Jagasaki's life had turned to shit. His job had always been mundane and suffocating, so nothing new there. His girlfriend—who he would've probably married—died, and the girl at his work, Bell, who he was just starting to get along with suddenly transferred and never spoke to him since.
He wanted to shoot em' all up.
But he wouldn't. He would continue going to work and dealing with annoying assholes. The only difference was this time he wasn't smiling. He was beginning to lose the point in doing so. No, he had lost it long ago. And now the mask had finally broken.
Jagasaki found himself monotonously walking home after his typical late shift patrolling when he came across the cat. He had moved out of the old apartment he lived in with his girlfriend—out of bitterness—and into a more worn small two story complex. He lived on the bottom floor to the far right by the sectioned off spots people put their various waste. The ground was more dirt than concrete and further along the open right side of his building was simply empty plot and bushes lining the outside to make it look nice.
That was where he had found the cat, crouched between the waste and the single tree next to the currently small piles. Jagasaki wondered if someone nearby owned it, but it had no collar and looked dirty as hell. Plus, who would let their cat sniff through trash?
The cat paused right when he paused at his door, the two of them noticing each other at the same time. It hissed and rolled back on its haunches like it wasn't some small thing Jagasaki could pick up with one hand. It was simply weak and Jagasaki saw its intimidation tactic as amusing at best.
It backed up a step, watching Jagasaki opened the door to his apartment, yet it didn't move past that. Amusing, that's all it was.
Jagasaki stepped into his apartment and closed the door behind him without another glance.
The cat was back four days later on the same mission as before. Though the piles of waste had grown more since its last appearance, they were all still sealed tightly and unable to be opened. Well, the stray cat with sharp claws didn't seem to have much problems. It could rip and paw through the bags but Jagasaki doubted there was anything of value to be found.
He had come back late from another shift patrolling and telling trouble makers to go home and stop worrying their mothers when he spotted it again. Seeing it two times in such a short span of time made Jagasaki think that it really was someones cat. Maybe a new tenant had moved in? But no, the cat was too dirty and it was searching through trash for food.
It was a stray.
A stray who was yet again staring Jagasaki down with that evil intent in its eyes. It wasn't hissing this time, but it had jolted and risen on its haunches again in some kind of battle or bolt sort of pose. At least this time it wasn't so active in its threats. Amusing, really.
All the best heroes on television always had some kind of animal sidekick or mascot, right? The idea of this cat being his made him chuckle as his unlocked the door to his apartment and stepped inside. Just like before, the cat was all skittish until he left.
He wondered if it was still searching through the trash even as he went to sleep.
Jagasaki had never thought much about animals or pets or anything. People liked keeping them, that was all there was to it. If he had a kid, then maybe one day they would request a pet and maybe he would oblige. As long as it wasn't some crazy or annoying shit like a bird or a snake. As long as it was easy to take care of and wouldn't die quickly he didn't care what kind of pet it was.
And now, thirty plus years of age, Jagasaki was considering a pet for himself. This wasn't some big thing he was considering, just something he had thought about in the back of his mind. Mundane life had forced him into thinking this because the cat was really the only interesting thing that had happened to him recently.
Plus, it was back again the exact next day searching through the trash as it usually did. Collection day was coming soon so the waste was filling up. Jagasaki couldn't help but think about it briefly seeing the cat.
If the small thing kept this up, someone would be calling in a complaint and the cat would be captured and taken away. As sharp as its claws were, it could do nothing but make a persons skin bleed and sting. If Jagasaki kept such a creature, he would need to make sure its nails were clipped.
Didn't that sound like a pain? Plus it would need to be kept clean and taught where to shit. A total pain in the ass for sure.
The cat eyed him warily as usual and Jagasaki knew it had to have known who he was by now. These kinds of animals weren't as intelligent as humans but it had to be smart enough to know at least that.
Once finishing his night shift, Jagasaki always went to the convenience store to either pick up dinner or some beer. This time he had bought himself a sandwich and some rice balls for the morning. Reaching into the plastic bag with his food instead of for his keys, he saw the cat flinch as it usually did and continue eyeing him. Its eyes didn't seem like they would leave him until he was completely out of sight.
