His phone rang just as Jungkook slurped up the last of his ramyeon.
It was his cousin Hoseok calling. He picked up.
“Hobi! When did you get back in town? How did it go?”
“Tuesday night. Everything went fine. I think we’re going to move forward with the resort on Jeju.”
“So what’s up?”
“Well, while I was on the island, one of our business partners gave me an insanely expensive gift - a very rare cat hybrid. I guess he really wants to keep doing business with our family. It was clear I couldn’t refuse the gift without insulting the man. And I thought...anyone who would just give away his hybrid as a gift probably isn’t capable of caring for him properly. I had to take him, Jungkook. His name is Jimin. He’s still a kitten really. He lived with me at my hotel for a week and now he’s here with us. He’s adorable. I’d keep him, but, you know, I already have Yoongi. It would be difficult enough for anyone to have two cat hybrids, but with Yoongi being the way he is, it would be impossible. He’s actually been less grumpy about Jimin staying with us than I expected - that’s how cute this little guy is. So, I was thinking you could-”
“I’m really busy with work, Hobi. I don’t think I have time to-”
“You work too much. A guy your age should be having more fun.”
“Listen, you hate clubbing, you hate parties, you hate blind dates. You haven’t dated anyone in ages. Cat hybrids are great company and so much fun. And the sex is amazing. Yes, caring for one does take time and effort, but it’s worth it. I’ve never been happier than I am with Yoongi.
“Jimin is gorgeous, Jungkook. He’s an incredibly rare breed. I had to look it up, I’d never heard of it. They’re prized not just for their beauty, but also their sweet disposition, personality and intelligence. The guy at the licensing office did a double-take when he looked at my paperwork. He couldn’t believe it when I told him Jimin was a gift - said they cost a fortune and he’s never seen anyone come in to register one in his 35 years working there. Everyone at the hybrid clinic swooned over him when I took him in for a checkup. Even the doctor kept going on about how rare and perfect he is. Jungkook, he’s absolutely the sweetest thing. I think he’d be good for you.”
“I don’t know.”
“Just come and meet him. Come over for coffee Saturday.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Jungkook! Hello! Tae, what a nice surprise! Haven’t seen you in a little while!”
“Sorry, I forgot to text you that I invited Tae. I was talking it over with him yesterday and thought maybe he should come meet Jimin, too,” explained Jungkook.
“Of course! Good thinking! Come in!” Hoseok waved them in and then turned to call out, “Minnie! Come on out! Look who’s here!”
Jimin had been getting ready in the guest bedroom where he was staying. Standing in front of his open closet, his tawny kitty ears twitched as his eyes flitted fondly over his fluffiest blue sweater. It was so comfy and he loved it, but maybe it wasn’t nice enough for today. Today is a special day, he thought. He chose a white silk shirt and fitted black trousers. He dressed himself with care while rehearsing over and over what he would say (“Good afternoon,” and “Pleased to meet you,” and “Won’t you come in and have a seat?”) He checked in the mirror that his shirt was all tucked in, his belt buckled and that his silver, dangly earrings and his golden blonde hair were just so. Then he decided he should brush his tail again, even though he’d already done it about twenty times.
When he heard Hoseok call him, he was so eager he dropped his brush right away, grabbed the flowers he had picked that morning, and rushed blindly out into the living room. But then he skidded to a halt, frozen in confusion. Hoseok had said that Jungkook was nice and tall and handsome and he would come today to meet him, maybe agree to take him home. But there were two men standing by the door, both of them were tall and both very handsome.
One was perhaps a little taller - a sandy blonde in a creamy white linen shirt, casually unbuttoned at the collar, with an intricate pattern of colorful flowers and leaves all over it. He had an open, friendly expression on his beautiful face - he felt familiar, comfortable, safe. The other was perhaps more handsome - more muscular, dark-haired, dressed all in black, and not at all familiar. He was certainly harder to read. The way he stared made Jimin feel hot under his skin in a way he’d never felt before.
The friendly one must be my new daddy, thought Jimin. He is so happy to meet me! Jimin got excited again, his tail swished faster from side to side. “Daddy!” he cried as he sprang forward with his arms wide and threw them around Taehyung’s waist, burying his face into his chest. Taehyung’s shirt was very soft and his scent made him think of sun-warmed sand when you wiggle your toes down into it and don’t have a care in the world.
