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It’s not that Do Kyungsoo is an introvert, exactly—he just doesn’t like people.

He argues that it’s his nature as a cat hybrid, but even he knows that he’s less affectionate than he should be. It only bothers him when others point it out, like he’s not worth knowing unless he lets them touch him. Cats want to be petted, they tell him. Kyungsoo doesn’t think that petting should feel so violating.

His job is perfect for someone like him. His parents constantly tell him that he should be grateful they’re alive at a time where hybrids are allowed to work, because it hasn’t always been this way. His parents also inform him at every opportunity that their ancestors did not fight for hybrid rights so he could hide out in the server room of a customer service center on the graveyard shift. His older brother is a doctor. His parents are both college professors.

Kyungsoo worked very hard for his IT degree, thank you very much, and he’s good at what he does. So good, in fact, that aside from the occasional power outage or the more common operator error, he doesn’t actually have to do anything. He runs daily reports, performs routine maintenance, and dicks around on the Internet. As the system administrator, he can access any website he wants, though he saves the more risqué ones for his laptop at home.

Mainly, he reads. Anyone can learn anything online these days, and Kyungsoo takes advantage of his forty hours of paid free time to learn everything he can. He watches YouTube videos, reads Wikipedia articles, and cruises social media blogs for whatever grabs his interest. He may not like people, but he enjoys ideas and concepts; he could have probably been a scientist if he’d wanted to make the effort.

Something else Kyungsoo likes to do is sing. He’s good at it too, in his humble opinion. He’s been around music his whole life, and there’s nothing he loves more than belting out a song. It’s a cathartic release. Not that his life is stressful, aside from everybody he knows pressuring him to find a partner and have kittens. Singing is the closest he’s felt to feeling the kind of love he’s supposed to feel for another person.

He’s walking home from work one morning when he sees a sign in a window of a bar: KARAOKE FRIDAY NIGHT 10PM. Kyungsoo has probably walked by this sign a thousand times since he moved into this neighborhood, but he’s only reading it now. Bar karaoke. Usually, people sing karaoke in private rooms that charge by the hour. In college, when Kyungsoo’s roommate wouldn’t let him sit in their dorm room all the time, they would rent these rooms with a large group of people who took turns singing their hearts out, regardless of whether they were good at it or not. Bar karaoke means an open room where everyone hears everyone else and a deejay manages the songs.

The concept of singing for a room of strangers sounds thrilling. He wonders what kind of crowds that bar gets, if they’ll appreciate his power ballads. Deciding that he doesn’t care whether they do or not, he mentally pencils it in for Friday night. As long as he gets to sing twice and nobody tries to pet him, it will be a good time. Failing that, hot wings. Cats do love chicken.

Cats also love curling up in a sunny spot to sleep, which is why Kyungsoo has his bed right next to a window with open curtains. The best part about working overnights is sleeping during the day.

*

The bar is packed when Kyungsoo arrives at quarter to ten on Friday night. He figured he would have time to grab a drink and look through the song choices before karaoke started, but he hadn’t counted on the large stack of slips the deejay already has in his booth.

“Don’t worry, puss,” the deejay tells him. “I mix them up so that everyone gets an opportunity to sing.”

Kyungsoo would have something to say about being called “puss” if it wasn’t coming from a dog hybrid. Despite being different species, they share the same oppressive history and reclaimed those words to use with each other. Kyungsoo doesn’t particularly care for any of the canine words, so he just nods and hands over his selections before returning to the bar.

Nearby patrons notice that he’s new and ask him friendly questions, but it doesn’t get much further than small talk. For entertainment, he watches a human fail spectacularly at hitting on another dog hybrid until the karaoke begins and he waits patiently for his turn. Right away, he learns that this crowd is about having fun above any serious vocal stylings. Whether it’s the atmosphere or the alcohol or the fact that everyone seems to be keeping their paws to themselves, Kyungsoo finds himself having fun too.

Finally, he’s called up and handed a cordless microphone. There are monitors everywhere, so he could sit in a corner booth away from everyone if he wanted to, but he doesn’t want to. He stands right at the front of the stage, barely glancing at the lyrics flashing on the screen as he belts out one of his favorite songs. It feels so good to lift his voice, performing the familiar trills and tricky falsetto with ease, and his first breath after the last note is beyond cleansing, filling him with much-needed oxygen as well as adrenaline.

“Give it up for Kyungsoo!” the deejay’s voice booms out of the speakers, grinning when Kyungsoo strides over to return his mic. “What a set of pipes on this cat!”

The entire bar is applauding, like they do for everyone who gets up and sings, but amidst the polite, obligatory claps are many distinct cheers and hollers. Kyungsoo bows politely and starts to head back to his barstool, but it’s occupied. He hadn’t left anything there, his drink in his hand as he’d sung, so he glances around for a free seat, preferably one that isn’t at a table with other people.

“Hey, Kyungsoo, is it?” someone calls out behind him, and he turns around to find himself eye to chest with a very tall dog hybrid. This place is all humans and dogs—he has yet to see another cat. “We want you to come sit with us.”

It sounds very cult-y, but Kyungsoo looks around the dog’s thin frame and sees a long table with at least sixteen humans loudly laughing with each other and having a good time.

“Okay, sure,” Kyungsoo agrees, because why the hell not? You only live once, or whatever the kids are saying these days.

Eight people shake his hand as he sits down, overwhelmed at all of the names flying at him. He catches a few—the tall dog’s name is Kim Jongin, and the even taller human across the table is Park Chanyeol.

“You are really good,” the small human named Byun Baekhyun tells him, pausing to sip something that is abnormally green. “That means something coming from me, because I am really good.”

“And humble,” Chanyeol adds. “Kyungsoo, another drink?”

“Um.” Kyungsoo eyes Baekhyun’s green thing. “What is that?”

“Trash can,” Baekhyun answers. “Trust me, you want to drink this.”

“Wait—did you drive here?” Jongin asks as he plops down into the seat next to Kyungsoo. Now that Kyungsoo can see his face, he’s really pretty. Full lips, strong jaw, gentle eyes.

“N-no,” Kyungsoo answers, blinking to keep from looking like a creep. “I live within walking distance.”

Nice,” Baekhyun and Chanyeol say in unison, then Chanyeol unfolds his long legs from under the table, unceremoniously shoving Baekhyun out of his lap. “Two trash cans, coming up!”

“You won’t regret it, Soo,” Baekhyun slurs at him.

Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow at earning a nickname from someone he’s known for five minutes, but overlooks it in favor of Jongin’s continued presence at his side. Jongin’s smile is too innocent for a bar full of drunk people, most of whom are probably looking to get laid or otherwise hook up, but Jongin beams like Kyungsoo’s the popular kid who had agreed to sit at his lunch table in middle school. Kyungsoo understands that a little, since he feels like he’s the new student who’d been invited to sit at the cool kids’ table.

“Bacon!” the deejay calls, and Kyungsoo’s glad he’s already finished his drink when Baekhyun’s narrowed eyes have him laughing into his arm. “It’s bacon time!”

“I will end you!” Baekhyun yells on his way up to the booth, still managing to beam at the applause and cheering. He must be really good if people are actually excited to hear him sing. “You are dead to me, Suho!”

“That’s Suho-hyung to you, my dear bacon,” the dog hybrid called Suho says, blowing Baekhyun a kiss as Baekhyun snatches the microphone and stands center stage.

“This goes out to Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun drawls into the microphone, followed by a chorus of catcalls while Kyungsoo tries not to face-palm. “Welcome to the karaoke club, kitty.”

The first notes of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” start playing, and Kyungsoo nearly falls out of his chair laughing. He’s not even drunk and he’s having a blast—though the former may be in his near future when Chanyeol returns with two more green drinks. Luckily, Kyungsoo knows better than to try and drink anything with Baekhyun overly gyrating and crooning the lyrics like a sultry cruise ship singer.

“Your boyfriend is insane,” Kyungsoo says through his laughs, finally chancing a sip when Baekhyun heads over to the deejay booth to give Suho an impromptu lap dance.

Chanyeol laughs too, but it looks more incredulous. “Baekhyun’s not my boyfriend. That’s way more than I can handle.”

There’s a snort next to him, and Kyungsoo turns to find Jongin eyeing Chanyeol before looking Kyungsoo’s way. “Chanyeol-hyung is my partner.”

“Oh, sorry,” Kyungsoo says, ignoring the pang of sadness he feels. Not that he’s in the market for someone in his life, especially not a dog hybrid he’d strain his neck trying to kiss, but it’s still a bummer.

Now that he’s looking, he sees the collar around his neck. Back when hybrids had to be kept as pets, they weren’t allowed out in public without collars and tags. These days, both dog and cat hybrids mainly wear them as accessories.

“Baekhyunnie’s my side piece,” Chanyeol adds, glancing fondly to where Baekhyun’s embellishing the end of the song, like Beyoncé originally sings it instead of Redfoo.

Kyungsoo starts to nod, then process the words he’d just heard. “Wait, what?”

Jongin’s next exchanged look with Chanyeol is contemplative, seeming to last through some kind of telepathic conversation until those soft eyes are on Kyungsoo again. “We’re poly.”

“Poly…” Kyungsoo trails off, sucking in his air as he makes the connection. He knows what that means, but he’s never met anyone who actually practices it. “That’s great.”

“It is,” Jongin says, that cute grin returning to his face as he regards Kyungsoo like he’s worth looking at, sending a flood of warmth throughout Kyungsoo’s chest. “Your eyes are very expressive.”

“The better to see you with,” Kyungsoo jokes, earning a laugh from Chanyeol as well. Chanyeol’s laugh is big and hearty, deep enough to be audible even over all the other sounds in the bar.

“Isn’t that my line?” Jongin asks, pointing to one of his floppy ears, covered with brown spaniel curls. “I’d be the big, bad wolf out of the two of us, wouldn’t I?”

“Nothing about you is bad,” Chanyeol interjects from across the table. “My good puppy.”

Jongin’s practically bouncing next to him, tail wagging so hard that he catches Kyungsoo’s chair a couple of times. “Oops, sorry,” he says sheepishly, an adorable blush spreading on his cheeks. “I get excited.”

“It’s okay,” Kyungsoo replies, lifting his own tail to flick against Jongin’s. Jongin meets his eyes and loops their tails together, his short curly one with Kyungsoo’s long fluffy one. It’s weird and unorthodox and Kyungsoo loves it, the level of contact perfect for his comfort zone.

“I need you both to know,” Baekhyun slurs as he returns to the table, placing the palm of his hand decidedly on the surface. “Your flirting is making me nauseous.”

“Are you sure you didn’t just have too many trash cans?” Kyungsoo asks seriously.

“Baekhyun is a trash can,” someone calls over from further down the table. Baekhyun makes a big show of giving her the finger, then falls back into Chanyeol’s lap like it’s his actual seat.

“Hi,” Chanyeol says, slinging an arm around Baekhyun with practiced ease.

“Yeollie.” Baekhyun presses the nickname right into Chanyeol’s neck, using a voice that Kyungsoo feels like he shouldn’t be hearing. “Let’s go out to my car.”

“I’m too tall for that,” Chanyeol whines, but he’s already halfway out of his seat. “We’ll be back in a bit.”

Baekhyun smirks satisfactorily as he’s manhandled out of the bar, waving at Suho who nods and moves around some slips in front of him. Kyungsoo starts to watch them leave, but Jongin’s much more interesting to look at, those soft eyes following the two humans with a fond smile.

“You’re really okay with that?” Kyungsoo asks, then flinches when Jongin turns to him in surprise. “Sorry, that’s none of my business.”

“It’s fine,” Jongin says gently, turning his whole body to face Kyungsoo completely. “I like Baekhyun-hyung too, even if I don’t like to do the things he does. Chanyeol-hyung does, so it works out. They can do those things together, and I hug them when they’re done.”

The question is on the tip of Kyungsoo’s tongue, but this is definitely one he shouldn’t ask, swallowing it back in favor of a harmless comment. “As long as you’re happy.”

“I am very happy,” Jongin says, his wagging tail emphasizing his words. “Dogs are pack animals, so the more bodies I have around me, the better. Chanyeol-hyung tends to my needs very well. I have no complaints.”

“Cats are more territorial.” Kyungsoo frowns. “The idea of being possessive over someone doesn’t really appeal to me, though. I don’t mind when other cats are around. I don’t like the pressure and responsibility that comes with dating. No offense to you—it’s just not for me.”

“I understand,” Jongin tells him. “Can I pet you?”

Kyungsoo starts at the question, but his normally skittish body is nothing but receptive to the idea. He blames it on the trash can. “Yes, and thank you for asking first.”

“Of course.” Jongin bites his lip as he reaches up to run long fingers along the sides of Kyungsoo’s pointy ears, gently sifting through the dark black fur. “Consent is important.”

A deep rumble takes over Kyungsoo’s voice, his head naturally pressing toward Jongin’s hand that moves to rub the other ear. The touch feels so nice, gentle and noninvasive, his tail thumping happily between their chairs as his purring gets louder.

It takes Jongin doing something as horrible as stopping for him to hear his name over his own pleasure, quickly shaking himself out of it to sing again. He’s probably getting some knowing looks from strangers, but he pays none of them any mind as he falls under the spell of his next song, flawless from beginning to end.

“Hey, Kyungsoo,” Suho calls out after he announced Kyungsoo’s name one more time, lowering the microphone for a private conversation. “You’re okay, right? I’ve never seen you here before, so I just want to make sure.”

“I’m fine, Suho-hyung,” Kyungsoo says, swaying a little. “I can walk home and I plan on going there by myself.”

Suho grins at him. “My real name is Kim Junmyeon. I’m here every Friday night. You’re a great singer.”

“Thank you.” Kyungsoo flashes what he hopes is a grateful smile. “I might come again.”

That’s a lie; he knows damn well he’s coming back here, next Friday and every Friday after. He loves to sing, gets an exhibitionist sort of satisfaction out of singing for strangers, and the atmosphere is fun and comfortable. And maybe he likes having someone to flirt innocently with, his face lighting up at the way Jongin’s tail wags excitedly when he starts to head back to the table.

He picks up another trash can on the way, leaving his tab open to buy the next round whenever Chanyeol and Baekhyun come back. The other people at their table praise him as he sits, leaving him more flattered than before now that the alcohol has started to make its way through his system.

“Your voice is so nice, hyung,” Jongin fawns, placing both hands on Kyungsoo’s arm. Kyungsoo supposes they’ve already broken the touching barrier, but he’s not bothered by the new point of contact. It’s a gentle pressure, one that lingers when Jongin sees him looking and moves his fingers in a slow rub. “Don’t tell him I said this, but you’re better than Baekhyun-hyung.”

“Thanks,” Kyungsoo replies, then blurts out, “You’re really pretty.”

Jongin’s grin widens. “Thank you.”

It’s definitely not the trash can that has Kyungsoo pressing his head pointedly against Jongin’s shoulder, his purring already revving back up before Jongin’s fingers return to his ears.

“Aww,” a pair of voices chorus a while later, and Kyungsoo peeks open one eye to see a very disheveled Baekhyun and Chanyeol return to their table. Baekhyun leans over to scratch Jongin’s ears and smirks at them. “Jonginnie tamed the mean alley cat.”

“I’ll claw you up,” Kyungsoo hisses, but it’s probably not very effective in the midst of his purrs.

“Promises,” Baekhyun replies with a wink.

“Chanyeol, I almost threw your slip away,” Su—Junmyeon calls out into the microphone. “It is time for you to grace us with your mad rap skills.”

“Just for you, hyung!” Chanyeol yells, nearly falling out of his chair to take a running leap at the much smaller dog. Kyungsoo watches in amusement as Junmyeon piggy-backs Chanyeol for a few seconds, then puts him down so that they can start the song.

And wow. Junmyeon hadn’t been exaggerating Chanyeol’s level of talent. Kyungsoo’s not much into rap music, but he can appreciate the art, the way the words flow together along with syllable placement and intonation. Chanyeol is good, the kind of good that feels nice in his ears, leaving him tingling much like his own vocal endeavors.

“Isn’t he amazing?” Jongin coos, and Kyungsoo wonders which one of them is the cat when Jongin curls up against him. Being as Kyungsoo’s tail flicks right out to wrap around Jongin’s waist, it’s not an unwanted advance. “He can sing too, but he won’t do it here. Maybe if you ever hang out with us, he’ll sing for you. It’s so nice.”

“Maybe,” Kyungsoo says evasively. As much as he enjoys Jongin petting him in public, he’s not sure how he feels about anything more than that, physical or emotional. Besides, the semantics of their polyamorous relationship is too complicated for his trash-canned brain to process right now.

He’s fully aware that he and Jongin are cuddling at a table in a bar, but no one seems to pay them any mind. Perhaps it’s common behavior for this establishment, or maybe everyone thinks they’re bonding as the only two hybrids at the table. Briefly, he wonders if that’s why Jongin had sought him out, declaring him safe as a fellow hybrid. This isn’t exactly the kind of world where a hybrid can approach a stranger for companionship, no matter how pretty he sings.

“I should go,” Kyungsoo mutters, his head feeling like a thousand pounds as he pries himself away from Jongin very, very reluctantly.

“I’ll walk you out,” Jongin rushes to offer, grabbing his jacket while Kyungsoo stumbles up to the bar to pay his tab.

“Pretty kitty,” someone says, and Kyungsoo’s already hissing before he turns toward the older dog hybrid. “You into knots, kitty? I saw you over there with that freakishly tall pup. I can assure you mine’s bigger.”

Kyungsoo stares in disbelief at the filth spewing from this stranger’s mouth. “I’m too drunk for this,” he says, leaning awkwardly against the bar as he signs some semblance of his name and pockets his bank card.

“Hyung, you’re shaking!” Jongin exclaims when Kyungsoo grabs his arm and drags him out of the bar. “Did that old mutt say something to you?”

“Nothing I want to repeat,” Kyungsoo replies. “Damn, it’s cold out here.”

Jongin turns toward him, opening his leather jacket invitingly, and Kyungsoo doesn’t think twice before he burrows himself into Jongin’s embrace, warming up immediately. “You smell nice.”

“Yeah? I stole one of Chanyeol’s colognes tonight. I like to smell like him sometimes.”

Kyungsoo inhales slowly, his arms looping loosely around Jongin’s thin waist. “I should go.”

“You said that already,” Jongin says into his hair, then presses his lips to Kyungsoo’s forehead. It may be cold, but his skin is burning, senses clogged from the closeness and pleasant-smelling cologne that has him nosing his way up Jongin’s throat.

Jongin moves and they’re kissing, mouths pressed together firmly. It’s such a soft kiss for as heated up as Kyungsoo is, his lips actively sliding against Jongin’s to cover every possible surface. Kyungsoo loves to kiss, and now he loves to kiss Jongin. He doesn’t have to stretch that much; it helps that Jongin leans down considerably.

“Can I have your number?” he breathes out when they break apart, and Jongin’s curly ears fly back and forth from the force of his nod.

Kyungsoo’s already sending a text before he reaches the sidewalk, giving Jongin his number in return and thanking him for a fun evening. It’s not a far walk, and he dives right into his blankets the instant he’s in the door. He still feels Jongin all around him, petting him and kissing him, the memories a whirlwind of warmth that lulls him to sleep with a faint purr.

*

He has a bit of a hangover the next morning, but nothing a few pills can’t alleviate. Weekends are lazy at his place—usually catching up on cleaning and other chores he’d put off during the week—so he lies in bed longer than usual. His mind keeps recalling the night before, all of the fun people he met, including Jongin. Mostly Jongin.

Kyungsoo has had crushes before. He’s not without feelings. He dated a few people when he was younger, hooked up a bit in college, and hasn’t really been fussed with it since. Relationships, even just sexual ones, are way more effort than he ever wants to devote to another person. Kissing Jongin had been so easy, though. Jongin’s petting didn’t come with a catch, his kisses not conditioning Kyungsoo’s behavior. Jongin already has someone to do relationship things with, which leaves Kyungsoo free to enjoy Jongin’s spoiling without any strings.

And enjoy it he did. Kyungsoo purrs low in his throat as he remembers the feel of Jongin’s lips, the scent of Chanyeol’s cologne in his nose and the strength of Jongin’s arms wrapped around him. He definitely wants to do that again, preferably not in a cold parking lot. Jongin had implied that it wouldn’t be anymore than that, but Kyungsoo is fine with whatever Jongin wants to give him.

Right now, his body wants a little more, but fantasies are meant to play pretend. Kyungsoo has no qualms slipping his hand down the front of his sweats, palming his cock that’s already moderately interested from the lingering feeling of Jongin’s touch. He hardens quickly, hips rocking up into his own touch as he chokes on his own breath, purr intensifying as his arousal increases.

It feels good to touch himself, thumbing his tip on the upstroke as he visualizes Jongin petting him more intimately, maybe with his mouth. His tail thumps hard against the bed as he arches under his own attention, stroking himself just the way he likes it. His free hand slides up his shirt, pinching a nipple before he lifts his entire arm behind his head, brushing his fingers against his ears. Innocent petting can become filthy in an instant, his moans audible over his purrs as he gets close.

“Fuck,” he hisses, squeezing harder. He could finish fast if he wanted to, but he’s in no rush. Sharp spikes of want spread throughout his body, thankfully not as intense as when he’s in heat. He has much more control over himself too, teasing a little instead of rushing to come. Jongin would tease, he thinks. He feels guilty for thinking of Jongin like this, but the thought of those hands and mouth anywhere on him—not even anywhere inappropriate—make him so hot.

He thinks about Jongin kissing his neck, right under his jawline where it’s the most sensitive, and his cock jerks in his hand, coming hard over his fingers and belly. His orgasm leaves him trembling, gasping in much needed air as he gathers the coherence to turn onto his side and grab a tissue.

“I’m sorry, Jongin,” he whispers as he cleans himself up.

A while later, when he’s brewing coffee and thinking about breakfast, his text ringtone goes off.

Hey! I hope you made it home okay last night! ☺ Have a great weekend! Text me if you get bored. ♥

Kyungsoo doesn’t usually get bored, keeping himself busy well enough, but he replies anyway. There are a million things he wants to ask Jongin, but none of them are appropriate for a text message to someone you met a little over twelve hours ago. Instead, he tells Jongin that he did get home safely, thank you for your concern, and mentions how he hasn’t been up this early in months since he works nights.

As he had hoped, it spawns a conversation about their jobs and backgrounds. After about a half an hour of typing back and forth, Kyungsoo thinks it might be easier to just talk on the phone, but he’s enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of their chatting. It’s just another way Jongin is easy. At one point, Jongin tells him that if he stops replying for a while, not to worry because sometimes he gets distracted and stops looking at his phone, and of course Kyungsoo is free to stop replying whenever he finds something better to do.

At the moment, texting with Jongin is the best thing he has to do. Jongin works at a veterinarian’s office so he can spend all day with animals since Chanyeol’s allergic. He’s careful to wash his hands and change his clothes before he goes home. Kyungsoo finds that incredibly thoughtful, curling up with himself in his favorite armchair while he learns all about Jongin’s job and his family. Jongin has two older sisters and two puppies who live with his parents. He tried to go to college to study anthropology, but it wasn’t for him. The best part that came out of that semester, he claims, was meeting Chanyeol.

It’s like any other time someone has fawned over their significant other to Kyungsoo, but somehow this time feels different. Jongin’s sharing himself and his business with Kyungsoo because he wants Kyungsoo to be a part of it. He asks Kyungsoo questions too, like what he does and what his family is like. Kyungsoo doesn’t want to be a downer, so he cracks some IT jokes and leaves out the part about his parents being disappointed in him.

Chanyeol is telling me to invite you over, Jongin texts after an hour. I told him you probably already have plans.

I do not have plans, Kyungsoo replies. Making plans would involve having friends, or at least people he wants to see on his own time. Where do you live?

Jongin sends him an address and Kyungsoo looks at the train schedules. It’s doable with a transfer, and he can walk from the station closest to their place. He tells Jongin as much, then opens a message full of frowny faces.

What? No, I’ll come pick you up. I won’t make you take the train!!

“Why are you so nice?!” Kyungsoo demands out loud, shaking his phone like it will give him the answer. All he types is his own address, thanking Jongin for the offer, and please give him an hour to make himself presentable and eat something.

We have food! Chanyeol-hyung loves to cook. I will make him cook for us. 8D

Kyungsoo grins throughout his entire shower. This whole having a crush thing is fun.

*

Jongin drives a Beetle. Kyungsoo wouldn’t have expected it from someone so tall, who regularly drives with someone even taller, but it fits him. He’s standing by the passenger door when Kyungsoo reaches the front of his apartment building, eyeing the attempted chivalry.

“What, I can’t open the door for you?” Jongin asks, reaching out to do exactly that.

Kyungsoo watches Jongin’s tail wag and smiles. “You absolutely can.”

It should be weird to look at him after what he’d fantasized about just a few hours ago, but it’s not. They talk the whole way across town. Kyungsoo isn’t used to speaking so much, considering he says maybe a handful of words during an entire shift at work (including when he talks to himself), but it’s nice. Jongin is easy to talk to. They bond over being hybrids in a human-dominated world, which—while it’s not as bad as it used to be—is still frustrating sometimes. Hybrids used to exist for promiscuous purposes, and some narrow-minded people still believe that’s all they’re good for.

“We’re not that great to each other either,” Kyungsoo admits, remembering about the dog who had tried to solicit him last night. “Some dogs think that cats are beneath them, and because of that, cats don’t trust dogs. It’s a vicious cycle.”

“I like everyone,” Jongin says brightly. “I know what you mean, though. Before I met Chanyeol, I would get upset when people would only be interested in me for sexual reasons. Just because I’m a dog doesn’t mean I’m going to hump everyone I meet!”

Kyungsoo laughs. “People suck.”

“Sometimes they do,” Jongin says thoughtfully. “Not always.”

Since it’s on topic, Kyungsoo decides to tell Jongin what that other dog hybrid had said to him after all, and it’s the first and only time he ever wants to see Jongin frown.

“I wish I didn’t have a knot,” Jongin mutters. “Why do people have to take something that’s necessary for procreation and turn it into a kink? It’s not that comfortable!”

“I’ll take your word for it,” Kyungsoo says with another laugh. “So you’re not into that kind of stuff?”

“Kinks, or sex in general?” Jongin asks. He looks unbothered by the topic, but then again, he’s probably had to explain this a lot. “Neither, actually. I don’t look at others that way. I am more about feelings and comfort and touching with clothes on.”

“Is that why you’re poly?” Kyungsoo asks carefully.

“No,” Jongin answers. “I’m poly because I’m attracted to more than one person at a time. What kind of relationship would it be if I was only poly so my partner could fuck other people?”

“Not a good one,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “Sorry for the rude questions.”

“Not at all.” Jongin flashes him a smile as they turn into a subdivision. “It’s better to be informed than ignorant.”

Kyungsoo lets the topic drop as they park and walk toward a big house. “Wow, you both live here?”

“We do.” Jongin beams as he leads Kyungsoo around the side to the back door. “It has five bedrooms. Our goal is to fill every one!”

“With pups?” Kyungsoo asks, confused. He didn’t think humans and hybrids could procreate yet.

“No!” Jongin exclaims. “With partners.”

Kyungsoo manages to keep his jaw from dropping, following Jongin through a spacious kitchen into a living room with a large amount of seating. Then again, Chanyeol’s tall enough to stretch across most of the sectional, glasses perched on the edge of his nose as he lowers his book long enough to wave happily at Kyungsoo.

“You made it!” he exclaims.

“Did you think I wouldn’t get him here in one piece?” Jongin asks, pouting so hard that Kyungsoo feels compelled to hug him.

“You aren’t the best driver, puppy,” Chanyeol says gently. Jongin kicks his feet and stands closer to Kyungsoo. “What do you like to eat, Soo?”

Kyungsoo supposes everyone is going to start call him that now, and he really can’t find it within himself to complain. “Kimchi spaghetti,” he answers automatically, and both Chanyeol and Jongin grin.

“You’ve got it!” Chanyeol jumps to his feet, stumbling a little when he doesn’t land correctly, and pats Kyungsoo on the head on his way to the kitchen. Kyungsoo jerks on impulse, and Chanyeol lifts his hand back like Kyungsoo had burned him.

“Hyung!” Jongin growls before Kyungsoo can find his voice. “Don’t just pet people without asking!”

“I’m sorry!” Chanyeol bellows, bowing almost full angle in front of Kyungsoo. “It won’t happen again, I promise. I’m so used to petting Jonginnie that I did it without thinking. Please don’t leave.”

“I’m not going to leave…” Kyungsoo says, his tail and ears still twitching at the unsolicited contact.

Chanyeol looks like he wants to say something, but all he does is nod and disappear into the kitchen. Kyungsoo feels horrible, because Chanyeol is nothing like any of those humans who have tried to pet him without his permission. He’d acted like Chanyeol was no better than a creepy old bar lush.

“Hey, hyung, don’t make that face,” Jongin says gently, guiding him toward the couch with the smallest amount of pressure on his bicep. “Nobody’s upset with you for having boundaries. Look at me! I have more boundaries than anyone. You just have to communicate with us so that we’re all on the same page, okay?”

Kyungsoo opens his mouth, but Jongin shakes his head so hard that he smacks himself in the face with his ears.

“Not right now! Here, lie back and relax. Do you want a blanket?”

“Yes, actually,” Kyungsoo answers. The heat isn’t on, and it’s getting cold. “Thank you.”

Jongin pulls down a blanket that’s folded on the back of the couch and drapes it across Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo watches him, sees the focus in his eyes as he makes sure to cover all of Kyungsoo’s body from the neck down, frowning again when he sees the fluffy tail flicking out to the side.

“That’s warm enough on its own,” Kyungsoo tells him. “I don’t like it to be confined.”

“I understand that very much,” Jongin says, curling up as close as he can without touching Kyungsoo. “I’m glad you could come over. Ask Chanyeol—I couldn’t stop talking about you after you left last night.”

“Oh yeah?” Kyungsoo asks, his heart swelling at being that important to someone. “I would have stayed, but Baekhyun’s trash cans really hit me hard. I’m not a big drinker.”

“Same,” Jongin says. “I’ll have a beer or two and that’s about it. Rarely do we even drink at home.” He rolls his head to blink at Kyungsoo. “We do have some liquor if you’d like a drink.”

“It’s a little early for that,” Kyungsoo says with a laugh. “Maybe later.”

Jongin doesn’t avert his eyes, looking at Kyungsoo who smiles back at him. “Will you pet me, hyung?”

“Sure,” Kyungsoo answers. He lifts his hand and tentatively scratches between Jongin’s ears. “I don’t actually know how to pet a dog. Will you teach me?”

“Absolutely,” Jongin answers, then flops right onto his belly. He presses his head into the far edge of Kyungsoo’s blanket, both curly ears flopping on either side of his head as he gets comfortable. “What you’re doing is good, or you can lightly rub the edges of my ears. I also like my upper back patted with a little force—I’ll show you, if it’s okay to touch your arm.”

“You can touch me,” Kyungsoo consents, and Jongin lifts a hand to clap twice on Kyungsoo’s arm. It’s harder than a usual pat on the back, but nothing that involves a lot of effort. Kyungsoo makes a noise of understanding and starts moving his hand as instructed, scratching between Jongin’s ears before moving down the flaps. They’re so soft, thin and smooth like suede, and Jongin starts whimpering when Kyungsoo takes the edges between his finger and thumb, rubbing gently.

“Puppy?” Chanyeol calls out from the kitchen. “Are you o—oh.”

Kyungsoo freezes like he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, eyes wide as he finds Chanyeol in the doorway wearing a ridiculous frilly apron and holding a spatula. He relaxes when Chanyeol grins, his hand moving back up when Jongin nudges at it.

“Jonginnie was right, your eyes are expressive,” is all Chanyeol says before flashing him a thumbs-up and returning to the kitchen.

“Don’t stop,” Jongin says softly, the whimpering returning as Kyungsoo outlines one ear and moves to the next one. “Feels good.”

“I’m glad,” Kyungsoo replies, his voice equally as quiet. He closes his eyes to the sounds of Jongin’s vocal appreciation, filing it away in his memory for his next fantasy, and lowers his hand to pat Jongin’s back. Jongin’s leg starts to shake, his tail wagging impossibly fast, and Kyungsoo grins at how easy he is.

“You’re gonna spoil him,” Chanyeol teases; Kyungsoo jumps at the unexpected voice. “When you’re done, Kyungsoo, would you mind joining me at the stove? I want to make sure the sauce is to your liking.”

“Sure,” Kyungsoo responds, twitching as Chanyeol walks away. “Jongin?”

Jongin makes a soft noise of acknowledgement, followed by more whimpers as Kyungsoo returns to his ears.

“I feel bad about flinching away from Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo admits. “I don’t know him, so my body reacted like it would to any other stranger touching me. But he’s so nice…”

“You should go tell him that,” Jongin says, lifting his eyes to look up at Kyungsoo through his bangs; Kyungsoo helpfully pushes them out of his face. “We communicate very well. He will listen to you and talk it out.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo agrees. He gives Jongin one more scratch between the ears before unraveling himself from the blanket and cautiously approaching the kitchen. Chanyeol stands at the stove, unmoving as Kyungsoo stands next to him. “Hi.”

“Hello,” Chanyeol says brightly, holding up a wooden spoon with sauce on it. “Taste.”

Kyungsoo opens his mouth, and it’s heavenly. He’s not accustomed to having people cook for him, so it probably tastes better just because it came from someone’s recipe and not take-out. “It’s so good,” he moans.

Chanyeol grins at the praise, then his face softens. “I’m sorry about earlier.”

