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The Far Shore

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Nagisa woke up. He hadn’t been expecting that, given the situation he’d been in only moments ago. Two bullets to the chest, he’d dragged himself into the back of the get-away car, if only to hide his body, and prevent trouble for Lovro. Lovro had tried to stop the bleeding. But there were very few hospitals in Russia, and even fewer that provided medical care. Nagisa had smiled for the man who had taught him so much, soft and warm, one last time, and descended into darkness.

Which in no way explained his sudden presence in his childhood bedroom.

His hair was long again. He stood, not as difficult as it might have been. He’d only really come up another centimeter or so after junior high. His students had accused him more than once of being a junior high student, well over ten years after his graduation from the Assassination Classroom.

He padded to the bathroom, feet turning ever-so-slightly to completely mask the sound of his steps, already faded on the blue carpet.

“I’m in middle school again,” he said blankly, feeling panic rage against the cold focus he’d perfected as an assassin.

He forced it down, Na-gi-sa, where the sea meets the land, waves washing in and out, in and out…
Drawing a slow breath, he closed his eyes for a moment, focusing on the feeling of his blood pounding in his veins; when spots began to swim behind his eyes, he released it, and went to find his phone.

The day of Koro-sensei’s arrival stared up at him from the lock screen.

Breathe in, breathe out. Waves on the shore, Nagisa.

He pushed his hair back over his shoulders, and started to force his body through the beginnings of the earliest kinds of kata he’d learned, replacing a knife with a hairbrush, balancing books on his head as he walked the way his mother had sometimes forced him to as a child, checking his posture and gait, reorienting himself within his body, learning to compensate for missing musculature and the slight difference in height. He had never been incredibly muscled and was not terribly out of shape for his age, but it disheartened him to be forced to begin strengthening himself all over again.

He showered, dressed, and packed a tin of a fruit, a granola bar, and a packaged dorayaki from the stash of food he hid in his room for when he couldn’t bring himself to enter the kitchen with that woman present.

Carefully, meticulously, he added the right pens, pencils, and notebooks to his bag, and paused before putting his hair up in pigtails. I’d forgotten how heavy it was…

He rubbed his thumb over the Phoenix Temple engraved on the back of the 10-yen coin, sliding the two halves apart to reveal the rounded razor blade within. Karma has always had the greatest taste in presents.

He dropped another few 100-yen coins into the nearly invisible left side pocket of his waistcoat, at the bottom of his ribs, making them quick and easy to differentiate as well as masking the strangeness of a single coin on his person.The lighter disguised as a chapstick and the camera/audio-recorder/USB drive dressed up as a pack of gum were tucked into front right pocket of his slacks.

The five-piece multi-tool disguised as a pen he tucked behind his ear. “I wish I’d started appreciating these things sooner,” he murmured. Was it too little? Too late? Better he focus himself on the little things than the panic clawing at his throat. “Alright. Here goes.”

And just like the last first day of school, he climbed out the window and down the tree, and started walking toward Kunugigaoka.