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To one I am tied, to the other I am true

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Whenever he looked at Louis-senpai, Legosi couldn't help but wonder if his fetish was manifested because he was surrounded by the most beautiful herbivores in school.

Everyone in the drama club was beautiful in their own way - they were actors, after all. Every girl swooned whenever Pina remotely looking their way. And then there was Els - he wasn’t interested in her, but she was definitely a very attractive female.

Haru, too - her pure white fur, small figure, and those big, black eyes - his heart fluttered whenever he saw her.

Louis-senpai, though, was special. There was something about him that greedily sucked you in, demanding your absolute attention. Like right now, while Legosi was sitting on the bed in the infirmary of Galdona district police station, staring into Louis’ remarkably big eyes - the elegant tangled curves of his antlers a striking contrast with the soft smile on his lips - he couldn’t help but feel like the sun was born just to illuminate Louis’ slender, handsome face and complimented his velvety fur, the air itself concentrated around his presence, stealing Legosi’s breaths away. It was ridiculously unfair - he seriously felt that if Louis had asked him to bow down with his tongue on the floor, he would.

Yes, he was definitely a perverted wolf with a herbivore fetish.

 

*****

 

Legosi still dreamed about that fateful night when Louis offered him his foot.

At first, those dreams were torturously vivid - he remembered how soft the flesh was as he sank his fangs into it. The crunchiness of the bone, the juiciness of the meat, the sweetness of blood - his whole body ached with insatiable voraciousness, the hunger etched itself into his teeth, tearing at body and mind. He understood why it could drive carnivores to madness.

As the symptoms of meat withdrawal slowly subsided, the dream itself changed. The tears streaming down Louis’ face. The way he was shaking like a leaf in the wind. His leg was so small in Legosi's hand, something so fragile yet always stood tall and proud. He remembered how Louis pushed all the way through the last performances without a flinch on those very same fragile legs, even though his left foot was fractured severely.

That strong, unwavering Louis cried for him. Sacrificed his foot for him because he didn't want Legosi to die.

Maybe Legosi was a bit full of himself, but his chest swelled when he thought about how he meant something to Louis.

 

*****

 

Haru told him that Louis called her once after he graduated. She didn't tell him what they talked about, but strangely, he didn't feel jealousy coursing through his veins like before. He trusted them.

“Louis has changed a lot,” Haru said with relief, “He always seemed lonely, before.”

He did. If Legosi thought back about it, Louis was like a holy figure in school. Beautiful. Perfect. Fearless. Untouchable. And he hated Legosi's guts. Even though he respected Louis, if someone had told Legosi that their relationship would become the way it was now, he would have thought that they were completely out of their mind.

Haru seemed happy about the change though, that was all that mattered.

 

*****

 

Louis made a face the first time he visited Legosi's modest apartment.

“You live like this?” Louis asked with disbelief and mild horror.

Ok, it wasn't a modest apartment. It was worse. It was a 56 years old small room with no bath, no kitchen, not even a bed or a table. The closet had nothing but 3 pitiful outfits hanging in it. Half of the so-called furnitures were cardboard boxes. Legosi did his best to keep things clean and tidy, but he couldn't blame Louis for being shocked at the sad state of this place. Louis’ prosthetic foot alone was enough to outshine the whole condo, let alone Legosi's apartment.

“It's all I can afford,” Legosi shrugged and sat down by the cardboard box he used as the table. “Sorry that I don't have tea or anything, but would you like some rice cake, senpai?”

Now Louis looked concerned. He continued to look concerned until he left.

“The deer from before, is he your friend?” Sebun-san asked him later.

“He is my senpai from school.”

“Wow! He's quite famous, I saw him on the news a few times.” She seemed flustered, “Can you ask him if he would like to model for my company?”

“Sure.” Legosi knew Louis probably would refuse, but there was no harm in asking, he thought.

Unfortunately, she was the only one reacted normally to Louis’ visit. Apparently, lots of the residents in the condo were associated with the back-alley market, and they freaked the hell out seeing the former boss of the Shishigumi suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Legosi decided he would ask Louis to inform him before every of his visit so that he could arrange beforehand - if anyone in the condo complex wanted to harm Louis, Legosi wanted to be there to protect him. He swore to utterly and completely destroy anyone who dared to lay even a finger on a strand of Louis’ hair.