“Me too,” Kyungsoo rushes to reply. “I’ve had bad experiences—”

Chanyeol holds up a hand to halt him. “You don’t have to explain yourself. You are allowed to feel however you want about anything. I shouldn’t have touched you without your permission. That’s not how we do things here. It’s okay if you let Jongin pet you and not me. We want you to be comfortable with us.”

Kyungsoo nods, but his tail swishing from side to side shows his obvious discomfort. “Okay.”

“I’m allergic to animals, but not hybrids,” Chanyeol goes on. “I love animals, so I was really happy when Jongin’s feelings coincided with mine. While I’ve met some cat hybrids before, I’ve only pet one. They seem to be more reserved about that then dogs.”

“That’s the truth,” Kyungsoo agrees with a laugh. “It takes us longer to warm up to people, especially humans.”

“I understand.” Chanyeol’s smile looks pleased, like he’s not beating himself up about crossing Kyungsoo’s boundaries anymore, and Kyungsoo’s guilt slowly disappears.

“Can I help you with anything?” Kyungsoo asks. “I like to cook, though I don’t do it often. Working nights doesn’t leave me much energy during the week.”

“Sure, I’d love some help,” Chanyeol replies, and he tasks Kyungsoo with pasta duty. “Jongin tells me you do IT?”

“Sometimes,” Kyungsoo admits. “Mainly, I sit around and wait for things to stop working.”

“Nice,” Chanyeol agrees. “I couldn’t sit in a chair that long. I spend all day chasing around after kids, and I love it.”

Kyungsoo smiles at the thought. “Are you a teacher?”

“Sort of. I work with underprivileged children, helping them learn how to be good citizens by volunteering in the community and interacting with each other. Some people call it a glorified daycare, but I love it.”

Kyungsoo looks around at his vast surroundings, trying to find the polite way to ask how they can afford such a nice place on their undoubtedly meager salaries.

His surprise must be obvious, because Chanyeol laughs and joins him in admiring the decor. “This is Baekhyun’s house.”

That throws Kyungsoo off even more. “Does he live here too?”

“Sometimes. He won’t be here this weekend, though. He has a conference to attend. He’s high up in advertising at one of the big agencies downtown. He likes taking care of people.”

Kyungsoo takes in all of this information with a nod. “That’s nice of him.”

“I was kidding about him being my side piece,” Chanyeol tells him. “I’ve known Baekhyun since we were twelve. We tried dating properly about a million times and finally agreed to be open. It works for us. Jongin too.”

“Do you…” Kyungsoo asks, biting back the personal question. “The three of you, together..?”

“Oh, no,” Chanyeol answers, shaking his head calmly like Kyungsoo had just asked about the weather. “Baekhyun and Jongin aren’t compatible that way. Baekhyun is purely sexual and Jongin isn’t sexual at all. They like each other well enough, and sometimes we all cuddle together, but they both have separate relationships with me.”

Kyungsoo must look as astounded as he feels, because Chanyeol laughs and stirs the sauce again.

“It’s okay to ask questions,” Chanyeol tells him. “As long as you’re not rude about it, I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”

“It’s just…interesting,” Kyungsoo gets out. “I’ve never met anyone like you guys before. I don’t know what to expect.”

“Easy—don’t expect anything.” Chanyeol leans back against the counter, putting some more distance between them, and Kyungsoo relaxes nerves he didn’t know he had been tensing. “You seem to like Jongin, and that’s great. If you don’t like me the same way, that’s okay too. We don’t come as a package deal or anything. We know that this is new to you, and we don’t want to force you into anything you don’t want. You are free to walk away at any time. Either way, we want to be friends with you too.”

Kyungsoo just nods. The pasta is done, so he busies himself with straining it and separating the noodles. “I do like Jongin.”

“You should tell him that,” Chanyeol says. “I think he’d like hearing it very much.”

Kyungsoo eats a noodle, deems it satisfactory, and nods again. “I will.”

Jongin’s in the same position Kyungsoo had left him, curled up on his belly next to the blanket. Kyungsoo moves the blanket out of the way and scratches between Jongin’s ears again, urging Jongin’s head onto his thigh.

“I like you,” he says clearly, and Jongin’s tail skips a wag. “I like you a lot.”

“I like you too,” Jongin replies, a grin splitting his face as he leans up on his elbows to look at Kyungsoo properly. “Please pet me whenever you’d like.”

“Same goes to you,” Kyungsoo replies, and Jongin jumps like he’d just been waiting for the go-ahead. He’s too big to fit in Kyungsoo’s lap, but he tries anyway, long legs hanging over Kyungsoo’s thighs and torso curled against Kyungsoo’s chest. He’s incredibly warm, except for the nose he presses into Kyungsoo’s neck. “Ah, cold!”

“Sorry,” Jongin whispers, though he doesn’t sound that sorry as he reaches up to rub Kyungsoo’s ears. “Better?”

Kyungsoo’s purrs answer for him, his tail wrapping around Jongin along with his arms. It shouldn’t be comfortable since Jongin’s so much bigger than him, but it is. Jongin’s petting feels nicer than when he’s allowed people to pet him in the past, more sensual and attentive. And since Jongin’s not interested in touching him any more than this, it’s safe. Everything about Jongin is a safe space.

“As cute as you two are right now, the food is ready,” Chanyeol says, his big eyes watching them fondly when Kyungsoo manages to pry his own open. “I promise you can go right back to that after we eat.”

Jongin whines and reluctantly gets to his feet, reaching for Kyungsoo’s wrist to pull him up too. Jongin’s hand doesn’t actually leave his until they sit down at the table, then Kyungsoo’s entire being is overcome by the delicious aroma of his favorite meal.

It tastes as good as it smells. Kyungsoo praises Chanyeol’s cooking, and Chanyeol beams. Jongin’s tail won’t stop wagging, smacking both his and Kyungsoo’s chairs, but Kyungsoo’s too preoccupied eating to mind. This is infinitely better than anything he would have made for himself today, if he had even bothered. Cooking for one is so tedious that Kyungsoo hardly makes the effort.

He had been a little apprehensive about cuddling on a very full stomach, but Jongin seems to have similar feelings and presses against his side instead of sitting in his lap. Kyungsoo fits nicely under one arm, his head resting naturally on Jongin’s chest as Jongin resumes his petting. Kyungsoo’s too busy purring to notice that Chanyeol sits on Jongin’s other side, wrapping his long arms around Jongin and pressing his face between Jongin’s ears.

“I’m so happy right now~” Jongin announces, and Kyungsoo smiles and snuggles closer.

“I’m probably going to fall asleep,” Kyungsoo warns them. “I usually sleep during the day.”

“Sleep all you want, hyung,” Jongin says, his petting softening as the thumping of Kyungsoo’s tail slows down. “We’ll still be here when you wake up.”

Kyungsoo’s out before he’s done talking. When he opens his eyes again, Jongin’s asleep too, but Chanyeol’s eyes are wide open and trained on Kyungsoo’s face.

“Sorry,” Chanyeol says, sounding like he intends to whisper but still speaking with his full voice. Jongin shifts, but doesn’t wake up. “I know watching people sleep is creepy, but you look so peaceful.”

“It’s okay,” Kyungsoo replies, looking down to where Chanyeol’s hands are clasped together around Jongin’s waist. “You can pet me, if you’d like.”

“Really?” Chanyeol asks, his eyes lighting up even more.

“Yes.”

Chanyeol lifts one of his hands to Kyungsoo’s head, and Kyungsoo only twitches a little at the foreign touch. Chanyeol’s fingers feel nice, long and a little rough, and Kyungsoo purrs strongly enough to make Jongin stir again. The dog hybrid stays asleep, but makes a soft noise that has Kyungsoo scooting closer, if not just to feel more of Chanyeol’s touch.

“So soft,” Chanyeol says, and Kyungsoo presses against the hand on his ears so forcefully that he turns his entire body. He lands on his back in Jongin’s lap, stretching out underneath the attention, and Jongin tilts to the side to lie upside-down along Kyungsoo’s arm. Kyungsoo can feel Jongin’s breath on his skin and it intensifies Chanyeol’s fingers on his ears.

Kyungsoo purrs himself right back to sleep, rising again when Jongin wakes up and climbs over him in his confusion. Kyungsoo’s tail thumps angrily, but Jongin makes up for it by petting him and kissing his forehead.

“Chanyeol-hyung went to work,” Jongin whispers, playing with the part of Kyungsoo’s bangs that flip up. “He and some of the kids are going to help out at the soup kitchen tonight since it’s so cold.”

“He has such a big heart,” Kyungsoo muses out loud. He feels selfish for thinking that he wouldn’t be caught dead outside right now, let alone for free.

“He wanted to be a teacher, but his grades weren’t good enough.” Jongin draws aimlessly on Kyungsoo’s face with the pad of his finger. “This was the next best thing. Somehow I think he’s gets more personal satisfaction out of doing this than he would standing in front of a classroom lecturing.”

“Pay is probably about the same,” Kyungsoo mutters, then widens his eyes. “Sorry, that wasn’t—”

“Probably,” Jongin agrees, nothing in his voice indicating he’s offended by Kyungsoo’s words, and Kyungsoo relaxes as he settles into the now-familiar comfort. Jongin’s not going to jump on him for saying the wrong thing. Jongin is understanding.

“All I’ve done since I’ve been here is eat and sleep,” Kyungsoo says with a laugh. “I swear I am not normally this lazy of a cat.”

“It’s okay if you are,” Jongin tells him, and Kyungsoo lifts his eyes to see an upside-down smile. “It’s Saturday—we’re all allowed to be lazy.”

Kyungsoo stares up at those soft eyes, then reaches for Jongin’s collar to pull him down. Kissing like this isn’t as easy as it looks in the movies, but a few seconds is all he needs. Jongin hums happily when he pulls away, snuggling up to Kyungsoo’s shoulders like he would wrap himself around them if he were small enough.

“Wanna watch a movie?” he asks.

Kyungsoo shrugs. “Sure.”

They watch some thoughtless comedies, and Jongin falls asleep before Kyungsoo does. They’re both woken up when Jongin’s stomach rumbles, laughing before their eyes are open. Jongin heats up the leftover kimchi spaghetti and shares with Kyungsoo, both of them eating off of the same plate with two pairs of chopsticks.

“Do you want to sleep over?” Jongin asks when they’re done, the empty plate on the table while they curl up with each other on the couch.

A jolt of anxiety courses through Kyungsoo, strong enough that Jongin loosens his grip a little. “I didn’t bring any overnight stuff with me…”

“It’s fine, no problem,” Jongin says, smoothing down Kyungsoo’s hair where it had gotten wild from all of his cat naps. “I’ll take you home whenever you want. We can go now, even.”

“Yeah, okay,” Kyungsoo says, and Jongin carefully untangles the pair of them.

“Let me soak our dishes and we’ll leave.”

The ride back isn’t as silent as Kyungsoo expects, Jongin chatting about the animals at his job and what Chanyeol tells him about the kids from his. Kyungsoo sits back and listens, feeling horrible for rejecting the invitation the way he had, but at the same time he’s pleased that Jongin took it so well.

“I’m sorry I’m not spending the night,” Kyungsoo tells him when they reach his parking lot. “There’s only so much time I can spend around people, even those I really like.”

“I understand,” Jongin says, smiling as he gives Kyungsoo’s ears a quick pet. It’s enough to ignite a low purr, and Jongin’s eyes soften at the sound. “I am satisfied with the amount of time we spent together today, so no worries. Text me tomorrow, if you feel up to it. If not, I’ll text you next week.”

“Thank you,” Kyungsoo says, his breath rushing out of his mouth. “For being so understanding, and for being respectful of my wishes.”

“We have to be like that for our relationships to work,” Jongin says. “I’m better at it than Chanyeol-hyung is. He takes things personally. He’ll probably be sad that you went home, but I’ll help him understand it’s just how you are. We can always do this again.”

“I’d like that.” Kyungsoo smiles as he leans over and butts his head into Jongin’s shoulder. Jongin laughs and pets him again. Kyungsoo thinks about kissing him goodbye, but then Jongin’s lips are on his forehead and this is perfect as it is.

*

For someone in the IT field, Kyungsoo sure hates computers a lot. More specifically, he hates working on computers, even his own. He’s been putting off running some updates and maintenance on his personal laptop because he knows it will be a hassle, and most importantly he can’t do anything on it for a few hours while they run.

Not for the first time, Kyungsoo considers doing something more with his life. His parents would be thrilled, which is the main reason why he hasn’t bothered looking into it. Chanyeol and Jongin are so happy doing what they love, though. Kyungsoo likes to think he’s happy, but at the end of the day, he’s just going through the motions of life without actually living it.

Everyone he knows is focused on meeting “the one” and starting a family. Kyungsoo’s not interested in any of that, at least not as his endgame. If he’s not career-oriented, and not family-oriented, then what is he? Singing karaoke with strangers is the most fun he’s had since he left college. The time he spent at Jongin and Chanyeol’s house is probably the longest he’s consecutively tolerated another person (willingly) since Jongdae drug him on a road trip after graduation to “enjoy life before we become boring adults.”

Speed dial number one is still reserved for the only person who consistently puts up with Kyungsoo’s antisocial moods, though that might be because their parents were friends and they grew up together. Kyungsoo turns on the speakerphone and starfishes on his bed, restless without the use of his laptop.

“Kyungsoo!” Kim Jongdae’s familiar voice answers. He sounds tired, but he’s always tired lately. That’s what happens when you have three kittens. “You’re alive during daylight hours.”

“What did you think I would become when we were kids?” Kyungsoo asks. “Like, before we got jaded by reality and fixated on making money.”

“Defragging again?” Jongdae asks, and Kyungsoo rolls his eyes. “You only get philosophical when you are at a loss for bandwidth.”

“Just answer the question.”

“Nice to hear from you too. Are we talking unrealistic childhood aspirations or moderately feasible high school ones?”

“Moderately feasible high school ones.” Kyungsoo sighs. “You knew me back then. Was there anything that made me…happy?”

“Solitude makes you happy,” Jongdae says. “Sunny spots. Peace and quiet.”

“So I should be a monk in the desert?” Kyungsoo asks sarcastically.

“Are we having a midlife crisis already?” Jongdae sighs. “We’re only twenty-five, but if I get a convertible out of it, I’m down.”

Jongdae.”

“Hold on,” Jongdae hisses to someone on his side of the line, doing a bad job of covering up the mouthpiece. “It’s Kyungsoo, and he’s defragging again.”

Kyungsoo shakes his head and smacks his tail against the wall, pretending it’s Jongdae’s face.

“Luna says hi, and she hopes you get your bytes consolidated soon.”

“I won’t tell you what I hope she does with your bytes.”

Jongdae laughs. “If only. Okay, so if I remember correctly, you were really into singing and acting. You tried out for every male lead in the musical and always got cast in the chorus. Oh, and remember in college when you performed that one-person play for our media studies class? You were pretty proud of that.”

“Because it was fucking amazing,” Kyungsoo says. “So I’m happy when I sing and act? That seems so…two dimensional.”

“I mean, I don’t know your life,” Jongdae tells him. “I was there for most of it, but that doesn’t mean anything. You’re really isolated, right? The only reason we’re still friends is out of habit, and because we have dirt on each other going back to the playpen.”

“I’m hurt,” Kyungsoo deadpans. “You’re the only person I have called all year.”

Because you’re defragging,” Jongdae reiterates. “You want to know what I think? Take one of those things you do on the internet and find other people who like to do it too. Blog about it and discuss it with people. Social media exists for people like you, who don’t actually like being in the presence of other people.”

Kyungsoo frowns. “I already do all of that, though. It’s not fulfilling.”

“You want fulfilling?” Jongdae asks, sounding incredulous. “Kyungsoo, you moonlight as glorified security for a cable provider. Find something to do in the daylight.”

Kyungsoo thinks about that as he thanks Jongdae for his input and turns the conversation onto Luna and the girls. He’s not completely selfish, and besides, he’s still so shocked that someone had actually married Jongdae and gave him kittens that he needs reaffirmation every once in a while that they really exist.

“Oh my god,” Jongdae says suddenly. “You met someone.”

“I—how could you even know that?!” Kyungsoo exclaims. “You’re a recruiter, not a psychic.”

Jongdae gasps. “Holy shit, I’m coming over. Which kitten do you like the best?”

“Don’t do that. I’m busy. The littlest one.”

“You shouldn’t have a favorite. It’s mean to the other two.” Jongdae fails at covering the mouthpiece again and practically yells into Kyungsoo’s ear. “Hyemi! Let’s go see Uncle Kyungsoo!”

“But Uncle Kyungsoo is boring!” calls out a tiny voice.

Kyungsoo laughs. He is definitely boring to a four-year-old, but Jongdae brings enough toys and snacks to entertain her while she climbs all over Kyungsoo’s living room, including Kyungsoo himself. The only way Jongdae can get out of the house is if he takes a kitten with him, so Kyungsoo is used to this. He picked Hyemi because she’s the runt of the litter, endlessly teased by her two older sisters, and Kyungsoo can relate to that.

“So who is he?” Jongdae asks once they’ve gotten Hyemi settled. They have matching tiger stripes, brown and white, their ears folding the same way when they’re interested in something. She’s more tail than body, tripping over the fluff every time she chases around her toys. “What kind of cat is he?”

“Not a cat.” Kyungsoo stares at his hands.

“A human?” Jongdae guesses, making a face. “I suppose that’s cool. You weren’t really the mothering type anyway. And I doubt you’d let anyone collar you.”

“Not a human either…” Kyungsoo trails off, cringing at the impending lecture.

“He’s a dog?!” Jongdae exclaims, so shrill that Hyemi screeches too. “Are you shitting me, Kyungsoo? Dogs have knots!”

“Mommy, what’s a knot?” Hyemi asks, blinking big eyes from under her fringe.

“It’s how you tie a rope,” Jongdae replies firmly, then gapes at Kyungsoo. “A dog? Really?!”

“We’re not doing that,” Kyungsoo hisses, keeping his voice low for his own sake as well as Hyemi’s. “I don’t even know what we’re doing yet, but it’s not that. He doesn’t see people that way.”

“An asexual dog?” Now Jongdae looks confused, and for good reason. Dog hybrids were known to be incredibly sexual, even more than humans. For the most part, cats only desire sex when they’re in heat, but dogs can do it anytime. Usually. “Is he deformed or something?”

Kyungsoo swats him with his tail, right in the face. “Don’t teach your kitten to think that way!”

“Sorry, sorry.” Jongdae bows his head in apology, and Kyungsoo pets him in forgiveness. Jongdae curls up against him, a low purr vibrating the couch even after Kyungsoo’s hands fall still.

“Me too, me too!” Hyemi exclaims, jumping up onto Kyungsoo’s lap. She narrowly misses his crotch, which has Jongdae snickering as the pair of them attack her with pets until she’s rolling around in glee.

“Must be a hell of a dog to put up with you,” Jongdae comments. “Is he hard up for attention or something?”

“Actually…” Kyungsoo trails off, wondering if he should even share this part of his new thing. “He’s poly. He has a partner already.”

Jongdae doesn’t say anything, and Kyungsoo turns to find him staring back in disbelief, like Kyungsoo had just told him that Jongin was an alien from a planet where they fly around on unicorns.

What?” Kyungsoo asks. “It’s not like they host giant orgies or anything. His partner has a lover too. They’re both human.”

“Now who is teaching my kitten questionable things?” Jongdae demands, but Hyemi couldn’t care less, obliviously spoiled under both of their affections.

“There’s nothing wrong with polyamory,” Kyungsoo challenges. “Some people love more than one person.”

Jongdae frowns. “But you don’t love anyone. You spent all four years of college shoving your aromantic agenda in my face.”

“Love is subjective,” Kyungsoo says. “I still have feelings for others. They’re just very rare. Jongin’s the first person I’ve liked this way in a long while, and it’s purely because he is so nice and understanding.”

“He has to be, to let his partner sleep with someone else,” Jongdae scoffs.

“It’s not like that,” Kyungsoo says, swatting Jongdae again. This time, Jongdae grabs Kyungsoo’s tail with his own, flicking them together like they did when they were kittens. It relaxes Kyungsoo considerably as he curls up with Hyemi and gathers the energy to explain something that he doesn’t understand much himself. “They want each other to have additional partners.”

“So you’re just gonna partner with this Jongin mutt?”

Kyungsoo wrinkles his nose at the terminology. “I think he’s a purebred spaniel, but either way. Probably? His partner is great too. Makes really good kimchi spaghetti.”

“Kyungsoo!” Jongdae hisses. “Are you gonna have a threesome?!”

“It’s called a triad,” Kyungsoo tells him. “And I don’t know. I don’t know Chanyeol very well yet…but I’m open to the idea.”

Jongdae’s still gaping at him. “Who are you and what did you do with the cat who hated everyone?”

“I don’t hate everyone.” Kyungsoo nudges him pointedly, and Jongdae lifts one of his hands from his littlest kitten to pet Kyungsoo too. “If you think about it, this situation is ideal for me. Jongin already has a partner, so he won’t be super clingy or anything. And Chanyeol’s into sex, so…”

He doesn’t have to turn to see Jongdae’s dirty grin. “Is he hot?”

“Oh yeah,” Kyungsoo replies with a nod. “He’s so tall—they both are—and has this deep voice. His hands feel nice when they pet me. Kind of rough, like he plays the guitar or something.”

Jongdae makes a frustrated noise. “I never thought I’d be living vicariously through you, but I want all the details.”

“It’s kind of exciting,” Kyungsoo thinks out loud. “They seem to like me, and most importantly they accept me as I am. You know, the main reason I don’t bother with dating is because people always have these expectations that I can’t live up to. It’s not worth my effort. This might be.”

“Whatever makes you happy,” Jongdae tells him. “When do I get to meet them?”

“When we figure out what we’re doing,” Kyungsoo answers. “I won’t subject them to your torture until I’m sure they can handle it.”

Jongdae throws his head back with a laugh, startling the mostly asleep kitten stretched across their laps. “I’m not that bad.”

“You’re horrible. You made my last boyfriend break up with me.”

“He was a bag of dicks anyway.”

“You’re the best, Jongdae.”

“I know.”

*

House parties are the exact opposite of Kyungsoo’s idea of a good time, but Jongin could ask Kyungsoo to accompany him to a warzone and he would probably go. The party is hosted by Kim Minseok, a feisty pomeranian who is part of the karaoke crew but wasn’t there the night Kyungsoo was, and several people feel the need to inform Kyungsoo that Minseok’s husband is also a cat hybrid.

“We’re not like dogs, you know,” Kyungsoo points out the next time Jongin casually mentions it. “Cats usually avoid each other unless we’re already close. We’re not going to bond or anything.”

How wrong he was. Before he had a drink in his hand, he already had Lu Han sidled up against him like they were the married ones. Lu Han is a gorgeous cat, his short hair a light sandy color and a long tail that he can’t seem to keep to himself. Kyungsoo sees the appeal immediately, his thoughts drifting to whether Minseok and Lu Han were poly too.

It’s a costume party, and to be honest Kyungsoo hadn’t tried that hard. People already say he looks like a raccoon with his dark, bushy hair, so he had drawn some black circles around his eyes and teased his fur so that it looked brittly. Lu Han seemed to have similar thoughts, draping a bright red lion’s mane around his head and tying a puff of hair to the tip of his tail.

“It’s so nice to have another cat around,” Lu Han says, all bright eyes and big smiles. “Don’t worry, though—this is a safe place for us.”

Kyungsoo nods and allows Lu Han to give him a tour of the house. Their tails naturally curl together, a byproduct of being around another cat, and Kyungsoo feels comfortable enough to ask questions. Lu Han was raised by humans (which explains his forwardness) and met Minseok at the laundromat of all places. Apparently it’s a great story, because Lu Han keeps interrupting himself to laugh, and Kyungsoo wonders how much the other cat has already had to drink tonight.

“Soo-hyung!” Jongin’s voice rises above the chatter of the room, and Kyungsoo turns to see the tall dog make his way closer. “I lost you!”

“I stole him away for a while,” Lu Han drawls, giving Kyungsoo a firm poke with his tail before untwining them. “He’s all yours now, princess.”

“Awesome,” Jongin says, accepting Kyungsoo into his arms when Lu Han gives him a shove. Kyungsoo starts to struggle, then wonders why he’s bothering when all he’s thought about all week is being exactly here. Jongin had given him a ride again, but this is the first time they’ve made physical contact.

If Kyungsoo has any concerns at all about yearning for Jongin’s touch, it’s washed away with the exceptionally strong drink Baekhyun had made him upon walking in the door. Lu Han hadn’t been using a pet name—Jongin really is dressed up as a princess, complete with tiara and frilly dress. He looks adorable and Kyungsoo wants to pet him all night.

Chanyeol’s over by Baekhyun at the home bar, the pair of them laughing obnoxiously about something, and Lu Han returns to draping himself around vampire Minseok’s back. Kyungsoo recognizes a few faces from karaoke and says hi, quickly being introduced to the others. Conversation flows easily, particularly since most of the costumes are from TV shows that Kyungsoo has seen, and Jongin stays attached to his hip all night, easily flowing from one group of people to the next.

Eventually, Kyungsoo approaches his limit for socialization, only instead of getting anxious, he gets sleepy. He’s wondering if it’s rude to curl up in the corner of someone else’s house for a nap when he sees Chanyeol commandeering an armchair, deep in conversation with another exceptionally tall human named Oh Sehun.

“Hey, kitty,” Chanyeol says, and somehow it’s not annoying anymore. “You look tired.”

“I am,” Kyungsoo mumbles, swaying a little as he walks, though that’s probably because he’s had more than one of Baekhyun’s special cocktails.

Chanyeol pats his lap and Kyungsoo doesn’t think twice, just lies longways on Chanyeol’s body with his back to Chanyeol’s chest. It’s incredibly comfortable, a soothing heartbeat joining the music bumping throughout the house, and he’s already purring before Chanyeol wraps strong arms around him.

“Comfortable?” Chanyeol asks, his voice sounding even deeper in Kyungsoo’s ear, and Kyungsoo nods slowly. “Good.”

Kyungsoo hears Jongin’s voice and forces his eyes open, finding Jongin in conversation with Lu Han. The tall dog waves to him, his grin brighter than normal. Whether it’s because he’s a little drunk or because Kyungsoo is lying on Chanyeol, Kyungsoo doesn’t know. Either way, Jongin’s happiness makes him happy, and Chanyeol is so comfortable that Kyungsoo could go to sleep right here. His tail is barely even moving, falling limply between Chanyeol’s long legs.

Chanyeol hasn’t even tried to pet him. Kyungsoo probably wouldn’t mind, since he’s basically inviting it, but he appreciates Chanyeol’s restraint. Most people—especially humans—would just go for it and expect him to like it. With Chanyeol, Kyungsoo has to ask for it or otherwise make it clear that it’s okay, and that kind of respect goes a long way with him.

They all end up riding home together with Baekhyun since Jongin had given his keys to that Sehun guy to hold onto and Sehun had left without giving them back. Baekhyun was staying at their house tonight, so they just had to drop off Kyungsoo on the way. Kyungsoo’s still warm and comfortable from his impromptu snuggling, which continues with Jongin in the backseat while Chanyeol rides up front with Baekhyun.

Later, Kyungsoo won’t be able to say why he felt compelled to do it, but while he kisses Jongin he reaches out for Chanyeol, sliding his arm around the passenger seat to run fingers along his neck and around his ear. Belatedly, he tears himself away from Jongin and leans up enough to ask Chanyeol if it’s okay, because now he’s the one touching unsolicited, and Chanyeol nods so hard that he bangs his head on the headrest, his eyes shut and mouth slightly parted under Kyungsoo’s ministrations.

Satisfied with the consent, Kyungsoo returns to Jongin’s mouth and kisses him the entire way home, stocking up for another week of his mundane life with the taste of Jongin still on his lips.

*

While he doesn’t quite identify as asexual, at least not as much as Jongin does, Kyungsoo isn’t exactly a sexual person either. He feels sexual attraction, and enjoys sex with people he’s comfortable with, but he doesn’t seek it out or fixate on it as much as others seem to do. Mostly, it just annoys him when it’s expected of him as opposed to a mutual decision.

All of these thoughts swim around in his head as Chanyeol backs him up against the wall of someone else’s house, one big hand on his ass and the other wrapped around his waist. Both of Kyungsoo’s hands are in Chanyeol’s hair, one leg hitched up on Chanyeol’s thigh and his tail thumping against the wall while Chanyeol devours him, using more tongue than Kyungsoo has ever used with Jongin.

The events that led up to this are nothing out of the ordinary. It was another party, this one hosted by Zhang Yixing, who has a pet rabbit. There weren’t as many people at this party as there had been at Minseok and Lu Han’s, and Kyungsoo noticed that Chanyeol had stuck by his side for most of the night. Jongin was off with Sehun and some of the other dog hybrids, playing outside despite the cold weather, and Kyungsoo figured that Chanyeol was just keeping an eye on him, making sure he was okay in a house full of potential strangers.

Neither Jongin nor Chanyeol had really approached him about this thing they were doing. It’s both relaxing and unsettling, because Kyungsoo is a planner who thrives on finality, yet a lack of labels also means a lack of pressure. He’s comfortable touching both of them now, and kissing Jongin is practically second nature. He hadn’t kissed Chanyeol yet—until now.

He couldn’t even tell you how it had happened. They were getting ready to leave, musing about hitting up a diner on the way to take Kyungsoo home since Yixing’s spread hadn’t been that filling, and Kyungsoo had stopped to tell the rabbit (whose name was Bunny) goodbye. Chanyeol followed him, like he’d been doing all night, and Kyungsoo turned his head to find Chanyeol right in his face.

It was an impulse, just like in the car after the other party—he’d leaned in, turned himself around to press flush against Chanyeol, and kissed him hard while Chanyeol had the good sense to move them away from the rabbit cage. Chanyeol kisses back like he’d been waiting this entire time for Kyungsoo to make a move, and maybe he has. The air gets thin, Kyungsoo’s mind spinning with questions that fizzle out to leave nothing but want and now.

“Do you want to come home with us?” Chanyeol whispers when they break for air, Kyungsoo pressing his face into Chanyeol’s shirt to breathe in his cologne.

Kyungsoo nods, his purring intensifying when Chanyeol pets his ears. “I have to go to my home tonight eventually.”

“We’ll take you home,” Chanyeol says. “Let’s go.”

Jongin had held onto his keys this time, his face lighting up when he sees Kyungsoo dragging Chanyeol outside by the wrist. Kyungsoo is positive that they both look like they’ve been making out, not to mention the obvious fire in Kyungsoo’s eyes now that his libido has been ignited. Kyungsoo’s sexual attraction is usually reserved for celebrities and unattainable crushes, not real people whom he can touch and fuck, and right now all he wants to do is touch and fuck Chanyeol until they can’t move.

“I’ll sit in the back,” Chanyeol offers when they get to the car. Kyungsoo looks longingly after him as the human folds his long limbs behind the passenger seat, their physical contact breaking for the first time when Chanyeol reluctantly lets go of his hand.

“You can sit back there with him if you want,” Jongin says, giving him a knowing look over the top of the car. “I think you’ll fit.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t bother checking for confirmation, all but diving into the backseat after Chanyeol and arranging himself on Chanyeol’s lap. Somehow Chanyeol pulls the door closed and he’s back in Kyungsoo’s mouth, picking up where they’d left off before Jongin even starts the car.

He’s so into it that he doesn’t notice he’s groping Chanyeol until Chanyeol moans into his mouth, low and sexy, and Kyungsoo gasps as he feels Chanyeol stiffening in his hand. He wants it even more now, squeezing harder while their kisses become more tongue than lips.

“Shit,” Kyungsoo gasps, pulling back to look at Chanyeol’s hooded eyes and wet lips. “This is okay, right?”

Jongin bursts out laughing from the driver’s seat, but Chanyeol is so dazed that he just nods and smiles, pushing up into Kyungsoo’s hand that hasn’t stopped moving.

“Consent is important,” Kyungsoo says distractedly, and Chanyeol’s next groan isn’t muffled by anything. It’s not very loud, but it’s enough to have Kyungsoo on him again, his tail practically beating the seat in front of him with how riled up he is, how much he just wants to tear off their clothes and ride Chanyeol right here in the backseat of a Beetle.

He makes it back to their house, where Chanyeol attaches himself to Kyungsoo’s back the entire way inside. It’s honestly too late to worry about shielding an erection from any nosy neighbors, and besides Kyungsoo’s pants are just as tented as Chanyeol’s are.

Jongin flops on the couch and turns on the TV, sparing them a grin before Chanyeol presses right up against Kyungsoo’s back and Kyungsoo’s blinded by lust. Chanyeol’s cock digs into his tailbone, feeling big and thick; he’d let Chanyeol bend him over the back of the couch right now while Jongin watches if it gets that inside him faster.

Their bed is huge, big enough for several people, and Kyungsoo has a fleeting thought that there have probably been multiple people in it before Chanyeol lays him down. He feels just as good on top of Kyungsoo as below him, Kyungsoo’s thighs falling open on either side of Chanyeol’s thin waist to grind directly against him.

“Your purring…” Chanyeol whispers between kisses. “…is intoxicating.”

“Have you been with a cat hybrid before?” Kyungsoo asks, unsubtly tugging at Chanyeol’s clothes.

“I haven’t,” Chanyeol answers. “Only dogs, and they don’t purr. It feels good.”

“Good, ’cause I can’t control it,” Kyungsoo says, pulling another low groan from Chanyeol when he can touch him without restrictions. “Your noises are so nice.”

“Yeah?” Chanyeol asks, and his next moan is louder, pressing the sound into Kyungsoo’s ear as he snaps his hips sharply.

