The Best for Last - Chapter 4 - DracotheDeathEatingCupcake (2024)

Chapter Text

Mondo is sitting on the couch in his living room, like he usually is following a long day of work, reading a book. It’s not the most interesting book in the world, but it’s got enough of a plot to keep him just hooked enough to keep reading. It’s not something he ever would have done as a teenager, the thought of reading any book boring as sh*t to him, but it’s one of the numerous things that being friends with Taka has changed about him. Not that he minds, of course. Taka has changed his life for the better in so many ways. This is just one of them.

After about half an hour, Mondo puts his book down and removes his reading glasses, frowning when he looks at the time and notices how f*cking late it is. Well, relatively speaking. Technically it’s only 8:00, which usually doesn’t register as late at all to Mondo, but… well. Taka had gone on a walk about an hour ago, and yet still isn’t back. And that… that’s concerning.

See, Taka had actually returned home from work at a reasonable time tonight, grumbling with annoyance that his boss had forced him to leave at closing time for once, refusing to let him stay ‘just a little longer, I’m almost done!’ (Though, honestly? Mondo’s glad that the lady did it. While he knows Taka loves his work and would willingly stay there all night if he could [especially now that his jackass coworker was finally f*cking fired following an investigation into his social media that showcased just how hom*ophobic he was], he works far too hard and rarely takes a break unless he’s forced to. But he’s digressing.)

Anyway. Once he got home, he of course got super f*cking restless, since Mondo swears that the man is allergic to staying still for longer than five goddamn minutes without some form of movement. And so, because of his restless energy that he had no real outlet for at home, he had decided to take a walk around their neighborhood to deal with his restlessness, since their neighborhood is generally safe enough to not worry about getting mugged or anything. It’s something that he knows Taka enjoys doing when he has the time, but considering how busy he forces himself to be, he rarely has the time anymore.

Now, Mondo had considered going with him, but the weather has started growing cold again, fall definitely in full swing, and he had decided that he’d rather spend his evening curled up on their couch reading, not walking in freezing temperatures, having to practically jog to keep up with his kyoudai’s fast as f*ck pace. Now, don’t get him wrong, he adores the man, he truly does. But he f*cking hates having to walk alongside him sometimes, since the dude refuses to go any slower than five kilometers an hour, he swears.

However… however, Mondo is starting to regret his decision to not go on the walk with Taka, worry bubbling up in his heart as the minutes tick on and Taka still hasn’t returned home. Because Taka… he’s never been gone on a walk this long before, especially at night. And the fact that he’s out there alone, walking the busy Tokyo streets… sh*t. He can’t help but worry, eyes constantly darting to the clock on the wall, wondering what the f*ck is taking Taka so goddamn long.

He does his best to distract himself by wandering around their apartment, anxiously trying to find something that will take his mind off his stupid ass worry, but nothing works. It’s when another ten minutes pass and he doesn’t hear the door to their apartment open that Mondo decides to say ‘f*ck it’ and grabs his phone, fingers heading straight for Taka’s contact info, not caring if he comes across as clingy or paranoid anymore.

Before Mondo can even press the little icon on his screen, however, he sees his phone light up with an incoming call, his heart momentarily lifting, before immediately falling when he sees Taka’s contact picture pop up on the screen. The reason his heart falls is because he knows that Taka never f*cking calls unless it’s an absolute emergency, the dude still so f*cking bad with technology it’s kinda adorable. But if the man is calling him now…

“Where the f*ck are you? Are you alright? Did you get hurt? Do I need to come and get you?!” Mondo immediately blurts out as soon as the phone is up to his ear, his mind racing with the countless deadly scenarios it’s decided to come up with, too panicked to bother with his usual laid back way of speaking. While their neighborhood is relatively safe— the area around them full of haughty businesspeople who are too high class to deal with plebeian things like crime on their streets— Mondo knows intimately that that sh*t doesn’t always matter. Even the safest place on earth can become dangerous if you come across the wrong person at the wrong time. If something like that happened to Taka and he wasn’t around to save him all because he was afraid of a little f*cking cold

“Ah! N-no, kyoudai, please don’t worry! I am perfectly fine!” Mondo hears Taka exclaim, cutting into his worry quite cleanly. It makes Mondo’s heart rate calm down, his body unclenching just a touch, though not fully. After all, he knows intimately how much Taka likes to downplay his injuries… before Mondo can demand to know what’s going on, needing to know why the dude is so late coming back, Taka continues, his voice a bit faster than usual. Which sure as sh*t doesn’t help assuage his fears at all… “A-anyway! I, ah. While I am fine, I swear, I think it would be good if you came to pick me up. In my car, please. Something came up and I think having my car will be… beneficial. As well as some blankets and a first aid kit. And… perhaps a towel? And some food? I- ah. I am uncertain.”

Wait… what? He needs his car? And a first aid kit? And f*cking food…? But he’s not hurt? What the f*ck happened?! Jesus Christ, Mondo f*cking hates the cryptic way Taka speaks sometimes. It’s like trying to get blood from a f*cking stone…

“What?! What the f*ck happened that ya need all that stuff?! Kyoudai, what the f*ck is going on-?!”

“Ah! I’m sorry, Mondo, but I must be going now! Please don’t worry, I really am fine! I’m a few blocks away from the apartment, in the alley by that pizza place you enjoy! Don’t forget to bring the things I requested! I think meat would work the best!”

And with that, Taka hangs up, leaving Mondo more worried and frustrated than he’s ever f*cking been.

“Jesus goddamn Christ, I’m gonna kill that goddamn motherf*cker, I swear, f*ckin’ asshole bastard who can’t f*ckin’ explain sh*t-” Mondo curses under his breath, storming through their apartment as he gets the items that Taka said he needed at warp f*cking speed. He doesn’t worry about the mess he’s making, too worried about his kyoudai to care about making a f*cking mess. The faster he gets to Taka, the faster his heart will stop clenching like a goddamn bitch, his mind endlessly running through worst case scenarios, each one even worse than the last. It’s the image of Taka lying cold and broken on the ground, blood surrounding him as he f*cking dies in Mondo’s arms because Mondo wasn’t good enough to save him that makes him lose all rationality he has left, racing for the door and just barely managing to grab his leather jacket that holds his keys. He doesn’t even bother putting it on, just races down the stairs to Taka’s designated parking spot at top f*cking speed.

The cold fall air attacks him when he bursts out of the front entrance of their apartment building, but Mondo barely registers it. He reaches Taka’s car in less than a second, but then stupidly wastes precious time opening the door with how hard his hands are trembling. Moron, he chastises himself as he finally gets the keys out of his jacket pocket and opens the door, heart racing a mile a minute, his fear growing with every second he wastes. Yes, he knows that Taka said he’s fine, that he shouldn’t worry, but… f*ck! How can Mondo not worry when Taka has never f*cking done sh*t like this before?! What if he got f*cking kidnapped and his message was just a ruse to try and alleviate suspicion when really, Taka is being tortured right the f*ck now?! Or what if Taka had simply thought he was fine, since the dude has trouble realizing the severity of things, but he’s actually dying as they speak?! Or what if—

As more and more scenarios race through Mondo’s head, he quickly turns the car on and peels out of the parking lot, heart in his throat and fear rife throughout his body. He doesn’t even feel the usual discomfort at driving a car instead of his hog, his mind fully preoccupied with worst case scenarios of what could be happening to his precious kyoudai.

