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About Literature / Hobbyist Premium Member Zoe PetersFemale/Unknown Groups :iconnext-gen-uchihas: Next-Gen-Uchihas
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MIKI'S POV

"UHHH" She slammed my hand onto the counter groaning pushing the cake away from her and throwing the spoon into sink. The giant red cake and spongy cake was a played frosted disaster.  Tsubasa, her lovely toddler clapped in her baby stand. Her blonde hair with slight blue ends swaying as she shook her tiny body trying to get to the cake.  "It tastes like a giant spongy salty bitter jello"

"I don't know if you ask me it tastes alot better" Madoka pipped up holding her fork tentatively. She said one thing but her hesitant look to the piece permanently stuck to her fork said another. "Um..l-less ....grimy this time"  She pulled her soft blonde hair away from her face by tucking it behind her ear. "7th time's the charm?"

"Your Mother's a failure kiddo" Mikki groaned.  "I can create intel cores from clean energy sources, re-calibrate entire software systems, manage my father's uncle Minzuko and Ali's company's security systems and intel information but I can't bake a simply strawberry angel cake???"

Madoka gave a terrified look to the aged looking beans in the sponge cake on her plate. "Those were ...strawberries?"

"What did you think they were?"

"I honestly..uh didn't wanna ask"

"Beans" Soma pipped up in his father's arms who kept on looking both supportive and amused all at once. That was her husband for you, the man could crack a smile after she set fire to the kitchen. She would know. "Jelly beans!"

"Honey it was much much better than the last two attempts" Takuto told her. "You're improving"

"Yah know honey considering you taught me how to cook. I think we both know it'll be another two months before I get anywhere near what's considered 'improving'" He gave her a soft smile putting Soma on Madoka's lap. She adjusted herself on the stoll and held him tight. "Christmas is in a week. I want to be able to make the desserts this year..you always do it....what kind of Mom am I if I can't even bake cookies for my kids?"

"Hey hey" He started wrapping his arms around her. He pulled her back against his chest. The frilly lace soft pink apron with bows around the hem hugged her curves. Usually Takuto wore it as a gag gift from their friend Natsuko when they got married but she felt proud with it on her. She had hoped she could possibly absorb some of his skills through the thin fabric.

She even wore his boxers for good luck. A fact she'd make sure he would find out on their own time. A smirk played on her lips feeling him against her but with gentle eyes watching, she tried to be a little more cautious with what came out of her mouth.

"Babe, you make the best cookies, sea salt caramel icecream, cakes, everything. When ever I attempt to do that they turn out to be stuff straight out of goosebumps"

"You'll get the hang of it, just like you got the hang of cooking in general. Baking is just a bit more.." He paused. "Precise? the measurements really really matter, timing and everything it's sorta like math"

"I hate math"

"You're a programmer" He mused.

"Doesn't mean I don't hate Math"

"Math" Tsubasa copied. Her voice still struggling to sound the words probably. It sounded more like  "maph" then 'Math'.  Still her cheerful voice melted her heart even when she started levitating the peas off Tsubasa's bowl. They floated slowly and her bright eyes seemed amused by her own talent.  Takuto held a bowl upside down to collect the bowls floating into it before flipping it over and resting it back onto the table without a single pea dropping to the floor. All without even taking a glance.  Raising super powered children had never gotten old.

Seeded within her genetics. Though she never got the interesting side of ESP. Considering her Mom was a healer and her father a Pyromancer and her younger siblings all had powers far more interesting than hers, even her children. Madoka had teleportation and Telepathy.  Soma's would have dreams of what would happen and judging from his amused expression. Miki could tell her adorable son, who as a spitting image of his father knew of this failure even before she had.  Tsubasa had a hand at Gravitation manipulation, at times she would be crawling on the roof or tiny marbles would fall do deep into the earth it took three sacks of cement to fill the small hole in the livingroom. As for her?

Enhanced intelligence? At first look at her report cards from her schools no one would ever suspect that yet it had been deep rooted within her mind.

Numbers. Calculations. Options. Looking at the toaster to the side near the fridge, she saw scribbling in blue writing in mid air, all the steps necessary to turn that toaster into a bomb, a hair dryer or mini oven if need be. Selectively and barely followed the laws of modern electronics and physics.

Teachers were baffled when she would arrive at the answers for problems with the most obscure calculations.  The powers weren't without their crutches. Most ESP family lines had side effects right along with their powers. Mental or physical ailments that were heightened like Natsuko's Diabetes. Her Dad's anemia that always left him feeling cold. Her mother's mental issues or her own.  The answer of why depended on what religion one subscribed too but the widely accepted version were who governed the bloodline in the beginning. Every ESP lineage started with a child created from a demon and a human. Most believed the unnatural way in which the children were born caused the ailments to go hand in hand. Now both the powers and birth defects were inseparable. Every ESP user had a crutch and god it sucked.  

A spike a fear pricked her. She hated being around knives so close to her children. She was terrified. Terrified that her next conscious thought would be of their bodies on the floor with a bloody knife in her hand.

"The point is honey." His voice broke her from her thoughts. "You can do this just like you're a genius at programming anyway" He rubbed her arms gently. Generation a warm fuzzy feeling that he welcomed since it was a tad chilly. Blankets of snow covered the streets outside and coated the window sill. The room that usually would smell of cranberries, ginger and mint now smelt like failure and desperation.  "I believe in you"

"Oh yeah?"

"Of course" He kissed her cheek.

"Babe gotta ask" She pointed her ring finger to the nine fire extinguishers to the side. "I'm guessing those Extinguishers are just for decoration?" Takuto's cheeks flushed. "Gotta work on your trust speech babe" She teased kissing his hand.

"I still mean every word of it...those are just caution for your safety dear"

"He fooling either of you?" She asked Madoka and Soma. They shook her heads.

"Neh"

"Sorry Dad" Madoka mused. "But a little birdie told me you're gonna need them?" They focused their looks to Soma who gave them a goofy smile.

Miki groaned. "Great..see I'm predestined for failure"

"You can do it Mama!" Soma cheered.

"Is that a prophecy or a cheer?"

"You won't know till you try"

She narrowed her eyes at him with a smile. "You're just like your father" Takuto opened up the fridge, the blast of cold air made everyone shiver until he pulled out strawberries and took the carton of eggs offt he top of the fridge.

"He's right you know" He reasoned. He pushed the ingredients towards her. "Another try?"

"If we end up homeless for Christmas this is on you"

Madoka giggled easing into Soma. "Wait do we?"

"Let's go get all our toys to Grandpa" He whispered back.
Christmas Baking
I really love these dorks? Have I told you I love these dorks?  
It's that time of the year that Takuto needs to redo his house insurance again.  Nothing like Holiday cooking am I right?
Soma and Madoka know what's up
Babies belong to Aria-Abomination
Loading...
THE GIRL POV

She threaded through the forest grounds holding her side, trying to contain the bleeding that slipped through her fingers. Eyes bruised, open sores all over her forearms and ripped pants. "Shit" She muttered. Kasume looked at the terrane.  The trees all looked the same, too tall to climb to the top. Too thick to put a landmark, and enough raised roots. Poisoned ferns, magical and otherwise that made threading the land more difficult than it should be.  "Where are you" She muttered under her breath. 

My throat tightened besides her. She gave me a side look. Pain and exhaustion weighed me down. Sore limps bleeding cuts and bruises and my eye was swelling shut. Normal magic wasn't working and I couldn't use my ablities either. "Try to stay close..we have about" She looked up at the sun covered by the branches above. Birds cried. Lizards slithered across. "Three hours or so before sunset..and we have to make it back before then"

"Alright" I nodded. 

"Are you hungry? All I have are some dark chocolate granola bars 
" She asked hesitantly after a few more minutes, I denied it even though my stomach was tearing itself apart. She stared blanky. "Alright" She half muttered and kept on moving. Our footsteps were the only ones for miles and it had been like that ever since the raid off camp. What had started as a fun pinic from the school's outing in the enchanted forests off the coasts of the sparkling seas, had quickly turned to chaos. Like the raging sky emerging from the sunniest clearest of days.  The portals the hunters opened up, we managed to close but not before zapping Kasume and I to God knows where in the forest.  No contact, magical or otherwise but I knew she was trying. Her forehead creased every half a mile or so, checking to see if she was closer and closer to telepathic range so Jirou could find us. 

Suddenly a flare of light seperated the ground. A push sent me flying over the other side as the earth split.  "Earth slugs" Kasume told me at the sudden cavern that opened up.  The ground ripping and snapping apart the bone like features of rocks, dirt and roots. Teeth flashed when I stared down the black pit to see no clear end.  The earth opened up like the jaws of a great breast threaten to swallow us both whole. Kasume held onto a nearby tree to keep from slipping into the abyss when the rumbling continued. I shook and trembled ended up on the floor. Easing away at the sections of earth that crumbled apart. 
A lump raised in my throat. I hadn't felt this defenseless since I was with my family members.  The shaking stopped after what seemed for eternity. Trees had stopped falling animals stopped scattering. The plants besides me opened up and flew away from the disturbed plot of soil. The magical forest had wonders I thought I was always prepared for until now.  My shoulders were still sore from the force of her push.  The moment the earth split beneath me I felt weightless until she grabbed onto me. She saved me but why? It had to be guilt on her conscious. No other possibly reason. 
"We're gonna have to keep walking this way" Kasume told me on the other side. "Hopefully find a way to get you over here"  She told me. "Come on-"   
"Looked what the earth worms picked up" A voice cooed. Kasume seemed as white as  a sheet as she turned around to face the woman whose cat like smile was fixed on her.  Perfectly spiked ebony hair, shiny, thick and well kept. Pale silky skin and hiking boots. Amber eyes that mirrored amusement that I had seen  in her own eyes.  Kasume stared and side glanced me. My legs were still throbbing from the cuts and bruises.

"Hello Kasume" She said her voice silky. Green tank top and black pants that had been dirtied by the soil. "

"Hello.." She side glanced me. "Cousin..."

"Oh you lost that right to call me that so long ago"  She told her then shot a look to me. "I see you have an interesting pet"

"What do you want Misora" She demanded. 

"That same thing I've always wanted" She smiled.  "Since all those years ago. Your head. On a stick"  Kasume flinched when a cut opened up  Misora's arm.  She bolted from her spot, jumping down the chaos of roots. 

"We gotta run!" She told me on the other side. I scrambled up to my feet when Misora gave me a sadistic smile. Tattoos covered her from head to toe before she put the blood in the center of her palms. Two handles, one crimson with diamond pattern and the other silver with black hearts  pushed their way out when the blood glowed in her hand. 

"Holy shit" I muttered. A hunter. A high level hunter at that but why did Kasume call her cousin?  I didn't want to wait to stick around. Despite the distance between us I didn't want to become throwing practice for those blades and bolted down the path adjacent to hers.  Misora ran after Kasume who had been jumping and running behind the trees.  

When MIsora caught up in a blink of an eye. I knew the tattoos increased speed but I hadn't seen it first hand. The first swing of her dual swords sunk into bark when Kasume ducked. She moved to the side swiftly evading her next blade. 
"You don't have to do this' Kasume told her. Dodging the swift movements of her attacks. He swung for her head but Kasume slipped backwards kicking her foot but to no avail. Misora moved gracefully with the balance of a dancer. 

Balancing herself immediately from the loss of footing. Whether it was the spell's doing or her own graceful skills I wouldn't know.  