“Fuck, do that in me,” Kyungsoo hisses, then works at removing his own clothes. Chanyeol had the foresight to grab lube, which he warms up on his fingers before slipping them between Kyungsoo’s legs.

A moan tears from Kyungsoo’s lungs, louder than usual, but Chanyeol’s fingers feel too good for him to be ashamed. He feels like he’s in heat, minus the desperation and blatant need that to be honest isn’t very enjoyable. Chanyeol follows the reactions of Kyungsoo’s body to touch him right where he wants it, pulling a stream of moans that release into the open air as Chanyeol mouths his way down Kyungsoo’s chest.

Then that mouth is around his dick, and Kyungsoo’s not going to have a voice tomorrow. His hands tangle in Chanyeol’s wild hair, but they don’t need to guide him in any way. The combination of his mouth and fingers work Kyungsoo into a squirming mess, his body arching and pushing back like they’re already fucking.

“Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo gets out, and Chanyeol’s noise of acknowledgement stimulates him even more. “Fuck me. Fuck me now.”

Chanyeol pulls back enough to speak, his voice even lower than before. “One more.”

Kyungsoo can’t argue when a third finger stretches him open, his knees up by his shoulders as Chanyeol prods him deep. He climbs back up Kyungsoo’s body and fuses their mouths together, Kyungsoo clawing at his back to pull him closer. His nails aren’t that long, but he has to be leaving marks, and Chanyeol hisses as he takes out his fingers and rustles with a condom.

“You want it, kitty?” he asks, and Kyungsoo smacks him with his tail for asking such a dumb question.

Chanyeol retaliates by pushing in, looping his arms around Kyungsoo’s thighs to thrust all the way in one go. Kyungsoo’s moan is forced out of him again, followed by a continuous string of incoherent wailing with each snap of Chanyeol’s hips. Chanyeol’s own noises are barely audible over the combination of Kyungsoo’s moans and purrs, but Kyungsoo strains to hear them, pointedly guiding Chanyeol’s head closer to his ears.

Something wet licks the inner shell of his ear and he jerks violently, pulling a surprised gasp from Chanyeol that goes straight to his cock. He’s only been licked there by other cats, in nonsexual situations, and feeling a human tongue is hotter than he would have expected.

Kyungsoo’s purring is loud enough to shake the bed, his ankles hooked around Chanyeol’s waist to take him in deeper. Chanyeol’s cock fills him nicely, but Kyungsoo’s done letting him have all the control.

“Let me get on top.”

Chanyeol rolls over like a dog, dislodging himself from Kyungsoo long enough for Kyungsoo to straddle his lap and sit back down. He throws his head back as he rides, using his weight to move fast and hard, feeling Chanyeol exactly where he wants him. Chanyeol holds onto Kyungsoo’s hips with both hands, his face an array of contortions like he’s struggling to keep his eyes open and watch, and Kyungsoo smirks under the attention.

His tail flicks between Chanyeol’s bare legs as he reaches down to touch himself, ready to get off. Chanyeol gasps when he notices, rocking up from below to escalate Kyungsoo’s wailing and tighten both of their grips. Kyungsoo might have bruises on his hips after this but he doesn’t care, his whole focus on coming hard with Chanyeol pounding inside him, his hand flying up and down his cock just the way he likes it.

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol gasps. “You feel so fucking good.”

Kyungsoo can’t speak, just moan as he approaches his peak. His rhythm gets sloppy, and Chanyeol takes over from the bottom, thrusting hard enough to make Kyungsoo bounce. Those big hands drop to his thighs, squeezing the muscles as more of those enticing noises fall from his lips, and Kyungsoo wonders if Chanyeol’s going to come too, the increasing tightness of his own body too much for Chanyeol to push through.

He doesn’t, but Kyungsoo does, spilling over his fingers while he moans out his orgasm. Chanyeol stops moving while Kyungsoo shudders it out, falling forward and clinging to Chanyeol’s shoulders. Gradually, he catches his breath, very aware of Chanyeol still hard inside him.

“Y-you can keep going, if you want,” he gets out. “Just let me lie here like this.”

“Okay,” Chanyeol says, pressing a kiss to Kyungsoo’s lips that lingers as Chanyeol slides out from under him. “Is it okay to do it this way?”

Right now Kyungsoo doesn’t care which way he does it, but his body is more than approving of the way Chanyeol kneels behind him and lifts up his hips. His tail sticks straight up, curving toward his head in a blatant invitation, and Chanyeol waits until Kyungsoo nods his consent before plunging back in.

Already, Kyungsoo has decided this is his favorite position. He likes being on top well enough, but Chanyeol feels so good at this angle, hitting him hard and deep with both hands gripping the globes of his ass. Chanyeol fucks fast, his soft groans reaching Kyungsoo’s ears with each thrust, and Kyungsoo stretches his hands out in front of him, twisting his fingers in the sheets as Chanyeol pounds into him.

“I’m gonna come,” Chanyeol breathes out, and Kyungsoo squeezes his muscles, smirking in satisfaction when Chanyeol chokes on his air. “Fuck, Kyungsoo.”

Chanyeol jerks and falls still, rolling to the side before he collapses onto the bed. Kyungsoo stays right where he is, slowly stretching out his legs that already burn from all the effort he’s exuded tonight. If this is going to be a regular thing, he’ll have to get back to the gym.

A gentle touch caresses his arm, and Kyungsoo turns to see Chanyeol grinning at him, flushed and sated. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo answers, leaning toward the hand that pets him. He hasn’t stopped purring since he first kissed Chanyeol by Yixing’s rabbit cage, and he kisses him again now, slow and lazy. “Your dick is so nice.”

“Thank you,” Chanyeol replies. “You can have it anytime you want.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

Two curly ears appear in the doorway, peeking around the ledge. “You guys done? Do you need some water or anything?”

“Actually, yes,” Kyungsoo answers, his voice gravelly when he raises it enough to speak out loud.

Jongin disappears and returns a minute later with two glasses of water, which Chanyeol and Kyungsoo gulp down while Jongin hops onto the bed next to Kyungsoo. His tail wags excitedly, like he’s waiting to be petted, and Kyungsoo obliges.

“I feel very weird about this,” Kyungsoo admits, because he had just fucked someone else’s partner while they were in the other room, and now he’s petting that someone in the same bed.

“Don’t,” Jongin tells him, his smile bright enough to light up the dark room. “I’m happy you two are close now. We thought you might not be into him.”

“I didn’t think I was,” Kyungsoo admits, casting a glance over his shoulder toward Chanyeol. Chanyeol’s watching them with a fond smile, and Kyungsoo reaches out for him too, their fingers lacing easily together.

“Still want me to take you home?” Jongin asks, his tone dripping with more innuendo than it should considering it’s not a sexual invitation.

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo answers. “I have things to do tomorrow, and—”

“No biggie,” Jongin cuts him off, waving his hand dismissively, and once again Kyungsoo is grateful for the other hybrid’s easy nature. “As soon as you both get dressed, we can go.”

“Do I have to?” Chanyeol whines.

Jongin’s eyebrows rise. “Wow, you really wore him out! He bounces off the walls after Baekhyun.”

Chanyeol laughs. “Because Baekhyun does all the work.”

Kyungsoo gives up trying to make sense out of this arrangement and hunts for his clothes. Jongin helps, unraveling Kyungsoo’s shirt that gets bunched up and holding him steady while he hops into his pants. It’s strangely intimate, and Kyungsoo leans toward him, looping his arms around Jongin’s waist once he’s fully dressed.

“Hi,” Jongin says, chuckling as he embraces Kyungsoo in return. “Did you have fun?”

“His dick is so nice,” Kyungsoo breathes out, pressing his face into Jongin’s shirt, and Jongin laughs softly.

“Yeah it is,” Jongin replies, petting Kyungsoo’s ears. Kyungsoo’s tail swishes against Jongin’s legs, and they sway together aimlessly until Chanyeol reluctantly puts on clothes.

The drive home has Kyungsoo in the passenger seat, one hand laced with Jongin’s over the console and the other hanging down at his side, covered by Chanyeol’s from the backseat, and Kyungsoo thinks he could get used to this.

*

Kyungsoo’s thighs hurt for four days. Jongdae gasps the entire twenty minutes it takes Kyungsoo to relay the night’s events—over the phone, thankfully far away from any impressionable kittens—and tells Kyungsoo he’s proud of him for finally going after something he wants.

Chanyeol starts texting Kyungsoo too, easing Kyungsoo’s concerns about things getting weird between them by openly approaching Kyungsoo and talking about it.

I’m not sure if I’ll feel like doing that again, Kyungsoo tells him honestly. It might have been a one time thing.

It’s okay if it is ☺, Chanyeol replies in return. I’m not gonna stop hanging out with you or anything.

Kyungsoo replays that conversation all week as he researches polyamory at work. Most of what he finds involves triads, which surprises him since it makes more sense to him to have four or more people in these kinds of relationships. Something else that’s interesting to him is the difference in the dynamics between all of the participants—it’s not just three or more people in love with each other, but they interact in different ways. Those accounts relate more to Kyungsoo’s situation, where not only does he have different feelings for both Jongin and Chanyeol, they feel differently about him than they do each other.

Jongdae calls them a tripod, and Kyungsoo doesn’t think that’s entirely accurate. They don’t hold each other up equally, at least. Chanyeol and Jongin have a connection that Kyungsoo can never achieve with either one of them, not that he wants to. He’s not interested in getting fully involved in their lives or thinking about a future with them. The most planning he does is scheduling in karaoke on Friday nights and cuddling on Saturdays. Eventually he might just start spending the weekends over there, but he’s not ready for that yet. Regardless of any urge for affection, Kyungsoo prefers to sleep alone.

A big similarity between polyamory and the aromanticism he’d preached about in college is how vast the spectrum really is. Every person is different, which means every relationship is different. In talking with Chanyeol more often, Kyungsoo learns that what he and Baekhyun have is more of friends-with-benefits arrangement than anything emotional, and that works for both of them. Chanyeol and Jongin are in deep romantic love with each other, and will probably end up getting married and adopting children someday, but they are both attracted to other people in different ways.

Kyungsoo doesn’t quite know where he fits into all of this yet, other than that he does. Sleeping with Chanyeol seems to have completed the triangle in his mind, thinking of both of them as “his people” for lack of any better term. “Boyfriend” is too suffocating and “lover” doesn’t technically apply. Chanyeol calls Jongin “puppy” and Jongin wears Chanyeol’s collar, but Kyungsoo is a free cat. Neither of them pressure him into anything, expressing their happiness at him wanting to spend time with them at all, and Kyungsoo likes that. Not being obligated to do something makes him want to do it more.

After five long nights of reading and texting, Kyungsoo feels like he has a good handle on what he’s doing here, and then Chanyeol walks through the door of the karaoke bar. He had arrived later than the others since he had to work, and Kyungsoo was in no way prepared for the flood of want he was hit with the second he saw Chanyeol’s face. The tall form casually sways those big arms that had held him close while they fucked last weekend, and Kyungsoo doesn’t know which way is up anymore.

“Hey!” Jongin greets him, melting into Chanyeol’s backhug and kiss on the cheek, which is immediately repeated with Kyungsoo.

Surprisingly, Kyungsoo doesn’t jump at all, but he must have an interesting look on his face because Baekhyun eyes him from across the table. “You okay, kitty?”

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo answers with a nod, still struggling to process his unrelentless attraction toward Chanyeol

Baekhyun winks. “You’ll get used to it.”

Kyungsoo looks around at the usual crowd at their table and wonders how many of them know everything that’s going on here. Chanyeol and Baekhyun are about as subtle as a tidal wave, while Chanyeol and Jongin are a historically documented couple, so probably no one bats an eyelash at Kyungsoo being added to the mix. Not that Kyungsoo gives half a shit about what anyone in this bar thinks about it, appreciating the attention from both sides when Chanyeol pulls up a chair and squishes Kyungsoo between them, quite literally.

It’s only awkward when Kyungsoo feels like they’re both paying more attention to him than each other, particularly Chanyeol. Jongin flits around to different seats throughout the night, being petted by others as he sees fit, but just like at Yixing’s party, Chanyeol stays stationary with Kyungsoo.

“Is this okay?” Chanyeol whispers at one point, and Kyungsoo almost laughs because literally all Chanyeol is doing is slinging an arm around Kyungsoo’s chair while they sit in their own seats waiting to be called to sing. Jongin has probably touched him more with an earlier pat on his thigh.

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo tells him, turning to offer a rare smile. “I’m still getting used to you, is all.”

“This, or me specifically?” Chanyeol asks, and Kyungsoo doesn’t know why he bothers being evasive when Chanyeol seems to see right through him. Jongin had mentioned that when they had first got together, he wasn’t that great with his words, and Chanyeol helped him learn how to communicate his feelings so that they could be like this without any worries or misunderstandings.

“You,” Kyungsoo admits. “I didn’t expect this reaction when I saw you again.”

“What reaction?” Chanyeol prods, and Kyungsoo turns to find Chanyeol staring intently into his eyes. The pull is so strong that Kyungsoo almost kisses him right then, only on his first drink and not concealed in a moderately private room, but he narrowly resists. Chanyeol has to notice, though, because he hides a smile and gently rubs Kyungsoo’s shoulder. “Well, I did advise you not to expect anything.”

“I’m not used to this,” Kyungsoo tries again, willing his body to calm down. “I feel like a hormonal teenager again.”

To his credit, Chanyeol does not laugh, though his eyes sparkle like he wants to. “Do you want to go out to Baekhyun’s car? He won’t mind. He certainly doesn’t drive an SUV for economical reasons.”

“No,” Kyungsoo says firmly, and Chanyeol leans back on impulse. “I mean, not that I don’t want to, because clearly I do. I just…not here.”

“I can back off,” Chanyeol says, but he lets a smirk slip as he leans closer to one of Kyungsoo’s incredibly pointed ears. “I’m incredibly flattered, though.”

Kyungsoo wants to say that he better be, since Kyungsoo has spent most of the last week singing praises about how nice his dick is and thinking about potentially living on it, but all he does is nod and try not to blush too much. “Some space would be good.”

“Thank you for your honesty,” Chanyeol says, giving Kyungsoo one last pat on the back before he extracts himself from their tight row of added seats and mingles with the other members of their crew. Kyungsoo takes the opportunity to breathe, inhaling the remaining platters of shitty bar food scattered across the table instead of Chanyeol’s intoxicating cologne, and he’s just gotten his heartbeat back to normal when Junmyeon calls him up to sing.

He should feel awkward singing traditional love songs right now, but it’s strangely comforting. Monogamy, heteronormativity—these are things that have never applied to Kyungsoo, regardless of which end of the diverse spectrum he identified with. It’s ironic to find solstace in crooning about a one true love when he doesn’t feel that way at all, or maybe he feels that way with two different people. What is love, anyway? Kyungsoo thinks about them both a lot, wants to talk to them and be with them separately and together, and by the time he wails his last note, he’s really done thinking so hard about it.

Applause rings in his ears before Junmyeon can call for it, and Kyungsoo can hear both Jongin and Chanyeol cheering for him. Junmyeon welcomes him back when he goes to return his microphone, then he helps himself to another glass of the pitcher of cheap beer he and Jongin had been draining all night, now on its second refill and shared with Chanyeol.

He looks around to see where those two are and freezes when he sees them cuddled together at the end of a table, rubbing noses and being grossly domestic like they’re the only ones in this bar. It has an interesting effect on Kyungsoo, the familiar fire of jealousy burning under his skin; he’s just not sure what he’s actually jealous of. Chanyeol and Jongin are in love, and even if the three of them make this triad official, the original pair will still have their own cocoon of feelings that no one can penetrate.

“Wanna come outside for a bit, Kyungsoo?” Baekhyun asks quietly enough to keep Kyungsoo from jumping, and the only reason Kyungsoo complies is because Baekhyun had used his proper name.

The patio is crowded with smokers, but they find a piece of wall upwind and lean against it. It’s chilly, but still warm enough to enjoy the night, and Kyungsoo inhales sharply as the fresh air cleanses his messy mind. Baekhyun’s a safe distance away, looking forlorn for the first time since Kyungsoo’s met him, and already he likes this serious side of Baekhyun more than the loud, playful side.

“I had him first, you know,” Baekhyun starts, laughing out loud in complete contrast to his tone. “Not that it’s a competition or anything, because the last thing I want is to put up with his shit day in and out, but that doesn’t change the past. He was my first love, my first everything, and it took me a long time to get used to Jongin ranking higher than me, even if both of them will swear until the end of the world that there are no levels to their feelings.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t say anything, absorbing the familiar thoughts along with the crisp, sobering weather as he lifts his beer for another sip.

“I have no right to claim possession over someone I couldn’t give my heart to,” Baekhyun goes on. “Yet I want to. I think you and I are alike that way.”

“Perhaps,” Kyungsoo says evasively.

“Chanyeol is my best friend above all else, and I love Jongin for being exactly what he needs.” Baekhyun takes a breath, exhaling slowly like the smokers crowded on the other side of the patio. “I’m glad they have an open relationship so I can still get that good dick whenever I want.”

“It’s so good,” Kyungsoo agrees, closing his eyes to the memory.

Baekhyun laughs. “He speaks quite highly of you too. I don’t often fuck hybrids, but I might have to make an exception.”

Kyungsoo snorts. “If I let you.”

“Give me time.” Baekhyun’s smirking when Kyungsoo turns to look at him, and Kyungsoo elbows him pointedly in the side. “Anyway, I recognized the look in your eyes when you saw them together just now and thought you could benefit from getting away for a bit.”

“Thanks,” Kyungsoo mutters. “I’m still working this all out in my head. It’s all so new to me.”

It’s the most information Kyungsoo has volunteered to Baekhyun so far, and Baekhyun’s slowly growing smile seems to be pleased with Kyungsoo opening up to him. “Like I said, you’ll get used to it. They both adore you, especially Nini. It’s easy for Chanyeol to take lovers, but not many want to deal with Jongin’s above the waist rule. We need you to be there for him too.”

“I feel bad,” Kyungsoo admits. “I haven’t been able to think about anything but Chanyeol’s dick all week. I liked Jongin first, so it’s confusing.”

“It’s gonna be confusing when you think of it in terms of who you liked first and what matters more,” Baekhyun tells him. “Just like them both. Trust me, they’re both fine with it.”

“You say it like it’s so simple,” Kyungsoo says with a sigh, abandoning all of his apprehensions to lean on Baekhyun—figuratively, though it might be literal by the time he gets to the bottom of this beer.

“Because you’ve been brainwashed with monogamy since you were young,” Baekhyun explains. “Working in advertising has taught me that the media is more influential than anyone could ever believe. All you see on TV are romantic couples, all the songs on the radio are about a single solitary love.”

“You’re preaching to the preacher,” Kyungsoo points out. “I’ve identified as aromantic since I was four years old and wrinkled my nose at the Prince Charming plot of basically every Disney movie.”

“Prince Charming is a perfect example of media influence,” Baekhyun says, his voice gradually becoming more and more excited like this is a topic he’s passionate about. “It starts when we are young, intensifying when we’re teenagers and suffering through puberty. Do you know how many kids crush over multiple people at once? Our hormones want us to fuck everyone. Or love, in Jongin’s instance. If you ask him, those were the best years, because they were too young to have sex and nobody cared that he was dating three or four people simultaneously.”

“Jongin has a big heart,” Kyungsoo comments.

“So does Chanyeol,” Baekhyun adds. “I like to think I do too, just in a different way. You might feel similarly.”

Kyungsoo snorts noncommittally.

“But the media beats it into our heads that there’s only one person out there for us,” Baekhyun continues. “Not only is there only one person, but you must love this person more than anything else in the world and want to have sex with only them all the time. I don’t know about you, but that’s a little too specific for me on every level.”

“Can’t argue with you there,” Kyungsoo says.

“It’s unfortunate that so many people are susceptible to this skewed concept of normality. Think about all the closet polys and aspecs who feel like there’s something wrong with them for being deviant. There are more of them than we think. We’re the lucky ones, you know?”

“Do you always get philosophical when you drink?” Kyungsoo asks in mild amusement.

“It’s either this or I get excessively horny.” Baekhyun shrugs. “Looks like you lucked out.”

Kyungsoo laughs out loud. “Thanks, I think.”

“You’re coming over tomorrow, right?” Baekhyun asks, flashing a smile that’s actually decent and not laced with devious intent. “I’m home this weekend, so it’ll be nice to get to know you better.”

Kyungsoo blinks big eyes at him, not sure how to process that proposition.

“Don’t worry, I’m not going to steal Chanyeol away from you,” Baekhyun says, and now that familiar smarmy grin returns to his face. “This is still new and exciting to both of you, so I’ll let you ride it out. Literally.”

Kyungsoo makes a face. “I wasn’t even planning on doing that this weekend!”

“Then you saw him again,” Baekhyun says with the air of someone who knows exactly what that feels like. “Nini and I can entertain ourselves. We watch a lot of TV together and talk. You and I can be like that too, if you want, or I can fuck off and leave you alone. Whatever.”

“I don’t mind you,” Kyungsoo admits. His walls are surprisingly down, relating to Baekhyun probably more than Chanyeol and Jongin combined, if he were to compare. “Just don’t pet me until I tell you it’s okay.”

“Noted,” Baekhyun says, then claps his hands together decidedly. “Well! This establishment has gone long enough without being graced with my vocal stylings. See you inside.”

“Good chat,” Kyungsoo calls after him, laughing at the snort he gets as Baekhyun disappears through the door. That guy is all right.

Now alone, Kyungsoo breathes deeply, leaning back against the wall as he gathers his thoughts and sorts out his feelings. Baekhyun’s right—everything Kyungsoo knows about love and relationships comes from the media and his own experiences which have been tarnished by the media. He may be literate enough to understand the difference, but up until now he had thought that meant he wasn’t cut out for relationships at all.

When both Chanyeol and Jongin’s faces light up at his return, Baekhyun winking from his soulful rendition of an actual Beyoncé song this time, Kyungsoo feels like everything he’s ever known has gotten flipped upside down. And he’ll drink to that.

*

Saturday is a beautiful day. Despite the quickly approaching winter months, the weather is nice enough for a light jacket with just enough of a breeze to kiss your cheeks while you walk. Kyungsoo elects to take the train across town because he has somewhere he wants to stop first, gathering his courage to step inside the foreign store and make the first step toward doing something with his life.

He stops short when he sees Sehun. They’re not on bad terms or anything, but Kyungsoo hadn’t expected to see him stocking the shelves of a music store. Sehun recognizes him right away, abandoning his boxes and waving jovially with a grin that’s too familiar for regular customers.

“Hey!” Sehun greets him. “Jongin didn’t mention you were stopping by today.”

“I didn’t tell him,” Kyungsoo answers blankly. “I didn’t know you worked here.”

“Yup.” Sehun spreads his arms out, gesturing around. “This is how I earn beer money.”

“Small world,” Kyungsoo says, shifting uncomfortably. Not that he wanted to keep this a secret from Jongin—he just didn’t want it to become anything until he was sure about it. “What would you recommend for a songwriter who is starting out?”

If Sehun thinks that’s an odd question, he doesn’t show it. Instead, he slips into a salesperson spiel, leading him around to different sections of the store that could help him out. Kyungsoo doesn’t play any instruments, but he can read music, so Sehun loads him up with some songbooks that include accompaniment and an instructional book on writing lyrics.

“If you want to splurge, you could get a keyboard,” Sehun tells him. “Even if you can’t play it, you can mix up the beats and see what sounds good. That’s what a lot of music producers do these days anyway.”

“Are you studying music?” Kyungsoo asks, suddenly interested in Sehun’s story.

Sehun shakes his head. “No, I didn’t finish college. I like music, though. I dance, like Jongin used to. That’s how we met.”

“I didn’t know Jongin danced,” Kyungsoo says slowly.

“It’s not something he talks about often.” Sehun frowns. “He got hurt a few years ago and it makes him sad to think about now. Neither one of us was going to get famous off of it or anything, but it was fun and made us feel like we were good at something.”

“I understand that very much,” Kyungsoo mumbles. His heart aches for Jongin’s loss, fearing what he himself would do if he could never sing again. He must have a devastated look on his face, because Sehun distracts him by showing him the different settings on the keyboard.

“You know, Chanyeol-hyung has one that’s nicer than anything in this store,” Sehun says. “He also plays every instrument in existence, so if you just wanted music to write lyrics for, I’m sure he could help you out.”

Maybe when I can be in the same room with him without wanting to fuck his brains out, Kyungsoo thinks, but all he says is, “Thanks. I wanted to look into this on my own first.”

“Got it.” Sehun nods. “The tough part is the lyrics anyway. Have you written before?”

“Just for school,” Kyungsoo answers. “My literature professors said my symbolism was so far out there that nobody would ever know what I actually meant to say.”

“That can be good, I think?” Sehun offers. “Mystery and all. People these days like to interpret things on their own, not just accept what’s said to them.”

Kyungsoo remembers Baekhyun’s drunken lecture last night and smiles. “Maybe I’ll fit in here after all.”

It’s a loaded statement, one that likely goes over Sehun’s head as he rings up Kyungsoo’s purchases, but Kyungsoo doesn’t feel the need to elaborate.

“Hyung?” Sehun asks when Kyungsoo turns to leave. “I’m about to take my lunch break. Do you want to eat together?”

Kyungsoo remembers that Chanyeol’s cooking today, but probably not until much later. “Sure, I could eat.”

Sehun’s face lights up and Kyungsoo smiles. They settle in a little cafe in the same shopping plaza and talk about karaoke, Sehun sharing stories about the other members and how he came to join them. He knew Jongin first, he brags, and then Jongin met Chanyeol in college. Sehun isn’t much of a singer, but Kyungsoo’s seen him and Chanyeol do “Rapper’s Delight” enough to know what his strengths are. Sehun also knew Lu Han, oddly enough, and was the one who takes credit for his marriage since he’d left Lu Han to do the laundry on that particular night.

“Is it weird?” Sehun asks suddenly, lowering his voice. “Being with them?”

Kyungsoo blinks. “What are you asking?”

“I mean.” Sehun frowns as he presumably looks for his words, then seems to give up and sighs. “Everyone knows they’re open, but usually they just date other people too. Not the same person.”

“I don’t know if I’d call it dating,” Kyungsoo says honestly. “I don’t really know what to call it.”

“Is it weird?” Sehun asks again, his eyes pleading like he’s genuinely curious.

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo admits. “Having both of them pay attention to me is a little weird, but only because it’s unconventional. It’s honestly weirder to be with one of them and not the other one now.”

Sehun smiles. “That’s cute.”

Kyungsoo makes a face at the word and Sehun laughs. “It’s nice, though. I like how low stress it is. All they need from me is whatever I want to give them. It’s nice to make someone happy for once instead of constantly letting them down.”

That last part slips out, something he hasn’t even said to Jongdae, but Sehun doesn’t act like it’s any big insecure confession. “That’s really great, hyung. Jongin’s heart is so big it’s a shame more people aren’t in it. I love him like a brother, and I’m so glad the stars aligned so that you two could meet. He really likes you, you know. He hasn’t chatted my ear off about someone so much since he first met Chanyeol-hyung.”

Kyungsoo thinks about that as they finish eating and part ways, Kyungsoo electing to take the long way instead of hop on another train. It’s not a long walk, the rustling of leaves all around him providing an interesting backdrop for the thoughts that are mulling over in his mind. He may have amazing sex with Chanyeol, but he also likes Jongin a hell of a lot, and there’s no reason to compare the two.

“Hey!” Jongin exclaims when he opens the front door to find Kyungsoo on the step, squeaking in surprise when Kyungsoo immediately wraps him in a tight hug. “Mm, hello to you too.”

Jongin smells like Jongin today, clean and natural and Kyungsoo fits neatly in his arms, the pair of them hugging with no intention of parting anytime soon.

“I’m happy you’re here,” Jongin says into his hair.

“Me too,” Kyungsoo answers, closing his eyes to the feelings that wash over him, new and scary and perfect.

*

This is definitely the sandwich Kyungsoo ordered. He’s squished in the middle of a giant bed—where he’d had sex last weekend—marathoning an old sci-fi show with Jongin curled up on one side and Chanyeol pressed against the other. The cat side of Kyungsoo feels incredibly spoiled right now, his tail thumping happily between his legs as he lies on his back, purring so loudly that they had to turn on the subtitles on the TV.

He’s still incredibly attracted to Chanyeol, but it’s subdued. Chanyeol seems to be going easy on him, just resting his head against Kyungsoo’s shoulder and lacing their fingers together instead of actually petting him. Meanwhile, Jongin pets him so absently that he probably doesn’t know he’s doing it, fingers drifting lightly along Kyungsoo’s arm, his tail wagging fast enough to shake the bed.

Baekhyun had gone out for the afternoon, claiming prior engagements, but Kyungsoo has a feeling it’s for his benefit. All four of them in the bed at once might have been too much to dive into, but gradually building up to it could be okay. Kyungsoo can already imagine Baekhyun stretching out across them, leaning back against Chanyeol’s front, or even draping himself behind them. He’s small—he can fit anywhere. As the cat of the group, Kyungsoo would be fine with curling up in someone’s lap while the other three snuggled at the head of the bed, as long as they kept petting him.

“You okay, kitty?” Chanyeol whispers, periodically checking in on Kyungsoo when he goes too long without pointing out plot holes and other nonsensical events in the show.

“Great,” Kyungsoo answers honestly, offering Chanyeol a head butt for emphasis. Chanyeol gives him one right back, and Jongin grins into Kyungsoo’s other shoulder, gleeful at the three of them together like this. When Baekhyun returns later, Kyungsoo figures that Jongin will explode in sparkles of happiness.

There had been a fleeting lust upon seeing Chanyeol when he’d first got here, but it wasn’t as bad as the bar last night. It helps that Chanyeol is a complete mess, lingering bedhead and pajamas still hanging off of him. Jongin’s just as unkempt, his own hair sticking out like a mad scientist while a too-big shirt that is clearly Chanyeol’s falls off of one shoulder.

Out of the three of them, Kyungsoo had probably put the most thought into his appearance, but only because he had brushed his hair. He wasn’t about to cuddle in jeans, comfortable in sweatpants and a T-shirt despite the cold weather. He’s got one human heater to the side of him, anyway.

Whenever one of them gets up to go to the bathroom or fetch more water, the other two snuggle with their whole bodies. Kyungsoo’s purring goes all the way to his toes the first time Chanyeol does it, taking advantage of Jongin taking a phone call to roll Kyungsoo around the bed like a living body pillow. There’s nothing sexual about it and Kyungsoo holds on tight, nuzzling his face into Chanyeol’s chest to press as close as possible.

“Aw,” Jongin says when he returns, ears perked. “I’m happy you two like each other so much now. Chanyeol-hyung in the middle!”

Kyungsoo barely has time to adjust before Jongin shoves them over, taking his place on Chanyeol’s other side while Kyungsoo situates himself under Chanyeol’s arm. It’s incredibly nice, aside from feeling far away from Jongin, but all he has to do is stretch an arm across Chanyeol’s tummy and there he is, their hands lazily brushing against each other.

“Is this what it’s like?” Kyungsoo asks. He’s mostly speaking into Chanyeol’s shirt, but they seem to hear him well enough.

“What what’s like?” Jongin answers, leaning across Chanyeol to pet Kyungsoo’s ears. Kyungsoo’s purring intensifies even more, his body turning toward the touch. “Being with us?”

Kyungsoo nods, squirming as Chanyeol starts tracing the muscles of his arm with his fingertips. It’s mildly erotic, like everything Chanyeol does, but Kyungsoo welcomes the stimulation.

“This is basically it,” Jongin answers, laughing as Kyungsoo doesn’t bother hiding his reaction to Chanyeol’s ministrations. “Karaoke and parties are really the only times we go out. Usually, we’re just hanging out like this.”

“Baekhyunnie likes to go out,” Chanyeol adds. “He has a lot of friends and enjoys loud, crowded places. He gets bored if he lies around for too long, but if he wears himself out enough, he won’t move for the rest of the night.”

“He’s practically a dog hybrid in a human body,” Jongin jokes. “But if you ever want to go out, he’ll take you. He knows all the best places and has money to blow.”

“We’ll see,” Kyungsoo says. “I like this.”

“Me too,” Jongin replies, echoed by Chanyeol who scoops both of them up in his arms and pulls them closer.

Two episodes later, Chanyeol’s stomach starts rumbling, and that’s the cue to start dinner. Kyungsoo thinks about helping, but then Jongin’s long limbs are wrapped around him and Kyungsoo’s not going anywhere.

“You’re hard,” Jongin points out, and Kyungsoo has the decency to be embarrassed until Jongin kisses his nose. “I can go cook and send Chanyeol-hyung in here, if you want.”

“I’ll be okay,” Kyungsoo answers, though he shivers visibly at the thought of Chanyeol inside him again. “I’m not usually this easy to rile up. It’s just him.”

Jongin laughs and runs his fingers through Kyungsoo’s hair, eliciting a low purr. “I understand.”

A few minutes of petting calm Kyungsoo down, luring him into a nap that lasts until someone bounces on the bed, nearly shoving Kyungsoo right off of it from the force.

“Wake up, cute hybrids!” a too-loud voice declares. “Baekhyun is here!”

“Hyung!” Jongin exclaims, sounding sleepy as he rolls away from Kyungsoo and latches onto Baekhyun. Kyungsoo had been half awake himself, but his eyes open all the way when Baekhyun pulls Jongin right into his mouth, kissing him hard and fast. Jongin easily rolls onto his back and Baekhyun settles on top of him, the pair of them kissing passionately until Jongin shoves Baekhyun into the middle with a firm push, sticking out his tongue that was just in Baekhyun’s mouth.