The shop that Taka had mentioned luckily isn’t that far from their apartment, Mondo arriving in less than two minutes, considering how fast he was driving and the lack of stoplights on his route. Thankfully, there were no cops around, so Mondo was able to speed and run stop signs without a problem, not that he’d care even if there was a cop around. There ain’t nothing stopping him from reaching his kyoudai. Nothing.

Screeching to a halt at the mouth of the alley Taka mentioned, Mondo leaps out of the car while it’s still slightly moving, the parking break not even having time to click into place before he’s jumping out. His eyes are locked onto the shadowy figure he can see standing further inside the dark alleyway, heart skipping a beat with fear. Hands clenched into tight fists, ready to fight off whatever bastard is threatening his kyoudai, Mondo barrels into the alley, teeth bared in a snarl.

“Hey! What the goddamn f*ck is going on here?!” Mondo finds himself exclaiming loudly before he can think, not even sure what is going on. Honestly, part of him expects to see Taka surrounded by members of the f*cking Yakuza or something, ignoring how unlikely such a thing would be, especially considering that they’re kinda friends with one of the Yakuza’s biggest crime bosses. Some of the nervous energy fueling him fades away when his eyes adjust to the darkness and notices that the shadowy figure he saw is, in fact… Taka himself. Who is now staring at him with wide eyes, mouth open in shock. What the f*ck…

“A-ah, kyoudai! You startled me! You… you got here much faster than I expected!” Taka exclaims, sounding… sounding normal, sh*t. Not pained or upset or- or anything like that.

Not convinced that Taka is, in fact, okay, Mondo storms over to the man and begins running his hands all over his body, ignoring the indignant yelp as he searches for any sign of an injury, heart still racing from residual fear.

“Ah! M-Mondo! That’s highly unnecessary, stop that at once!” Taka exclaims shakily, his hands reaching out to try and stop Mondo’s assault, but Mondo expertly avoids them and keeps searching, needing to know that his kyoudai is safe, needing to know it.

Finally, after a minute of searching and finding nothing, Mondo grasps Taka’s face in both of his hands, looking him deep in the eye to try and spot any inkling of pain that might be lingering inside those scarlet pools, still not convinced that Taka is actually okay. But then, once all Mondo sees in Taka’s eyes is confusion and worry, he finally allows his hands to drop, his breath escaping him in a shaky exhale.

“Tell me you’re okay. Taka, please, tell me you’re okay,” Mondo begs softly, voice shaking, once again not bothering with his usual laid back way of speaking, too scared to care about sh*t like that. He watches as Taka’s eyes widen, before it’s Taka’s turn to reach out, his hands fluttering over Mondo’s chest ineffectively.

“I- I told you on the phone that I wasn’t harmed, kyoudai! I-it really wasn’t that big of an emergency! Well… it kind of is, but not for me! Still! I am so sorry; I didn’t mean to worry you!” Taka cries, looking genuinely upset at the thought of scaring Mondo. But Mondo… Mondo doesn’t care. All Mondo cares about is the fact that Taka is alright, the rush of relief that washes over him crushing.

Unable to stop himself, Mondo darts forward and wraps his arms around his kyoudai’s waist, burying his face into the man’s warm neck, breathing in deeply to smell the comforting scent of citrus. His body is shaking horribly, and he knows that it’s not from the cold. He can feel Taka’s arms rising up to wrap around his neck, grip as equally tight as Mondo’s, which he appreciates greatly. It lets him know that Taka is here. Here. With him. Alive.

“Don’t… d-don’t f*cking scare me like that again, Taka. I can’t f*cking handle it,” he says softly a few moments later, pulling back just far enough so that he can look Taka in the eye. Because of that, he can see the regret that rises inside Taka’s eyes, the man nodding fervently with a shaky smile.

“I won’t, kyoudai, I promise! I- I hadn’t meant to scare you like that, not at all! I just wasn’t sure what to do and, well… panicked, I suppose! I won’t do it again, though, I promise!”

Mondo can see the sincerity in his kyoudai’s eyes, and with that, the last of the fear in his heart fades, leaving only tender fondness in its wake. Still feeling a little raw, Mondo pulls Taka back into the hug, breathing deeply again and again to try and ground himself after his fright. He knows how f*cking stupid he’s acting, knows that he completely overreacted, but he honestly couldn’t help it. He’s already lost one person who meant the world to him. He can’t lose another. He honestly f*cking can’t. It would kill him if he did. Literally.

Taka allows the embrace for several long moments, the man shushing him gently, repeating again and again that he’s fine, that he’s sorry, that he didn’t mean to scare him. Mondo doesn’t say anything and just continues to hold his kyoudai, letting his body return to homeostasis, his breath evening out more and more as the seconds pass. Mondo honestly wouldn’t mind holding Taka like this forever, everything else be damned, but after about a minute, he feels Taka pull back, an apologetic but determined look on his face.

“Ah, I’m sorry to pull away, kyoudai, but there is a bit of an emergency going on. Not for me, I swear! But… a-ah, it’s hard to explain. Just… did you bring the items I asked you to bring?”

Taking one last, deep breath to push down the last of the residual anxiety, Mondo nods curtly, jerking his head towards where the car is at the mouth of the alley.

“Yeah, I brought ‘em. Don’t know why ya wanted f*ckin’ meat, but we didn’t have any that was cooked. Brought that steak ya bought the other day anyway, though it’s raw, so I don’t know what good it’s gonna do…” Mondo mumbles, cheeks a bit pink when he realizes how stupid it was of him to bring raw ass meat. Taka, however, just beams up at him, nodding enthusiastically.

“No, no, that’s actually perfect! Raw meat will probably work better anyway! Wait here while I go and grab it, I’ll be right back!”

Before Mondo can stop him, Taka is striding away, his heart rate picking up as the man leaves his side. He forces himself to not immediately chase after him, knowing that the dude is f*cking fine, and instead stands anxiously in the alleyway. After a moment, he begins looking around, wondering what exactly the ‘emergency’ Taka was talking about is. He doesn’t see anything else in this alley other than trash and a few dumpsters, so… what the f*ck is so worrying to his kyoudai…?

Before he can puzzle that out, he sees Taka hurrying back, an aggrieved look on his face and the things Mondo brought in his hands.

“You know, you could have parked a little better, kyoudai! I’d hate to get a ticket and mar my perfect record!”

The clipped words make Mondo snort, shaking his head even as he grabs half of the sh*t from Taka’s hands, not wanting them to fall onto the dirty f*cking ground.

“Yeah, well sorry for bein’ worried as sh*t. Ya didn’t exactly explain anythin’ on the phone, ya know,” he replies dryly with a raised brow, smirking a little weakly at the grimace Taka gives. Ha. He’s so gonna be able to milk this sh*t for a while now.

“Yes, well. I’ve already apologized for that, so,” Taka mutters awkwardly. He continues before Mondo can say anything, his eyes focusing on the dumpster that is located to their left, right next to where Mondo had first found the man. “Now! It’s time to get to work!”

