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The President is a Rat!

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Yuki had smoked a few times, but he still couldn't hold the lighter without flinching or burning his fingertips. Manabe had to hold the pipe bowl for Yuki, tipping the lighter over so the flame touched the tightly packed weed. He breathed in slowly, waiting for Manabe to turn the lighter off and release the choke. Manabe nodded, his finger releasing the choke and Yuki sucking in a quick, sharp breath. His throat burned as the smoke poured into his lungs. He tried as hard as he could to keep it in his lungs but he coughed violently after a few seconds.

“Alright, Yun-Yun!" Manabe laughed, slapping Yuki's back. It made Yuki cough again. "Who wants to go next?"

“Kimi!" Kimi said with a grin.

She took the pipe in her delicate hands, bringing it to her glossy lips. She could use it on her own, not flinching as the flame came close to her fingers. Yuki was almost in awe of how dainty she appeared as she held the pipe. He was impressed with how she managed not to cough as she pulled the smoke into her lungs or how she managed not to cringe at the vile taste. Smoke looked elegant pouring from her lips.

“It's your turn, Nao," Kimi chirped.

She wrapped her arm around his neck, resting the pipe by his mouth. Naohito almost looked nervous, staring at the slightly burnt weed in the bowl.

"I'm not gonna use it after you used it!" he complained, writhing against Kimi's arm. "Your lipstick made it sticky!"

"Oh, don't be a baby."

"I'm not even sure how to use it," Naohito mumbled. The tips of his ears were tinted pink as he looked away from the group.

“I'll help you," Kimi cooed, giving him a flirty look that made Naohito squirm.

Despite his discomfort, she pressed the end of the pipe against his lips again, her thin fingers hooked under the bowl. Her voice was soft as she instructed him. Naohito flinched when she lit the lighter and cringed at the taste, but did marginally better than Yuki did his first time and actually managed to hold the smoke in his lungs for a moment.

“Machi! Join the group,” Kakeru called.

Machi, who was stood my the window with her own pipe, gave him a quick look before shaking her head.

“C’mon! At least share your stock,” Kakeru whined. “We‘ve been using all of my shit.”

“I offered to pay you back–” Yuki started, but was cut off by a Kakeru with a stern expression on his face.

“No, Yun-Yun. You’re a guest. We spoil our guests here at the Manabe house.”

Yuki stared at him for a second, furrowing his brow ever so slightly. He narrowed his lavender eyes as he looked at Kakeru. “Shut the fuck up.”

Kakeru laughed, one hand pressed on his knee as his torso folded over. He couldn’t be high yet, it took a lot more to get him high than just one hit. Yuki, on the other hand, was already starting to feel a little bit lighter, like his brain was being replaced with cotton.

They passed the bowl around the four of them, Naohito stopping after fewer hits than the rest of them. He had had to run to the kitchen at one point, convinced he was going to throw up, though it had only been spit. Now, he fell quiet, hyper focused on the television in front of them. It was playing some early 2000s movie, shitty CGI and all.

Machi joined them eventually, her eyes half lidded as she fell onto the couch. Her lips fell open ever so slightly as she stared at the T.V., her expression somehow even more blank than usual.

Yuki was pressed into Kakeru’s side. Kimi was curled into Kakeru’s other side, forming a three person mass of tangled limbs. They were more talkative, spouting what would normally be complete nonsense, but made perfect sense to Yuki then.

“I’m starving,” Kakeru declared after a few minutes. He untangled himself from the two of them, Kimi slipping off of the couch as she made no effort to fix her position. “Who wants to order something?”

Kimi nodded enthusiastically, the rest of the group hummed lazily. Kakeru threw the takeout menu at them, the paper bouncing off of Yuki’s head. It took him a second to react, but he complained in response.

“Order what you want, I’m getting the bong.” Kakeru stalked off into his room.

“Motherfucker, aren’t you high enough?” Kimi called after him, hauling herself up to peek over the couch.

Kakeru’s arm stretched out into the hallway, flipping Kimi off. She huffed, crossing her arms and twisting back around to sit on the couch. Yuki stretched out into her lap, laying like a cat across her legs.

