Shigeo still remembers when his life consisted of him floating around aimlessly in a void of inky black nothing. While he was trapped, the fake him got to be out in the world. Admittedly, Shigeo was jealous of Mob. He was jealous because while he was lonely and angry, the fake him got to be happy. He got to be free.
The only time he ever came out of the void was when there was danger. First, there were the bullies, then there was that narcissistic kid. Mogami was probably the best fight he had in his life, looking back he would happily beat the crap out of that creep again in a heartbeat. There was also that dream monster. He never wants to see that again.
The last time he was “out” during anything major of time was when he tried to confess to his childhood crush. Tsubomi was kind, talented, and beautiful. She still is, but back then Shigeo couldn't help thinking that she was the most amazing person in the world. Now he knows a bit better, yet he still thinks she's great. Anyways, he was helplessly in love with her. Embarrassingly enough, the main reason for that was she didn't view him and Mob as different. He liked that. A part of him wanted to be normal.
So when the time came for Mob to ask her out, Shigeo was not surprised when he failed. So it was up to him, as always. That’s how he saw it, at least. He saw Mob as a failure, a fake. But as he got closer to the park he saw more of the fake’s friends and how much they care about him. There was a sinking feeling in his stomach when they tried to talk to him. At the time he thought it was because they were in his way. Now he wasn’t so sure. It didn’t matter, really. In the end he made sure they were out of the way. Mob didn’t like it, but the fake was powerless. Mob tried to talk him into stopping. Obviously that didn’t work. Shigeo hated Mob, of course he wouldn’t listen to him. He wouldn't listen to anybody, not even the little brother that he cared about.
At least, not until a certain fraud and his green fart cloud came along.
Shigeo was surprised to see Dimple again. While Mob had mostly forgotten about what happened at the giant broccoli Shigeo did not have that luxury. He remembered everything. And no, he was not sad about it thank you very much. Even if he was, it’s not like he’d ever admit it. When Dimple’s smile was on Reigen’s face, he was shocked. He was shocked when the fart was floating next to him, in the void. Yet when the spirit asked him to listen to the conman, he snapped out of his shock and decided to listen. To this day he had no idea why, but he’s glad he did.
Being completely honest, Shigeo hated Reigen with his entire being. When Dimple left, the boy almost decided to just tune the man out and continue to the park. He didn’t have the chance to though.
You see, the reason he hated the man so much was because he was a manipulative liar. As far as Shigeo was concerned, the man only used him for his power. Mob was more than happy with that but he was not. Shigeo didn’t want to be used! He didn’t want to be lied to either. Then the man said four words that stunned him.
“I don’t have powers!”
Shigeo had no idea what to do. The man was finally coming clean. For once in the long time he knew the boy, Reigen was being honest. Shigeo stood there in a stunned silence as the man spoke. His view of the man was quickly warping into something he didn’t recognize.
“Even without me, you’ll be okay. It’s okay. When the time is right, accept it. Accept yourself!”
Despite his broken state, Mob heard Reigen too. The fake him agreed with the con. After almost five years of being suppressed, Shigeo was accepted by Mob. Shigeo accepted him too, even if he still found the boy annoying.
Even though he was finally accepted, there were still chills crawling down his spine. He had been so busy dealing with what he considered nuisances that he didn’t have any time to realize what that feeling was. It was fear. To Shigeo’s shock, he was afraid. Despite his massive amount of power, he was full of fear. It wasn’t fear of just anything, oh no. He was afraid of being rejected. That might seem funny to you, seeing as the boy can beat almost anyone and anything yet he is deathly afraid of simply being rejected. But despite having almost all the power in the world, he is still just a boy and boy’s can be scared of silly things. So there he was.
To his surprise, Mob was the one that convinced him to go anyway. So they did. Admittedly it hurt when they were rather politely turned down, but at the same time it felt nice. When they returned to Reigen and Dimple, he cried. Shigeo himself had never cried. Yet there he was, crying his eyes out. That also felt surprisingly nice.
Now, that’s enough of that somewhat embarrassing story. If you were to flash forward a few months and you’ll find yourself in the present. Shigeo and Mob get along a lot better now, though he Shigeo does occasionally call his other half “fake” just to get him mad. They also had an agreement of sorts. Shigeo was out during the nighttime. If Ritsu was up he would spend time with him, but for the most part he tried new foods and read books. He wasn’t out for as long as he’d like seeing as his vessel needed at least some sleep, but it was much better than what it used to be. The void was even nicely decorated now, with things the two residents imagined. Photos, workout equipment, furniture. It wasn’t that bad of a place to spend his time now.
