One-shot #1: Stray Cats

Characters: Ikuto, Amu, Yoru

Summary: Ikuto has had a rough life growing up on the streets. When he passes out one night due to exhaustion, he is helped by a complete stranger with a mysterious companion.


My nails made a rough sound on the walls of the alleyway as I stumbled along, my legs threatening to give out on me any second. I breathed heavily, struggling to bring enough oxygen in my lungs to breathe.

I haven't eaten in two days. Stealing was more difficult now. It was easier when I was younger and smaller, but now, as a teenage boy, well, let's just say I look the part of someone who lives on the streets. My looks just scream out that I'm trouble, and people tend to avoid me, giving me disgusted looks(either unconsciously or intentionally) as they pass, so it wasn't like it was easy to get close to people. Luckily, I was a master of picking pockets, but really the only safe place to do that was at the subway station. That was across town, and I was in no shape to make it there, at least not now.

Last night I got caught up in a rainstorm, effectively soaking the only clothes I had. Lovely part of being homeless: There aren't any warm places to sleep. The best I usually got was a tree or bench, which is especially uncomfortable in wet clothes. But, I survived. For the night, anyway. Now I'm paying the consequences, with a high fever and barely enough strength to stand.

The world spun briefly, and I realized that I was laying on the ground. I tried to sit up, but my shaking limbs refused to support my weight. I collapsed, defeated, on the wet, slimy alleyway, and waited to get my strength back.

My body began to shake slightly, which I assumed was just from the cold, though I didn't really feel that cold. I began to get worried as my body began to tremble more and more, my teeth chattering. I wrapped my arms around my body in a feeble attempt to stop the uncontrollable shivering, but my body wouldn't stop. My breath was uneven as my teeth chattered and clanked against each other so hard I painfully bit my tongue multiple times. I was exhausted, nothing would make the shaking stop. It'd been going on for at least thirty minutes, maybe more. I'd lost track of time, though it was dark now. My vision began to fade, and I thanked the heavens as my mind shut down from exhaustion.


"What do you think, Yoru?"

The voice, the voice which used to just be a background noise of my dream, attracted my focus with that name. Yoru? I thought groggily. Who's Yoru?

"I think he's waking up, nya."

Nya?

I opened my eyes and took a moment to focus on my surroundings. I was alert upon discovering that I wasn't where I'd passed out last night. Wait… it was last night, right?

"Are you okay?"

"You look pretty bad, nya!"

The sound of the two voices brought my attention upwards to a peculiar sight.

Two figures were hunched over me; one, a girl with oddly-colored pink hair, stared at me with curiosity and concern. The other was a bit more odd, but yet familiar in some strange way. It was a small fairy-like creature, with cat ears and a tail that matched the color of his dark blue hair. His eyes were gold, like the girl's. He was floating above her shoulder, with a piece of the girl's hair in his… paws? How odd. He seemed mostly human, however.

I drug my eyes from the figures to the surroundings. I was laying on a couch with a wet cloth one my forehead, in what appeared to be a living room of a medium sized house. No one else was in the room besides those two.

I realized they were expecting an answer. I tried to speak, but nothing came out of my mouth besides a hideous gurgling sound. I cleared my throat and tried again, my voice still hoarse, but strong.

"Who are you? And what's the cat-fairy?"

The blue things put his han – er, paws – on his hips and glared at me defiantly. "I'm not a fairy! Fairies are for girls! I'm a guardian chara, nya! My name is Yoru!" He turned back to the girl, who was giggling at his reaction to the fairy comment. He tugged the strand of hair in his grip in frustration, pouting. "Don't laugh at me, Amu-nya! It's not nice! Anyway, introduce yourself, nya."

The girl returned her focus to me, her eyes still sparkling with amusement. "Konichiwa. I'm Hinamori Amu. I found you passed out in an alley, shaking like crazy. I brought you back to my house and cleaned you up a bit. Here." She handed me a pile of clothes and a towel. "You should take a shower, you're pretty dirty. These are my dad's clothes, I hope they fit well. I can explain anything else to you afterward."

I nodded. Standing, I followed her to the bathroom.

"Here you go." She said. "Call me if you need anything."

It was a pretty casual bathroom, not to big or extravagant, but enough space to move around comfortably. I glanced in the mirror and grimaced. I looked horrible. My hair was completely askew, matted, long, and dirty, my face was unnaturally pale, and I had huge, dark bags under my bloodshot eyes. I'm surprised that girl and her cat friend didn't run for the hills at the sight of me.

I turned back to the task at hand. It felt wonderful to have a shower after not having one for so long. Heck, I don't even know if I've even ever had a proper shower. I swam in the lake occasionally, as that was all there was.

I dried my hair and dressed in the clothes she gave me, they were a bit big but fit alright. I vigorously rubbed my hair dry. Glancing in the mirror once more, I chuckled. I really needed a haircut, but that was just about last on my list of wants. I exited the bathroom and went back down the hall.

I found Amu in the kitchen, cooking something over the stove while humming a tune softly under her breath. Yoru was sitting on the counter, happily munching on a piece of fish.

She glanced up as I walked in and gave me a smile. "Are you hungry?" She asked.

I nodded, sitting down on one of the bar stools and watched her finish cooking. She dished out rice and curry onto two plates and set one in front of me, taking the other one to the stool next to me and sitting down herself. Yoru floated to sit on the counter in front of us.

