitting in the dirt with a tourist book he’d found at a hiker’s campsite. Izuku ripped a piece of bark off and shoved it in his cheek while he chewed. “Why couldn’t this pet have been something that wasn’t a predator?”
“Like a bunny?”
“Don’t start with that. You lost your teasing privileges.” Izuku hopped around the tree and kicked Shinsou in the thigh. “You’re still in trouble for letting Katsuki run around the woods by himself!”
“He does it every day,” Shinsou said, unimpressed. His eyes followed the lines of the book and he flipped a page. “The man’s a hiker and he was wandering around the woods alone long before he met you.”
“You don’t know that.”
Shinsou shot Izuku a look over the top of his book, tilting his head in a way that showed off the bags under his deadpan eyes.
Izuku pouted and dropped onto the ground next to him. He held his feet, brushing his fingers along the white fur covering his legs. His green was almost gone and he wasn’t looking forward to the winter weather.
He’d barely get to see Katsuki at all during the winter season as long as that dog was still there.
“Maybe you two could sneak into the ranger station after dark,” Shinsou said. He flipped the page. “They have cots for injured and sick hikers while they wait for help.”
Izuku lowered his ears and crossed his arms over his knees. He knew all about those cots thanks to Katsuki. Izuku put his head on his arms and huffed. “I think that’d kill the mood worse than his dog.”
Shinsou nodded looked up and scrunched his nose in thought. “You’ve got a point.”
“Any other bright ideas?”
“Nope. You’re the one that wants to sleep with a human, not me.”
Izuku sprawled on his back and glared at the sky.
He hadn’t seen Katsuki in two days, too embarrassed to go crawling back after he’s stormed out in an aroused huff over something like a sensitive nose.
“I miss him.”
“Then go see him, you idiot.”
It was that easy, wasn’t it?
Izuku snorted and got to his feet. Dog or not, he wanted to see Katsuki. He nudged Shinsou’s side with the tip of his bottom paw and huffed. “Don’t be too lonely without me.”
“Never.” Shinsou flipped another page. He tilted his head back to rub his antler on the bark, sending a handful of scraps to the ground. “Don’t forget to steal some new clothes. That outfit you were wearing before didn’t suit you.”
“I’m on it!”
He left the deer hybrid behind and made a pit stop at a tourist stand down the road from the park.
The other hybrids in town could tell Izuku wasn’t a pet. They kept their mouths shut as he walked by, but most of them gave him a wary glance before they went about their business with their owners.
They might not have been able to distinguish a rabbit from a hare, but domestic pets knew a wild animal when it was around.
Izuku forced himself to stay calm as he walked by, staying clear of the dogs and cats that looked at him just a tad too long. It’d been much easier to walk these streets out in the open when he’d been wracked with worry over Katsuki or had the human by his side.
Now he had neither and his senses remained on full alert.
“Two more streets,” Izuku said under his breath. “Two more streets and you can see Katsuki.”
He adjusted the stolen pair of shorts under the loose t-shirt and went to all fours to hop faster though the crowd. He’d considered picking up a cheap collar to improve the act, but the thought of having something like that around his neck made his insides twist.
He was not a pet.
Izuku would never be a pet.
After a furious dash down the street, doing his best to avoid humans, hybrids, and animal pets alike, Izuku stopped outside Katsuki’s apartment building. He slipped inside and hopped up the stairs, hoping that the other man was home.
That phone his pet dog had would have come in handy for checking.
Or at least the free phones down by the ranger station.
As Izuku waited outside Katsuki’s door, he made a mental note to grab the man’s phone number in some way before he left.
“Katsuki’s not home,” Kirishima said, opening the door for Izuku. His ears fell flat against his head, but he took a step back to let Izuku in all the same. His tags on his collar jingled as he moved and Izuku’s eyes darted to the movement. “He went to visit a friend.”
“He didn’t take you with him?” Izuku asked, rather curious. Katsuki and his pet hybrid had seemed joined at the hip the last time he checked. “That’s odd.”
Kirishima shrugged and shut the door. “Not really. He asked if I wanted to come and I said no.”
“Am I not allowed to want a quiet afternoon for naps?” Kirishima asked. He huffed, flicking his tail back and forth. “Besides, Katsuki’s been a bad mood, so I’m giving him some space.”
Izuku stood, stretching the stolen shirt in his hands. His claws picked at the fabric and he wrung it in his hand. He should leave. Izuku would get Katsuki’s phone number from his dog and come back later when he knew the guy would be home.
But he had wanted to see him.
“You might be able to help with that, though,” Kirishima said. He tapped closer and crossed his arms, ears still back and face pouting. “Did you two have a fight or something?”