Taehyung grinned, quite amused to have an armful of adorable fluffy kitten hybrid, and was not in too much of a hurry to correct Jimin’s mistake.
“No, Minnie. That’s Taehyung, a friend,” said Hoseok. “Jungkook is the one I thought could take care of you. This is Jungkook.” He placed his hand on Jungkook’s shoulder. Jungkook gave a stiff bow without ever breaking his stare. “And remember? We talked about how you could get to know each other first, before making any decisions?”
“Oh! Yes. Oh.” Jimin blushed furiously as he peeled himself away from Taehyung. “G-good afternoon! My name is Jimin. So pleased to meet you both.” He bowed politely to Taehyung and then to Jungkook. He was so embarrassed, he could barely look Jungkook in the face now. His furry ears flopped forward and even his tail drooped a little in shame.
“Well, hello, cutie. I’m so pleased to meet you, too,” said Taehyung with a warm smile and a bow.
For his part, Jungkook was just as flustered as Jimin. He had already been struck dumb as soon as Jimin entered the room. Jimin was the most exquisite creature he’d ever seen. His fine features, porcelain skin, fluffy golden hair, and delightful little body were sheer perfection. His wide-eyed expression had been adorable when he stood there stock-still in the middle of the living room like a deer caught in the headlights. And now he was looking even lovelier, cuter and sexier with the flush on his cheeks. All Jungkook could do was stare. In the future he would enjoy saying that seeing Jimin for the first time was like being struck by lightning, but at the present it was mortifying.
“I, um, I picked these for you on our walk this morning,” said Jimin. He held out a slightly crushed bouquet of wildflowers. Jungkook took them - his fingers brushed against Jimin’s soft and adorable little hands, causing his throat to seize up and his ‘thank you’ to come out more brusquely than he would have liked. He wanted to add, “They’re very pretty.” But nothing more would come out of his mouth. “Won’t you- won’t you come in a-and have a seat?” stuttered Jimin, tears threatening to well up in his eyes.
“Yes, come in. Come sit down. Make yourselves comfortable. Yoongi’s making some coffee now,” said Hoseok, rubbing the small of Jimin’s back gently to comfort him. “Minnie, why don’t you go get that special snack you made for Jungkook?”
At the mention of the treats, Jimin’s furry ears and tail perked up again. He nodded and smiled as he bounced off towards the kitchen. Cute! thought Jungkook. And that ass! The way it- His thoughts were cut off by Taehyung, who kicked his foot and muttered under his breath: “Stop staring like that! You’re scaring him! Try to act normal!”
They all sat down on some couches in Hoseok’s bright and spacious living room. Jungkook struggled to pull himself together. He took a deep breath and forced himself to relax. They heard rummaging noises, the sound of spritzing and the clinking of glass in the kitchen.
A beaming Jimin reappeared shortly with a tray of stemmed, glass ice cream dishes. The dishes had what looked like enormous swirling towers of whipped cream rising up out of them. Yoongi followed, carrying a tray with cups of steaming hot coffee and some warm milk for Jimin. They set the trays down on the coffee table.
“Whoa! That’s a lot of whipped cream!” laughed Jungkook.
“That’s the best part!” said Jimin, licking his lips at the thought of tasting it (and innocently drawing Jungkook’s attention to his little pink tongue and glossy plump lips). “There’s sugared strawberries in there, too. You can’t really see them right now, but they’re in there. I cut them up myself! Most of them...some of them... Yoongi helped me!”
“I love strawberries! This looks amazing, Jimin!” said Taehyung, grabbing a dish and a spoon.
“We can work on the cooking. Yoongi says he wants to teach him,” said Hoseok.
“He’s just a kitten. Hasn’t got much experience in the kitchen yet, but he can learn. He’s a bright little one,” Yoongi said fondly.
Pleased with the compliments and delighted by the sight of all the pretty treats, Jimin felt less nervous in Jungkook’s presence this time. He moved calmly and elegantly as he offered a dish and spoon to Jungkook. “I hope you like it,” he said softly with a shy smile.
“I’m sure I will.” Jungkook took a spoonful of whipped cream in his mouth (he knew he wouldn’t be able to reach any of the strawberries for a while yet). “It’s delicious, little one.”