"We could have been a team" Misora started retrieving her sword from the tree's jaws in one yank. "But you chose that monster over own blood!" Her neck attack sliced a jagged cut across Kasume arm. She screamed but a kick to Misora's stomach sent her further away from her. The blood rolled off her arm oddly. It  wasn't like a the bleeding in her side. No it was a constant stream. The wound sizzled with black veins.   "We were family and you betrayed us! Joined their cause. Joined them, had a hand in creating more of them as per honor code you're sentenced to die"

Kasume hissed at the round tearing her shirt to tie around it.  I didn't know what to do or remembered how to breath. The stench of blood was thick in the air.   What really caught my eye stole what little oxygen was left in me. The same black markings appeared on Kasume's body.  Tiny markings that danced along her skin.   What was going on? 

"I knew you were bullshitting when you claimed you didn't remember" She cooed.  Kasume's fingers dipped into her side wound. She winced but drew a diamond symbol on her palm with her own blood. 

"Listen to me right now." I knew she was talking to me. "I want you to run. Don't look back. Keep along the path we were heading and you should be fine" The diamond glowed and a katana handle pushed out of her palm. Smoothed black with silver roses and thorns dancing on the diamond tile. She pulled out the entire blade  and removed the sheath and even the blade itself was smoothed black. "Don't look back, don't try to fight back if this goes bad. Her blades are enchanted, one cut will kill an ESP user even if you can't use your powers" Well if that didn't make this shitty situation bad enough.   Kasume took her stance with her blade in one hand. "Run now!!" Misora smirked moving on her. Their blades collided in metallic clanks. Clank Clank.

Kasume's speed was impossibly matching her own. She moved her wrist fast enough to block both swings of Misora's blades. Shifting and kicking at elbows to change the direction of the blade. Misora spun on her heel swinging one blade to Kasume's neck.  She dodged but strands of hair fell on the ground and a cut opened up on her cheek.

The next blade headed for her stomach and Kasume kicked up the katana's sheath to misdirect her blow. Using her foot to send it into flying into Misora's chin. The blow caused her to bite down on the tip of her tongue. Blood pooled in her mouth but she spit it into Kasume's eyes.  Misora knocked the blade from Kasume's grip when she was disoriented and pushed her into a tree trunk ready to slide the blades between her arms until she jumped  using the blades trapped in the blade as a foot hold when she landed back down. Her feet stood on the blades before kicking Misora away from the tree. Her blades still in tack.

Misora let out a laugh. "Oh this is just like old times when we used to train together. You clearly haven't forgotten your training" She said off the ground. Both weaponless but the fury behind their eyes there was no mistaken.  They started hand to hand combact. Misora punched and Kasume grabbed her arm to slam her into another tree, but Misora twisted and knocked her face into it. She groaned on contact.

I couldn't move. My legs were frozen in place. I wanted to help but both mind and body stopped me. Would it be such a bad thing if I let her die?  Jirou would be devastated but her secrets were deadlier than I thought.  Misora took a fist full of Kasume's hair and kept slamming her face into the tree. "I trusted you!!" she screamed. "We were family and you betrayed us!"

"I couldn't betray a decision I wasn't in the right mind to make" Kasume replied. Her eye and face bleeding. Misora pinned her arms. "I came back for you, I thought maybe if I was under a spell you might be too" She spat out the blood onto the tree.    

"Me?  A spell?" She frowned. "I chose this life. I chose to be by our grandfather's side because he rescued me. He saved me from those hell pits called Guardians after a bunch of them, with powers murdered my real mom and Dad. Murdered my grandfather, grandmother, every single one of my siblings" She growled. "He's been more of a grandfather to me than my own grandfather had a chance to be to me!"

"I'm sorry that happened to you! but not all of them are like that I swear to you! And Yoshirou is not a good man! He killed his own wife TWICE. Attempted to kill his adopted daughter. Dropped his actual blood daughter off the roof of a building when he realized she didn't have our cursed DNA. In his eyes that made them unworthy of anything! much less living! That isn't a man who would" Misora seemed to fly. In a blink of an eye a cut opened up on her cheek and Misora was behind of her. Kasume blocked the blade from getting to her neck.  

"They were weak. Weak and tainted. He brought me up from nothing and trained me. Care for me. Gave me a purpose when all I wanted to do was die!. His first wife betrayed him just like you betrayed me!!" 

She reasoned.  "Everyone has the capability to do bad. Guardians included! it doesn't mean they're all like that!" 

"They're demon spawns. Literally!! The Guardians give these monsters more power? more authority? how the hell can you stand up for something like that because you let one of them fuck you?" She slammed her face in again. "That kind of evil you're helping to spread in this world" She growled."After I kill you. I'll be sure to bury your husband and kids right next to the swallow grave I'll be making for you" Kasume tensed  and sent her head flying back breaking Misora's nose.   She stumbled back disoriented for a second. 

"I don't want to kill you" I heard the underlining tone. But I will if I have to. 

"That's your first mistake isn't it?"

"Please"

"You say you don't want to but you won't hesitate to do it."She snarled. Kasume's eyes narrowed into a cold stare.  "We both know how this is going to end. Don't worry. You won't be missing your family for long"

"No one is touching my family"  She told her. Her face bleeding. Their collision began again. I hid in the nearby bushes out of sight. Kasume rammed her knee into her chest but Misora managed to catch her arm and twist it when she spun around.   Their blows that connected did so much damage I couldn't truly appreciate how much the runes had done for them until that moment. The kicked each other in the face when the other was down, stepped on hands, picked up rocks to chuck at each other. Whenever one or the other tried to reach for their blades the other would do whatever it took to keep them away.  At one point Kasume took a kick to the face when she reached for her Katana that I swore had knocked her out for a moment. Misora picked up a rock and went to bash her head in with it. 

Kasume stirred awake looking up at Misora. "I couldn't imagine a better moment for any this" She smirked looking down. Kasume was bleeding badly, even with all of the runes I knew for a fact being anemic couldn't make this easy on you. "Maybe you'll do better in the next life"

Kasume stared up at her blankly. "Every s..word" She started. Misora raised a brow. "Has an innate..ablity.."  Just as Misora raised the rock to send down  a blow she froze in place. I almost jumped in my skin seeing the Katana fly across the feld and bury it's blade into her chest. Protruding out the front. She stared down at Kasume. Her blood staining her clothes and skin. "Yours was poisonous...I wanted mine to always return to my position at will."  Misora coughed up blood.
"Wh-hy..didn't you" She choked out.

"Use it before" Kasume said tiredly. "Because I knew you never found out what my upgrade was..I wanted to to keep it until you let your guard down."

Chocking on the blood Misora stared down in disbelief but she growled and sent down the rock. Kasume held her hands keeping the stone from crushing her but even while dying Misora's strength was impecable. Kasume held her own and Misora screamed from the blade started to move through her. Every inch it advanced she screamed louder and louder until the blade, hilt on all flew and landed just behind Kasume's head. The blade pinned to the earth and the hilt touching the back of Kasume's head.  

Kasume hand flew up and grabbed the hilt facing the back of her head and pierced Misora's chin straight through her skull after positioning the blade in one swoop. Misora's body twitched before the stone fell on Kasume's face when her limp body slouched off of her onto the side. Kasume groaned and cough the stone rolling off of her as she stared at Misora's body. Bile rose in my throat. 

I knew alot of things about Jirou's family. His mother, brothers, sisters and father and I knew one important factor. Jirou wasn't a killer. He wasn't remotely capable of killing anyone no matter how much they deserved it. Guardians themselves were only allowed to kill off direct orders from the Elders when it came to other humans. 
Kasume would have had to face charges self defense or not. 

I expected to see grief in Kasume's eyes, sorrow, regret or pain but I saw none of it. Instead she pushed herself up to her feet balancing on the tree using her sword as a cane after she yanked it from Misora's body.  "I wish things were different" She whispered. "But I have a family...and I won't let anyone harm them."   One exhausted kick after another after dragging Misora's battered body to the edge of the opening she pushed her in. An earth worm shifted beneath the earth signalling they accepted their meal.  

When her markings vanished it took every bit of strength she had in her with her. The blade vanished into a mist that collected and absorbed back into the palm of her hand.   She fell to her knees and coughed out blood onto the rocks before forcing herself to walk down the path. I followed her carefully being sure to remain out of sight.  The whole way there she was talking to herself.

"Are you proud of me?" She muttered.  "Dad?" She stared into the bushes like she was seeing something.  Blood loss was starting to affect her. "I protected them...they can't know but I protected them.  I'm not weak anymore Dad but I don't know if I'm strong either....Is this what it feels like?. All I feel is empty inside..no..guilt..nothing just..empty" She stared at her palm. "I guess I couldn't escape it after all.."

It took another other before the split that divided our terraces ended.   I ran up ahead and sat on a rock letting Kasume find me in surprise. I acted the part in seeing all of her bruises, swollen cuts and all the blood. "O-oh my god..what happened?"
"It's fine.." She muttered. "She's not gonna be a problem anymore." Kasume assured.

"Did you...did you?"

"No..she fell in the terrine..earth worms got to her." She said calmly. "I tried to help but..it was too late. It was probably for the best anyway"  Her next step sent her to the floor.  She coughed and I helped her to sit on the rock. "Thanks.."
"No problem" I muttered. "But what was that about her calling you cousin?" She flinched.
"Don't worry about it"

"Kasume!!" We both flinched at the chorus of familiar voices particularly Jirou's. "Guys!! where are you!!" They seemed close.  I stood up to my feet. 

"Over here!! We're over here" I yelled. In minutes flat the search party appeared from the trees and fog of tall grass that this part of the forest was known for. Jirou 's relief face turned to panic when he took a look at his wife. He ran over and hugged her tight. 

"Oh my god"  He looked at her wounds, swollen and bloodied face.  His hands cupped her cheeks gentle to inspect the damage.  She only smiled at him briefly and slumped against him happily.  He turned to me in panic. "What happened?"
"Hunter" I spoke up when she had no energy left to speak.  He picked her up bridal style. "W-we got away...but we should leave." He nodded.

"Are you okay?" I smiled even though his gaze kept shifting to his disoriented bleeding wife. He showed concern for me. 
"Just hungry" 
"Come on camp is this way let's get you guys home" His eyes turned from me to a person in the search party. "Run on back, tell them to get the medical equipment out!" The shorter man nodded running back while the rest of us followed quickly behind of him. I couldn't get Misora's face out of my hand when that blade pierced her.

The way her eyes seem to lose their light in almost an instant. The little hesitation on Kasume's part.  The fact that Kasume was a hunter. She was a hunter or at least had hunter backgrounds. Did the elders know about this? Did Jirou? Peaking a look at his panicked state I knew even if he did he probably didn't care. 

How could he trust someone like that? My stomach twisted and turned. I decided the second I got back I was going to do research on Misora. Kasume. Her entire family background and get to the bottom of this.  


Few months later

KASUME'S POV


If I had only known. Staring at the small arrow in the box of ornaments had kept me frozen in my tracks. The snow fell on my shoulders as the squealing of the children around me kept me in my own little world. My heart swelled with grief and tears sprung to my eyes.


'Papa' His eyes met mine while he shifted the christmas tree in place on the pot. Haru played with his new gameboy on the couch. Mom had stuffed us all in overly warm Christmas sweaters, mitts and scarfs even on the indoors because of the massive snow storm.  Fire crackling in the fireplace, burning the apple scented wood filling the room with a comforting warmth. "I broke the angel" I whimpered on the words looking at the fragile broken glass body in the palm of my eyes.  