Without any further explanation, Taka gets down onto his knees— not even pausing at the fact that he’s likely kneeling on f*cking caked in garbage and piss, Jesus— and begins looking underneath the f*cking dumpster. The absolute f*ck…?

“Uh… kyoudai. The f*ck are ya doin’…?” Mondo hesitantly asks, even as he kneels as well, grimacing only a little at the filthy f*cking ground. It’s not like he’s never been in a filthy f*cking alley before; he’s even had to sleep in them a couple times when he was younger and technically homeless after Daiya died, but it’s been a f*cking age since then. Taka doesn’t bother glancing at him, just continues to look under the dumpster, his phone flashlight on as he looks.

“I’m trying to figure out how to deal with the emergency, kyoudai!” Taka exclaims, giving no further information. Rolling his eyes, Mondo goes lower to the ground, his grimace rising at the absolute filth he’s putting his face near. Ugh. And to think there was a time he wouldn’t have minded disgusting sh*t like this… living a normal ass life sure as f*ck has changed him.

“Yeah, as ya keep sayin’. What the f*ck is so big of an ‘emergency’ that we gotta kneel next ta a filthy f*ckin’ dumpster? Woulda’ thought ya’d hate this sh*t,” Mondo grumbles, squinting his eyes to try and see under the dark as sh*t dumpster, not immediately seeing what’s the problem. But then—

“Uh. Kyoudai. Is that a f*ckin’ dog…?”

It is, he thinks with surprise, blinking at the small, frightened looking pup huddled pathetically under the dumpster. The poor thing is staring at them with wide, distrustful eyes, occasionally letting out the smallest, most pathetic f*cking growl he’s ever heard. Which he’d actually heard earlier but had dismissed as just background noise. What the f*ck…

“Yes, kyoudai! That’s the emergency I was talking about! I was on my way home from my walk when I heard a strange growling noise coming from this alley! Suspicious, but also concerned, I entered it to try and find what was making that noise, but then, all of a sudden, I saw a little dog getting attacked by a larger dog! I managed to scare the larger dog away, but before I could grab the little dog, it ran underneath the dumpster and refused to come out! I tried my hardest to coax it out, but after several fruitless attempts, I decided to call you to see if that would help! But then the dog started whimpering, the poor thing looking very pitiful, which is why I hung up so abruptly! Which I apologize for!”

Taka ends his story with a curt nod of his head, though his eyes are still locked onto the small dog, his lips pulled down into a worried frown. Mondo stares at the man for a beat longer, his heart twisting for reasons he can’t explain, before he also turns to face the dog. It really does look kinda pitiful… Mondo can’t get a very good look at it, since even with Taka’s flashlight it’s dark as sh*t under the dumpster, but he can still see the way it curls up into itself, looking so scared it makes Mondo’s heart ache.

Getting lower to the ground, Mondo reaches his arm under the dumpster and extends it to the dog, going slow so as to not scare it. It doesn’t seem to help, since the thing tries to back up further, the growling growing a bit louder, so Mondo stops, splaying his fingers to try and placate it.

“Hey, hey. Don’t worry, buddy, ain’t gonna hurt ya. ‘M here ta help, okay? If ya wanna come on out, we can make sure y’ain’t hurt. That’s it, man, don’t be afraid,” Mondo murmurs to the pooch, making his voice go as soft as he possibly can to try and entice the dog to come closer. But that works about as well as reaching his hand out had worked, the dog just retreating as much as it possibly can, contorting in a way that has to be painful. Ah. sh*t.

“I don’t think that’s going to work, kyoudai. It seems very scared,” Taka mutters to him, shooting him a concerned look. Mondo nods absently, pulling back to look at the sh*t that Taka had asked him to bring. All of it makes sense now, even the meat. From what little he could see of the dog in the dim light, it had looked painfully thin, like the pooch had been living on the streets for a very, very long time.

That thought makes Mondo’s heart clench like a bitch, and he decides then and there that he will do everything he can to help the dog. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much experience in wrangling terrified animals, since the only pet he’s ever had was Chuck, and he was always a very easy, laid back kinda dude. He knows that Daiya had found him on the streets and had helped acclimate him to a domestic life when he’d been about two or three, but he’d been so f*cking young at the time that he doesn’t remember a single thing about what Daiya did to help him. He just remembers that Chuck went from being kinda scared around people to being the biggest love bug in the world. Which is… really unhelpful, sh*t.

Letting out a soft sigh, Mondo grabs the meat and quickly takes it out of the package, sparing only a single second to think about how expensive this cut of steak was, Taka very excited to be able to cook such a fancy meal for the two of them soon. He mentally promises himself (and Taka, though obviously his kyoudai doesn’t know it) that he’ll buy Taka a better steak soon and gets back onto his belly to look at the pitiful pup once more.

With the steak in hand, Mondo once again reaches under the dumpster, eyes solely on the pooch that is still huddled against the wall, distrustful eyes staring at him intently. Holding the piece of steak out, Mondo again starts to speak, his voice as soft and soothing as he can make it, not caring about anything other than helping the poor thing out.

“Hey, c’mon man, don’t be like that. We ain’t gonna hurt ya, promise. I got a nice, juicy steak for ya; don’t ya want it? C’mon, that’s it buddy, ain’t nothin’ ta be afraid of. Ain’t gonna let anythin’ happen ta ya, I promise. An’ while y’ain’t a man, a man’s promise is still legit. That’s it, buddy, don’t be afraid…”

Mondo continues to mutter the softest, most soothing sh*t he can think of as he patiently holds out the steak, eyes intent on the pup. And at first, it seems like his attempts aren’t working. The dog is still huddled against the back wall, staring as distrustfully as it (he, Mondo mentally decides in a split second despite not knowing the dog’s actual gender, getting tired of referring to the pooch as an ‘it’) was in the beginning. But Mondo refuses to give up, holding the steak as steadily as he can, even when his arm starts cramping a bit. And then, after what might be five full minutes… the pup finally begins to move.

It’s slow at first, the dog clearly not trusting the promise of an easy meal. However, after a minute or two of this, the pup is close enough that Mondo can get his first clear look at him in the light of Taka’s flashlight, a grimace rising on his face when he sees the tiny face that is absolutely caked in blood and grime, unable to even make out the dog’s fur color through the mess. It’s clear that the poor guy has been on his own for a long, long time, and has been through some tough sh*t. It’s something that Mondo relates to, which makes his desire to help the dog somehow even stronger than it had been before, his chest aching with sympathy, mind racing with changes he and Taka can make in their apartment to care for the little thing once they’re finally able to get him out from under the dumpster. They had made sure that their apartment complex was animal friendly when they’d moved in, since they’ve always intended on adopting a dog and-or cat someday, so at least that wouldn’t be an issue. And he knows that Taka is also a fan of dogs, though he prefers cats a bit more, since he’d owned one while growing up until the poor kitty got hit by a car when he’d been ten. Point is, he knows that they’ll be able to provide for this little guy, ensuring that he never, ever has to go through such horrible things ever again. He promises.

Through his mental planning of the new dog that he’s just adopted, the pup had been inching closer and closer, eyes (eye, Mondo corrects with a heavy heart when he sees that the pup’s left eye is sealed shut and is caked with blood) darting between the meat and him. And soon enough, the little guy is close enough to take a tentative bite of the meat, his bite growing a lot more aggressive when he realizes that it is, indeed, something tasty to eat. The way the pup tries to drag the steak back to his little corner with him makes Mondo’s heart ache horribly, eyes sad as he looks at the pitiful display.

