How would anyone feel, to know that there were ten years 'till tomorrow?
Sissel's eyes opened, body stiff and cold, but more than that, she felt the waves of radiation off the fragment beneath her breast as though it were a relentless pulsing that had replaced the vital organ it had so damaged. She could barely move, the park was in a shambles, Jowd couldn't walk and Yomiel had the lower half of his body practically completely crushed, and to top it all off, little baby Lynne was standing there sobbing into her sleeve.
Oh. And she was having a hard time not thinking of herself as a guy. Let alone as not human.
That stone that had wedged its way inside of her tiny little kitten body, smashed through her and locked itself in place within her ribcage, she got the feeling it would have been burning her if she still had the ability to sense pain. As it was, her body had healed up over it, leaving her a bit overwhelmed and confused at the same time.
So... so this was her answer.
She was a she. More specifically, she was a cat.
Even more specifically, she was a kitten.
Hmm. That was... interesting.
As she stretched out a paw and lay it across the detective's hand, Sissel grimaced. She had quite the ten years in store ahead of her. Just as they had tried to save Yomiel and stop Jowd, it had seemed like that would solve every single one of their problems. Lynne would never be targeted, Kamila would never be in danger because she would never lose her parents, Missile would never sacrifice himself to save his mistress, Jowd would never go to prison and his wife would never die, Cabanela wouldn't distance himself from his friends in order to climb the career ladder, the Minister of Defense wouldn't have a breakdown so his wife wouldn't leave him with their daughter, the old Pigeon Man wouldn't be laughed out of the police for his so-called 'wild conspiracies'... it looked like everything would be better with this one little problem from ten years ago solved.
But now, Sissel had to wonder if she had just made everything so, so much worse.
Jowd, a fist-sized hole punched through his calf, bleeding out out into a pool of syrupy red that wasn't entirely his own.
Lynne, just a little child who had happened to be roasting sweet potatoes in the autumn leaves, her broken headphones hanging around her neck, her arms wrapped around the detective's arm as she drifted further and further into shock, her cute little shoes soaked with mud and tinged with red.
But the most painful thing was the one laying there, broken, bleeding, trying desperately to not start screaming and traumatize the little girl not five paces away.
Yomiel laying there, his slicked-back blond hair a mess, glasses knocked askew, half-curled up with half his body crushed under the weight of rock that had fallen onto him. He was focused entirely on struggling to breathe, a tiny sob of a whimper escaping his throat with every exhale.
Sissel pushed out of Dowd's grip, clambering down to the blond man, desperately trying to figure out what she could do. This was her doing. This was her fault. She was the one who had done this to him. She was the one who had caused his pain.
Even as he gasped for breath, she leaned up and licked the corner of his cheek, just enough to draw his attention onto her. Blue eyes that she wasn't accustomed to seeing shifted over to her, and she got out a tiny little meow, nuzzling up against him and licking the tears off of his cheeks. Bitterly salty tears, but it didn't matter to her.
This... this was Yomiel. Her Yomiel. Except now, the two of them... they had switched places, right from the beginning. No longer was she the weak, pathetic little kitten, desperate for a hand to reach out and show her just a tiny bit of kindness. No longer was he the twisted ghoul of the man he had once been, his own darkness rising up to consume him, his own body not even having the decency of allowing him the small mercy of deteriorating into the monster that he had become.
Now, though? Now, she was the monster. She was the one whose tiny, fragile body had been broken open by the fragment of the asteroid, whose flesh and muscle had regrown around it, whose bones were taken by its power. She was the one who was trapped between life and death. And he?
A weak, injured, vulnerable man, desperate for someone to take him seriously and show him just an inch of mercy.
So she licked away his tears even as he broke down and sobbed even harder, wrapping his arms around her as best he could from the position he was in and stroking trembling fingers through her fur. In those first few moments of his death the first time around, she had taken him and carried him and wrapped herself around his cold, lonely soul and clothed it in her fur. She couldn't do that now. But god, she wished she could.
She was just a little kitten. Less, even, now that she was a half-dead kitten.
She wished she could shift the weight off of him, to ease his pain somehow, maybe even to take his place beneath that crushing mass. Anything but just watching him suffer like this.
Sissel hadn't been able to understand it before... Missile's loyal dedication to his mistress, how such a small little fragile dog like that Pomeranian had been able to conjure up the courage to take a vow never to allow harm to come to Kamila. Hadn't been able to fathom how he had the sheer strength of will to wait for ten years just for the one night that he would meet the person who could save him. It simply hadn't been something she had been able to wrap her mind around, to think that someone could love so strongly, so deeply, that nothing else in the world mattered, not pain, not sorrow, not even death... just so long as they were happy...
But she knew now. Because she remembered.
She remembered loving Yomiel.
As the battered, bruised, and broken man lay there, clinging to her like she was the one thing anchoring him to this world, her little pink tongue lapping up his tears, she remembered. She remembered being so small, helpless, her eyes just barely opened. She remembered nudging her mother's lifeless body, curled up in the corner of an alley way, spending the night nuzzled up beneath it trying to find warmth in a frigid corpse. She remembered wandering out through the city- homeless, starving, cold, weak, pathetic... and she remembered...
She remembered so many people. So many humans. She remembered calling out to them until her throat was hoarse, desperately calling for help- help me, please help me, I'm all alone...
And she... she remembered that no one had looked at her.
No one had cared.
Except for one man.
One man with sleek blond hair and a pair of dark glasses who had wrapped his hands around her and cradled her to his red suit like he was going to use his own body to shield her from the rest of the world.
One man who ought to have never spared her a glance, who had so much trouble and so many problems and so much sorrow that there was no way he ought to have been able to handle taking care of her as well. But he had cared enough never to so much as consider her as anything less than his best friend.
One man who had been her whole world, her whole universe right there in a nutshell, the most important person in her life- hell, the only person she would ever love.
She had been his pet kitten.
And suddenly, thinking that Missile had waited ten years just to wag his tail for Kamila again to see her smile again, just once, didn't sound so strange.