Haru snickered in the chair. "Watch out we got a angel assassin in our mitts!" It didn't help. "Now Santa can't come! What are we gonna do Christmas is ruined!" My eyes burnt more trying to hold back the tears. Dad smiled and eased over to me, covered in pines and stray star lights that covered his christmas sweater of the reindeer and snow flakes Mom had knitted earlier. "I-i didn't mean it...wait don't cry!"

"Kasume sweetie it's okay" He smiled. He took the pieces from my hands. "Broken glass is dangerous though..I don't want you hurting yourself on them"

"But I broke it...Christmas is ruined." I stifled my cry. He picked me off my feet and placed me on his leg as he sat on the chair next to Haru who felt too guilty to finish his game. 

"Christmas isn't ruined just because of one ornament sweetie..besides who needs a glass angel when I got a real one right here?" He blew into my neck forcing giggles from me. It tickled so much and soon Haru joined in. I couldn't stop laughing. Mom peeked in from the kitchen wearing her famous christmas smile. Smelling like gingerbread and cinnamon putting cups of spiced coco onto the table with a fresh batch of ginger bread snow flake cookies.  She also took out a bottle of non alcoholic Passion fruit wine for the dinner table and placed two bottles in a bucket of ice near the table. I wanted to sneak some. It was a hidden joke that you weren't an Aio unless you were addicted to Passion fruit wine. 

"But it's snowy outside..we can't get another angel before tomorrow.." I said after we each took a steamy cup. Mom always put butterscotch drops in mine and Haru's. It tasted so sweet that once Dad said winney the pooh would demand his honey back. I told him he would have to get through me to get it.  Dad smiled looking at me again after giving me a cookie. "An angel always goes on the top of the tree..always.."

"Well I'm one for change in traditions. How about we make our own? I got clay and an old art oven. what do you say guys?  Haru snickered breaking apart the ginger bread.

"We can make it something awesome! like a robot, or a car!"

"Or a Ballerina or Mommy!"

"Or Mommy as a ballerina robot sitting in a car!" I giggled at Haru and finished my cup. 

"You're such a dummy" Dad laughed getting up and fetching the clay. We made our stuff, an extra set of ornaments for the Tree. Smiley faces, Mommy, an angel while Haru worked on cars and bells. Dad worked on something in a corner but he didn't let us see.

"I wanna see!"

"It's a secret!" He'd laugh. "If I tell you it wouldn't be a secret anymore would it?" I pouted and stomped back over to my station, looking at him work in the corner by the couch with gold and purple clay. Haru turned to me with a mustache made of clay.

"You dork!" I laughed. "Make one for me too!" We took pictures on Mom's camera and put them into little frames we baked months before. Dad only looked up from his work a few times to laugh at our antics. 

An hour later, we had exhuasted all the clay and Dad baked them all while we washed up and helped Mom in the chicken with the roast and dinner rolls. 

We finished the tree with our knee additions, mustaches, soft balls, robots, and disguired cars and at the top, rested two bells with a smiley face. Mom and Dad. 

"And that's not all you too" He smiled when Haru turned around. I sat in the box with the lid on. He laughed.  "Why are you in the box dear?"

"I'm invisible." I whispered. "I'm not here.." I closed the lid completely then shifted to peek out. 

"Haru where's your sister"  He looked passed me. Haru shrugged his shoulders.

"No clue"

"HONEY i lost our baby!"  Panic rolled through me when he started acting sad. 

"I'm here, I'm here" I took off the cover. "I'm here I'm not really invisible Papa!" He smiled and held out two tiny arrow ornaments. Green and purple, since Green was my favorite color and Purple was Haru's. Our eyes widened at them when he rested them in our palms. They were heavier than they should have been for their size.

"OOOO" I said. "Arrow!"

Haru turned his over and noticed an scribble on the back. "What does that mean Dad?"

He knelt and smiled at us both. "Cupid's arrow. You know how when CUpid wants you to love someone he shoots an arrow at you and TADA love"

I giggled. "Is that how it was with you and Mommy?"

"Ehhhh, sorta" He smiled. "More like he had to use quite a few arrows on your Mom." He smiled kissing my forehead. "But I'm not waiting for a baby with wings to show I love you two but these are me.I'll do that all on my own but I'm also shooting you two..so that no matter what. I'll always be in your hearts"

"It's a trap to make us love you?" Haru stared his jaw dropping. He winked at Haru.

"Woops but looks like you two fell for it" Haru snickered but I threw my arms around his neck. 

"You don't need a trap to make me love you silly." He smiled holding us both close.  "I love you Papa!"

"I love you too...both of you" He grinned. "Now why don't you guys put it on the tree" We agreed running over to the tree. Haru hoisted me up to reach the higher brances and I placed the tiny arrow on the branch. It perched perfectly. Spinning it's point in every direction and Haru's rested on the branch beside it.

"Now let's go steal some of Mommy's roast okay"

"YAY!" Haru cheered running across the livingroom and I chased aftEr him.

"Wait for me!" 

Every year since his death. I always made sure that ornament was on the tree, even when moving out I wanted to keep it with me but even after all these years I hadn't once looked at the inscription until now.

The symbols were Latin.
It was a spell.
A purity linking spell.  I had seen it in one of Jirou's books before. It kept corruption  away from the person it was linked too but it was seasonal and needed recharging once a year in a populated area of positive energy to recharge for the rest of the year. They were complex pieces and absolutely forbidden since one of the ingredients was pixie dust and pixies didn't appreciate their lifeless bodies being used in spells anymore than the Guardians liked fighting them whenever there was an issue. They were illegal and Jirou could have gotten in trouble if any Elder had spotted the engravings on the tree.  

Haru had lost his moving out and heading to college. This tiny arrow had been keeping the darkness away from my soul, from the curse that plagued my heritage ever since the black magic etched itself into our souls.  Our ancestors first discovered black magic and now the generations were cursed because of it. Dad obviously knew what we could become and wanted to change that. Give us our best fighting chance. He wanted us safe. Happy. Free and most of all.

He wanted us to be okay. What about my kids? Had this little arrow been working for Sayuri and the girls? Tears welled my eyes and I jumped feeling a hand on my shoulder. "Honey?" I snapped out of my gaze and looked at Jirou's concerned expression. "Are you okay?"

"Mommy?" Sayuri blinked staring at me while Nori, Naomi and Naoko were building a snowman in the lawn. I smiled kissing her forehead. 

"Mommy's okay dear go play with your sisters" She grinned, her breath going out in whisps of fog that disappeared as quickly as they were born. She joined the soon forming snow ball fight that developed. Jirou stared at me.

"Is Mommy okay?" He asked. 

Smiling I kissed his cheek. "i just...Christmas always brings back memories..is all..of Dad.." He held me close rubbing my shoulder. 

"If you want I can take you to his grave site later this evening..so you could leave the treats you always do.."  I rubbed his hand. 

"It's okay..I'm okay I was just thinking about something he said is all...I'm going with Mom and Haru tomorrow..we're going to be putting new cynthic flowers for the winter." He kissed the side of my head until a snow ball hit him square in the face.

The girls giggled behind their giant snow ball. Pointing at each other when Jirou looked at them in surprised.

"Guess that means I'll have to make snow balls for all of you then huh?" The girls squealed and ran when he faked a roar and ran after them. Even looking at such a scene my heart still felt heavy looking at the tiny arrow that I now held in my hands. 

Had I known I would have taken better care of it. Paid more attention to where I stored it all year round since now the most terrifying thing about the tiny arrow in the palm of my hand. 

Was the crack that present all the way through it. 


Later that day



The door closed as Jirou stepped into the room. He crawled onto the bed after I kept my back to the door pretending to sleep.What I could savor of it anyway. The nightmares that kept me up at nights were realities I could be facing. How much had that little trinket played a roll in keeping me from being the worse of myself? or "snapping" as Grandfather so kindly put it. Kyrinka's Dad claimed my Grandfather was actually a kind boy growing up. What happened? It terrified me that I could ever become remotely as cruel as him. Murdering his own wife and children? Twice? Jirou took off the lamp on the dressing table and then he wrapped his arms around me pulling the covers up to his shoulders. 

"So..are you finished pretending to sleep now?" I shifted a bit. "I know you're not sleeping honey....whenever you're ready to tell me what's wrong..I'm here"

"What makes you think there's something wrong?"

"It was all in your eyes since we got home after picking a tree" He smiled kissing my cheek when I turn around. He had a silly christmas tree and smiley face drawn on his cheek and on his white shirt and dark pants he'd usually wear to bed.  "I know when you're upset....plus you sort of refused marshmellow chocolate brownies" I smiled.

"That's a huge teller isn't it?"

"Red flags Love" He nuzzled me. "Red flags.."    I always felt safe in his arms.  Feeling his chest raise and fall burying my face into his soft shirt. It had been freezing earlier, I hadn't taken my pills or the orange juice companion but in his embrace. It was warmer in them then away. He stroked my hair. 

"Did Santa hide the presents so that the tikes can't find them before Christmas?"

"Why yes yes he did" He chuckled. "Magically protected and everything"

"Good" I held onto him. It was still hard to believe the scrawny yet squishy kid I hung out in Middle school. Cried in movies, though he still did that and felt territorial until we decided to share could end up this sexy. He was cute in middle school and the beginning of Highschool but puberty like it did for most Uchihas did good man. Did good. His growth spurt came before mines and he was still the dork I knew just a taller one. Now he was the Dean of his own school. Strong, Protective. Even if I couldn't trust myself I knew I could trust him. 

Feeling his abs against my stomach  brought up feelings I wanted to push down for the moment.  "Do you..do you.." I started tripping over the words before I found them. "Why do you love me?" I still felt sick remembering earlier this year when Jirou took the school camping.

What I did to Misora. How I lied to Jirou during recovery, maybe that's why it was so easy to do it. Why it was so easy to Kill her without hesitation. The charm had been broken.

Was that all there was keeping me from being a killer? A charm? No strength of mine?

"Honey..you know why I love you" He replied running his hand through my hair. "Because you're the sweetest, kindest, funniest person I've ever met. It's impossible not to smile around you, or have fun. It's always been like that for me...even when we were dorky kids in middle school" 

"Were?" I chuckled.

"Okay got me there maybe you're a little dorky" He snuggled teasing me. 

"I.." I whimpered. "I found something.." He tensed up. 

"Something ? "

"A charm..my Dad made two for Haru and I when we were younger" My hand reached for the draw and pulled up the tiny arrow. "We used to put it up for Christmas every year...." He inspected the tiny thing.  "It's broken now.....and I just realized that...my Dad didn't just give it to us randomly. Look at the engraving in the arrow" He stared at me confused then focused on the arrow. His eyes widened as I felt my own heart breaking. Tearing in my chest till I couldn't stop crying. "Am I-i even me? is that little arrow what's been making me nice? kind? ..keeping me from being a monster?"

"No no no way" He tried dashing that though from me immediately putting down the arrow. "Magic like this doesn't influence or change who you are. It just"

"Keeps me from being a murderer"

"No honey.....let me give you an example..you know how whenever you used to overwork and never sleep. I used to put a sleeping spell on you? so you would sleep for a few hours?" I pouted a bit.

"Unfortunately yes.."

"It doesn't mean the spell is the only reason you sleep. The spell activates your body's natural instinct in you too sleep. I use it so you don't harm yourself...the arrow is the same way. . Even magic can't create kindness out of thin air.  Trust me I tried it on Taro a few times. Same reason why Love potions can't make someone love you if they don't know you. It turns something else into Love. Hate, fear or Happiness. .  Think of it as a patch..it reduces your craving for doing things like that by aiding the natural instinct you already have.but it's still your choice. You can still pick up a gun and shoot someone. You can still fight, you're still you. Their your choices. The genes make it harder for you to say no, it's chemical and the arrow helps keeps you balanced." He cupped my cheeks. "The arrow doesn't make you who you are..it gives you the fighting chance your ancestors robbed you off....you're this you Kasume...every bit as kind, caring..beautiful. Every bit of you is still here even when the arrow isn't" His thumbs wiped away the tears.  