Not wanting to scare the pup, Mondo lets him take a few bites of the steak without moving, his tiny teeth barely making a dent in the thick meat, though f*ck does the pup try. After a couple minutes of this, the dog seeming to grow a hint more comfortable with the situation, Mondo starts to subtly pull the steak back to him, hoping that the dog will be too preoccupied with eating to notice that he’s luring him closer and closer to them.

For a moment, Mondo thinks that his plan isn’t going to work, the pup freezing and letting out a soft growl as he begins moving the steak, his heart falling at the thought of the dog running off again. However, before he can even start making mental plans for another way to get the dog out from under the dumpster, he seems to realize that he’s hungrier than he’s afraid, the dog moving forward cautiously to keep attacking the steak, the soft growls the only indication that he’s discontent. This relieves Mondo greatly, and he keeps subtly removing the steak, millimeter by millimeter, going as slow as a f*cking glacier, but he doesn’t mind. He’s had to learn patience over the years, especially with Taka as his closest friend, so he doesn’t mind waiting however long it takes for the dog to be close enough to the edge of the dumpster that Mondo can grab him and gently remove him from his hiding spot.

Despite the glacial pace that he is moving at, eventually he thinks that he’s gotten the dog close enough to the edge to implement the next part of his plan. Shifting subtly, Mondo speaks to Taka for the first time in maybe half an hour, muttering his plan to his kyoudai even as he keeps his eyes firmly on the dog.

“Hey, Ki. ‘M gonna try an’ grab the pup now, okay? Thing’s prolly gonna freak the f*ck out, so be careful. Also be prepared for him ta try an’ escape, since he’s super f*ckin’ scared right now. Trapped animals always f*ckin’ lash out when they’re scared as sh*t.”

Mondo doesn’t have time to hear Taka’s reply, since he spots the perfect opportunity to grab the dog, which is as he bends down to take a huge bite out of the now mangled steak. Hoping that this works, Mondo quickly drops the steak and reaches out to grab the dog around his (painfully thin) stomach, doing his best to be as gentle as possible as he removes him the rest of the way out from under the dumpster.

The dog, as he predicted, absolutely flips the f*ck out, barking and growling as loud as he can, jaws snapping this way and that as he tries to escape Mondo’s grasp. Despite how fervently he thrashes, however, Mondo doesn’t let the pup go. He does his best to be gentle despite the thrashing, knowing that the poor thing is likely in a hell of a lotta pain given the various injuries he can see littering his tiny body. And he really doesn’t want to cause him more pain, but he knows that if he lets the dog slip his grasp now, he likely wouldn’t get another chance to trap him again.

Because of this, Mondo finds his arms getting bitten numerous times by him, the teeth tiny but f*cking sharp. But it’s not like this is the worst injury he’s ever had. He once got stabbed in the thigh during a confrontation with a rival gang before going to Hope’s Peak, which had been so long and deep that it had needed over twenty stitches. He also has had a ton of stab wounds across his arms and legs, from other confrontations, not to mention the sh*t he went through at the hands of his so called old man. Point is, while the bites hurt, it’s nothing he can’t handle. Plus, he’s had all of his shots, thanks to Taka’s nagging over the years, so he should be good against any possible complications or diseases… probably.

With how exhausted the poor little guy must be, it’s thankfully not long before the dog has finally run out of steam, his tiny body trembling, lungs heaving and heart pounding like crazy, but still at last. He lets out a soft sigh of relief as he brings the dog close to his body, cradling him safely against his chest.

There is a moment of quiet in the alleyway following the pup’s defeat, Mondo breathing as deeply and evenly as possible to try and help the dog calm down further. After about a minute of this, he hears Taka clear his throat gently, his eyes meeting his kyoudai’s for the first time since discovering the pooch.

“He looks awfully thin, kyoudai… and there is a lot of blood,” Taka comments softly, his eyes bleeding sympathy as he looks at the tiny pup. As he looks down at the dog in his arms, Mondo agrees with Taka’s assessment, his own heart clenching when he sees the numerous wounds and scars all over the tiny body. One of his front legs is completely mangled, there’s a large gash along his side, his tail is little more than a stub, and his left eye looks like it might be gone completely, he doesn’t know. That, paired with the painfully thin body, and the litany of other small wounds and scars scattered about, tells Mondo all he needs to know about this little guy’s life up until this point. Mondo feels a rush of empathy for the pup, knowing what it’s like to be cast aside and thought of like trash from society at large. If it weren’t for his brother and then Hope’s Peak (and Taka, can’t forget about Taka), Mondo might have ended up in the exact same place as this little guy.

“Yeah. Yeah, I know Ki. We gotta bring him to a vet tonight, he ain’t gonna survive if we don’t,” Mondo mutters back, eyes darting over to Taka, who is still staring sadly at the dog in his arms. Something about the look makes Mondo’s heart clench like a f*cking bitch, so he returns his eyes to the dog. It’s safer.

“Yes, I definitely agree, kyoudai. These injuries… they’re much more severe than I’d originally thought, I don’t think even the first aid kit would help much. Do you know of any vets that are open this late? I believe it’s almost 9:00, so most vets would be closed, I’d think…” Taka asks softly, drifting closer to Mondo unconsciously, hand hovering near the dog but not breaching the last few centimeters. The proximity makes it a lot harder for Mondo to think, but he does his best to push his weird ass feelings down, shrugging slightly in response.

“Dunno, Ki. Know that there’re 24/7 pet hospitals, since Dai an’ I had ta take Chuck there a couple a’ times after he got sick, but I ain’t got a f*ckin’ clue where the nearest one is ta here,” Mondo states, eyebrows furrowing as he tries to think about what they can do. Yeah, he could look that sh*t up on his phone, but his arms are kinda full of a terrified pooch at the moment, so his options are limited.

As he thinks through his limited options, a name pops into his mind that he honestly hasn’t thought of in years, but maybe…

“Hey, Kiyo. D’ya remember that weirdo animal dude who was in the year ahead a’ us? Tanaka somethin’ or other? Didn’t he start a vet or somethin’ in the city after he graduated?”

As soon as he’s finished speaking, Mondo watches with mild amusem*nt as Taka immediately springs upwards, his eyes bright as recollection fills him, his typical determination burning within him. Which is good. f*cking… good.

“Aha! Yes, kyoudai, I believe that you’re correct! Tanaka-kun started his own animal rescue slash veterinary clinic after a couple years of university, if I recall correctly! And, in fact… I believe that I might still have his contact information somewhere on my phone, as he gave it to me after I helped him recover his, ah… ‘Dark Devas’ after they escaped from his room during our second year, his last! He said that he owed me a favor for helping him, something that I have yet to collect! So, perhaps…”

Taka trails off as he powers up the phone that he’s still holding in his hands, eyes intent as he presumably scrolls through his contacts, eyebrows adorably furrowed like they always are when he has to deal with his phone. Honestly, Taka is one of the smartest men he’s ever known (but not a genius, since he knows how disdainful his kyoudai is about that kinda sh*t), but he really is hopeless when it comes to his phone. Or any technology really, since Taka prefers sh*t to be old school. The thought makes him smile, even despite the worry he still feels for the pup in his arms.