Jagasaki opened the packing his sandwich was in and pulled out a piece of turkey which was inside it. It was a small enough piece so that it wouldn't ruin his meal. He tossed it on his porch next to him and opened and closed the door to his apartment behind him.
The next day, as he left to start his shift, he found the piece of turkey gone. It was cute, really.
The series of actions was so cruelly tsundereish, a lot like the women Bell he had worked with, that he found himself fond of it just like he had with her. It was all so stupid. He didn't want a pet.
The cat was there again that night. It had been three nights in a row now that the cat had been snooping around the apartment complex. It had to want something other than their trash, Jagasaki deduced. Like a cat was something that could be figured out.
It eyed him as it usually did, not the least bit off guard even through he had fed it last night. Jagasaki stopped further away from the door to his apartment, fishing through his convenience store bag to pull out a can of tuna. He cracked it open, which startled the cat, and took a couple steps forward, perfectly even between his door and the tree the cat hovered next to, and placed it there.
He walked back just a calmly, noticing the cat had backed away but hadn't bolted just yet. It seemed it could care less about him at that moment, now that he was far enough away, and was instead entranced by the food a distance away from it.
It could probably smell it, Jagasaki deduced, and kept watching. The cat moved closer, warily, until it finally reached the can of tuna. It gave the foreign food two sniffs before digging its face it.
Jagasaki knew the cat was starved and far too thin but the way it began eating the food made it seem like it was the best thing it had tasted in its whole life. Jagasaki never knew a cat could act so gleeful and relax its guard so quickly. Especially because of some random can of tuna he picked out.
Jagasaki took one step towards the small thing, found it didn't even react to him, and then moved the rest of the way with much less caution. He would've thought it had picked up on his closeness by now but it seemed the cat could care less about him at the moment. He was far too entranced by the food in front of him.
Amusing and cute, Jagasaki could say clearly now.
He bent over and reached a hand down, petting the top of the cats head. The cat was seemingly snapped back into reality at his touch and shot away with a loud hiss. Surprisingly enough, it didn't go away but rather hid behind the tree next to the trash eyeing him.
It still wanted to continue eating.
"Well I'll leave you to it, then," Jagasaki said, moving away and unlocking the door to his apartment.
That cleared everything up. It looked like his decision was made.
Jagasaki's plan of action now began. Of course, first and foremost, he needed to clear having a pet with his landlord. This was the only real risky part of his scheme to obtain the cat. If they said no, it was all over, and if they said yes, then all he needed to do to keep the risk of failure at a minimum was have patience.
His landlord said yes. It was a simple talk and a simple answer. Jagasaki was glad he didn't have to resort to begging pathetically. It wasn't his style before and it certainly wasn't his now.
The next step, or more like steps, was getting the cat friendly with him and preparing his apartment to have a pet. He knew next to nothing about cats but had the internet and pet shop employees to help him feel like his was prepared. After that, it was all just a waiting game.
He began feeding the cat every morning and night and the cat kept coming to take part in the food he offered it. Morning and night he left cans of cat food for it, watching it eat with that adorning fervor of its. Sometimes he would attempt to pet it while it ate and other times he simply didn't have the time to.
Slowly, he moved the cans of food closer and closer to his doorstep. The change was extremely subtle and even if the cat noticed its sudden closeness to his doorstep it seemed to care less. This cat really loved to eat, or at least take part in the different foods Jagasaki offered it. It certainly wasn't a picky eater.
One day, he wasn't really sure how much time passed, it was time to force the cat to make its decision. Jagasaki's patience was worn and he was tired of this charade of theirs. It was time to lay down the line.
The cat had waited for him by its usual spot by the trash, now closer and not on its haunches every time it saw Jagasaki. He looked at the cat, then opened the door to his apartment and stepped inside.
He left the door wide open and sat down on the small step at the entrance to take off his shoes. By the time he had placed them down in front of him the cat had walked over to stand outside his door. It was a distance away still, staring at Jagasaki without a sound.