He was trying to read the menu. Trying. He held the paper above his head, his eyes tracing over the letters at the speed of a snail. His eyes kept getting pulled to the pictures of the meals, mindlessly studying the details, before he would have to rip them away to focus on the words.

“I fucking,” Yuki started, wrinkling his nose, “hate reading.”

“I used to be illiterate,” Kimi hummed. She had her fingers tangled in Yuki’s gray hair.

“We all were.” Machi turned to look at Kimi.

Yuki absentmindedly reached out to her, his hand swatting at the air as his depth perception failed him.

“How?” Kimi’s hand left Yuki’s head so she could cross her arms across her chest.

“Babies can’t read, dumbass,” Machi said dryly.

“No fucking way. That’s awesome.”

Yuki snorted, a grin breaking out across his face. The slight wrinkling of his eyes made them burn.

Kimi bent over him, gazing into his eyes. The whites of her eyes were bloodshot to the point where it was impressive. He reached up toward her eye, which promptly fluttered shut. Still, he pressed his fingertip against her eyelid, absentmindedly moving the skin up and down.

“The fuck are you doing?” Kakeru asked. He had a bong in hand. The base of it was partially filled with murky water, a dark brown ring just above it.

“I have no fucking idea,” Yuki giggled, his hand falling to rest on his forehead.

“Oh my God, dude, you’re so gone. You skipping out on another hit, then?”

“No way.”

“Clean your fucking bong, dickwipe,” Kimi scolded.

Kakeru ignored her, jumping over the couch with one hand on the back. The ice resting on the pinch clattered and the bong water sloshed with the movement. Kimi cringed as it touched the dirty ring.

“Hey, Nao,” Kakeru said. “You want another hit? Whatcha thinking ‘bout?”

Nao turned his head, blinking slowly as he tried to register what was said to him. “Sorry, what?”

“I asked what–”

“I am within the movie.”

“That’s insane, Chibi-chan. You want to try the bong?”

Nao shook his head. “I fear if I take another hit the movie will not let me out.”

“Crazy shit, man.”

Kakeru pulled his grinder out of his hoodie pocket. The smell of freshly ground weed hit Yuki’s nose as soon as he opened it and started packing it into the bowl.

Yuki pressed his mouth to the mouthpiece, Kakeru held the lighter to the bowl. Yuki breathed in gently. The water bubbled as he sucked, smoke curling into the chamber. He looked to Kakeru, lavender eyes meeting coffee. Kakeru nodded and pulled out the choke. Yuki sucked in a sharp breath, large amounts of cooled smoke traveling into his lungs. He couldn’t get it all, but Kakeru quickly leaned over to take in the rest of the smoke.

After a moment, Yuki let the smoke leave his lungs, breathing out light gray clouds in a less than elegant way. He coughed. It certainly burned less, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt.

Kakeru raised an eyebrow, as if to ask if he wanted another hit. Yuki nodded, repeating his last actions, this time taking in more smoke.

He sat back and watched Kimi set up her own hits, her fingers ever so graceful as they pulled out the choke. For such a small person, she could really hold her smoke. She blew it out through perfectly o-shaped lips.

Yuki’s brain felt like it was in space, the world around him spinning like a carousel. His depth perception deteriorated even further, everything taking on the graphics of an old computer game. Sounds around him were sharper, louder in his ears than they were earlier.

With half lidded eyes, he stared at nothing in particular, his mind focusing on the strange feeling instead. It was almost as if his consciousness was tumbling from his body, then quickly snapping back in again. Oddly enough, he was perfectly relaxed. He allowed himself to slip further into the feeling, the only movements in his body being his legs twitching ever so often. It was peaceful, so very peaceful, he could almost–

Everything in the room halted as colored smoke exploded out from where Yuki sat.

“Oh, shit,” Yuki mumbled.

Kakeru broke out into boisterous laughter, the smoke in his lungs escaping so quickly it made him hack. Kimi squealed, squeezing her eyes shut as she jumped off of the couch. Naohito turned, furrowing his brow in confusion. Machi didn’t react, she only stared with the same blank expression she had had the entire time.

Yuki sat in the pile of his clothes, wanting nothing more than to disappear. He curled his tail over his feet, his hands covering his face in shame. He fucked up.