After only a few elongated moments of scrolling, Taka lets out a soft sound of triumph, his grin blinding as he looks up at him with his elation. Which is super f*cking unfair of his kyoudai to subject him to, especially in such a sh*tty situation, he swears to goddamn Christ.

“Aha! Here it is, kyoudai! Now, I can’t guarantee that he’ll answer, or even that he has the same contact information, but let’s hope that he does!”

With that, Taka presses his finger to the screen, before putting his phone up to his ear to try and see if that batsh*t crazy ‘Ultimate Breeder’ (which, by the by? Is the creepiest f*cking title he’s ever f*cking heard. Like… f*cking breeder…? Was everything else animal related taken or something? sh*t, but he’s digressing) can help them out.

As Taka does this, Mondo is focusing intently on him, wanting to see if they’ll be able to get help from the weirdo. However, his attention is broken after barely a second when he feels the dog struggle weakly against him, a soft whine escaping his throat. This causes Mondo to focus back on the dog, who is… sh*t. Not looking good. He can still feel a fairly steady heartbeat against the arm he has wrapped under the dog’s belly, but it’s far weaker than he thinks it should be. Plus, his breathing is haggard, the once fierce attempts to wriggle free from his grasp reduced to pitiful whines and whimpers, the sounds reminding him so much of how Chuck sounded those last few days he was alive that he honestly almost starts crying. Thinking of his good boy always makes him wanna cry, but the feeling is five times as strong now, holding onto such a fragile pup. Christ, he hopes that this Tanaka dude will be able to help them out… even if it’s just pointing them in the direction of the nearest 24/7 pet hospital, he’ll f*cking take it. He’s determined to do every goddamn thing he can do to help this pup get better; he f*cking swears it.

Several seconds pass in a weighted silence as the phone rings again and again, every second feeling like an eternity. Finally, right when he thinks that the phone is about to go to voicemail, he can hear the faint sounds of a masculine voice that is vaguely familiar coming from the phone, though he can’t make out any words the dude says.

“Ah, yes! I apologize for calling so late! This is Gundham Tanaka-kun, is that correct? … Excellent! I am glad I was able to get ahold of you! This is Kiyotaka Ishimaru, I was in the year below yours at Hope’s Peak! I hope that the years have been treating you well! … A-ah, y-yes, I do have a reason for calling, I assure you! So, you see…”

Taka continues on with telling the story of how he found the dog, and how the two of them had managed to coax him out from under the dumpster, but that the pup is in rough shape and that he was wondering if the weirdo breeder (his words, not Taka’s, heh) had any advice on what they should do next.

Explanation now finish, Taka falls quiet for a few seconds while the same muffled, masculine voice sounds from the speaker, though Mondo still can’t hear what the animal dude is saying. Once the voice falls silent, Taka continues speaking, his eyes sharp on the dog as he checks him over for his injuries.

“Yes, I can tell you the extent of its injuries. From what I can see, there are numerous cuts along the side of its body, and its left eye is sealed shut, quite a lot of blood dried on its face. Its right front paw is also badly injured, I think it may be broken… no, I am uncertain what type of beast— er dog— it is, I am sorry! There is a lot of dirt and grime coating the dog, along with the blood, making it hard to determine the breed. It’s on the smaller side, if that helps at all.”

Another moment of silence crops up as Taka listens to the breeder (ugh) on the other end of the line, his eyes widening at whatever it is the man is saying.

“Ah! That is not necessary, Tanaka-kun, I would hate to inconvenience you at this late hour! … a-are you sure? … yes… yes, I suppose that makes sense… very well, then I accept your gracious offer! Mondo-chan and I will be there in roughly twenty minutes, if that is agreeable to you! … yes, I will do that as soon as I can. Thank you once again, Tanaka-kun, for agreeing to help us! You are incredibly kind! … a-ah, of course, my apologies… yes, I look forward to seeing you soon! Goodbye!”

With that, Taka lowers his phone and turns to face Mondo, his eyes bright with an exuberant relief.

“Kyoudai! It seems that Tanaka-kun has agreed to meet us at his veterinary clinic, as he was very concerned for the safety of the dog! He said that he’ll have to grab some supplies before he can meet us, but that he’ll be at his clinic within half an hour. He said that he would text me the address so that I can follow the directions, as the shop is somewhat out of the way. He also requested that we do our best to bandage the worst of the injuries, even if we cannot clean them, just to prevent the dog from bleeding out.”

At his words, Taka immediately bends down to grab the first aid kit Mondo brought, grabbing a roll of bandages and some bandage tape, not bothering to wait for a response. That done, he then approaches Mondo hesitantly, eyebrows furrowed as he looks intently at the dog, eyes darting up and down his body worriedly.

“Hmm… there really are a lot of injuries, kyoudai… I- I don’t want to hurt him more…” Taka states softly, looking up at Mondo through his eyelashes worriedly. The look does some weird ass sh*t to his insides, which he resolutely shoves down as he shrugs carefully, deciding to look down at the pup to give his eyes something to do other than stare relentlessly at Taka.

“Yeah, I know man. I don’t wanna either. But… I think we gotta. Could hurt him more if we don’t. If the weirdo breeder says we gotta do it, then I guess we gotta do it, right?”

Taka gives him a small, chiding look at his comment, which Mondo only sees in his upper periphery. Which he is grateful for. The look is already potent enough from the edges. He doesn’t wanna know what it would do to him if he saw it face on.

“Kyoudai, you shouldn’t call him that! Tanaka-kun is doing us a great favor by agreeing to look over the dog! He doesn’t have to help us out, and yet he is, so the least we can do is be polite!” Taka declares, hands on his hips, which is how Mondo knows he means business. Still, Mondo can’t help but snort softly at his earnestness, grinning at his kyoudai, mouth opening to respond in kind.

Before he’s able to say anything, however, he hears the dog let out another soft, pitiful whine, pulling his attention back to the small body he’s holding in his arms. He can feel his heart stop when he sees how still the pup has become, his one good eye closed as he breathes slowly.

This sobers Mondo up completely, all traces of humor gone as the seriousness of the situation rushes back in. Sharing one last worried glance with Taka, the pair begins to bandage the pup as best they can, Mondo’s heart breaking the more he sees. It’s just… f*ck. So f*cking sad to see such a small, innocent creature in so much pain. It makes him want to punch something, but since he’s holding the little pup (which, by the by, he learns is in fact a boy when he gently lifts him to let Taka wrap a bandage around his stomach. Which is honestly a relief. He hates misgendering people, since he knows from Chi how damaging that sh*t is. And yeah, he’s a dog and technically not a ‘person’, but his point still stands), he knows he can’t. He doesn’t know if any of these injuries were caused by human hands, or if it was caused by his fight with the dog Taka scared away, or if they were caused by something else entirely. Either way, the scene is grim, more so now that the dog is too tired to even let out his pitiful growl, soft whimpers the only indication that he’s still conscious. Which is just… so f*cking heartbreaking. Jesus.

Thankfully, despite the numerous injuries it doesn’t take long to bandage up the worst of it, the white fabric stained red almost immediately. It concerns the f*ck out of Mondo, and both he and Taka silently agree that it’s time to get going. Now.