On the other hand, Mob was out during the daytime, so he could do school and hang out with his friends. That was fine with Shigeo, seeing as going to school would be a disaster for him. So imagine his surprise when all of a sudden, he’s woken up by the talking of a teacher.
At first, the boy thinks it’s a weird dream. Strangely enough you could fall asleep in the void, though Shigeo has no idea why. He blinks a few times, his eyes hurting from the sudden light.
“Uh, Kageyama? Why is your hair doing that?”
Shigeo looks over at the person sitting next to him. The girl is staring at him, flabbergasted. Actually, everyone is. He pinches himself just to make sure he’s not just in some strange dream. Strangely, he’s not. That’s not good. Mob must’ve fallen asleep in class again, but this is the first time Shigeo came out during his other half’s nap. The psychic is concerned by all this but he isn’t really in any position to do anything about it right now. He has other things to worry about.
Not even a full sentence comes out before he cuts himself off and winces along with his classmates. His voice is loud, much louder than he expected. His voice all of a sudden booming really isn’t that rare for him. He’s usually at home when these kinds of mishaps occur, where the only victims were people who have grown used to it. Shigeo takes a deep breath. “Sorry,” he said, in a normal voice this time around.
“Are you feeling okay Kageyama?” The math teacher asks as politely as he can. Shigeo doesn’t really know how to respond. Probably not with the truth. That would be a very long story. Not one he’s very proud of, either. So he just responds with soft, “No.”
“Maybe you should go home?” The teacher is very clearly uncomfortable with the situation. Shigeo doesn’t blame him. If he was a teacher and all of a sudden the quiet kid’s hair started to float he would be disturbed too. He doesn’t have any pupils either, so that doesn’t help the situation.
“Yeah. I’ll get going now.”
The psychic has to fight his instinct to put up a force field. Usually stares means he has to fight but he knows that isn’t the case. He feels his cold face warm up as he leaves the classroom. He is careful to make sure that he doesn’t accidently use his powers as he walks the halls towards the office. He was mostly good at controlling them but there was so much of it. He smiles slightly as he remembers what happened to the silverware drawer. All of the spoons were bent to the point where it took Ritsu and him a while to fix them. It also didn’t help that he kept on accidently bending the schools again once they were straightened.
Once reaching the office, he wipes the smile off his face as he knew who would have to pick him up. Both his parents are unavailable making it so the third person on his contact list will have to pick him up. The boy internally groans, he is pretty sure he knows who that is. Shigeo sighs as he opens the door, not liking what he will have to do.
‘Hello, how may I help-” The secretary cuts herself off once she takes a single look at the psychic. She quickly regains her posture though, giving him a smile that doesn’t seem strained. “What do you need, dear?” She continues, like nothing whatsoever was out of the ordinary.
“My, uh, allergies are acting up really bad. I need to be picked up.” It was halfway true. He did need to be picked up or God knows what would happen. The secretary nods, still smiling. She gets the boy’s name and brings his information up on the giant, clunky school computer. Her eyes never leave his face, as if she’s still trying to process what she is seeing.
“Alright Kageyama, who will be picking you up today?”
“Reigen.” Shigeo says in a monotone deadpan. “Can you ask him to bring sunglasses and a hat with him?”
The woman doesn’t even need to ask why. Shigeo settles back in the surprisingly comfortable chair and partly listens to the phone call. The poor secretary has to try to explain to Reigen what was going on without straight up saying that the boy looked insane.
“Ah, yes, well Kageyama is having troubles with allergies. Oh no, I assure you that it is worth taking him out of school for. They are quite different from most people’s.” Her voice is quite chipper but her eyes tell a different story. They are tired, screaming that she isn’t being paid nearly enough for this madness. Shigeo admittedly has to fight back the urge to smile at her suffering.
The psychic tries his best to relax while waiting for the fraud. Meditating was one of the three ways to enter the “void” and he thinks it would be best if he switched with Mob as soon as possible. He quickly finds out that he is unable to. The lights are too bright and the ringing of the phone is too loud. On top of that, Shigeo is more stressed than he has ever been. He would much rather be fighting off terrorists than deal with the fear that being normal brings on. The secretary put on a kind face but most people probably wouldn’t. Whether he likes it or not, he is no good at being normal.
