Editor: Ferret Thao
Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
As he let out a yawn, Rick sluggishly climbed onto the bed. He already felt better once he was in that warm, snug room.
He pulled the cushions closer and closer to the center of the bed before fluffing them with his fist. He then grabbed his soft blanket and wrapped himself in it snuggly as he curled into a ball. After a second, he reached out and grasped the squirrel doll and hugged it in his arms.
When he snuggled against the doll’s cheeks, he found that it felt nice. Rick moved his tail from between his thighs and shifted it in front of him. The fluffy, familiar sensation made Rick sleepy.
He squeezed both the squirrel plushie’s tail and his own tail as he burrowed under a cushion. There was no better feeling than being warm and cozy.
I’m sleepy…but my mind is racing…
Rick couldn’t seem to stop yawning. He shook his head to drive away his drowsiness.
He wanted to spend a little more time thinking about the fire and the house afterward. During hibernation season, it was virtually impossible to wake up once you fell asleep in an optimal environment until the season was over.
Of course, no matter how deeply you were hibernating, you’d wake up if you got hungry. You’d also need to take a bath from time to time and tend to your personal hygiene. However, you’d essentially do it all while you were asleep, and unlike when you were awake during non-hibernation season, you’d be absent-minded and confused. Basically, you were sleepwalking. However, it was natural; for beastmen like Rick, that was just the way it worked.
That’s why…before then…before…then…
Rick mumbled as he tried to open his eyes. However, for some reason, everything was pitch-black.
That was because Rick had already closed his eyes.
Hu…ah…Speaking of which, Mr. Davis…
Suddenly, his mind was filled with thoughts of the scary (but kind) bear beastman.
He was handsome, big, strong, and lived in a large house. He was the exact opposite of Rick.
He was also strange: he had called Rick “cute.”
He’s a weird guy…but he’s a good person.
That was not the first time that Rick had been called “cute” by a man. It was because Rick was a small-type beastman. All small-type beastmen were relatively tiny, whether they were men or women. This meant that they were popular with certain groups of medium- and large-type beastmen. No, not quite “popular.” It was more like they were ridiculed.
Because they were small and delicate, these beastmen could not put up much of a fight. Therefore, it was said that they made the perfect “playmates.” In other words, they made easy prey.
Sometimes when he was working at the shop or when he was out walking, medium- or even large-type beastmen would call out to him with a leer: “Hey, you, cutie with the big tail. Why don’t we have some fun tonight, huh?”
Of course, he never once accepted any of those invitations. But when those sorts of things happened, he was always startled. People like that saw Rick as someone that they could use as they pleased.
But Mr. Davis is…
Rick remembered how Davis had held the nuts Rick had given him and called them “special.” 1
Davis had said it with a sincere look in his eyes.
Gradually, Rick started to curl further into a ball. He was floating on a wave of cushions, as though he were bobbing up and down, buoyed by a warm sea.
Before he knew it, Rick was sound asleep.
The sound of his own stomach rumbling woke him up.
Rick pawed at his face as he yawned. He squirmed from underneath the cushion and moved on top of it.
He picked up a single nut from the bowl, cracked open its shell with a hammer, and then removed the contents. He repeated this with a second and third nut, splitting them open and then eating them.
Still half-asleep and with his eyes closed, he reached out to grab the next nut. His fingertips tapped against a flat surface.
Cracking open one eye, Rick found that the silver tray–which had been piled with nuts before–was now completely bare.
After repeatedly waking up and eating, it seemed that he had run out of nuts.
Since he didn’t have any more nuts on his tray, he’d have to go to grab some from the pantry.
Rick stood up, a drowsy expression on his face. Then, he noticed that he was still hugging the squirrel plush in one hand. Rick laughed as he thought that, somehow, he had come to really like the doll. He tucked a blanket over it; the squirrel plushie could sleep in the bed while he was gone.
Having forgotten to put on his slippers, Rick’s bare feet smacked against the floor as he walked down the corridor.
I feel rejuvenated…but I’m still sleepy…
While he was out to get nuts, he decided that he might as well take a bath since he was up, so he went to the bathroom. While he ran the bathwater, he almost fell asleep. While he was soaking in the warm water, he almost fell asleep. While he was changing his clothes, he almost fell asleep. He felt relaxed enough to fall asleep on the bathroom floor. Somehow, he was able to resist the urge to nap on the floor and made his way to the pantry.
With a yawn, Rick finally arrived at the pantry, and he grabbed as many nuts as he could carry. However, because he was sleepy-sleepy, his mind wandered and his eyelids dropped. He tried his best to hang on to his pile of nuts so they wouldn’t fall.
“Um…is it this way?”
Through half-closed eyes, Rick searched for his destination as he continued down the corridor. He meandered around as he walked, snaking from side to side. As a result, Rick didn’t have a good grasp of his current location.
“Huh? This way…?”
Rick continued to walk down the hall. He felt that the corridor was rather long.
During hibernation season, one’s judgement temporarily became clouded. No matter what happened, it was practically impossible to wake up fully until hibernation season ended.
He was hibernating in an unfamiliar (and spacious) home, so it was no surprise that he had gotten lost… However, Rick wasn’t even aware that he was lost.
“Ah, it must be this way…”
As Rick said those uncertain words, he opened the door to a room.
Feeling a blast of warm air, Rick chuckled to himself and continued walking to the middle of the room. As Rick placed his nuts on the bedside table, he found that there was already a pile of nuts there, and he cocked his head. There were various other items also piled up next to the nuts. He sensed that there were foods that he couldn’t eat, like smoked fish and meat, lined up on the table, but Rick was so sleepy that he didn’t think much of it.
He flopped on the bed and clung to one of the cushions. It felt like, somehow, the cushion was stiffer than it was before. He kneaded it with his hands and feet, but it remained hard. Well, it was hard, but it was also…
It was strangely warm, and Rick figured it must have been a heated cushion. Davis had gone so far as to prepare that kind of thing for him. As Rick shut his eyes, he was filled with a strong sense of gratitude toward the silent, handsome bear beastman.
He was going to thank Davis, but the only sound his mouth would make was an unintelligible mumble.
The instant he called Davis’ name, Rick felt that somehow his cushion had started to move a little, but he decided that he must have been mistaken.
Clinging to the warm cushion, Rick departed for the land of dreams.
Right before he fell asleep, he remembered that he put his squirrel plushie on the bed. His hands groped around in search of it, until they finally landed on something that felt like his plushie, and he gave it a tight squeeze. Somehow, the doll felt stiffer than it was before. However, Rick was too drowsy to examine it further.
Before long, the warm room echoed with the sounds of synchronized snores. “Honk-honk, shoo-shoo.” That’s right: not one but two.
They were not the snores of a single person but instead of two people.