"W-W-hat if I told you..I-i..did..Kill someone"

"Then I had no doubt in my mind you had a reason. That you had no choice in the situation you were given...but p-please tell me? that way if anything pops up with the guardians I can be better able to protect you" A smile came to my lips. How could I have been blessed with such an amazing guy?  I let the markings show up on my skin after a whisper. He jumped a bit startled but then looked at them. Racing across my skin until they reached the palm of my hands. A circular seal appeared.  "That's a..."

"L-ion s-seal..y-yeah" I sobbed. "I can't remove it..it's permanent...because it sealed the weapon..I didn't want to tell you because..I was supposed to be acting like I didn't remember the whole Hunters almost made me kill you in high school thing..."

"Why did you lie about remembering?"

"B-because I hated myself for the things I said to you under their control. I made you cry...I broke your heart over and over and then I almost killed you. Even after you were so heart broken...felt so guilty you barely wanted to leave your room because you thought what I said was right...I-i had to..I couldn't bare to let you think that I could have in any way actually consciously said those things...so I played dumb..I tried to assure you that whoever they made me be in that moment was gone."

"D-did you?.." He started. "D-id you mean those things?"

"Absolutely not. Never. Not in a million years" He let out a deep breath. "B-but  during the camp..when I told you that a hunter attacked? but they fell in a earth worm cavern?..It was Misora" He froze. "She wanted to kill me...kill the kids..kill you. I pleaded with her to stop but she didn't listen. I knew she wasn't going to. I knew it was either her or me so I killed her. Stabbed her through the skull with my sword....n-no hesitation..nothing..after she swore to me she wasn't going to give up but that's not even the scary part" I didn't realize I was shaking until he held me closer.  I couldn't see the lamp through the tears even with his whispered assurances and his embrace. I couldn't stop thinking of the idea of me becoming like my grandfather or like what my mother used to be. It terrified the living shit out of me. It took a while before I finished the sentence "Even If she had given up...stopped..said she wasn't going to chase us anymore..I was still going to kill her..because I wouldn't have been able to take the risk."
But as Long as you love me so
Worked on this weeks ago. Gotta love sharing the Christmas 'cheer' Am I right?  Tormenting Kasume and or making her a badass is how I pass the time. 
Let's take a look in the future shall we?
Happy Holidays everyone!

Characters Kasume , Misora (c) Me
Yoshirou Technically Whose? Dar? 
Jirou (c) AisteachSam
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(Contains: sexual themes)
Kairi's POV



Who knew i'd ever enjoy studying this much, then again who wouldn't if they were tucked in the side of the guy of their dreams. We just laid on his bed our back against his bed head with the books in our laps. I usually finished homework at lunch. My memory was fresher than and I'd also have hours home to do other things, hang out with my friends or with my dad. The idea of doing homework so late I still couldn't get used to but given the circumstances I chose not to care too much.

Jirou groaned staring down at his open notebook.  "I'm still getting the wrong answer"

"That's because your formula's wrong..here" I smiled easing over to his side. I knew my breasts were touching the side of his chest and his cheeks flared pink while I pointed out the error in his problem. "There see you have the constant wrong." I corrected him using the opportunity to stretch over to the other side to grab his eraser.  I was practically on him at that point but only for a few moments.  "See that's the right one" I replaced his constant and smiled up at him. I was tempted to fry bacon on his face just to see just how hot it was. 

"T-T-t-t-hank y--ou" he stammered his hand shaking with the book. I couldn't tell if he was nervous , scared, embarrassed or a mixture of all three.  It's been a good three weeks since he's gotten out of the hospital and over that time I've been buying myself patience. Slowly reeling his trust in until he didn't even hesitate to give me a kiss on the cheek anymore when he greeted me. His smiles weren't forced but comfortable and genuine. He was the sweetie pie he was before he lost his memories all over again.

That was beautiful.

I smiled up at his flushed expression.  Man I wanted this boy bad. I had been patiently waiting all these weeks till he got comfortable around me enough to make my move and I thought it might just be time. He didn't get panicked like the earlier advances so I assumed he welcomed them, or at least didn't terrify him as much as they used to.

I made sure to wear a V neck top and jeans to show off a little cleavage but not too much.  Not even once did he peek at them. If anything he seemed like he was avoiding having to look at them.  I groaned a tad mentally since sometimes clearly he was a little too sweet.  Everyone else in his family was barricaded in their rooms while their mother was off doing errands.

What more perfect timing could I ask for?

I found myself staring at him for a while until he noticed. He blinked at me a few times after realizing he was chewing on his pencil.  "Is everything okay?"  I eased myself into him with a smile on my face.

"I don't know...it can work itself out.."

"Do you have more homework?" he asked. "I can help....well...I can try" he said quickly looking off to the side.  I smiled turning his face back to mines. 

"It's not homework but it is something you could help me with" with that I pressed my lips against his. His face flushed red for a few moments before he kissed back. It took him a while for him to get the jest of things. Earlier up he showed hesitation in kissing me but that had already melted away, now he held my back to press me closer to him just as I wrapped my arms around his neck.  His touch was as gentle as his kisses until I nipped at his bottom lip. 

I deepened the kiss, as he opened his mouth shyly letting me in. He blushed when my tongue licked his and explored his mouth. He got into the rhythm of it and did the same a few moments. My body felt like it was on fire. I'd been with my fair share of guys and not once has kissing got me this excited. The aching feeling only got worse when kissing him as time passed that just before we pulled away I had managed to maneuver myself on to of him.  He pulled away in shock and embarrassment.

"W-h-hat are you doing?"

I gave him a sad look before looking away "S-sorry about that" I said with a pout. He looked at me with concern. "It's just....I miss..you know.."

"You know what?" he  blinked. Was he really this clueless on this stuff? God that Made me want him even more. His eyes were completely and honestly clueless as to what I was suggesting. 

"I miss making love to you is all" His face got to an all time level of red I was scared he might die of a heat stroke on the bed. That'd definitely be a mood killer.  

"W-w-e..ugh...did that?"

"Of course....you're my one and only Jirou" I smiled kissing his cheek. "To be honest you barely kept your hands off of me.." His face only got worse. Man I had to thread this carefully or he could pass out on me.    "And after all this time..I just miss being that close to you is all...." My fingers slid from his cheek to his chest.
 
"I-i d-don't know.." I saw him look off to the side nervously. Confused I looked off in the same direction and simply saw his mirror. My eyebrows knit together glancing at him. Was he seeing something? I eyed the mirror carefully before shifting myself into his range of vision. 

I tried pulling off the saddest look I could manage. I saw him panic on seeing it. "I-i know it's not your fault..but..it hurts seeing you don't remember all of that......makes me feel like you don't love me as much anymore"

"I do love you! I do really!" He said with the saddest look as he gave me a kiss on the cheek. "I-i know i screw up alot because of my memory b-but..i'm trying..to..r-relearn everything..it takes time."

"Well" I smiled. "This is something we can relearn together"  He still looked a little hesitant and I cupped his cheek before giving me a weak nod. 

"A-lright.." He smiled at me. I Settled myself on him more comfortably before cupping his cheeks. My fingers grazed his flaring cheeks. "W-h-hat am I supposed to do.." he asked embarrassed.

"Since you're still recovering...somewhat.. just..relax alright? but till then..just kiss me like you always do" 
 
He surprised me by actually kissing me first. His soft lips met mines and I returned the favor. I tried not to get carried away with him and paced myself with him or else I'd scare him with the kiss alone. I sped up it's paced and it turned from sweet to passionate pretty quickly, slowly pressing my chest against his forcing him on his back. His hands seem to look out of place so I moved them to my side and slowly he followed cue and started rubbing my side. 

His hands were rough, no doubt from kendo. The sport typically had that effect on others but despite that his touch left me shivering.  I couldn't really hold myself back anymore and slipped his shirt over his head.  He blushed looking at me as I planted kisses on his chest. He seems to  groan at the contact. I carefully watched his reaction while my kisses made it's way down his stomach to his zipper. I hoped his heavy breathing was a good thing. Please don't pass out on me.

Unzipping his pants and pulling it off of him.  My hand gripped his length though the space in his boxers he did a little yelp but I pretended not to hear it since I heard a groan right after . I moved my thumb over the soft pink sensitive flesh of his head and kept my eyes on him. At first he didn’t do much besides his groaning, his hands gripped the sheets and his body twitched he even moaning a few times but being embarrassed whenever he did.

So adorable.

I eased down closer and licked his now throbbing organ and that’s when he really got red. I swirled my tongue around the tip before taking it into my mouth stopping after a few moments letting my hand stroke him as I smiled.

“Babe it’s okay you don’t need to be embarrassed, just let me show you how good I made you feel okay?”

 He gave me a little nod before I continued pleasuring him, making sure his moans were steady as his breathing god labored. I knew I needed to stop but I felt myself getting wetter hearing those noises of his. I forced myself off of him and began slipping my own clothes off slowly in front of him. Giving him a little tease. His eyes were glued to me even thought he flushed and looked away a few times I only moved where I was.

"It's okay Jirou...you can look..and stare all you want" I said bringing his face to my chest as I sat at the bed. "My body is yours..so look all you want" I pulled myself away and gave him a smile after his nod. Finally taking his boxers off and I reached into my bag for a condom.

I managed to find out the right size by asking a girl who I knew had slept with Taro before. They did have the same body after all. She was reluctant but after it was official Jirou and I were together she didn't have much reasons to keep saying no. 

"H-how did you?"

"We did this before remember...of course I'd know" I smiled at him before planting a kiss on him. I held him put it on him before climbing back on him and lining him up to my entrance. No matter how many times I've dreamt of his moment it didn't compare to how it felt when he entered me. Feeling him fill me completely set shivers up my spine. My toes curled as I moaned. Not bothering to lower it despite knowing Taro's room was right nearby. Jirou moaned softly his cheeks flaring.  

I moved his hands to my waist when I started moving. Feeling him move as I rid him just blinded me with pleasure. Imagining it did wonders but the action was a whole new level. I knew I had to pace myself, going too fast wasn’t an option for him.  I needed him to enjoy this too. I gripped his shoulders and pulled him upright cupping his cheeks.

I felt him pull me in closer when our lips met. The heat building with each movement in my body was incredible and soon enough he felt comfortable enough to let his hands roam up my back rubbing it gently.

Our breathing got heavier the faster my pace got.

“K-kairi..i-I feel..f-funny”

“Funny good?” I smiled as he nodded. “You’re pr-obably going to come soon Jirou” I smiled kissing his neck. “That’s a-alright so am I. You feel amazing….I missed it.”  It didn't take long before we finished after that. My body was quivering as the orgasmic feelings rushed over me and we found ourselves panting catching our breath. Sweat covered our tired bodies before I reluctantly got off of him.  I knew Taro probably hated me even more for how loud I was getting but I didn't care. Not like he could do anything about it at that point.  I smiled looking up at Jirou who gave me a genuine one in return.

“How was that?” I asked as he pressed his lips against mines and pulled me closer.

“Amazing.” He blushed. Nuzzled into his side I kissed his cheek. He kept glancing over to the mirror which concerned me but it didn’t take him long to fall asleep. I could practically feel Taro steaming in the room next door but that didn’t make me lose sleep in the slightest.