Jimin almost froze again. Jungkook’s voice! Even when he was saying something simple and sweet, it was so....what? How could he describe it? Part of him wanted to get down on his knees for him right away, though he hadn’t uttered any such command. Another part just wanted to curl up in his lap and purr. Luckily, he knew that it wouldn’t be good manners to do that right now. Instead, he gave a little tinkling giggle that melted the hearts of everyone in the room.
Jimin settled into his place on the sofa next to Jungkook. He sat primly with his tail across his lap, carefully eating his dessert. He knew sometimes he got messy when he got excited and he wanted to be on his best behavior today. Best behavior, best behavior. For daddy. Not yet! Hobi says not yet! Best behavior.
By now Jungkook had fully recovered and was able to enjoy admiring Jimin from up close. In his eyes, Jimin could not have been more beautiful, adorable, or charming, but what attracted him most was the warmth he radiated into the whole room. He thought about how nice it might be to have that feeling in his own home.
Meanwhile, Jimin was taking every chance he could to peek over at Jungkook. He had long forgotten his initial hesitation about him. Now that Jungkook was talking, laughing, and eating whipped cream, Jimin found him more handsome and attractive than ever.
Taehyung asked about their journey home to Seoul and they talked about Jimin’s first time on an airplane. His owner had given them first-class tickets as a parting gift to Jimin, to pamper him one last time. Jimin found the plane too noisy (he wore his noise-canceling headphones the entire time), but he loved the little tv screens, the reclining seats, his meal presented on a cute little tray. And he was thrilled to see the sparkling blue sea from so high up in the air. He only had to hold on to Hoseok’s hand one time, and that was only when it was so bumpy that the captain turned on the seatbelt sign.
Hoseok got out his phone to show them the photo he took of a smiling Jimin, his cheeks cutely squished by the giant headphones, giving a thumbs up on the plane.
Jungkook smiled at the photo and asked Jimin if he had to cover up his cat ears, too, because of the noise. Jimin just brought his little hands up to his kitty ears as if trying it out and then fell over laughing at the idea of it.
Hoseok explained: “Hybrids use their human ears for hearing. It seems that the cat ears evolved to be decorative, though I would say they’re so expressive they could be considered part of how they communicate. When Yoongi’s are flattened - you know you’d better watch out! And I guess they’re for pleasure, too. That’s important to know - scratching behind the ears is a sure way to make your hybrid happy.”
“Really? You like this, kitten?” asked Taehyung reaching out a hand to scratch behind Jimins’s furry ear. Jimin wiggled in pleasure. “Aw, how cute is that?”
Jungkook glared at Taehyung. “I always thought of you as more of a dog person.”
“I like anything that’s cute,” said Taehyung while looking directly at Jimin. Jimin adored praise and couldn’t help but laugh and smile prettily in response.
“Minnie, could you take this tray back into the kitchen?” asked Hoseok. “And Yoongi, could you help him with loading the dishwasher? Thanks, sweetie.”
When they’d gone, Taehyung felt Jungkook kick his foot under the table. “Stop flirting with him so much, Tae!”
“What? Me? Was I?”
“Well, Jungkook, what do you think?” whispered Hoseok excitedly. He knew Jungkook was quite smitten with Jimin, and Jimin in turn was responding well to Jungkook. He had eyes.
“I think it’s a lot of responsibility...” started Jungkook.
“Maybe I should take him,” said Taehyung.
“You’re not even gay!” cried Jungkook, a little louder than anyone expected.
“But this little kitty has me seriously questioning my sexuality! He’s so pretty. And tiny. And cute. If you don’t want him-”
“I didn’t say that! I do!”
“You do? That’s so great!” cut in Hoseok. “I knew it. I just knew it was a good match! And I’m glad you’re taking it seriously. It is a lot of responsibility. You do have to set boundaries and think about how to create a healthy and happy home for him. But I know you. I know you can do this. And we’ll be right here if you or Jimin need anything - I mean, we live in the same building. This is so great!
“Let’s see, a couple things I should tell you about Jimin: He’s still young and does need a lot of attention at this point. And a lot of affection. Some cat hybrids are aloof (like Yoongi), but Jimin’s the type to need lots of pets and cuddles. I really think he did not get enough of that from his previous owner - from what I could gather, Jimin was given every luxury money could buy, but not what he really needed.
