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A Mystic Messenger fanfic by 6am; source HERE. Please follow the link and drop some kudos if you like it!

Sorry I'm so late! Some of this stuff just kinda got away from me because life... ^^; I should have the adorable conclusion posted tomorrow!

Dumpster Diving

by 6am

Chapter 3
Yoosung, unsurprisingly, forgets to let Saeran or anyone else know when he's close to the bunker. He's apologizing to the intercom for 
still not knowing any Arabic and to please let him in because oh god it's cold and it's raining again Saeran or MC someone please just open the door-

"I told you to let me know before you get here so you won't have to stand in the rain." Saeran chides, barely casting a glance at the door to make sure it locks correctly after the override. "Dummy." The sound of a bell jingling rapidly comes from the kitchen when Stinky realizes that Saeran is not longer sitting on the counter while he does his business in the litterbox.

Yoosung just laughs and steps out of his soggy shoes. "Sorry, I'm so used to Saeyoung never letting anyone in I just wait at the door anyway."

Stinky bumps his head against Saeran's ankle, completely ignoring Yoosung when he squats down to greet the kitten. "Ooh, you just looove your Saeran, huh? You're such a sweet kitty, aren't you?" He makes kissy noises and taps on the floor. “C'mere, big guy, we gotta check you out!”

The cat is more focused on trying to get Saeran's attention than Yoosung's efforts to call him over, and Saeran leans down with a sigh to pick him up and hand him over. “He doesn't listen to anyone if he sees me in the room, it's annoying.”

“That's so cute! Well, cats usually don't listen very well, but I don't know how you can say he doesn't like you.” Yoosung brings Stinky up higher on his chest so he can kiss the top of his tiny head. “And he doesn't smell bad anymore! How can you complain when you have a new friend?”

“I'll complain less when my “friend” isn't up my ass every two seconds.” Saeran follows as Yoosung takes Stinky to the little table in the space between the living room and the kitchen, opting to stay standing while he watches. “And when he isn’t getting snot everywhere.”

Stinky doesn’t seem to mind Yoosung’s thumbs trying to sweep away the bits of snot that have collected in the short fur beneath his nose. His brow furrows when he moves up to the little bits of crust that have gathered around his eyes, shushing the kitten quietly when he meows and wriggles in protest. Saeran crosses his arms tightly across his stomach. "Is he okay?" He asks, trying not to sound too worried but his hand is twisting his shirt tightly in his fist.

Stinky starts to groom himself in Yoosung's lap when he's put down, ignoring the fingers that carefully pushing against his sides. "He's still pretty skinny, and it doesn’t sound like his breathing is much better either." He murmurs, sounding much less chipper than earlier.  He stops his probing and looks up at Saeran. "There shouldn’t be this much gunk around his nose and eyes either, it wasn’t this bad when I last saw him. He's still eating regularly and drinking, right?"

"Every day, and MC gives him food from her plate a lot too." His side burns a little when he digs his fingers in hard. "Is that making him more sick?"

"I don't think so, but he should definitely be gaining at least a little more weight if he's been eating every day. I was hoping that his nose would clear up if he was just out of the trash for a few days, but it doesn't look like he's getting much better, and he shouldn't be sneezing this much. If I had to guess I would say he's got a respiratory infection." Yoosung scoops Stinky up from his lap, breaking into a small smile when Saeran immediately lifts his arms to take the kitten. "We'll get him in for his check up here soon, and then he can get the medicine he needs to get better."

Saeran cups his hand under Stinky’s bottom when he hauls himself halfway up onto his shoulder, nuzzling against his neck. A respiratory infection... he wonders if he's had one of these before, not like he would've had a name for it when he was younger and his mother refused to take him to the doctor for any sickness. "Aren't kittens supposed to want to play all the time? He barely even plays with Saeyoung now when he tries and he sleeps half the time." He holds Stinky a little tighter when Yoosung looks serious again, hyper-aware of just how prominent his tiny hip bones are when he gently scratches his nails through the soft fur.

"Kittens do sleep a lot, but he should be a little bit more active especially if Saeyoung is the one trying to get him up. If he is really sick it would make sense that he’s not very active, though." He sighs, lifting his hand to pet behind Stinky's ears. "Maybe he just tires him out too quickly? I know he can get a little... wild."

