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Cats and Coffins

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First blow was the loss of Otenko, second was realizing this was Father he'd been fighting, the third blow was the bite. Things did not stop there since he realized in the coffin that Sabata might die from the Piledriver. Being on the receiving end of a Piledriver hurt.

After the purification, courtesy of Sabata, Django had been frozen in place quietly freaking out until Sabata collapsed. Lita delegated the task of hauling Sabata into San Miguel to Django; This was a good way for Lita to interrupt the freaking out. In Django's haste to get Sabata indoors, he'd run into the solar barrier with not a thought about what it might do to him. (Sunburn was a novel concern for Django.) The resistance of the sol magic yanked at his wings and caused him to stumble going through. He apologized to Sabata for stepping on his foot and received only an answering groan from his brother.

The rattled half-vampire left Sabata on the bed and, distracted, went to wash the usual dirt and sweat off his hands. He always did that after coming back from the messy business of vampire hunting. Zazie's yell to wait didn't reach him in time and she heard the yelp of pain from the bathroom. Lita dragged him to the Solar Bamboo downstairs immediately for a health refill.

Django was asked to leave after knocking over bottles by mistake with the wings, accidental hand-washing burns, being forced to stay away from the windows, and endless hovering by Sabata's bedside. It was driving Zazie up the wall. Django's nerves were about as stable as the safety measures in the Sol City architecture.

It was an odd relief to find out that solar-charging was an option. (A painful option.) There was comfort in still having a tangible connection to the sun. It was an even greater relief to find out that the townspeople took his transformation in stride.

At first, traveling into the Dark City was a welcome distraction. Django could focus on having something to do instead of replaying events in his mind or fighting vampire instincts with potential victims around. Navigating the labyrinth required use of his new abilities which, although useful, were painful reminders of his corruption. Having a voice out of nowhere coaching him on the use of dark powers was suspicious as heck. After the series of horrible events, Django had a sense of time running out for San Miguel and himself. Urgency drove him forwards, seeking the source of the thorns.

Django did not want to, but needed to rest when he could not muster the energy for a mouse transformation. Django stared at the coffin and willed himself to climb inside. It was a very vampirey behavior, sleeping in a coffin.

While appraising the interior of the box, Django heard a "Mrow?" and looked down to see a small black cat jumping into the coffin.

"...Nero?"

"Mrow?" The cat sat down to watch Django as if asking for something.

"Violet is worried sick about you. " Django crouched down to pick up the cat and remembered he had claws. "Shouldn't you be scared of me? She says I look like you now..." The cat began to clean himself. It was adorable. Django's barely-beating heart melted. He normally would have scooped up the cat and taken it directly back to Violet. Django's fangs, wings, and claws would not let him forget: He was a monster now. Dangerous.

Maybe if I scare him he'll go back to safety? Django straightened his back, spread his crimson wings, showed his terrible claws, and hissed to display razor-sharp fangs to the cat. It was a terrifying threat display any vampire should be proud of.

The cat blinked at Django and stretched. There was a kitty yawn. Django went from horrible dark angsty thoughts to mortified self-consciousness. The whole thing felt silly now. "Er, sorry. Look, please, go back to San Miguel? Where it's safe?" Nero stopped stretching and for a moment, Django believed the cat was walking to the door to leave. Instead, Nero jumped onto Django. Django found himself frozen in indecision as the kitten climbed up his shorts and shirt. Trying to remove Nero without injuring him was complicated by the vampire claws.

Eventually Django pried the purring kitten off his shoulder and lost the kitten. Somehow. Nero had disappeared in the moment after removal from the shoulder and returned to the coffin.

Django climbed in and made another half-hearted attempt to make Nero leave. The cat made it clear he was not going anywhere. Django checked if the lid was cracked open for air and settled down with Nero at his side. Transforming into something smaller to make room was not something Django wanted to try. He had no intention of finding out what happened to a cat that ate a vampire mouse or bat.

"I, uh... You are a weird kitten. You know that?" This... was nice. Lying down with a purring Nero at his side didn't feel so lonely. The stiff tension in Django's body relaxed and they both drifted off to sleep. They dreamed of sunlight.