A/N: So I decided to revisit this. The story didn't feel done with just Harry's side of things. Here we go...
The cat is going to die.
Nagi doesn't think, just lunges forward. Cradles it in her arms and closes her eyes in preparation for the pain.
The impact with the car never comes. Instead she's yanked back by something and ends up under a boy with messy black hair and spring green eyes in his hotel room.
How that happened, she doesn't know. But what she does know is that he saved her. Her. Useless and unwanted little Nagi who can't do anything right, who can barely speak to people with her quiet voice. Even now she can't get her vocal chords to work to thank the boy who saved her life.
She'd almost died just now. Shouldn't she have a new outlook on life or something? Maybe regretted her timidness in the moment of impending death so much that she'd resolve to do away with it? But no, no such thing. She's still Nagi, the gloomy girl that hides in corners and shadows.
The boy meanwhile has jumped off of her like she's on fire and started stuttering apologies in both English and Japanese. Nagi tries to stop him, but again the words won't come, so she resolves to wait until he stops on his own.
His panicked squawking and tomato-red face is kind of funny, and she surprises herself by laughing. She tries to stop because how rude is that, to laugh at the one who saved her, but then he starts laughing too and she finds she likes that even more than his panicked flailing.
His name is Hari. It's a nice name, she thinks. Short and to the point. There is no meaning to it besides the meaning he gives it. It suits him.
He's kind, too. She already knew that, he had saved her after all, but there is a difference between pulling someone from a too-fast car and seeing someone's sadness and doing something about that. He just invites her to stay with him like that's perfectly normal. Like she hasn't caused him enough trouble already.
But she's just so happy that she doesn't have to go a cold and lonely home that she can't say anything but yes.
Nagi realises that Hari-kun has his own demons pretty quickly. It's there in his eyes every morning, like he'd fought battles in his sleep. Sudden flashes of light make him flinch and duck. She learns quickly to make noise when approaching him so as to not startle him.
Bringing him cake makes him smile. Pointing out things to take pictures of takes his mind off of things. Nagi gives her best to figure out more ways to bring light to his eyes.
It surprises her just how happy it makes her to make him smile.
She's even happier when he smiles at her all on his own without her having to do anything. Like he genuinely appreciates her company even when she doesn't talk much, when isn't wearing make-up, when she isn't wearing cute clothes.
Is this what friendship is like? She never thought it could feel this wonderful.
She's never going back. Ever. Not just because she loves Hari-kun and would do anything for him at this point.
Traveling like this, seeing the world, seeing how vast it is, how tiny her previous life is in comparison, it's eye-opening. It feels like she's leaving the gloomy Nagi she was behind, like she's growing into a - well, not a new Nagi, but a better one. Not as insecure, not as unconfident. Still shy, but not cripplingly so.
It's not like anyone would miss her anyway.
Here she has Hari-kun and her cat, and she's doing well.
She likes this and she won't give it up.
Nagi is giddy with joy.
"Damn," Hari-kun says. "That was… wow. You just- wow."
Her cheeks warm, she giggles a bit in embarrassment. What a display she had made of herself, but then…
"I didn't like how he talked to you," she answers. A part of her wants to jump up and down in glee because the old Nagi would never have done anything like staring at an angry-looking man so directly and rudely.
But he'd been yelling at Hari-kun and suddenly she hadn't cared about things like manners. The only thing on her mind had been to defend her friend.
Perhaps her new confidence is the reason she lets it happen.
It's not something new that her dreams are so very vivid. Often she dreams of just walking somewhere, through white fog, like something is pulling her. And normally she makes herself wake up before she reaches that something, because somehow she knows that it would change everything.
This time she doesn't stop. She thinks she's ready to face it.
But there are things one just can't be ready for.
Like dropping into the head of a boy who is kept in a prison, submerged in a tank of cold water, no light anywhere, no warmth. His despair is suffocating.
She wakes up crying and resolves to never tell Harry. He'd think her a freak.
"My, what a lovely visitor. What is your name, dear?"