Baekhyun is awfully close to Kyungsoo now, but they’re not actually touching. Baekhyun seems more focused on breathing, stretching out onto his back as he gulps in large breaths of air. “Good puppy.”

“I am a good puppy,” Jongin says proudly. Aside from kiss-swollen lips, he looks unaffected by Baekhyun’s sudden accosting.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo says, ears folded forward and tail swishing protectively as he stares at the new person next to him.

“Kitty,” Baekhyun mumbles, lolling his head to face Kyungsoo. “You seem to be adapting well.”

“I am.” Swish, swish.

“Relax,” Baekhyun tells him. “I’m not going to touch you.”

Kyungsoo’s tail slows down.

“How’s your dicklust going?” Baekhyun asks with a smirk, and Kyungsoo hisses at him. “That well, huh? I can take Jongin out for a bit if you two want to be alo—”

“I don’t have to have sex with him every time we hang out,” Kyungsoo snaps. “I like him more than that.”

Baekhyun stares at him for a long while, then smiles. “That’s nice to hear. I hope you might come to like me too.”

Then he gets up, leaving Kyungsoo by himself in a big, empty bed while the other three congregate in the kitchen. Kyungsoo thinks about joining them, but he needs to rearrange his feelings a bit first. Watching Baekhyun kiss Jongin had been shocking, but Kyungsoo’s not quite sure why. Kyungsoo hasn’t kissed anyone yet today, unless their goodbyes at the bar early this morning counted, when he almost got sucked into Chanyeol’s pants again with the slightest slip of tongue.

He’d barely made it through his front door before wrapping his hand around his cock, jerking himself at the memory of Chanyeol touching him everywhere. It’s dumb, because it’s not like Chanyeol won’t let him have it again—Kyungsoo has just spent so long watching everyone else make such a big deal about sex that he would rather it not be the only focus he has. Chanyeol has many other endearing qualities, but all Kyungsoo can think about is that one thing.

As if on cue, Chanyeol pokes his head into the room and grins at Kyungsoo unmoving from where he’d left him. “You wanna talk, kitty?”

“I want this feeling to go away,” Kyungsoo mutters, pulling his knees to his chest and wrapping his tail around himself. “This is worse than being in heat. At least that only lasts for a few days.”

Chanyeol laughs, falling silent at Kyungsoo’s narrowed eyes as he sits a safe distance away on the bed. “I can’t say I’m sorry that you find me so irresistible. Can I ask why it’s such a bad thing for you?”

“You’re worth more than that,” Kyungsoo says, burying his face in his arms as he shudders out the rush of arousal that hits him from Chanyeol’s presence. “Jongin loves you, Baekhyun is your best friend, and I’m just some strange cat who can’t stop thinking about hanging off your dick.”

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol says gently, stretching out onto his side to face Kyungsoo on his level. “I don’t mind being looked at that way. You’re not disrespecting me the same way you have been disrespected. I like you. I want to be close to you. If you want it, I’ll give it to you. It’s all the same to me. Do you understand?”

Kyungsoo nods. “That doesn’t change how horrible I feel about it.”

“You are a strange cat,” Chanyeol says, chuckling at Kyungsoo’s resulting scoff. “But it’s why I like you. Now come out from your little ball and look at me.”

It’s the first time Chanyeol has ordered him to do something, and Kyungsoo peeks over his arm to see those big eyes regarding him with nothing but fondness. Guilt floods him, berating him for being such a problem when everyone else is so great, even Baekhyun.

“Sorry,” he says.

“Don’t be,” Chanyeol replies. “If this is too much for you, one of us can leave or take you home. We want you to be comfortable.”

“Baekhyun kissed Jongin,” Kyungsoo reports, his chest rising and falling with much-needed air as he recounts the actions that had happened right next to him. “It surprised me, how sensual they were with each other.”

“Jongin loves everyone,” Chanyeol says, his smile softening. “He also loves to kiss. That’s the one thing he and Baekhyun have in common. They’ll make out for hours if you let them, though Baekhyun might attack me after they’re done.”

Kyungsoo scoffs again. “This is so much to digest.”

A timer dings from the kitchen, and Chanyeol reaches for Kyungsoo’s wrist to drag him out of bed. “Speaking of digesting, it’s time to eat!”

Their dining room could probably hold twelve people, but the four of them crowd around the coffee table in the living room to slurp noodles and share side dishes. It’s a nice break from all the body heat, Kyungsoo’s skin cooling down from the distance. He wonders if he should make the trek home, if just for a little while; it’s still early enough that he could come back later if he wanted to.

“This is so delicious,” Kyungsoo moans as he eats. “You’re really good at cooking, Chanyeol.”

“He’s more than just good dick, you know,” Baekhyun teases, and Jongin stretches across the table to smack him in the head. “Ow! Human abuse!”

“You’re embarrassing him,” Jongin hisses, giving Baekhyun another smack for good measure. “If you make him leave, I’m cutting you off from that good dick for a month.”

Baekhyun gasps. “You wouldn’t.”

Jongin sets his jaw. “Try me.”

Throughout all of this, Chanyeol’s grinning as he quietly eats his noodles. It’s his shameless enjoyment of this discussion that has Kyungsoo laughing, his burning face splitting in amusement that the others gradually share.

“I’m not going to leave,” he says when the laughter dies down. “Sorry I’m so awkward.”

“It’s fine,” Jongin answers for everyone. “Baekhyun will behave.”

Baekhyun sticks his tongue out at Jongin, but says nothing.

A few hours later, they’ve abandoned the sci-fi show in favor of mindless comedies, which has all four of them laughing together in a pile of limbs. True to his nature, Kyungsoo’s curled up between Jongin’s legs, head resting on Jongin’s stomach while his tail flops aimlessly across Baekhyun’s thighs. Chanyeol’s on Jongin’s other side, petting Kyungsoo while Baekhyun pets Jongin, the bed a mess of whimpers and purrs as the two hybrids are spoiled.

Then long, thin fingers sift through Kyungsoo’s hair and Kyungsoo lifts his head to seek them out, recognizing Jongin’s gentle touch. The fingers traces his ears slowly, dragging the tips along the fur before applying a little more pressure, and it’s enough to lure Kyungsoo in a trance, stretching out even more on top of Jongin to feel more.

“Feels good, Jongin,” Kyungsoo whispers, and Jongin makes a questioning noise behind him.

“That’s not me,” Jongin replies. “My hands are right here.”

Two hands clasp onto Kyungsoo’s shoulders, while the fingers in his hair remain strong. Narrowing his eyes, Kyungsoo looks up toward Baekhyun, who doesn’t even bother to look sheepish as he keeps rubbing Kyungsoo’s ears.

“You like it,” Baekhyun says darkly.

Kyungsoo hisses at him, but he doesn’t pull away.

“Good kitty,” Jongin says, squeezing Kyungsoo’s shoulders to calm him down. “Baekhyun-hyung, you shouldn’t touch him without permission.”

“Suit yourself,” Baekhyun replies, placing his hands in his lap, and already Kyungsoo’s head feels cold. Baekhyun eyes him like he knows exactly what Kyungsoo’s thinking, but Kyungsoo won’t give him the satisfaction of asking for it now.

He makes it maybe five minutes before he misses that distinct touch too much, unceremoniously rolling off of Jongin and right onto Baekhyun, who doesn’t look at all surprised to suddenly have a lapful of cat hybrid. Kyungsoo glares at him before settling on top of him, pointedly ramming his head into Baekhyun’s chin.

“Aww, I like you too,” Baekhyun says facetiously, and Kyungsoo growls. “You heard the pup. You want it, you gotta ask for it.”

Kyungsoo wants to punch him in the stomach, but he’s kind of comfortable. “Pet. Me.”

To his credit, Baekhyun doesn’t give him any more trouble, just sinks his fingers back into Kyungsoo’s fur and rubs his ears. He makes a surprised noise when Kyungsoo purrs, likely vibrating his entire body, then relaxes beneath him. Baekhyun is surprisingly comfortable for someone so small, his breath tickling Kyungsoo’s forehead as Kyungsoo rises and falls with his even breathing.

“Okay,” Baekhyun says softly, his fingers like magic on Kyungsoo’s ears. “We can keep him.”

*

It’s still dark when Kyungsoo wakes, but he’s been situated around a bit. Baekhyun has Jongin in his lap now, both of them cuddling with Chanyeol who’s in the middle. He’s also awake.

“Hi,” Chanyeol says. “Everyone passed out on me.”

Kyungsoo yawns. “Why did I move?”

“Jongin kicked you over here,” Chanyeol answers with a laugh. “Seems that Baekhyunnie has magic fingers.”

“He kind of does,” Kyungsoo admits, snuggling up against Chanyeol’s side. “Yours are nice though, too.”

Chanyeol presses a kiss to his forehead as he lifts his hand, fingers drifting lightly along Kyungsoo’s arm and neck on the way up to his head. Just a quick touch has Kyungsoo’s arousal flaring all over again, coming back full force after it wasn’t addressed earlier.

The moan that spills from his lips is embarrassing, but the only person who would make fun of him is fast asleep. Chanyeol pets him properly for a little bit, then trails back down his neck and around his throat, making Kyungsoo gasp and squirm.

“You know,” Chanyeol says gently, and Kyungsoo opens his eyes to find Chanyeol watching him intently with those big eyes. “We don’t have to have sex. There are other things I can do to make you feel good.”

The mere thought of sex has Kyungsoo’s body screaming for exactly that, a deep throb making him shudder and cling to Chanyeol’s shirt. One of his hands slides up Chanyeol’s neck, and now Chanyeol’s the one whose breath is hitching and damned if that doesn’t make Kyungsoo’s situation worse.

The worst thing Kyungsoo could do is pull him down for a kiss, so he does. Chanyeol kisses him gently, tentatively licking between his lips, and Kyungsoo feels Chanyeol’s next groan on his tongue when Kyungsoo runs his knuckles along the top of Chanyeol’s spine.

Kyungsoo kisses him until he can’t take anymore, harshly pulling away and pressing his face into Chanyeol’s neck. That’s just as bad, because now he’s breathing in Chanyeol’s scent and making Chanyeol’s breaths quicken, his lips inadvertently brushing along Chanyeol’s collarbone.

“You drive me crazy,” he hisses.

“What do you want?” Chanyeol whispers, his fingers still running up and down Kyungsoo’s arm. “I’ll give you whatever you want.”

“I want you,” Kyungsoo breathes out, and Chanyeol hums in response. “I’ve been thinking about it all week.”

Chanyeol kisses his forehead again, then both cheeks, and finally his lips. “I’m yours.”

“If you don’t want to make this a threeway, you better take it someplace else,” speaks up a gruff voice from behind Chanyeol, and Chanyeol laughs.

“You wish,” he calls over his shoulder as he leans up on his elbows, hovering over Kyungsoo. “Wanna go in the other room, kitty?”

Kyungsoo nods, and the next thing he knows he’s picked up, Chanyeol maneuvering him around the giant bed like he weighs nothing. Tail twitching in agitation, Kyungsoo claws onto Chanyeol’s back because he hates being carried, but he’s so close to Chanyeol that he can’t bring himself to struggle.

“Don’t forget the condoms,” Baekhyun says sleepily, and Kyungsoo catches him rolling an unconscious Jongin over toward the middle of the bed now that they have more space.

The sectional is soft against Kyungsoo’s back when Chanyeol lays him down, the familiar weight settling on top of him. Chanyeol’s not hard, but Kyungsoo can still feel it digging into his thigh and his hips roll up automatically, seeking friction.

“Relax, kitty,” Chanyeol says, pressing a light kiss to Kyungsoo’s mouth before continuing down his neck. He pushes up Kyungsoo’s shirt and those lips are on his sternum, nipples, belly, and both hips, making Kyungsoo squirm beneath him as hands fumble with his belt.

Kyungsoo lets Chanyeol pull his pants off, leaving his underwear on for now. Kyungsoo’s painfully hard, moaning out loud when Chanyeol nuzzles his face right against it, mouthing the length until he finds the flap and sucks Kyungsoo’s cock right out of it.

Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo moans, and of course Chanyeol would be amazing at this too. Both of his hands sink into Chanyeol’s hair, fingers drifting to his big human ears that stick out on either side of his head, and Kyungsoo feels Chanyeol’s low groan around his dick.

After all day of teasing and a week of waiting, it doesn’t take Kyungsoo long to reach the edge at all. Chanyeol takes him all the way in and Kyungsoo chokes on his breath, his body trembling as he gets close. Chanyeol’s hands are on his thighs, squeezing the muscles like he’s the one who needs to hold on as he sucks Kyungsoo in and out. He doesn’t seem intent on stopping, even when Kyungsoo gasps out a weak warning, and Kyungsoo comes hard down Chanyeol’s throat, crying out into the dark room.

Kyungsoo’s mind is still spinning when Chanyeol climbs up his body, settling neatly on top of him like before, and now he’s hard. “Better?”

Kyungsoo makes a deflated noise, and Chanyeol laughs. When words don’t form, Kyungsoo pulls him down for a kiss, tasting himself on Chanyeol’s tongue. It’s slow but heated, the lust still burning even after Kyungsoo’s orgasm, and Kyungsoo lifts his knee to press between Chanyeol’s legs, rubbing the bulge in his pants.

Chanyeol’s groan is beautiful, low and long as he clings to Kyungsoo’s arms and grinds shamelessly against him. He’d been serious about not having sex tonight, it seems, and Kyungsoo tries not to be too disappointed about that as Chanyeol falls apart on top of him.

Then Chanyeol notices that Kyungsoo’s hardening again and shifts, rocking directly against him, and Kyungsoo has no restraint. “I want you,” he breathes out, clawing up Chanyeol’s back that for whatever reason is still covered in a shirt.

“Me too,” Chanyeol says, his breaths as loud as his voice with his hips moving like he’s fucking. “Fuck, Kyungsoo.”

“Are you not…” Kyungsoo makes an embarrassing whiny noise that has Chanyeol pausing to give him an odd look. “Fuck me?”

“You didn’t want to before,” Chanyeol says, biting his lip when Kyungsoo gives an ornery thrust of his hips. “I want to adhere to your wishes.”

“My wishes have changed,” Kyungsoo says firmly, cupping Chanyeol’s jaw with both hands and staring into his eyes so he cannot mistake Kyungsoo’s words. “My wish is now for you to fuck me into this couch.”

Chanyeol stares at him. “Okay. Be right back.”

He clambers off of Kyungsoo, tripping over his own legs as he races into his and Jongin’s room. Kyungsoo stretches while he waits, his body aching at the promise of Chanyeol inside him again. Helpfully, he pulls his shirt the rest of the way over his head and tugs down his underwear, his skin sensitive to the chilling air of the night.

Loud noises call his attention, and Kyungsoo frowns at whatever Chanyeol’s doing to wake up their sleeping…companions. Kyungsoo doesn’t quite know what to call them yet, but that’s low on his list of priorities at this moment. He hears Chanyeol rustle someone awake, his heart breaking at the sleepy whine of Jongin, followed by a loud cacophony of laughter that could only be Baekhyun.

“You cleaned and now I can’t find it!” Chanyeol’s hissing.

Kyungsoo’s tail is thumping impatiently against the bottom of the couch when Chanyeol finally returns, stopping short when he sees Kyungsoo laid completely bare, waiting for him.

“Wow,” Chanyeol says.

Kyungsoo preens under the attention, enjoying the view for himself when Chanyeol strips out of his clothes. Kyungsoo’s thighs spread naturally as Chanyeol crawls on top of him, a bottle of lube clutched victoriously in his hand.

“You woke Jongin up for lube?” Kyungsoo asks incredulously.

“He put it somewhere new!” Chanyeol exclaims. “He doesn’t even use it.”

“You’re horrible,” Kyungsoo teases, and Chanyeol pouts until Kyungsoo loops his arms around his neck and pulls him down for a kiss.

It’s slow and oddly sweet, Chanyeol’s hands sliding up Kyungsoo’s torso and down his arms before returning to the muscles of his thighs. A cap pops and soon wet fingers are poking between Kyungsoo’s legs, pushing inside him one by one. Kyungsoo’s so ready for this that it doesn’t take him long at all, rolling himself up to meet Chanyeol’s efforts and moaning into Chanyeol’s mouth.

He pries one of his hands away from Chanyeol’s back and shoves it between them, groping around until he finds something hard, and Chanyeol’s noises are just as beautiful as the last time, if not louder. He supposes Chanyeol’s had more stimulation than before, and he’s sober, or maybe he wants Kyungsoo more now that they’re having an undefined thing—either way, Kyungsoo feels it all around him, in the way Chanyeol clings to him and kisses him as those fingers keep stretching him long after he’s ready.

Chanyeol’s so hard, thrusting into Kyungsoo’s hand, and all Kyungsoo wants is to feel that inside him. “Chanyeol,” he whines, and this time he doesn’t have to beg. Chanyeol pulls out his fingers and rolls on a condom, then kneels between Kyungsoo’s impossibly wide thighs to push in.

Kyungsoo’s noises are subdued, but only because people are sleeping. He’s halfway conscious about it, swallowing back a moan that doesn’t quite escape because it feels so good. Chanyeol’s pounding into him and groaning into his ear and Kyungsoo loves it, everything about it from the weight on top of him to the sweat that builds between them.

“You gonna come for me?” Chanyeol asks, pressing his breathy words right into Kyungsoo’s ear, and Kyungsoo shudders as his body wholly approves of this progression. “Can you come untouched like this? Tell me how to get you off with just my dick.”

If anyone could do it, Chanyeol could, his cock already thrusting deep and hitting every good spot Kyungsoo has. “Turn me over,” Kyungsoo demands, and he’s on his stomach in the next second.

Chanyeol pushes back in before Kyungsoo can miss him, and Kyungsoo’s back is so arched that his tail is swishing in his own face. He plants both hands on the cushion in front of him, pushing his ass further up and back against Chanyeol like he only does when he’s in heat, and Chanyeol’s next thrust finds his prostate.

“Oh,” Chanyeol says, hands moving from Kyungsoo’s hips to his ass and down to his thighs like he can’t decide what to grab onto. “There it is.”

Kyungsoo screeches as Chanyeol keeps going, bringing him closer and closer to a release he’s not sure he wants. He’s never come this way before. He got close once, while using a toy during a heat, but he still had to pull himself off. His hips are up too high to give himself any friction, the tension within him accumulating until he can’t do anything but shake uncontrollably.

“Come for me,” Chanyeol rasps, sliding his palm down Kyungsoo’s spine to twist those fingers in his hair. It’s the first actively aggressive thing he’s done, and Kyungsoo loves it, arching even more as he gets close. “Be a good kitty and come for me.”

A moan tears from Kyungsoo’s lungs as his body explodes, cock spurting aimlessly on the couch below him. His orgasm surges through all of his nerves, leaving him feeling electrocuted in the best way as Chanyeol fucks him through it and groans louder.

“Your turn,” Kyungsoo gets out, struggling to hold himself up when all of his limbs feel like jelly. He manages to push back sharply enough to make Chanyeol hiss, his body still clenching through the aftershocks that feel like they might never end as Chanyeol’s rhythm starts to get sloppy.

“Kyungsoo…” Chanyeol says, his hand dropping to Kyungsoo’s shoulder, and Kyungsoo detaches one of his from the couch to cover Chanyeol’s in a rare display of intimacy. “Fuck.”

Kyungsoo feels him come, twitching noticeably inside him. They’re both trembling, Kyungsoo completely unable to move while Chanyeol takes a couple tries to sit up. Then Chanyeol pulls Kyungsoo into his lap and cleans them both up, rubbing the overworked muscles of Kyungsoo’s thighs that are undoubtedly going to scream at him for another week after this.

“We have got to figure out a less physically demanding way to do this,” Kyungsoo huffs.

Chanyeol exhales out a laugh. “Maybe it’ll get easier as we do it more.”

Kyungsoo laughs too, nuzzling Chanyeol’s chin out of habit until Chanyeol leans down to kiss him. It’s so slow and sensual that Kyungsoo feels like he should hate it, but it’s into it, wrapping weak arms around Chanyeol’s neck and pressing close. This is a kiss of lovers, which would ordinarily send Kyungsoo running for the hills, but Kyungsoo’s purring just as loudly as when he was getting fucked.

Chanyeol doesn’t invite him to join them in bed, but he does set Kyungsoo up on the other end of the couch with pillows and blankets. Kyungsoo feels like a kitten again as he’s tucked in and kissed goodnight, his tail sneaking out from under the covers to flick Chanyeol’s legs before he leaves.

“If you wake up first, it’s okay to come lie with us,” Chanyeol says. “Jongin and I will sleep all day if you let us.”

Kyungsoo just nods, already half asleep. He’s so worn out that his tail stops moving, falling limply to the side, carried to slumber by his own purrs.

*

Kyungsoo’s first kiss with Baekhyun is by accident. At least, Kyungsoo’s eyes aren’t properly open yet, and the first person to present him with coffee is deserving of his lips.

He notices right away, mostly because Baekhyun’s not nearly as tall as the other two, but also because he doesn’t waste any time. Baekhyun kisses Kyungsoo like he’d kissed Jongin yesterday, taking his breath away before he’s even really conscious.

“Come on, Baek, let the cat get some coffee before you accost him in the kitchen.”

Baekhyun giggles as he pulls away, his eyes crinkled in amusement as he turns toward Chanyeol lingering in the doorway. “I actually did not start that,” Baekhyun informs him, sounding surprised about it.

Kyungsoo makes a noise of indifference and sips his coffee, washing the taste of Baekhyun’s minty toothpaste out of his mouth. “Like it wasn’t gonna happen eventually.”

Chanyeol laughs at that, crossing the room with all the grace of an elephant, and Kyungsoo finds himself pulled into a firm backhug. “Good morning, kitty.”

“What’s good about it?” Kyungsoo answers, yawning widely as he gladly lets Chanyeol hold up his weight. “I usually sleep all day. It’s bright outside.”

“You’re cranky in the morning,” Chanyeol tells him, pressing a kiss to the top of his head while Kyungsoo narrows his eyes.

This is what Jongin walks in on, right in the fire of Kyungsoo’s glare, and he immediately turns stern ears to the two humans. “Which one of you upset the kitty?”

“It wasn’t me,” Chanyeol announces, giving Kyungsoo a quick squeeze. “I was very good to the kitty last night.”

Kyungsoo facepalms with the hand that’s not holding his coffee, but Jongin just folds his arms. “I am well aware. You woke me up in the middle of the night to find the lube.”

“Because you hid it!” Chanyeol replies a little too loudly. Kyungsoo cringes at all the noise in his ears, which Chanyeol notices and rubs. “Sorry, sorry.”

“He’s so easy,” Baekhyun comments, watching Kyungsoo purr and slump against Chanyeol. “All you have to do is pet him and he becomes putty in your hands.”

“If he lets you,” Jongin corrects. “Not everyone gets to pet him.”

“Unlike you,” Baekhyun tears, leaning over to scratch Jongin’s ears, and Jongin practically jumps into his lap standing up. “I rest my case.”

Despite the coffee, Kyungsoo sleeps off and on throughout the morning, another lazy day spent curled up in bed. He has to work tonight, but there’s plenty of time for him to go home and get ready. Jongin offers to take him whenever he wants, yet Kyungsoo keeps curling up against him, yearning for Jongin’s touch after having sex with Chanyeol (again).

“Do you ever do anything before work?” Baekhyun asks. It would be random if Baekhyun wasn’t a random guy. “Go out for dinner or anything?”

“You’re looking at it,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “Sometimes I go out for breakfast. It’s much easier to stay up late then get up early.”

“I understand that,” Jongin says, his fingers absently stroking Kyungsoo’s hair.

“Breakfast then,” Baekhyun says decidedly, and Kyungsoo peeks open one eye.

“What about it?”

“Let’s have some. Together.”

Kyungsoo stares at him. “Are you asking me out?”

“It was gonna happen eventually,” Baekhyun says with a smirk, and Kyungsoo’s too tired for this shit.

“Whatever, I’m off at seven AM,” he mutters, snuggling closer to Jongin, who pets him more actively. “I have a meeting every Friday morning, but any other day is fine.”

“Let’s do Wednesday,” Baekhyun decides, pulling out his phone to put it in his calendar. “Hump day and all.”

Kyungsoo snorts, but says nothing. They could talk him into an orgy right now with as comfortable as he is. Everything about this arrangement feels nice, even Baekhyun. Kyungsoo’s no stranger to a sharp tongue after growing up with Jongdae, anyway. It’s actually a pleasant familiarity.

Much later, Jongin’s driving Kyungsoo home when he pokes at Kyungsoo’s arm with a finger. “Can I ask you why you don’t want to sleep in our bed? You nap there well enough…”

Kyungsoo had a feeling this question was coming, and he’s not sure if his original answer rings true anymore. “It’s a vulnerability thing, isn’t it?”

“Is it?” Jongin replies, blinking at him in a quick glance before returning his eyes to the road. “I want to understand, hyung.”

“Naps are one thing, but willingly going to bed with someone implies more than just sleeping. More than sex. It’s something lovers do, and that association terrifies me. I would feel very suffocated if someone told me they couldn’t sleep without me.”

“Ah, I see,” Jongin says. “It’s the permanency aspect of it. Okay, I understand now. Thank you for explaining.”

“Sorry,” Kyungsoo mumbles, tracing the seam of his pants as guilt floods him. “That’s something you enjoy, right?”

“I’m good with naps.” Jongin’s grin lifts the bad feelings right out of Kyungsoo’s heart. “I have enough people to sleep with at night. That’s the beauty of how we live—there’s always someone to cuddle.”

“I see no downside, really,” Kyungsoo says, realizing after the fact that he’s basically agreeing to being a part of this polyamorous relationship. Jongin doesn’t call him on it, though, just squeezes his hand and drives the rest of the way to Kyungsoo’s place in silence.

They’re going to have to talk about it eventually, Kyungsoo knows. They’re not just friends, any of them. He’s even entertaining feelings for Baekhyun, wondering what the small human is like in bed. If the Internet has taught Kyungsoo anything, it’s that polyships aren’t necessarily uniform across the board—he can have different relationships with all three of them or all of them together. He just doesn’t know what kind of relationships they would be.

Jongin kisses him goodbye, quick and simple, and Kyungsoo thinks he could spend another hour curled up in Jongin’s arms, spoiled by those hands and that mouth that give pets and kisses so freely. Aside from that first night, Kyungsoo hasn’t thought about Jongin in a sexual way, and despite harping on the separation between sex and feelings for most of his life, living it is quite surreal.

“Have a good night at work,” Jongin tells him, tail wagging against the driver’s seat. “Enjoy your date with Baekhyun.”

“Looking forward to it,” Kyungsoo replies, and it’s not sarcastic at all.

*

“Wait, so now there’s three of them?” Jongdae exclaims, pausing in his pot stirring to fix Kyungsoo with an incredulous look. “The cat who never wanted a boyfriend suddenly has three?”

“They’re not my boyfriends,” Kyungsoo replies airily. This would have been easier over the phone, but Baekhyun had tagged him in a picture on Instagram and immediately Jongdae was demanding Kyungsoo to come over for dinner that night.

Kyungsoo could have told him to fuck off, but he likes Jongdae’s cooking. Luna’s at work anyway, so it was either come here or have all three kittens running around his apartment. The bonus of having them all together is that they can entertain each other, for the most part leaving Kyungsoo alone to be interrogated in private.

“Kyungsoo, you’ve had sex with Chanyeol twice now. That’s pretty much your longest relationship ever.”

It’s sad because it’s true. Not that he made it a habit of sleeping around, but he usually didn’t go back for seconds. His past bed companions have always wanted an emotional commitment he simply could not give them. Chanyeol is easy that way like Jongin is easy every other way. And Baekhyun is just fun.

There’s something about being romanced for the sake of romance that doesn’t repulse Kyungsoo. Baekhyun had picked him up at work, gave him flowers, and took him to a cafe overlooking a pretty lake. He pulled out the chair for Kyungsoo and looked into his eyes when he spoke. He was even dressed nicely, considering he had gotten up earlier than usual to get ready for their date.

Then he opened his mouth, and the contrast between his mannerisms and his snark is strangely appealing. He clearly has experience wining and dining others for his job as an account executive, selling himself as well as his product, and Kyungsoo oddly wants to buy. There’s just something about Baekhyun that pulls you in, like the sirens who lured men to their island and killed them.

“I don’t get it,” Jongdae says, sighing as he stares into the pot of curry like it was the source of all of his confusion. “You used to not let anyone touch you. Now it seems like you’re letting everyone touch you.”

“They don’t expect anything from me,” Kyungsoo points out. He’s not helping at all, leaning against the counter while Jongdae does all the work. Jongdae keeps swatting Kyungsoo’s legs pointedly with his tail, but Kyungsoo ignores it. “You don’t understand because you’ve basically been married since high school. These days, people expect too much out of their significant others and it’s too much pressure. With more than one person, that pressure is dispersed.”

Jongdae’s ears fold forward in thought. “So, like, if Chanyeol was sad and his main piece isn’t around, he would go to you for comfort?”

“Don’t call Jongin a main piece, but essentially.” Kyungsoo finally fights back, shoving Jongdae’s tail away from him with his own. “He’d probably go to Baekhyun first, or maybe not, depending on who’s available. I don’t actually think it’s possible for Chanyeol to get sad, but hypothetically speaking, that is a decent example.”

“Are you really okay with being someone’s second choice?” Jongdae asks.

“If being the first choice means I’m responsible for their mood and general well being, then yes,” Kyungsoo answers. Despite the rude question, it feels good to be certain about something for once. “This isn’t brand new information to you, Jongdae. You’ve known for years that I’m disinterested in the semantics of a monogamous relationship, but the perks are nice.”

“You mean sex,” Jongdae says bluntly, placing the lid on the pot and shoving Kyungsoo out of the way to make more preparations. “And whatever you do with the other two.”

“It’s not just sex, you perv,” Kyungsoo says, shoving him right back. “I like the cuddling, the kissing, the companionship, even the texting. I like knowing that there are people who think about me and want to spend time with me. That’s usually how most relationships start, but then they get all serious and suffocating.”

“You are a minority, my friend.” Jongdae claps him on the shoulder with an oven-mitted hand. “Most people wait their entire lives for that one person they can suffocate forever.”

Kyungsoo shudders. “Everyone is different.”

“That they are.”

Eating with three kittens is entertaining enough, the topic of conversation dying while Kyungsoo takes over daddy duty and manages to get just as much curry in the kittens’ tummies as all over their faces. He doesn’t mind helping out every now and then, enjoying it even—Jongdae’s girls are great, usually obedient, and they seem to like him well enough. “Uncle Kyungsoo” was there when they were born, after all. Another reason Jongdae is still friends with him is because Kyungsoo saw him through twenty straight hours of labor and one does not simply walk away from that devotion.

“I want to meet them,” Jongdae says while they’re cleaning up. Kyungsoo’s making himself useful this time, full and happy on delicious curry, but the cloth on his dish pauses when he hears Jongdae’s statement. “One or all, doesn’t matter.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo reluctantly agrees. It’s only been a couple weeks, but it feels like much longer. “Think Luna will let you come out to karaoke this Friday?”

“Karaoke?” Jongdae repeats, a grin spreading across his face. “I’ll make it happen.”

Kyungsoo thinks that Jongdae could give Baekhyun a run for his cockiness, smirking at the impending battle of the divas that will likely ensue. Kyungsoo forgets how much Jongdae loves to sing—and how good at it he is—until he randomly bursts out into song or sings something for his kittens.

“Remember when you wrote songs in college?” Kyungsoo asks, and now Jongdae is the one taken aback.

“Yeah?” Jongdae clears up the last of the table and leans against it, folding his arms. “It’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about that.”

“Do you still have them?”

“At my parents’ house, maybe.” Jongdae gives him an odd look. “Why the sudden interest?”

“I’ve been thinking about trying it,” Kyungsoo confesses. “I bought some books the other day, but I haven’t really looked at them yet.”

“Your poetry sucks,” Jongdae tells him. “None of your songs would make sense.”

“Be a little more encouraging, please?” Kyungsoo berates him. “You told me to find something to do in the daylight and I think this is it. I want to write songs and sing them on YouTube.”

It’s the first time he’s said it out loud, admitting it even to himself, and he probably looks as surprised as Jongdae is.

“Kyungsoo…” Jongdae gapes at him, then his face breaks out into another grin. “You really like these people, don’t you?”

“I don’t see how that—” Kyungsoo starts, but cuts himself off when he realizes he doesn’t have anything to argue about. “I do.”

“Creativity doesn’t spring forth from nowhere, you know,” Jongdae says. “You hate love songs, though. What are you going to write about?”

“I can write about something other than romantic love,” Kyungsoo hisses. “There’s enough of that shit around anyway.”

Jongdae’s grin fades into a fond smile. “I look forward to seeing your results.”

*

Jongdae may have forgotten about writing songs, but he still knows how to perform. He doesn’t bother with a warm-up song, jumping right into “Careless Whisper” that has the entire bar’s attention within the first three notes. His voice is as smooth and rich, entrancing nearly everyone from start to finish.

“Another kitty!” Lu Han exclaims, tail bouncing as he drapes himself over Kyungsoo. “Are you multiplying?”

“He’s my best friend,” Kyungsoo says, shouldering Lu Han off of him. “And he’s married.”

“So am I,” Lu Han replies, flashing his wedding ring before strolling over to where Jongdae is handing the microphone back to Junmyeon.

Kyungsoo watches them talk for a minute, shaking his head at how Jongdae falls victim to Lu Han’s incessant flirting, and figures he has no business judging how other people interact when he’s been in three different sets of arms all night. Right now he’s lying on Baekhyun, which is new and exciting and moderately interesting due to Baekhyun’s small size and constant movements. Baekhyun cannot sit still, shifting them around every couple of minutes, but Kyungsoo’s not bothered by it one bit. If anything, it gets Baekhyun to touch him more.

