(That “Catch 22 AU”
I’ve whispered about, that @kikaiz coined and that @voix7 and I have been
helping flesh into a full story which I am really, really excited about)
This is a world in
which Mob and Reigen’s paths have never crossed, in which 10-year-old Mob found
psychic guidance in the form of the aging, retired tv personality Keiji Mogami,
in which Reigen followed through on his plans to close the Spirits and Such
Agency, in which a cruel twist of Mob’s powers forces him to confront how
dangerous he really is.
10 year old Shigeo
Kageyama has vanished, his trail instantly cold, and his case gathers dust in
police archives as a kidnapping never solved. Four years pass before a chain of
events causes his path to cross with that of the despondent, unfulfilled
fake-psychic-turned-fake-investigator, Arataka Reigen. Reigen finds himself in
over his head caring for an escaped victim of abuse who, for reasons
unfathomable, has been taught to believe his very existence is a horrifically dangerous
March came in colder than it did most years. The children of
Salt Elementary School walked home bundled in thick jackets and knitted
mittens. They made games of puffing out frozen breaths and writing their names
into the frost of passing windows. Shigeo Kageyama walked behind two of his
classmates, though he did not go home.
Instead he toed along the edge of a cobblestone sidewalk,
arms out for balance, off in a direction opposite of home. His backpack bulged
out like a turtle shell, heavier than usual. It was packed with the flannel
pajamas and a tooth brush Mogami had asked him to bring. Mogami had not given a
Mob didn’t like the extra weight, but it kept him centered
on the cobblestone rail.
The two 10-year-old classmates ahead of him took the right
street. Mob continued straight, tracing the stone.
“After this, can we go back to the park?” Mob asked. He
wobbled, tilting his head over his shoulder to ask Mogami directly.
“We go to the park every day.” Mogami answered. He walked
the sidewalk, thin silver hair catching sunlight and twists of icy wind. The
hollow pockets beneath his eyes were deep, but not unkind, intently watchful of
Mob who dipped and wavered with each balance-beam step.