“Yeah.” Kirishima reached up and scratched the back of his neck over the collar, jingling the tags together. “Because you two came together ready to jump each other, but when I got home, it was clear that you two didn’t sleep together, that you’d left, and Katsuki was upset.”
Izuku pulled his own ear down, wishing he’d stuffed bark in his pockets to chew. “How do you know we didn’t sleep together?”
Kirishima narrowed his eyes and pointed at his nose. “How do you think?”
“Right,” Izuku said. He let go of his ear and crossed his own arms to match. “Why do you think we had a fight though?”
“I can’t think of anything else it would be,” Kirishima said, tilting his head. He rubbed his arm, and scraped his paw on the bottom carpet. The agitation drifted off him, almost enough to smell the nerves from his pores. “He won’t tell me what happened.”
The expression “looked like a kicked dog” came to mind and Izuku dropped his arms.
“Katsuki didn’t want to hurt your feelings, I bet.” Izuku waited for Kirishima to look up and he schooled his face to keep it from looking too disgusted. “The bedroom smelled so much like you, it killed the mood. We couldn’t think of a solution and I left in a huff when he asked if we could power through it anyway.”
“Does it bother you that badly?” Kirishima asked. “I mean, I guess I kinda get it. It’d be like having sex with the person in the room, but it’s still just a scent. The sex would cover it up fast enough, wouldn’t it?”
“Not yours,” Izuku admitted. He rubbed his arm again, forcing his nerves to stay calm. “You’re a predator and I’m a prey species. Every instinct in my body wants to sprint out the door right now.”
“Oh,” Kirishima said. He frowned and looked at the ground. His ears flattened so hard agains this head, the black fur got lost in the dyed red hair. “So you’re scared like the bunnies at the pet store.”
“I’m not scared. Your’e not going to do anything, but you can’t fight instincts.”
“I get it,” Kirishima said. He laughed and moved to flop on his couch. He hugged a pillow, rubbing more of his scent everywhere on the pillow as loose fur shed. “I have killed many a rabbit in my day, so maybe you can just sense it.”
“I’m not a rabbit.”
The dog hybrid burst out laughing at Izuku’s angry declaration and rolled over onto his back. “Katsuki’ll be back in like an hour or two. If my scent is bothering you that bad, do you want to come back then? I’m sure he’ll want to see you.”
“I can stay,” Izuku said. He tapped to an area of the living room that smelled the most like Katsuki and sat in a chair. “I don’t have anywhere else to go.”
“Want to watch anything?” Kirishima dug around for a remote and turned on the television. “Do wild hybrids even watch television?”
“No,” Izuku said. He huffed and scrunched into the cushion, glad there appeared to be at least one chair that the dog didn’t use. He smushed his nose into the cushion, smelling in Katsuki. “Pick whatever you want.”
“What’re you two doing?” Katsuki asked. He shut the door behind him and a grocery bag tapped against his leg. He walked further into the living room and stared between Izuku and Kirishima. “Are you wrestling?”
“He wouldn’t cough up the remote,” Izuku said, staring down the human. He twisted his arm and growled when the dog’s hold wouldn’t budge. “He won’t change the channel.”
“The hare said I could pick the channel, so I did,” Kirishima said, his eyes full of laughter. “It’s not my fault he can’t stand nature documentaries.”
The human looked at the television and tilted his head as the show droned on about a heard of rabbits in a burrow.
“I think you’d like a show that knew the difference between a rabbit and a hare, Bunny,” Katsuki said. He walked over and plucked the remote out from between them and changed the channel to a cooking show. “Either way, I’ve had enough of the woods for this season.”
The human helped himself to a seat on the couch between the two of them and turned his head to Izuku.
“Hey,” he said. “I wasn’t sure I’d see you at the house again. I figured I’d have to go visit you out in the woods whenever Kirishima let me out of his sight longer for two hours.”
The dog in question shoved Katsuki in the arm with a huff before curling on his side. He dropped his head onto Katsuki’s thigh with intention, but turned his head toward the screen. His tail flicked, quiet but making it clear he was still there listening.
“I hadn’t planned on it,” Izuku admitted. “But a certain deer hybrid talked me into it.”
“Did he get tired of your whining?” Katsuki teased. “I’m sure you complained about me.”
Izuku snorted and lied through his teeth, “No.”
Katsuki saw right through it and said, “Sure.”
He threw an arm over the back of the couch, neatly around Izuku’s shoulders. He leaned closer and huffed, resting against the humans chest. The smell of his pet hybrid continued to burn his nose, but with Katsuki there, he could push it to the back of his mind.
The human was warm and Izuku found himself content enough to ignore the discomfort and continue snuggling.
Before he knew it, Izuku had fallen asleep on the man’s chest and woke the next morning with a blanket over his shoulders.
It reeked of dog, ruining the thoughtful gesture, but Izuku smiled anyway.