Living as Kuromu Dokuro

Chapter 2

Ring~ Her alarm went off in an incessant screeching, hurting her head the longer she stayed in bed. Nagi groaned, having little choice but to reach forward to shut the alarm up before falling back into her bed with a 'thump'.

The air was crisp that morning, sending frequent chills down her spine, and already, she was curling up in a failed attempt at seeking a warm spot. Light shone through her translucent grey curtains, giving her dimly lit room an unholy silver glow.

Was it school already?

She attempted to blink away her overwhelming fatigue, but tears sprang the more she blinked, and she was eventually forced to rub at her eyes to get rid of the liquid. It was hard to avoid thinking about the dark circles that were sure to form. It was her own fault for staying up to read, after all. She smashed her head into the pillow as morning-custom dictated.

Glancing at the clock, she cursed, and shot up from her bed in a rush to ready herself. She never once claimed to be a morning person.

She swore, the two higher beings must be punishing her insolence. Why else would her daily life be so enduring?

Whether she knew better or not, those insults from her classmates distressed her in ways unimaginable, like tiny paper-cuts in her heart accumulating until they would not stop bleeding. Taunts on the other hand, scraped fiercely on her nerves, wearing them thin until she often had to visibly restrain herself from ripping her classmates apart. Even so, the clenching of her fists and the grinding of her teeth in immense effort of iwillnotbreakthelawatleastnotnownotyet and dontkillthemnotallowedyetnotyetpleasebemorepatient would only be taken as yet another source of ridicule. It was truly admirable self control, that or an aversion to dead bodies, that no one died so far.

(Because obviously, she never did quite find murder a morally disturbing act ever since those boys murdered her only real friend, a cat from her previous life, an action that had led to an enlightenment on her part. In the end, whether the lives of cats, dogs or humans, lives were of equal values – appallingly insignificant compared to one's own life. However, she never did quite get over her fear of dead bodies from that incident, humans or land mammals alike.)

Perhaps it might be a need for stress-relief verbal punching bags, or maybe they sincerely believed that 'her' suicide-stunt was attention-seeking and despised her for it. It could even be jealousy of her nearly effortless decent grades, or plain mob mentality that caused her to be disliked for her complacent independence. Regardless of the truth, she soon learned that ignoring them and their hard work at snapping her limited patience was for the better. When unbearable, count backwards from fifty in prime numbers, or turn and leave before anyone becomes injured permanently.

Unfailingly, her books would tide her over each day. The teachers have long since given up on embarrassing her in class to prove that she 'cheated', especially since they were always the ones resuming their lessons utterly humiliated by her textbook quoted examples. (On days when she was banned from the library, what else to do than reread the textbooks?) They rarely called her out for reading unrelated books in class anymore, and subsequently began a tradition of warning the new teacher against it, filling their unprejudiced heads with smears of her name. With preconceptions fed to them like this, it was of no surprise that in case of any conflict, she was automatically assumed to be the culprit. This further proved her point about not getting into trouble until whenever she encountered Mukuro.

With this firmly in mind, she stuffed her head with fantasies of what to do with those insufferable twits once 'Nagi' was officially of no more. It was truly unfortunate that they could not all go missing at once, but the things she planned to try on them sounded more than enough to make up for it.

The azure sky was dotted with barely a few clouds that day, which meant that the sun had full reins to poison Nagi to death. Her naturally fair skin burned under the sun, and clear sweat beads emerged and rolled down from her forehead with each laborious step she took, her legs weighed down by the way-too-many books in her school backpack.

Nagi wanted, needed to get indoors, but she couldn't bring herself to head home. She took her time to stroll back home from school, taking the longest way possible, desperately wishing for time to pass so she could avoid seeing her "Father". She cursed and swore the whole way to get the image of a giggly and chatty and fangirling Mother out of her head. Why was she so freaking cheerful when talking about him and only his... uh appearance? Mother was even all smug and excited about his homecoming! Disgusting motherfuckers. Wait, disgusting mother...what? Nononope, she wasn't going there. Ewww.

Her chain of profanities was later interrupted by a soft meow. A cat? She almost stepped on the cute and petite creature when she saw its eyes, forgetting to stop her feet before staring, only managing that after nearly stumbling over the cat. Slit and ruby-coloured, its eyes drew her in with little difficulty, playing on her fascination with exotic eye colours, and her reluctant attachment to cats.

Silky, pure black fur, accentuating its inborn grace and deadly elegance, both of which constantly demonstrated with its every step, every pounce. Wild cats were natural predators, and she had found herself distinctly admiring of that fact since forever. She wondered briefly, if she would be allowed to keep the cat if she were to successfully convince it to come home with her.

