Caption 1: ok so what if... college au, cait is a lonely grad student who gets a bunny. vi is a working student on scholarship who occasionally crashes at cait's place and for some reason the bunny really likes her and it makes cait a bit jealous
Caption 2: college au part 2, something something when your pet senses and likes a good person and said person also happens to be your crush
Caitlyn brushed the water from her face and her eyes, and turned off the tap.
“Cait, you home?”
Caitlyn could hear Vi shuffling around outside, kicking off her sneakers and dropping her backpack on the couch, before the sound of footsteps drew near. She fumbled around for a towel, drying her face and hands, and turned to see Vi leaning against the door with one arm.
“Hi,” Vi said huskily.
Vi was dressed in a sleeveless shirt and shorts, arms glistening with sweat after what must have been a long workout at the gym. Caitlyn’s eyes flickered across the expanse of her chest and along the well-toned muscles that flexed so deliciously as Vi shifted her weight. Warmth pooled in her gut, the desire curling and unfurling lazily, threading downwards just a little lower.
“Hi,” Caitlyn hung the towel back on the rack and turned to face Vi fully. “I didn’t know you were going to be staying over tonight.”
“Yeah, sorry for dropping by without warning. I just picked up an extra shift for tonight, so I thought I’d just crash here since I have an early class tomorrow.” Vi’s smile faltered a little. “Oh shit, that’s ok, right? You don’t have anyone staying over or urgent projects you have to finish up or anything like that? It’s just that, I might need to crash on-and-off here because of summer classes. Is that cool?”
Although Vi was on a full scholarship with the university, she still worked at the school gym and the bar close to campus to help with her expenses. But Vi lived on the other side of town, and the bar was only two blocks away from Caitlyn’s apartment and a few minutes’ walk from school, and so Vi would crash at Caitlyn’s apartment whenever she had a night shift at the bar.
Except Vi had also once stumbled into the apartment in the middle of the night, unannounced and half-asleep, to hear the muffled sound of gasping and panting and moaning. And Caitlyn had opened her bedroom door the next morning to see a very flustered Vi munching on a piece of toast, decidedly looking everywhere but at her as Caitlyn’s companion slipped out of the apartment quickly.
They had come to an arrangement soon after – where Vi would drop Caitlyn a quick note as early as possible if she wanted to stay over for the night. It worked perfectly, although there was still the odd day when Vi would forget to do so. And today was such a day.
Caitlyn placed a hand on Vi’s arm as she shuffled past her into her bedroom. “No, no. You’re free to stay. I’ll be staying here over the summer too, since I’m doing an internship in the area.”
“Thanks, Cupcake.” Vi grinned, trailing after Caitlyn. “Anyway, I was going to ask. There’s a rabbit running around in your living room?”
“Oh!” Caitlyn swivelled around, hands behind her head as she busied herself with tying up her hair in a ponytail. “That’s right. I just adopted him from the shelter. I haven’t decided on a name yet though.”
“You adopted a rabbit?”
“Yes. It gets a bit lonely here, so I thought it would be nice to have some company.”
“If you wanted company, you could have just asked,” Vi said with a smirk.
Caitlyn rolled her eyes with a fond huff, the barest hint of a smile on her lips. “ Anyway , he’s eight months old. I got him a week ago, so he’s still a little nervous around me. He won’t really let me hold him for too long just yet, but we’re making progress.”
Vi poked her head out of the doorway, peering around the living room and not seeing the bunny. “He’s spirited, that’s for sure.”
“He has free range of the living room. I hope that’s ok.”
Vi wandered back out into the living room and headed for the kitchen. “Not at all. I’ll make sure to look where I’m going. I, uh…might have stepped on Claggor’s dog before.”
“It was an accident! Pets are so quiet when they walk around! One second the dog was there, the next she was in front of me and I stepped on her tail!”
“Please don’t step on my bunny.”
“I’m kidding. I’ll be extra careful.”
Grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge, Vi headed back into the living room. Placing a hand on the back of the couch, she hopped over it in one fluid motion, landing on the seat with a resounding thump.
A fluffy head poked out from underneath the couch at the commotion and Vi swung her legs up over the armrest as she peered below. The rabbit wiggled out, staring up at her with big round eyes. It was black, with white rings around its eyes, a white patch on its chest shaped like a bandana, white paws almost as if it was wearing socks, and a white tail.
Vi reached down slowly, scratching the top of its head. It shook its head in response and hopped away only for Caitlyn to scoop it up in her arms.
“There you are,” Caitlyn murmured, pressing a kiss on its nose. “Say hello to Vi.”
The rabbit squirmed free from Caitlyn’s grasp and landed on Vi’s lap. It scrabbled to regain its footing and Vi wrapped her arms around it, gently pulling it closer to her chest.
“Hey there, little one,” Vi whispered. “You’re ok.”
She stroked its fur with the utmost tenderness, brushing over its ears and cheeks with childlike wonder.
The bunny settled down a bit more, grinding its teeth lightly. And Vi looked up, eyes shining in delight as it snuggled down in her arms like a loaf. Caitlyn rounded the couch and sat beside Vi, face melting into the fondest expression as she watched Vi bond with her rabbit.
“You know what, Cupcake. I know what you should call this little fella.” Vi rubbed at its cheeks with a finger, marvelling at the fluffiness.
“Cookie! Because he’s black and white, like an oreo cookie!”
Caitlyn stared at Vi for a second before her face split into a grin, mirroring Vi’s own.
She bent down and pressed a little kiss on Cookie’s head. “We’re quite the collection of confectionaries now, aren’t we?”
Cookie’s nose twitched in response, ears flicking around before it hopped back onto the floor and off to its water bowl.
“Think he’ll be ok with me sleeping here tonight?” Vi asked, gaze never leaving the rabbit.
Caitlyn folded her arms, smiling at the fascination and adoration in Vi’s eyes.
What she would give for Vi to look at her the same way.
Shaking her head slightly, Caitlyn asked, “Are you ? Rabbits are nocturnal, so he might be a bit noisy.”
“Oh, nah, don’t worry about me. He seems like a total sweetheart.”
“Aren’t you quite the sweet talker,” Caitlyn teased. “I can see how you get all the ladies.”
Vi rolled over onto her back and stared up at Caitlyn with a smirk. “The guns and abs help too, I suppose.”
And Vi laughed heartily when Caitlyn’s eyes immediately flicked down to her stomach, where her shirt had ridden up slightly. Caitlyn flushed, crossing her arms across her chest and looking away, causing Vi to laugh even harder.
“Anyway, I’m going to take a shower and head off to work. See you tomorrow morning?”
“Have a good day at work,” Caitlyn called after Vi, heart stuttering as Vi gave her a little wave of acknowledgement before disappearing into the bathroom.
She spent another second or so staring at the closed door before forcing herself to snap out of her stupor.
Gods, she was so infatuated with this woman.
Caitlyn padded into the living room as quietly as she could. She hadn’t heard Vi return to the apartment in the early hours of the morning, but the tuft of pink hair poking over the top of the cushion and the sound of snoring told her all she needed to know; Vi must have been too tired to make her way to the spare room.
There was a quiet rustling and Caitlyn nearly let out a giggle as she took in the sight before her.
Vi was sleeping on her stomach, one arm hanging over the edge of the couch, the other tucked under her head, and Cookie was nestled between her arms, staring at her curiously. Cookie nuzzled closer, whiskers twitching and probing, and then it started licking Vi’s nose.
Vi groaned, wrinkling her nose at the itch, before hugging the bunny with a sigh. Caitlyn stifled the laugh bubbling in her chest and snapped a quick photo with her phone. Cookie leapt onto Vi’s shoulder at the sound of the clicking of the shutter and Vi opened her eyes blearily.
“What?” She mumbled, a hand rubbing at her eyes absently.