(But he didn't plan to tell Louis-senpai about any of this, obviously. He was going to get angry with Legosi if he knew.)

 

*****

 

Sometimes he could hear Louis’ voice even though Louis wasn't even there with him. It was crystal clear, like Louis was directly whispering into his ears, telling him how to act, reminding him of who he was, leading him towards the right direction whenever he felt lost. Maybe in those brief moments that Louis’ flesh was inside of him, some of it became a part of him - Louis became a part of him. It felt almost intimate - an unbreakable bond created from his (their?) consensual act of predation.

Louis was here, even now, his existence engraved into Legosi's body and mind. He was glad that Louis would forever be the first and last animal he ate.

 

*****

 

“I have some old stuff that I plan to throw away, but they are still in pretty good conditions. I can give them to you if you want. Would you like to come take a look?”

Louis texted him so. That was why Legosi was here, in front of the most luxurious condo complex he had ever seen in his life, waiting for Louis to pick him up. The security was pretty tight, you couldn't get through the gate without a resident in the condo confirming with the guards that you were their guest. He didn't have to wait long for Louis to appear and give the guards the clearance. They took the elevator to the seventh floor where Louis’ apartment was, while Legosi was awed by the lavishness of everything, from the stainless white walls to the flawless decorations with sparkling chandeliers and thick carpet lining the hallways. It felt more like a five-star hotel than an apartment complex.

“Close your mouth, Legosi,” Louis chuckled at his dumbstruck expression, placing his hand under Legosi's chin and tenderly pushing his gaping jaw back in place. “You are embarrassing.” There was no malice in his voice.

The door lock used a fingerprint scanner as well as face and voice recognition, as expected of a high-class condo. The apartment was just as luxurious as everything else: there was a huge living room with sofa and a big TV screen, an adjoining kitchen fully equipped enough to cook for four people; two master bedrooms - Louis’ room and a guest room - and one storage room the size of Legosi's flat. The young wolf couldn't help but feel overwhelmed by the extravagance of it all.

“My father isn't very happy with my… highschool rebellious phase, so he went and bought this apartment after I got admitted to the university. That's how he expresses his feelings - by spending money on me.” Louis said nonchalantly, “You can take anything you want in here. I used them back at Cherryton dorm, but this apartment came fully equipped and decorated, so I have no more use for any of these.”

“Really? You are going to give them to me for free?” There were so many stuff. Disassembled furnitures, household tools, electronic equipments,... Legosi couldn't believe he could take anything he wants! For free! His tail wagged like crazy at the idea. Everything looked like new, and expensive - not a surprised considering they belonged to Louis.

“Sure, why not? Your room is so terribly barren it gives me physical pain.” Louis sighed, “At least make it livable, will you?”

Although everything was packed and labeled neatly, there were just too many things to go through in a day, and Legosi didn't have much space anyway, so he simply chose the most convenient necessity first - a set of futon, a door mat, some towels, a portable electric heater, along with some other titbits that he could fit into the cardboard box to carry back with him. There were some pieces of furniture that he wanted, but he decided to return for them later after he had measured and arranged his room to make space for them.

He proposed to treat Louis to dinner as thank, but the deer refused on the account of being occupied with schoolwork. Legosi returned to his apartment by train and gladly took his current futon for a wash - it stunk with the smell of sweat, drool, and god knows what else! On the contrary, Louis’ futon was heavenly soft, spotless, with a really soothing fragrance of fabric softener, sunlight, and - if Legosi inhaled deeply - a faint hint of Louis’ own scent. That night, Legosi effortlessly drifted off to sleep bathing in the comfort of his new futon.

The dream started innocently enough. He was with Haru in the school's garden, surrounded by beautiful flowers. They talked, holding hands, then he kissed her. Her black eyes twinkled like jewels as she smiled up at him and led him to the gardening clubroom. Legosi followed, tamed like a sheep. He knew what was coming next.

