There’s something unbearably sad about Madara-sama, Natsume Shigeru often finds himself thinking. He can never quite put his finger on what exactly it is, though.
Maybe it’s the slow, thoughtful way in which he moves, as if plagued by creaking bones and painful joints.
Maybe it’s the way he tends to stare off into space, whenever he’s not busy teasing Shigeru and his older sister, or accompanying their father, the clan head, to exorcisms or other official business.
Or maybe, probably, it’s the way he disappears on every first of July, only to reappear the next day, every time lonelier and more miserable than the year before. Shigeru followed him one year, to a humble little grave in a sleepy little town in the countryside - the grave of Shigeru’s great-grandfather Natsume Takashi, the founder of their Clan.
(Madara-sama had poofed into the form of a fat little calico, and had curled up with his nose pressed up against the gravestone.
He lay there for a long time, his eyes closed, and Shigeru could swear he heard him talking in that deep, rumbling voice that always managed to make Shigeru feel safe and protected.
Shigeru had left then, not wanting to intrude on this intensely private moment of grief.)
It’s not only Madara-sama either.
All of their clan’s oldest and most powerful shiki - Misuzu, Hinoe, Benio, Chobihige, Chuukyuu, Kai - carry themselves with an air of misery, of loss. Deeply respected and beloved they may be, they almost don’t seem to belong. Like relics from a time long past.
(“It’s like they’re waiting for something,” Shigeru had said to his mother once.
She hadn’t replied, just smiled sadly and cupped a gentle hand to Shigeru’s cheek.
And he was sure she knew what they were waiting for.)
And then, Madara-sama comes home one day in his fat little calico form.
He’s trailed by a lost-looking 27-year-old with fine silver hair and piercing grey eyes that seem to look through a person. There’s something inside Shigeru that recognizes the man instantly, intimately, as one of their own.
“Nyanko-sensei? Where are we-?” he’s asking.
But Madara-sama interrupts him.
“Shigeru!” he calls, and Shigeru sees the man’s head snap immediately towards him. Those piercing silver eyes blow wide and his mouth drops open in shock, and Shigeru knows he’s been recognized as well.
“Go call your father and grandfather!” Madara-sama barks the order, and Shigeru obeys without question.
“Madara-sama has brought home a guest,” Shigeru announces when he finds his father and grandfather in a room, discussing things in urgent tones with some of their other clan members.
His father looks startled at the news. This isn’t something that happens every day. Or at all, really.
“I think it’s great-grandfather,” Shigeru informs them with a note of uncertainty.
Within moments, his father and grandfather have leapt to their feet and are out the door.
It is, indeed, a time displaced Natsume Takashi that has arrived at their doorstep.
He’s with them for exactly 5 days, and Shigeru has never seen Madara (or the rest of their oldest and most powerful shiki) as happy as they are when they’re with the Founder.
There’s none of those creaking bones and painful joints - they’re young and energetic again.
And Shigeru knows, can feel it in his bones, that this is it.
This is what they’ve been waiting for.
(Natsume Takashi’s smile is soft, his voice so full of tender affection and relief, when Shigeru overhears him talking Madara-sama and Misuzu and the others on the second day.
“I’m so happy you’re all still together,” he says, running a hand through silky white fur.
He turns to smile at Shigeru’s grandfather then, cupping the older man’s face in a soft hand. And it should look strange, out of place, that look of fatherly pride on Natsume Takashi’s face. But Shigeru has seen far stranger things in his life.
“I’m so proud of you. You’ve led our clan well.”
His grandfather looks the happiest Shigeru has ever seen him, despite the tears running down his cheeks.
“Thank you, father,” he replies, pulling the younger man into an embrace. “You wouldn’t believe how much I’ve missed you.”)
In those five days, Shigeru comes to understand why everyone has always talked about his great-grandfather as if he had hung the stars in the sky and built the sun on his toolshed.
The man is so gentle and caring, so sweet and loving - their whole clan seems to revolve around him, even those members or shiki who had never known him before.
And the day Natsume Takashi returns to his own time, Shigeru cries bitterly for hours on end.
Not only for the man that he had come to love like a big brother, but for Madara-sama and Misuzu and Hinoe and the others.
He falls asleep curled up in silky white fur and surrounded by the deep rumble of Madara-sama’s voice, the sweet, cloying scent of Hinoe’s perfume wrapping around him like a blanket.
And when he wakes up hours later, they’re gone, evaporated like mist into the sticky warmth of the summer night.
Do you ever wonder why there’s always this push for everyone working with the boys becoming instant best friends with them? I mean, we know they’re lovely boys (that’s why we’re here) but… you don’t have to be somebody’s closest friend just because you have to work with them. Also remember that this fandom is so quick to “adopt” anyone that says any flowery words about the boys and we know that often doesn’t end up well. Keep in mind that we’re a huge and engaged fanbase of the biggest boy band on the planet. Everybody wants to tap on that spring ($$$). And y’all make it far too easy.
It would make a lot of sense if Go became Aoi’s first actual friend.
In episode 6, we saw that Aoi doesn’t have any real friends because people only approach her for what she (or really, Akira) can do for them.
But episode 3 solidified that Godoesn’t want anything from Akira. He only worked with SOL because they could prevent Playmaker from logging out; he couldn’t care less about what SOL could do for him otherwise.
Which means that Aoi wouldn’t have to worry about Go asking her for some favor. They could actually form a friendship like normal people.
James Fleamont Potter is 10000000000% that guy who gets drunk with his friends & ends up outside his crush’s house screeching Still Into You when she opens the window to shout back “IT’S TWO IN THE MORNING!!! I’M ALREADY DATING YOU!!! GO HOME!!! YOU’RE DRUNK!!!” while his friends video the whole thing for blackmail later.