What if Reiko never died?

It was a regular day for Natsume Takashi as he walked to school, Nyanko-sensei secretly snoozing in his bag. It's a wonder that Natsume hasn't noticed the extra weight in his bag.

He met up with Tanuma and Taki along the way, cheery greetings from Taki and a quieter one from Tanuma. Nyanko-sensei decided to make his "grand" appearance from his snooze, yawning.

"Kyaaaa~! Kawaii!"

Taki glomps the yowling pudgy cat, nearly pulling Natsume to the ground from the weight of her and the cat.

Tanuma sweatdrops at the trio, wanting to help Natsume but is unable to as Taki is suddenly flung backwards. Ah, Nyanko-sensei has been pulled out of the safety of Natsume's bag.




Taki crashes into Tanuma whilst Natsume falls backwards into the shrubs at the edge of the forest. Twigs snap and leaves are sent flying as the teen crashes into the green. Unfortunately for him, there is a small slope behind the shrub.

Tanuma and Taki groan as they pick themselves up, Tanuma rubbing his sore forehead while Taki massages the throbbing back of her head. Tanuma blushes lightly at their compromising position, Taki straddling him. Taki soon realizes their position and hastily stands up.

"Eh, where's Natsume?"

All is silent as the duo search for their missing friend, their efforts in vain.

~ ( O w O ) ~

Natsume hisses softly as he scrapes his elbows and knees, still rolling down the slope. Small critters scamper away as he continues to roll down the slope. At long last, he reaches flat ground once more and heaves a sigh of relief.

The canopy way above ground greets his vision, though he had to squint a little from the burst of sunlight from an open spot just above him. Hmm, it's so peaceful and quiet. He hasn't had any time to himself since he moved into the quiet home of the Fujiwaras. Well, not that he minded, but he hasn't had any peace ever since he received the Book of Friends from his late grandmother.

His eyelids flutter shut, shielding his golden brown eyes from the world. His head rests on his arms, his breathing deepening as the peaceful silence lulls him to sleep. Hmm, skipping one day wouldn't matter, would it? As long as he got back home on time, the Fujiwaras wouldn't worry.

~ ( O w O ) ~

There is a slight rustle as she sneaks back into the shadow of the green. She tugs the sunhat lower, shadowing her face from any lingering ayakashi. She doesn't need her identity to be blown now. She needs more time...

As she runs off towards the heart of the forest, a photograph of a boy slips from her pockets. Disappearing in the green, Nyanko-sensei leaps down from a branch in his pudgy form. He picks up the photograph, raising a kitty eyebrow.

"Oya, oya? How does she know Natsume?"