In the dim room, Haru started taking off her clothes, piece by piece. Her whole body is flawlessly white, not a discolored spot in sight. Legosi watched, helplessly transfixed by the beauty of her naked body being slowly revealed to him. He suddenly realized that his throat was dry. His heart felt like it was trying to hammer out of his ribcage. Haru came up to him with an easy smile, reaching out her hands and started to open the buttons of his shirt. She struggled to reach his tie and the highest buttons though. Right. He should---

He froze as another pair of hands wrapped around him from behind, gently taking hold of his tie and pulling it loose. A warm body that was tall and slender pressed against his back. His nostrils filled with a distinctive scent, but Legosi was too shocked to recognize it. Who---

“You are really hopeless at this, aren't you?” A familiar voice whispered softly into his ears, “A male shouldn't let his female do all the work.”

IT WAS LOUIS!

The realization hit him in the guts harder than Riz's punch and at that moment Legosi startled awake. Violently. It took him a moment to fully comprehend his surroundings - he was alone in his room, back damp with sweat, blanket kicked aside from his wild thrashing. The clock said 2 am and a half.

What the heck was that?

 

*****

 

The dream haunted him. Legosi couldn't focus at all and kept messing up at his job, so much that owner of the udon shop looked him up and down with concern and told him to take the rest of the day off.

Legosi just couldn't understand the meaning of his dream. Lewd dreams about Haru was nothing strange to him - he was a healthy 17 years old male, after all - but to have Louis-senpai partaking in it as well? What kind of herbivore fetishist that would have dirty dreams about both his girlfriend and his senpai? Who was gonna be next? His neighbors?

To make matters worse, his room smelled of Louis. If Legosi had thought the scent was soothing before, now it just made him overwhelmed with a profound sense of shame. Should he ask Gouhin about it? The panda was a psychiatrist, after all, maybe he had an explanation for this madness. But what would Legosi tell him? “Hey doc, I'm in love with a bunny, but now I have dirty dreams about both her and my senpai. What does it mean?”

Yeah. No. He would die from embarrassment first.

It must be a one-time thing, Legosi told himself. He was just confused. It must be that because the futon smelled of Louis, and that they had a close relationship, and that he was in meat withdrawal, and that he missed Haru - he hadn't seen her for awhile and he was kind of pent up, that his sleep-muddled brain mixed it up altogether and produced that abomination of a dirty dream. There was nothing unusual about it. He was still in love with Haru. There was nothing between him and Louis but a healthy relationship of mutual respect.

(Except that he found the male deer to be exceptionally beautiful. That Louis were always in his thoughts. That Legosi was happy Louis became a part of him. That he still dreamed about Louis...)

There was nothing between him and Louis but a healthy relationship of mutual respect.

Legosi chanted it to himself every time he found the vivid memories of that dream resurfacing (which was an everyday occurrence). As Legosi slowly but surely came to accept that something like that just happened to him by chance or maybe his luck was just terrible, Louis called him.

“Hey, Legosi, are you free this Friday evening?” Louis’ voice was still the same, yet Legosi felt like his own heart was about to jump out of his throat, “I think I'll take you up on that dinner offer, after all.”

 

*****

 

This time when he came, the guards let him through right away. Louis must have informed them beforehand. He went up to Louis’ apartment by himself and rang the doorbell, feeling oddly nervous. Louis opened the door for him, but something was strange about the deer's attitude. He wasn't in a good mood, somehow.

There was a female deer that Legosi had never met before in the living room. She was pretty and fashionable, but apparently upset. Louis paid her no mind, which was pretty unusual. Legosi awkwardly greeted her. Her answer was a cold glare.

“There is no need for that. She's leaving.” Louis said drily. “Right now.”

“Fine! I'm telling your father about this!” She hissed, “Just you wait, Louis! I won't let you end this engagement so easily!”

Then she slammed the door in their faces.

“Did I come at the wrong time?” Legosi nervously asked.

“No. Sorry you have to see that,” Louis sighed, “Give me a moment and I'll be ready right away!”

“Is she your girlfriend?”

“She isn't. She is my fiance.”

Louis disappeared into his bedroom before Legosi could say anything else, leaving the young wolf staring at the door in absolute horror.

 

*****

 

They went to an interspecial restaurant to have dinner, and Louis talked about anything but the bombshell he had dropped. Legosi was dying the whole time with curiosity and anxiety. He wanted to ask, but he also didn't want to ruin their evening. What if Louis got mad that he was trying to poke his nose into Louis’ personal life (again)? Louis was older than him and from a vastly different world from him, so it must be normal to have a fiance at his age, right?

