...Well, it was only a matter of time...
This is... kinda... a Boogiepop fanfiction. It's... it's not the whole what-the-heck-is-going-on-and-why-is-everyone-dying kind of Boogiepop, it's... more... psychological. But not really much of that. Anyway.
Touka is doing her math homework, and then her parents start arguing. And stuff happens... yeah.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Disclaimer: I don't own Boogiepop. Spalding belongs to Spalding.


Listening

Touka Miyashita stared at the math homework on her desk. Tentatively, she lifted her pencil and scribbled something down—but no, that didn't work. She erased the attempt and resumed her thinking.

Touka's concentration was interrupted by the raised voice of her mother. "You're home late again…" the voice chided Touka's father.

Touka glanced at the clock. Oh, it was late. How long had she been working on this stupid problem? She sighed and looked down again.

"Can't you at least call when you're going to be late?" her mother said, her voice louder now. Touka heard no reply from her father, but he must have said something because her mother continued, "That's just fine, but it might be nice if we could all eat dinner together once in a while!"

Now Touka heard her father mumble an answer, to which her mother replied, "You said you'd be home on time today."

Finally fed up, her father shouted, "But I wasn't, was I! So just deal with it!"

At that shout, Touka sucked in her breath worriedly. She bit her lip and tried to go back to her homework, but couldn't concentrate when she was this tense. Instead, she practiced twirling her pencil in her fingers, distracting herself that way.

Downstairs, her mother yelled an insult, and the pencil flew out of Touka's hand. Retrieving it, she started twirling again. She had to focus intently to block out the sound of her parents arguing and all the fears associated with it.

But despite her efforts, old, irrational worries began to creep in as she spun the pencil. Twirl. What if they were going to fight every day, like before? Twirl. What if they started hating each other? Twirl. What if they wanted to get a divorce again? Twirl. She was starting to scare herself. What if, what if…

Then, suddenly, the twirling stopped. The pencil was now gripped tightly. Unusually cold eyes traveled over the room.

Boogiepop had emerged.

It searched its surroundings and extended its mind to sense for threats, wanting to know why it had come out.

Then it heard the arguing. It relaxed slightly, realizing that there was no danger to the world. But a strange sadness swept through its mind, too—Touka Miyashita was always worried when her parents argued.

Boogiepop put down the pencil and allowed a very small sigh to escape its lips. The shinigami couldn't even list all the danger it had put Touka's body through, but the girl was still most frightened by the sound of her parents' arguing. Of course, Boogiepop did always keep its actions secret from Touka so as not to worry the high-school student. Nevertheless, the idea was ironic.

Equally ironic was the fact that although Boogiepop was partially created from the stress Touka had felt about her parents' impending divorce six years ago, this was still the situation with which Boogiepop was least comfortable. After all, there wasn't much it could do about the argument. The only option was to listen silently—listen in Touka's stead and inherit the memory so that the girl would not have to bear it.

Boogiepop pushed the chair back from the desk and stood. It kneeled by the Spalding bag on the floor and pulled out its purple cloak. With a sweeping, fluid motion, it wrapped itself in the cloak and sat down on Touka's bed. Dutifully, it cocked its head and listened.

The adults had left the subject of lateness. They were now accusing each other of not helping with various aspects of home life, and most of their dialogue involved throwing petty insults at one another.

How tiring, Boogiepop thought, to be so angry about such pointless things, and to cause so much pain unnecessarily…

Again, a strange, mute sadness weighed down on Boogiepop's shoulders. Although the shinigami would never admit such a thing to itself, it was no fonder of the arguments than Touka, nor was it any better equipped to deal with them. Perhaps the only advantage Boogiepop had over Touka in such a situation was that Boogiepop felt no emotion or concern regarding the outcome. It had none of Touka's irrational fear of divorce, and would not be particularly bothered if a divorce were to occur.

But Boogiepop, despite its discomfort, continued to bear these arguments for Touka. Though it had become a shinigami, meting out death to those who threatened the world's safety, it had not forgotten its original purpose: to protect the little girl who loved her parents and did not want to watch them tear their relationship apart.

So it listened.

After a stream of cursing from Touka's father, Boogiepop heard a door slam. There was silence downstairs. The argument was over.

Something stirred in Boogiepop's subconscious; Touka was awakening. Boogiepop stifled her for a moment as it folded its cloak and placed it back in the sports bag. Then the shinigami returned to the desk, picking up the pencil again. Idly, it twirled the pencil a few times before fading into the deeper parts of Touka's mind.

A few moments later, Touka Miyashita scribbled down an answer to the math problem. "Finished," she muttered in satisfaction.


whistles and wanders away