"So, what's your name?" She asked, taking a small bite of the curry.

"Tsukiyomi Ikuto." I replied. I wasn't entirely sure where I'd gotten that surname, or if it was even my real one. All I know is, it was in my head when I woke up, alone in a dirty alleyway in the middle of the city, with no memories. That, being one of the only things I knew and owned besides the clothes on my back, convinced me to keep it, along with the childish delusion that it could help if someone were to ever come looking for me.

Yeah right.

"So, Ikuto, care to explain why you were passed out in the alleyway?" Though the way it was worded made it seem demanding, the statement was made more out of curiosity than anything else.

"Nope." I said simply. She gave me a brief frown before going back to her meal. "Care to tell me why you brought a random, passed out stranger, who happens to be a teenage male, into your house, which you happen to occupy alone?"

She rolled her eyes at that statement. "My parents are just on a trip. I can take care of myself." She said obstinately. "And plus," She added, "if I get in trouble, I have Yoru to help me out." She smiled at her chara, who gave a cat-like grin back, showing off his pointed teeth.

"So Yoru is your chara?" I asked, a bit skeptically.

"… yeah." She hesitated. I almost missed the quick glance she and Yoru shared.

Almost.

If living out in the streets taught me anything, it was to be observant.

"Kind of odd for a girl like you to have a male chara, isn't it?" I pressed, drilling her with my stare few people seemed to be resilient to.

She shifted uncomfortably, looking down at her hands in her lap. "W-well, um…. H-he isn't really my chara…"

"Really now? Who does he belong to?"

Yoru downcast his eyes, and Amu reached out a finger to rub his head. "I'm not sure." She said slowly, her eyes glued onto her forlorn-looking cat chara. "I found his egg a long time ago in the subway station after it must have fallen out of someone's bag. I tried to find the owner, but I couldn't. Neither of us can remember who he belongs to. So I'm helping him find his bearer." She gave an encouraging smile to Yoru, as if promising him that she'd find his owner. Yoru purred and gave her a small smile back.

I couldn't help but feel envious as I witnessed the interaction between this girl and her chara. It sounds nice, having someone to care for you like that.

This girl, Amu, goes out of her way just to help people, even if they're complete strangers. I don't get it.

Amu got up, taking our plates and placing them in the sink.

"So, Tsukiyomi-san – "

"Ikuto."

"Nani?"

"Call me Ikuto." I chuckled at her befuddled look.

"Okay… Ikuto."

"Anyway, you never answered my question."

She blinked. "Which one?"

"On why you took me in."

"Oh!" She paused, her hands stilling over the plate she was cleaning. She looked up to meet my eyes. "I've seen you around town a few times, actually."

"We were curious, nya!" Yoru piped up. Amu nodded.

"But I never was brave enough to actually talk to you. And then I was walking home, and I heard this racket in the alleyway. I went to investigate, and saw you, shaking like crazy. You looked horrible, with gunk all over you, your clothes wrinkled, scrapes all over your face, looking like you haven't had a decent meal in weeks… so I decided to help you." She finished.

"Ah." I said. "And do you know what I… do?"

She shrugged. "it doesn't take a genius to tell that your living situation isn't great. I've had a pretty good life, so… I can't judge you for anything you've had to do to survive. Even if I don't know exactly what it is."

My eyes widened slightly, but I quickly returned them to their normal state.

"You're willing to talk to me, even if – "

"My mama taught me that everything happens for a reason." She cut me off gently. "So, obviously, if we ran into each other, we were supposed to meet."

"And we like you, nya!" Yoru shouted, landing on Amu's head. They both gave me a bright smile.

I was taken aback. Confused. Is she for real? But the sincerity, kindness, and compassion in her eyes…

For the first time in a long time, I smiled.

This girl was really something.


A/N: I know it's perhaps a bit "un-realistic" for Yoru to not know who his bearer is, but this is AU, and it works for the story. So, who does Yoru belong to? How did he get lost? What happened to Ikuto? That, dear readers, it up to you to decide. What do you think happened? Let me know in your review! I also take requests!

PREVIEW FOR THE NEXT ONE-SHOT, MIRROR:

Amu's eyes filled with tears, but she tried to hold them back. That struck a sensitive nerve, one that still hadn't completely healed from her past. Amu wore the necklace because she had asked her to. And she's been avoiding her so much lately, it was the only thing she could do…

She knew! Of course they did. She might as well have written it in bold red print on her forehead when she refused to face the mirror when cleaning the dance room. Amu immediately flinched, stumbling back, trying to get away.

Both her arms were seized harshly by Saaya and Lulu, two of Utau's friends. Utau slapped Amu across the face.

"Look at me when I'm talking to you!" Her face morphed from an angered snarl to a vicious sneer.

"Don't be afraid, Amu." She whispered.

The girl looked up, her long, curly golden hair spilling over her shoulders. Her sharp gold eyes focused on the mirror and narrowed, glaring at the object. And then she disappeared.

As she did, the mirror shattered, and Amu was reminded of the world around her. She didn't even have time to duck her head, but she didn't need to. Not a single shard of the glass hit her. Instead, the pieces were directed at the girls surrounding her.

As soon as she was released, Amu took of down the hall, her books and bag forgotten.

I hope you enjoyed this one-shot, there will be more coming soon. Please review, I like constructive criticism! :)