A little. Saeran almost laughs. "That's an understatement, I think he almost rolled on top of him the second day we had him." Yoosung laughs, and one of his knuckles brushes against Saeran’s neck. It startles him a little, but if Yoosung notices the way he stiffens just a bit at the touch he doesn’t say anything. It’s nice, in a weird way. Yoosung’s hands are warm and soft, the gentle touch sends a weirdly pleasant little shiver throughout Saeran. A different kind of tickle from Stinky’s fur brushing up against him, he feels weird when he hopes that it’ll happen again.

"You'll all have to keep an eye on him, make sure he eats and drinks enough. Try and keep his nose and eyes clear from the gunk if you can, just use a warm washcloth." He gives Stinky one last scratch on the head. “I know a respiratory infection sounds kind of scary, but they're pretty common in kittens, and for how long he was probably in the trash it's not surprising. You three are taking good care of him, especially you, Saeran! Aren't you a lucky kitty, Stinky?”

“I don't think lucky is the right word.” Saeran mumbles. “Are you sure you can't just sneak him into your dorm? I feel like you could take better care of him if he's sick.”

Stinky snuffles at Saeran's finger before he starts to nibble on it, wheezily purring up a storm much to Yoosung's delight. “He's too happy here, I can't take him from you.” He smiles fondly at both of them. “Just keep me updated, okay? You can call or text me pretty much whenever, I'll keep my phone on loud so I hear it.”


The clinic is much less sterile looking and bland than the hospital had been, with much brighter colors and fun looking posters advertising immunizations and one even explaining how to brush your dog’s teeth. A man is sitting on the other side of the room with a delightfully pudgy puppy sitting at his feet, he talks quietly with his child who looks too excited to be sitting in this office at barely seven in the morning. Despite the cheery atmosphere, Saeran can't stop the anxious bounce of his leg while he sits in the waiting room with his brother and MC.

"You're gonna shoot him through the roof if you keep kicking your leg like that, dude." Saeyoung jokes, a strange mix of amusement and concern on his face as he watches Stinky's head bounce where it's resting on Saeran's thigh. "He won't let me hold him but he lets you shake him around? You're whipped, Stinky."

"Shut up." Saeran mutters, but tries to tone down the pace his foot is tapping at for the kitten's sake. Stinky doesn't seem to mind either way as long as Saeran remembers to pet him a little. “He'd let you hold him if you didn't harass him.”

“But he doesn't even let me hold him if you're home.” MC leans forward so she can address Saeran directly across Saeyoung, hiding a massive yawn behind her hand before she adds, “He's super whipped.”

It’s too early to be dealing with their antics, Saeran looks down at the kitten in his lap and feels a bit jealous to find that he’s dozing off. It’s too early for this much to be happening, but Saeran would rather be awake a few hours before his usual wake up time than wait for a later appointment. As far as Saeran can tell, it doesn’t seem like Stinky has gotten worse, but right now he’s wishing that maybe he’d brought along a washcloth when he spots more of the gunk collecting around his eyes and nose. He sacrifices the edge of his jacket sleeve instead to do some clean up.

The soft squeak of sneakers on the tiled floor follows the soft chunk of a door being closed somewhere. Yoosung appears from the corner of the waiting room, a clipboard tucked under his arm. “Mr. Choi?” He almost laughs when Saeran and Saeyoung both look up at the same time, and he waves them back.

Stinky makes a little brrp sound when he’s picked up from his spot on Saeran’s lap, but doesn’t protest any further and makes himself comfortable during the short walk into one of the small examination rooms.  “You sound so formal.” Saeyoung teases as they walk, and Yoosung throws a look over his shoulder.

“I have to be! This is a professional place, I can’t slip up just because my friends are here.” Yoosung opens one of the doors and holds it open as they all shuffle inside. “I’ll be back in a minute with the doctor, Stinky can stay with you Saeran if he doesn’t want to stay on the exam table.” He offers a bright smile before the steps back out and closes the door. Saeran picks Stinky up and puts him on the hard surface, scratching at the scruff of his neck when he gives a whiny little sound at the loss of warmth. He ends up curling around Saeran’s shoulder where it rests against the side of the examination table, lazily grooming one of his paws.

MC and Saeyoung are making their own conversation, snickering quietly to themselves and upping the ante on their bet of who could eat the most of the little dog treats sitting in a container on the counter. The chair in this room isn’t very comfortable, but Saeran keeps one of his feet bouncing to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep. He definitely envies Stinky right now - sick or not - where he’s dozing against him.

