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Needful Creatures

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Yuzu hadn't promised to be good. Cats do not make such promises. Oh, he pretended when Javi was around, so he could get pets. But the second Javi stepped out for some groceries, Yuzu went where he was not supposed to -- the living room. 

Shoma crouched, munching on lettuce. He had been building a burrow of paper and he knew Yuzu was coming. He should've perhaps been more worried, for Yuzu was a formidable hunter, but he knew he was fast enough and small enough to evade Yuzu. Or, at least he hoped. 

He wouldn't hear Yuzu come up behind him, nor smell him. It was only the red slash of claws across his haunch that told him: Yuzu was here.

Shoma sprang forward, scurrying into the bedroom and wiggling under the bed. Yuzu was not far behind, tearing at Shoma, snagging his claws on his collar. But the bed was safe, because not even Yuzu could fit under it, and so he paced outside, claws scraping against the carpet. He was waiting for Shoma to grow anxious, to bolt. 

The last time he bolted, Yuzu caught him and mauled him, flaying soft skin.

Yuzu growled, swiping beneath the bed. 

Finally, the door to their apartment opened and Shoma heard Javi's cheerful voice. He nearly did bolt, into the arms of their caring master. But he hunkered in his corner and waited. 

"Yuzu? Shoma? Where are you?" Javi called, his voice moving through the living room and then into the bedroom.

Yuzu sat licking his paw nonchalantly, as if he had nothing to do with the cowering bunny beneath the bed. 

Javi peered under the bed. 

"Yuzu, what did you do."

Javi produced the water bottle and Yuzu hissed. 

"Bad kitty," Javi scolded as he sprayed a very sour looking Yuzu.

He took Yuzu by his collar and locked him in his kennel, where Yuzu mewed piteously.

"I don't believe anything you say," Javi retorted. 

He returned to the bedroom and crouched on the floor. 

"It's okay, Shoma," he cooed. "Yuzu is in kitty jail."

Shoma hesitated until the warm sandalwood scent of Javi's aftershave drew him out. 

"There's a good bunny," Javi said. "Oh, Yuzu scratched you. Let's go clean it."

Javi picked Shoma up. He only wriggled a little while Javi carried him to the bathroom, where he cleaned and applied antiseptic cream to his scratches. 

"Shoma," Javi said. "I am going to count to three and you will not be a bunny, okay? One, two, three."

He said it slowly, each number like a veil that Shoma crossed through until he was on Javi's lap, naked, in the bathroom. 

"Hola mi amorcito," Javi said, holding Shoma close and stroking his back.

Eventually, Javi took off his collar and dressed Shoma, and then gave him some orange juice. Shoma drank in the kitchen while Javi soothed Yuzu out of his kennel and then subspace. 

They all sat at the kitchen table.

"You have to stop attacking Shoma," Javi said. 

Shoma grinned. 

"I like it."

"See?" Yuzu said. 

Javi sighed. 

"Just a few scratches. Not like last time," he said finally.

"I liked --"

Javi silenced Shoma with a look. 

"I know what's best for you. Both of you. And you will obey."

Shoma and Yuzu nodded.

They all ended up cuddling on the couch, and though neither Shoma nor Yuzu were Javi's pets at that moment, there was something in the way they clung to him: they were needful creatures and he would take care of them.