Cookie decided to come back down from where it was perched, except it felt that scrambling down Vi’s face would be the best way to do so.
Vi let out a squeak of surprise, barely catching the bunny as it slipped. “Woah, hey buddy, be careful there.”
She rubbed its forehead, planted a kiss there, and let it down onto the ground.
Rolling over, she caught sight of Caitlyn. “Oh, morning, Cupcake.”
A mischievous grin slowly spread across Vi’s face as she sat up. “Were you staring at me while I slept?”
“What? No!” Caitlyn strode over to the kitchen, feeling her cheeks flare up. “I just came out to see you cuddling Cookie.”
If anything, Vi’s grin grew even wider. “Aw, are you jealous of your rabbit?”
“Oh my god.”
“That’s what she said.”
“Ugh, you’re incorrigible.” Caitlyn busied herself with rummaging around the fridge. “Do you want breakfast?”
“No, I’m good, thanks.” Vi chuckled and stood up, stretching her arms and cracking her neck. “What about Cookie?”
“He gets a handful of pellets. Do you think you can grab it from the top shelf?” Caitlyn asked as she kicked the fridge door shut with her foot. She shuffled over to the counter and placed down a box of pancake mix, a carton of milk and a banana.
Vi eased past Caitlyn from behind, placing a hand against Caitlyn’s back to steady herself. Caitlyn stiffened under her touch, hand stuttering for a second and nearly sloshing milk all over the counter.
“Sorry,” Vi mumbled.
Caitlyn couldn’t resist sneaking a quick glance at Vi, watching her back muscles ripple as she stretched on tiptoe to grab the bag of rabbit pellets, noting the way her shirt was pulled up with the movement and trying very hard not to think about the well-defined abs she had seen on more than one occasion; Vi had a tendency to wander around the apartment after a shower in nothing but a sports bra and sweatpants.
“Cait, your pancakes look like they’re burning.”
Caitlyn flipped the pancake quickly, letting out a sigh of relief when it was only a bit browner than usual.
Vi brushed past her again and waved the bag in the air. “Hey buddy, you ready for breakfast?”
Cookie’s ears pricked up at the rustling and bounded over to Vi, circling her feet excitedly. Vi opened the bag and Cookie sat on Vi’s foot, waiting patiently for its breakfast.
“Alright, alright. Give me a second. Cait, how big is a handful?”
“A small handful. Just use your hands.”
Vi bit back a grin and slid down to sit on the ground next to Caitlyn, her back against the kitchen cabinet. “Cute slippers, by the way.”
Caitlyn wiggled her toes, causing the bunny ears on her purple slippers to wobble. “They are, just like you, isn’t that right, Cookie?
The rabbit ignored Caitlyn, too focused on the food that was currently in Vi’s hand. Standing on its hindlegs, it clambered onto Vi, resting its front paws on her chest.
“Ok, ok.” Vi’s voice became just a little higher, a little softer. “Here you go.”
Cookie made happy little honking noises and snuffled at Vi for more.
“I think your bunny likes me more than you,” Vi said jokingly.
“I think you like him more than you like me,” Caitlyn quipped.
“Don’t be jealous, Cupcake. I still love you more.”
Caitlyn stilled as her heart dropped to her stomach, but Vi was too busy fussing over Cookie – who was clearly very pleased with the food and attention – to notice.
Swallowing hard, Caitlyn composed herself and slid the pancakes onto her plate before leaning against the counter and watching the scene unfold.
It was heartwarming seeing Vi interact with Cookie. It was clear that Vi adored the little bunny, and Cookie adored Vi in return.
They said animals could sense the kindness and the good in people, and Caitlyn was inclined to agree.
Vi was the most gentle, most caring person she knew. She was immeasurably kind and generous, and had the biggest heart, and that was just one of the few things Caitlyn loved about her.
Yet for all their banter and ambiguous flirting, she was still finding it so difficult to tell Vi how she really felt, and Vi’s easygoing and teasing nature did little to clarify her feelings.