“Legosi, calm down,” Louis’ voice startled him out of his frantic train of thoughts, “I can practically hear your brain working like mad from here. If you want to ask, just ask.”

“H-How did you know?”

“It's written right on your face, Legosi. You are so easy to read it's painful to watch.” Louis rolled his eyes.

Damn! This was why Legosi could never be in the actor group.

“I didn't want to upset you, senpai.” He could feel his ears and tails dropped like a pup caught doing misdeed.

“It's fine. I think everyone knows anyway, except you.” Louis used the fork to play around with his salad, “Not all relationship is as pure and yours and Haru's. It's my obligation to maintain a pure bloodline. I'm supposed to marry her after I graduate. I don't even have a say in the matter.”

“So you don't love her?”

“You don't need love to produce a pureblood heir.” The calm way that Louis said it created a cold, heavy pit in his stomach. Legosi was reminded yet again that Louis led a vastly different life from him. He couldn't imagine how one could marry someone they didn't even love, but for Louis, it was just something he had to do.

It was terribly unfair - he was a no-good, perverted wolf with a herbivore fetish, yet he could live his life however he chose it. Louis wasn't given the same chance.

Louis kicked him under the table, jerking him out of his gloomy mood again. “Drop that mopy face! If you are about to offer me your pity and spout nonsense that you'll protect me or whatever, I'll skew you with my antlers!” Louis crossed his arms, “I told her I was calling it off anyway. That's why she was so upset when you arrived.”

“You rejected her?” Legosi perked up. He really hoped he didn’t sound too happy.

“I have somebody else that I like.”

If Legosi's stomach was heavy before, it was frozen now. But wait, why would he feel this way knowing that Louis’ heart had belonged to someone?

“Enough talking about me.” Louis said, “Have you finally made any progress with Haru, you sad wolf?”

Right! Haru! His rabbit girlfriend! “I don't know.” He said hesitantly. He hadn't been seeing her lately, too busy trying to fit into his new life. There was also the problem that he was a predatorial offender in meat withdrawal, and that he had weird dreams about L--- yeah, no, let's not think about that one with Louis right in front of him.

“What do you mean you don't know? Don't tell me you haven't done anything at all!” Louis raised an eyebrow. “Ask her out on dates, flirt with her, or something…”

His cluelessness must have shown on his face because Louis’ exasperated expression changed to a look of despair.

“You are really hopeless, Legosi.” Louis sighed, waving his hand. “Let's go watch a movie! Maybe you'll learn a thing or two about romance.”

And because Legosi didn't have anything else to do that evening and he didn't mind spending more time with Louis (carefully to not think about those weird dreams), he went with it. Louis paid for their tickets and Legosi paid for the popcorn. They watched a late sappy movie about as interesting as a snoozing sloth, and Legosi was pretty sure the couple behind them unabashedly started to make out ten minutes in. He was barely able to focus on the movies at all, his brain kept imagining Louis as the main actor and the heroin as his secret girlfriend, which was totally ridiculous because he had never met Louis’ girlfriend! He didn't even know her name.

Stop thinking about Louis! He berated himself. There was nothing between him and Louis but a healthy relationship of mutual respect. He tried to think about Haru instead, but his brain decided to blatantly betray him by bringing up the memories of that dream. Legosi wanted a hole to open up where he sat and swallowed him whole.

Louis laughed when he saw how Legosi looked after watching the movies. It made him feel worse - not because he was angry or upset, but because he caught himself thinking that Louis was really breathtaking when he laughed. Legosi wondered if hurling himself head first into a truck would fix his perversion.

When he reached home, he put Louis’ old futon into the washing machine with a generous amount of detergent and fabric softener, hoping it would get rid of Louis’ scent. He laid out his futon - Louis’ scent-free - and buried his face into the pillow, desperately trying to erase each and every kind of immoral thoughts about Louis from his head.

(Legosi, unfortunately, didn't have the power to repress thoughts from sheer will power alone. And his goddamn dreams betrayed him. Again.)

 

*****

 

He decided to use his day off to see Haru. Louis was right - he should take her out, move their relationship forward. Even though he proposed to her, she hadn't accept it yet. Maybe doing things in the normal order would help.

