Cat's Hour ~猫の時間~
I also thought about it when I was a child.
“Why do black cats have black fur?”
One day, I asked Mom about that.
Black cats are depicted in different ways, depending on location, culture and context. Black cats may bring luck, black cats may bring misfortune, black cats may protect people, black cats may bring them to despair.
The truth remains a mystery.
However, there are more people in the world that doesn’t like black cats. For me, cat is a cat! Why bother about their fur color?
“Mom, are black cats hated?”
“Oh my, where have you heard that?” Mom worriedly said to me as she took out a stray cat that she definitely picked up outside. Looks like we would have another cat in the house.
She smiled widely as she carried the black cat and shoved it in front of my face.
The black cat stared at me and put its small paw on my forehead. The paws are so soft!
“Uwaah! So cute!” I took the cat from Mom and held it instead. Fufu, so warm!
“Well, it’s true that outside Japan, there are more people who doesn’t like black cats just because their fur is dark color.”
“That’s horrible! Cat is still a cat!” I reasoned out.
“Hikari, black cats are the most selfless cat out there,” Mom said in a matter-of-fact tone.
“Hmm? Why so?”
“Did you know why their fur was black?”
“No, I don’t. Why is it black?”
The story goes like this.
Once upon a time, the black cats also have untainted white fur that signifies cleanliness and purity. However, there was a time that the world is filled with all sorts of negativities, hatred, envy, sins… all sorts of cruel things.
Because of this, some cats left the impure humans, and yet, there are still some that remained to stick with them. There are cats that still believed in humanity. The longer that the cats stayed with those humans, their fur started turning dark as they slowly took the negativities upon themselves selflessly.
Up until today, they are still protecting humans in more ways than one. However, because only few people know that, black cats are not well-received for everyone. Some even discriminated them, abused them, and abandoned them, all over the world.
“That makes them the most selfless cats among others. With that said, we’ll take care of this little one here—oh my, why are you crying?”
The first time that I heard that story, I cried so much and hugged the black cat that Mom picked up. They suffered because they just want to protect humans but they are hated instead? How unfair could that be?
“I swear! I’ll like them! I’ll take care of them! I won’t hate them!”
“Well, that was good but what should I do if our little Hikari-chan got taken by some guy?” Mom said to herself with a bothered expression.
“Why? I’m not going to follow someone I don’t know.”
“It’s not that, Hikari-chan. You see, in Japan, black cats are considered to bring good luck… especially with potential ‘suitors’.”
I tilted my head in confusion.
“What is ‘suitors’?”
It was… a story that I already forgot as a child…
The gloomy aura continued polluting the room, the black cat is depressed, and my life is currently being threatened by the white cat.
I slowly took a step forward in hopes of checking up on him. It looks like he is really depressed. My words are not that harsh in the first place, why would he be dejected with this?
“Terushima-san doesn’t need to apologize… it was the truth after all. I really am a useless president.”
He keeps looking down on himself! How could I reach him if he was acting this way?!
“No one actually wants to work with me. Even the other officers might see me as nuisance. Uuu… it could be better if the student council dissolves…”
Wow. I’m kind of amazed to how much he can interpret my words in a degrading way. It was out of this world, seriously.
“What are you saying, President?! The student council has an important role in school! We can’t just dissolve it!” Mashiro-senpai rebutted and sent a glare to my direction.
He really won’t let me go with this, huh.
Sigh. I really want to pet a cat right now because I’m also starting to get depressed over my own circumstances! The only cat I see in this room are the five officers with cat ears, as if I can just casually touch them! Not happening!
“You better take responsibility for this.” Mashiro-senpai said to me. Of course it was a threat.
“Why me?! He’s the one twisting my words in his own interpretation. I never mentioned that he was a useless person!” I reasoned out.
“This is why I’m against with recruiting a secretary.” Calico clicked his tongue in irritation.
“I never said that I want to be a secretary!”
“Well, if we can’t convince her… we don't have a choice.” The orange cat was about to say something when he was cut off by the gray one.
“That was too much! We should at least give her a chance, right?”
What are they talking about? Am I being left behind, again?
Ugh! Whatever! I just want to go home already.
“Hold up, Terushima-san,” Irosaki-sensei called out to me. “This will definitely take a whole day so let’s introduce everyone first.”
You better start with that earlier!
“My, my, sorry about that. I’m a little careless.” She lets out a soft chuckle.
That apology doesn’t make me feel better even for a bit.
“Alright! First up is this gray boy you are calling.”
“W-what the--?! How did you know that?!”
Instead of answering, she gave me a playful wink and mouthed, “Take a guess.”
I squinted my eyes at her. There’s only one reason I can think of right at this moment. And even if it was painful to admit, it was really an absurd idea.
“Sensei, can you read my mind?”