Grabbing the supplies that Mondo had brought, Taka leads the way back to the car, putting his set of keys into the ignition as soon as his seatbelt is on. Mondo takes shotgun, carefully adjusting the pooch in his lap so that he’s as comfortable as possible. Not that the dog seems to notice, since his eye is now completely closed, breaths deep and even, almost like he’s sleeping. It honestly terrifies the f*ck out of Mondo, and he prays that the breeder will be able to save this dog that he has grown ridiculously attached to over the past hour. He honestly doesn’t know what he’ll do if the dog doesn’t survive. He truly doesn’t.

Here’s hoping he won’t have to find out…


Mondo sits silently on the plush couch that is located in the front of the small but respectable veterinary clinic slash rescue he’s currently residing in, mind full of worry and chest full of fear. It has been nearly four hours since he and Taka arrived at the clinic, and if he wasn’t worried out of his goddamn mind, he knows that he’d be bored as sh*t. As it stands, he’s too distracted by his fearful concern to feel much of anything else. Even his exhaustion is curbed by the feeling. Despite the fact that it’s currently past two in the morning and he’d worked a full shift the day before, he barely feels the fatigue creeping in, his body and mind too jittery to even notice it.

The same can’t be said about Taka, he thinks with a small, crooked smile, turning to look at the man that is curled up into his side, face squished up against his chest. Taka had fallen asleep about an hour and a half ago and Mondo hadn’t had the heart to move and possibly wake him. They hadn’t initially been so close together, Taka sitting near to him, but not pressed against his side like they usually would do while at home. However, as the minutes dragged on and on, and their concern grew larger and larger, they had slowly begun migrating closer to one another. Before long, Mondo had had his arm wrapped tight around his kyoudai, the man’s head resting lightly against his chest as he ran soothing fingers through his soft, raven hair. It was not long after that that Taka had fallen asleep, which Mondo was privately grateful for. The man has work in the morning and Mondo knows for a fact that he will not call out sick for anything less than a life threatening emergency, and maybe not even that. Which has always been frustrating as sh*t for him, hating to watch Taka head to work while clearly unwell.

Still, Mondo finds himself envying Taka as the minutes tick on and on and on, the empty clinic as silent as the grave, his mind cycling through worry after worry the longer they go without an update on the little pup. And it’s not like he hadn’t expected it to take a while. When they had arrived at the clinic shortly after 9:30 pm, they had met Tanaka at the entrance, who had instantly demanded they tell him everything about what happened to the dog while hurrying them back to the sleek exam room, his demeanor almost as intense as it had been while in school.

At least his manner of speech had seemed to be toned down a little. Or, at least he no longer kept calling himself ‘Gundham Tanaka, supreme ruler of ice!’ Or whatever bullsh*t he used to spout out. He did call them ‘foolish mortals’ at one point, when Taka mentioned that they had fed the dog some raw steak (which, by the by, isn’t good for dogs. Who knew), and he kept referencing ‘dark magics’ and whatnot, but it had lacked the bite it once had held while in high school. Which was good. Mondo had been in no condition to deal with that f*cking bullsh*t. Not with how fearful he was for the— at the time nearly motionless— dog.

Anyway. He’s digressing. After Tanaka had finished gathering as much information as he could, he had immediately shooed them out of the exam room, saying that he would likely take several hours to ‘restore this beast to its former glory,’ which Mondo had assumed meant he was gonna take a while.

Still, the longer he goes without any updates on the dog’s wellbeing, the more his mind cycles through increasingly worse scenarios, obsessing over and over about what could be happening behind the modern looking door. He assumes that the dog must still be alive… right? No news is good news, and all that, because surely Tanaka would have told them if the dog hadn’t made it. Right? Right?!


More time ticks on as Tanaka (hopefully) does all he can to save his dog (and yes, he’s his f*cking dog, he’s already mentally adopted him and everything. His name is Chuck II and Mondo adores him more than anything except his kyoudai). The only sounds he can hear are the quiet clicks of the analog clock, and the soft breathing of his kyoudai. The walls of the clinic are thick enough that he can’t hear anything from behind the door, which is a little frustrating. He just… he just wants to know, you know? How his baby boy is doing. If he’s okay or not. Last he saw him, he looked almost dead. And he… h-he can’t f*cking lose this dog, okay? He knows that he only met him a handful of hours before, but he’s already the second most important thing in his life. After Taka, of course. Though, nothing is more important than Taka, so that’s not exactly a fair competition.

It’s just as Mondo is positive that he’s about to lose his goddamn mind, his fear and worry reaching their paramount, that the door to the examination room finally opens, the overly dramatic vet gliding out like some kinda vampire or something. Ugh. Pretentious f*cking bastard. Mondo had always found his whole ‘demon from hell’ thing super f*cking weird during high school, even if he’d been so f*cking enamored with the dude’s four hamsters (sorry, sorry, Dark Devas of Dorkiness). Even with the cute hamsters, though, Mondo often hadn’t had the energy or patience to deal with the weirdo’s weirdness, so he’d usually stay away from him in school, rarely wanting to deal with his cryptic bullsh*t way of speaking. Which was fairly easy to do, given their different years.

Still, despite the unnecessary drama, Mondo can feel hopeful anticipation fill him at the sight of the breeder, his body surging upwards with attention. He honestly wants to stand up and stalk over to the vet right now, so that he can shake him and demand he tell him what happened to his boy, but seeing as how he’s still being used as a pillow, he’s kinda stuck at the moment. That doesn’t stop him from verbally demanding answers, arm tightening unconsciously around the man sleeping in his arms.

“Well?! What the f*ck’s the verdict? Is my dog f*ckin’ alright?!” Mondo hisses as lowly as he can, not wanting to wake Taka if he doesn’t have to. Sadly, his endeavor doesn’t work, as his kyoudai begins to stir sluggishly against him, his face pressing further into his pecs as he stretches lightly. He can see Tanaka raise an eyebrow (or eye… bone? Since the dude doesn’t have f*cking eyebrows? Whatever) at the action, but he thankfully doesn’t comment on it. Which is good. Taka would be so f*cking disappointed in him if he punched the vet’s lights out, especially after the man had worked overtime to save his boy. Hopefully. Hopefully.

“Hmph. I had been unaware that this little beastie was yours, Owada-san. From what the red-eyed one had told me, I assumed that the beast had been abandoned by its previous lords, running from the cruelty you mortals so often display,” Tanaka states loftily, eyebrow (bone, whatever) raised in the most condescending manner Mondo has ever f*cking seen. It really makes him want to stand up and punch the bastard, but he’s prevented from doing that when he feels Taka stir against him even more than before, his brilliant red eyes blinking open as he stares blearily ahead of him. Due to his distraction, he doesn’t have the ability to say anything before the f*cking weirdo is continuing, voice less condescending and more clinical than before. Thank f*ck.

