title: one thing, then another
fandom: Free!
characters/pairings: Makoto/Haru/Rin (ish), Nagisa, Rei(ish), Miho
rating: G
warnings: death of a mouse, some cat violence
summary: It started with Rin...
notes: part of the Iwatobi Animal Shelter series.

It started because Rin found a mouse.

At first, he just corned it and played with it, and then he got bored with it and let it get away, and then he cornered it again. He played with it for a while, again, and finally decided to just kill it. After he'd broken its neck, he didn't know what to do with it, so he decided to give it as a present.

To Makoto.

When Makoto saw the tiny corpse, he started to howl and moan, which caused the hair on Rin's spine to rise. Haru came to see what upset Makoto. When he realized that there was a dead mouse in front of Makoto and Makoto was crying because of it, he ate the mouse. In one gulp. When Makoto saw that, he whimpered and covered his face with his paws. Rin started to hiss.

"That wasn't for you! That was for Makoto!"

"Makoto didn't want it! So I got rid of it!"

Rin lunged at Haru and Haru swiped at Rin, his claws extended.

"Fight! Fight!" Nagisa cheered, jumping around on his perch.

The butterfly he was about to eat got loose, and fluttered down to the bottom, were the small separation at the bottom of the door allowed it to escape. Nagisa went into a flurry, madly throwing himself against the cage walls and door, trying to get out.

"Please don't fight!" Makoto begged, wailing and howling.

Haru and Rin chased each other around the room, around Makoto, taking swipes at each other, snarling, and snapping their jaws. Haru tackled Rin and Rin bit Haru's tail and they both toppled into the birdcage.

The butterfly fluttered as hard as it could, taking refuge on Makoto's nose.

Nagisa took advantage of the cage rocking back and forth, and flew headfirst into the door, jarring the lock loose and gaining his freedom.

Makoto whimpered.

Nagisa flew right to Makoto's nose and his beloved butterfly. Haru and Rin snarled, and they leapt toward Nagisa, claws and fangs out. Nagisa pulled up at the last minute as the butterfly took off.

Haru and Rin couldn't change trajectory that fast.

Miho rubbed Makoto's flank nervously as the doctor worked on the last stitches. "I can't believe this. Haru and Rin often fight, but like... littermates, usually! Poor Makochan!"

"You're too soft!" the vet chucked, winking at her. "It's not as bad as it looked, anyway. He'll be completely fine, you won't even see the scars once his fur grows back in."

"I think they were fighting over a mouse. Anyway, Haru threw up some bones and fur... Oh! Will he be ok? Eating a mouse like that?" Miho made a face. She fed that brat fresh fish often! Why would he have to eat a mouse?!

"He used to be an outside cat, right?" the vet asked.

"Yeah, he roamed about, but he mostly lived in the yard of this wonderful old lady. When she died, I brought him in..." Miho sighed.

"I'm sure he'll be fine, then. He should already have been exposed to mice," the vet shrugged. She winked at Miho, trying to calm her down. "If he starts to show any symptoms, just bring him in right away. And I'm afraid Makoto's going to have to wear the cone until his stitches come out."

Miho sighed heavily, putting her head down on the sedated dog's fur. "Children are less stressful," she said darkly.

"Don't be so sure," the vet replied sunnily.

Makoto rubbed at his cone. The nice lady had brought him home but she didn't take it off. At first, she wasn't going to let him back into their room, either. But Haru and Rin were caterwauling, and Makoto kept scratching at the door, trying to get to them, so she finally relented.

She still didn't take off the cone, though.

"If you keep at that, they're going to give you an even bigger one," Rin said, rubbing his chin on Makoto's leg.

"That's not how it works," Haru scoffed.

"Oh, like you know?" Rin shot back.

Haru leaned into the cone, and licked Makoto's nose. His ears were stuck sideways, and it looked funny. "I'm sorry we scratched your face up. Hurry up and heal."

"I'm trying," Makoto said, unsure what he was supposed to do to heal, but understanding that his being unhealed was making Haru unhappy, so he had to get healing fast.

Rin moved up to bump Haru, trying to get close to Makoto's face, too. "Yeah, I'm sorry, too. I'm also sorry Haru ate your mouse," Rin glared at Haru.

"I'm sorry Rin killed that mouse," Haru glared right back at Rin.

"Poor mouse," Makoto sighed.

"Stupid cats! Hurt the dog! Bad cats! Bad cats!" Nagisa squawked, flapping around in his newly reinforced and double-locked cage.

"I'm sorry we didn't eat the bird," Rin narrowed his eyes at Nagisa.

"We should have at least maimed him," Haru agreed.

Nagisa yelped, and flapped more feverishly.

"Aw, guys, don't hurt Nagisa," Makoto sighed, swiping at his cone.

He felt vaguely that getting injured wasn't his fault and he shouldn't have been punished for it, but the nice lady still hadn't taken the cone off, so he supposed that he was a bad dog and he just had to suffer for it.

But living with kitties, even if they were really beautiful and nice, made it awfully hard to be a good dog.