Surprisingly, Baekhyun and Jongdae get on the best out of the three. Baekhyun could probably befriend a terrorist, and Kyungsoo realizes too late that the two of them together means ganging up on him. Within an hour, Jongdae’s telling the entire table kitten-Kyungsoo stories, egged on by Baekhyun and unsuccessfully shut down by Jongin.

“Oh, let him have his fun,” Kyungsoo says loudly. “His wife never lets him go out.”

Now Jongdae’s getting teased about being whipped, easily fitting into the group as if they’d been friends forever. Kyungsoo’s called up to sing, belting out another sultry R&B tune, and then Baekhyun shows him up by singing an incredibly sexual song that’s mostly in falsetto.

“He wants to have sex with you,” Jongin says softly, and Kyungsoo’s not sure whether it’s the words that make him shudder or the tickle of Jongin’s breath on his neck. “I told him to wait until you make the first move, but I don’t know how long he’ll last. If you’re not interested, you should tell him soon.”

Kyungsoo blinks, watching Baekhyun roll his hips to the beat of the song that’s suddenly more real than before. Kyungsoo’s not opposed to the idea, not exactly; he just doesn’t know what’s going to happen when Chanyeol arrives late as usual. It seems that last weekend has diluted his insufferable sexual attraction enough to think about other things—and other people.

“I don’t know,” Kyungsoo says honestly. “I can’t tell if I feel that way about him or not.”

“Okay,” Jongin says, reaching up to pet his ears. Kyungsoo hadn’t known how tense he was until Jongin’s fingers rub it away. “It’s not a requirement, you know. You don’t have to be with him if you don’t want to.”

“I know,” Kyungsoo says, lolling his head around to butt his head into Jongin’s chin. “I’m thinking about it.”

Baekhyun finishes his song, holding his ostentatious high note while staring straight at Kyungsoo.

“You might want to think fast,” Jongin whispers, followed by a chuckle.

There’s a lull in Jongdae’s table entertainment while he stuffs his face, which is conveniently when Baekhyun saunters over to Kyungsoo, looks him dead in the eyes, and says, “Please make out with me in my backseat.”

Kyungsoo stares, along with everyone else, and doesn’t glance toward Jongdae’s undoubtedly amused look before sitting up straight, pulling out of Jongin’s grip. “Yeah, okay.”

They earn a few hoots and hollers, but Baekhyun’s face lights up like a child who had just been told he would get a toy he really wants. Kyungsoo would prefer not to think of himself as a toy, but he can’t deny it’s mildly thrilling to be pulled out of a bar by his wrist, Baekhyun’s beautiful ass shaking in front of him the entire way.

It’s not the first time he’s been in Baekhyun’s backseat, but it’s the first time Baekhyun crawls in after him, settling right in his lap with his thighs on either side of Kyungsoo’s. He’s on him instantly, giving Kyungsoo no time to adjust to the added weight before he’s devouring Kyungsoo’s mouth, kissing him deeply in his traditional Baekhyun way, though there’s a hint of desperation on his tongue that Kyungsoo tastes as he struggles to keep up.

His hands gravitate to Baekhyun’s thighs, nice and thick beneath his fingers as he squeezes and pulls a low moan from Baekhyun’s throat. Baekhyun’s petting him, making him purr while licking inside his mouth, and Kyungsoo gasps when Baekhyun gropes between his legs, finding him still soft.

“What’s wrong, kitty?” Baekhyun asks, his voice seeming to purr more than Kyungsoo is. “Not into me?”

“It’s not that…” Kyungsoo starts, rushing to catch his breath now that he can breathe again. “I don’t work that fast.”

Baekhyun laughs, but it’s not malicious. “Another time, then, when we can go slow and I’ll make you so hot you’ll be begging for my ass.”

Kyungsoo’s hands tighten. “You want it that way?”

Absolutely,” Baekhyun whispers, nosing up the side of Kyungsoo’s face to make him shiver. “I’ve never been with a cat hybrid before. I really want to try a knot, but most dog hybrids are creepy and you know how Jongin is.”

“Really?” Kyungsoo makes a face. “Wouldn’t it hurt?”

“Hurt so good, maybe.” Baekhyun kisses his way down Kyungsoo’s neck, nibbling a little when Kyungsoo jerks and shudders. “Do you want me to stop?”

“It feels good,” Kyungsoo tells him, “but that’s all it is.”

“Fair enough,” Baekhyun says. He doesn’t stop peppering Kyungsoo’s skin with kisses, Kyungsoo more than happy to stretch out his neck for more access. “Do you mind if I get myself off, then?”

“Not at all,” Kyungsoo answers honestly, though he slides a hand up Baekhyun’s thigh. “I can help you with that. Just don’t come on me.”

Baekhyun laughs. “Give me some credit please. This is my car.”

He beats Kyungsoo into his own pants, but not by much; Kyungsoo hardly has to move with the way Baekhyun rocks into his hand, hips rolling back and forth like he was riding something else. Kyungsoo watches his eyes fall shut, bottom lip caught between his teeth as he balances himself with one hand on Kyungsoo’s shoulder, the other gripping onto Kyungsoo’s moving wrist.

“Am I doing okay?” Kyungsoo asks, and Baekhyun laughs as he nods.

“Yeah,” he breathes out. “Good kitty.”

“I’m always a good kitty,” Kyungsoo informs him. “I’m just only good to those who deserve it.”

Baekhyun kisses him, hard and sloppy as he starts to shudder. The temperature rises and now Kyungsoo’s into it, his fist bumping into his own erection as he jerks off Baekhyun.

“I changed my mind,” he hisses. “Get on me.”

“Demanding kitty,” Baekhyun scoffs, but he’s already shimmying out of one leg of his pants. He reaches behind him in the console and tosses Kyungsoo a tube. “Know what to do with this?”

“This isn’t my first rodeo,” Kyungsoo informs him.

Baekhyun smirks. “But I bet I’m the best rider you’ve ever had.”

Kyungsoo can count on one hand how many times he’s done it this way, but he’s not about to tell Baekhyun that. Instead, he coats three of his fingers and slips them between Baekhyun’s thighs, which are even more delectable now that they’re exposed for his appreciation. Baekhyun’s rim flutters at the first touch, which has Kyungsoo’s temperature rising at how sensitive Baekhyun is.

Baekhyun’s not keeping his hands to himself either, reaching down to grope Kyungsoo now that he’s hard, and Kyungsoo leans forward to press soft moans into Baekhyun’s neck. Baekhyun likes that, his body pushing down on Kyungsoo’s fingertip before Kyungsoo can push it in, both of them gasping at how badly Baekhyun wants it. It’s a good thing Kyungsoo came around or he was liable to jump on Chanyeol the second he walked through the door—and Kyungsoo might have fought him for that.

Instead Kyungsoo’s the one stretching open Baekhyun’s ass, which feels so nice and tight around his fingers. He could enjoy this very much, even if he’s not really attracted to Baekhyun. Baekhyun’s easy like Jongin is easy, just in drastically different ways. Kyungsoo pokes around until Baekhyun shudders, and he stays in that spot until Baekhyun’s a writhing mess on top of him, beautifully debauched and very, very aroused.

“Do you have a condom?” Kyungsoo whispers, dragging his lips along Baekhyun’s neck and feeling Baekhyun’s insides clench in response.

“Yeah,” Baekhyun answers, then leans back again to rummage around in the console.

“You should have grabbed it before, with the lube,” Kyungsoo chastises him, giving him a light smack on the ass that has him gasping and fixing Kyungsoo with an impressed look.

“I forgot, okay?” Baekhyun replies, flicking the packet at Kyungsoo with a dirty smirk on his face. “Chanyeol and I don’t use them, and I haven’t been with anyone else in a while.”

“Comforting,” Kyungsoo mutters. He hisses as he rolls on the condom, shifting Baekhyun enough to shove his pants down his thighs, and his hand is barely out of the way before Baekhyun’s sinking down onto him, stealing his next breath. “Fuck.”

“Oh yeah,” Baekhyun breathes, followed by a sharp moan that goes right to where Kyungsoo’s hips snap up. “Good kitty.”

“I’m not doing all the work,” Kyungsoo huffs, his words catching in his throat at Baekhyun tight all around him. “You wanted a ride—you got it.”

Baekhyun laughs, loud and rich in the confines of his SUV, and he plants both hands on Kyungsoo’s shoulders, leaning their foreheads together rather intimately for such a raw act. “Hold on.”

Kyungsoo starts to scoff, but then Baekhyun moves and all Kyungsoo can do is follow that order, fingers digging into the muscles of Baekhyun’s thighs. His head falls back against the headrest as Baekhyun rolls his hips back and forth, pulling off of Kyungsoo’s cock just to slam back down.

It’s fucking amazing, and Kyungsoo can’t catch his breath, moans mixed in with purrs as Baekhyun bounces in his lap. Baekhyun’s not quiet either, that strong voice moaning loudly enough to resound in Kyungsoo’s head. Kyungsoo’s body moves on his own, thrusting up into Baekhyun’s tight hole that welcomes him over and over, squeezing around him even more when Baekhyun wraps his hand around himself.

“Oh,” Kyungsoo gasps, and Baekhyun chuckles low in his throat. “What are you laughing at?”

“Just enjoy it,” Baekhyun tells him, briefly pressing their mouths together before returning to Kyungsoo’s neck. “Stop fighting me. I promise, it’ll feel better.”

Baekhyun’s voice has Kyungsoo’s nerves calming, the tension dissipating and leaving nothing but arousal. He digs his nails into Baekhyun’s thighs, nosing at Baekhyun’s jaw until Baekhyun lifts his head, fusing their mouths together as Baekhyun rides him hard. Baekhyun starts to tremble and Kyungsoo detaches one of his hands from Baekhyun’s skin to join the efforts on his cock, flicking his wrist and thumbing the head just like he does to himself, and nothing could have prepared him for the increasing pressure as Baekhyun gets close.

“So good, kitty,” Baekhyun moans, and the praise makes Kyungsoo move faster. “Kyungsoo.”

“Come for me,” Kyungsoo whispers, nipping under Baekhyun’s jaw while Baekhyun’s thighs start shaking. “Let me feel you come.”

Baekhyun throws his head back with a shrill cry, his body jerking as he spills over their fingers. He catches most of it with his hand, but a small stream ends up on Kyungsoo’s cheek, at which Baekhyun bursts out laughing when he notices. Kyungsoo must be making a hell of an irritated face, because Baekhyun actually stops and licks it up, rolling his hips gently to remind Kyungsoo that the hybrid is not done.

“You are a good kitty,” Baekhyun tells him. “How can I get you off? I can keep doing this…or I can take you in my mouth.”

Kyungsoo’s body answers for him with a sharp thrust, his previous frustration replaced by the thought of those lips around him. “Your mouth,” he answers needlessly.

Baekhyun grins as he carefully lifts himself up, then slinks to the floorboards. Kyungsoo has no idea how he fits, but he manages, and no sooner has Kyungsoo pulled off the condom than Baekhyun’s on him, swallowing his cock whole with one hand squeezing the base.

Up until now, Kyungsoo had been enjoying himself, but Baekhyun’s mouth quickly brings him to the edge, reducing him to trembles and moans. Kyungsoo tugs on Baekhyun’s hair, pulling him back a bit to just suck on the head, and Kyungsoo’s hips move on their own, choking on his moans as Baekhyun works him just right.

Then he looks down to see Baekhyun staring up at him through damp fringe, and he loses it, orgasm rocking his body as he comes down Baekhyun’s throat. Baekhyun takes it all, sucking until Kyungsoo softens and scrambles to pull him up, the continued stimulation way too much.

Baekhyun curls up in his lap as he comes down, soft kisses decorating his face until Baekhyun devours him again, that deep kiss only serving to take Kyungsoo even higher. He wraps his arms around Baekhyun for the first time, holding him close like someone precious, and Baekhyun hums happily around his tongue.

“Relax, kitty,” Baekhyun says gently, reaching a shaky hand up to pet him. “Stop thinking so much. I don’t know what’s made you so anxious about sex, but you’re starting to make me nervous, and I never get nervous.”

“Sorry,” Kyungsoo exhales out, still trying to fill his lungs with the required amount of oxygen. “Expectations.”

“Expectations?” Baekhyun repeats, then grins into his neck. “Sexpectations?”

“Hilarious,” Kyungsoo deadpans, poking Baekhyun in the side while Baekhyun cackles like a hyena. “I’m not used to doing this with people and them not wanting something more from me.”

“All I want from you is to chill the fuck out and have fun,” Baekhyun tells him. “I’m glad you came out here with me tonight, Kyungsoo. This was a talk we needed to have.”

“Do all of your talks involve sex in the backseat?” Kyungsoo asks. Already he feels looser, his limbs sinking into the upholstery with Baekhyun settling in his arms, the pressure that’s been pushing on the edges of his mind this entire time dispersing.

“Sometimes,” Baekhyun answers. “I find that post-orgasm offers the best clarity to have discussions.”

“We should go back inside,” Kyungsoo mumbles, feeling bored and thirsty now that he can breathe again. “I left Jongdae alone with a bunch of strangers.”

“He’ll be fine.” Baekhyun inhales sharply, presumably still recovering from their romp. “He’s a lot more centered than you.”

“What do you mean?” Kyungsoo snaps. “I’m perfectly centered!”

Baekhyun sits up with what looks like a lot of effort, placing his hands on both sides of Kyungsoo’s face, and rubs their noses together. “Let us balance you.”

Kyungsoo’s not sure what Baekhyun means, but when they clean themselves up and stumble back into the bar, Chanyeol jumps out of his chair to envelop them both. He doesn’t mention anything about their obvious disarray, just expresses how happy he is to see them, and it’s the first time Kyungsoo hasn’t been hit with a tractor trailer of lust. He genuinely enjoys Chanyeol’s embrace, naturally gravitating toward him even after they return to table.

“You look happy,” Jongin comments, pulling him into a hug, and Kyungsoo has to admit that he is.

*

If you had told Kyungsoo five years ago—hell, even earlier this year—that he would have not one, but three personal companions, he would think you were crazy. But here he is, letting these three people into his life in different ways, and it’s easier than he could have ever expected, had he not been warned against expecting anything.

Even if his interactions with Baekhyun are purely physical, Jongin is still the easiest. He talks to Jongin the most, a never-ending series of texts seeming to start the moment he leaves their house until the next time he sees them again. Talking to Jongin is like breathing air; he is always ready with an appropriate response and an emoji no matter whether Kyungsoo is complaining about his job or speculating philosophical possibilities.

Chanyeol checks in a couple times a day, usually asking after Kyungsoo’s welfare and sharing what he’s doing. They link each other a lot of cute things on social media in lieu of any deep conversations, but only because they’ve already had them. Kyungsoo knows where they stand and he’s comfortable with it, even if he can’t quite stay off of Chanyeol’s dick when they’re alone together. Once they’re done, though, they’ll cuddle and talk about nothing, usually with Jongin added to the mix.

Meanwhile, Baekhyun is purely casual. Kyungsoo wouldn’t even say that they’re dating, except that’s what they do the most of. When a movie comes out that Kyungsoo wants to see, Baekhyun takes him. When a new restaurant opens, Baekhyun takes him. They have similar tastes when it comes to clothes and decorations, too, so they go shopping together. If it wasn’t for the fact that they make out at every opportunity, Baekhyun would be another best friend, one who actually isn’t married and can go out and do things.

It only takes another month for Kyungsoo to spend the whole weekend with them, crashing after work on Friday morning and just riding to karaoke with the three of them and Sehun. It’s strange that Kyungsoo and Sehun haven’t crossed paths already, because Sehun apparently lives there when he needs to get away from his family. Kyungsoo doesn’t mind Sehun; it’s just weird to have someone around who’s not part of this thing they’re having.

Sehun probably wouldn’t care if they all had sex in front of him with as focused he is on his video games. Kyungsoo’s not very much into having an audience, but his lust isn’t as bad during the day, and Jongin is there to help dilute it. Baekhyun’s not even there, probably whisking another potential client away on a business trip that’s more drinking and schmoozing than actual work.

It helps that Chanyeol’s constantly up and doing things, cooking or picking up or being generally active; Kyungsoo’s exhausted just watching him move around, especially after the marathon sex they had the night before. It was mildly embarrassing at the bar, when Kyungsoo didn’t leave Chanyeol’s lap except when either one of them were called upon to sing, but Kyungsoo was too drunk to care. Jongin’s been working on a cute human named Krystal for months now, so if anything Kyungsoo was doing him a favor by distracting Chanyeol so that the dog hybrid could run his game.

“How’s your songwriting coming?” Sehun asks suddenly, and Kyungsoo’s ears perk to attention. They’re miraculously alone, Jongin and Chanyeol having visited one of Jongin’s sisters to help her with something, and Kyungsoo had just been reading some articles on his laptop while Sehun raided tombs.

“Haven’t really…” Kyungsoo trails off, frowning as he thinks of all the songwriting books he’d bought still in the bag stashed away in his room. “I’ve been busy.”

“I don’t know why you don’t ask Chanyeol-hyung for help,” Sehun comments lazily, like he doesn’t want to give a fuck about this but something compels him to. “He’s so stupidly talented at anything musical. He could probably inspire you just by breathing.”

“I want to do it myself,” Kyungsoo says stubbornly. “I just haven’t had time.”

“All you have is time, hyung,” Sehun points out, calling the cat on his bullshit so easily that Kyungsoo can’t even be mad. “You just don’t want to try. Is it because you don’t think you’ll be good at it? Or you don’t think it will be good enough for certain someones?”

“I’m not doing this for them,” Kyungsoo huffs. “I want to do something worthwhile with my life, and the only thing I’m good at is singing.”

“I disagree, but then again I’m not ‘intimate associates’ with you or whatever you guys are calling it.” Sehun flings another chicken into a pen and frowns when he can’t find the last one. “Have you thought about going back to school?”

“Fuck that,” Kyungsoo mutters. “The first time was bad enough. I don’t like anything enough to master in it.”

“I get that.” Sehun makes a victorious noise as he finds the last chicken. “But if you’re not doing the songwriting either, what difference does it make?”

Kyungsoo pauses, overlooking the blunt words for the point they make. Sehun has no investment in his life at all, yet he’s the one speaking the truth. He’s also the only one who knows, at least aside from Jongdae.

“Have you thought about just doing covers?” Sehun suggests, and Kyungsoo wonders why this kid cares so much about his welfare. “You’re not trying to get signed or anything, so it doesn’t matter if it’s original material. You can even make your own remixes if you’re ambitious enough. People do it all the time. Chanyeol was doing it when Jongin met him.”

“He was?” This is news to Kyungsoo. “Does he still have a YouTube channel?”

Sehun laughs out loud. “You’ve been sleeping with the guy for weeks and you haven’t seen his videos? I’m gonna send you the link as soon as I get outta this cave.”

“I think I found it…” Kyungsoo stares in disbelief at the YouTube channel “mfkrpcy” with Chanyeol’s gorgeous face beaming back at him. He’s younger and his hair is longer, but there’s no denying that’s him sitting with various instruments and crooning acoustic renditions of songs that were popular at the time.

If Sehun has any aversion to listening to Chanyeol’s entire repertoire through Kyungsoo’s laptop speakers, he doesn’t voice it. Kyungsoo can’t imagine a situation where anyone wouldn’t want to hear Chanyeol sing, or play the guitar, or play the piano, or even play the drums. There’s a five minute drum solo with no words that has Kyungsoo mesmerized because it’s so good. Naturally, Chanyeol looks good doing it too, his sleeveless shirt allowing his biceps to flex openly, but it’s the flawless talent that attracts Kyungsoo more.

“If you’re gonna jump him when he gets back, give me a five minute warning to reach a save point,” Sehun calls out after Chanyeol’s Spanish bachata rendition.

Yet when Chanyeol and Jongin do return back, sex is the last thing on Kyungsoo’s mind. Jongin shrieks with glee when he notices what Kyungsoo is watching, flopping right down next to him to reminisce and point out which videos he’d recorded himself. Meanwhile, Chanyeol leans over the back of the couch and watches forlornly, quiet for one of the first times since Kyungsoo has known him.

“I miss doing these,” he finally says. “I graduated and got a job and now I just don’t have time to devote to it anymore.”

Sehun scoffs. “Another ‘I don’t have time’ excuse. If you really wanted to do it, you’d make time.”

Kyungsoo narrows his eyes at the youngest lecturing someone on making effort when he hasn’t left the couch all day, but Chanyeol just sighs and leans his head against Kyungsoo’s ears. “You’re right.”

Sad Chanyeol has Kyungsoo’s entire body slumped and discouraged, but he struggles to grab onto his determination. “We should sing together.”

That earns him everyone’s attention, even Sehun’s after he pauses his game. Jongin looks jubilant, like Kyungsoo had just asked them to marry him, and Chanyeol’s face is an adorable mixture of awe and affection. Even Sehun appears pleased that Kyungsoo has figured out the obvious answer he’d probably been hinting at since the day Kyungsoo had walked into his music store.

“I would like that very much,” Chanyeol says, gently like Kyungsoo’s going to take it back if he gets too excited about it. “Anything particular you want to cover?”

Kyungsoo shrugs. “I know some Spanish, if you want to go foreign.”

“We can try out different things,” Chanyeol says, and Kyungsoo feels a little like they’re talking about sexual acts or something intimate. The rush is similar, anyway, although it’s not the kind that makes him want to hop in Chanyeol’s lap.

“Go get your guitar, hyung,” Jongin says, pawing at Chanyeol while he bounces in his seat. Chanyeol scratches between his ears before he disappears into the back of the house, leaving Jongin practically vibrating with excitement, his tail wagging faster than gravity will let it.

There are few sights more beautiful than Chanyeol kicked back with a guitar, lazily strumming chords while he sorts through his mental bank for something they might both know. He settles on a popular Bruno Mars song, which Kyungsoo belts out with confidence only to be thrown off by Chanyeol’s perfect harmony.

“Were you in a choir?” Kyungsoo asks, his jaw dropping in disbelief. He’s only heard trained backup singers pick up the harmony that fast.

Chanyeol shakes his head. “Wasn’t much into singing in front of people. I’m better at rapping.”

“And too humble,” Jongin chimes in. “Chanyeol-hyung was a musical prodigy. Taught himself how to play piano by ear. There isn’t an instrument he can’t learn or a melody he can’t sing. He can even arrange entire songs from scratch. He’s amazing.”

“It’s not…” Chanyeol stares down at his guitar, his face flushing. “It’s fun to mess around with as a hobby, but my parents and sister always pressured me to make a career out of it, and I have no interest in competing in the music industry in today’s climate.”

“Nobody’s asking you to, hyung,” Jongin says gently, and Chanyeol looks sheepish at speaking out that strongly. “I think sharing your talents on YouTube is worlds better than anything you could have played on the radio.”

“You do?” both Chanyeol and Kyungsoo ask, sharing a similar expression of confusion. “How do you figure?” Kyungsoo adds.

Jongin shrugs. “The music industry is all about money and rankings. YouTube is free. There’s no overhead, no quota—everyone is free to create and view as they please. It’s that lack of obligation that has everyone’s true passions show. Just like dancing.”

Sehun snorts at that. “Dancing is more of a bureaucracy than singing. You basically need to be part of a company in order to go anywhere, and even then there are millions of people who are just as good as you. At least musicians often have something distinct to set them apart from the others—you practically have to invent a new dancing style to set yourself apart from the crowd.”

“Jonginnie was ephemeral,” Chanyeol says quietly. “He could bring peace to a warzone just by moving his body. He didn’t even need music to dance, he was so good.”

Kyungsoo tightens his hold on Jongin, who has started to tremble in his arms. He’s not crying, but he’s breathing deeply like he’s trying to hold back some kind of strong emotional reaction. From what Sehun had said that day in the music store, Kyungsoo got the feeling that Jongin’s dancing was a sensitive topic, but now he sees it’s just an incredibly passionate one.

“Sorry, I’m sorry, puppy,” Chanyeol adds, carefully placing his guitar to the side before jumping up to console his partner. He perches awkwardly on the arm of the loveseat, and Kyungsoo starts to scoot over until Jongin tightens his grip, keeping him right where he is.

“I hurt my back,” Jongin says, blinking soft eyes up at Kyungsoo by way of explanation. “It doesn’t impede my regular life or anything, just when I try to dance. I was really interpretive, you know? Animated feelings and all. Dancing was such an emotional release to me.”

“I feel that way about singing,” Kyungsoo admits, and Chanyeol’s head shoots up in interest. “I don’t know what I would do if I could never sing again, so my heart hurts for you a lot right now.”

“It’s interesting, isn’t it?” Jongin asks, a chuckle in his choked voice as he smiles through a stray tear. “You can love doing something more than you could ever love another person. It’s not the same kind of love—it’s stronger. I love Chanyeol-hyung, but he could break up with me tomorrow and it wouldn’t leave the kind of void I’ve felt since the moment the doctors told me I couldn’t dance anymore.”

“For the record, I am not breaking up with you tomorrow, or any other time,” Chanyeol says seriously, and somehow his thin body fits between Jongin and the arm of the couch. “I understand what you mean, though. I love the kids I work with like they were my own children, and a small part of me dies when they grow up or leave the program for any reason.”

The three of them hug tightly, then Sehun clears his throat. “I’m devastated when the game servers go down.”

Both Chanyeol and Kyungsoo throw couch pillows at him, which he doesn’t bother to dodge so much as look around to see the TV. It’s what they needed to break the serious atmosphere, the three companions relaxing together instead of clinging to each other for emotional support. Ordinarily, this would be something that would ignite Kyungsoo’s romance repulsion, but it doesn’t quite feel like a romantic moment to him. They’re bonding, for sure, but it’s on the same level of sharing a passion about something other than each other. Right now, he feels closer to both of them than if they spoke the words “I love you.”

*

I can show you the world~” Kyungsoo sings. “Shining, shimmering, splendid. Tell me, princess, now when did you last let your heart decide?”

Kyungsoo doesn’t do Disney songs on principle, unless it’s “Let It Go” and he’s incredibly drunk, but here he is singing an unconventional Prince Charming anthem after two beers. It would make sense if he were singing with Chanyeol, Jongin, or even Baekhyun, because by this point he would sing Justin Bieber if that’s what they wanted to hear, but the person standing next to him was none of the three.

(“Sing a duet with me,” Junmyeon had demanded after Kyungsoo crooned out yet another R&B ballad. “Anything I know, I’ll sing.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo agreed, because he’ll sing with pretty much anyone.

Unfortunately, Junmyeon’s taste in music was the complete opposite of Kyungsoo’s, so they were restricted to gooey love songs that everybody knew.

“‘A Whole New World’?” Junmyeon tried, and Kyungsoo was beyond done hovering over the karaoke book at the deejay station.

“Only if you’ll be the princess,” he reluctantly accepted.

“Done.”)

Now I’m in a whole new world with you~” the pair of them wail, strangely in perfect harmony, and Kyungsoo can’t help but smile at the applause they get.

It’s strange to hug a dog hybrid who isn’t Jongin, but Junmyeon is comfortable enough and Kyungsoo’s really too drunk to care. As a beagle, Junmyeon’s tail isn’t very long, but Kyungsoo can tell that it’s wagging happily. Junmyeon rarely sings, let alone with anyone else.

“You and Suho-hyung seemed cozy,” Jongin comments when Kyungsoo finally returns to their table, feeling like he’s been gone for a year.

“We were just picking a duet—” Kyungsoo starts.

“I’m not accusing you of anything,” Jongin says gently. “I think you two are cute together.”

Kyungsoo blinks. “You do?”

“Yeah.” Jongin leans over and nuzzles his face into Kyungsoo’s neck. “I’ve been trying to bark up that tree forever, but it looks like he’s more into you.”

Kyungsoo allows his glance to drift over toward Junmyeon, who’s setting up the next singer for her song. He catches Kyungsoo looking and grins, offering a cheesy wave, and Kyungsoo gapes at Jongin in disbelief.

“He dresses like my dad!” Kyungsoo exclaims, making both Jongin and Baekhyun burst out laughing.

“I bet his knot is nice,” Baekhyun muses, his eyes darkening at the thought. “I don’t know anyone who’s had it, so I can’t speak for sure.”

“I’m not drunk enough for this conversation,” Kyungsoo laments, which naturally leads to Baekhyun ordering a round of shots. Kyungsoo should probably decline, but he’s staying over at what he has dubbed The House tonight, and he trusts that Jongin at least will take care of him.

He knows he’s had too much when he practically jumps into Chanyeol’s arms the minute the human arrives, much to the Chanyeol’s pleasure. Chanyeol happily carries Kyungsoo to the table, petting him and telling him he’s a good kitty while Kyungsoo purrs and tries not to think about small, muscular dog hybrids with knots.

“What’s got him all riled up?” Chanyeol asks the table. “Because I know it’s not me.”

“You missed our precious Soo-kitty making Suho-hyung his princess,” Baekhyun reports, and Kyungsoo makes an unimpressed face while trying his damnedest to crawl inside Chanyeol’s chest.

“Oh?” Chanyeol asks, sounding more amused than curious. “Does our kitty have a puppy crush?”

Kyungsoo shoves at him, displaying his best frown despite the questionable tingle from being claimed so openly, and reaches out for Jongin. “This is my puppy crush.”

“Aww,” says Jongin, squeezing his hand. “You’re cute. But you can still crush on Suho-hyung too. I don’t have a jealous bone in my body.”

“You are not helping,” Kyungsoo hisses, but Jongin just laughs and brings Kyungsoo’s hand up for a kiss. It’s so ridiculous that Kyungsoo laughs, burrowing further into Chanyeol because Chanyeol is safe, Chanyeol is not a strange dog hybrid with a knot who may or may not be his princess.

At the end of the night, the gang loiters in the parking lot for so long that Junmyeon’s already gathered up all of his equipment, packing it into his SUV near the back. Kyungsoo finds himself trotting over to him, tail swishing happily as he drinks in the grin he gets when Junmyeon notices him.

“Can I have your number?” he asks boldly, holding out his phone for Junmyeon to take.

“Sure, puss,” Junmyeon replies. He’s really going to have to stop calling Kyungsoo that if this is going to go anywhere, but then Kyungsoo retrieves his phone to see a new contact added under the name “Jasmine.”

“Cute,” Kyungsoo comments, sending off a text so that Junmyeon has his number too.

“If you really think you can show me the world, you should take me out,” Junmyeon says bluntly, and Kyungsoo nearly trips over nothing. “If you remember this tomorrow, tell me where to meet you and when.”

“I’ll remember,” Kyungsoo assures him. “Just so you know, I’m not…I mean, I’m seeing other people.”

“I am well aware,” Junmyeon says with a chuckle. “It doesn’t bother me. I like you.”

Kyungsoo stares at him. “Why?”

“For starters, you have the best voice I’ve heard in a long time, and that’s including Baekhyun.” Junmyeon scratches his neck, looking sheepish. “Your big eyes make you look innocent, even though you’re probably not. And you’re such a good-looking cat! I don’t see very many cat hybrids, aside from Lu Han, and you’re much darker than him. I like it. I want to learn more about you.”

“I’m not very interesting…” Kyungsoo trails off, pursing his lips at the attention.

“Me neither,” Junmyeon tells him, flashing a smile that has Kyungsoo melting a little. “Listen, you don’t have to text me if you don’t want to, but if you want to, I’d love to go out with you.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo says, nodding for effect, and he takes in the smile lines around Junmyeon’s eyes before turning on his heel and making a beeline for Jongin.

“Oh!” Jongin exclaims, wrapping both arms around Kyungsoo. “Did our kitty catch his prey?”

“He wants me to take him out,” Kyungsoo mutters, swatting him playfully with his tail. “This is all your fault.”

“Maybe it is,” Jongin says evasively. “But if you’re happy, what’s the problem?”

Kyungsoo doesn’t have an answer for that, neither there nor when they get back to The House. Baekhyun passes right out, having had one too many celebratory trash cans after surviving his company’s quarter end, and Jongin waves off Chanyeol and Kyungsoo when Kyungsoo can’t actually pry himself away from Chanyeol’s body.

“I have something we can try, if you want,” Chanyeol whispers as they crawl into bed, flinging off clothes on the way.

“What kind of something?” Kyungsoo asks, lifting an eyebrow. It probably looks ridiculous, but Chanyeol’s nowhere near sober and probably sees two of him right now.

“A knot ring,” Chanyeol whispers, and Kyungsoo’s breath hitches. “We don’t have to. I just wanted to let you know it’s there.”

“May—maybe,” Kyungsoo stutters, too drunk to be ashamed. “I used to think it would hurt too much, but then Baekhyun said it’s good and I don’t know.”

“I can put it on and keep it out until you ask for it,” Chanyeol offers. “It’s like a regular cock ring for me, so I’ll enjoy it regardless.”

“You already take forever to come,” Kyungsoo comments, and Chanyeol bursts out laughing as he collapses on top of Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo happily welcomes the tall human into his arms, humming at the closeness and the feeling of familiar warm skin against his own.

“Am I putting it on?” Chanyeol asks, nosing his way up Kyungsoo’s jaw to kiss his neck.

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo answers. “Let’s try it.”

Chanyeol makes a low growl that vibrates Kyungsoo’s entire body as he reaches for the ring and slips it on. Kyungsoo reaches down to touch it, gasping at how much it protrudes from the already thick girth of Chanyeol’s cock.