Our little adventures were getting more frequent as time passed and it wasn’t just in his bedroom either. At school, the nurse’s beds were quite comfortable and a few times in my room but my favorite of all was when we had just finished by the spot at the lake.

Jirou had already fallen asleep but I saw when Kasume had arrived and instantly froze on seeing us. I gave him a little wave before snuggling into Jirou who on cue pulled me closer to him before snoring. 

If there was one person on earth I lived to see shed a few tears it was her. She didn’t come back to the lake after that unfortunately. Would have liked to see her catch us in the act rather than after but you take what fate gives you sometimes. It didn't make the experiences all the more fun or enjoyable that's for sure. Not by a long shot.  


KASUME'S POV

"She answering your calls?"

"Not really" I answered with a sigh walking through the halls. Akina sighed running her hand through her hand then continued stuffing her face with chips. "She's not at home either."

"Well that party was a collosal face" Saya groaned yawning tiredly. Needless to say the party came to an ubrupt end. Natsuko showed up an hour after we ended during the cleaning phase.  He said he took Aika at his place to calm down, so after the entire thing was over and everything put back the way they were. She wasn't at home when they checked her place that night or the following morning.

"Amaya and Daichi are heading over to Natsuko's place so they're not going to be in school" Akina said.  The party had  been going so well. 

"I hope she's okay.." I muttered. My phone vibrated but it was only texts from the swimming club captain asking me to make more chocolate fudge. They were willing to pay but I told him I wouldn't mind doing it as a gift. It would get me closer to where Jirou was too. I smiled hoping that last night left an impression on him.

We talked and laughed. Kairi looked incredibly uncomfortable before she joined the pool with him. Distracting him with kisses that turned my stomach.  He kissed her back just as eagerly sometimes flushed when he realized I was still around and apologized. I saw the look in Kairi's eye clearly. 'You had your chance'

She was right about that at least. I did have my chance and I blew it now all I hoped to gain was my friend back. One brick at a time. Let him trust me again before pushing anything more.  I remembered just last year before the end of the school year. I was practically running through the halls of school that morning.  Shaking the crap out of Ria or Mai asking if they knew where Jirou was.  They looked a bit terrified but Ria had said Jirou did the same thing.

We met in the hallway and hugged each other tight. "Oh my god"

"That ending!"

"I cried" I admitted. "I cried so hard..What do we do now?" Our favorite TV Show from since middle school had finally aired it's last episode but the wifi was down and I couldn't skype Jirou and my phone battery had been charging. I fell asleep with tears and tissues all over me. 

"Me too to be honest"

"I feel a bit old too" I sniffled. "I mean how long have we been watching it? since we were 11? 12?"

"I started it when I was 9 but yeah! I can't believe it's over." His lip quivered.  We walked side by side heading to the lockers that we neglected during our sprint.  "Makes me worried a bit ...stuff changes so much" He said side looking at me. "Makes you wonder if all of them are going to be good you know"

"Well the franchise is pretty popular you never know they might do a spin off"

"I'm not just talking about the show but yeah that'd be pretty sweet" He laughed. "I mean...well..I'm going to be a senior next year then it's college...it's just"

"Just?" I asked him innocently.

"Just a bit worried..is all...we're all so close and everyone wants to do different things..different directions..makes me wonder if everything'll change that way too" He gave me a sad look. "Amaya told me...that you were thinking of going to University in Paris to meet your Aunt."

"Nothing's set in stone" I told him. "I'm not even sure what I want to be yet to be honest" He looked at me. "But I assure you..whether I leave or stay" I grinned. "All of us are always going to remain friends" He gave a weak smile.

"Yeah..friends" His smile turned into a grin. "I'd like that"

"Come on let's go get some icecream"

"Skipping class?" He laughed. 

"It's a celebration!"

  Saya and Akina headed off to their class but I felt a bit stuffy so I headed to my locker for my inhaler. I had been so busy with worry I left it with my homework for next period.  I coughed into my hand. The panting got worse and soon enough before I got to the right hallway. I was swaying from the tight pain in my chest. I tried to force air down but only ended up in fits of coughing.   

"Hey are you okay?" Someone asked me but I couldn't get a breath to answer them. My knees buckled under me from exhaustion and started wheezing.  "HEY HEY Someone get the nurse she's having an asthma attack!" Someone knelt besides me but everything got hard to do. Concentrate. Speak. Breathe. 

My head was splitting with pain that spread up from my chest. "Does anyone have an inhaler?  The crowd started building. "Give her some space!" I recongized the voice as the guy on Jirou's swim team. The Captain I believe. He held out a brown paper bag for me to breathe into. "Will one of you brain dead morons get the nurse??"

I heard a few footsteps but I couldn't help but cry. The pain was terrible. I felt continuously light headed until another body knelt besides me. 

"Where's your inhaler?" He asked me.

"L-l-lo-o" I couldn't get the word out and only wheezed.  He cursed under his breath and kept trying to coach my breathing. 

"I-i .I have one.." I couldn't focus on Jirou's voice but I saw the inhaler in his hand. The spare inhaler he would always carry around in his bag for me.  He moved closer and brought it to my mouth pressing down as I inhaled the medicine. Tears were blocking the clear image of his face but I knew it was confusion. "Why..do I have an inhaler?" He said. 

"Don't care why but thank god you did since those morons can't seem to find the nurse" The captain said.  "Another it's supposed to be two" He gave a hesitant nod and squeezed the pump again.  I leaned against him sobbing harder than I wanted but I felt so grateful. Even without his memory he still remembered to pull out the inhaler. 

'Guess he still is my mama bird'  I thought happily. His brows knit in confusion.
 
"D-did you..say something?" I shook my head leaning on him tiredly. He held me close to him automatically like he would have usually done during one of his 'healing snuggles'. The bear hugs that made me feel safer than anything else. He even rubbed my shoulder when I wheezed a little. Looking worried whenever I coughed.  I rested my head in the crook of his neck. It helped he was so much taller than I was. When the nurse finally arrived I was practically half asleep. The Captain stood and told her everything that happened. She pointed at Jirou with a boney finger.

"Pick her up and take her to the Nurse's office" She said. "Come on. I'll call her Guardian in the meanwhile" He hesitantly nodded and picked me up.  I smiled seeing the tattoo peeking at the collar of his shirt. I couldn't help but run my finger on it. The three birds in flight.  

"Do you know what it means?" I croaked out forcing the words out thankfully he heard me on our way there.

"What?"

"This" I tapped the tattoo. "..Do you..did you find out what it means?" My voice was wheezy and low.

"Um..Kairi..says it's because I liked birds.." I shook my head. "...If not..what is it?"

I managed a smile sleep took hold of me. I drew him drawings of that day. The day we let our baby fly out into the wild. 

A couple days later

Kasume's POV

After a quick text to Shisui telling him I was at Jirou's house safely, I took a deep breath as I pressed the call button on the iron gate that guarded Jirou's house. I had opted to walk there despite him offering to drive, so I just wanted to let him know I was safe. As I waited for a response I looked over the mansion, still a bit awed by the structure. I never in a million years would have imagined Jirou and his siblings would live in such a place, or have such a influential father. I mean I had assumed he had a bigger house for his big family, but still a mansion? Consider me blind sighted the moment the limo pulled up to the beautiful building. But even knowing Jirou's family secret, my feelings for him hadn't changed. I still wanted to be part of his life, even if it meant only being friends. If this Kairi thing was true love, and permanent... As long as Jirou was happy, I'd be okay with it. I just wanted us to be close friends just like we were before. Even though when I saw them... together, at me and Jirou's spot... I'll admit it really hurt. Seeing Kairi be where I've wanted to be for the longest time... A part of me wondered... if I had just kissed him during the last time we were at the lake together, would this all have been avoided? Jirou was still scared of Kairi then, they couldn't have been together then.

Just something nagged at the back of my mind. I knew Jirou, I knew he was a sweet guy that took his time. Going from being scared of Kairi... to liking her, to dating her, then giving his virginity to her in a little over a month? It... just didn't seem right.

"Dude! Kasume!" 

My thoughts were broken as I turned to see Ria run over to me, a big grin on his face as he stopped in front of me. "You visiting Jirou too?"

With a nod I showed him my bag, filled with photos, his favorite movies, and crafts he had made in woodshop and gave to me. I nearly choked up looking at the wooden raven he had given me during one of his first woodshop classes. He was so proud of it when he gave it to me, at the same time he also gave me one of her feathers that she left behind and made it into a necklace for me. Told me I could always have a piece of Rin, and honestly I could have kissed him right there. But I was terrified of scaring him off.

"Hello?" came the voice of Jirou's mother.

I gave a smile and turned to the little monitor next to the call button, "H-Hi Mrs. Uchiha we're here to see Jirou, is he up for visitors today?"

"Hi Mrs. Jirou's pretty mom person!"

The white haired woman gave a smile seeing us, "Ria, and... Kasume yes? Of course, poor baby is a bit lonely. I'll buzz you in."

There was a clicking sound and the gates slide back to allow us onto the driveway. Jirou's mom gave us another grin before the screen went blank. I looked up as I walked to the front door. I just could not get over the beauty of this house, I needed to draw it sometime. His mom opened the door for us and welcomed us inside. 

"Also none of this Mrs. Uchiha stuff, call me Eri," she mentioned closing the door behind her. "Taro and the girls are out doing some errands, Izuna is in his room, and the little ones are running around."

"So what about um... Kairi?" Ria asked as she led us to Jirou's room.

"She's busy from what I understand."

I blinked at the change of tone, suddenly Eri's voice went from light and cheery to short and restrained, like she was biting back dislike for Kairi. I didn't really know what to think of it. Maybe she's just the kind of mom that doesn't like her kids dating? Maybe she'd do that about me if I was the one dating her son? I shook it off, there's nothing wrong with a protective mother. She walked up the stairs and knocked on Jirou's door. "Jirou? You have friends over," she said opening the door.

Jirou glanced up at us as we walked into the room, and I could tell he just finished a book. He'd close it, set it on his stomach, and think over what he just read, kinda digesting it in a way, putting his arms behind his head. I smiled as he glanced at me and Ria. Since my asthma attack, I no longer saw fear and uncertainty in his eyes. Okay maybe still a bit of uncertainty, but curiosity replaced the fear he had of me. It was a good sign, if only Kairi didn't actively try to get between us, whenever I saw him he looked like he wanted to talk to me, but Kairi would drag him away. He had questions for me, I knew it.

"H-Hey... I um... just didn't get a chance to thank you for saving me..." I blushed a bit, seeing some color rise in his cheeks. I took a deep breath and dug into my bag pulling out some brownies I had made with Shisui, they were always Jirou's favorite because I put instant espresso in them to make them nice and moist, "You um... loved these before you lost your memory."

"I-I... um, anyone would have done it if they were in my shoes, you don't have to thank me," Jirou blushed and then like a little kid he perked up seeing the brownies. "But you know I um, could share the brownies, if you guys want to." Jirou was always one to be motivated by food, I couldn't help but giggle. It's moments like this where if I wasn't already in love with him, I could fall in love with him all over again. Jirou was always himself, he wasn't scared of covering up how he felt to look cool or macho, he was always just Jirou, and I adored that natural honesty in him.

"I don't trust anyone with my spare inhaler, I'm just so thankful you remembered."

"It was kinda on instinct more then anything else."