“Also, Yoongi and I have talked to him, and his doctor corroborated this: he hasn’t had sex yet. His owner was pretty old and just was not that interested in him. Even if he had been, Jimin would still have been too young. But his doctor did say that he is showing signs of reaching sexual maturity soon. So you can be expecting that in the near future, maybe even in a few months time.
“Jimin could stay here with us a little longer if you want some time to get your apartment ready for him. You know, set up a room for him, make sure he has a few cozy corners around the apartment to curl up in, that sort of thing. I can help you.”
Yoongi and Jimin returned from the kitchen. Jungkook noticed Yoongi giving Hoseok a smile and a thumbs up before heading back to the kitchen. Perhaps while they were cleaning up he had checked in with Jimin about how he felt and he thought things were going well.
Hoseok jumped up from his seat. “Maybe we should give you two a little time alone,” he said to Jimin and Jungkook. “Actually, it’s a good thing you came, Tae. I just got a new DSLR camera and there’s a couple functions I’m not sure about. Can I show you? It’s in my study.”
“Sure, let’s go.” They headed down the hallway.
“Jimin, would you like to sit with me?” Jungkook patted the space on the couch next to him. Jimin sat down. “Such a pretty kitty.” Jimin smiled.
Jungkook thought about what Hoseok had said about petting Jimin and wondered if he should do it now. He’d never petted a hybrid before. The only hybrid he knew was Yoongi, who probably would have kicked him in the balls if he’d tried it with him.
He reached out slowly so as not to startle him. Unsure where to begin, he put his fingers in Jimin’s hair near his temple and just sort of held onto a lock of his golden hair, feeling it gently between his thumb and forefingers. He marveled at its softness, it was much silkier than human hair.
Jimin melted into his touch. Jungkook’s fingers sank deeper into his hair and grazed his scalp. Jimin lowered his head and nuzzled his hand. It felt amazing. And though Jungkook’s scent was like nothing he had ever smelled before, it was delicious and he wanted more.
Jungkook wanted to coo at Jimin’s response to his touch. He ran his fingers through the silky hair one more time and asked, “Do you like me, kitten?”
“Yes, da-” Jimin started to say - and they both widened their eyes a little in surprise. Jungkook nodded for him to finish, “-ddy.”
“You seem to like that word. Is that what you want to call me?”
“Yes,...” Jimin hesitated and Jungkook nodded again for him to go on, “...daddy,” Jimin whispered. He looked away with a shy smile.
“Can I tell you something?”
Jimin looked back at him and nodded.
“I like it when you call me daddy.”
They took no notice when the others returned, they were too much in their own world. They sat facing each other, elbows propped on the back of the couch. Jungkook’s hand was skimming Jimin’s cheek. If Jimin had been any closer he would have been in Jungkook’s lap.
Their three friends stood awkwardly in front of them for a moment. Then Yoongi clapped his hands together with a big bang, startling them, and said loudly: “Well, it’s getting late. I have to start making dinner. And Jimin was going to help me. So.... uh... leave.”
“That’s no way to talk to a guest.”
“No, it’s okay, he’s right, we have probably invaded your home for long enough,” said Jungkook.
“Yeah, and I actually need to head out now myself. I’m having dinner with my parents tonight,” said Taehyung. “I’ll let you know when I get home, Jungkook, in case you want to talk. Goodbye, little kitty, I hope I see you again soon. Yoongi, Hoseok thanks for the hospitality - wonderful as always. No, no, stay - I’ll let myself out. Have a good evening.”
Jungkook turned to Jimin. “I have to go now, kitten. I can come back to see you... tomorrow?” He looked at Hoseok, who nodded. “Tomorrow, then.”
Jimin looked reluctant to let Jungkook leave, so Yoongi said, “C’mon, Jimin, I’ll show you how to fry a fish. See ya, Jungkook.” Jimin trotted obediently after Yoongi, though his eyes stayed on Jungkook till he was almost out of sight. He paused to give a sad little wave to Jungkook and then disappeared around the corner.
Hoseok walked Jungkook to the door.
“Thank you, Hobi.”
“You’re welcome! It was great having you!”
“No, I mean it - thank you.”
“Oh, of course! This is going to be so great! You’ll see. You have a nurturing side to you, Jungkook. I’ve seen it. And now you’ll get to fully enjoy that part of yourself. I’m so happy for you! So happy for you both!”