“Correct! You’re quite sharp, Terushima-san!” she exclaimed in delight for getting the right answer.
Aaah! This is horrible! I’ve been calling everyone with nicknames that I made up in my mind and Sensei can actually read my thoughts! How embarrassing!
I suddenly feel like there is an endless pit in my stomach. Uhh, this is the worst.
“No need to be awkward. I’m not going to tell your thoughts unless it was necessary.”
She’s really enjoying this. That’s for sure.
“Okay! This guy here is the first year representative, Aoi Haibara,” she introduced the gray haired boy.
“I’m a little disappointed in you, senpai, but I still think you deserve a chance,” he kindly said to me despite a hint of irritation in his voice.
Who needs second chance? I’m not going to do it!
“Maa, maa, think about it a little longer Terushima-san.”
Crap! I forgot that sensei can read my mind!
“This orange cat is Asahi Toujo. He is a first year and at the same time, student council treasurer.”
“I would have gladly accepted senpai-chan because she’s cute but you went overboard, senpai.” Toujo-kun sighed in disappointment.
Since when did it became my fault?! I’m also clueless here!
“Hah? What are you talking about? Cute? Where? I see nothing but an insensitive human here.” Calico scanned me from head to toe as if he was judging my whole being.
This rude guy! I’m not insensitive! Your president is just too sensitive!
I would die to land a fist in his face if I could. But for the sake of cat ears, I dropped the thought.
“This calico is the second year representative, Tsukasa Mikejima. I think you two are on the same class.”
Same class?! Why do I have to be on the same class with this rude guy?!
But… I didn’t see him in class earlier. Wait… don’t tell me…!
“Who are you calling a Calico?” He towered over me and give me an intimidating glare. He’s so tall!
“N-nothing.” I swiftly looked away from him.
Sensei, you’re a liar! Why do you have to mention that?
I scowled at sensei’s direction. She faced me and give me playful wink as if doing it on purpose. I can even imagine her saying something like, “Teehee, my bad.”
“Just to clear your thoughts, I won’t say something like that,” she reacted.
That’s what you’re worried about?!
“All right! You already know the vice president, Tsuki Mashiro. He’s a little bad with words so you might have one or two misunderstandings with him.”
That’s not impressive at all.
“And lastly, the guy sulking in the corner over there is the student council president, Yuuto Kurokawa. As you thought, he was a little sensitive so you should approach him in a more gentle way.”
What do you mean a ‘little’ sensitive? This guy is a personified depression!
In the first place, why is the president so weak-willed?! He should be more confident and competitive! How in the world did this vulnerable person ended up being the center figure in a school organization that is supposed to be second in command right after the school heads?
“Terushima-san, I suggest you not to underestimate Kurokawa-kun,” Irosaki-sensei said to me in a serious voice.
“Among the five of them, Kurokawa-kun is the most capable and he has a vital role in retaining the order in this school. As the school principal, the position of student council president is something that only Kurokawa-kun can do, that’s what I think,” she proudly said to me. She may be doing this to boost Kurokawa-senpai’s confidence.
I glanced to Kurokawa-senpai’s direction. Honestly, I can’t see what Irosaki-sensei means after seeing such a downhearted person sulking in the corner. However, the moment that our eyes met earlier, I saw dark circles under his eyes. He may have gotten them from sleepless nights of working for the student council.
“S-sensei… is that true…?” Kurokawa-senpai turned around to ask Irosaki-sensei. His eyes have such light of hope in them.
“Un. It’s true. Kurokawa-kun can do anything after all. But he’s still a clumsy and weak person so it might not be noticed by others.”
“Sensei! That’s harsher!” Haibara-kun rallied.
Ah, that was harsher than what I said. I don’t know if sensei did it on purpose but it surely made Kurokawa-senpai made a more depressed expression.
Kurokawa-senpai fell in dejection again. He bit his lips in hopes of stopping his tears but they keep on coming out. He keeps sniffing and trying not to let out a sob. His cat ears are also drooping down in despair.
I’m also starting to feel bad for him. I’m not really easily moved even if some random brat started crying in front of me but a part of me is starting to contemplate after seeing the cat ears.
Kurokawa-senpai looks like an abandoned cat left behind by irresponsible owners in the middle of heavy rain. A poor cat! Ah! I can’t take it!
“Mouu! Fine, I’ll do it! As an apology to Kurokawa-senpai, I’ll be his secretary!” I declared with a loud voice.
“T-there’s no need for Terushima-san to go to such lengths…” Kurokawa-senpai tried to raise an objection but I’m also fed up with this farce!
“Aaah! Knock it off! Just accept it already!”
“I-if you’re just being forced even if you don’t like it you shouldn’t do it in the first place.”