“This isn’t an accurate representation of a real knot,” Chanyeol tells him, moaning softly as Kyungsoo squeezes him in his efforts to feel the fake knot. “Real knots grow gradually during sex until they lock inside the rim, enlarging even more to keep the semen from seeping out. Historically, it’s how canines ensure pregnancy.”

“And that…feels good?” Kyungsoo asks. “Have you had a knot before?”

“I have,” Chanyeol answers, and Kyungsoo stares at him. “Jongin’s. It was the rare blue moon where he wanted to do it, and I wanted to try it, so I let him knot me.”

“And?” Kyungsoo prompts.

“It was surreal,” Chanyeol tells him. “I felt so full, fuller than any time I’ve had a man inside me before. I kept thinking it would hurt, but it’s just a lot of pressure. And it’s a constant stimulation on your prostate, so it feels good that way too.”

“Hmm,” Kyungsoo says thoughtfully. The more Chanyeol touches him, the more he grows accustomed to the idea. “Maybe when I’m in heat…”

“When is that, by the way?” Chanyeol asks casually as he lubes up his fingers and places them between Kyungsoo’s spreading legs. “I feel like I should mark it on my calendar or something.”

“It’s still about three weeks out,” Kyungsoo answers. “We only get them every three months, but we can induce them earlier with pills if we want. I’m used to handling it on my own, so you don’t have to be there. I’d rather you weren’t, actually.”

“Why not?” Chanyeol asks. It’s a valid question, since he’s currently two knuckles deep inside Kyungsoo and Kyungsoo’s writhing beneath him.

“There’s nothing sensual about it,” Kyungsoo insists. “It’s raw, unadulterated fucking. No feelings, no connection, just hard pounding until the overwhelming heat goes away. It’s not something I’d want to share with someone I care about.”

“I suppose I understand that.” Chanyeol pouts. “I will still help you through it, if you want. Or Baekhyun can. Or we both can.”

Kyungsoo’s body tenses at the thought of having both of them at once, which Chanyeol feels around his fingers if the gasp he makes is any indication. He hasn’t actually had Baekhyun inside him yet—they don’t have sex that often, preferring to go out and do things together, but there have been a few backseat instances that mirrored the first time. Kyungsoo fears it wouldn’t be as good as Chanyeol and the comparison would bring an unnecessary separation between them, so he’s fine with keeping it this way.

“You don’t have to decide right now,” Chanyeol assures him, kneeling between the thighs he’s holding firmly in his hands. “Just keep us in mind.”

“Just fuck me now,” Kyungsoo says pointedly, and Chanyeol obliges without hesitation. Kyungsoo has been ready for this for hours, his body easily adjusting to Chanyeol’s large length pounding inside him over and over, fucking away Kyungsoo’s questionable reaction to Junmyeon’s interest in him.

“Do you want it?” Chanyeol asks breathlessly, continuing to thrust through his words. “The knot?”

Kyungsoo’s body answers for him, hips rocking up to take Chanyeol in deep enough to feel the ring against his rim, testing it out. “I don’t know. Maybe?”

“I need more consent than that, kitty,” Chanyeol says, dragging his lips up and down Kyungsoo’s neck as he moves. “How about you get on top and take it when you want it?”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo agrees, more than happy to roll them over and ride. He’s much more aware of the knot this way, feeling it on every drop. Being a cat and not a dog, his body isn’t sure what to do with it, at least until Chanyeol thrusts up and it starts to breach his rim. “Oh…”

“Oh?” Chanyeol repeats, his fingers tightening on Kyungsoo’s hips as he looks up beneath the fringe of bangs plastered to his forehead. “Is that a good oh or a bad oh?”

“I don’t know yet,” Kyungsoo answers honestly. He rocks a little harder, the lubed knot working its way inside him, and he freezes when it pushes completely in.

“Are you okay?” Chanyeol asks, ceasing all movement to rub Kyungsoo’s sides comfortingly. “I can take it out if you don’t like it. It’s not big enough to get stuck.”

“I…” Kyungsoo trails off, his hips rolling on their own as he moves back and forth, gradually taking more of the knot inside him. It feels surreal, just like Chanyeol had said. The contrast between the knot and the width of the rest of Chanyeol’s cock is very noticeable, yet it’s the difference that has him striving to feel more. “I like it.”

Chanyeol’s next noise is so low that Kyungsoo feels it inside him, holding Kyungsoo steady by his thighs to lock them together like a real knot would. Kyungsoo feels it pressing against his prostate and cries out, riding as much as he can with his limited mobility. The more he’s restrained, the higher his arousal, his cock leaking with each attempt.

“Chanyeol, please,” Kyungsoo gets out, and Chanyeol’s nails sink into the muscles on the sides of his thighs. “I want to come, make me come.”

“Can you come like this?” Chanyeol asks, snapping his hips harder to keep up the friction. “Like before?”

“I don’t think so, and I don’t want to wait,” Kyungsoo breathes out, his impatience reaching for Chanyeol’s hand to put it on his cock. “Please, Chanyeol, I’m so close.”

“Okay, kitty, I’ve got you,” Chanyeol says, flicking his wrist so fast that Kyungsoo’s orgasm tears out of him, his loud moan an afterthought.

Chanyeol’s eyes nearly burn his skin with as intensely as he’s staring at him, but Kyungsoo’s too far gone to be sheepish. “Fuck, that was amazing.”

“Think you could handle a real one?” Chanyeol asks, his voice gravelly in addition to deep. “Suho-hyung’s got one for you to ride.”

Kyungsoo whines because he doesn’t know what else to do, Chanyeol’s cock still buried inside him while he says such filthy things about someone else. He lies down while Chanyeol ruts into him, the aftershocks accelerating with each gasp and moan pressed into his hair.

“I need to take this off,” Chanyeol hisses, his tone sounding frantic. “I can’t come with it on.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo agrees, helpfully rolling onto his elbows and knees while Chanyeol struggles to snap off the knot ring. “You can finish like this, if you want.”

“Oh, I want,” Chanyeol growls, and Kyungsoo shudders as Chanyeol kneels behind him and pushes in before he’s even got a good grip on Kyungsoo’s hips. Kyungsoo probably has a rainbow of bruises decorating his waist by now, but he’s enjoyed earning every single one with Chanyeol pounding into him with what feels like all of his strength, groaning freely and breathing Kyungsoo’s name as he gets close.

Kyungsoo reaches back with both hands, smashing his face into the pillow as he squeezes Chanyeol’s fingers through one hell of a release. It seems Chanyeol enjoys being denied as much as Kyungsoo enjoys being restrained, which is a piece of information Kyungsoo’s filing away for a more experimental time.

Slowly, his legs are urged to straighten, Chanyeol pressing against him from behind in an intimate backhug. “If you end up taking it, I want to hear all about it,” Chanyeol whispers.

“I’ll give you a full report,” Kyungsoo jokes, earning a scoff from Chanyeol as he settles beneath the weight on top of him. It’s heavy, but it feels nice.

On cue, Jongin shuffles in to spoil them, wiggling into their sweaty embrace and wiping them both down with warm cloths. Kyungsoo tingles under Jongin’s gentle touch, nuzzling close to those curly ears that feel so soft against his face.

“Will you sleep in here with us tonight?” Jongin asks softly, and Kyungsoo nods.

“Yay~!” Chanyeol exclaims, a little too loud for as close as he is to Kyungsoo’s ears, but Kyungsoo just smiles.

“Kitty in the middle?” he asks, and naturally they oblige.

*

Dating Junmyeon is kind of like having a protective older brother, but not in a creepy incest way. Kyungsoo’s own brother was always busy with his studies, striving to be a doctor from a young age, and didn’t have much interest in babying Kyungsoo even when they were kittens. Junmyeon, while also the youngest of his siblings, consistently looks out for everyone else to the point that it is quite possibly ingrained in his subconscious.

Out of everyone he’s ever met in his life, including Jongdae, Junmyeon would be the one Kyungsoo would trust to make decisions in his best interest should he become incapacitated. It’s morbid to think about, but Junmyeon is so focused on learning Kyungsoo’s quirks that he seems to have a good grip on how Kyungsoo works after only a few dates.

It’s nice, having someone who ‘gets’ you. Jongin and Chanyeol thoughtfully accept him, Baekhyun affectionately gives him a hard time, and Jongdae’s historically dispositioned to put up with him. Junmyeon actually understands him, and it amazes Kyungsoo every time he starts to open his mouth to explain himself and Junmyeon does it for him.

On their third date, Kyungsoo leans in to kiss him firmly on the lips. In his defense, he’d waited until Junmyeon had stopped talking first, which had taken a good while since Junmyeon likes to talk. Probably he should have asked first, but everything felt so right, the two of them snuggled together on Kyungsoo’s couch with an adult cartoon neither one is really paying attention to.

Junmyeon kisses him back, slowly at first until the pressure builds between them. Junmyeon’s kisses are demanding, controlling, overcoming Kyungsoo until he can’t do anything but take them, falling limply in Junmyeon’s arms.

“Whoa, okay,” Junmyeon says suddenly, putting on the brakes so fast that it takes Kyungsoo a few seconds to adjust. “Let’s take it slow.”

If Kyungsoo could control his breathing enough, he would snort. “You’re the one…so strong.”

Junmyeon grins at him, which looks silly enough to take the edge off of such a dominating feeling. “I can get a little intense, which is why I think we should go slow. Also, you’re fucking like three other people.”

“Two,” Kyungsoo corrects him, like that’s any better.

“I won’t touch you until you all get tested, along with everyone they’re currently having sex with,” Junmyeon says. “I’m sorry, but I’ve got to take care of myself. You should be taking care of yourself too.”

“We use protection, but that’s a good idea,” Kyungsoo says, clearly surprising Junmyeon with his agreement. “I didn’t expect it to happen like this.”

“I kind of get it,” Junmyeon says, his ridiculous grin fading to a calm smile as he lifts a hand to gently pet Kyungsoo. “Once you pop the lid on polyamory you can’t stop, right?”

Kyungsoo’s first instinct is to laugh, but then he realizes how true that is and ends up laughing into another kiss, this one much more subdued. Junmyeon holds him tight, the pair of them curled together on the couch while manufactured voices gab in the background. It doesn’t go past kissing, but it’s easy for Kyungsoo to appreciate this for what it is since he does it with Jongin all the time.

“That’s better,” Junmyeon whispers, pulling away just enough to speak. “Will you pet me?”

“Of course,” Kyungsoo answers, his hand already lifting to Junmyeon’s floppy ears that twitch with each stroke. Junmyeon lays his head on Kyungsoo’s shoulder, curling up as much as he can without climbing into Kyungsoo’s lap, and Kyungsoo can feel the short tail whipping from side to side in contentment.

“Your heartbeat feels nice,” Junmyeon says softly. “It’s been so long since I felt another person’s heartbeat. I don’t care if you never touch me beyond this, as long as we can lie like this every now and then.”

“You’re all so different,” Kyungsoo thinks out loud. “Jongin and Chanyeol and Baekhyun and you—there’s nothing about any of you that is similar, at least when it comes to me.”

Junmyeon breathes evenly, then straightens with a sigh. “Is it like together we’re the perfect person? If it was only one of us, with our limited endearing qualities, would it be enough?”

“That’s a loaded question,” Kyungsoo answers. “It’s not a matter of you have this endearing quality—as you say—and Chanyeol has that one, or that I need all four of you to feel complete. You’re each appealing in your own way, because you’re different from each other.”

“You make no sense,” Junmyeon mutters, and Kyungsoo laughs out loud. “Then again, neither does monogamy, but I’ve always thought that was just because I’m a dog hybrid. Pack animals and all.”

“Even pack animals usually choose a mate,” Kyungsoo points out. “Jongin mentioned that when we first started talking. He knew he was different when he wanted to claim multiple people, not just one eternal mate.”

Kyungsoo probably shouldn’t be spouting off Jongin’s business like that, but Junmyeon nods like he had expected something like that. Besides, Jongin’s been after Junmyeon for so long that he would sign off on anything that brings them closer together—as long as it was honest and consensual.

“I have such mixed feelings about him,” Junmyeon finally says, sighing again. “I like him, but it doesn’t settle well with me that he’s already collared by Chanyeol. I always feel like the mistress or something.”

“I know how that feels,” Kyungsoo offers, and Junmyeon snorts at the relevance. “It’s different because the three of us are together, and yeah they’ve been with each other longer and more intimately, but I don’t want the kind of relationship they have. Even the word ‘relationship’ gives me the creeps.”

“You’re really selling yourself well,” Junmyeon teases, and Kyungsoo pokes him in the side until he squirms. “I’m kidding! I’m just not getting any younger, you know?”

“You’re twenty-seven!” Kyungsoo exclaims. “You can’t have pups with any of us anyway!”

“It’s not about that.” Junmyeon sighs for the third time in five minutes, and Kyungsoo would make fun of him if it wasn’t so serious. “I’m lonely. But I refuse to settle for someone who will only give me one-fourth of their attention.”

“You’re looking at this all wrong,” Kyungsoo tells him. “It’s not one person giving you one-fourth of their attention. It’s four people giving you one hundred percent.”

Junmyeon pauses, visibly deflating as the words sink in. “Do you have sex with all of them at the same time?”

“No,” Kyungsoo answers. “Jongin doesn’t do that, and to be honest Baekhyun and I don’t really focus on it. Chanyeol’s the one I can’t stay off of, and it annoys me up until I’m getting it.”

Junmyeon bursts out laughing. “Sounds like Chanyeollie’s got catnip dick.”

“He does not—” Kyungsoo starts, but Junmyeon’s already shaking with raucous laughter so loud that he wouldn’t hear anything Kyungsoo said. “Dirty mutt.”

“Sourpuss,” Junmyeon calls back, nudging Kyungsoo’s chin with his shoulder, and Kyungsoo rolls his eyes as he squeezes Junmyeon around the waist and smacks him in the arm with his tail. “Your tail is really fluffy.”

“It just looks that way because you barely have one,” Kyungsoo teases.

“Oh, you’re going to be fun,” Junmyeon says, and all Kyungsoo knows for the next several minutes are strong arms and a demanding mouth.

*

Waking up in a pile of warm bodies might be Kyungsoo’s favorite feeling in the entire world. After a couple more weekends of snuggles and kisses, Kyungsoo is no longer sure why he’d been so apprehensive about it. This was nothing like any of his past relationships—the few that had gotten to the point of sleeping over, anyway. Kyungsoo doesn’t feel like he’s chained up in someone else’s arms, smothered by feelings he doesn’t want.

He’s still smothered, especially when Baekhyun starts joining them. He’d been purposely absent for a while, out of town or claiming an early appointment, and no one would admit that it was for Kyungsoo’s benefit. Kyungsoo wouldn’t have minded—the more there are, the less pressure there is for him to conform. Especially with Baekhyun there, Kyungsoo doesn’t have to do anything except sleep, curling up against whoever is the closest without worrying about giving them proper attention.

One would think Baekhyun is the dog hybrid with the way he’s stretched across all of them, his head lying on Kyungsoo’s chest with Chanyeol in the middle and Jongin wrapped around him from the other side. Baekhyun sleeps like an egg-beater, but Kyungsoo doesn’t mind; Baekhyun claims that Kyungsoo kicks in his sleep, but Kyungsoo says he just kicks him.

“When’s your lease up?” Baekhyun asks, pressing the words into Kyungsoo’s collarbone. None of them are really awake, Jongin whimpering faintly with Chanyeol passed out between them, but Kyungsoo’s coherent enough to smack Baekhyun with his tail for no reason.

“Six months,” Kyungsoo asks, stretching as much as he can with Baekhyun’s fat head weighing him down. “Why do you ask?”

“At that time, you should move in with us.”

Hyung,” Jongin whines before Kyungsoo can react. “I thought we were going to wait a while longer before asking him?”

“I got a Q-tip swabbed inside my dick for him,” Baekhyun mutters, reaching across Chanyeol to give Jongin a firm poke in the nose. “I think we’re at a place where we can talk about living together.”

“It’s fine,” Kyungsoo says sleepily, struggling to reach for Jongin amidst the other bodies in his way. “I’ll think about it. I don’t have to give notice until sixty days before I move, anyway. That gives us plenty of time.”

“Clearly, early morning is the best time to ask you for anything,” Baekhyun says. Kyungsoo can feel that smirk against his skin. “How about a blow job?”

Kyungsoo snorts, then shoves down on Baekhyun’s shoulders. “Go ahead.”

It’s Jongin who yelps when Baekhyun actually does it, shoving down Kyungsoo’s sleep pants to suck the soft length past his lips without any pretense. Kyungsoo’s not coherent enough to stop him, his body quickly adjusting to the sudden stimulation that has him fully hard within two slurps.

“I’ll start breakfast,” Jongin says, shoving Baekhyun’s legs off of him with no malice. He pauses to watch Baekhyun’s head bob up and down, tilting his own contemplatively like he’s studying the semantics of it. “My jaw hurts just watching you do that.”

Kyungsoo bursts out laughing, then snaps his hips upward when Baekhyun shoots him a sleepy glare. His hair is sticking out in every direction, one of his most appealing qualities as far as Kyungsoo is concerned—in addition to his oral skills, of course.

Within minutes, Kyungsoo’s a moaning mess, squirming from side to side while he claws at the sheets on either side of him. Baekhyun’s relentless, maintaining his suction no matter how hard Kyungsoo fucks his mouth, and Kyungsoo forgets all about the other human in the bed until his head falls to the side and he sees big brown eyes looking back at him.

“Fuck,” Kyungsoo gasps, a sharp surge of arousal coursing through him now that Chanyeol’s awake, watching him get sucked off. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“I’m glad you did,” Chanyeol says, his voice sinfully deep from nonuse. “Also, Baekhyun’s practically dry humping me.”

“He does that normally,” Kyungsoo points out, jerking when he gets a nip to the tip in response. “Baekhyun.”

“Can I touch you too?” Chanyeol asks. “We haven’t done it like this yet, with the three of us. But if you’re ready, we can give it a try.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo answers, his skin tingling in anticipation of having them both on him at once. “Just…no more than this. For now.”

“Of course,” Chanyeol says, curling up against Kyungsoo’s side and kissing along his neck. “We don’t always have to have sex, you know.”

“We just always seem to,” Kyungsoo says, followed by a laugh that turns into a moan when Baekhyun reaches between his legs to play with his balls. “Fuck, he’s good at this.”

“Yeah he is.” Chanyeol reaches down to stroke Baekhyun’s hair, messing it up even more. “If you praise him, he’ll work harder.”

“I don’t think I can take anymore.” Kyungsoo arches beneath Baekhyun’s renewed efforts, his cock hitting the back of Baekhyun’s throat on almost every swallow. “I’m so close.”

“Come for us,” Chanyeol whispers, his other hand lifting to rub Kyungsoo’s ears. “Show us how good you look when we please you.”

It’s hardly the dirtiest thing Chanyeol has said to him, but somehow the plural has Kyungsoo turned on even more. He barely gets out a whisper of Baekhyun’s name before he’s coming, clinging to Chanyeol who’s petting Baekhyun through it all, his hand dropping to Baekhyun’s jaw after he swallows.

Baekhyun hums happily under the attention, crawling up both of their bodies to fuse his mouth to Chanyeol’s. Chanyeol is only surprised for a second, then he’s kissing Baekhyun so fiercely that if Kyungsoo wasn’t already a part of this association, he’d feel awkwardly out of place.

“Touch me,” Baekhyun gasps out, rocking his hips against Kyungsoo’s thigh. “One of you, I don’t care. I’m so hard.”

“Sucking dick gets you hot, huh?” Kyungsoo teases, and Baekhyun starts to swat at him until Kyungsoo shoves a hand between them, right into Baekhyun’s shorts. “I’m certainly not complaining.”

“Chanyeollie?” Baekhyun turns toward Chanyeol with a questioning look. “No?”

“I’m good,” Chanyeol says, wrapping an arm around both of them. “You just enjoy it.”

Baekhyun lets out an obscene moan at that, rocking into Kyungsoo’s hand as he leans up to press their mouths together. Kyungsoo tastes himself and Chanyeol, sated enough to ignore his morning breath as Baekhyun mewls into his mouth. He’s not even in a hurry, enjoying Baekhyun’s noises and the way he writhes on top of him, lost in the pleasure.

They take so long that Chanyeol presses a kiss to both of their cheeks and rolls out of bed, probably to join Jongin in the kitchen, and Kyungsoo briefly considers letting Baekhyun fuck him for the first time. Before he can get too far in his thoughts, Baekhyun’s coming all over him, his loud groan deafening Kyungsoo’s ears for as long as it takes Baekhyun to burst out laughing.

“Sorry,” he gets out between bouts of laughter. “At least we’re all clean, right?”

Kyungsoo thinks about shoving him right off the bed, but he doesn’t have the energy to give him much more than a mild tail beating. Baekhyun seems to like it anyway, tugging off Kyungsoo’s shirt that suffered most of the mess before curling up on top of him, and Kyungsoo can’t be that mad with as nice as it feels to be skin to skin.

“You’ll have your own room,” Baekhyun whispers, his fingers trailing lightly along Kyungsoo’s arm because he can’t actually stay still. “We have a strict privacy rule in this house. Nobody’s going to be upset if you want time to yourself.”

Kyungsoo just nods, seeing no point in repeating that he’ll think about it. Baekhyun already knows that. He’s just making it clear that he is aware of Kyungsoo’s preferred solitude, which Kyungsoo finds incredibly thoughtful. Baekhyun has his moments, it seems.

The four of them are closer than usual that day, pressed together on the couch while they marathon a new live-action superhero show. It’s ironic because Kyungsoo has a date with Junmyeon later, a concert by an artist that only the two of them really enjoy. It’s their first date since the results of their STI tests had come back, which has Kyungsoo more nervous than he should be. He’s still not sure how he feels about taking a real knot.

Not to mention that he feels weird about having another person outside of the association. Even Jongin’s questionable platonic relationship with Sehun is shared with the group, and he has yet to make it anywhere with Krystal. Kyungsoo hasn’t brought Junmyeon to the house yet, not because he’s not allowed to, but because he hasn’t felt right about it. Junmyeon may not have a problem with Kyungsoo seeing other people, but that doesn’t mean he wants to jump in bed with them all—literally.

Jongin had specifically told him that he could date whoever he wanted, whether on his own or with the rest of them, so Kyungsoo’s not sure why he’s worrying about it. Chanyeol joked that Kyungsoo was possessive over Junmyeon, which is ridiculous given Kyungsoo’s averson at having any kind of relationship pressure. Baekhyun suggested they invite Junmyeon over to hang out, get him used to being around the others before springing any kind of invitation on him.

As they jump and scream at the concert together, Kyungsoo thinks that Chanyeol might be right. It’s not that Kyungsoo wants Junmyeon all to himself—it’s more about wanting him first. Jongin, Chanyeol, and Baekhyun were already together before Kyungsoo had even met them. Out of the four of them—likely the whole karaoke group—Kyungsoo is the only one that Junmyeon’s been with in any way. He hadn’t known how badly he’d wanted to feel special until Junmyeon’s full attention was on him.

“So how’s it going with the associates?” Junmyeon asks casually when they’re at an all-night diner after the show, their ears still ringing from the loud music and crowds.

“It’s going well,” Kyungsoo answers. “They asked me to move in with them when my lease ends.”

Junmyeon’s eyebrows rise, and Kyungsoo wonders why it’s so shocking for someone who’s not even involved. “Are you going to do it?”

Kyungsoo shrugs. “I basically live there on the weekends anyway. Since I work nights, I’d be sleeping during the day when no one is home. I’d certainly eat a hell of a lot better.”

That has Junmyeon laughing. “Sounds like a win-win situation for everyone.”

“What about you?” Kyungsoo asks, seeing the opportunity for his own questions to be answered. “Is that something you think you’d ever want to be part of?”

“With all of them?” Junmyeon blinks at him, and Kyungsoo suddenly feels like a moron for bringing up such a sensitive topic in a public place. “I mean, I’ve never done anything like that before, with more than one person that is—”

“Of course,” Kyungsoo cuts him off, busying himself with his food. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have sprung it on you like that.”

“Is that something they…want?” Junmyeon asks, and Kyungsoo recognizes the terrified look in his face just like any time someone has tried to have the commitment talk with him in the past.

“I mean, they aren’t opposed to the idea.” Kyungsoo finds his courage and looks right into Junmyeon’s eyes, because now that he’s opened Pandora’s box he needs to make everything crystal clear. “It’s not something you have to decide right away. It’s not even all or nothing—if, for example, you only wanted to date me and Jongin, but still be close friends with Chanyeol and Baekhyun, that would be fine with everyone.”

Junmyeon nods, looking marginally less like he wants to bolt out the door. “I’ll think about it. I do like Jongin, but only because he’s not sexual. I’m not sure I’d be into the other two that way, at least beyond drunk making out.”

“You know,” Kyungsoo realizes out loud, laughing as the thought occurs to him. “You and I should probably have sex before we start talking about involving other people.”

“That’s probably true.” Junmyeon reaches across the table for Kyungsoo’s hand, and Kyungsoo smiles as he grabs it. “Would you be horribly offended if I told you I didn’t want to do it tonight? I know we all got tested, and I appreciate that very much, but I feel like you had a very intimate moment with your associates today that would cloud anything that might develop between you and I tonight.”

Kyungsoo frowns, but he knows Junmyeon’s right. “I understand.”

They still make out in the car, so heatedly that Kyungsoo’s halfway across the console before his brain catches up with him. Junmyeon gropes him through his pants and Kyungsoo returns the favor, choking on his air when he feels the added bump of a knot start to form with each squeeze.

“Hyung,” Kyungsoo gasps, blatantly rubbing the knot that hardens beneath his touch.

“You know what to do with that, kitty?” Junmyeon whispers against his lips. “You had a knot before?”

“N-not a real one,” Kyungsoo forces out. “Chanyeol wore a ring once. I liked it a lot.”

Junmyeon makes a low noise that vibrates Kyungsoo’s body. “Next time,” he says decidedly, twisting his wrist on Kyungsoo’s cock for emphasis. “Next time, I’ll give it to you.”

Please,” Kyungsoo moans out, and Junmyeon fuses their mouths together and strokes him until he comes in his pants. Kyungsoo returns the favor, nowhere close to embarrassed as he pries his mouth away from Junmyeon’s long enough to retreat into his apartment.

After changing his pants, he sits at his desk and finally drags out the dusty bag from the music store so many months back. Suddenly, he’s found inspiration to write.

*

All of those hybrids who claim they can sense their heats coming are full of shit. Kyungsoo’s never been able to predict it, aside from calendar dates, which for the most part are right on time. He’d already put in his notice for heat leave at work, stocked up on everything he’d need for the entire week, and made sure that Jongdae would be on call if it got really bad.

One of the things he had bought was a knotted dildo. Online, of course, delivered in discreet brown packaging should his neighbors happen to be nosy. Not that they’d think any differently considering he’d had a dog hybrid over on multiple evenings, but that’s not the point. Paying for a silicone knot is much more embarrassing than taking a real one.

The only thing he wasn’t prepared for was for his heat to hit in the middle of his shift three days early. He hadn’t even known anything was out of the ordinary until he’d emerged from his cave to grab something from the vending machine and earned several cat and dog hybrid heads turning toward him. For the most part, humans aren’t affected by a hybrid’s heats, at least until they get to the point where they’re begging for sex.

Kyungsoo would rather not get to that point in his place of employment. He immediately called his backup, who claimed the place wouldn’t burn down in the thirty minutes it would take her to get there, reminding him not to walk outside alone. He knew that Jongdae would rise from a dead sleep just to escort him home, but his fingers dial Jongin instead.

Jongin’s there in ten minutes. He shoves a bottle of water into Kyungsoo’s face, wraps an extra-long jacket around him, and half-carries him to the car without so much as a word. This is clearly not the first time Jongin’s taken care of someone through their heat, though Kyungsoo’s not too sure he wants to know the details of any previous experiences.

“Should I go get Chanyeol?” Jongin asks when Kyungsoo’s safe in his room, the itch already starting to grow beneath his skin. “I was going to bring him with me, but he said you told him you didn’t want him here.”

“I don’t,” Kyungsoo breathes out. “It’s complicated, but I would rather do this alone.”

“I understand,” Jongin says gently, pushing Kyungsoo’s dampening hair out of his face. “I’ll check on you every day, okay? Bring you food and clean up a bit.”

“You don’t have to—” Kyungsoo starts, but Jongin’s already leaning down to press a kiss to his lips. It feels way better than it should. “You need to leave.”

“Okay.” Jongin gives him one last wistful look before seeing himself out, leaving Kyungsoo to his demise.

It is quite possibly the worst heat he’s ever had. He doesn’t know if it’s because he’s sexually active now, or because he and Junmyeon have tension that hasn’t been resolved, but Kyungsoo cannot seem to find relief no matter what. He jerks off until his dick is raw, fucking himself with an assortment of toys that do nothing but hurt his wrists. The knotted dildo feels great, except it’s an awkward angle to use on himself. He knows that Chanyeol or even Baekhyun would come help him out, but he doesn’t want them. He wants the real thing.

He’d be ashamed at how blatantly he’s fantasizing about Junmyeon if he had a second to breathe without any throbbing arousal. More than once he’d called out the dog hybrid’s name, twisting in his sheets that Jongin had to physically roll him out of to wash on the third day. Jongin isn’t fazed at all by Kyungsoo’s nudity or crippling sexual desire, wholly focused on taking care of him and making sure he stays hydrated. He’d even shoved Kyungsoo into the shower and washed him himself, oblivious to Kyungsoo’s whimpers and moans from the physical contact.

“You know,” Jongin says evasively once he has Kyungsoo back into a clean bed. “Nobody would be mad at you if you called Suho-hyung over to break your heat.”

“Our first time can’t be like this,” Kyungsoo protests. “I don’t even like you seeing me like this.”

Jongin’s grin is out of place until he speaks. “I’m positive he’s broken a heat before. Dogs get them too, you know. I don’t think he’ll be expecting candles and romance.”

Kyungsoo makes a face at the R word, and Jongin bursts out laughing. “If you’re going to make fun of me, you can leave,” he mutters.

“Oh, hyung,” Jongin coos, reaching down to pet Kyungsoo’s ears. It still feels good despite his frustration. “I’d do it for you if I could. You look so miserable that I don’t think I could get it up if I tried.”

“Thanks,” Kyungsoo says sarcastically, shoving at Jongin until a sharp wave of heat attacks him and he clings to Jongin’s shirt instead. “Hopefully it’ll be over soon.”

“I talked to Lu Han-hyung at karaoke last night,” Jongin says. “He says it’s worse after you’ve bonded with someone. Since you’ve basically bonded with four of us, it might be four times worse.”

Kyungsoo buries his face in his hands. “Great.”

“He also offered to help you out, cat to cat.” Jongin scoffs. “They’re not poly, but Minseok-hyung knows how bad heats can get. ”

“I am very glad our entire group of friends knows I’m in heat right now,” Kyungsoo grumbles. “I definitely do not want Lu Han-hyung anywhere near me.”

“Okay, he won’t be.” Jongin kisses his forehead. “I’m not saying everyone knows, but Suho-hyung noticed you weren’t there and asked after you. And I’m not saying you should go against your wishes and invite him over, but he was very concerned and seemed more focused on making you feel better than just getting laid.”

Kyungsoo makes a noncommittal noise, the thought of Junmyeon breaking his heat making his thighs stick together. “Jongin, please go.”

“Think about it,” Jongin whispers, pressing a kiss to Kyungsoo’s ears for the first time. “I heard you calling out his name, hyung. I know you want his knot.”

Kyungsoo’s more shocked that Jongin had actually said those words than what they mean, the younger dog hybrid flashing a smirk as he bounds out of the apartment. The heat intensifies tenfold now that Jongin has managed to turn him on, not that anything in Kyungsoo’s imagination involves him at all. The only knot Kyungsoo wants right now is Junmyeon’s.

He makes it another day, which he thinks is rather commendable since he’s so desperate for penetration that he’s thinking about riding his bedpost. Both of his wrists are sore, along with his knees and his throat from screaming. He can barely find his voice to speak, but this isn’t something he wants to send in a text—he wants to know that someone is coming to save him.

“Kyungsoo?” Junmyeon answers breathlessly, sounding like he’d run across the entire neighborhood for his phone. “Are you okay?”

“No,” Kyungsoo answers bluntly. “I want you to help me. Don’t make me say it again.”

A pause. “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”

Kyungsoo swipes off his phone and tosses it carelessly across the room. He doesn’t feel relieved, but he doesn’t feel bothered either, at least until he realizes that his front door is probably locked and he’ll need to get up and let Junmyeon in.

It takes him the full fifteen minutes to make his way to the door, flinging it open on Junmyeon’s first knock and pulling him inside by the collar of his jacket. Junmyeon manages to keep them both standing, kicking the door closed behind them as he claims Kyungsoo’s mouth in another one of those demanding kisses and Kyungsoo can’t think anymore.

He’s carried to his bed, laid down like something precious, already moaning at the first pressure of Junmyeon’s weight on top of him. Junmyeon’s pulling their clothes off, hard muscle against hot skin, and Kyungsoo grabs onto Junmyeon’s arms so tightly that he winces, the pain in his wrists too strong.

“I’ve got you,” Junmyeon whispers, gently urging Kyungsoo’s hands to his side. “Whatever you want, tell me. Otherwise, I’ll just do what you called me here for.”

Please,” Kyungsoo whines, his thighs falling open to let Junmyeon between them. “Make it stop, hyung.”

“Good kitty,” Junmyeon tells him, fingers slipping easily inside Kyungsoo one at a time. “I’ll take care of you.”