After ten or so minutes of just thinking, a familiar face walks into the school. Reigen walks straight to the secretary and signs him out, smiling his conman smile the entire time. He finishes signing the paper and turns to the psychic. His smile doesn’t falter for even a second as he hands the boy a grocery bag and motions for him to follow. He doesn’t talk until they are both outside and they are both alone.
“-Shigeo.” The middle schooler glares at Reigen, taking off the sunglasses for a brief moment just to get the point across. The man in question shrugs it off and continues. “So, Shigeo, what happened?”
He wishes he could respond with, “wouldn’t you like to know, weather boy?” However Mob would not like that at all and while he doesn’t fear his other half, Shigeo agreed to try his best to get along with him. So he instead responds with, “Mob fell asleep in math class and I was jolted awake instead of him.”
“How does that work? The whole switching thing, I mean.”
Shigeo gives Reigen a sarcastic, “magic” while doing jazz hands. The con man clearly wasn’t expecting that response. Sadly for our protagonist, the man with an ambiguous hair color was good at quickly composing himself. It is truly a shame, as it would have been fun to watch him melt in a pit of embarrassment.
“That’s fair. Um, just so you know Serizawa is visiting his mom today. I’m sure he would’ve been happy to meet you though. The office feels really empty without him, so I thought I’d tell you in advance.”
It’s a shame. Serizawa was someone who Shigeo actually found decent. The man was honest, quiet and was overall the opposite of the man the middle schooler was walking with. Maybe they’d have a chance to talk someday in the future.
The psychic doesn’t say anything though, so they walk along in awkward silence until Shigeo hears a noise from a nearby alley. The boy stops, listening. Yep, there it is again. He walks into the alleyway where the noise came from, responding to Reigen calling to him with a simple middle finger. He immediately regrets it but not because he feels bad. If Mob finds out Shigeo will be in for a huge lecture. Then again, he’ll just have to make sure his other half doesn’t find out.
Shigeo is admittedly caught a bit off guard when he hears a crash from the garbage can. For a second he reflexively has a force field up but he soons sees that there is no reason for him to do so. The source of the sound is a small, white kitten. It’s fur is matted down with what the boy believes to be dirt, although there is a disturbing amount of dark red mixed in with the ugly brown. Looking at the cat, Shigeo feels like he is about to throw up. It reminds him of six months where he was practically nothing. It was worse than being trapped in the void, at least there he had at least some confidence in the fact that eventually, Mob would fail and would need him. In the fake world, however, Shigeo had no guarantee. He was ripped away from his vessel and forced to watch the “fake him” get abused for months on end. As always, Mob didn’t defend himself. The difference was that this time around, no one was there to help him.
Shigeo snaps himself out of those memories and once again pays attention to the cat. He gently reaches towards the kitten and softly picks it up, cradling it in his arms. At first it hisses and scratches but the psychic doesn’t feel a thing. He just gently strokes the feline, wondering if Reigen will let him give it a bath.
Speaking of the devil, it seems the man has gotten tired of waiting for the boy to come back. When he sees Shigeo, he flashes a friendly smile. “I see you’ve gotten a friend, huh?”
The smile on the psychics face is wiped off. He just shrugs and walks past the man, muttering, “I hope you have the supplies to give it a bath.”
Shigeo doesn’t look back to see how Reigen responds. Instead he keeps on walking, stroking the now calm cat in his arms. Despite never walking to the office himself, Shigeo has watched Mob go to Spirits and Such so many times that at this point it’s just muscle memory. The boy ignores Reigen’s chuckles as he talks to the cat, though he does mentally note to find a way to get revenge on him for that. He’d rather be teased by just about anyone else other than that man.
After a few more minutes of walking, they finally reached the house of scams. Reigen groans and mutters something about security when Shigeo unlocks the doors with his powers. The boy doesn’t care though and just waltzes in. He would like to find things to use to get on the con artist’s nerves but he has more important things to worry about.
“So, Reigen. You got anything I can use to clean the cat?”
“Mhm, let me get them for you.”
Shigeo continues to stroke the cat, knowing full well that despite the man being gone he was still being watched. The green fart was the least of his worries right now, and because of that he ignores him until he starts giving the cat (who he now sees is a girl) a bath.
Shigeo never lets go of the kitten for a second. He just lazily sets up the bath with his powers, barely paying attention to what he was doing. He hears a loud complaint about how a spoon is bent, something the psychic slightly smiles at. Shigeo places the cat into the warm water, not really caring that she scratches him for it. Instead, he gently scrubs her fur, trying his best to slowly remove all the dirt from it. While he is in the middle of doing that, the aforementioned green fart decides that he has had enough of Shigeo ignoring him.