“Well, I suppose that is no matter. To answer your unnecessarily crude question, yes, I believe that the beastie will survive,” Tanaka states plainly, the words causing a huge weight to lift from Mondo’s shoulders. Before he can feel too relieved, however, Tanaka is continuing, voice turning graver. F-f*ck… “However… the beastie shall never again be as it once was. The injuries it had sustained to its right foreleg had been too grave for even my dark magic to reverse, and thus I had been forced to remove the diseased limb lest it corrupt the whole body entirely. The same is to be said for the beast’s left eye, which had been gouged out long before it came into my dark possession. Due to the delayed nature of this intervention, dastardly infection has already begun spreading through its veins, which will need to have constant attention if you wish to banish the vile poison. Its side was also stitched back together with the twine of the damned, which should, in time, allow the beast’s wounds to heal with only a battle scar to show for it.

“In all, the damage the beastie faced was extensive for such a small creature, but its will to live is strong. I have full confidence that as long as my dark treatments are conducted exactly as instructed, the beastie will heal as best it can given the circ*mstances. It is fortunate that you both happened upon it when you did. Had its wounds remained untreated another night, its will to live would have been overcome by the darkness of death, ending its brief stint on this mortal plane.”

As Tanaka’s long ass, weird as sh*t speech comes to a close, Mondo struggles to understand what, exactly, the bastard had meant by any of that. Jesus Christ. He barely understands the dude on a good day, let alone when he’s tired and worried as sh*t. He can kinda assume, based on what the dude said, that the pup’s leg wound had been too severe and had required amputation, which makes Mondo cringe in sympathy to think about. He also assumes that the dog’s left eye had been beyond saving too, leaving the poor little guy half blind and an amputee. With infection running rampant through him and a stitched up side to boot. Jesus Christ… poor f*cking dude…

While Mondo does his best to come to grips with the prognosis of his new dog, he can feel Taka shift against him, the man looking up at Tanaka with a soft frown, eyebrows furrowed deeply. He still looks incredibly tired, but alert enough to ask the relevant questions that need asking.

“A-ah, I… I believe I understand. And what exactly do your, er… ‘dark treatments’ entail? Mondo-chan and I are fully prepared to do whatever it takes to help the dog heal properly, so we will do all of it readily. Er… r-right, kyoudai?”

Taka’s eyes are wide as he turns to look at him, uncertainty in them. Like he’s worried that Mondo is gonna say they can’t f*cking keep the dog or some sh*t. Ha. Fat f*cking chance. He adopted the pooch the second he saw him huddled pathetically under that dumpster.

“Hell f*ckin’ yeah, kyoudai. We’ll do whatever the f*ck it takes ta help Chuck II, got it? Money ain’t an issue, since I’ve got enough squirreled away ta pay for whatever the f*ck he needs. Just as long as my boy’s happy an’ healthy, I’ll do f*ckin’ anythin’.”

Tanaka gets a calculating look on his face as he looks between the two of them, like he’s looking inside of them and reading their f*cking souls or something equally as freaky. Jesus. Creepy ass motherf*cker. Unconsciously, Mondo’s arm tightens around Taka’s waist, pulling the man just a touch closer. And it’s not like he thinks that Tanaka’s gonna f*cking hurt them or anything, just… sh*t. Dude’s unsettling, alright?!

“Hmm. It is good that you are prepared to take on the monetary challenge that is taking in a battle scarred beastie. While I have no need of a mortal thing like currency in my true form, while bound to this mortal body, even I must conform to the practices and laws governing your meaningless lives. Thus, payment will, indeed, be required. To pay for my life’s debt that I owe the red-eyed one for saving my now late Dark Devas, I shall forsake payment for today’s services, as well as the dark tinctures I will be providing at this time. However, all subsequent visits must conform to the written documents that my fiendish associates will provide come morning. Though it pains me to do so. If the world were just, my services would never be bound behind any form of payment, but alas. A just world this is not, ruled by many a cruel demon.”

Jesus f*cking Christ, what the f*ck is wrong with this bastard? Mondo takes back the previous statement he had thought about Tanaka’s manner of speech being less cryptic than when they were in school. He’s just as f*cking pretentious and confusing as ever. f*ck.

Taka, at least, seems to understand exactly what the bastard is saying, as he is nodding quite seriously, expression solemn.

“Yes, of course Tanaka-kun, we’ll gladly pay for any services that you and your clinic provide for our dog. We’re both very grateful that you were willing to help save Chuck II, especially so late! Though… are you sure that you don’t want any payment for today’s treatment? I assure you that we wouldn’t mind paying whatever price! While we haven’t known Chuck II for long, he is part of our family now, and we’ll gladly pay for whatever he needs!”

Heart beating much faster than it should, all Mondo can do is look down at the man who is still pressed tight to his side, an overwhelming rush of affection and adoration flooding through him. It’s just… f-f*ck. They didn’t even have to f*cking talk about this or anything. Taka just f*cking knew that Chuck II was theirs now, no questions asked. And it… it makes him feel… feel…

“Do not fret, red-eyed one. I, Gundham Tanaka, do not require any reimbursem*nt from you or your paramour at this time. If, of course, you wish to sponsor the treatment of one of the many injured beasties that have wandered into my realm, then that is something you may discuss with my fiendish associates at a later time. Such business is beneath a dark being such as myself.

“For now, follow me into my hellish lair and I shall inform you of the steps you must take to perform my dark treatments properly. Then I will show you how to apply my tinctures to the beastie’s wounds, as well as how often such a thing will be required. From there, you shall be free to go, though the beastie must remain here for a few more days so that I may observe how its vessel takes to the dark ritual I have performed. My fiendish associates will contact you when I have deemed your beastie well enough to be removed from my hellish realm. Now. Come.”

Rolling his eyes at the stupid as f*ck command, Mondo stands up with a small grunt and follows after the breeder’s retreating back, Taka quickly falling in step beside him. The world is silent as the pair follow their former upperclassman, Mondo’s heart clenching the further they walk through the clinic, so f*cking worried about his baby boy it’s not funny. The reality of Chuck II’s injuries is starting to hit him, and he privately mourns the life the pup could have had had this never happened to him. Yeah, he and Taka are gonna make sure he lives the best f*cking life he possibly can, but… sh*t. It’s just not fair that their boy has to suffer so much. Not f*cking fair at all.

The clenching in his gut only gets worse when Tanaka finally arrives in the room Chuck II is waiting in, the dog motionless upon a small dog bed. For one heart stopping moment, Mondo thinks that the dog has died, his head going fuzzy with the unacceptable thought. Luckily, before he can spiral too far, Tanaka speaks up again, his voice slightly amused. Bastard.

“Fret not, dastardly fiend. Your beastie has merely succumbed to the poison gas that calms the vessels of beasts whilst I perform my dark rituals. It shall be fine once my incantations have worn off,” Tanaka remarks, a smirk on his face when Mondo turns to glare at him. Goddamn f*cking bastard…

“Hey, why the f*ck am I ‘dastardly fiend?!’ The f*ck does that even mean?! An’ ya f*ckin’ called me by my surname earlier, so I know ya f*ckin’ know it! Cryptic f*ckin’ bastard,” Mondo grumbles, unable to stop his frustration from bubbling over. And while Taka seems upset at Mondo’s outburst, his kyoudai giving him a stern, highly disapproving look, Tanaka merely laughs, throwing his head back and all. Ugh. Weirdo.

“Kehehe! The workings of my inner sanctum are not for mere mortals to understand! Have faith that I speak exactly as I must, and I always have a reason for everything I do and say.”

