Author’s Note: This came about because Kihyun wore a choker that my brain saw as a collar with a little bell on it...everything went downhill from there lol. Special thanks to J for indulging me and helping this story come to be ^-^
Hoseok pouts. “Don’t be like this, Kihyunnie.”
Kihyun’s grey ears twitch at the nickname, but other than that, he continues chopping up the vegetables in front of him.
“Kihyun,” Hoseok whines, hoping that being cute will be enough to get to Kihyun. Even though they’ve barely known each other for a little over six months, Hoseok is fairly certain that Kihyun is weak when it comes to cute things, especially if the way he steals Hoseok’s plushies to sleep with is any indication. Although Hoseok doesn’t seem very cute at first appearance, he knows that he can be cute when he wants to be. And right now, in the face of an annoyed Kihyun, Hoseok has no problem acting cute if it means that it will get Kihyun to be less grumpy.
“That isn’t going to work this time,” Kihyun states, but Hoseok can see his tail starting to sway back and forth slightly, which Hoseok takes as a good sign. Usually when Kihyun lets his tail swing loosely, it means he’s comfortable and not really thinking about it too much.
“Are you sure? Not even if I promise to buy you anything you want within the next week as an apology?”
Now that gets Kihyun’s attention – his tail swishes more and his ears perk right up. Hoseok barely holds in his laughter because if Kihyun heard him, Hoseok would be right back where he started.
“Anything?” Kihyun asks. Hoseok can tell that he’s trying to be nonchalant about it, but it isn’t really working. Especially since Hoseok has noticed him eyeing a few kitchen appliances and pans over the past few weeks when they’ve gone shopping. Hoseok is endlessly endeared over how Kihyun doesn’t like asking for things that aren’t a necessity no matter how many times Hoseok has said that he has more than enough money to buy Kihyun whatever he wants.
“Anything,” Hoseok confirms, smiling when Kihyun puts the knife down and turns towards him.
Kihyun’s eyes are narrowed as he looks Hoseok over, like he’s searching for some kind of lie or trick. He seems to deem Hoseok’s words as truthful, though, for his posture relaxes and he gets a sparkle in his eyes that Hoseok absolutely adores.
“Okay, but you promised,” Kihyun says. Hoseok is certain that he’s already making a mental list of everything he has been wanting but has been to embarrassed to ask for. “So don’t even think about trying to weasel your way out of it.”
Hoseok laughs at that. “Don’t worry, I won’t. Unless you want me to go and get you something at three in the morning, them I’m going to have to decline.”
“What about two in the morning?” Kihyun wonders, a teasing smile on his face.
Humming, Hoseok says, “That’s a tough one, but I’m going to have to decline as well.”
The sweet sound of Kihyun’s laughter rings throughout the kitchen, filling Hoseok with more warmth than any of the blankets he has collected over the years could ever provide him with.
It’s some time later at night, after they’ve eaten dinner, when Hoseok asks, “Did you really not like Minhyuk that much? I thought he was super cute.”
Kihyun makes a noise in the back of his throat at the mention of the puppy hybrid that had been over earlier in the day. Hoseok had thought it would be nice for Kihyun to meet other hybrids, and Hyunwoo’s puppy Minhyuk always loved to meet new people, so he figured it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invite them over. Kihyun had even agreed to it, but seeing how Kihyun seemingly unknowingly curled closer and closer into Hoseok’s lap the entire afternoon, glaring at Minhyuk whenever he got too close, maybe it wasn’t such a great idea after all.
“He was so loud,” Kihyun complains, a frown on his face. “Much too energetic and happy. I think he even tried to kiss my cheek once.” His ears flatten at the memory, and Hoseok shouldn’t really find a sulking Kihyun so cute, but he finds Kihyun entirely adorable right now.
“I think he was just being friendly,” Hoseok replies. He has met Minhyuk multiple times before, and even though he has been tired out every time, he has had fun and enjoyed spending time with both Minhyuk and Hyunwoo.
“Whose side are you on?” Kihyun asks, narrowing his eyes up at Hoseok.
Laughing, Hoseok says, “I’m not picking sides. I’m just pointing out that he’s a friendly guy.”
“That sounds like you’re picking his side,” Kihyun grumbles.
Softening, Hoseok curls the arm he already has around Kihyun’s shoulders a little tighter. “I really am sorry that you were uncomfortable, but I also think that you could’ve been just a little more friendly. Minhyuk really didn’t mean any harm, he just doesn’t know how much energy he really has.”
Kihyun wrinkles his nose in a way that makes Hoseok want to bop it, but he barely holds back. Kihyun really is too cute for his own good sometimes.
After a few silent seconds, Kihyun mumbles, “It isn’t really that.”
Hoseok’s still getting used to the way Kihyun talks, how he only lets bits of information slip out for Hoseok to piece together, but he’s starting to get the hang of it. “What’s bothering you, then?”
Grumbling, Kihyun turns his head slightly to the side and away from Hoseok, his ears twitching in the way that Hoseok recognizes as a nervous gesture. Hoseok waits, not wanting to rush Kihyun in any way. If Kihyun decides that he doesn’t want to share after all, then Hoseok will be okay with that. He doesn’t want Kihyun to ever feel like he’s forced to do or say something for Hoseok’s sake.
