Kiss the Black Cat: Chapter 12
First published on Ainushi
I spoke, my head resting on top of Legato’s lap.
「Is it fine for Squad commander to be loafing about over here? Even though we’re all so busy?」
「Just for a bit. Thanks to the guarding incident, my work was cut down. Nidel-dono sure comes here quite often.」
It seemed like Legato had accepted being a lap pillow, and continued his conversation as usual. However, what Legato said surprised me. I didn’t think he’d know of my little spot.
「…Have you perhaps seen me playing truant here before?」
「Yeah, many times.」
「Why didn’t you talk to me, then?」
「…I thought it’d be bad to disturb you. It always seemed as if you were tired.」
Sure, I only came here when I felt down or was awfully tired. For someone to have noticed me like that, it was certainly quite embarrassing.
「The first time we met was also here.」
At Legato’s next words, I was quite taken aback. Was he perhaps talking about the happenings from nearly ten years ago?
For him to remember such a trifling incident, and furthermore recognise that it was me, it was completely outside my expectations.
「At that time you helped me with my injury, thank you very much for that.」
At Legato’s words, I was convinced that he was talking about the time I was thinking of.
「…You have a good memory…to remember things from so long ago.」
「Ah, it was Nidel-dono as expected. Actually, I wasn’t that confident.」
He said cheerfully above my head, something in his voice hinting at the joy he felt.
「Actually I realised it was Nidel-dono only after a few years had passed.」
「That’s because I also shut myself in the tower in the beginning.」
「I had always wished to express my gratitude for that time, but in the end I was rescued by you this time…If there’s anything I could possibly do, I’d like to repay that too.」
I smiled at the conscientious Legato. What happened 10 years ago was just a mere whim of mine, whereas this time was due to work obligations. Moreover, I was the one who ought to be grateful for this time.
However, I felt like taking advantage of Legato’s kindness. He’d even given me a lap pillow. In that case, let’s ask for a few more wishes.
「Then, please pet me,」
「When I was a cat, didn’t you pet me? That’s become somewhat of a habit.」
Legato sat silently in response. While I was thinking “He’s lost interest after all,” Legato started speaking cautiously.
「Um…when Nidel-dono transforms into a cat, how much of your human consciousness do you retain?」
「I only have my human consciousness.」
When I replied straight away, Legato once again turned silent.
「…So then you remain in a completely sane state?」
「That’s right, I’m completely sane.」
Legato’s words hit the spot, and I trembled with laughter. When Legato became perturbed, his words turned clumsy.
From Legato’s viewpoint, it must have seemed as if I wasn’t sane when performing those actions.
「You’re good at transforming into cats.」
「Not just cats, if it’s transforming into animals, I think I’m most probably the best in the country. Please keep it a secret, since I don’t speak too much of it. But still, I did something inexcusable to Squad Commander-dono.」
「I made you mistake that you weren’t hated by animals, didn’t I?」
Perhaps he realised I was teasing him, for Legato gave a wry smile.
「Certainly, this was the first time I became attached to an animal.」
「I can become a cat even now, but I’m too tired to use any magic…it’s one of those transformations that requires quite a bit of power.」
「It must have felt terrible, staying like that every night during the guard.」
「I was happier than Squad Commander-dono, I was dozing off after all.」
Legato and I conversed as if to mutually appreciate the efforts we’d taken during our time as guards. If one had heard our tone of voice, it would have seemed overly formal, but the atmosphere was quite amicable. Only we would understand the pains we took during guarding.
For some reason, those days felt distant now.
As we spoke, I felt a hesitant finger touch me, through the hood. I had pulled the hood lightly over my head, but that finger flipped it over and Legato ruffled through my hair. He seemed to be petting me just as I had requested. “What an earnest fellow,” I thought, lying on my side, curling my lips into a smile.
「…It’s the same.」
Legato, who was ruffling his finger through my hair spoke words of admiration.