There’s a soft rhythmic knock on the door not too much later, and the woman Yoosung follows into the room is... different than what Saeran had expected from what a veterinarian would look like. She's cheerful even at the early hour, a personality to match the bright blue streaks in her pink, wildly curly hair that's pulled back into a ponytail. Her scrubs are just as loud, covered in little unicorns and rainbows that dance around the fabric.

"Hello, hello ," She sings, all smiles. "Sorry about the size of the room, if I knew we would have a crowd I would've rented out a spot." Her attitude unsurprisingly gets laughs out of MC and Saeyoung, but Saeran still isn't exactly sure how to deal with people who are as vibrant as his brother when they aren't Saeyoung. Yoosung seems to notice the look on his face though, and gives him a reassuring grin from his spot behind the woman. She leans in to run her gloved hand over Stinky’s back and waits for Saeran to lean away from the table before she scoots the kitten closer to her. “So this is the famous Stinky, huh?” She asks. “I've heard so much about you, mister.”

Stinky lets out a tiny meow in reply and uncurls himself under her gentle petting.

The doctor does most of what Yoosung has already done, using her stethoscope to listen closely to his breathing, prodding along his thin body and making faces while she spits medical jargon quietly to Yoosung. “I think you were spot-on about the respiratory infection, oh, can you hold him while I take his temperature? He's not going to like it very much.” Saeran does as he's told, and he would almost be laughing at the startled sound that comes from Stinky when the doctor inserts the thermometer if he wasn't so caught up in worrying over his health. The diagnosis sounds much more frightening when it isn't coming from Yoosung talking to him softly and with a kind smile.

Yoosung jots down the temperature reading when the doctor announces it with a frown, and Saeran finds himself stroking the kitten nervously. “He definitely has a fever, has he been eating properly? I don't know if he's just the runt of the litter, but he's a little smaller than I would like for the age we're guessing.”

“He has the wet food Yoosung brought us every day, and he drinks almost a full bowl of water too.” MC speaks up, looking just as concerned as Saeran feels. “And he gets treats too, but I try not to give him too much.”

“If anything he should be putting on more weight. I can hear how congested he is, and I think he might be a little dehydrated too.” Stinky sneezes all over Saeran's hand, but he doesn't care. The vet shifts her weight to her other foot, pursing her lips at the kitten curled up against his stomach. “He shouldn't be sneezing this much either, I think it would be best if we kept him overnight - maybe even for a few days. I want to keep an eye on him to make sure this is the worst of it before I let him come home.”

Saeran's heart sinks low in his stomach and he tries to hide the heartbreak he knows is obvious on his face by looking down. He should've known that he was nowhere near qualified to look after something. His hold on Stinky loosens, hands hovering over his little body.

“Is there no way we can keep him at home and take care of him? None of us have ever had a cat before... but can't we just give him medication at home?” Saeyoung asks, his shoulders drooping along with his cheerful attitude.

Yoosung chews on his lower lip. “As much as I want Stinky to stay with all of you, it would be easier for him to stay here to make sure nothing gets worse. We can give him more intensive care easily here.”

“Assistant Kim is right, we'll take good care of him.” The doctor reaches back to tighten the ponytail around her wild mane of hair. “He's very good to all of our overnight patients, and you're good friends with him, right? He'll keep you updated, but I think this is our best bet right now. It's not the most dangerous case we've ever had, but I don't want to lie to any of you and say that it's not serious.”

She reaches out for Stinky, and Saeran reluctantly hands him over. He can’t help his worry that maybe she’ll drop him even though she cradles him securely to her chest. “You're gonna be just fine, aren't you honey? We'll get you back to your family soon. Finish up with them, will you Assistant Kim? I'll go get him set up in the kennels.” Yoosung straightens up and nods before opening the door for her. Stinky meows loudly, scrambling to look at his owner over her shoulder while he wails as she carries him out of the room. Saeran barely holds back the urge to curl up in the small chair when he can still hear the cries behind the closed door.

Yoosung looks like he might start crying as well when he closes the door, and he approaches Saeran slowly. “I-I'm so sorry, Saeran - Saeyoung and MC too. I can't believe I didn't even think to mention that we might need to keep him overnight,” He pushes his bangs away from his face nervously. “But he's going to be okay! I'm going to put him first, and I'm going to be the best vet for him! I promise.”

“...I know you will.” Saeran admits softly and doesn't look up from his lap.

