Disclaimer: I do not own Noragami.
"I—" Yato declared. "—hate fucking cats." He fisted the flyer in his hand and threw it to the ground. It bounced, landing on the curb.
He had looked through the whole city—the whole damn city, and there was no cat to be found. Handing out posters—calling for the thing, looking at every feline in the Tōkyō metropolitan area. And still, no Ūe-sama. (—Not to mention, that was a stupid name for a fucking cat.)
He would give up, but the kid had already given him his money—and there was no way in hell Yato was giving it back. (It was a matter of pride—and greed; but mostly pride. He was a god; he wasn't going to lose to a stupid–ass cat .)
Yato fisted a hand in his hair, throwing his leg out to kick a lamppost. "Shit!" He yelped, grabbing his sneaker. "That hurt!" Stupid post. Stupid cat. Stupid—
A passerby—a busy looking man with a gold Rollex and a briefcase—kicked the paper, knocking it into the gutter.
"Hey," Yato called, hand still clutching his foot, "Hey, I needed that!"
The man did not notice him.
Hiyori peered at the poster. "Ūe-sama," she read, aloud.
"What's that?" Ami asked, looking over her shoulder, glasses glinting. "That's such a weird name. So ugly. There really are people that call their pets crazy things."
"What are you talking about?" Yama scoffed. "You gave your dog a painful name, too. Like 'Leader of Zenny's'." She teased.
Hiyori was barely listening—she brushed her hand against the paper.
"Don't call it painful! Shīna is my husband!" Ami cried. Then, she added. "He was so cool on yesterday's news station."
"I watched that," Yama said, "but Hyakki Yakkō was definitely better."
"What's so good about Visual Kei?"
"That goes for you, too! What's so good about Zenny!"
"Hey…don't bad mouth Zenny! Zenny is a god!"
"Hyakki Yakkō is a god!"
He's been gone for two weeks, Hiyori noticed, her fingers lingering on the flyer. And he's still just a kitten. She frowned, tugging her scarf more snugly around her neck. Tōkyō was big—and there were a lot of things bigger than a cat, too. She glanced behind her, watching the traffic blare by, the buildings towering above, the people passing her. How could a little cat survive by itself…?
"—Hey, Hiyori!" Ami called, stomping her foot on the pavement.
"—Which one do you think is a god?" Yama snapped, tilting her hips to the side.
Hiyori turned, letting out a nervous laugh. "Even if you ask me…" I can't answer that.
She bit her lip. Because, to me, there's only one god—! Tōno-sama. She remembered the match, the announcer, the trap, the kick—jungle savate! The composure that allowed him dodge his opponents constant furious pinning moves, to use that sudden kicking technique from that bad position—! And not to be bothered by his bleeding! And it was the last round and his opponent was tired—but, to see through the opponent's technique is just—godly! She breathed.
Then, she bit her lip. —But, I should hold back on my hobby.
"Ah, sorry," Yama snorted, rolling her eyes. "My bad for asking you."
Ami laughed. "She is a closet martial arts fan, after all."
—Then again, am I really hiding it? Hiyori thought, exasperatedly. —Well, I haven't even told my parents. If Okā-sama found out about my hobby she'd say how 'savage' it was. She cringed, imaging it—a hysterical rant consisting of the phrases 'you're a girl' and 'decent lady' and 'find a wonderful husband'.
Hiyori rolled her eyes. Okā-sama is too old school. She sighed. Besides, I don't even have anyone I like… She turned her head, looking down the street.
Yato walked down the busiest avenue in the shopping district—for what had to be the gazillionth fucking time—flier in hand. He glanced behind him, and—
—Well, that's something new. Yato couldn't recall the last time someone had looked at him and not through him. (Though, she wasn't too bad looking, herself; a high-schooler, probably.) Still, it's always at times like this that I'm noticed.
He took a deep breath, cupping his hand around his mouth. "Ūe-sama!" He called. "Ūe-sama!" He blushed. Even for me—who's a fuckin' spirit—this is embarrassing! "Ūe—" Even if I am unnoticeable! "—Ūe-sama!" Yato hollered. No matter how easily I fade into the background!
He sighed irritably, bringing up the flier to look at it closer. First of all, he thought, the only difference between cats is their patterns! Can't I just find a different one…? Yato turned, looking to his left. There it was—a cat on a bench. Hm. This one looks 'bout the same size. The patterns the same, too—
Hiyori sighed, burying her chin farther into her scarf.