She isn't in his head this time. This time when she fell asleep, there had been no walking through fog. She'd appeared right in the middle of a lovely meadow. He had been waiting for her, sitting on a picnic blanket.
But she senses the darkness and cold just lurking out of grasp, like the lovely scenery is just an illusion. A dream hidden beneath a blanket, and once the blanked is pulled away the darkness will claim it ruthlessly.
"Won't you sit with me, my dear?"
She sits down gingerly.
"My name is Rokudo Mukuro." He smiles at her. It's a mask, below the smile is a brittle and broken soul.
"Nagi," she whispers. "My name is Nagi." Her voice breaks on the words. She wants to cry for him.
"What a kind heart you have, Nagi-chan," he murmurs. A hand caresses her wet cheeks. "Won't you help me, dear?"
"Yes," she breathes brokenly.
Anything. She'd do anything to make this darkness go away.
Nagi's resolve not to tell Hari-kun lasts for all of five days. Telling him turns out to be the best decision she ever made.
Hari hugs her, and she wishes she didn't freeze up. Wishes she had the courage to hug him back, to tell him that it felt nice and nobody had ever done that before.
Perhaps her encounter with Mukuro-kun had shaken her so much that her new confidence had broken.
Hari-kun doesn't leave her though. No, he teaches her something he calls 'Occlumency', and that changes everything. Suddenly she can examine her own mind, put order to it, all the crippling things swirling around can be cleared away. She learns to block the darkness out, learns to control the connection between her and Mukuro-kun.
"What a useful friend you have," he tells her.
"Hari-kun is kind," she replies.
"But you want more, don't you?" Mukuro-kun's voice has a teasing tone. "Kufufufufu," he laughs when she blushes up to her ears. "Perhaps I should take action…"
"I'm sure Hari-kun likes girls better than boys," she retorts, startling a laugh out of him.
"Ahh, Nagi-chan, such a delightful girl," he chuckles. "He would be a fool not to love you like you do him."
She shifts uncomfortably. Time for a subject change, she decides. "Can we practice illusions again?"
This is the right place, Mukuro-kun murmurs into her mind. The two of them had worked out how to communicate outside of dreams. They will be in the largest building.
Nagi looks around. Kokuyo Land has a haunting beauty to it. She loves it instantly.
I knew you would, Mukuro-kun chuckles.
Hush, she replies, and follows Hari-kun who lights their path, conjures lanterns from thin air, and makes them float up. Her eyes trail the movements of his hands.
You like his hands, don't you? Mukuro-kun teases.
Hush, I said, she replies. He's too old for me anyway.
He has the emotional maturity of a fourteen-year old, he snorts. Let me take over for just a moment, and I guarantee he will give you the attention you deserve afterwards.
You are so eager, are you sure that you aren't the one in love with him?
That shuts him up. Nagi mentally pats herself on the back.
Then his friends attack them and she changes her mind about not letting him take over.
We will have him eat from the palm of your hand, Mukuro-kun crows in the back of her head. He's been smug for days because Harry is indeed treating her differently after she let Mukuro-kun take over.
She ignores him now, her eyes instead tracking Harry's movement. She loves watching him do magic.
Kokuyo Land looks so vastly different now, thanks to him. He looks happier, too. She isn't sure if he notices how the boys look at him now, with something akin to trust and respect.
I am still their master, Mukuro grouches.
Of course, she says agreeably. What do you think, blue curtains or white ones?
There isn't an indigo option. She surveys the choices available.
Then have dear Hari-kun turn them indigo. I want indigo curtains.
She tugs at Hari's sleeve. "Hari-kun, I like the white ones."
It'll look better that way, really, Nagi insists.
"Alright, I think white's the best, too." Hari smiles at her sheepishly. "But I tend to be an idiot about things like this, so please stop me if I pick out something stupid."
Her heart melts a tiny bit more.
Mukuro gags and withdraws from her mind.
Hari-kun gets happier with every passing day. He walks with a spring in his steps, sometimes Nagi even sees him whistling as he works. His good mood influences them all, it's like there is a good-mood sphere around them.