(That, and he needed to stop thinking about Louis all the goddamn time.)

They went to the amusement park together and had great fun. Haru looked adorable in regular clothes - many heads turned when she walked pass. Her hand was warm and small in his. He wanted to protect her from everything and spent the rest of his days by her side, peacefully and happily.

On a whim, he bought a pair of couple rings at the souvenir shop. After much fussing and nervous ados, he finally muttered up enough courage to give them to Haru.

“I was wondering why you were acting so weird. They are just rings, you know. It's not like we are getting engaged or anything.” Haru laughed but reached out her hand regardless. “Here, put it on me.”

She laughed again when Legosi put it on the wrong finger. “You are really hopeless, Legosi.”

For a fleeting moment, the image of Louis flashed through his mind. He forgot all about it instantly, thankfully, when Haru pulled him down into a kiss.

 

*****

 

If Haru was like an oasis in the desert, Louis was the sun, and Legosi could do nothing but being pulled into his orbit like a moth to the flame.

When Louis laughed, Legosi's heart ached and he had to look away from how bright and beautiful Louis was, but burning thoughts about him consumed Legosi for the rest of the day.

They never talked about who was it that Louis had feelings for, although Legosi thought about it all the time. He imagined a beautiful, sweet female red deer clinging onto Louis’ arm. Someone who was allowed to be closer to Louis than he was and understand Louis in ways he never could. His fur stood up and his fangs itched terribly whenever he let himself dwell in such imagination. He was glad he never smelled anybody else on Louis whenever they met up. He wasn't sure how he would react.

“Stop daydreaming!” Louis hit him on the head with a ruler, and Legosi looked up from the book he was (pretending to be) musing over. “It's important to know how to do your taxes, especially now that you aren't a student anymore. You need to get used to the world of adults.”

“I'm sorry,” Legosi said.

Louis now spent some of his free time to teach Legosi about things he needed to know to survive the outside world. Mostly taxes, accounting, civil laws, and laws related to predatorial offender as well as interspecial marriage. He borrowed books from the University library and made Legosi read them, then giving him tests and homework that he prepared. He had no idea how Louis was doing all this while keeping up with his university study with perfect scores (he had never seen Louis’ scores, actually, but it was Louis-senpai he was talking about. They must be perfect). He was glad for Louis’ help, the only problem was that he was a perverted wolf with a herbivore fetish that prone to get easily distracted by his male deer senpai! He would find himself forgetting whatever it was that he was doing just to be enamoured by the velvety fur on Louis’ slender neck, or the fascinating graceful movements of his long fingers, or how long his eyelashes were, or the way his eyes burned with a passionate intensity when he invested all his focus into his works. Legosi felt happy, incredibly happy, that he was afforded this special permission to see Louis under a light that others couldn't. Slowly, parts and parts of Louis unraveled themselves before him, so gorgeous it was heartbreaking, and Legosi let himself drown in awe.

( He has someone he loves. Legosi thought. He also thought of other million things and all of them were embarrassingly about how soft and vulnerable Louis looked and how much Legosi wanted to touch him and hold him.)

If Louis caught him staring, he would send Legosi a disapproving glare, and Legosi would hastily divert his gaze back to the study materials Louis gave him, face hot and ears flattened in shame.

 

*****

 

Legosi continued to dream. Sometimes he was with Haru. Sometimes with Louis. Sometimes both. Three months into his new life, Legosi reached the point where he was past shame and casually accepted whatever his traitorous, perverted brain handed him in his dreams. He hung out with Louis on whatever day the deer could fit him into his schedule, and spent the rest of his free time either studying or dating Haru. Legosi was content with how things were right now, and never tried to name the feelings he had for Louis. He took quiet comfort in the fact that he could have both of them, like this, even though he knew that it was selfish on his part.

Then, it all went down.

 

*****

 

He was at Louis’ apartment, supposedly reading a book about the phenomenon of interspecial relationship - but in reality he was being distracted as usual by the way the light caressing Louis’ antlers and creating beautiful shadows on the shape of his face - when Louis spoke up, not even looking away from the research he was writing. “Do you know that your eyes always dilate when you stare at me like that?”

Legosi was so startled he almost fell off his chair and had to hold onto the table for leverage.