Yama and Ami were walking a few meters ahead, talking about Hyakki Yakkō and the evening news. Ah… I wonder what's for dinner tonight? Ooh, I hope it's tsukune. She licked her lips, then frowned. But, I'll have to finish early if I'm going to see Tōno-sama's match in ti—
Hiyori looked sharply over her shoulder. It took her a moment to see it—
—The street, a boy, a cat, a bus.
It took her less than that to react.
"—Hey! Wait!" Yato called—after that stupid fucking feline—his body jarring every time his feet hit the ground, "Stop—running!" He hollered, out of breath.
He didn't hear the horn of the bus, (didn't see it, 'cause it didn't really matter, 'less it squashed the cat).
And Yato didn't notice the girl, the stupid girl, 'til she had knocked him over, out of the road, onto the sidewalk. His knees and wrists scraped against the tarmac, and he could feel the sleeves of his jersey tear.
—the fuck? His legs ached, and Yato was pretty sure that, somewhere, he was bleeding. (And that dumbass cat was already gone, of course.) He turned, ready to bitch at whatever idiot would be stupid enough to run in front of a bus—'sides him, of course—when he saw—
The girl was sprawled on the pavement, in front of the bus. The fringe of her bangs was matted against her forehead with—blood.
Shit, Yato breathed, still sprawled on his elbows and knees. Shit, shit, shit. He felt the panic beginning to swell, along with that telltale battlefield–patented rush of adrenaline. His fingers trembled, so he curled them into his palms; then, they began to shake, too, so he slammed them against the pavement.
She was bleeding.
She wasn't moving.
Her—Her chest wasn't moving.
No, he thought. No fucking way. No way in hell.
"—Oh my god, Hiyori!" One of the girls—short blonde hair, even shorter skirt—was pulling at her coat, fingers trembling. "Hiyori, Hiyori—Hiyori—!"
No. He prayed to the gods—someone other than him or Kofuku, for fuck's sake—and hoped for a little, no, a lot, of luck. Just, please, please, please. Please. He such his eyes tight.
"Hiyori—Hiyori, Hiyori, please!" Gods, that girl was annoying. Couldn't she realize that that girl—that Hiyori—was already—?
Yato opened his eyes.
Across the concrete, through the crowd of people surrounding the accident—he saw it, what no one else could: a small, brilliant ball of light, rising from the girl's body. Then, it hovered over her, staying.
The girl's spirit. He realized.
"Shit." Yato breathed, lying on the ground. "Shit, shit, shit." His throat felt tight. He felt sick, too, like he did that time he ate that onigiri he found by a dumpster; only, this was about a thousand times worse.
(But, still, he wasn't stupid—contrary to wait a lot of people said. Spirits were food for the ayakashi; it was the way of the world, and that girl would be good as gone by nightfall, unless—)
Yato stared, and thought, You're a fucking idiot, at himself, at the girl, and then, at himself again. Then, he thought, I hate my life. But… It was the right thing to do, wasn't it? —No, no, there was no right way. The girl'd been killed. She'd gotten hit by a bus, because of him, and—there was no undoing that. He'd killed a girl. He'd actually—
Yato bit his lip. Don't think like that. He told himself.
Still… It was—It was the best thing to do in a bad situation. It wasn't atonement, or making amends, but it was— It was better than nothing. It was better than letting her turn to an ayakashi, like the rest of them. It was the only good thing to do.
To make this girl his Shinki, in return for her lost life.
Yato scrambled to his knees, which hurt like hell, and then, stood. I must look like an moron, he thought, then: no, I am an idiot. But, still, no one saw him—a boy, on the sidewalk, looking on.
(And then—then the world seemed to slow down a bit; the people, the voices, the sirens, the whole city itself. But it was always like that, when you—)
"You," he breathed, his hands trembling and his voice shaking, "who have nowhere to go and cannot pass on. I'll give you a place to stay. My name is 'Yato'." He tried to steady his voice, but couldn't. Instead, he raised his hand, forefinger and center finger pointing. "Lingering here, gripping thine true name… I make though mine servant with thine alias… Thy name is follower, thy vessel is sound… Obey mine order and become my Shinki. Thy name is—"
A/N: So, a lot of this chapter was background, and quoted from the manga—still, I wanted to set the tone and mood of the story.
Also, I know, I'm terrible for putting in a cliffhanger this early on! ;)
Ayakashi are sort of like 'bad spirits'; different from demons, but similar to ghosts, I suppose. (Japanese spirit-ology is hard to translate to English, anyway.)
Tsukune is sort of like teriyaki beef sticks, if you've had that before.
Onigiri are rice–shaped triangles filled with vegetables, fish, or meat!
Okā-sama is a very formal way of saying 'mother'.
Anywho, first chapter! Tell me what you think of it! :)