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#the cat returns

Memories | Accepting | A Happy Memory

as a preemptive note, i will say i’m using these as an excuse to write some drabbles aha. also that. some of my Big headcanons for how the cat kingdom operates (on this blog, at least) are likely to be hinted at

lastly, i want to say that i wrote this while listening to this song, so now it’s like. the Theme Song for this drabble

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It’s incorrect to say his memories as a whole are faded or hazy. It’s more that they’re invariably fractured, leading into dead ends and non sequiturs, connected only by the most tenuous of threadbare bonds. Rather, he has made do simply with what he Knows, not what he explicitly remembers to be true. 

The resultant collection of scattered, context-less memories he is then left with are somewhat akin to patches of sunlight filtering through the canopy of trees over an old, dark forest, and cherished and guarded just as zealously as one might expect because of it.

He recalls a warm, comfortable conversation in the eternal daylight of the kingdom, but long ago, too long ago. Like a dream, it exists with neither beginning nor ending, a snapshot of cozy contentment. He remembers smiles, approving observations, the lingering feeling of being so thoroughly in sync with a beloved other that it had seemed almost as if they were of the very same mind. The smell of crisp air, frost on the grass. 

(Unlikely, some part of him protests. There is no winter in the Cat Kingdom.)

Someone had placed their paws just below his shoulders, a gentle touch, a reassuring, loving one. He had looked into Natori’s eyes and spoken to him in a murmur.

This is going to work. This is what’s best. You’ve been indispensable, dear. I couldn’t have done all this without you.

“It’s up to you.”

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The world Toto brings them to is one of bark and wood and, despite his warnings that the way back had been locked to him, they find their through with easy access. The world curls up around them like the inside of a tree, pockmarked with moss-green light that filters through. Haru recognises nothing, save for the sole occupant that flies down to greet them.  

“You,” Haru breathes. “You’re the one who did this?”

The winged mouse spirit hisses. 

“Do you recognise this spirit?” Baron asks. 

“I… Not really,” Haru says. “We met, briefly, just before I arrived at the Bureau.”

“And I warned you then that you should turn back,” the spirit says. “I warned you that chasing after him would only bring suffering.” And it nods to Baron with disgust as it speaks.

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Haru doesn’t know what she had expected from the Bureau. 

For years, echoes of their personalities have resounded through her stories, fictional do-gooders with hearts of gold and a surety of step, but the reality is something far… messier. 

She trusts them - she knows it is irrational, a childhood fantasy, and yet she cannot help it - but it doesn’t render her blind to their faults. To their foibles. To how uncannily human they are. If not on the outside, then on the inner. They are not the infallible heroes of her stories, but they are something far realer

And so she steps up into their world.

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“Well, yes,” Natori replies, and without even the slightest hesitation, a fact which seems to quite utterly embarrass him once he realizes what he’d done, as he very quickly busies himself with cleaning his glasses and resolutely avoiding his companion’s eyes.

Yet, the Cat King appears unfazed by Natori’s swift sincerity; staring into ostensible space and pensively running his claws through his mustache. 

When he does finally speak, it’s with a relatively nonchalant tone.

“Yeh. He has his moments. Can’t really think of anyone who knows more about me than he does, too. Pretty sure I tell him everything. Heh. Also, it’s been a real long time. You can’t really sidestep that. Or buy it, if we’re talking royal perks.”

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“…that’s very near heartfelt for you, Claudius.”

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“I can be heartfelt!” The king insists with an offended huff.

“Yes, of course you can,” Natori is quick to agree in a placating tone, all while directing an earnest, obliging expression to his cross companion. “I didn’t mean to imply its impossibility.”

A brief silence settles over them, with the king mutely (but relatively peacefully, all things considered) steaming over what had apparently struck him as an attack on his character, and Natori beside him looking off to some indeterminate spot on the ceiling. Eventually, however, Natori clears his throat and speaks up again, gentle, brushing his paw just faintly against the king’s before withdrawing it entirely, “…in any case, it was very nice of you, Sire.”

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“Lotus cake nice?”

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Oh, I suppose.”

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Haru Ikewaki is happy.

She has been happy for a long time, a pool of contentness simmering in her lungs and beating in her heart in a way that she knows is real and solid. When she sees her beautiful home and the sunrise breaks over the distant mountains, she knows this. When she receives yet another letter from a fan telling her what a difference her manga have made to their lives, she knows this.  

And when her doting husband kisses her to distraction, she know this. When he makes her laugh so hard she splashes the washing up everywhere, when he brings her coffee in the morning, when he draws her into dancing while waiting for the rice to cook, she knows this.     

Yes. 

Haru Ikewaki is happy. 

And yet she dreams.

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Check out this post for answers for 6 and 9 :)

19: What’s your favorite character headcanon?   

A lot of my favourite character headcanons are ones I’ve already used, so I think there’ll be few surprises but, uh, here’s a selection:

  • The Bureau’s first meeting with Persephone was when they were asked by Lune to find his mother (probably for his wedding) and they tracked the ex-Queen down to the middle of a barfight with Louise by her side
  • (Baron hadn’t seen his sister for, uh, a while and was just as surprised as everyone else)
  • Louise and Persephone have married many times,  mostly whenever they find a new world with a different marriage ceremony
  • Toto is older than Baron by at least a century
  • Muta is secretly a pretty decent historian, but he just doesn’t bother to mention it because then he’s given everyone expectations
  • Natori and the Cat King retired off to Natori’s home village (Natori had planned his retirement; CK hadn’t and so just followed Natori)  
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I guess the closest thing to a crackship that I have is possibly Muta/Toto, if only because I had never really seen it done until @deedee-sunflowers had them as a couple in their Russian Doll AU. It’s a human oneshot written for 2019′s Birthday Bash, and the ship is admittedly very between the lines, but Muta and Toto run a watch shop together and you have the lines:

Haru: I’m looking for a man.
Toto: Aren’t we all?
Haru: No, I mean, a watch! A man with a watch!
Toto: I’m flattered but happily married.

It’s probably not a ship I’m ever going to do much with, but  there’s something about Muta and Toto being a goodnatured bickering couple who have to put up with Baron and Haru’s far more dramatic problems that highly amuses me.

ask me more from this list!

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There is more than just one manga, they discover. 

They vary in plot, but not in theme - in so many, it is of the ordinary discovering the extraordinary and fighting to get back home. A girl unlucky in love who trades her face for a feline mask and almost loses her humanity in the process. A young writer who stumbles into a cat library looking for inspiration and forgets herself. A boyfriend who tries on borrowed wings and becomes trapped in an avian form he cannot shed.  

Birds and cats and Creations. And always, always on the edge of forgetting. The tales spin round and round as if trying to describe a half-remembered dream that is never quite correct.

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Baron punches Muta in Yume No Machi

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He also lands on Muta in “ Baron: The Cat Returns ” and continues to stand on him like he’s trash

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Haru is a bad friend also…

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Toto goes without saying I think… XD

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Manga Cat Bureau… I’m calling ya out for your Muta abuse

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