Four glorious hours of sleep was what nineteen year old Park Jimin got before reality came knocking in the form of a blaring alarm. The angry sound made his ears press against his head and his tail thump angrily against his bed. After a few failed attempts at shutting his phone up he finally succeeded and slumped back against his pillow.
His tired eyes looked around his small one-man dorm room, searching for nothing. Except his will to exist. He had two 3 hour lectures today covering something he didn't care about and after that he had a shift at the café he worked part time at. And then of course after that he would have to study late into the night and repeat this cycle the following day. He sighed.
Jimin was tired. Tired of what life had given him so far. Cold parents who cared more about his grades and future career and reputation than his happiness. Instead of toys or trinkets they had given him study materials and tutors for his birthdays. Why pay for adventures at a theme park when you can pay for your child's cram school tuition. Don't encourage your child's hopes and dreams when you can force feed them your own. That way you can ensure they will start studying law instead of dance and you will acquire bragging rights for the family gatherings.
He didn't want to become a lawyer. Sure, it paid well and gave him status in society but it was nothing that he was interested in. No Jimin wanted to dance. He wanted to move over the stage with gracious movements and bask in the lights. The young man had found his love for dancing in middle school when their school had invited a dance instructor to teach the kids some moves during P.E. Ever since that day he had tried to dance a little each day in secret and had actually gotten pretty good at it. Sure, he wasn’t the best but he had potential and the discipline to actually become something. He didn't want a life that someone else forced upon him.
After hating life for five minutes and then having to pep talk himself into getting up for another ten he finally made his way over to the bathroom. The bright light over his mirror made him wince. His eyes were still a bit bloodshot from the late night studying he had to do. Four hours of sleep doesn't help much. His golden hair was all over the place and the white cat ears on top of his head twitched a the small sounds coming from the other students rooms. He let out another sigh and jumped into the small shower cubicle.
Being a cat hybrid in this world was hard. The species took up a tiny portion of the world's population, making them rare and exotic. On top of this, Jimin was pretty which attracted more unwanted attention than he felt comfortable with. His school life had been filled with teasing from his fellow hybrids and courting from the humans. Human boys and girls tried everything to win over his heart and had Jimin been a more common hybrid or a human he might have been flattered by the attention, but he knew it wasn't because of his personality they wanted him.
The human boys had watched one too many hybrid-pornos about cat hybrids being feisty but submissive when a human dicked them down well enough. The girls had read too many books involving cat hybrids being possessive and protective over their partners. And so Jimin, being the only cat hybrid in both his middle school and high school, became the chosen one to project their fantasies on. He of course ignored their advances and focused on the grades his parents wanted.
He graduated on top of his class and even though he didn't want to study law, it would surely be better than high school had been, only serious and respectful people studied law.
But no, they were in fact not serious or respectful. They were rich, loud, spoilt, entitled and human. Jimin had walked into his first class with anticipation of finally being treated as an equal, but just as fast as his hopes had appeared they were crushed while looking at his classmates. Every single one of them were human, so now he was not only the only cat hybrid in his class; he was also the only hybrid in his class.
His classmates were almost all chaebol kids, except for a few middle class ones who had gotten accepted through good grades and not bribes. Jimin didn't want to judge a book by its cover so he ignored the million won watches and brand clothes in hopes of finding a friend or two.
They all treated him just like the humans in high school had plus some more. They would touch his ears and tail and ask if he used his claws in bed. Distasteful jokes and remarks filled his days and unfortunately still do 3 months into the semester.
The pretty hybrid quickly got dressed and ate a small breakfast before heading to his first lecture. The sun was out but didn’t really radiate any heat, not that the sun could help warm up this cold city. Ever since Jimin was a child Seoul had been ridden with gangs, corruption and violence. Hearing sirens in the distance less than 10 times a day was unusual and being on your guard during late night walks was normal. The literal top dogs of the criminals was a gang called “The Hounds”. A good majority of the gang were dog hybrids, hence the name, and they were as brutal as they could be. Arson, murder, robbery, money laundry, prostitution and blackmailing were just some of their favorite activities. Everywhere they went they always left behind their signature mark, a dog's growling mouth spray painted on the floor or wall or if they were feeling extra feisty they carved it into their victims skin.
Jimin had never really felt afraid of the gangs when growing up. He had lived in a pretty safe neighbourhood during his life. Of course the worry of something happening to him had always been there but it hadn’t been enough to render him immobile. The fear of being kidnapped and sold into prostitution rings couldn’t stop him from living his sad and boring life.