Jagasaki pulled out a can of cat food from the plastic bag next to him, slowly opening it and placing it on the floor next to him with a resound thud. He then turned and stared back at the animal.
There was a clear question in the air, a final decision to be made by the cat.
Eat this food and become my pet or get lost.
Jagasaki was unforgiving in his stare, not wavering once. The cat twitched between him, the food, and the door. It took a small, cautious step forward. Then another and another until it reached the entryway. A hesitant paw landed and twitched against the cold wood.
Every step was still filled with a skittish hesitation as it walked further and further inside, sniffing at the air. Jagasaki waited, hands folded and arms resting against his spread out legs. He only watched the cat with a blank face, waiting for it to bolt or bite into the food he offered it.
The cat chose to bite, seating itself in front of the can of food and munching on it with its usual glee. Jagasaki moved his hand over to the cats head, rubbing and petting between its ears with a smile. The cat didn't even flinch back, keeping its focus on the food.
It only caused Jagasaki's smile to grow more fond."Good boy," he mumbled to the cat.
His hand left its head and moved forward, closing his front door to the cat for good.
Jagasaki found out from the vet that the cat was male and named it Yukimaru. He had to give it some kind of name, and did so without care. A human name wasn't that odd for a cat, he had thought. The cat was his now, regardless, so he could name it whatever he wanted.
The small animal made itself at home after a night of uncertainty. Once it did, Jagasaki found it was less of a hassle to take care of than he thought it would be. A lot of that could've been chalked up to the fact that Jagasaki didn't budge in any way to the cats will. No amount of cutesy begging or no nonsense meowing could persuade him to lay off the animal.
If Yukimaru stepped out of line, he would be reprimanded. That's all there was to it, really. The cat itself wasn't the type to beg in the first place or shit in the wrong place. He had well enough manners for a newly chipped cat. Maybe he had some sort of unofficial owner before Jagasaki that taught him the ropes on how to act like a proper house cat.
Yukimaru would meow at him when he got home like a greeting and rub along him as he moved around his apartment. He was willing to sit on Jagasaki's lap overtime and had even hopped into bed with him on occasion.
The cat had learned to sleep at the foot or head of the bed if he did, though, because unlike most people Jagasaki wasn't going to stay still if his cat found himself in a comfortable sleeping spot. No, his comfort and his priorities came first, so it was on Yukimaru to move if he wanted to change positions.
Jagasaki couldn't say if his home became more lively or not. The cat did add a new aspect to his home, but he couldn't say his situation had changed any since he arrived. Jagasaki couldn't find himself caring either way, really.
Life went on.
Chiharu had arrived at Jagasaki's doorstep after his shift. His whole being irritated him and he wanted him gone the moment he saw him.
"Go away," Jagasaki said to him, not mincing his words as he moved him aside to unlock the door to his apartment.
Chiharu was a man he had met patrolling. He had been spraying graffiti on the side of a building when Jagasaki spotted him and took him in. But nothing happened to Chiharu after that. Jagasaki wasn't sure what the man had done to leave completely clean but it made him pissed off.
From then on, it seemed Chiharu had taken a liking to him and dropped by his work or home occasionally. He was a stalker, Jagasaki concluded mildly the first time he had seen him at his apartment. Even after switching homes Chiharu knew exactly where he was.
What a disgusting bastard.
"Don't be like that, Jagaan," Chiharu responded wistfully, entering into the apartment after Jagasaki."We're friends, remember?"
"We're not," Jagasaki ground back, taking off his shoes and walking further inside. Yukimura had already trotted towards him by then with a small meow.
Chiharu noticed the creature with wide, sparkling eyes."What is this?! A cat?!"
He slipped his shoes off and made his way over to Yukimaru whose attention was now towards him. New stranger in his home, Yukimaru was clearly wary of Chiharu. As he should be. He should just smell the vile stench on Chiharu.
"Why didn't you tell me you got a cat, Jagaan?" Chiharu asked, bending down and smiling widely at the cat. Yukiharu was either scared back or turned off by the look. Still, he was wary.
"I have no reason to tell you anything." Jagasaki noticed Yukimaru getting closer to Chiharu, sniffing the hand he had outstretched to him. He reached for a cat of food in the cupboard."Go away."