And so she kept these thoughts to herself, content to simply spend the next few weeks of summer watching Vi bond with her rabbit. More often than not, Caitlyn would come back to the apartment to see the two of them being inseparable, with Vi sprawled on the floor, petting or playing with Cookie, speaking to it in a high-pitched baby voice, and Cookie following Vi around, hopping onto the sofa to lie beside her or flopping down to sleep as Vi gamed on her Switch; Caitlyn nearly had a heart attack when Vi once almost dropped the console on the sleeping bunny below.
But then August came around, and Vi’s schedule became quite mad for the last few weeks of the summer holiday, and she spent most of it at her own apartment or crashing with Jinx and Ekko.
Caitlyn was also busy with her internship, but they kept in touch with messages and calls and the sporadic lunch and coffee break. She missed having Vi crashing over at her apartment or spending time lazing about during the weekends, but her yearning was nothing compared to that of her bunny.
Every time she returned home, Cookie would look expectantly at her and then hop away slowly and huddle in a corner or under the couch listlessly after a second or two. Caitlyn would try to tempt it with treats and new toys, but Cookie would lose attention very quickly and run off to hide somewhere.
She had initially thought that Cookie was ill, but a visit to the vet proved otherwise.
It was only one night when Vi video called Caitlyn that Caitlyn noticed how Cookie’s entire demeanour perked up at the sound of Vi’s voice, and how it dashed over and hopped onto Caitlyn’s stomach, peering at the screen of her phone.
“You miss her, don’t you?”
Cookie looked at her, nudging her hand with its nose before snuggling down and sitting down on her chest.
“I know, sweetheart. I do too.”
She sent Vi a text the next day.
Two days later, Vi pushed open the door to the apartment and Cookie was by her feet in an instant, honking happily.
“Hey baby,” Vi breathed out, crouching down to stroke Cookie on the head and along the length of its back. “Did you miss me?”
“He missed you so much,” Caitlyn said, eyes softening, betraying the words she couldn’t say.
“I missed you too,” Vi murmured to the bunny, returning the unspoken sentiment to the woman standing beside her.
Caitlyn swallowed her nervousness as best as she could and ventured, “If your schedule’s not too crazy after the summer, perhaps you could visit him more often? He’s been down ever since you stopped coming by as frequently.”
Vi straightened up, a shy smile on her lips.
“Actually, I just finished the last class for the summer. So, it’s mostly normal fall semester stuff coming up.” She rubbed the back of her neck and cleared her throat. “And I was thinking of getting a new place for the new school year. My lease is ending this month, and it would be nice to live closer to campus. So, are you by any chance open to having a roommate?”
Caitlyn could feel her heart hammering in her chest, and she tried to hold her voice steady. “Absolutely.”
“Anything for Cookie,” Vi said with a cheeky grin, eyes catching Caitlyn’s in an electric clash of blue.
Caitlyn raised an eyebrow, fighting not to betray her thoughts. “Really now?”
And Vi’s voice dropped a little lower, a little more quiet. “Anything for you.”
Caitlyn’s heart skipped another beat. She was speechless but Vi pressed on.
“I like you, Caitlyn,” Vi said softly, still holding Caitlyn’s gaze. “I really like you. And I think you like me too.”
Caitlyn nodded. “I really like you too.”
Cookie nudged Caitlyn lightly and she picked him up, planting a kiss on his nose.
“Who knew you would be quite the matchmaker, hm?” She whispered. “I owe you.”
Cookie blinked in agreement.
Vi stepped closer until she was pressed up against Cookie lightly. Caitlyn made to hand the bunny over to Vi, but Vi simply rubbed its head fondly, before she leaned upwards and kissed Caitlyn.
“Maybe I should elevate you from “roommate” to “girlfriend”,” Caitlyn murmured as they broke apart.
“You know what, I think that’s the best idea you’ve had this summer.”
“Second to adopting Cookie?”
“Second to adopting Cookie.”