Just kiss him already, Mukuro grouches. And make him your eternal slave.
She feels the blood rise in her cheeks at the mere thought.
"Nagi, you alright?" Hari-kun asks, looking worried.
"Yes, yes!" she waves her arms frantically. "Just got a… heat flash, that's all!"
He gives her an odd look. "If you say so. Don't overwork yourself, alright?"
"No, no. Of course not. I'll just go to my room to, uh, cool off."
As soon as she's in her room, she slams her head into the nearest flat surface. Mukuro cackles in her mind.
She doesn't particularly want to be in the Mafia. It doesn't look like there is another choice for her though, even if Hari-kun says there is. They'd have to run and hide, but they'd live in peace.
Nagi doesn't want to run, and she's spent her entire life hiding in corners. Plus the Mafia has hurt her new friends so badly. In a high position like Mist Guardian, wouldn't she be able to change that world?
What really galls her though is that they don't want her for her. They want her for Mukuro. Which means that they essentially want Nagi to disappear, because Nagi isn't as useful as Mukuro.
Selfish Mafia worms, Mukuro rants. Nagi-chan, let's destroy the world together!
Does changing it count as destroying it? she asks him.
No. Kill them all.
She rolls her eyes and asks Hari-kun for another cinnamon roll. He smiles at her like she's his sole reason of existence and gives her the best-looking one.
Don't ignore me!
"Pardon, two cinnamon rolls. Mukuro-kun wants one, too."
The cinnamon roll for Mukuro-kun looks kind of crippled and ugly.
Now that is not how your relationship is going to work! Pick someone else!
Hush and enjoy your cinnamon roll.
If Nagi could have, she'd have backed out of the Ring Battles after watching the Sun Guardian's fight. But Hari-kun has decided to fight to save a child, and how could she stop him?
She's long since known that Hari-kun is a hero. Ken-kun and Chikusa-san know it too. Mukuro-kun makes his jokes about it, but he too knows. Everyone except Hari-kun knows. He's just… good, through and through, and he thinks that's normal, but it's not.
And he can fight, she's aware of that. After all, ever since the Mafia invaded their lives, he and Mukuro-kun have been training her. Nagi is pretty sure that he's seen battles and that that is where the darkness in his eyes comes from.
Still, she can't help but worry.
There is something very gratifying about seeing Hari-kun punch the External Advisor person. Mukuro-kun radiates smug approval in the back of her mind.
The External Advisor of course isn't happy. But Hari-kun isn't cowed by his bluster, and neither is she.
Mukuro just oozes smug pride. Especially when she kisses Hari-kun's cheek for good luck.
Now if you gave him a real kiss, he'd be yours for the taking, he remarks.
You are so eager that I kiss him. Considering that you can literally live vicariously through me, it's getting suspicious.
He shuts up.
"Can that guy even fight? Looks kind of scrawny, if you ask me," a boy with silver hair and an impressive scowl utters acidly. "Well, better than the stupid cow at least."
"I'm, uh. I think he can do it," Sawada Tsunayoshi answers unconfidently. "Yesterday evening, the older Lambo said he doesn't remember fighting in the battle, so it's fine?"
"You're so damn lame!" Ken shouts. "Of course he can fight! He'll damn well kick your stupid Mafia asses!"
That of course sparks a shouting match that abruptly stops once the match starts.
Hari-kun wins. Of course. Nagi was sure he would.
What she didn't expect was just how easily he does it. How strong he is.
There is something hypnotic about watching him fight. He doesn't even get a scratch.
Nagi doesn't even need Mukuro's prompting when she vaults over the railing afterwards, throws her arms around Hari, and kisses him.
Damn, she thinks.
"Damn," he says. She laughs.
"You were taking too long," she mumbles. "Go out with me?"
Finally! Mukuro shouts in the back of her head. Now please don't ever kiss him again.
Hush, she says and blocks the connection for good measure.
"Anything you want, Nagi," Hari-kun answers her, and the warm feeling that spreads in her chest makes her think that she's finally found somewhere to belong.