Instinct indeed, when he cuddled me and fussed over me after my attack, it was like I had Jirou back. Until Kairi found him in the nurse's office with me and dragged him off, glaring daggers at me. While I was crestfallen she had taken Jirou away, I had that small victory that even if he didn't know me, he still cared. He knew about my inhaler... There might be a chance for me after all. I'm not one to break up couples, but even I was a bit unhappy about how Kairi was all over Jirou and trying to control his every move. Jirou seemed so conflicted and confused... I'd never do that to him, I'd let him be the wonderful person he was. I just had to find out if I could stir up his memories, maybe, just maybe... there was a shot.

I could feel  the pride radiating off Eri as she came over and kissed Jirou's cheek, "Alright my little hero, don't fill up on brownies though, I'm making pork for dinner," she glanced at us, "I always have left overs if you two wish to join though."

Normally I would have said yes, but I sighed softly, "Sorry dinnertime is breakfast in America, I skype with my little brother at that time, but thank you so much for the offer," I bowed at her.

"I love pork!" Ria grinned.

Eri only smiled, "well alright another time then Kasume. Maybe lunch or something."

"Lunch I can do," I replied.

She nodded then left Ria and I alone with Jirou telling him that he can call her at any time. He still seemed to get nervous when his mom wasn't around. I didn't like seeing him like this, but at the same time it was sweet, almost assuring that he was still the lovable boy I knew. One who knew his mother was always someone to trust, he always told me about his mom, about her cooking and how encouraging she was to him, how he knew he could trust her with anything. I withheld a sigh, if only we were introduced to his family sooner, then his mom would know the entire situation and be on our side.

"So..." I smiled at him and slowly walked over taking a seat next to him, "What you reading?"

"Bone Doll's Twin... it's darker then what I usually read, kinda adult, but I found it on my bookshelf and it looked well worn, I assumed well read, so I was curious... Maybe I borrowed it from someone," he said scratching his head.

"What is it about?"

"It's a medieval world where female warrior queens use to rule, then a king came and didn't want anymore queens so he got rid of all the female heirs so he can stay king, so to protect the last female heir they made her look like her twin brother and made her brother look like her. Then the book does different perspectives. The wizard's story, the girl's story, it's... like I said, it's kinda adult, not detailed..." he blushed a bit so I knew what he meant by 'adult', "but... you know whats happening... and I have to say I do like it. Apparently it's a trilogy, I have the other two books, so... guess it's mine right?"

I gently sat next to him, "Well, you don't usually buy the other books in the series unless you like it, and when you don't like a book you'd give it to one of them, to see if we liked it. Sometimes you just thought it was more our taste so if you have them and they are well read they are definitely yours."

"Maybe I liked the warrior queens, they seem really cool."

"You always did like strong female leads, thats why you liked the Hunger Games," Ria pipped up stuffing his face with some brownies.

Suddenly Jirou's face paled, "WE DO NOT SPEAK OF THAT SERIES!"

Ria and I started cracking up, yes, that was all I needed, Jirou was still his dorky self taking books way too personally, but then again so do I. I hugged him, he jumped a bit, but then looked at me and relaxed a bit.

"So how's your head?" Ria asked.

Jirou blinked, "I still get headaches, but my memory is getting better."

"That's good! Maybe we can watch some movies, we can show you your favorites!"

"Movies sound cool, so umm... what did I like?"

That was my time to shine as I pulled out my bag and showed him the DVDs he let me borrow to try and convert me to Marvel, silly fool. I can totally take advantage of this in one way at least, try to make him a DC Universe fan if Ria didn't meddle with it. Jirou looked at the bag with the curiosity of a 5 year old. He spied the wooden raven and seemed a bit confused taking it out and looking it over carefully.

"Whats this?" he asked

"You made that for me in freshman year. Your first woodshop."

He blinked then pulled down his shirt a bit, "My... tattoo?"

I smiled, "yes, you got it because of our bird, you found her injured and we nursed her back to health together. We called her Rin... we were kinda her parents... and you really took her to heart."

"That... makes more sense then me liking birds..." he pouted a bit, the twitch of his eye betraying that the conflicting information was hurting him. 

I put my hand on his, "Lets just watch the movie okay?"

He nodded a bit and Ria elbowed in front of me, "None of that DC stuff, my bestie is a Marvel man, so we are watching Iron Man!"

I acted offended, "how dare you, I'm just opening his mind a bit."

"MARVEL RULES DC WISHES IT WAS HALF THE UNIVERSE MARVEL IS!"

"BLASPHEMY"

"Um..." poor Jirou looked so confused. I only laughed and let Ria put on Iron Man.

"Yes we do this all the time, you and I did it too, play fighting, thats all it is," I assured him. 

He only gave me the same old grin and nodded, "okay I get it now!"

We settled down and began watching the movies, I mean Iron Man wasn't bad, Tony Stark was defiantly a huge reminder of Taro though. In the middle of the third movie Jirou started getting texts from someone. He looked unsure, and gave glances at us when he thought we weren't looking. The texts seemed to confuse him, I could only guess at who it was. So I just put my hand on his, "Everything okay?"

He forced a smile, I could tell when they weren't real. "Yeah... just, um, headache..." he fibbed.

"Okay, I'm not making you uncomfortable am I?" 

"N-No," he blushed.

I smiled and hugged him, "well if you ever want to talk Jirou I'm right here. That's what best friends are for. I've missed my cuddle buddy."

His face went red and he hesitantly hugged me back, "Th-Thanks... um... cuddle buddy?"

"You gave her healing snuggles whenever she was injured bro, it's kinda just who you were," Ria would chuckle.

"Oh..." his face went redder, making me giggle, "Wish I remembered all this."

"You will with time, and if you need help let us know okay?"

He finally smiled and nodded, "thanks!"

I smiled and settled back down next to him, as dinner time came around I had to say my good-byes promising to visit again soon. Jirou seemed happy with the offer and Ria told me he'd keep an eye on him and try to keep jogging his memory. I could only hope Ria had success as I went to Shisui's to Skype my brother. If the visit showed me anything, it showed me that Jirou could get back to his old self, I just needed to be by his side and help him along. Once Jirou was back... maybe... if he and Kairi don't work out... I'll finally tell him how I feel for him.

JIROU'S POV

Honestly there were things I had grown to accept about the wierdness of my situation. The ever growing headaches at every intervol of my life. Every nerved flared and my stomach rolled from being nauseous and dizzy and it hadn't even been half way through the movies. I still enjoyed them regardless and the company. Ria was pretty hilarious.

That girl, Kasume though. I couldn't put my finger on it. My head and heart were in a constant tango that weren't made any better by the holes in my memory. Kairi kept texting me throughout the movies. I knew I had made her upset with my constant questioning but I couldn't help it.

'Jirou I told you shouldn't trust her' One text had said and I kept glancing at her while she laughed with Ria. Everything from the way her face lit up when she did to the subtle teasing she did to Ria whenever she didn't want to admit a scene was good, or compared it to something called justice league..or.something. Heat would race up my neck at every sound. Whenever she hugged ME or touched my hand to check if I was alright I ended up being a stuttering mess. Whatever nerves connected my brain to my mouth would have a sudden black out.

My body just refused to function right around her and It was so confusing.  

'We're just watching a movie. It's not that bad..' I texted back pain sheering my skull.

'Babe I told you...she's not good for you. She and her buddies are manipulative, hateful and I don't want you to get hurt'

"Hey Jirou do you want the last brownie?" She held up the container of the addictive treats. Instantly perking up, my head must have welcomed the promise of sugar since my headache eased instantly. It was hard to believe a smile like that could be fake. It didn't feel fake.  I reached for it and there went my motor skills.

"Um..We could split it" I broke it into half and she smiled receiving it.

"Thanks Jirou"

"Hey what about me!"

"You ate like eight of them" She laughed. "I have more at home. I'll bring some more at school okay?" He pouted and she nudged his shoulders coaxing a snicker from him. "Come onnn, don't be mad. I'll make so many you'll be drowning in them!"

That oddly didn't sound so bad.

"Can you think of a better way to go?" She raised a brow. "I'm pretty sure I can't"

"Can't argue with that" He laughed. "Suggestion..adding chocolate chips would be awesome!"

"P-eanut butter" I stuttered gaining their attention. It still felt awkward feeling their stares on me. "Everything tastes better with peanut butter" She giggled again. She had such a nice laugh.

"Sure I'll make a batch for you too!"

"Should you even be touching that stuff?"

"I'm fine so long as I don't eat it dummy" She poked his ribs and he flinched. "Kai loves peanut butter and banana sandwiches"

"Don't you?" I asked my voice still breaking. God what was going on with me. "Love peanut butter I mean"

"She's allergic buddy" Ria chimed in. "Super allergic, like her throat gets to the size of a balloon! and her skin gets red and its super scifi like"

"Thanks Ria, he so needs that image of me" She snickered. "He already has no memory of me..I didn't want one to be that'

"Well sorry it's true"

"O-oh." I said staring feeling the blood leave my face. "You don't have to do any peanut butter ones then. I don't want you hurt..or something" She told me she didn't mind at all, that she would normally make brownies and treats for me whenever we visited the lake.

Lake? That amazing place Kairi had taken me and said we hung out there from time to time. It was ride open forest like area, nothing but wildlife and trees in almost every direction. The lake was clear crystal blue reflected the skies. The grass was soft, the shade comfortable, the water was absolutely freezing but it still made for good practice. Why would she know about the lake?  Then again. She knew about my Tattoo. I had no doubts in my mind that she was the girl in my dreams. The same laugh, that my heart skipped just hearing. She knew the story of the caged bird that plagued my nightmares and dreams.  That meant we were friends. We had to be if the dream was actually a distorted memory but then why would Kairi lie about that?

It bothered me all evening and I hoped it hadn't showed but my head was pounding. Dinner cooled it but it was still confused mess even with the promise of Mom's great pork . Ria stayed for an hour longer.

"H-hey..um.. Ria" I started to ask. He turned to me after he patted his stomach. "How long..have..all of us been friends?"

"Since middle school!" He grinned. "Yeah! you coached another friend of ours named Aika in swimming" I stared. Me? coach someone? I could barely keep up with the times in swimming club now. I couldn't meet even my worse recorded time laps. It was a bit ironic that I could be needing some of that training right about now. "And Asshole over there coached Kasume in archery..and you both got invited to the same party because Aika and Kasume were friends since preschool. You guys joined our group the latest but we're still just as close"

"W-hat's my favorite color?" I blurted. I didn't know where that question came from and frankly wouldn't be able to tell if he was right or wrong but if he knew me he had to know that right?

"Duh Blue" He stared then snickered. "You have a thing for blue eyes or something"

"Kairi's eyes..aren't blue though" I said.

"Well you don't have a thing for Kairi either but her eyes they're fired by the pits of hell so they're purple" He shot up. "Enough about her! let's just have some fun till I have to head home in an hour!"

"O-okay" I smiled. "What do you want to do?"

"Video games! Let me kick your butt at Mario Kart 8!" He met my confusion. "Of course..you have no idea what's Mario kart! even better I'll go ask your sister for the console" He skipped out and headed down the halls. I realized my phone had been silent. Meant she was definitely mad. I could feel her radiating anger from here. I sent her puppy emotes and she sent me back a few. I didn't want to make her sad. What kind of boyfriend am I? I sat there shimmering in guilt before Ria showed up with the games and we played for a few hours. I added Mario Kart to the list of things I apparently used to be good at but now sucked at when playing. Ria seemed happy though and it was fun hanging around him even if I did kept driving off the tracks.  It helped me forget about my growing conflicts and certainly helped with my headaches.

How could I try to figure out the answers when every question drove my head through the wall?