Saeyoung puts a hand over Saeran's knee and squeezes it. “You know more than we do, Yoosung. Don't worry about it, okay? The doc said he'd be home soon.”

“Yeah,” MC adds, somehow matching Saeyoung's sudden burst of cheer. “I'm so glad that we have you to take care of him, send us lots of pictures and let us know how he's doing.”

“I will! He's gonna be my number one patient, you can all count on me.”


The drive home is too quiet, and Saeran already misses the sound of Stinky's bell chiming and the insistent meowing that usually greets him when he gets home. He feels even more pathetic, it hasn't even been an hour since Stinky's been dropped off and he's already moping? At least Saeyoung and MC seem to be upset as well.

“It's already lonely here.” She sighs as she takes off her shoes, twirling her long hair around her finger anxiously. She turns to Saeran, her voice soft. “... are you okay, Saeran?”

He feels like he should be, when did he ever think he would be this worked up over a kitten? Much less one he pulled out of the trash. But the uneasy feeling in his stomach and the slight burn in his nose won't leave no matter how hard he tries. The back of his neck feels strangely naked without a little ball of fur resting against it. He shoves his hands into his pockets  with a sharp shrug and kicks off his boots, not trusting his voice to come out normally to answer her.

MC takes the sleeve of his jacket between her fingers, giving it a slight tug to get his attention. “Saeran, hey,” She says softly, and he peeks at her through his bangs. “It's not your fault, you know that right? I know it's scary, especially since he's so little, but you didn't do anything wrong.” She gives him a more sincere smile this time, cautiously moving her hand to actually touch his arm. “Try not to worry about him too much, okay? He'll be fine, you've done so much for him already, and when he comes back he'll be super happy to see you.”

Hope is dangerous, Saeran knows this too well. He doesn't want to hope and wish for this tiny kitten to be fine when two doctors are saying he's not doing too hot. But he wants to trust her, to trust Yoosung to fix what's wrong.

Saeyoung hums as he taps in the security code, not even bothering to look at it while his fingers dance over the numberpad. “Yeah! We're gonna get your baby back soon, and he'll be good as mew.”

MC cackles as Saeran cuffs him on the back of the head and Saeyoung lets out a nasal “meowch!” She flails an arm between the brothers even though Saeran has already bobbed out of the reach of Saeyoung’s playful swat back. “C’mon, c’mon, it’s too early for a deathmatch. Do either of you want coffee?”

“I’m going back to sleep.” Saeran shakes his head and turns down the hall to his room without waiting for any kind of reply. MC promises to wake him up at their usual time for breakfast.

He pushes the door almost closed with his foot and doesn’t bother to make sure it latches. It’s most parts habit - he’s been leaving it open just enough so that Stinky can come and go as he pleases - and some parts being too tired to really care about it. Saeran flops onto his bed and throws his arm over his still burning eyes. He hates that he’s still waiting for the soft jingle of the bell on Stinky’s collar to come into his room and for the kitten to try and climb up his bedspread. Saeran has to lean over and help him up every time, and it’s annoying but one of the cutest things he’s ever seen. Saeran scrubs his arm roughly over face and curls up on his side to sleep, no use having a sleep paralysis episode on top of an already bad morning. Especially without Stinky’s presence at his side to pick himself up out of it.

He dreams of stars that meow at him, but any time he gets close enough to one, the sound gets more desperate and farther away.


The rest of the day passes slowly,

Saeran is sure he's never checked his phone so much in his life, or has actively chatted with anyone in any form like he has been with Yoosung. He's kept true to his word, sending messages in the group chat and some even to Saeran directly.

-Yoosung★ has entered the chat-room.-

Yoosung★: Stinky is in for the night! He just took some medicine, and he's getting comfy in his kennel.

ZEN: Wait, what's wrong with furball 2?

707: Stinky***

707: bb has a cold

MC: Respiratory infection***

MC: But yeah, I guess he's pretty sick...

MC: But!!

MC:  Dr. Yoosung is on the case!

ZEN: Oh man...

ZEN: I feel kinda bad being mean to furball 2 when he's sick;;;

-Unknown has entered the chat-room.-

Unknown: His name is Stinky.

Unknown: Dick.

ZEN: Hey!!

ZEN: I'm trying to be nice here.

Yoosung★: Saeran!!

-Yoosung★ has shared an image.-

Yoosung★: He's doing okay! I found the warmest blankets we had for him.