「It feels the same as your coat when you were a cat.」
「Is that so?」
Legato, while moving his hand about as if to confirm the feeling, muttered 「How amazing」, greatly interested. At first he seemed hesitant, but gradually his hand’s movements smoothed out and Legato started skillfully petting my head in the same manner when I was a cat.
The familiar hand movements caused me to feel sleepy. “Be it cat or human form, the feeling of being petted is the same,” I mused.
However, one could only have their head petted as a cat. If I asked for something like “Please pet my body” it’d end up taking on a wholly different meaning.
I would only like to be petted normally, I thought, laughing a little to myself.
From the day when I first had a conversation with Legato, I was aware of the thing sleeping in the depths of my heart.
Legato had always been special, he was one of the anchors that supported my heart. I’d always been longing for that honest figure. Always.
Legato was kind and earnest, causing him to always be taken advantage of, always getting the short end of the stick.
He was just like me.
When I brought my hand to my face, intending to rub my drowsy eyes, my wrist was caught. I raised my head in confusion. Legato had caught my wrist, and was staring at it unblinkingly. When Legato’s fingers wrapped around my wrist, they seemed much longer than it.
「…Nidel-dono, are you all right? You seem to have become a lot thinner?」
「Is that so?」
While doubtfully thinking, “Did Legato really know me well enough to tell whether my wrists had become more slender or whether I had thinned?” I gave a wry smile. However, Legato hit the nail on the head. I had surely lost weight in the past one month or so.
The wrist Legato had caught felt warm.
「Are you eating and sleeping properly?」
「I’ll try to do so from the day after tomorrow and onwards.」
At my reply, Legato seemed to have perceived my attitude towards life, and knit his eyebrows. But thinking that it couldn’t be helped with the business going on right now, he gave a sigh and lowered his hand.
My gaze fell on that hand, and I once again was mesmerized by it. Near the base of his finger, there was now another wound. While thinking in amazement “He gets injured quite often,” I grabbed and pulled that hand towards me, pressing my lips against the wound that was slightly oozing blood. His hand trembled in surprise, but I licked that wound, and poured my magic into it.
In the midst of my movements I suddenly realised that I wasn’t a cat right now, I could have used healing magic through my hands too. “Shit,” I thought, but what had happened couldn’t be undone. I’d done it subconsciously.
Pressing my lips onto the wound till it was healed, I let go of the hand. Legato looked down at me with a dazed expression. Looking at that face, a smile rose on my face and I felt like teasing him.
「I’ve repaid you for my time as a cat.」
Legato made a puzzled face and looked around our surroundings.
When I gazed at Legato, asking through my eyes, “Oioi, do you really intend to repay me?” Legato made a serious face as if he’d come to a decision, leaned over me and left a fleeting kiss near my cheek.
Extending my body towards the face that soon parted from my skin, I too grazed his cheeks with my lips. I met Legato’s widened blue eyes. I gave a sly grin.
I placed my head back on his lap and Legato turned stiff for a moment.
The Coming-of-Age Ceremony passed without incident and life returned to normal in the Royal Palace.
One could often see the sight of the Squad Commander’s footsteps on the way back home intermingling with those of a black cat, or that of a bird fluttering down through the window into the Squad Commander’s room.
There’s still more to come.
Ofc there is! We aren’t even halfway through the novel! I’m gonna probs die from fluff overdose lol
1. This one’s a difficult one to get through in English…it’s like when someone catches your wrist and the fingers seem so long that they overlap? Don’t get it? Here’s part 2 of my amazing artwork (Not) this time, on paper!↩
Hasr’s Shameless Promotion Part…lol I lost count
Hey y’all…want another BL to read? Here’s Searching For You! It’s a short BL of 6 chappies I’m tling on Watashi wa Sugoi Desu haha. I’ve read it fully and I love it!
P.S. Please leave a good review on NU too…We gotta counter the BL haters!