In this world, humans and animal humanoids live in peace. Nobody really knows <i>how</i> these humanoids came to be, but it didn't take long for them to become acclimated to living alongside humankind. They aren't seen as pets, per se, but they do love being companions with others, whether it be with people or other fellow humanoids. It isn't at all uncommon in these parts for humans and humanoids, or humanoids and other humanoids to live together under the same roof. But they see each other as equals. Sometimes, they even fall in love. There are even humanoid-specific shelters and living quarters.
There are a couple of dog humanoids living in such a shared quarters space. They're practically attached to each other at the hip. You could say they're just like sisters. [[Why not check in and see how they're doing?->Bella and Rose Short Story]]
Despite that, though, it isn't at all uncommon for humanoids to prefer being on their own. Some are still even a bit distrustful of people, whether from personal prejudices or past experiences. Much like we need the sun, we need the rain, so it isn't necessarily a bad thing for humanoids to prefer being left on their own.
However... for some, it isn't what they truly want.
Such is the case for a lone cat humanoid wandering along the streets, keeping a vigilant gaze as she roams. [[What could she be doing?->Miyuki Short Story]]The clatter of pots and pans filled the kitchen as a young dog rummaged around the cabinets, looking for the perfect size pot to aid the older dog humanoid's cooking. <i>Hmmm, this one's a bit too big. No, but this one's too small! Gosh, what could possibly be the right size for the stew...</i>
"No need to panic, Rose. The one in your hand is perfect! Put it right over here," said the older girl, Bella, in a reassuring tone as she gazed gently at her companion. Rose timidly peeked at the pot in her hand before giving a wide grin to Bella, practically skipping over to the stove and slamming it down on the burner, startling some nearby dogs.
"Watch it!" yelled an older man humanoid, startled from the loud bang.
"S-Sorry!" Rose said with a discouraged whimper. She just wanted to help! Suddenly, she felt comforting pets to her head. Her ocean blue eyes met the emerald glow of Bella's, the latter's maternal smile never once wavering despite Rose getting scolded moments prior.
"There, there. I know, you just wanted to help. It's okay. You just gotta be a bit more careful next time, okay?"
Rose nodded enthusiastically, her tail wagging a mile a minute. The nearby dogs couldn't help but laugh.
"That Bella, she's always looking after Rose like that."
"I wish I had someone like that," sighed a younger boy, his ears wilting slightly.
"Those two are practically glued to one another--I doubt you could pry them apart if you tried!" said an older woman, who everyone affectionately called Granny.
Dinner preperations went smoothly and without a hitch. Everyone sat around the table, chowing down on Bella's well-loved beef stew. The meat was so tender it practically melted in everyone's mouths, as did the vegetables. And that savory beef flavor was as perfect as always. Sure, sometimes the space around the table was a bit <b>too</b> crowded, causing some of the dogs to squish into one another, but Bella and Rose were sure to serve everyone, leaving nobody behind. Bella instilled that in Rose ever since she was young.
Ever since Rose was born.
Rose was born right in the shared quarters, and Bella took to her immediately. As soon as she laid eyes on the tiny puppy, her heart melted. <i>You're precious... I hope the life ahead of you is full of wonder, joy, and love.</i> With that wish, she stuck closely with Rose, ensuring the absolute best for her. Of course, Rose's mom raised her too, but treated Bella as something of a surrogate big sister to Rose. And, well... that stuck. Perhaps a little too well.
They wouldn't have it any other way.
As everyone settled down for the night, Rose snuggled up to Bella in their blankets.
"Thanks for always taking care of me," she said with a timid expression.
Bella nodded, hugging the pup close. She ruffled her hair, playing with her floppy ears. That was Rose's favorite.
Planting a gentle kiss on Rose's head, Bella lowered her voice to a near whisper.
"I'm always here for you. I want you to live a happy, fulfilled life, and I want to experience it with you every step of the way."
The two fell asleep after a short while.
Sure, things sometimes got crowded, and sometimes tensions rose. But nothing could ever replace the bonds formed in that shelter. Especially Bella and Rose's. No matter where they'd go, no matter what happened to the shelter, everything would be alright, because they had each other.As the hustle and bustle of the townsfolk came to a dwindle, but not enough so as to empty the streets, a lone cat humanoid wandered. Where was she going? Not even she knew, really. She kept her gaze low, mainly focused on the ground before her. <i>As long as I don't look, they won't bother me.</i>
However, as she continued her walk, she was illuminated by a nearby building. A... shelter, she figured by the appearance. Homely, not too fancy-looking... but not too worn-down either. Laughter echoed from the open window to the people outside, and herself. Her ears folded down at the sound, and she winced.
"Who needs that kind of thing, anyway. They'll get tired of each other eventually," she said with a heavy sigh. She kicked a foot out, giving a little twirl, and proceeded forward, trying not to make eye contact with anyone on the street.
<i>After all, they're all the same...</i>
"C'mon, get it together, Miyuki," she murmured to herself with a shake of her head, her crimson hair swaying about. Despite her desires to be totally cool, aloof, and ignoring anyone who came her way, though... a loud growl came from her stomach.
"Dammit." Miyuki groaned in frustration as she continued strolling about the streets. Eventually, she was going to need to find someone to feed her--that, or just find food. But how likely was it she'd find food on the streets? <i>Not very,</i> she figured.
Her golden eyes finally pulled up from the ground, focused on the setting sun. Well, that, and the grocery store a mere few steps away. Maybe food was closer than she anticipated. Trying to maintain her cool, Miyuki approached near the store's entrance, slowly, cautiously...
She must have looked suspicious, but she didn't give a damn. As she stood there around the entryway, she kept her gaze just low enough so as not to make eye contact, but just high enough to spy food. Or bags in hands. Or... anything.
Her stomach growled again, as if chastizing her for being so aloof. "...Guess I'll have to get food <i>somehow</i>, huh?"
It's not like she wanted to roam the streets forever, anyway. But for now, she'd rely on herself and herself alone. If she had to get food from someone, fine, but she'd be back on her own before long.
"Not like anyone needs me. Not like I need anyone," she said to herself, almost repeating it like some sort of mantra. Or... a promise. A promise not to get too close. A promise to stay on her own. But was that really sustainable? For her, in this moment, it was all she could do.