“Your body language is ever so honest. A typical canine trait.” Louis continued, “It tells me a lot more than you want to, I must admit. One just needs to pay the slightest bit of attention, and all your heart's content would be laid out to them like a book.”

Louis reached for the staple gun and stamped all the page together with a bit more force than usual. Legosi felt a slight panic. He didn't like where this was going. Louis then turned to stare at him very intently, his large eyes burning with such intensity Legosi felt like it penetrated into his very soul. He quickly looked away.

“Say, Legosi, I have this carnivore that I like a lot more than I should. I gave him my foot, rejecting all my arranged marriage. I didn't expect anything in from him in return.” A hand gently stroked up Legosi's muzzle, caressing his face fondly, “He's a naive, perverted young wolf that is already in love with another herbivore. He is a virgin and horrible at romance, so I don't know if he didn't realize it himself or if he was in denial, but somehow he managed to fall in love with me as well.” Legosi could feel his face slowly being turned towards Louis. He wanted to run and hide. But he didn't--- couldn’t resist. He was helplessly frozen in place, like a deer in the headlights. “I find it pretty endearing - he is awfully terrible at hiding his attraction towards me, and being the airhead that he is, he remains painstakingly oblivious to the fact that I know.

He was struck by how close Louis’ face was to his, but he was too paralyzed to even move a muscle, let alone pull away. Legosi felt cold sweat spreading across his skin. He was suddenly very aware of his heartbeat and prayed Louis didn’t have the sense of hearing necessary to pick up on it. For the first time in his life, Legosi felt like a prey under the intense gaze of a deer.

“Tell me, Legosi,” Louis’ voice was deceptively even, “What should I do with this idiotic wolf?”

Legosi wished he could die by sheer willpower alone. Time froze as they gazed at each other, Louis’ snout mere inches away from his muzzle - he could feel the deer's warm breaths on his lips - and Legosi wondered which one of them would close the distance first.

Then, Louis burst into laughter.

“Your face, Legosi, it's too much!” Louis said, trying and failing to hold his snickering in. "You look like you think I'm about to eat you alive, or something."

Louis' smile broke the spell and suddenly, Legosi could breathe again; tension seeped out of his body. Louis’ hand was warm on the soft fur of his muzzle, like an anchor that kept him grounded.

I see. He thought, heart strangely calm and head cleared. I really am in love with him.

He held onto Louis’ slim wrist, pulling him in, and kissed him.

And holy moly Louis really knew how to kiss. Maybe Legosi was totally biased considering his almost non-existent experience, but it was magical the things Louis did with his mouth, despite how sharp Legosi's fangs were. Legosi was actually the one left dizzy and panting by the end of it, while Louis’ breath didn't even hitch.

“Close your mouth,” Louis said nonchalantly. “You are drooling.”

“I am not,” Legosi said, but he closed his mouth anyway.

“That aside, I can't believe how clumsy you are at kissing. Haru must be pretty brave to be the first one you kissed.” Louis sighed, “I'm adding 'researching kissing’ assignment into your homework.”

“You are terrible, Louis-senpai.” Legosi groaned.

“Maybe I am.” Louis smiled and kissed Legosi's cheek. “But you are still in love with this terrible senpai of yours.”

Indeed, Legosi was.

 

*****

 

The hardest part of it all was to explain it to Haru. Louis wanted to be there with him, but Legosi wished to do it on his own. He felt like it was his responsibility to take whatever Haru would throw at him, especially when this situation was caused by Legosi being in love with two herbivores at the same time.

They met in the park close to Haru's campus at night. He didn't want anyone to listen in on them, especially because of how important it was that he did this.

“What is it that you want to tell me?” Maybe Legosi was wrong, but Haru looked as anxious as he was.

“Haru…” He swallowed. He had no right to hide it from her. He loved her. “Haru, I am in love with another herbivore.”

The way Haru looked at him broke his heart. “It's not what you think!” He hastily asked, “I love you too, Haru! I still love you!”

“But you would still break up with me to be with her, is that it?” Haru's black eyes started to glisten with tears.

“No, of course, I'm not breaking up with you. Haru, I want to marry you!” Legosi started to panic.

“Then what's about her? What are you going to do with her? Did she know you were in a relationship with me?” Haru's voice got higher and higher, angry and hurt.