“Hey Shigeo!” Dimple says. The middle schooler just gives him a hum. “You’re here early.”
Shigeo shrugs, using his powers to take off his sunglasses and hat. “Just so you know, you’re not talking to Mob.” The spirit could already tell something was off, so the admittedly bare bones explanation was enough for him.
“I see,” Dimple nods. Shigeo doesn’t go any further than that and the spirit doesn’t ask him to. Instead he just watches as the psychic washes the now much cleaner cat. It is peaceful, until the bane of his existence comes back in, holding a slice of cheese in one hand and a bowl of water in the other.
“I read that cats can have cheese, so we can feed it this while I get some actual food for it. We’ll have to call the shelter, too.”
Shigeo picks up the now clean and wet cat. He looks at her sadly, not really wanting to give her up. “If my parents agree, do you think it’s possible for me to keep her?” The middle schooler hates how desperate he sounds. He doesn’t like to be the one asking for things, it means someone else is in control. However as he dries the cat she purrs, making his cold heart melt slightly. He decides then and there he would do anything for her.
“I don’t see why not.” Reigen shrugs. The man puts on his coat, preparing to leave for the store. “please don’t destroy the office while I’m gone.” He says half-jokingly.
Shigeo spends his time petting the soft kitten. Now that she was clean he could see that she was clearly underweight. It makes him sad that she hasn’t been taken care of, after all she was such a sweet kitten. If things go his way, she’ll be coming home with him tonight.
“So, Shigeo, what will you name her?”
Shigeo looks up at Dimple, who’d admittedly snuck up on him. The fart cloud’s face has a friendly smile, clearly trying to connect with the psychic. The middle schooler stays silent for a minute, petting the cat while thinking. Then finally, he came up with a serviceable name.
“Cream.” He barely whispers. Dimple’s snort gets the spirit a glare and a sharp, “what?”
“Nothing,” Dimple says. “It’s a very nice name, is all.”
There’s clearly something the spirit isn’t saying, but Shigeo doesn’t get to interrogate him due to a certain nuisance walking back into the office with a shopping bag in his hands. He gives the bag to Shigeo, who immediately looks through it. There’s wet food, a small bag of dry food, and a collar.
“So I called your Mom and she says that you can keep the cat. You’ll just have to get it registered tomorrow and then you’ll be good to go.”
Shigeo beams at this news. The boy's smile makes the two others smile too. The smile was so pure and innocent, a look they didn’t think the other half of Mob was capable of. It definitely contrasted the dead look of the boy who was destroying the city.
“Hear that Cream? You’ll be staying with me! Of course, you’ll probably not like what will have to be done. It’ll be worth it though!”
Shigeo remembers Ritsu off-handedly mentioning wanting a pet while watching a movie one day. Dad had said that they would one day, but they just haven’t gotten around to adopting one yet. A cat was perfect for a family that often had to leave the house. Besides, not many animals liked Shigeo (though most were fine with Mob) so it was hard to find a pet that would be comfortable in the house. While Cream wasn’t too enthusiastic at first, she is the first animal that doesn't cower in the psychics presence. The fact that she is the only one isn’t something he’s proud of, but Shigeo guesses it is due to his powers. They always have to be used in some way or form, which is why his hair is constantly floating and his eyes are always glowing.
“So, uh, I see you named her.” Reigen says in an attempt to make conversation. Shigeo nods and continues to pet his cat. She happily purrs, leaning into the boy’s hand. He’s never petted an animal before and it’s better than he’s ever imagined.
“Yeah, it just felt right.”
While Shigeo himself doesn’t notice it, Reigen and Dimple both see that the boy is slowly starting to warm up. The con man sighs, realizing that if he doesn’t say what he’s been meaning to say for a few months now he may never get another chance. At least, not for a long time.
“Hey, kid. I just wanted to say I’m sorry.” The man says, rubbing the back of his neck. Shigeo looks up at him, confused. “What for?” The middle schooler asks.
“For using you. Somehow, Mob has forgiven me for it. But you and Mob are different, right? So I thought I’d apologize to you directly.”
Shigeo had not been expecting that. He looks at Dimple, who is also surprised by Reigen’s apology. The boy looks down at Cream, who is now starting to get bored of being pet. He sighs, not quite knowing what to say.