At that, Mondo straight up snorts, shaking his head in exasperation and— though he won’t admit it— mild amusem*nt. This bastard’s just too f*cking ridiculous to take seriously, Christ.

“Yeah, yeah. Whatever helps ya sleep at night, oh dark one,” Mondo drawls sardonically, rolling his eyes at the ridiculousness of the situation. Tanaka snickers softly once again, though he quickly contains himself, turning his attention to the (hopefully) sleeping dog in the corner.

“Now, enough chatter. Come, I shall teach you both how to tend the wounds of an injured beastie. While I will require this beast to remain here, like I have said, it is vital that you understand how to take care of it once its care is in your hands, understood? The injuries this beastie endured are vast, thus the dark treatments it will require must be equally vast, requiring the most precise care your mortal bodies can possibly provide. Come, and listen well as I explain the methods of my dark treatments.”

With another roll of his eyes, Mondo does as the breeder says, listening as intently as he can while Tanaka drones on and on about the various ‘dark treatments’ they must perform every day. Which, by the way, are super basic sh*t that anyone could do, not just a supposed ‘demon overlord’ or whatever. It basically boils down to cleaning the various wounds, applying the antibiotic ointments twice daily, ensuring the bandages are always clean, making sure Chuck II doesn’t tear his stitches… like he said, basic sh*t that anyone could do.

Taka, of course, is taking diligent notes, the small notepad and pen he keeps in his pocket at all times now in his hand as he writes every instruction down, frequently asking questions about every little thing. Despite the fact that it makes this already long ass explanation even longer, Mondo can’t help but smile to see it, heart warmed at his kyoudai’s typical behavior. And it’s prolly good that Taka’s taking this so seriously. It would f*cking gut him if Chuck II got even more hurt because Mondo was a f*cking idiot who can’t listen to verbal instructions for longer than a minute without getting bored.

Eventually Tanaka’s explanation is over, silence filling the room as Taka writes down the last few instructions he’d been given. And once that is done, Tanaka gestures with his hand loftily towards the still sleeping pup, a small smirk upon his lips as he looks at the two of them.

“Very well, foolish mortals. It seems that you are as prepared as you can be to one day take over the care of this little beastie. For now, I will allow you both to bid your farewells to your beastie before I escort you both out of my realm and back into your own. Take all the time you require. I will be waiting outside the door when you are ready to return to your realm.”

With that, Tanaka walks over to the door and slips silently out of it, giving Taka and him a moment of privacy with their new pup. Which is… surprisingly considerate of the man. Not that it makes up for the overall weirdness he exudes, but… ugh. Whatever. Not important.

Anyway. Now that the breeder is gone, Mondo finds himself wandering over to his baby boy, heart breaking when he sees the bandaged stump where his missing leg should be. Christ, it’s just… it’s just not f*cking fair. God f*cking dammit.

Tearing his eyes away from the stump, Mondo lets his eyes rove the rest of Chuck II’s body, noticing that Tanaka must have shaved the matted fur off at some point, since he’s now able to see the dog that had been hidden beneath all that muck. Like this, Mondo can finally get a good look at his baby boy, and he sees that he’s some kind of Jack Russel Terrier mix, given the long fur around his face and his general facial features. Reaching out, Mondo very, very gently touches Chuck II’s side, his insides relaxing when he feels the steady warmth and even breathing, much better than it had been before. This, more than anything, gives him hope that Chuck II will pull through this and come out the other side alright. This thought makes him smile, and he gently begins to stroke the pup’s side, mindful of the numerous wounds and bandages littering his tiny body. Taka kneels down beside him and gingerly pets Chuck II as well, a pensive look on his face that Mondo doesn’t really want to deal with right now. Not just yet.

“So… kyoudai,” Taka starts softly after a few minutes have passed, both of them now just kneeling beside the dog, hands resting near one another on his flank. Turning to face his kyoudai fully, Mondo feels his breath stutter at the swirling emotions he sees within bright red eyes. f*ck. f*ck. “I know that we didn’t have time to discuss it earlier, but… we are going to be keeping this dog, correct?”

Mondo’s head is nodding before Taka is even done speaking, his conviction to take care of and keep this dog firm in his heart. He’s not getting rid of him for anything. He f*cking refuses.

“Ya kiddin’ me, Ki? ‘Course we f*ckin’ are. Ain’t like we got another choice now, amiright? He, uh… he’s family now. An’ ya don’t f*ckin’ abandon family. No matter what,” Mondo mutters, voice getting a little choked up despite himself. Because Chuck II… he’s family now. And that means something. It… it f*cking…

“Of course, kyoudai, I didn’t doubt that for a second! I just… a-ah. Wanted to ensure we were both on the same page, so to speak,” Taka reassures, a small smile on his lips. The smile fades a second later, though, replaced by a thoughtful frown. Which is… not good, sh*t. “However, it… will be difficult to provide him the treatment he’ll need while we are both working… I- I suppose that I can hire a sitter to provide him his medication during the day, and… ah. Perhaps leave work earlier than I usually do… j-just until Chuck II is better, of course! It may require some sacrifice and some patience, but I’m sure that we will make this work, kyoudai. Together… I’m sure we can make this work.”

Something about Taka’s earnest words makes his breath hitch, his eyes widening as he looks down at his dearest friend, whose eyes are still swirling with an ocean of emotion. It just… f-f*ck. It just sounded so f*cking… domestic. Y-ya know? Like they’re f*cking… he doesn’t know. Parents or something. And, yeah, he guesses they kinda are now, especially with how much help Chuck II will need over his lifetime, but it just… f*ck. It’s a lot. And it’s a lot more than he expected, not having thought about the logistics of taking care of a healing, now permanently disabled dog. He was so focused on his baby boy’s safety that he didn’t think about what’ll come next. Thank f*ck he has Taka to remember and think of that sh*t for him… Christ…

The pair fall into a comfortable silence after that, sitting beside one another as they look down at their new dog, the responsibilities they’ll both have to shoulder and the changes they’ll have to make to their lives settling on them, but not in a bad way. Because it’s not. Bad. In fact, it’s kinda f*cking good. So f*cking good.

It’s not long after that that both Taka and Mondo decide that it’s time to get up and head back home, Mondo’s heart aching to leave his boy behind, but knowing that it’s what’s best for him. They don’t even have any of the essentials they’d need for caring for a regular dog, let alone a badly injured, disabled one. They’ll have to stop by a pet store after work later and grab the supplies they’ll need so Chuck II can rest and recuperate as best as he can once he’s home where he belongs. And once they do, he knows they’ll be ready for it. For all of it.

And it’s not going to be easy. Mondo knows that it’s not going to be easy, since nothing about the situation is easy at all. But, like Taka said… they’ll be able to get through it. Together… together, they’ll get through it.

And with that thought, Mondo finds himself smiling softly out the window of Taka’s stupid f*cking car, for once not unbearably uncomfortable in the vehicle, everything in him so f*cking pleased with how this evening has turned out. From panicking about his kyoudai’s safety, to becoming dog parents together. Crazy what a single night can change.

Not that he regrets it. Because he doesn’t.

Not at all.

The Best for Last - Chapter 4 - DracotheDeathEatingCupcake (2024)


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