Kairi's POV

My head was spinning and sitting in my bed upright against the wall wasn't helping. I was certainly sure I was about to have a panic attack. My hands were shaking my breathing rapid and my palms and every other part of me was sweating.  The night had spun out of control and I couldn't figure out how to get back on track. Earlier that night Harumi and I had been eating My Dad's spicy barbecue wings with Chinese fried rice. My head was splitting then too but Harumi figured a rerun of friends might cure my crappy night.

I felt sick with everything I ate and saw. No matter how funny the scenes or how amazing Dad's wings usually were.  He even joined us during the mid way of season one.

"You know Ross and Rachel are going to end up together" He pointed out when Harumi blushed for Joey and Racheal. She only huffed at my Dad and stuffed a pillow into his face.

"Don't interrupt my dreams" He only shook his head and left after the last episode we decided to watch. Harumi closed the door and turned to me.

"Feeling any better?"

"Not really?"

'You slept with Jirou! shouldn't you be excited! I mean from what you told me he sounded like an absolute cutie about it"

"Yeah..I guess"

"What was it disappointing?" She walked over to me sitting by the bed side. She put her hand on my forehead. 

"No not at all" I groaned laying back. "Just..how much of it was him..you know?" I had been imagining dates with Jirou since middle school. Every aspect of it had been imagining what he would be like during movie dates, around pets, and what icecream flavor he would choose and then in highschool how would he be like in bed. Yet I wasn't happy. No matter how many times we did it. How satisified I felt after everytime I got home it was like whatever high I felt disappeared immediately.  Like a mask suddenly falling off each time I stepped through the door. 

"You have a point but..I mean. Did he enjoy it?"

"I'm not sure if I can trust what comes out of his mouth but he looked happy" I shrugged a shoulder.  "I think I just need some sleep or something. I'm worrying over nothing"  What about Kasume? My mind chided. I blinked a bit. What about Kasume? She could be plotting ways to gain Jirou's trust. Get ahead on that. Spy on her.  Harumi blinked at me and nodded.
 
"Well if it's sleep you need" She replied snapping me from my mental debate. "I'll go get the futon"

"On second thought" I said going over to the mirror bowl. I hadn't used it such a long while. It had gotten a bit dusty and I was few on  a couple ingredients but I had enough for a half an hour viewing. "The party Kasume caught me off guard a bit about Jirou's swimming. If she's planning on different ways to earn his trust back. I need to get a head start" Harumi didn't object openingly but I saw the way her eyebrows knitted together but she nodded and pulled up a chair after I was finished assembling everything. The fog wasn't as thick as I remembered when it spilled onto the floor but the image showed.

Kasume was walking home from god knew where. A bag slung over her shoulder and she was on the phone.

"Okay eat a ton of cookies for the two of us buddie" She smiled. "Come on you have to head out now don't keep mommy waiting. I love you too Kai. Have fun!" Her smile hung on for a few moments. I couldn't tell where she was exactly but it definitely hadn't been at her Godfather's place or her's.  The moon had been illuminating the pathway.  

"She doesn't look to be planning a thing"

"Well might as well play this whole thing out" I reasoned. No harm and the spell would wear off and we had no more ingredients 

Then blank.  I felt a tapping on my shoulder and groggily lifted my head to see Jirou staring at me, worry plastered on his features. Confusion struck me as I looked around at the noisy cafeteria. The onslaught of shitty pizza, garlic and sweaty teenagers threatened to give me a worse headache that I already had. I jolted upright. What the fuck? "What the hell?"

"Kairi?" He asked  "What's wrong?"

"What the fuck" I spun around. It was broad day light. "What..what?" 

"Kairi? what's going on hey hey take a deep breath" He suited rubbing my shoulder. How in the fucking hell is it morning? How did I get to school? My head started spinning.

"W-What's..going on?"

"Y-you were just talking about your fight with Harumi yesterday night and then you just...flopped your head on the desk and passed out. I was just about to call the nurse!"

"Fight? Harumi?" My head was spinning and I fished out my phone out of my bag and almost passed out all over again seeing the date. It was Tuesday. Just a second ago it had been Sunday night. What the hell happened between then? I skipped over Monday? I pushed myself to my feet. Blackouts and Memory loss? were in the range of scientific possibility? maybe if I was covered in liverspots and sported dentures.  "Oh right, hey babe, I ugh just remembered  I have a meeting." I shot myself to my feet kissing his cheek quickly and rushing out the door to where I knew Harumi would be if she wasn't in the cafteria. On my way out I saw the stooges giving me wierder looks than usual. I didn't let it bother me too much and simply zipped through the hallways to Dancing club. 

Harumi had been in the middle of a twirl when I burst through the door. She slipped and landed on her butt from fright. I tried to help her up but she pushed herself up to her feet. Her eyes were filled with what I knew was hurt. "..What?" She dusted herself off.

"Harumi what happened?"

"I fell. You just saw that"

"No I mean. Today, yesterday, Sunday night!! I can't remember anything what the hell happened?" I was shaking like mad at that point. She searched my eyes and paled when she realized how very serious I was.

'You don't remember?" I shook my head. "N-none of it?...what's the last thing you DO remember" Her other dance club members were looking at me funny so we decided to head off to the Girl's bathroom. I needed the water to calm down. My heart was rammed in my chest and pound in my ears. 

"Kasume had just hung up on the phone with someone.. That's it!"

"That's all?" Harumi asked. "Are you sure?"

"Why would I lie about something like this?? What happened answer me because I am flipping the fuck out in case you haven't noticed. I'm missing two entire days!"  The mirror made a creaking sound and I glanced towards it for a second I thought I saw my reflection smile at me.  In a wipe of an eye. It was gone. I was staring at myself with the same panicked expression that it mirrored.  Harumi held me closer when I thought I was hyperventilating. I couldn't make a steady breathe anymore.  It took a while before I calmed down and to avoid any stares we moved into a stall and stayed quiet until it was empty again. It meant skipping class but I didn't care.

"Well..to start. That night in the mirror bowl. Kasume was heading to a friend's place for a few things for her Mother but when she got there her stepfather had already collected them and well. He got mad at her over some papers that she was supposed to sign and when she tried to leave he slapped her and told her to stay put. It was pretty bad. Her lip got split and everything...and..considering all the injuries she's had since Middle school. You instantly came to the conclusion she's being abused...I said we should tell someone...but you" My stomach dropped. "You wanted to exploit it"

"Exploit it?" I stared. "What, No I wouldn't..I'm a bitch but I'm not soulless"

"That's what I said" She snapped. "And you yelled at me saying that I wasn't on your side but I was! You weren't acting like yourself at all I told you to drop it and you promised you would"

"W-well that's good then" I muttered. 

"N-no. Not good. Monday evening. I heard crying in the bathroom and I went in and I heard crying from the stalls. I didn't know what to do so I just knocked on the stall door and asked if they were okay. When they didn't answer I just waited around the corner to see who would come out and Kasume did. Her lip was still swollen but her eyes were too..from crying. I asked you about it and you told me you told her that You'd tell everyone about her stepfather if she didn't go join her family"

"There's..no way..Okay. This has got to be a dream. Not only would I NOT do that. Yes I dislike the chick butt getting her to leave fucking school is insane even for me!! My Mom was abused as a child. That's not something to joke around with" I ran my fingers through my hair. "Fuck fuck fuck"

"Kairi this book is driving you crazy LITERALLY crazy. You need to stop using it!"

"I CAN'T OKAY" I snapped at her. "Whenever I do. I feel literally sick. My stomach turns, my head hurts so fucking much I swear there's an extradition going on in my skull! It hurts when I use it but it hurts worse when I stop. At least after I use it I get to sleep." I muttered. "I can't..stop"

"Kairi you're scaring me"

"I just need to figure out how to get rid of the book"

"Ask them they're the experts in magic!"

"Be real. Those assholes wouldn't help me." I told her. "I hurt Jirou, almost got him killed, slept with him under the influence....and just forced Kasume to leave the country. No I have to figure this out on my own." I said. "I have an idea too...I'll go over to Jirou's place..search the house in anyway I can and see if I can find any books about magic. If I can I'll find some way to read them. I'm smart." Harumi hugged me tight. It wasn't until she had I realized I was shaking. "I can fix this." I told her. "I can fix this" 

Waking up in my bed what seemed like a few seconds later told me everything I needed to know about that resolve. This was going to be hell.  My phone vibrated like a mad man on the bed next to my table. I couldn't even remember the last time I had this many texts.  
[KAIRI THE ENVIRONMENTAL CLUB ACCIDENTALLY SPENT TOO MUCH ON THE TRANSPORTATION BUT EVERYONE STAYED HOME NOW WE'RE OUT 6000 YEN. HELP BALANCE OUR BOOKS]

[KAIRI THE CULINARY CLUB BROKE AN OVEN'

[KAIRI THERE'S GOING TO BE AN EMERGENCY  MEETING TOMORROW DURING YOUR FREE BREAK AT SUNA] and Dozens more like it as if every one of the clubs under my run had suddenly fucked up in every possible way they could. I groaned laying back on my bed willing myself to a sleep that never came. I couldn't even fanthom to think how busy I was going to be until the day actually came.

Three days straight I couldn't even do my homework with how busy I was. Attend class, I skipped meals. Every single one of the meetings ran longer than intended. The damage to alot of equipment had to be accounted for to the school board and books needed to be balanced before the next budget meeting.

I saw Harumi maybe once in that span and Jirou well, not even that much.  He was too busy trying to catch up in his school work and club activities. We were both too exhausted to text each other and I was too busy to even grab a snack. My Dad had to force me out of my room to eat some miso and bean soup since apparently living on pretzels and pocky during that time was unacceptable paired with corpus amounts of caffeine. 

"You're over loading yourself. Slow down" He warned. 

"Dad. I'm the student console-" He shoved a spoon full of beans and soup into my mouth. I pushed a pout at him. "President. If something goes wrong. That reflects badly at me and it just so happens I'm experiencing the week of hell "

"I imagine if you drop dead that wouldn't be a pretty picture either" He huffed sitting across from me. When the roast ham was finished he put a bowl of shredded meats and vegetables down in front of me. "Now you're not leaving here until you finish that and call your mother. I had to assure her that no. You haven't dropped off the planet. You haven't returned any of her calls"

"Honestly I'm going to need a new cellphone. I keep the current one buried under my dirty clothes hamper. Too many god damn texts"

"Hey, no cursing in this fucking house. I'm the only one who could do that" He said. I laughed a bit. "Well your sister and Mom aren't convinced I'm keeping you alive so please give them a call"

"After I'm done" I said eating a spoonful of meats and vegetables. The crunchy vegetables soothed the hunger I didn't know I had. Sweet and Sour pork wasn't my Dad's specialty.It surprised me a little how good it was. Usually Dad just survived on Sea food and water. "Look I've only seen Harumi once. Needless to say. Alot of people are feeling neglected by me right about now" 

"School wasn't this stressful when I was in it"

"When was that 50 years ago?"

"Watch it smart mouth" He laid back on his sweet finishing his glass of water. "Not that old you know. All I'm saying is. In the hinesight of things alot of stuff in highschool won't matter in 23 years.  Grades yeah but everything else is just that and even grades, fuck that last point. Your mother sucked at Biology and look at her now. A Doctor.   I sucked at everything and I run my own private detective company"

"I'm sensing a point somewhere there" I said tiredly finishing my plate and on cue he refilled it with more. 