Chiharu laughed."That's what makes you so fun, Jagaan!"
He had no idea what Chiharu was talking about. Instead of listening to his annoying voice, he called out to his cat."Yukimaru, food," he said plainly, setting the can down in the little eating spot he had set up for his cat. He filled up his water bowl while he was at it.
"His name is Yukimaru, huh?" Chiharu noted, cat turning away from him to get his food. No matter how much time passed his priorities were always the same."It's so like you to name a cat so plainly. It would've been boring if its name was just Kuro or something."
"Leave if you're gonna yap so much." Jagasaki grabbed a beer from the fridge, taking his warm convenience store bento to the couch with him. He turned on the television across from him."I don't care about what you think about my cats name."
"Not even trying to mince your words anymore, huh?" Chiharu noted, hopping into the seat next to him on the couch a good distance away so Jagasaki didn't have to be too close to him."Good! Become more selfish!"
Jagasaki decided this was a fine time to ignore him completely. With Chiharu, that was simply impossible, but he had to try every time he visited because then maybe one day he would really grow completely immune. He was extremely excited for that day.
"You and your cat are the same like that, right, Yukimaru-chan?" Chiharu spoke to his cat, the animal now licking his chops after finishing another satisfying meal."Did you have a good meal? Lets's be more selfish together!"
And Yukimaru had the audacity to step closer to Chiharu and hop up on the arm of the couch on his side. He was still clearly wary but now more willing to sniff at Chiharu and really decide if he would leave him be or not.
"What a cutie," Chiharu smiled at him, hand out to let him get a couple final sniffs in before moving his hand to pet him.
Jagasaki had been side eyeing the pair the whole time, watching his cat get all cozy with Chiharu while it took him fucking weeks to get the damn thing to live with him. He wanted to shoot em' up.
"Don't touch my cat," he snapped at Chiharu, leaning over at grabbing Yukimaru by the torso with one hand and hauling him over to his side. Yukimaru remained pliant under his touch, even as he tucked him into his side and kept him there. Away from Chiharu's prying fingers.
"More selfishness? I like it, Jagaaan!" Chiharu smiled at him.
"Shut up. Go away," Jagasaki responded, more bite to his words than before. Chiharu thinking he could mess with his cat was over the line. Jagasaki knew they never should've met. He needed to keep Yukimaru in check most of all.
Chiharu just laughed at his words, trying to get another look at Yukimaru but Jagasaki wouldn't give him the chance. He reached a hand out and Jagasaki snapped and grabbed his wrist.
"Don't even try it." He looked at him coldly, grip on his wrist tightening."I'll kill you."
Chiharu's maniac grin widened as he backed away."Yukimaru-chan really is cute, but I like that look in your eyes the best, Jagaan."
"Stop being disgusting and go away already," Jagasaki responded without fault. He rubbed a soothing hand over Yukimaru."I'll arrest you for trespassing."
Chiharu laughed and stood up, knowing most of all Jagasaki would certainly follow through if it came down to it. He had his fun anyways. Now it was onto the next thing.
"I'll see you again, Jagaan," he said, then leaning down to look at the cat next to him."And it was nice meeting you, Yukimaru-chan. Let's cuddle together later while Jagaan gone."
"Don't even think about it," Jagasaki grumbled coldly, eyes on Chiharu the whole time until he finally left his house. The distasteful look on his face finally began dissipating as he could focus back on his dinner once again.
Yukimaru squirmed under him, dislodging himself from Jagasaki's arm with a small wrestle. He then hopped over him to the empty space on the couch.
Right, Jagasaki had almost forgot.
"Don't even think about cozying up to anyone else," he told the cat, making sure it was focused on him. The intensity in his gaze was the same as it was when he waited for the animal to enter his house."You're my cat."
Yukimaru, whether comprehending the weight of his words or not, meowed all the same and moved back over to him. He rubbed his head against Jagasaki's arm and curled up into a ball at his side, ready to take a nap after his meal.
Jagasaki's hand came down and pet the top of his head.