Even just stretching him is better than anything else thus far, Kyungsoo’s hips automatically bucking to feel it deeper. He feels Junmyeon’s cock heavy against his thigh and reaches for it, wanting to touch it with his fingers before it goes inside him. His wrist hurts, but Junmyeon covers his hand and moves it for him, thickening under the stimulation.

“Fuck, you feel amazing,” Junmyeon breathes, dragging his lips down Kyungsoo’s jaw to his neck. “I haven’t broken a heat since I was a teenager.”

“Hurry,” Kyungsoo hisses, borderline growling, and Junmyeon’s eyes darken as he pulls out his fingers and kneels between Kyungsoo’s legs properly. He pauses to run his hands up and down Kyungsoo’s thighs, smoothing out the tension that returns full force when they’re spread even wider to accommodate for Junmyeon’s hips.

“Do you want me to wear a condom?” Junmyeon whispers, kissing the newly exposed expanse of Kyungsoo’s throat when the cat throws his head back at all the sensations bombarding him at once. “It might feel weird if I don’t, because of the knot.”

“It’s fine.” Kyungsoo digs his heels pointedly into Junmyeon’s back, tail thumping impatiently. “Just do it.”

He expects more protests, but Junmyeon plunges right in. He’s slick enough for Junmyeon to bury himself in one thrust, the brief swelling of the knot pushing easily past his rim. Kyungsoo’s entire body shudders, finally finding relief after almost a week of hell with Junmyeon hard inside him.

Digging his nails into Junmyeon’s shoulders, Kyungsoo moves first, rocking up enough to fuck himself on Junmyeon’s dick without any reciprocation. Junmyeon groans against his throat, hips snapping in sharp contrast to Kyungsoo’s desperate bucking, and the shrill cry that Kyungsoo emits is unprecedented.

“You good?” Junmyeon huffs out between heavy breaths, planting his hands firmly on Kyungsoo’s hips to keep him from overexerting himself. “You want it harder?

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo gasps, arching as Junmyeon’s knot starts to catch on his rim. “Fuck the heat out of me like a good boy.”

Junmyeon’s growl tells him he likes being praised as much as Jongin (and Baekhyun), immediately complying to press Kyungsoo deep into the mattress with every thrust. He’s going to be sore later, but right now it’s perfect, Junmyeon’s primal noises clouding his mind as Junmyeon pounds into him. It’s a mixture of pain and pleasure that has Kyungsoo making more of those screeching noises, sounding exactly like the cat in heat that he is.

“I’m almost there,” Junmyeon whispers, and Kyungsoo’s disappointed until he feels the uneven pressure inside him and realizes what exactly the dog hybrid is talking about. “Last chance to back out, because once it locks, we’re stuck together.”

“Do it,” Kyungsoo consents, his voice already rough from all the screaming, which just intensifies when Junmyeon gives one last sharp thrust and groans loud enough to echo in Kyungsoo’s ears. It’s infinitely more pressure than the knot ring had been, not to mention Junmyeon’s a writhing mess on top of him because of it.

Nothing could have prepared him for Junmyeon rutting into him, clinging so tightly that Kyungsoo doesn’t know where he ends and Junmyeon begins. Junmyeon’s whimpering into his neck, the knot pressing right against his prostate, and Kyungsoo comes untouched, spurting between their tightly pressed chests and adding to the sweat already pouring between them.

“There you go,” Junmyeon says, pressing the words into Kyungsoo’s skin with more air than voice. “Good kitty. You take my knot so well.”

Kyungsoo can’t speak, only moan his agreement as Junmyeon continues to stimulate him all over, the knot keeping him from doing anymore than rutting deep. It’s so thick, holding them in place while Junmyeon moves uncontrollably, like he’s led purely by instincts like their primal ancestors.

“You okay?” Junmyeon asks, nosing at Kyungsoo’s jaw, eternally caring even in the middle of carnal heat sex. “Breathe.”

Kyungsoo hadn’t realized he was holding his breath until he exhales, regaining enough control to wrap his arms around Junmyeon’s back and hold him close, rocking back and forth on the knot from below. “Wanna be on top.”

“I am certainly not going to stop you,” Junmyeon breathes out. He carefully rolls them over, situating Kyungsoo’s knees on either side of his waist as Kyungsoo sits up and starts to ride. “Oh…Kyungsoo.”

The knot won’t let him bounce very much, but it’s enough to get him off again, decorating Junmyeon’s chest with his release. Junmyeon does not appear bothered by that one bit, gripping Kyungsoo’s hips so hard that his knuckles are white, struggling to keep his eyes open and moderately focused on Kyungsoo on top of him while thrusting from below.

“Fuck, kitty, I’m gonna—I’m coming,” Junmyeon warns, and Kyungsoo cries out at the feeling of being filled like this. It’s almost too much, his feline body not equipped for such pressure, but he feels a chill on his damp skin for the first time in days and sighs in relief.

“Fucking finally,” Kyungsoo huffs, collapsing on top of Junmyeon as much as he can with the knot still lodged inside him. “You did it—you broke my heat.”

Junmyeon manages to preen while halfway conscious, that goofy smile adorning his face as Kyungsoo continues to rock absently back and forth on his knot. “Please consider me next time as well.”

“It won’t happen again for another three months,” Kyungsoo tells him breathlessly. “If you’re still wasting your time with me then, you’re welcome to it. Much sooner, hopefully.”

Junmyeon hums noncommittally, and Kyungsoo almost laughs at their combined reluctance to put a label on this, to own up to what they’ve been doing this entire time. Kyungsoo likes it as it is now, without any deep confessions of feelings or plans for the future, and Junmyeon just wants to take care of him.

“You’re moving like you’re not done,” Junmyeon gets out, and Kyungsoo realizes he’s still enjoying the pressure of the knot against his prostate. “You got one more in you? You gonna get off on just my knot?”

“Maybe,” Kyungsoo answers evasively. His body won’t let him sit back up, but he plants one hand in the middle of Junmyeon’s chest to lift himself up enough to push back. “Oh…”

“Mm, feels good,” Junmyeon groans, offering a sharp grind of his own hips. “Should I touch you? It looks like you’ve jerked yourself raw.”

“Heat rash,” Kyungsoo tells him. “I’d like it very much if you touched me.”

Junmyeon’s hand stings at first, but he doesn’t squeeze that hard and his skin is soft enough to feel nice. Kyungsoo can’t believe he has any semen left in him, spurting three more times when Junmyeon pulls him off, tightening around the knot so much that Junmyeon trembles beneath him, breathing out his name.

“Okay,” Kyungsoo announces. “I’m done.”

Junmyeon hums again, but this one’s clearly pleased as he guides Kyungsoo to his mouth for a slow kiss. The chills intensify now that Kyungsoo can feel them again, his limbs wrapping around Junmyeon as much as he can in this position.

“How long does this last?” he asks against Junmyeon’s lips, addicted to the taste in his post-orgasmic haze.

“Another ten minutes, maybe,” Junmyeon replies, laughing at Kyungsoo’s groan. “Impatient kitty. You can sleep if you want. You worked hard.”

“I did,” Kyungsoo mumbles, his eyes already slipping shut. “Thank you for taking care of me.”

“Of course,” Junmyeon says softly, sifting his fingers through Kyungsoo’s undoubtedly gross hair. “No matter what happens between us, I’ll always take care of you.”

*

Jongin sleeps a lot. He claims it’s his nature as a dog hybrid, but two straight days is a little excessive. Kyungsoo’s worried for as long as it takes for Junmyeon to instruct him how to take Jongin’s temperature over the phone, along with various other things to check on dog hybrids to declare them healthy.

“You’re cute,” Chanyeol tells him from where he’s camped out on the couch, four days into a new video game. “He’s fine, kitty. If you’re bored, you don’t have to hang out with us, although we’re happy to have you stick around.”

Kyungsoo is bored. It’s probably the first time he’s felt this way with any of them—there was always someone to play with him, entertain him. Before he met them, he was fine with his laptop or Netflix, but he’s since gotten used to social interaction. He’d even seduced Chanyeol earlier just for something to do, which only killed a couple hours when he’d succeeded in distracting the tall human from his game.

It would be a good time to work on their musical collaboration, but neither one of them seem to be that into it. They really only remember about it when Sehun brings it up, harping on them about time management and other things that the youngest of the crew shouldn’t be lecturing about, but it seems that Kyungsoo’s not that into recording cover songs and that ship seems to have sailed for Chanyeol.

Now they’re halfheartedly watching a TV show, Kyungsoo clicking around on his laptop like he’s at home by himself. It’s nice to lie against Chanyeol, strategically placing their arms so that he can still use the controller, and eventually Kyungsoo gets used to Chanyeol’s random swearing and irritated noises each time his character dies.

“You’ve got angry tail,” Chanyeol notes, and Kyungsoo sheepishly slows down his natural display of emotions. “Do we need to talk about something?”

“No,” Kyungsoo grumbles. “Sorry. I should go home. I have to work later anyway.”

“I want to show you something,” Chanyeol says suddenly, and Kyungsoo’s more amazed that Chanyeol had actually paused his game and stood up from the couch. It seems unnecessary to lace their fingers together to walk down the hall, but that doesn’t stop either one of them from doing it, and Kyungsoo’s glad for it when Chanyeol gives him a squeeze upon opening a door to one of the spare bedrooms Kyungsoo hadn’t yet seen.

It’s nothing special, set up as a guest bedroom-slash-office with a small table and what was clearly someone’s old entertainment center. The curtains are ugly floral, but the view is nice, overlooking the backyard where Kyungsoo has heard stories of barbeques and pool parties in the summer time.

“This would be your room, if you chose to live with us,” Chanyeol says, speaking slowly like he’s thought carefully about every single word. “The furniture is optional, of course, and we’d happily mix up any of your other stuff with ours, but this would be your space to have as your own with no interruptions. If your door is closed, no one will bother you. It’s a house rule.”

“I don’t think I’ve seen any doors closed, not even the bathroom,” Kyungsoo half-jokes, his heart doing weird things at seeing this for himself.

“Jongin and Baekhyun and I are very open people,” Chanyeol tells him, dropping his hand to sling an arm around Kyungsoo’s shoulders. “We all understand that you are not, so we want to make sure you know that moving in with us isn’t going to throw away all of your independence. Any time you want to be alone, you can come in here and close the door, no questions asked. Even if we’re having an argument. Even if you want to be alone with Suho-hyung.”

Kyungsoo feels his face burn at the mention of his outside associate. He hasn’t brought Junmyeon into the group yet and nobody has pressured him to, but the thought of losing that freedom to do what he wants without everyone in the house knowing about it weighs heavy on his mind.

“If it helps, you can think of us as intimate roommates,” Chanyeol tries again, presumably noticing the look of horror on Kyungsoo’s face. “We’re here when you want to cuddle, or other things, but any other time we’re all just co-existing together.” He frowns. “Wait, that came out wrong. I mean that nobody’s going to pressure you to spend time with us if you don’t want to. You’re not entering into any kind of polyamorous marriage agreement by moving in here.”

That has Kyungsoo feeling better, offering a nod despite the anxiety that starts to creep inside his mind at being such a problem. The other three have clearly discussed this at lengths, proposing the best way to deal with Kyungsoo’s deviance like it’s worth taking into consideration.

“You can move out anytime you want,” Chanyeol goes on. “Jongin and I don’t even have a lease. If you don’t like the idea of a lease, Baekhyun will add you to the deed. Probably not at first, but it’s a possible endgame. Whatever will make this easier on you, we’re willing to accommodate.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo mumbles, not sure what to say after all of that. Luckily, Chanyeol doesn’t seem to be expecting a response, leaving Kyungsoo alone in the room.

A few seconds later, the familiar sounds of Chanyeol’s game start back up and Kyungsoo moves around the room, scrutinizing the layout and how it compares to his current setup. He’s not that attached to any of his furniture, though he’d probably want to keep his electronics. His kitchenware is all secondhand from when he’d first moved out of his parents’ house, and he’s been eating on his lap for years.

It takes him standing in his future bedroom to think seriously about it for the first time, combining his life with someone else’s. Three other someones, even. He’s still confident that the only reason he’s lasted so long with them is because they have each other, because he can disappear for days at a time and nobody whines about missing him or accuses him of being inattentive. He’s actually the one who feels clingy lately, drifting from one pair of arms to another completely unlike the cat who never used to let anyone pet him.

His thoughts lead him to Jongin and Chanyeol’s room, where the door is wide open because Jongin can sleep through a world war. Chanyeol does have his own room, but it’s more like a studio with a futon for the rare occasions they want to be apart. Kyungsoo has never seen him sleep in it, anyway, while Baekhyun usually sleeps in his own bed by himself during the week. This weekend is actually the only time Kyungsoo has seen Jongin sleep alone, just because everyone else is awake. The dog hybrid looks so peaceful spread out on the large bed, chest rising and falling while one leg occasionally jerks from whatever he’s dreaming about.

It’s a credit to how comfortable Kyungsoo’s become with them that he just crawls next to Jongin, wrapping an arm around his waist and tucking himself against Jongin’s side, face buried in Jongin’s neck. Jongin’s collar is suede and worn, soft on Kyungsoo’s nose that rubs lightly against it, earning a few whimpers as Jongin’s consciousness increases.

“Soo-hyung?”

“It’s me,” Kyungsoo replies, his spirits lifting when Jongin laughs softly. “Is it okay that I’m here?”

“It’s always okay that you’re here,” Jongin says, flinging his arms and legs around Kyungsoo so fast that the cat yelps in surprise. “I’m sorry I’m not any fun this weekend. I’m just so tired.”

“It’s okay,” Kyungsoo tells him. “I’m not bored anymore.”

Jongin laughs again. “Chanyeol-hyung and his games. He’s such a human that way. When Baekhyun-hyung and Sehunnie are here, the three of them get ridiculous with their RPG tournaments. I’ll be glad to have someone to cuddle with who doesn’t jerk and swear every five seconds.”

That has Kyungsoo laughing too, because it’s true. “I’d rather be in here with you, and I had sex with Chanyeol an hour ago.”

“Mm, I know, I can smell him on you.” Jongin makes a happy noise, pressing his face into Kyungsoo’s neck to inhale deeply. “You smell good together.”

“I guess Junmyeon-hyung’s scent finally went away?” Kyungsoo teases. “You were attached to me for the entire week after my heat.”

“It’s a dog thing,” Jongin says with a firm poke to Kyungsoo’s belly. “My canine instincts didn’t like that he marked you and I wanted to mark you myself. It seems that our hormones are not as polyamorous as we are.”

Kyungsoo laughs again. “Cats do that too, but I only know that because Luna used to attack Jongdae every time we went out. She’s used to my scent, but there could be one other cat hybrid across the room and she would scent them out on Jongdae’s clothes. I can only imagine how crazy she got after he met Lu Han-hyung.”

“I think it’s cute,” Jongin offers, nuzzling his way up to Kyungsoo’s ears, which twitch at the first contact of his lips. “As long as nobody’s fighting, a little possession is okay.”

“Is that why you wear Chanyeol’s collar?” Kyungsoo asks curiously. They’ve discussed this briefly before, but only in terms of not expecting Kyungsoo to wear one.

“Yeah,” Jongin answers, his voice whisper-quiet since he’s so close to Kyungsoo’s ears. “This way, I still belong to him no matter who else I’m with. It’s also a dog thing.”

“I can’t imagine Junmyeon-hyung in a collar,” Kyungsoo scoffs, and Jongin hums thoughtfully. “Not that I would even be into that,” he rushes to add. “He’s definitely the dominant one in our…association.”

“That makes it even better,” Jongin points out. “Who says the submissive one can’t be the owner? Defy status roles! Just because you’re a cat hybrid doesn’t mean you’re destined to live up to the stereotypes. It wasn’t long ago that males and females had their set gender roles—humanity has evolved so much since then.”

“I know…” Kyungsoo trails off. “I don’t want anything that permanent, though. I know a collar can be removed, but the sentiment behind it is more than I want to commit to.”

“A necklace then,” Jongin suggests, pressing a smirk into Kyungsoo’s hair. “It’s kind of the same thing, isn’t it? It’ll satisfy his urge to have something around his neck as a sign of affection, which I can guarantee you he has. It’s built into our DNA. Even Minseok-hyung wears a choker in addition to their wedding rings. Either way, it’s still fun to give presents. I’ll help you pick it out!”

“You sound so excited, yet you haven’t moved in two days,” Kyungsoo says. “I’d feel better about it if it were from both of us, though.”

“Then it’s decided.” Jongin snuggles closer, his heartbeat slowing in time with Kyungsoo’s. “When I can move again, we’ll go to the store and get your puppy something pretty.”

“He’s not—” Kyungsoo starts to protest, but Jongin’s already back to sleep. Instead, he sighs and burrows his way back to Jongin’s neck, feeling the suede against his face as he succumbs to a nap as well.

*

The smart thing to do, in hindsight, would be to spend a week or two at The House, drawing up some ground rules and adding anything that inevitably pops up in the interim, but Kyungsoo’s brain is too distracted by all of these stupid feelings to be smart. He wasn’t that great of a student anyway.

Instead, he’s sitting in his own living room, insisting on doing this here to give him a home field advantage. That had sounded great in theory, but he doesn’t actually have enough room for five people to comfortably sit. Baekhyun seems to have no problem sitting in Chanyeol’s lap, and Jongin’s actually camped out on the floor with more room to stretch out than anyone else.

Kyungsoo stalls for as long as he can fetching drinks and snacks, sighing in relief when Baekhyun gets a phone call he has to take, but soon he’s facing what feels like a firing squad, even if Junmyeon is right next to him and Jongin is on the floor.

“I’ll start, if that’s okay?” Jongin speaks up, and Kyungsoo has never been more grateful he had decided to leave his hermit cave to socialize at a karaoke bar months ago. “When I was fifteen years old, I had my first real relationship. His name was Lee Taemin, also a dog hybrid, and I still love him to this day. Our lives didn’t quite line up after we broke up, so we don’t meet anymore, but I think about him a lot and we’re friends on social media.”

Kyungsoo seems to be the only one surprised by this announcement, probably because Chanyeol and Baekhyun already knew about it and Junmyeon isn’t that invested in Jongin’s business. He didn’t think Chanyeol was Jongin’s first partner or anything—he supposes he just didn’t expect to get the history of Kim Jongin right here in his living room when he’d gathered them all together to talk about adding Junmyeon in the group.

“I knew I was poly from a very young age, but I didn’t know exactly what it meant,” Jongin goes on. “I was used to having multiple crushes, and the concept of being pet by only one person forever baffled me. I didn’t know how to be monogamous, but I tried. I tried, for Taemin, because I loved him so much. Taemin was the only other pup in school who wasn’t interested in sex, and I didn’t think I’d ever find anyone who didn’t look at me that way, especially in our sexualized culture.”

Chanyeol frowns at that, reaching one long arm over to scratch Jongin’s ears, and that bright smile spreads across Jongin’s face again, always so easy to cheer up. “I love you, puppy,” Chanyeol says.

“Love you too,” Jongin replies, and Kyungsoo just waits for him to continue the story. He’s gotten used to their constant displays of affection by now. “Anyway, Taemin was super jealous of Sehun, of all people. Because we took dance classes together, were openly affectionate with each other, and one time Sehun was sad and I kissed him in front of Taemin. The thought that it was wrong didn’t even cross my mind, which made him even angrier. We fought for hours, in front of Sehun because he wouldn’t leave my side while I was crying, and eventually we reached a stalemate. We just couldn’t see eye to eye about this. He wanted me all to himself and I couldn’t imagine such an isolated life.”

Whatever Jongin’s reason was for telling such an unsolicited story, it’s working—Junmyeon’s completely engrossed, giving Jongin his full attention with a tilt of his head like he’s absorbing information as well as listening. Perhaps he’s relating to Jongin’s situation, or he just understands it. It makes sense to Kyungsoo, but they’ve already established that they’re both averse to monoamory for opposite reasons.

“Honestly, I thought I’d be alone forever,” Jongin admits, laughing into a sniffle that’s not fooling anyone. “I don’t have sex and I love multiple people—who wants to put up with that?”

“Everyone in this room,” Baekhyun answers, staring hard at Junmyeon as if daring him to disagree. He doesn’t.

“Well, yes.” Jongin grins at Baekhyun, whose uncharacteristically stern face softens at that. “But when I was eighteen, it felt like a lost cause. Kyungsoo-hyung, you once asked me if I’m poly because of Chanyeol-hyung, so he can sleep with other people.” Kyungsoo hangs his head at his prior ignorance, but nods. “I can assure you that my other partners wouldn’t even agree to that, because what’s the point in being with someone like me when you can get everything you want from someone else?”

“That’s not—” Junmyeon starts, then clamps his mouth shut with unnaturally big eyes. “Sorry.”

“No, please speak,” Jongin tells him. “I’d love to hear anything you have to say.”

“I was just thinking that’s not how that’s supposed to work, even for monogamists,” Junmyeon says, scratching his head like he’s not pleased with how his words are coming out. “You don’t go into a relationship already deciding to cheat, right? Even if they were willing to try polyamory, it sounds like they didn’t even like you to begin with.”

Jongin nods. “That may be true, but lucky for me, it doesn’t matter anymore. I met Chanyeol-hyung, who had a Baekhyun-hyung just like I had a Sehunnie, and it worked. I didn’t even plan on falling in love with Baekhyun-hyung too—it just happened.”

“I am irresistable,” Baekhyun supplies, and Chanyeol digs fingers into his side until he squirms and calls mercy.

“Why isn’t Sehun here?” Junmyeon asks. “Isn’t he part of this…”

“He’s not part of this,” Chanyeol saves Junmyeon from putting a name on it by gesturing to the five of them gathered in Kyungsoo’s tiny living space. “He’s specifically with Jongin, if you could even call it that. Personally, I don’t see how their friendship would threaten anyone, but I don’t exactly look through monoamorous eyes.”

“I love Sehun because I don’t know what it’s like to not love him,” Jongin tells them. “I feel the same sort of swelling in my heart with him as I do with any of you…well.” He flushes as he glances at Junmyeon. “You and I haven’t discussed this yet, but I’d be surprised if you didn’t already know.”

“Nothing about you is subtle,” Junmyeon says with a warm smile. “To be honest, I felt awkward pursuing anything with someone who’s already collared, so I kept my distance from you, but spending time with Kyungsoo has really opened my eyes to all of this. It sounds fascinating, actually. I just have a lot of questions.”

“That’s why we’re here, right?” Jongin winks at Kyungsoo. “Fire away.”

“Would it be…” Junmyeon pauses as he seems to be considering his options. “The five of us, together?”

“‘Together’ can mean a lot of things,” Jongin answers with a laugh. “You already know that I don’t have sex, so I wouldn’t be involved in that form of intimacy. Chanyeol used to want me to be there, to be a part of it even if I wasn’t doing anything, and I didn’t like that. I don’t feel kicked out or ignored or anything—I’m happy to take a nap while you all do it. Assuming, of course, that’s something the four of you decide to share together.”

“The three of us haven’t even yet…” Baekhyun starts, gesturing to Chanyeol and Kyungsoo before offering his own sleazy laugh. “Well, not all the way.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way,” Chanyeol says to Junmyeon. “Poly doesn’t mean we all have to have sex with each other. That kind of attraction is hard to decide in advance anyway. I actually thought that Kyungsoo was just going to be with Jongin until the night of Yixing-hyung’s party, and we’d never considered him with Baekhyun.”

“The jury is still out on that one,” Kyungsoo comments, cutting his eyes toward Baekhyun, who responds with a filthy tongue motion.

“What they’re trying to say,” Jongin says pointedly, “is that it’s perfectly okay if you just want to be with Kyungsoo, or maybe me too, together or separately. Later down the line, if you find yourself attracted to Chanyeol or Baekhyun, great! Or if you find someone outside of the pod. I would love nothing more than to have a house full of lovers, regardless of whether or not they’re specifically my lovers.”

Junmyeon looks like he’s thinking about all of this very deeply. Kyungsoo feels incredibly appreciated, because it’s due to him that Junmyeon is even considering any of this, not to mention that he’s the one who had led Junmyeon to reevaluate his dismissal of Jongin. The fact that the two dog hybrids may get together after all has Kyungsoo filled with an incredible happiness.

“Nobody’s asking you to decide anything right now,” Chanyeol says to Junmyeon, and Kyungsoo’s reminded of similar words being spoken to him awhile back. “Try it out for a bit, and if it doesn’t fit for you, no hard feelings. Please just communicate with us so we can address any problems and avoid misunderstandings. That is the most important thing in any polyamorous relationship.”

Junmyeon nods. “Okay, I’ll try it.”

Jongin squeals, hugging himself as he rolls around on the floor like a puppy. Kyungsoo almost wants to join him, but manages to contain himself enough to reach for Junmyeon’s hand, because he’s the one doing the leading here. It’s up to him to show Junmyeon the ropes and make sure he’s comfortable—even if Kyungsoo isn’t too sure of any of this himself.

What Kyungsoo is sure of is how Junmyeon’s looking at Jongin, like the other dog’s elation at his acceptance touched him deep in his heart, and Kyungsoo nudges him with an elbow until he tears his eyes away from Jongin. Instead of speaking, Kyungsoo leans forward and presses a firm kiss to his lips, then nudges him toward Jongin.

Watching Junmyeon approach Jongin is quite possibly the cutest thing Kyungsoo’s ever seen. He can’t even be disgusted because it doesn’t involve him, even if it’s entirely his fault. Being dog hybrids, they sniff each other forcefully before Junmyeon claims Jongin’s mouth, undoubtedly kissing him with as much fervor as he uses with Kyungsoo, and Jongin’s whimpers are nothing but relief.

Leaving the dogs to play, Kyungsoo turns to eye Chanyeol and Baekhyun. Chanyeol grins back at him, but Baekhyun’s wearing a smirk that’s saucy enough to put Kyungsoo on his back.

“What?” Kyungsoo asks, feigning nonchalance. “If the entertainment is not to your liking, Baekhyun, you should provide your own.”

“Don’t tempt him,” Chanyeol jumps in, grabbing for Baekhyun’s hips when he starts to roll them around Chanyeol’s lap. “Baekhyun!”

“You should show us your bedroom,” Baekhyun says to Kyungsoo. “Particularly the ceiling.”

“You don’t stop moving long enough to look up,” Kyungsoo shoots back.

Junmyeon’s noise of discontent earns all three of their attentions as Jongin abruptly pulls away. “Will you all just go have sex already? Your combined pheromones are irritating my sinuses.”

Kyungsoo wants to ask if that’s a real thing, but the urge to one-up Baekhyun is greater. Wordlessly, he stands up and walks toward his room, swatting Baekhyun in the face with his tail on the way. A hand grabs the end of his tail and there’s nothing quiet about his shriek, clawing at everything in his way of regaining control of his tail, his breaths still heaving when he’s free.

“Shit, I’m sorry,” Baekhyun rushes to say, hopping clear over the back of the couch to where Kyungsoo is crouched against the wall, all of his hackles raised. “I do it to Jongin all the time, I forgot that cats don’t like it. I am so, so sorry, Kyungsoo. Please don’t hate me.”

Kyungsoo stares at him, ignoring Chanyeol’s concerned face on the other side of the couch and the two pairs of dog ears that were perked up in attention from his pain. He’s trembling in a way he hasn’t experienced since he’d gotten comfortable with them, since he trusted that they wouldn’t do anything like this to him.

In the midst of his rage, though, he sees sincerity in Baekhyun’s usually playful eyes and knows the human didn’t mean it. He wasn’t trying to own Kyungsoo or drag him somewhere against his will. Even right now, he’s keeping his distance, not rushing Kyungsoo into accepting his apology or even responding to it.

Slowly, Kyungsoo gets to his feet, his tail still swinging angrily from side to side. “Get in my bed,” he says clearly.

Baekhyun looks lost, offering a questioning glance to the door Kyungsoo had been heading toward. The instant Kyungsoo nods, Baekhyun’s disappearing through it.

“Should I…” Chanyeol starts, looking half amazed and half amused as he regards Kyungsoo like he’s never seen him before. “Should I come too?”

“Probably a good idea,” Kyungsoo answers. “I might hurt him otherwise.”

Junmyeon whistles at that, and Jongin offers a fist pump as Kyungsoo turns on his heel and stalks into his bedroom. As instructed, Baekhyun’s laid out on Kyungsoo’s bed, perfectly positioned in the middle on his back.

“You were wrong,” Baekhyun greets him. “I’ve had plenty of time to look at the ceiling. It’s boring.”

Kyungsoo climbs onto his bed and up Baekhyun’s entire body, not stopping until they’re face to face, Baekhyun’s legs automatically falling open to accept Kyungsoo’s between them.

“You will never do that to me again,” Kyungsoo says firmly, and Baekhyun nods. He starts to open his mouth, but Kyungsoo cuts him off. “I don’t want your goddamn apologies. I want you to make the active effort to remember that I am not Jongin and I do not like the same things that Jongin likes. Are we clear?”

“Crystal,” Baekhyun answers, his breathing shaky as he inhales sharply. “Am I allowed to think this is incredibly hot? Because fuck, Kyungsoo. I didn’t know you could throw down like this.”

“Don’t underestimate cats,” Kyungsoo tells him, lifting a hand to trail one single nail down Baekhyun’s throat; Baekhyun shivers visibly. “We’re full of surprises.”

The mattress dips behind him and he doesn’t even flinch, anticipating Chanyeol’s gentle touch on his back. “We should talk about this before you two get too carried away.”

Chanyeol’s voice breaks through the intensity of this session, but Kyungsoo’s only a little disappointed. “I’m okay with having you both at the same time,” he consents.

Baekhyun moans outright, reaching for Chanyeol’s hand to hug Kyungsoo between them. “Kitty in the middle?” he whispers.

“Obviously,” Kyungsoo replies, and he prides himself on kissing the smirk right off of Baekhyun’s face.

*

If Kyungsoo has learned nothing else from his adventures in polyamory, it’s that sex is just a backdrop for the sensations and intimate connections he forms over and over with whoever he’s with. An orgasm feels just as good as a relaxing snuggle and soul-bearing conversation, a warm body next to him while he sleeps as nice as holding hands on a walk. The difference is in the people, not the events, and the goal is not to compare, but enjoy it all.

Rocking back and forth between Chanyeol and Baekhyun feels just as inclusive as lying between Chanyeol and Jongin, the existing pair inviting him into their established setting. Chanyeol and Baekhyun are so in tune with each other that Kyungsoo would feel left out if he wasn’t getting it from both sides, balls-deep in Baekhyun while Chanyeol pounds into him from behind. It’s so physically stimulating that there’s not much room for anything else, except there’s an underlying layer of emotion that has Kyungsoo kissing Baekhyun harder, lacing his fingers with Chanyeol’s on his own hip while striving to feel as much of both of them as he possibly can.

His tail is safely looped around Chanyeol’s neck, his ears folded under Baekhyun’s attention as Chanyeol maintains the rhythm. Kyungsoo’s got Baekhyun’s knees over his shoulders, Baekhyun’s cock bouncing aimlessly between them with each thrust. Both of them are so much more together than when Kyungsoo has them separately—Baekhyun’s screams are louder, Chanyeol’s comments filthier. Kyungsoo himself is more forceful, telling them both what he wants and grabbing Baekhyun a little harder than he probably should.

Baekhyun likes it, or at least he clenches around Kyungsoo’s cock every time Kyungsoo tightens his fingers on Baekhyun’s hips, thighs, ass. He blames Chanyeol’s dick for being so damn good, fucking him into an unintelligible stupor where all he knows is how to claw and claim. If Baekhyun minds, he’s doing a horrible job of showing it by wailing Kyungsoo’s name and leaning up on his arms to push back against Kyungsoo’s hard thrusts.

“I’m not gonna last,” Kyungsoo gets out, his body already jerking uncontrollably at being stimulated from both ends.

It’s Chanyeol who pulls away, flopping to the side while Kyungsoo pouts at how empty he feels. Immediately, Chanyeol’s fingers are inside him, long and deep and pressing right where Kyungsoo doesn’t want them to hold off his orgasm a while longer.

“Ass,” Kyungsoo mutters, and Baekhyun bursts out laughing until Kyungsoo cuts it off with a hard thrust. Baekhyun’s eyes widen at that, his head nodding frantically until Kyungsoo repeats the motion, taking over where Chanyeol had left off and fucking Baekhyun into the mattress.

Somewhere in the haze of hip snapping and grunting, he ends up back in Baekhyun’s mouth, teeth crashing together as they struggle to kiss through the roughest sex in Kyungsoo’s memory.

“Fucking…fuck,” Baekhyun hisses between kisses, which are honestly more like tongue swiping as they struggle to keep their lips connected. “I should piss you off more often.”

“That is not a good idea,” Kyungsoo mutters, tearing his mouth away to gnaw at Baekhyun’s neck. Fuck his white collar job—he’s going to be sporting a claim mark for the next week.

Baekhyun’s scream is right in his ear, throwing his rhythm off as he quickly approaches the edge once again. “Touch yourself,” Kyungsoo demands. “Wanna feel you come around me.”

“Yeah,” Baekhyun agrees, shoving a hand between them to wrap around himself, and immediately everything is so much tighter. It might be because Baekhyun’s the only one Kyungsoo actually fucks, but he’s just so good at it, his body molding perfectly to Kyungsoo’s cock like he was made to fuck it.

“Damn, I’ve been missing out,” Chanyeol mutters, and Kyungsoo’s response that he can have it anytime he wants it on the tip of his tongue just before Baekhyun sputters between them. It pulls him so far under consciousness that all he knows is Baekhyun and orgasm, and maybe a little something more that he doesn’t quite understand.