“When did that get here?” Naohito asked, squinting at Yuki.

“So, I didn’t know that would trigger this,” Yuki said.

“Oh my God! This can’t be real!” Kakeru laughed, slapping a hand onto his forehead and tilting his head back.

“Kakeru, was your shit laced? Are you sure I didn’t smoke DMT or some shit?” Kimi asked, her eyes wide as she stared at rat Yuki. “Did... did Yuki just turn into a rat?”

“No, he definitely turned into a rat,” Machi nodded.

Kakeru scooped Yuki up so he was eye level. He had the stupidest grin on his face, his slightly bloodshot eyes glittering with pure delight. Yuki’s face burned under his fur.

“Oh my God, Yuki,” Kakeru mused. “You never told me what you wanted to order.”

“Gyoza...” Yuki said quietly.

“Yuki just turned into a literal rat and that’s what you’re worried about?” Kimi put her hands on her hips.

“Hey! You never know! He might be self conscious about his little rat soul!”

“You’re such an asshole,” Kimi chided.

Kakeru gasped exaggeratedly, pulling Yuki up to his cheek. “How dare you! I love him and his rat form.”

“Could you please put me down?” Yuki asked.

“Can you even eat gyoza like this? What about, like, carrots?”

“That’s a rabbit, dumbfuck!” Kimi said.

“I turn back, you know. God, please just put me down,” Yuki sighed.

He set Yuki down on the back of the couch. He felt exposed up there, sitting where they could all see him. Their eyes were on him, burning holes through his fur. He wanted to run away.

“Oh, fuck, that’s Yuki?” Naohito said as it finally clicked in his head.

“You’re a little slow, Chibi-chan,” Kakeru laughed.

“God didn’t intend for me to be fast.”

Yuki was glad they were all high at least. It would soften the blow a bit.

“So, I’m kind of cursed,” Yuki said after a moment of awed silence.

“No shit,” Machi hummed.

“What’s the trigger?” Kimi asked, fully curious now.

“Normally it’s hugging someone of the opposite sex or feeling weak.” Yuki shrugged. “I guess getting too high’s a trigger too.”

“Fucking idiot.” Kakeru shook his head. “Anyway, what are the rest of your orders?”

“Kakeru! Stop getting distracted!” Kimi hissed.

“We can focus on two things at once, motherfucker! It’s called multitasking, baby, and I do it all the time!”

“You’re a bitch and I hate you. Also, yakitori sounds good.”

“Ikayaki sounds pretty good,” Naohito chimed in.

“Gyoza for me, too,” Machi added, not even turning to look at him.

Kakeru stalked off, presumably to order their food. Kimi turned her attention back to Yuki, resting her chin on the back of the couch and gazing at him with bright eyes.

“So, is it just you?” she asked gently.

Yuki shook his head. “There are twelve others, but–”

“Twelve!? That means there could be more of you animal people in this room!”

“There are more than twelve people in Japan, Kimi,” Machi stated bluntly.

“There are at least a hundred, but you never know!”

“Sometimes, you make me want to scream.”

“Please don’t tell anyone about this,” Yuki murmured.

Kimi nodded, her expression dead serious. Yuki didn’t know if she had the willpower to keep it a secret, but he was praying she did.

They seemed to have settled now. Kakeru returned from the kitchen and plopped Yuki onto his lap, stroking his back as if he were a pet. Yuki would be lying if he said he didn’t like it. Kimi stretched out beside them, chattering on about nonsense. Maybe it was the weed, but they seemed to accept the fact that Yuki could turn into a rat pretty quickly.

Yuki wasn't sure when he would turn back. It was normally not that long, but considering just how stoned he was, it could take a while. At this point, he didn’t care anymore. He was comfortable to sit on Kakeru’s lap and watch the world around him fall away and come back like ocean waves.

There was a knock at the door. How long had it been? Machi stood up, not sober but able to pull it off, and walked to the door.

The delivery man stood behind it in all of his brown haired, brace face glory. The spray of freckles across his nose and nervous look in his eye made him look innocent. This was definitely one of his first deliveries and that was exactly why it was the worst time for a cloud of colored smoke to burst into the air and for a naked Yuki to appear in Kakeru’s lap.