707: give him kisses for me, Yoosung

MC: me too!!!

MC: And extra kisses from Saeran. <3

Unknown: Don't.

Yoosung★: too late! Kisses given.

Yoosung★: He meowed when I told him which ones were from Saeran, hehe.

707: the purest of loves…

707: between two tender young souls...

ZEN: Gross.

Unknown: Fuck you?

Yoosung★: Zen, Saeran, be nice;;;

ZEN: I’m always nice.

Unknown: liar liar pants on fire

ZEN: are you twelve?????

Yoosung★: guys T_T cmon

707: dont fight in front of the babyyyy

707: he’s sensitive

Unknown: He started it.

Yoosung★: Saeran ;;;;;;

Unknown: ...fine

Unknown: But he did.

ZEN: So he is twelve.

707: and I’m seven!

Yoosung★: Saeyougnsdsf;l

MC: lololol

Yoosung★: ohcrapdocotrssawmeonmyphone

Yoosung★: brb!!

-Yoosung★ has left the chat-room.-

Saeran ignores the continuing chat to open up the picture Yoosung had sent. Stinky looks even smaller where he's curled up in a ball on top of a thick blanket. He can see a tiny IV cord coming from somewhere in the heap, and he closes the picture after his realization. God he feels terrible, and as much as he misses this whiny little kitten he seriously considers asking if maybe he should just let someone else take him in. Saeran is sure there are much more deserving people than him who would love to take Stinky in.

He's about to start typing something out to Yoosung again, trying to find the best way to ask hey, so I realized I'm too incompetent with any form of life and I was wondering how easy it is to put things up for adoption before I fuck this up even more when a meow startles the phone out of his hands.

“Meeoow! Meowy senses depression and raised blood pressure, meow.” Saeran looks down at the side of his bed into the glowing blue eyes of one of Saeyoung’s robotic creations. It doesn’t look like anything they’ve made together, though, it’s much clunkier than the newer and sleeker models they’ve been tinkering with.  “Meow, initiating jump!” The robot rocks back onto its hind legs and launches itself directly onto Saeran's chest. He grunts under the sudden new weight - god this things are heavy, he's used to the barely there weight of Stinky.

“What the fuck.” Saeran growls, pushing Meowy off of his chest. The robot cat's legs walk in the air for a few seconds before it rights itself, pressing up against his side this time.

“Starting purr setting two! Timer set for twenty minutes, meow.” The cat starts to vibrate somewhere deep in its metal chest, resembling something close to a real purr.

“What the fuck?” Saeran says louder this time, and finally gets a response from outside of his door. MC is laughing when she pokes her head in the door, knocking softly and taking Saeran’s sigh as a cue to come in.

“I knew he would still work! It’s been a pretty long time since I’ve switched him on.” She sits on the edge of Saeran’s bed. “This is Meowy! Saeyoung gave him to me a while ago.”

“If he gave it to you why is it in here?” Saeran pushes the toy away from his side, the way the cool metal exterior buzzes under his fingers feels strange.

MC crosses her legs and takes Meowy into her lap, rubbing the metal ears like she does with Stinky. “I figured that maybe it’d be nice to have a stand in for Stinky while he’s at the vet. I know he’s not the same, but it’ll make it a little less lonely here.”

Meowy’s purring fills the silence between them as Saeran looks over the message he had typed out for Yoosung over and over again. He knows he’s not the only one attached, Saeyoung is obviously nuts over this cat without a doubt, but he can see the way MC is looking down at the little robot cat in her lap. She’d been just as excited over the new member of the Choi family as Saeyoung, he can see it even more clearly in the sad smile she’s giving Meowy.

“You’re thinking about something really hard, aren’t you?” MC is trying to be playful, he can hear the slight upturn on her lips. “You and Saeyoung make the same face when something is bothering you.” She covers Meowy’s ears. “I’m the only one listening. And Meowy won’t tell a soul, will you Meowy?”

“Meowy has no soul, meow!” Saeran huffs a laugh. Close enough.

The phone screen goes dark when Saeran locks it without sending the message, his hand laying over it on his chest while his other hand reaches out toward his future sister-in-law. Saeran doesn’t look at her, but puts his pinky out. MC doesn’t hesitate to lock hers with his, giving their pinky-swear one firm shake before they break apart. As childish as it is, Saeran has come to truly appreciate The Second Rule of The Choi Household: Pinky Swear is Law under most circumstances.