His orgasm is an afterthought, intensifying what he’s already feeling from Baekhyun’s release, and it’s all way too complicated to try and sort out right now. He lowers Baekhyun’s legs as carefully as he can, curling up on Baekhyun’s sweaty, messy chest that rises and falls with long, deep breaths.

He’s halfway coherent when he gets a poke to the arm. A grunt doesn’t make it go away, and finally Kyungsoo leans up and glares down at Baekhyun’s smug face. “What.”

“You suck at threesomes,” Baekhyun tells him, grabbing his head with both hands to turn him toward…oh, right, Chanyeol.

“It’s okay,” Chanyeol tells them. “You two had to work out your aggression. It was incredibly hot to watch.”

Kyungsoo exchanges a glance with Baekhyun, who nods, and while Kyungsoo has no idea if they’re on the same wave length at all, they both manage to get to their hands and knees with all the finesse of newborn deer. Kyungsoo learns very quickly that they are in fact thinking of the same thing as Baekhyun grabs Chanyeol by the shoulders and shoves him down onto his back, leaning down to rest along one side of his cock that has softened a bit. Chanyeol has wiped it off since it’s been inside him, but Kyungsoo doesn’t really care, and apparently neither does Baekhyun.

“Are you gonna show me how it’s done?” Kyungsoo teases, taking his place on the other side and trailing a single finger up the length. Chanyeol hisses, his cock twitching close enough for Kyungsoo to see it harden more, and it’s moderately fascinating.

“From what I’ve heard, you don’t need any lessons,” Baekhyun says, then settles between Chanyeol’s legs. Kyungsoo’s eyes widen when Baekhyun pushes up the leg Kyungsoo’s not currently lying on, then dips down beneath Chanyeol’s balls. “Your eyes really are expressive.”

Chanyeol’s low moan clues Kyungsoo into exactly what Baekhyun’s doing to him, leaving him curious enough to peek. Baekhyun’s insanely fast tongue is flicking around Chanyeol’s hole, then inside, and Kyungsoo’s still deciding whether to be disgusted or aroused when he feels long fingers in his hair, rubbing his ears enough to make him purr, which seems to intensify everything.

“Suck it, kitty,” Baekhyun hisses up at him, purposely nudging him up by looping his arms around Chanyeol’s legs. Kyungsoo’s so mesmerized by the rapid flicking of Baekhyun’s tongue that it takes him a second to process the demand, which he rushes to comply with like he’s in the business of taking orders from Baekhyun.

“Oh fuck,” Chanyeol gasps when Kyungsoo sucks him down, fingers tightening in his hair—both of theirs judging by the way Baekhyun groans down below. “You’re too good to me.”

Kyungsoo wants to argue that he deserves it, but his mouth is full and he doesn’t want to pull off. Chanyeol is huge, but Kyungsoo has worked his way up to deep-throating, which still doesn’t take the entire length. He starts to make up the difference with his hand, but his wrist is grabbed and pulled further down between Chanyeol’s legs, where his middle finger is lubed and shoved in alongside Baekhyun’s.

Few things are more intimate than holding hands while fingering someone else together, but that’s what he and Baekhyun are doing as Baekhyun continues to lick around their fingers and Kyungsoo sucks Chanyeol off with all of his effort. Kyungsoo hasn’t been inside Chanyeol before, so this is all brand new to him, how hot Chanyeol is inside in addition to the increasing tightness from the ministrations of Kyungsoo’s mouth.

All too soon, his jaw starts to hurt, but Baekhyun’s right there to take over, nudging Kyungsoo away with his nose. It seems the solution to Chanyeol’s marathon orgasms is having two people work him, taking turns sucking him off while stroking his prostate together. He’s a groaning mess beneath them, his back arching when Baekhyun sucks him down, but Kyungsoo can’t bring himself to kiss his way up Chanyeol’s body. He’s still mesmerized by Baekhyun, the prominent veins in his throat and the hair sticking all over the place that Kyungsoo struggles to push out of his face with his free hand.

Baekhyun meets his eyes and it’s almost like they’re having a moment, with their fingers up someone else’s ass and someone else’s dick in Baekhyun’s mouth. This is the beauty of polyamory, Kyungsoo realizes, pulling Baekhyun off of Chanyeol’s cock to kiss him, fully aware of where his tongue just was and not giving a single fuck about it.

Baekhyun’s tongue is just as fierce in Kyungsoo’s mouth as it is everywhere else, kissing him enough to make him forget Chanyeol’s even there before abruptly breaking away to return to his prior mission. Kyungsoo keeps petting Baekhyun through it, occasionally making eye contact that means more than either one of them probably want to own up to.

“So close,” Chanyeol breathes out, and Kyungsoo leans down to lick at Chanyeol’s tight balls as he and Baekhyun finger him harder. “Shit…Baek…Soo…I’m gonna come.”

Kyungsoo watches in mild amazement as Baekhyun swallows everything Chanyeol gives him, his throat gulping several times before Chanyeol finally softens and Baekhyun pulls back with a large gulp of air. Kyungsoo stares at him until Baekhyun meets his eyes, and a fraction of a second later they’re kissing, Kyungsoo tasting the familiar tang of Chanyeol on Baekhyun’s tongue as they make out like they’d been deprived of each other for months.

When they finally pull apart, Chanyeol’s watching them under hooded lids, and Baekhyun has to drag Kyungsoo up the length of Chanyeol’s body to share kisses with him. Somewhere along the line, Kyungsoo’s hand had been relieved of its duties, his finger wiped with some type of cloth and returned to Baekhyun’s to hold his hand properly.

“I’m glad you two managed to finally bond with each other,” Chanyeol says, and they both turn to glare at him.

Kyungsoo swats Baekhyun on the ass with his tail, and Baekhyun reaches over to pet him. His traitorous purrs display his true feelings, and Chanyeol pulls them both in for a tight, sated hug.

“Don’t ever fucking pull my tail again,” Kyungsoo hisses at Baekhyun, and Baekhyun kisses him in agreement.

*

“I can’t believe you’re actually doing this,” Jongdae comments as he rolls packing tape on yet another box. The sound it makes is satisfying, pleasing Kyungsoo’s ears with each rip, almost rhythmic in the same way Jongdae mindlessly does everything. “Have you even told your family yet?”

“Do they really need to know?” Kyungsoo protests, busying himself with packing yet another box. For someone who has such a small apartment, he has sure accumulated a lot of shit. “I’m not getting married or having kittens, so why is it important?”

“Because they’re your family?” Jongdae guesses. “Because this association or whatever you’re calling it is important to you?”

“We’re not that kind of family, you know that.” Kyungsoo huffs. “I haven’t even seen my brother since his wedding three years ago. I only know about my nephews from Facebook.”

Jongdae pouts, but he never wins this argument. Jongdae is super close to his family—his parents see the kittens nearly every weekend, and Luna’s family visits often too. Kyungsoo would probably tell Jongdae’s family about his associates before his own, if just because Mama Kim badgers him about his love life every time Jongdae drags him to holiday dinners.

“I guess there’s no easy way to say you’re in a star pod on Facebook,” Jongdae says with a laugh.

Kyungsoo sends him a curious glance, pausing in his meticulous action figure wrapping. “Star pod?”

“Isn’t that what Jongin said it’s called, a pod?” Jongdae asks, then shrugs. “There are five of you, most of whom are intersected with each other, so together you make a star pattern.”

Kyungsoo frowns as he thinks about that. “A star implies that each point is only connected to two others, and Jongin and I are connected to everyone. You can’t really make a shape out of that.”

“Star pod still sounds cool though, like something out of those spaceship shows.” Jongdae throws a marker at him. “That’s what I’m gonna call it.”

“Uncle Kyungsoo!” Hyori, Jongdae’s oldest kitten, yells from his bedroom. “The game system went out!”

“Did Hyemi chew through the cord again?” Kyungsoo calls back, earning a distressed mewl in response. “Hyemi.”

“Unni, I’m sorry!” Hyemi’s tiny voice rings out. “I didn’t know you were using that one.”

“You shouldn’t be chewing on any cords!” Jongdae hollers, sending Hyemi darting under the bed. Kyungsoo sighs, knowing she’ll be there for a couple hours now. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s had to coax her out after she’d gotten into trouble.

Hyuna, the middle kitten, is actually helpful. She’s good at organizing, separating the dishes Kyungsoo had elected to take with him and stacking them carefully into a box. She can’t write full words yet, but she drew pictures of food all over the sides of the box and Kyungsoo figures that’s good enough.

As expected, Chanyeol had been absolutely enamored by the kittens. Kyungsoo fears that his new home will become a primary kitten-sitting spot, much to Jongdae and Luna’s pleasure. At the moment, Luna’s helping Chanyeol load the truck while Baekhyun and Jongin clear out some things at the house to make room for Kyungsoo’s. Junmyeon’s at his own place, sleeping off his late night of deejaying at another bar with promises to help unpack later in the day. Sehun is undoubtedly parked on the couch playing video games and doing his part by staying out of the way.

“I think we’re ready to take over the first load,” Chanyeol announces, grinning at Hyuna as she presents him with her decorated box. “Does Hyuna-yah want to come with us?”

Hyuna nods so hard that her hair falls into her face. As the only calico of the bunch, her temperament is questionable at all times, but she seems to be having a good day as she bounds over to Jongdae and plops in his lap, completely ignoring the fact that he’d been mid-tape. “Mommy, can I go? Please, please?”

“If Daddy says it’s okay,” Jongdae answers absently.

Hyuna starts to run outside, but Chanyeol stops her long enough to get her into a jacket. It’s not that cold anymore, but it’s not yet summer either. Luna must give her permission, because the truck pulls away and Kyungsoo’s apartment is oddly quiet aside from the video game noises and Hyori’s occasional huffs of frustration.

Kyungsoo hadn’t intended to wait until the last minute to pack—it just seemed easier that way. He’d already spent the past two months since he’d put in his notice taking inventory of all of his crap to decide what to keep, what to sell, what to send back to his parents’ house, and what to simply toss. In the end, he hadn’t managed to sell anything, nor did his parents want to store anything of his, so he ended up with boxes of things to donate and bags of trash.

“Kitty is a hoarder,” Chanyeol had teased him when he arrived with the truck, and Kyungsoo had swatted him in the butt with his tail. That turned out to backfire when Chanyeol hugged him in response, Kyungsoo’s tail looping around him and initiating a hot make-out session right there on Kyungsoo’s front porch at 9am on a Saturday morning. It’s not like he’ll have to face any of his neighbors after today.

Dragging Hyori away from the video game is more difficult than unearthing Hyemi from under the bed, but only because they have to take the bed apart to toss it. It’s an incredibly old frame and mattress—what Baekhyun already has is infinitely more comfortable, at least the two times Kyungsoo had slept on it during his test run. For the most part he slept with Jongin and Chanyeol, sometimes Baekhyun with or without the others, and a couple nights he stayed over at Junmyeon’s.

Aside from a few unintentional awakenings, it had gone rather well. Better than expected, even. Like Kyungsoo had anticipated, they didn’t spend a lot of time together during the week due to his schedule, aside from the few times Chanyeol had woken him up while cleaning or laughing loudly at something or another. Since Jongin and Baekhyun are at work during the day, getting ready for their respective jobs while Kyungsoo was still winding down, Chanyeol was the only one who needed to keep in mind that someone was sleeping.

Sadly, that means Chanyeol will often be gone in the evenings when Kyungsoo is awake. Chanyeol’s hours vary depending on the time of year and the projects his organization has put together for the kids, but for the most part he covers the after-school and weekend shifts. Over the summer he will be chaperoning overnight trips and week-long camps, but Kyungsoo is trying not to think about that. He already knows he’ll be crawling into Jongin’s still-warm spot on the bed a few mornings a week just to be close to him, even if they’re both asleep.

The variety of their schedules keep things from getting too boring. The four of them are really only together on the weekends that Baekhyun isn’t out of town, and usually Sehun and/or Junmyeon are over too. If Chanyeol’s not working, Jongdae will bring the kittens over, and they’ll have a big slumber party watching Disney movies while Hyori plays video games with Sehun.

Kyungsoo’s favorite part, he quickly learns, is when Jongin wakes him up at night, petting him in whichever bed he’d fallen asleep in. Kyungsoo’s perfectly capable of using an alarm, but Jongin genuinely enjoys taking care of his hyungs and makes it a point to keep track of everyone’s schedules and make sure they get to where they need to go. Kyungsoo supposes it’s his paternal instincts shining, only with grown adults instead of puppies. Oddly enough, he’s not too interested in the kittens, as least in terms of wanting some of his own.

Kyungsoo accidentally comes out to his family during a sporadic lunch date when his brother is in town for a medical conference. The only reason Kyungsoo had prolonged his daytime sleep is for free food, though he can’t deny it’s nice to see Seungsoo again. He looks at picture after picture of his brother-in-law and their kittens, finally offering his own pictures of Jongdae’s family with a few incriminating association shots mixed in.

“What is it like, orgies all the time?” Seungsoo asks, his professional background eliminating all humor from his voice, like when he sounds like a walking textbook defining sexual intercourse while making a dirty joke.

“Do you know how hard it is to coordinate an orgy?” Kyungsoo shoots back, smacking his brother’s leg under the table with his tail. Seungsoo catches it with his own, absently curling them together to calm Kyungsoo down a way only an older brother can. “Jongin doesn’t even do that. We all have different dynamics with each other.”

“Hmm.” Seungsoo looks up at nothing, and Kyungsoo can already see him making a mental note to research polyamory later. In that way, they’re alike. “Whatever makes you happy, kit.”

“I am very happy, hyung,” Kyungsoo says, and means it. Most of all, he appreciates that Seungsoo doesn’t demand to meet the associates like Jongdae had done, nor do his parents do anymore than update their contact lists with everyone’s information in case of an emergency. Kyungsoo supposes it’s better than being reprimanded for living a deviant life, but then again he wasn’t that normal before.

His next heat is a month after he moves in, inconveniently starting on a Friday night when both Junmyeon and Chanyeol have to work. Baekhyun has a business trip already planned, but it was something he could leave for in the morning despite Kyungsoo’s protests that he would be fine; he had Jongin to take care of him until Junmyeon could get there.

It’s the first time Baekhyun has ever been inside him, and Kyungsoo’s not sure how he’s gone this long without experiencing it. Baekhyun’s like a rabbit, fucking him for four straight hours with only a small break, getting him off so many times that Kyungsoo doesn’t remember what it feels like to come without Baekhyun’s dick inside him. Baekhyun is also incredibly attentive and affectionate, that small emotional connection between them resurfacing the longer they move together.

Baekhyun doesn’t actually leave the bed when Junmyeon arrives, curled up to the side watching the dog hybrid knot Kyungsoo to satiate the heat—for now—and Kyungsoo isn’t even surprised to find them kissing the next time he opens his eyes. Baekhyun’s been curious about knots and Junmyeon doesn’t seem opposed to the idea, making dumb jokes about “sizzling bacon” until Baekhyun jumps him. As cute as it is, Kyungsoo wishes they wouldn’t have waited until he’s in heat and turned on by literally everything, including the way they explore each other’s bodies in addition to their mouths.

“Excuse me, cat in heat here,” Kyungsoo snaps at them, but they both just pull at Kyungsoo without breaking their kiss. He doesn’t end up in the middle this time, bent over on all fours with his tail in his face as Junmyeon fucks Baekhyun into him, escalating Baekhyun’s screams exponentially when Junmyeon knots him.

Chanyeol’s dead on his feet when he finally gets home, happy and worn out from chasing after his kids all night at a lock-in, but he sees the mess of limbs in Baekhyun’s bed and gets a second wind. Kyungsoo’s glad to ride after spending most of the night on his back or stomach, bouncing on Chanyeol’s cock while Baekhyun and Junmyeon snooze next to them, and his next orgasm knocks him out, leaving him enough time to give Chanyeol an apologetic kiss before passing out in a mess of limbs and sex.

When he wakes up, Chanyeol has him in the bath, where Kyungsoo springs right back into action and makes up for leaving Chanyeol hanging that morning. He’s not sure how clean they end up getting, but his fur is considerably fluffier when Jongin dries him and shoves some food and water into his mouth before the heat attacks him again.

It’s probably the closest thing they’ll get to an orgy, even if Junmyeon and Chanyeol don’t actually touch each other and the three of them are primarily focused on pleasing Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo doesn’t think they’ll all be together like this again, at least not sexually. When he’s not blinded by his lust, he misses Jongin, feels like the youngest dog hybrid should be here with them even though he doesn’t want to be, even though he’s fine watching TV with Sehun, keeping the volume loud enough to drown out Kyungsoo’s screeches.

Jongin notices that Kyungsoo’s clingier than usual during the breaks, his observant canine senses relieving the others from caring for him until he yearns for that kind of attention again. Kyungsoo doesn’t like to compare them, but Jongin was the first one he’d gotten close to and it kills him that he has something with the others that he doesn’t have with Jongin. No matter how many evenings they spend together, no matter how much they cuddle and sleep pressed against each other, Kyungsoo hasn’t yet found the level of intimacy that can compare to having sex with the other three, separately and together.

“I love you, you know that, right?” Jongin whispers while Kyungsoo is physically shaking from exhaustion, his entire weight leaning on Jongin because he can’t actually hold himself up. “I know you don’t feel those things, and this is a horrible time to say it, but I wanted to tell you how happy I am that you’re here and how much I love that you have gotten close to everyone and we can call take care of you when you need us.”

Kyungsoo blinks, and oh, there it is. Jongdae’s star analogy is all fucked up because both Jongin and Kyungsoo are the center points, connected to the other three while only a few of them are connected to each other, with a some stragglers out to the side. Jongin has Sehun, of course, and Chanyeol has a crush on a new counselor at his work, and Baekhyun gets infatuated with nearly everyone he meets.

Jongin’s dream may be to have a mansion full of lovers, or “associates” as Kyungsoo’s more comfortable with, but Kyungsoo’s good with four. They’re already joking about Junmyeon taking the fifth bedroom, which the eldest dismisses with a laugh despite leaving a toothbrush and various other items at The House for when he inevitably sleeps over, usually squeezing into Kyungsoo’s bed or taking Chanyeol’s spot when he’s away.

It’s messy and disorganized and perfect, and Kyungsoo wouldn’t have it any other way. It works for him, for them, and every day he’s amazed they haven’t fought yet, that Baekhyun grabbing his tail months ago is the angriest he’s been at any of them, because they communicate well and make the effort to pay attention to each other’s needs.

“I love you too,” he replies, meaning it in his own way, confident that Jongin knows exactly what way that is.

When his heat finally breaks and he’s had a hot, cleansing shower, Jongin has dragged out every blanket they own and moved the coffee table to make room for a wide expanse of cuddle space to accommodate all six of them. Naturally, Baekhyun is stretched across four people, the two dogs twisted together like they were from the same litter, Chanyeol and Sehun leaning against each other while they video-game battled over the others’ heads.

Kyungsoo, the lone cat, is curled up in Chanyeol’s lap, his arm stretched to hold Jongin and Junmyeon’s hands over Sehun whose thigh makes an oddly comfortable wrist rest. Baekhyun’s head is down by Kyungsoo’s knees, constantly turning from side to side like an eggbeater, and finally Kyungsoo whacks him with his tail to get him to stay still.

Instead, Baekhyun gently wraps the tail around his neck like a scarf, and Kyungsoo humors him until he can’t take it anymore and gets him right in the face. Baekhyun spits out fur for several minutes and they all laugh, the vibrations continued by Kyungsoo’s purrs when Jongin breaks their three-way hand-holding to pet him.

Then his phone goes off, and Kyungsoo squints at the text message with proper capital letters and punctuation. “My brother says they’re doing genetic testing to create an interspecies hybrid so that dogs and cats can procreate.”

“That would be weird,” Junmyeon comments. “What would they even be called?”

“Dats?” Chanyeol suggests. “Cogs?”

“They’d be ugly for sure,” Baekhyun adds, and Kyungsoo tail-smacks him again for good measure. “What? Dog and cat hybrids each have their own special characteristics. Combining them would just be odd.”

“I think the point is for a dog hybrid and a cat hybrid to have their own family,” Jongin says softly, and Kyungsoo cranes his neck to look over at him. The youngest dog looks pensive, offering Kyungsoo a sympathetic look that Kyungsoo doesn’t understand until Jongin speaks again. “Is your brother pushing for you to have kittens?”

“Kuppies?” Chanyeol goes on. “Pittens?”

Suddenly Kyungsoo realizes two things: one, he has the only womb in the association, and two, they haven’t discussed this before. They haven’t really needed to, since there wasn’t a possibility of anyone getting pregnant—until now. Junmyeon’s face drains of all color, and Kyungsoo’s positive his eyes are as ‘expressive’ as everyone keeps telling him they are.

“I don’t think I would like having babies around,” Jongin finally says, earning a collective sigh of relief from the group, including Sehun. “It’s a cute thought, but I’m good with just Jongdae-hyung’s kittens.”

Chanyeol’s pouting, but he nods his agreement. “I have my hands full with the kids at work. Having our own would be too much, I think.”

“It’s not something we have to decide right now,” Baekhyun declares. “Soo-yah’s incubator will be good for a while.”

Kyungsoo’s starting to think he may as well just flop his tail directly onto Baekhyun’s face. “Don’t call it that.”

“Um,” Junmyeon speaks up, eyes darting from Jongin to Kyungsoo and back to Jongin like a particularly grueling tennis match. “So would it be me, or..?”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo replies, because of course. Jongin doesn’t have sex, so the only way for them to take advantage of this advancement in medical technology is for Junmyeon to do the honors, at least until they add humans to the mix. “Maybe there will be an in-vitro fertilization option?” he tries.

“What? No,” Jongin says firmly. “I can do it. I’d insist on being the one to do it.”

“Really?” Kyungsoo asks. The concept of Jongin impregnating him is so surreal that all Kyungsoo can focus on is the emotional aspect of it—the two of them making a baby together. “But you don’t like—”

“I can still do it,” Jongin interrupts, laughing in a way that makes the tension in the air disperse. “Everything still works properly, you know. If it’s for procreation, I can do it.”

“I’d have to be in heat anyway,” Kyungsoo says blankly. “That’s the only time cats can get pregnant.”

“If we’re going to keep talking about this, I need a drink,” Baekhyun announces, not that he makes any effort to move, this time expecting a tail to the face. Kyungsoo swats him extra hard on his way to crawl across Sehun, pressing close to Jongin to savor this terrifyingly intimate moment between them.

“I’ll think about it,” Kyungsoo promises, just like when they’d invited him to move in, just like when they’d adopted him into their relationship to begin with. His mind is clouded by visions of kit-pups with his dark coloring and Jongin’s curls, long bushy tails and floppy ears climbing all over the five of them like Jongdae’s kittens do to everyone.

Keep me updated, he texts back, and his brother replies with a manual smile emoji.

*

“Tonight’s karaoke party will be crashed by a—” Junmyeon gasps dramatically “—original song.”

The only boos come from their reserved table, so Kyungsoo doesn’t bother being ruffled. He couldn’t care less if anyone gets upset that five minutes of their night is spent listening to something they’ve never heard before. He’s put in so many hours on this piece, working through the blocks in his brain to get his words out right, he and Chanyeol pouring over Chanyeol’s double keyboard and struggling to translate the music in Kyungsoo’s head.

“You may recognize these guys from weeks of epic rap battles and swoony ballads,” Junmyeon introduces them. “They’ve combined forces for what might be the best or worse collaboration you’ve ever heard. With their self-composed track entitled ‘Take a Chance’, give it up for Kyungsoo and Chanyeol!”

Kyungsoo waits for the cheers to die down (from the same assholes who had been booing, he notes), relaxes with a deep breath, and sings. Chanyeol’s on a stool behind him, his personal guitar hooked up to the sound system as well as they could manage, biding his time until Kyungsoo finishes the first line. Then Chanyeol starts strumming, maintaining the rhythm that Kyungsoo rides for the rest of the verse, joined by Chanyeol’s gorgeous harmony on the chorus.

It’s a simple song about—as the title indicates—taking chances. It’s not about love, or fame, or even following your heart; it’s full of symbols and imagery, so vague it would make Kyungsoo’s college lit professor tear her hair out. It encompasses everything Kyungsoo feels about the past year of his life, about his association and every member in it, individually and together.

At the bridge, Chanyeol launches into a low rap, accompanied by Kyungsoo’s soft wailing that somehow feels more emotional than the actual words they’d written. They could do vocal exercises together and Kyungsoo would be entranced, feeling closer to Chanyeol than when they’re in bed. Music is the only way he even remotely understands that generalized concept of true love, and creating it with Chanyeol has been such an intimate experience.

But now he’s sharing it with the others, Baekhyun and Jongin who are curled up together at the table, Junmyeon who’s isolated in his booth but smiling goofily at him. The gold chain he and Jongin had bought shines from Junmyeon’s neck, the dark garnet of their combined birthstone complementing the soft brown and white of his fur. It’s not that meaningful on the surface, but Junmyeon had sobbed when they presented it to him and wouldn’t let go of either one of them all night. Perhaps Jongin was right about a dog’s natural urge to be collared—either that, or Junmyeon’s feelings have grown beyond cuddles and knots.

The last chorus booms from both Kyungsoo and Chanyeol, the guitar chords an afterthought to the power of their combined voices. All conversations had ceased, pool games paused, not even ice clinking in glasses as the song rides its crescendo, testing the very top edge of Kyungsoo’s range. His skin tingles all over, his heart pounding and a pleasant warmth crashing over him like an emotional orgasm.

Chanyeol strums a few more stanzas, topping it all off with a repeat of his rap verse, and Kyungsoo manages a few soft “oohs” before they taper off into nothing. The next thing he hears is deafening applause, Junmyeon needlessly calling for more, and he’s swaying on his feet from the force of his feelings right now.

Luckily, Chanyeol catches him. Kyungsoo’s eyes focus as he’s guided back to the table, where Jongin’s bright grin and Baekhyun’s impressed face greet them, along with Jongdae’s corny two thumbs up and excited bouncing from Lu Han halfway in Minseok’s lap. Across the table, Chanyeol’s work crush Heize is eyeing him like she’s contemplating how she can get those fingers to strum her, and Kyungsoo purposely takes the empty seat next to Jongin to push Chanyeol closer to her.

“You all have the weirdest relationship I’ve ever seen,” Yixing comments from the next chair, observing them with his soft eyes over the straw of his soda. “How do you balance so many people?”

“It works for us,” Jongin answers, while Baekhyun takes Yixing’s question literally and pulls Kyungsoo onto one thigh with Jongin already settled on the other one.

“Wanna find out?” Baekhyun asks, leaning between the two hybrids to waggle his eyebrows at Yixing.

Rolling his eyes, Kyungsoo slips out of the crossfire and glances over to where Junmyeon is setting up the next singer. He looks busy, so he settles for bothering Lu Han instead, plopping right into the other cat’s lap like he belongs there.

“Hey!” Lu Han squeals, hugging Kyungsoo in greeting. “To what do I owe the honor?”

“My brother contacted me today,” Kyungsoo says casually. “They’re at the testing stage of the interspecies procreation project, and I was wondering if you and Minseok-hyung would be interested in being subjects.”

Few things actually render Lu Han speechless, but after a few seconds he’s still staring at Kyungsoo in disbelief, his face so void of his usual bubbly expression that his husband looks over in concern.

“Us?” Lu Han finally says, blindly reaching for Minseok’s hand. “Have babies?”

Kyungsoo shrugs. “If you want to. You’re the first interspecies couple I thought of.”

“I never thought…” Lu Han turns to Minseok, his eyes big and shiny. “Kittens.”

That clues Minseok into the topic of conversations. “Kittens? Are you two wanting to be parents or something?”

“Not us!” Kyungsoo exclaims, and Lu Han bursts out laughing, abandoning his mild shock to nearly knock them both out of the chair. “My brother is a doctor, and he’s been working on a project that will allow cat and dog hybrids to reproduce. I’m positive he only got involved because I’m dating two dog hybrids, because that is how our family shows affection, but when he mentioned needing subjects, you two were the first ones I thought of.”

“I…” Minseok shares a look with Lu Han that feels way too intimate to witness in public. “What do you think, maomi?”

“Me?” Lu Han asks, his tail flicking nervously in a way Kyungsoo has never seen from the other cat. “You’re the one who’d be carrying them!”

Minseok shrugs. “It would be fun, maybe. Is it safe?”

“That’s what the testing is for,” Kyungsoo says sheepishly. “Although I don’t think my brother would volunteer me for something that would hurt me or any potential spawn, even in the name of science.”

“We’ll talk about it and get back to you,” Minseok says, his ears folding in gratitude. Lu Han nods his agreement. “Thank you for considering us.”

Kyungsoo smiles. “For what it’s worth, I think you’d be great parents. Jongin and I are nowhere near ready for that.”

“You know,” Lu Han says conspiratorially, leaning up to speak into Kyungsoo’s ear. He pets him at the same time, making Kyungsoo purr happily even before he hears Lu Han’s undoubtedly exciting gossip. “When Nini first saw you here, his entire body perked up like he’d just found something ephemeral. His tail didn’t stop wagging for days.”

“Our pup has a knack for people,” Minseok adds, glancing fondly over to where Jongin’s obliviously in the middle of Baekhyun and Yixing’s eye-fucking. “I suppose that’s why he loves so many of them. He finds all the good ones and doesn’t want to let go.”

“I’m glad he found me,” Kyungsoo says, his tail automatically curling with Lu Han’s, and as if on cue, Jongin looks up to meet his eyes, his smile brighter than any of the neon lights in this bar.

*

“Cannonbomb!” Hyori shrieks, wrapping her tail around her small body before crashing into the water and making enough waves for someone three times her size.

“That’s my girl!” Luna cheers, fist-pumping while the unfortunate sunbathers at the side of the pool wipe droplets off of their belongings.

“I’m so sorry,” Jongdae says to Chanyeol and Baekhyun, helpfully handing them another towel. “You invited us over to swim and they’re being terrors.”

“Unni is being a terror,” Hyuna corrects as she doggy-paddles around the shallow end, Junmyeon trailing closely behind with both hands ready to catch her if she goes under.

Her sister, who has just broken the surface, blows her a raspberry and makes a spectacular kick as she dives underwater.

“For a kitten, your oldest sure is a fish,” is all Chanyeol says, and Jongdae looks proud.

It’s a beautiful day for a pool party, or at least lounging around the backyard in the sunlight. Kyungsoo couldn’t be happier as he naps in his chair, far away from the pool and any lingering waves, the warm sun beaming down on his fur. He smells Jongin before he sees him, opening his eyes to the drenched dog who offers him a smirk in warning before shaking himself off all over Kyungsoo.

“Gross,” Kyungsoo mutters, and Jongin giggles as he plops down next to him. Despite the dampness, Kyungsoo curls up against him as they watch their friends frolic around the pool. Some of Luna’s coworkers are here too, enjoying the sun and swimming with drinks and music. Whenever he can tear himself away from teaching Jongdae’s middle kitten how to swim, Junmyeon’s going to fire up the grill.

“Jongin-oppa?” a tiny voice calls from below, and Kyungsoo turns to see the miniature female version of his best friend smiling up at Jongin. She’d already been swimming, her fur frizzy and unstyled, but she couldn’t care less as she stands properly with her tail curled around her legs.

“Yes, pretty kitten?” Jongin replies, and Hyemi beams even more.

“Uncle Kyungsoo said you used to dance,” Hyemi says, and Kyungsoo feels a flinch of discomfort. “Will you teach me?”

“You want me teach you to dance?” Jongin repeats, blinking at both Kyungsoo and Hyemi. “Really?”

Hyemi nods firmly. “Uncle Kyungsoo was telling Mommy that you really liked to dance, but you can’t do it anymore. Maybe you would like teaching me?”

For one brief second, Kyungsoo thinks Jongin is actually going to cry. His ears hitch up, his tail pausing and his eyes shiny, but all he does is grin and nod. “Of course I will.”

“Yay!” Hyemi squeals, hopping right up into Jongin’s lap for pets, which he happily gives. “I’ll be a good student, Jongin-oppa, I promise.”

“It’s okay if you’re not,” Jongin tells her. “I was a terrible student, but my dance teacher didn’t give up on me, and I’m grateful for it.”

Kyungsoo watches this exchange fondly, pressing a kiss to Jongin’s face before retreating to the house. With everyone outside, it’s eerily quiet, no chatting or video game noises to distract Kyungsoo from his thoughts. Even though he knows all of their guests, even Luna’s friends, he’s more comfortable sitting inside by himself. His quota for social interaction has been exceeded, it seems.

From his window, he can see everything—Hyori sneaking up on Jongdae pretending to be a shark, Luna and her friends cackling about it, Hyuna accidentally kicking Junmyeon in the face as he guides her around, Chanyeol and Baekhyun about five minutes away from disappearing into the shed or somewhere moderately more private, Sehun talking animatedly with Lu Han and Minseok who’s cradling the beginning of a baby bump, and seven people rushing to stop Hyemi from jumping into the deep end to play with her sisters.

Kyungsoo is very aware of the one who’s missing, expecting the curly-haired spaniel to linger in his doorway before he actually does. “Is it okay if I come in?”

He has dried off, donning a robe over his swim trunks that feels soft against Kyungsoo’s back when Jongin wraps his arms around him from behind. He doesn’t say anything, not that he needs to, always giving Kyungsoo his space while appreciating his presence no matter what.

“Thank you,” Jongin finally says, pressing a light kiss to Kyungsoo’s ear. “That was very thoughtful of you to send Hyemi to me for dance lessons.”

“Chanyeol and I got to play our song together,” Kyungsoo explains. “It’s only fair that you should have a happy ending too.”

“This is my happy ending,” Jongin tells him, squeezing him tight, and Kyungsoo purrs in agreement.