And talking about his sad and boring life, the newest reason for it being that way was starting to come into view. Seoul National University stood tall and proud and was littered with students, they being here for morning lectures just like himself. Most of the people here were just like him, having dedicated their lives to getting into a SKY university. But they looked happy in contrast to Jimin.
A loud laugh caught his attention and he turned towards the sound. It was another cat hybrid, laughing with her friends. He wasn’t the only cat hybrid on campus incredibly enough. Walking through the crowds he saw at least 10 others who looked like him. Longing for some kind of familiarity clawed at his heart. His throat started to tighten and tears burned behind his eyes as he marched on. I just want to disappear.
“Hey kitty, you look tired.” Minjun, the class’ resident douche whispered in Jimin’s ear as he passed the hybrids seat. The poor boy flinched at the close proximity of the voice and quickly turned to glare daggers at the human. Minjun had for some reason taken a tremendous liking to teasing Jimin. Even though he never responded to the remarks Minjun never grew bored. He was, of course, another one of the population that thought they would be able to warm Jimin’s bed sometime soon. If he hadn’t used the flirting technique of a eleven year old and actually treated the hybrid as an individual, he may have had a shot, but no he messed his chance up during orientation when he felt the need to pull at Jimin’s tail.
The professor soon arrived and started the lecture. Jimin’s brain quickly switched to autopilot and he scribbled down notes with ease. The world would often tune out when he had to do stuff he didn’t like. It had started during high school when he had realized that the life his parents had planned out for him wasn’t what he wanted. His brain shut out his surroundings while still taking them in. He still wrote down everything he needed, keeping up the appearance of a model student, but his consciousness was elsewhere. When he got home from school he would realize that he hadn’t registered a single word his teachers had said and would have to spend the night memorizing his notes as well as cram school material. He couldn't really remember the last time he had a full night's sleep. Probably one of the many times he passed out from pure exhaustion and was so kindly allowed to rest for a day before diving into the endless sea of knowledge once more.
A harsh tug to Jimin's tail pulled him out of his head. A hiss escaped his lips and he looked around for the perpetrator. Minjun stood behind him with a huge grin plastered on his face and hands up in front of him in mock surrender. His friends stood a few meters away, trying to hold their laughter.
“Woah kitty, no need to get angry. Class is over and you were spacing out, thought I'd wake you up” He explained. The hybrids anger doubled at that.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” The human froze at his words, first time hearing anything other than matters surrounding school. Jimin sighed and packed up his things before facing Minjun.”You really are the most insufferable human I've ever met. How hard is it for your tiny little human brain to understand that I, as an individual, want to be treated with respect? Hmm?” The boy chuckled nervously and shot a glance at his friends.
“C'mon Jimin, I was just playing around. Why are you s-” “Just playing around, huh. Save it, I've heard it all my life. I know why you keep annoying me. It's fun to rile the kitty up and you desperately hope that these antics will make me fall for you but Minjun, I can already tell you now that I don't want you or your micro penis anywhere near me.” Jimin shoved into the human when walking away, making him stumble into a nearby table.
Jimin left the auditorium with a bounce to his step and five humans gawking at him.
After eating a light lunch in the university’s cafeteria Jimin made his way to his second lecture. It went pretty much the same as the first, except that Minjun was quiet for once. The human had looked at him from time to time but no words had left his mouth. Hopefully he had finally understood that the hybrid wasn’t interested. By the end of the third hour Jimin was ready to fall asleep. His eyelids were too heavy to keep up and his head nodded every other minute. After the end of class he hurried back to the apartment complex he called home.
As he walked into his dorm room he dropped his bag, shoes and jacket somewhere along the way towards his bed. The soft mattress caught his tired body, engulfing him in warmth and safety. It was around two hours until his shift at the Cafe started so he would be able to nap for a good hour. Having set his alarm he snaked his way under the covers and let the sandman fly him away to the land of dreams.
Jimin liked his workplace. It was a smaller but pretty popular cafe so it almost always had a steady stream of customers. His colleagues were were all hybrids, including his boss, and they actually treated him with respect. Even though their relationship was mostly professional, Jimin felt like they were the only ones he could call friends.
“Jimin, I need to get home and feed the dog, are you okay with closing up the store?” His boss Irene asked him. She was in her late twenties, beautiful as a dream and a successful business owner; AKA an inspiration. To top it all of she was also a cat hybrid. Kinda. Her tiger ears stood fluffy and cute on top of her head, awaiting his answer. Jimin blinked out of his thoughts.
“Yes of course, leave it to me.” He said sending a reassuring smile her way.