“What is it?” MC asks, all of her attention on Saeran now.

He drums his fingers against the case of his phone for a moment. How does he say it without causing some kind of major upset? Yoosung is probably the number one person he should be asking, but he’s so quick to cry and Saeran can’t stand the thought of Yoosung bawling because of him. MC is also a bit of a crybaby, but she at least has a better understanding of Saeran by this point, and he appreciates how much she tries to hold in tears when things get heavy between them. Meowy pipes up about sensing a sudden spike in anxiety, but goes back to “purring” when MC shushes him.

“Do you.” Saeran’s drumming starts up again, more anxious this time. “I don’t… Like, I really don’t.” He swallows, sighs out of his nose. “This was a bad idea.”

“You don’t think you’re doing a good job with Stinky, do you?” Ding ding ding.

“Don’t tell Saeyoung, I’ll never hear the end of it from him.”

MC’s hands play with the slightly tattered ends of the ribbon around Meowy’s neck. “Oh, Saeran,” She sighs. “You know you didn’t do anything wrong, you didn’t make him sick.”

“I should have taken him to the vet as soon as I fucking found him.” Something in Saeran’s phone creaks softly under his death grip. “Instead of taking him here and giving him time to get attached to me for whatever reason.”

“He likes you because you took care of him, if you didn’t pull him out of that dumpster he probably wouldn’t have lived much longer. You found a little baby who really needed somebody and took him in, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

Saeran turns his head to look at her. “Sounds really familiar, doesn’t it.”

It takes her a minute to process it, but when it happens she clearly has to take a minute to reign her emotions in. MC fumbles with Meowy and the purring stops when she finds a switch. He knows her face too well, she’s going to ask if she can hug him or something, but he saves her the breath and curls up onto his side facing away from her before she can scoot up toward him on the bed.

Their relationship is complicated, but they’re trying. Saeran is now, at least.

“I can’t do that to something again.” Saeran continues, his knees drawn up close to his chin. “I’ve already killed someone… some thing before, and he’s even more defenseless.” MC’s hand ghosts over his arm and he allows it. “He’s just a stupid cat, he didn’t even do anything wrong.”

“There are some… similarities... “ MC starts. “But you can’t be so hard on yourself, Saeran. And don’t take this the wrong way, but I think that’s kind of a reach, you’ve done so much for him, and I mean you. I mean, yeah I’ve helped, and Saeyoung has, and Yoosung has done so much, but you’re his favorite. He’s so tiny he needs someone he can rely on since he doesn’t have a mom.”

“Call me the D word and we’re going to fight.” Saeran half jokes, but it gets a laugh out of MC.

“I won’t, I won’t.” She chuckles, but sobers up quickly. “But really, Saeran, you’re doing just fine. It’s okay to be scared.”

Scared doesn’t really cut it, he thinks. Terrified, maybe even nauseous describes it better. “I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to keep him.”

“We could put him up for adoption if you really want to.” MC offers, but she sounds too sad to be convincing. Hearing it from someone else makes Saeran feel even worse somehow. “It’ll be sad, but if that’s what you want then I know someone will take him in.” Saeran curls in on himself tighter, hiding his face in his arms. MC runs her hand through Saeran’s hair, gently scratching her nails against his scalp. “He’s your cat, Saeran. That’s your decision to make.”

“... I don’t want to.” He admits. “But I don’t want to be selfish and keep him if someone else can do a better job.”

MC’s hand stops, and Saeran turns his head to make sure he hasn’t upset her somehow. She’s just smiling at him, her big brown eyes shining and he squints at her. “Don’t you dare look at me like that.”

She cranks it up to eleven instead, putting her hand up to her cheek and her smile turns into a toothy grin. “Look at you like what?”

Saeran turns his head back into his pillow, it only just mutes his disgusted groan. This is her “I’m proud of you” face and he doesn’t understand why she’s using it against him now. He’s being kicked while he’s down, plotted against! “I can still feel you doing it.” He gripes, and MC only laughs in reply.

“I’m not allowed to smile anymore? Let me be happy for you.” Her giggling dies down in a few moments, and when she speaks up again it’s much softer, more serious, but he can still hear the smile in her voice. “You have the biggest heart in the whole world, Saeran. Stinky couldn’t ask for a better owner.” This is too much like Saeyoung’s talk on the couch, if she starts going on about how Saeran has progressed he might scream.