“Can't say I didn't know. After all, I was the one who gave you up to him.”

They both whipped their heads to the side to see Louis standing right there, looking exasperated.

“Good grief! This is why I didn't want you to go alone, you dumb dog. You are making her take it the wrong way!” Louis pushed Legosi to the side of the bench so he could sit in the middle. “Here, calm down. Drink this.” He offered Haru a can of vegetable juice, which she obediently took, probably too shocked to do anything else. He turned to Legosi. “You, go sit in a corner and think about what you have done.”

“But... Louis-senpai…”

Louis glared at him and Legosi scuffed away, tail drooping between his legs.

“I don't understand…” Haru said softly, apparently regaining some of her sense, “He is… in love? With you?”

“And with you,” Louis added. “He is in love with both of us.”

Haru could feel her brain tumbling, trying to comprehend the meaning of it. She would understand if Legosi was in love with another female, but with a male deer? With Louis ? While still being in love with her? When did it happen? How did it happen?

Louis waited patiently while she was thinking. He pulled out a cigarette and started smoking.

“Why are you here, Louis?” She thought he was here to make her give up, but he didn't seem to plan to do so.

“Because Legosi is hopeless and I can't leave him alone.” Louis blew a fume of smoke into the air, “It's his fault that we are in this situation though.”

Haru looked at Legosi who was sitting far away from them, ears flattened, tail on the ground, looking dejected.

“He's so weird, isn't he?” Haru said, “Being in love with a herbivore isn't enough. He has to be in love with two of them at the same time.”

“Indeed.”

“Why does he always have to make things so complicated?”

“Well, sometimes I do wonder if I have to murder him to stop him from acting like a complete psycho.”

Haru actually giggled a little at that.

“Take your time,” Louis said. “What happens from here on out is all up to you. Whether you decide to leave, or stay, or that you can't accept me in this relationship, it's all up to you.”

“If I said no, would you give up on him?”

“I guess.” Louis took a drag then breathed out another fume of smoke, “Whatever it is, I respect your decision.”

It was strange how sincere and serene Louis was about the whole thing. When he was with her, he always acted tough despite how unstable he was, desperately putting up a perfect facade for the world to see. And no matter what she did, he always seemed so lonely. He had shown Haru more of himself than he had ever shown anyone, but it still wasn't enough. Like there was an unbreakable barrier between them that he still wouldn't - couldn't - allow her to pass.

She wondered if Louis let Legosi pass it.

“Do you love him?” She asked.

Louis looked at her with a sad, gentle smile, and didn't say anything.

 

*****

 

“I only allow this one because it is Louis,” Haru said. Legosi still looked dumbfounded after she finally finished explaining her decision to him, like he couldn't believe what was happening before his eyes.

“Same here.” Louis agreed, “If you dare to say that you are actually in love with yet another herbivore, I will skew you with my antlers.”

“And I'll help,” Haru said with a straight face.

“So two is your limit, Legosi. We'll figure more things out as it goes.”

Legosi must be dreaming, he thought. There was no way something like this could happen to him. He looked at Haru, then looked at Louis, overwhelmed with feelings for both. He felt like he didn't deserve it. He didn't deserve them.

“I'm sorry,” His eyes started to get wet and blurry. He felt so ashamed thinking about what his idiotic actions must have put them through. He should have just stayed content with loving just one of them.

“You’d better be.” Louis sighed, taking hold of his hand.

“Yes, you are lucky that I love you. And that I like Louis.” Haru said, taking hold of his other hand.

Their hands were so warm. At one point or another in his life, Legosi had desperately fought with his life on the line for these warm hands. And he wouldn't hesitate to do it again, over and over, if it was for their sake.

“Stop crying,” Louis groaned, “You are making this awkward for all three of us.”

Haru kindly produced a handkerchief and helped him wipe his face.

“Thank you, Haru.” He sniffled. She smiled and kissed him on his nose.

“Thank you, Louis-senpai.” He turned to Louis. Louis rolled his eyes, but also placed a kiss on his nose.

The three of them sat, side by side, hand in hand, under the starry sky of an autumn evening. The chilly wind caressed Legosi's ears, but he didn't feel cold.

He felt loved.