“Thank you love, you're the best. See you tomorrow!” She waved and walked through the door leading to their kitchen and back room. Jimin resumed wiping the table he had been working on. Hearing the back door of the café close he let out a sigh. He didn't want to show how exhausted he was in front of his co-workers. Call it pride or a toxic habit from high school but showing weakness has never been something he enjoyed doing. Pushing himself off the table he made his way behind the counter and shut off the lights to the big room. He had checked the front door before he had started cleaning so he knew it was locked. With heavy steps he walked through the kitchen towards the couches in their backroom, throwing the cleaning rag into the sink. It wouldn’t hurt to rest for a little while before locking up, right? He flipped the switch to the lights so that only the street lights illuminated the room. The unnatural light from the fluorescent lamps were giving him a headache. He slumped down into the soft cushions, letting out a groan. Fifteen minutes should be enough to help him power through the night. The clock was only twenty past eight and he had many hours of studying in front of him. His eyes closed shut as he sunk deeper into the soft couch.
“You sure this is the right place?”
Jimin jerked awake at the voice. Still groggy from his nap he sat up looking around the room. The clock on the wall read ten to twelve. What? He had been asleep for over three hours!? What the hell? The hybrid rushed to stand up but his still sleeping limbs made him stumble over and land on his knees.
“Yep this is the place. Let’s just get this over with, I’m beat.” Another voice said, successfully catching Jimin’s attention. He snapped his eyes towards the back door where the sounds were coming from. Who the hell is that and what are they talking about? Jimin’s senses switched to high alert and just now did he pick up a very potent smell coming from the people at the door. Dog hybrids . Panic struck the young man as he scrambled to get behind the couch he had been sitting on just as the door swung open. He was hidden from view as the couch faced the door.
“What the fuck, the door wasn’t even locked.” One of the men said and sauntered inside with his companions. Shit shit shit shit shit this isn’t happening! This is a nice and safe neighbourhood so why are The Hounds here!? Jimin covered his mouth to silence his breathing. Maybe if he’s quiet enough they won’t notice him. But who was he kidding, dog hybrids have an incredible sense of smell and unless they’ve somehow lost their noses or are just plain dumb they already knew that he’s here and where he’s hiding.
“Grab whatever has value, this is a nice place so it should have something at the very least.” The, what he assumed, leader said and several footsteps could be heard around the café. There were at least five of them from what he could tell. Tears started to well up in his eyes as they walked closer to his hiding spot. He was screwed, his phone was in his locker so he wouldn’t be able to call the police or text someone to do it for him, he couldn’t fight them knowing fully well from their smell that they were big breeds. Maybe he could make a break for it? He’s a cat, he’s fast and agile, they’re no match to him! It may not work but it’s worth a try. Jimin moved so that he was squatting, his right shoulder pressed against the back of the couch and positioned so that he could easily start running when the time called for it. The other hybrids were ransacking the place, lifting and throwing stuff around in hopes of finding something worth a few thousand won. It was hard to pinpoint where they all were, if they could just be qui-
“I thought I smelled a kitty.”
Jimin’s blood ran cold. He slowly peered behind him to where the voice had come from. A large bulky cane corso hybrid stood behind him, looking down with glee in his eyes. His heart dropped at the sight. Jimin’s feet moved at an instant pushing him off the floor but instead of running to freedom he ran into the chest of another hybrid. Strong arms caught him, not yielding no matter how much he pushed against the rock hard body. The hybrid pushed him down onto his knees and held his arms at an uncomfortable angle behind his back. The cane corso walked calmly over to him and bent down to his level. His face was covered by a scarf that only showed off the shape of his nose. A strong hand gripped Jimin’s face, tilting it from side to side, inspecting it .
“He’s a pretty one, could make us a small fortune if we auction him off to some rich human.” He said with a bored tone, like this was a regular inspection of some new goods. Tears were streaming down jimin’s face as he struggled to breathe. He was going to be sold to some sick human and be forced to do god knows what.
“Puh-please, l-l-let me go! I-I won’t tell a-a soul that you wuh-were here.” Jimin cried out, sobs wracking through his body. The man looked at him with an unreadable expression, as if he was weighing his options. He let out a sigh and released his grip on the cat’s jaw.
“Well since you ask so nicely, I guess we should consider it.” He said and stood up.
“No, of course not. Knock him out and put him in the van, we will have to ask the boss what to do with him.” He said and returned to looking around for valuables. Jimin started thrashing around, screaming and hissing until something hit the back of his head. A numbness spread throughout his body and clouded his vision until everything turned black.
He would never take a nap again.