“Fuck you.” Saeran immediately spits back, and immediately regrets it. This isn’t the time to be angry, but thankfully MC has been around long enough to snort at his answer. “My heart shriveled up and died years ago.” She laughs harder this time, and the damage control seems to be successful enough. The bed bounces a little when she rolls off of it, her feet making a soft thud on the floor.

“Sure, sure. But then you found a little kitty in the trash and Saeran’s heart grew three sizes that day.” Saeran lifts his head to stare at her again, brow furrowed in confusion.

“That sounds like a serious health issue.”

MC mimes pulling a pencil out from behind her ear and scribbling a note on her hand. “Time to add How the Gunch Stole Christmas to the list of movies you need to watch.” Saeran rolls his eyes, that list is getting so long he’s sure they’ll never get through it. “Anyway, do you want to get up? Saeyoung and I are about to start dinner if you want to help.” MC makes her way to his doorway and leans against the frame of it, smushing her cheek against the wood. “Aaand there just might be some neapolitan ice cream in the freezer for later. The strawberry section also just miiiight have your name written all over it.”

Temptress. “...I’ll be up in a minute.” Saeran slowly lifts himself from where he’s curled up on his bed, starting a bit when his leg bumps into Meowy. He picks the toy up and frowns at it. “You forgot your cat.” He calls down the hallway, but there’s no answer for him. MC probably wants him to keep this stupid little robot anyway. Its overly bright blue eyes bore into his, the head tilts with a soft creak.

“How can Meowy be of service, meow?”

“Go back to MC.” Saeran says, setting the cat onto the floor and giving it a nudge with his foot. “Shoo.”

The robot hasn’t budged when Saeran gets out of bed, staring forward into the hall. “Meow!” Meowy chirps, toddling a few steps ahead. “Goddess MC has commanded me to keep Dearest Brother company, meow! The one voice I cannot refuse, meow!”

Ew. Saeran nudges it against with his feet, just hard enough to almost topple it over. “Turn off, then.”

Meowy sits, little metal legs sliding out in front of it. “The second voice I cannot refuse, meow! Entering sleep mode for thirty minutes. Shhhhh!”

Saeran really needs to look into the code for this thing and make sure that none of the other toys have been programmed to be this obnoxious. He picks his phone up from his bed and closes his door behind him in hopes that Meowy’s battery will run out while trapped in his room.

The message to Yoosung is still halfway typed out, and Saeran considers it for several moments. Despite their relation, Yoosung is nothing like Rika - nothing like the Savior. Rika had promised safety and comfort a sugary coat layered over something much more sinister. Yoosung is that sugary coating, something syrupy and delightful rolled around only good intentions. Saeran deletes the message from earlier, the outbox clearing just in time for another picture to come in.

It’s another of Stinky in the little kennel, chowing down on a small bowl of food this time instead of just laying on the thick blanket. Yoosung has slapped a few cutesy stickers on the picture, proclaiming that it’s time for dinner in his message. Saeran still can’t stop his eyes from looking at the IV cord, and he figures that there are other animals in the other kennels he can see the edges of in the picture but it still looks cold and uncomfortable for a sick kitten.

Unknown: It looks lonely in there

The response comes after he’s made his way into the kitchen and is chopping vegetables quietly as MC and Saeyoung belt out lyrics to whatever pop music is playing from the radio. They’re distracted enough that he doesn’t feel too embarrassed with how quickly he pulls his phone from his pocket. There’s another picture this time. Yoosung is posed in front of the Stinky, smiling big and bright at the camera and pointing to the new addition to the kennel. A plush cat toy sits in the corner, and Stinky is curled up on the stomach of it.

Yoosung★: not anymore!!!!

Saeran is even more grateful that his housemates are caught up in a very intense looking dancing contest and can’t see the face he’s making at the screen. Saeran saves the picture before he works on his reply, deleting and rewriting and deleting again before he settles on one word being enough.

Unknown: Cute.

Yoosung★: Me or Stinky? ฅ(*°ω°*ฅ)

Unknown: both

Did he... really just type that. And mean it. Saeran hastily shoves his phone back into his pocket and returns to cutting the vegetables with much more force than necessary. His phone buzzes several times but he ignores it and tries very hard not to throw it on the cutting board and chop it in half.

Time to add a message deleting system to his to-do list.

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Tagging my Mystic sisters! Let me know if you wanna be added or removed!