Just when Hoseok is about to ask something else to change the subject, Kihyun blurts out, “He was taking up all of your attention!”
Hoseok blinks, completely stunned. Of all the things that he thought Kihyun was going to say, it definitely wasn’t that. He didn’t even really think about it earlier, dropping onto the floor to play video games with Minhyuk like he always does, but now that he thinks about it, maybe he had been a little too engrossed in the game. Kihyun only ever goes outside with Hoseok, much rather preferring to stay inside than anything, and he really only knows Hoseok, so he must have been lonely sitting on the couch. Hoseok has no doubt that Hyunwoo tried to talk to Kihyun, but Hyunwoo has always been kind of hard to talk to if you don’t know him with his adorable, quiet kind of awkwardness. And from his own experience, he knows that Kihyun can be a little prickly upon first meeting, so they probably didn’t get very far into a conversation.
Hoseok must be thinking for too long, for Kihyun starts to wiggle out of his grip, Hoseok scrambling to keep Kihyun in his arms. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I was just thinking. I didn’t mean to make you feel like your worries were invalid or stupid.”
He isn’t entirely sure that’s what Kihyun is thinking at all, despite his inkling, but from the way that Kihyun starts to relax back into the couch cushions and Hoseok’s arms, he figures that he hadn’t been too far off.
“You can always tell me if something is bothering you,” Hoseok says softly. He forgets, sometimes, that they’ve only known each other for months, that they’re in some ways still not completely used to each other. Most of the time it feels as if Kihyun has always been here, so it’s always like a reality check when he realizes that that isn’t the case.
On the other hand, Hoseok is so proud of Kihyun now – compared to when he first came, he talks more, he lets his emotions show more, he even cuddles with Hoseok more. But there’s no doubt that there are still a few things that are works in progress, which is totally fine with Hoseok. As much as he wanted to hope that things would be easy, he isn’t stupid enough to think that adopting a cat hybrid and having another person in his life would be a one and done thing. All relationships take time, theirs is no exception.
“I know,” Kihyun responds, voice soft and small.
“You’re so cute,” Hoseok says instead of teasing him. He knows that it took a lot for Kihyun to admit something like this, and he appreciates it. But he also knows that Kihyun can get embarrassed when it comes to talking about emotions, so he tries to lighten the atmosphere.
Kihyun bristles, eyes narrowed into slits as he stares up at Hoseok. “I am not.”
Hoseok only hums in response, not willing to take his statement back. There are many adjectives that Hoseok could use to describe Kihyun, with “cute” and “beautiful” being only but a few of them.
“Hey,” Kihyun says, poking Hoseok in the stomach. Hoseok jumps, not expecting the sudden contact, rubbing the spot with a pout. “I’m not cute.”
Barely holding back a laugh at the sheer determination in Kihyun’s voice, Hoseok says, “Sure, Kihyunnie.”
It doesn’t quite look like Kihyun believes him, which is a smart move on his end because Hoseok doesn’t plan on not telling Kihyun that he’s cute whenever he gets the chance. Before they can start squabbling like kids, and before he loses his courage, Hoseok asks, “Can I...can I pet your ears?”
Kihyun blinks up at him with wide eyes, the previous determination replaced with confusion. He tilts his head to the side, ears twitching slightly. “You don’t have to ask every time, you know.”
“I know,” Hoseok says softly, “but I like to ask. It makes me feel better knowing that you know it’s coming because you being comfortable is my number one priority.”
Kihyun’s mouth drops open in surprise at that, Hoseok blushing at his own words. It isn’t that he didn’t mean them with one hundred perfect sincerity, it’s just slightly embarrassing having Kihyun looking at him with awe in his eyes.
Instead of answering, Kihyun shuffles around so that he’s lying on the couch with his head in Hoseok’s lap. It’s times like this where Hoseok is truly reminded of how cat-like Kihyun can be, the soft strands of his grey hair framing his face as he stares up at Hoseok with those beautiful eyes of his.
“Go on,” Kihyun says, causing Hoseok to snort.
“Maybe I won’t pet you if you’re going to be like this.” Really, Kihyun can deny it all he wants, but Hoseok knows that Kihyun enjoys being pet just as much as Hoseok enjoys petting him. Hoseok doesn’t know what he has done to deserve Kihyun’s trust like this, doesn’t know how he has made Kihyun comfortable enough to let Hoseok near his ears, but he’s grateful all the same.
And as Kihyun all but takes his hand and places it on top of his head, his eyes slipping shut and a purr starting up in his chest, Hoseok can only smile and thank his lucky stars for being allowed to have Kihyun in his life.
(The next time Hyunwoo and Minhyuk come over, Minhyuk is the quietest Hoseok has ever seen him, peeking out from behind Hyunwoo’s broad shoulders. Kihyun rolls his eyes before petting Minhyuk on the head and that’s all it takes for Minhyuk to cling to him, claiming that they’re going to be best friends forever.)
You're up next, springmaid :D