“I still don’t like you very much,” he starts. “But I don’t hate you anymore, either. I realize now that while you were using Mob and I, you also cared about us. Well you cared for him, but close enough. I don’t really know how to feel about you, if I’m being honest.”
“That’s okay. You don’t have to like me. Just know that I care about both you and Mob. I’m sure the same goes for Dimple and your family.”
“Yep!” Dimple confirms.
For some reason Shigeo can’t comprehend, he starts crying. It starts soft but it soon spirals into full on ugly sobbing. “I don’t get it. The only time you’ve met me was when I was destroying the city! I was being horrible to you! So why would you forgive me like that? I’m-”
Shigeo is cut off by Reigen, who embraces him. The man pats him back while he cries, patting his back like a father would do. Cream comes up and licks the boy’s hand, and Dimple also tries his best to hug the middle schooler.
“We care about you, Shigeo. You only ‘got out’ or whatever was when there was danger, right? I think you just didn’t know any better, is all. We’ve all made mistakes, and I think the only one who hasn’t forgiven you yet- is you.”
Shigeo calms down a bit at Reigen’s words. “That still doesn’t make it right.”
“No, I guess it doesn’t. But no one was killed, and it’s not like you’re Shou’s dad or Mogami. You're just a kid.”
Shigeo had never thought of it that way. He was always seen as some terrifying force of nature, so he had started to see himself that way too. He had to deal with all of Mob’s bottled up emotions and the strongest of those was hate. Not hate for just anyone though. Mob hated himself for the longest time, and in turn Shigeo did too.
“Th-thank you.” Shigeo whispers. He really, truly means it too.
The four stay close together for a long time after that. Once Shigeo is done crying, they start talking about various things for a while. The time seems to fly by and before anyone knows it, it’s past three. Since the middle schooler would normally be out of school by then, they all agree that it’s time for him to go home. He floats his sunglasses and hat over, even using his powers to put them on. He gently picks up Cream and cradles her in his arms. He has both his school bag and the bag full of supplies float behind him. Once he is ready to go, he waves goodbye to the other two.
He gets home about half an hour later, he knows that Ritsu is already there. Shigeo takes off his sunglasses and hat, still holding Cream while doing so. “Ritsu, I’m home!” He says.
“Your home early Shige- is that a cat?”
There were many things that Ritsu could’ve asked about, and all of them would’ve been reasonable. This includes Cream, of course.
“Yep, her name is Cream.” He says in a very matter of factly way. He hands Ritsu the white kitten. The kitten in question scratches Ritsu’s face but the boy only flinches. Both boys have a strong resistance towards pain, something that will probably make training Cream quite a bit easier. Shigeo watches as his younger brother happily pets her, when he is reminded of something he needs to do.
“I have to go to my room real quick.” He says, rushing upstairs.
Once in his room he sits on his bed, trying once again to relax. This time around it works, and he finds himself inside the void. It is an inky black, the only light being that of the occasional lamp. There is furniture and books floating aimlessly about. Shigeo walks around, looking for his other half. When he finds Mob the boy is sitting on the couch next to one of the few TV’s, reading a book. Knowing that the TV’s only function is to watch the outside world, Shigeo feels a little embarrassed. He waves away his embarrassment, turning his attention back to Mob.
“What happened today? You just disappeared!”
Mob jumps. He clearly didn’t realize Shigeo was there. “I don’t know. I guess I got distracted and you got out instead.”
Shigeo has no idea how his other half is so calm about this. “You know I could’ve caused chaos, right?”
Mob smiles. “I trust you, so I wasn’t worried. Actually, I was thinking that maybe we should do things like this more often. You and Master got along pretty well. Besides, I think you mentioned wanting to go to school.”
Shigeo is heartwarmed by the fact Mob trusts him, but he isn’t done yet. “I said that I’d like to go to school but I can’t. Did you see what a mess math was?”
“Maybe if you have more time to prepare you’ll be okay. I bet you get lonely.”
“You got me there.” Shigeo admits. He sits next to Mob on the light grey couch. It’s cushions are soft and the boy sinks into them. “We can’t just randomly switch like that again though.”
“Agreed.” Mob says. He then looks at the TV and smiles. “So, you got us a new cat?”
Shigeo beams at his other half. He then starts talking about Cream and how amazing she is. Mob listens, a big smile on his face too. Today was probably one of, if not the best day of his life. He could get used to having more days like it.