“Enough! You said it earlier, right? That no one wants to work with you. If that’s what you think then I’ll prove you wrong. I’ll work with you, end of discussion.”
He wiped his tears with his hands quickly and stared at me.
Geez! Why is he like this?! He’s really stubborn!
“Oho? What’s with the change of heart, Terushima-san?” Irosaki-sensei butted in.
I feel blood rushing on my head out of embarrassment when everything sunk in my mind. I really said it! So embarrassing!
However, I also have the same question… why did I change my mind? It couldn’t be just because of I was easily swayed by emotion, right?
In any case, I still need to give an answer.
I swallowed a lump in my throat and gathered all of my thoughts to put them into words.
“I… I don’t hate black cats. In fact, I think they are cute! I like them!” I admitted shyly.
Everyone fell silent to what I just said. I also got anxious because no one is saying anything. Someone please have some reaction!
I fiddle my fingers while looking away to hide my flustered expression.
Yami showed up and rubs himself in my legs. Thank god you showed up! I’m also in the verge of depression right now! I need to cuddle with a cat!
“Y-Yami…” Kurokawa-senpai stared at the black cat rubbing himself to me.
“How rare, it seems like Yami likes her.” The others started whispering about Yami’s affection to me.
Is it that unexpected? Whatever, I’m just happy that Yami showed up right at this moment.
“Nyaan!” Yami let out a purr towards Kurokawa-senpai’s direction.
On the other hand, Kurokawa-senpai is nodding while intently looking at Yami. It was as if they are communicating.
“U-understood… A-ano, Terushima-san… can you please carry Yami?” Kurokawa-senpai requested from me with his quiet voice.
“Sure. I actually want to do that whenever I see him but I don’t want to force it. That was bad move after all,” I admitted as I slowly lifted Yami.
As soon as I carried him, Yami licked my face. He was obviously showing his affection for me. How cute! I can already die happy with this!
“Y-Yami, don’t bother her too much…” Kurokawa-senpai frantically said to the cat.
Yami also stared at him as if the cat could understand human language. Wait, what if they could really understand each other?
“Ne, senpai, can you understand what Yami wants to say?” I asked him persistently.
He took a step backwards and looks away from me. He started fiddling before he responded in a quiet voice.
For real? How envious! I want to understand Yami too! But that might be impossible for me since I don’t have cat ears like them. For now, I’m contented playing with Yami.
“Terushima-san, I’m amazed that you are still sane after seeing this. Are you really sure you want to become the secretary?” Irosaki-sensei asked for one last time, trying to get another confirmation from me.
“You already said that I don’t have a choice, right? It also seems like I will face some kind of punishment if I will decline. Might as well do it as long as I can stay to play with Yami longer.” I said without batting an eye to them because I was still busy playing with Yami.
“You’re really not beating around the bush, huh. Just like a certain someone. Well, that settles it then. We’ll have your orientation tomorrow. Anyone wants to give Terushima-san a tour around the school?”
I paid attention this time. Looks like I have to take an orientation. I’m not expecting them to give me a tour around the school after I seem like a villain to them and definitely being hated by everyone.
“I’m out. I have training.” Mkejima-kun quickly declined without even a hint of consideration.
See? I am already hated.
“Sorry, I’m quite busy too.” Toujo-kun declined as well.
“Are you seriously considering that I’ll do it? I have to decline.” Mashiro-senpai coldly turned it down.
As if I want to tour the school with a walking refrigerator?! I might die of hypothermia if I get close to him for a long period of time!
“I could do it but I have practice as well. Sorry.” Haibara-kun politely declined.
No matter how much he filtered it, just the fact that he turned it down already means that they really hate me. Haah. Whatever happened, I’ll just bear with it.
“T-then… I’ll do it…” Kurokawa-senpai slowy raised his hand to volunteer.
“Kaichou?!” Everyone reacted to what he said.
“No, I’ll do it instead!” Mikejima-kun blurted out.
“I can do it, Kaichou!” Toujo-kun followed.
“Let me do it! You don’t need to do it, Kaichou!” Mashiro-senpai was fired up.
Look at the difference in treatment. It felt insulting.
“I really want to do it, but I also have an important thing to do. I’m sorry, Kaichou!” Haibara-kun apologized. Oh, looks like he really has something important to do tomorrow.
“E-everyone have some plans tomorrow, right…? We’ll be fine! I’ll give proper explanations to Terushima-san!” Kurokawa-senpai tried to reassured them.
They are also planning to reason out but he already declined their appeals.
In the end, Mashiro-senpai and Mikejima-kun gave me a glare as if warning me that if something happens to Kurokawa-senpai, I won’t be able to leave the school alive anymore.
I gulped out of fear and held into Yami tightly to settle my pent-up anxiety. What’s with that President Complex?! That seems creepy!
Will I be fine?