There and then however, Nagi remembered about how Chrome was supposed to get run over by a car to save a cat. She cringed at the metal image of her squashed organs, but remembering that it had been how Chrome met Mukuro and escaped her uncaring Mother, she able to throw her disturbing thoughts away. Who the hell cares about organs~

She tried to radiate harmlessness, careful not to startle the cat as she inched forward. Its curious eyes followed her right hand as it reached out, neither fleeing nor resisting, though it let out a cautious hiss when she began stroking its back gently. She wasn't sure if the cat was going to start trusting her anytime soon, but she continued stroking its soft, jet-black fur, untainted by other colours. After a while, it let down its guard, softly purring as she scratched behind its ears.

'So cuuuute~!' She almost squealed, barely resisting the urge to squeeze the cat to death. She was in awe with the cat – its fur a smooth coat of darkness, its eyes the colour of blood rust, suspicious of strangers yet ridiculously docile in kind hands.

Her soothing strokes slowed as the glint in her eyes turned contemplative, eliciting a hiss of dissatisfaction from the cat. She couldn't bring the home and she knew it, but... What Mother didn't know, didn't harm, Nagi decided.

Her mind set on that path of action, she returned to providing the cat the undistracted attention it demanded from her.

Days passed... perhaps a bit too peacefully. All seemed well, and as usual, Nagi was curled up in her favourite corner of the library, a book in her hands, reading with the assistance of adequate illumination.

She lightly stroked the sleeping cat that was curled up on a cushion beside her, careful not to disturb or awaken it. The smell of coffee permeated her cozy little haven of books, and chewing on a piece of candy, Nagi could not help but think that the situation could not get better.

Things seemed nearly perfect, but happiness was frequently short lived when her Mother was at home...

"Nagi! Get your ass down here RIGHT NOW!" Mother sceeched, her voice sharp and grating as it pierced through the low-grade soundproofing all the way to the library. Nagi blanched at the unfortunately familiar voice, unwilling to accept that she had just been robbed of her hard-earned respite so easily.

In short, abrupt movements, she stood up and put her book down, her visage showing a comical, frozen denial. Nagi could faintly hear the shrilled voice ranting at her from down in the living room, and inwardly winced at some of the more creative insults and derogatory terms.

She is improving in her insults, finally...

That thought made her break out in a rueful grin. She truly did not feel like dealing with Mother right now, but she did not have a choice. Grudgingly, she left her paradise of books, eyes lingering but adamant on avoiding the sight of her unfinished cup of coffee. By the time she could return to this place undisturbed, the coffee would most likely have turned cold.

Laying eyes on the small creature, her gaze softened. She had unwittingly grown attached to this animal, whom she had already determined would become the cause of her second death. Whatever should she do?

Turning away, she began heading down to the living room, slightly curious about whatever got Mother so riled up now that she was finished mourning the loss of her short repose. Mother had always been easily agitated, but this time she sounded like she needed a good lay. Then remembering what happened each time Father returned home, she shuddered in disgust. Scratch that, they should get better soundproofing before doing anything.

"-been stealing haven't you?!" Stealing?

"That piece of metal..." Nagi frowned, stopping herself halfway on the wooden steps, where she could hear Mother rant at her without being seen. Which piece of metal?

"-dare you insult me?! To write down such... such disrespectful things about me with such a colourful vocabulary...! You're living in MY house, living on MY money, so HOW DARE YOU?! Son of a-" Oh fucking no, she must have found Chrome's diary. Shit.

Nagi knew it, she should have returned the items to the manga and shoved the book back in the shelf... Curse her laziness! Mother must have been snooping around in her room if she found Chrome's diary and the piece of metal. It was hidden UNDER her bed for goodness's sake!

After Mother confiscated her beloved flame-conducting metal and Chrome's 'highly decorated' diary, her hazel eyes narrowed with indignant rage, Nagi ran back to her room to frantically put up some security measures. By that time, the cat had long left the house undetected, and her beloved coffee even worse than lukewarm, but Nagi was unwavering in her claims that the cat would return.

The cat was her companion, and these types visit often... don't they? She didn't know, but she didn't want to think about it.

Nagi then forcefully led her thoughts back to thinking of security measures. Illusory spiders? No, of course not. Her illusions were neither strong enough to have the freedom of movement, nor be consistently maintained in her absence. Proximity triggered ones required too much skill and delicacy, which she lacked. What about an illusion over her door? That... She could probably do.

She would have to try to find out. Come on, she couldn't really be abysmal in illusions, could she? She must have picked something up from all the KHR fanfics she had read in the past! There was no way she could fail!

And if Mother became distressed about this, well, she deserved it for poking around and generally acting creepy and obnoxious. She must have deserved it. As in, what kind of a person would look under someone else's bed for no apparent reason?

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