"The point is. The name you make for yourself in highschool isn't going to define your future unless you let it"  I frowned at him a bit but nodded and kept on with the food. "You look exhausted. You haven't been sleeping right and frankly you haven't been acting like yourself either. There is such a thing as working too much"

"Big sis doesn't think so"

"Well your sister is a bit half cracked sometimes"

"Genetically doomed we are then" I joked.

"Slow down" He said once more. "Who knows maybe people are just trying to sabotage yah. I've seen it in movies. Make the popular girl lose her mind from over work and take her place" I stopped midchew. Who would benefit from me being too busy? I started recalling just who exactly were the members in all of these clubs I run. The sources of the issues.  My grip tightened around my fork. 

That clever fuck. 

""If this keeps going I'll send you to your mother's for a week. Think of it as  forced vacation" A chill ran through my spine.

"Don't worry Dad. I know exactly how I'm gonna fix this" 


The next day in school I met up on a body shuffling through the books in her locker. I closed the door for her and she flnched looking at me. My glared wasn't as effective as I'd hope. I was still too exhausted to look menacing.  Washed out hazel eyes and a mountain of firey red hair in a large pony tail. She looked at me a bit concerned.  "Hey K-kairi is there something I can do for you?"

"You're the freshmen who run the books for environmental club right?" She nodded. "So wasn't it your responsibility to cancel the payment to the driver if the trip was cancelled?"

"I've been super busy. I didn't really have time to replan everything" 

"A check gives you 24 hours notice from the financial systems in the school. When a trip is updated to be canceled. A notice that would have been told to you by the technical department. She started playing with her hands nervously. "And a little birdie told me he asked whether or not to cancel the check of if the environmental club was planning on postponing." She stepped back a bit when I stepped forward. "I believe the words were 'yes we're postponing it for two weeks while everyone gets better"

"And that's the truth. I didn't bother"

"Yet. You didn't put that down on record of a new date when you submitted the file to me. Why?"

"We haven't yet come up with  an official date"

"Don't toy with me." I said. "Submitting a false report does nothing more than waste my damn time and the principal wasn't pleased that you purposely let 600 go on a botched school trip. None of the members were sick. They boycotted and I know this because I" I pulled my phone out with a video of a party that happened just yesterday night. I had a good friend mass invite the environmental club. "Had someone invite them to  party. They don't look very sick do they?"

"Kairi-"

"Save it" I handed her a pink slip. "Planning false trips to wrongly distribute already limited funds from the school is warrant for two weeks detention. Now your trip really is cancelled and you and your little buddies are banned from making anymore fiancial requests for the rest of the school term." She stared at the slip. "I don't know what Taro promised you....was it a night...two nights or maybe a wild ride in the school closet and frankly I don't care what you guys do. Get dick. Hell I advocate for everyone to be as sexual as they fucking please." Sex was sex. So long as it was willingly who really gave a fuck who was fucking who? Why do people spend so much time on the sex lives of people they're not even screwing?  "Now you don't look like the type to have alot of self esteem to spare and frankly you're not worth my time but don't think I wouldn't spend every fucking waking moment making sure you stay at the bottom of the food chain all of your miserable years in highschool. if you decide to fuck with my work again. I take what I do here very seriously. It's my pride. My work. My legacy and I'm not going to let any of that fucktard's fangirls or your desperate freshmen ass get in the way of what I do. You're new. I get that you don't know what I'm capable of and you don't want to know.  You stink of virgin issues up the ass and let me tell you there's dozens out there more capable and more respectful than that asshole out here. If he's who you want then fine. Go for it. I know a thing or two about goals and if one of them is someone you wanna fuck then why not? But don't involve me in your virgin sob party do you understand?"

"Y-y-yes.." She shivered tears brimming at her eyes.

"Now I have dozens more pink slips to go share out to the masses then I'm going to sleep. If I get one text from the environmental club that even smells. Like it had something to do with a sabotage. I'll get all your asses suspended before you could blink. Sob to Taro about this later by the way. I want him to feel bad for getting all your dumb asses in trouble." I smiled at her  walking by reaching at the end of the hallway when another thing came to mind "Oh and here's a tip for the wild forest you call hair. Coconut oil, carrot oil and peppermint oil. Heat gently then leave in for 2 hours and wash out. Do it daily and you'll find it gets easier to tame that way. You don't need validation from anyone else but yourself by the way. Remember that"

Handing out pink slips had become more exhausting then it should have been. I tried jolting my system to life when I head crying in the stalls. My heart pinched a bit. If Kasume was in school that day. I could tell her I was drunk that day that I took everything back. She didn't have to leave and I wasn't going to tell anyone either. So I hit on the stall. 'Hey. Um. Are you okay in there?"

'Go away" A voice said. Mousy and low. My heart sunk. Definitely not Kasume. I let out a sigh leaning on the wall. The voice sounded young and from the fact they choose the middle stall it was definitely a freshmen. No one uses the middle stall since everyone knows about the hole the dudes drilled to peep in from the closet near by. 

'Not going to work. See class is soon and you're going to have to leave sooner or later or you're getting detention so." I started maybe that wasn't the best approach. "Just tell me what's wrong and I'll see if I can help" The voice was silent for a while and with the way time was going. I didn't want to black out and have something as horrible as a murder happen or something.  "Look we could stay here all day if you want. You're gonna have to come out sooner or later"  The door clicked and swung open and short lanky girl came out. Straw like bronze hair and puffy freckled cheeks. She looked like a cabbage patch kid doll which wasn't bad. I had a collection of them.  Her eyes widened at me.

'You're Kairi.."

"I know so..who are you?"

"Tsunei" She said hesitantly. 

"Okay Tsunei." I asked. "Why were you crying in the stalls.." She looked off to the side and I tilted my head at her. 

"None of my classmates like me..I'm trying so so hard to be their friend" She wiped at her eyes. Honestly seeing her like this just punched me all the way back to Middle school when i was sobbing in the stalls. Friendless because Harumi hadn't transfered there yet and for some stupid reason I kept forgetting my lunch money. I sighed rubbing the back of my head. 

 "Well I assure you making friends with people who don't like you is definitely not the definition of a friend' She sniffled shooting me a sour look.

"I just want them to like me" She whimpered. "B-but I guess I can't listen to you on this. Aika-senpai said not to trust you.." I rolled my eyes. Of course she didn't. Honestly people can make themselves feel so high and mighty when it comes to picking enemies. I find it amusing how this girl was programmed to dislike me without even getting to know me. Strange world. 

"People won't like you. All that matters is that you like you. If you rely on other people you're going to be miserable as fuck. Why do you think I don't give a damn what I say to people? I call it like it is. I can help people. I give advice. I was a Guidance consoler as a freshmen. I'm not a heartless bitch. I just don't like them. We all have people we don't like. They don't like me either but do I care? no. You can't hang around hoping everyone'll like you. If your opinion of yourself hangs on the balance of someone else then you're not living life according to your own terms. You're living life to please someone else and that's no way to live life" She stared at me and I ruffled her dark hair with a half smile. "You can dislike me if you want kid but for your own reasons don't let someone else tell you how to think. True friends don't make you feel like shit okay? Once you realize that you'll see that it's gets easier to pick out who can be your friend or not" 


She gave a nod and the bell rung on cue. She managed a half smile and a thank you before leaving. My head was ringing from the echo of the bell. Honestly this day was becoming one I quickly wanted to be over and done with.

Beyond the Veil C.24
Tehehe 

Previous Chapter:  Chapter 23


Aika Inuzuka - Aria-Abomination

Eri Sincera Jirou, Taro, Mai Uchiha - :iconaisteachsam:
Yuiko Uzumaki - CheshireNova
Amaya and Akina Shiranui, Kasume Aio, Kairi Hozuki, Harumi Yamanaka (c) Me
Ria Uzamaki, Madana Uchiha and Kiseki Uchiha - annria2002
Daichi Uchiha (c) ch3rryb3rry101
Saya (c) Pelissa
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AIKA'S POV

My friends were fucking weird by nature so to have a day when they were acting stranger than usual was really something. Today unfortunately marked the day of my birth. One year shy of 18.  I woke up to a chorus of happy birthdays and cake from my family. Tekkin wrapped his hands around me. Guilt suffocated me around me. I hadn't been able to look the little guy in the eye ever since due to the fact my father showed up at school grounds the day after I dropped a custard balloon on Kairi after her low blow at the dinner. I still had trouble believing it was a coincidence.

Drunk throwing bottles. Screaming how much of a slut my mother and I were before the police arrested him for trespassing. Everyone who didn't see it caught it on tape and emailed it around. It was a mess of a fucking day, so I skipped class to drink and ended up forgetting to pick Tekkin up. Since then Teshu, my stepfather banned me from drinking since Tekkin had to get home by himself and ended up spraining his ankle.

I ended up not eating and well. That opened up a whole different can of worms but at the end of it felt warmer than I had started out with. I was starting to get better. Eating more, rewarding myself with a strawberry treat when I finished a meal without thinking I had eaten to much or not getting sick. I smiled remember Daichi's warm embrace through my tears. I almost thought it had just been a dream. A dream to take me away from my misery.  

He told me he loved me. I finally told him back. I woke in the morning missing his touch. Missing the feeling of his lips against mine. He had left through my window and left me a text on my phone.

'Hey, sorry I had to leave couldn't let Teshu murder me on your birthday that'll ruin the fun!, I didn't want to wake you since you were so comfortable. Enjoy your great birthday <3 ' 

I smiled pressing the phone against my lips. My Uncles and their family visited earlier in the morning with gifts and treats. 

.I wrapped my arms around Minzuko's neck. He gave me a squeezing hug in return. "Happy birthday Rockstar" It was his little nickname for me.  When I first started dancing he told me that I was going to be doing on the big stage one day. That to never let my dream die and so long as I worked hard it would show.  I grinned holding him before I pulled away. He looked exactly like Natsuko, only taller, older darker shade hair and dark eyes.  "So, what do you want  for your birthday?"

I thought long and hard, Mizu hugging me tightly with the little ones hugging me and running past me to meet Tekkin. Mio and Yori instantly dashed for the cake in the kitchen. Teshu was sh Minzuko gave me a silly grin. "Anything you want you name it."

"You shouldn't be spoiling the girl" My Mom said with a laugh getting a bear hug. "She'd ask for a shit ton of booze. Don't let her she's banned"  

"Why?"

"Long story" She said. "So don't fall for it"

"Actually" I spoke up staring right at him. "I want a gun" Uncle stared at me with a raised brow. My Mom and Mizu stared as if I had grown an extra head. I expected him to join with their reaction instead he went.

"What caliber? how big? shot gun? glock? sniper? what are we talking here?"

"MINZUKO" "BRO" My Mom and Mizu said slapping their hands over his head. 

"WHAT? I said anything."  He rubbed his head with a groan. "I got my first glock at 7, I think 17 isn't that big of a stretch"  My mother folded her arms over her peach buttoned shirt.  Mizu closed the door behind of her taking her shoes and putting it off to the side. "If she wants one. I don't see the problem"

"You know the problem. I don't want her involved in that stuff you know that"

"Then why did you have me teach her how to shoot?"

"Incase she ever needed to. She'd know how"k

"Not much worth if she doesn't have one to shoot in the first place" He pouted seeing Mom frown at him. "I'm just shooting logic here unless that's what you want her to be shooting"

"You guys can stop talking about me like I'm invisible and five" I said. The arguement persisted so I decided to join the kids in the kitchen and have a take at my birthday cake. 

Now cue all the reasons why my friends were acting bonkers. I told Amaya about the big confession and she just as I expected freaked out. 

"Seriously!? Woah" She stared at me. "A big kiss and a confession?" She walked next to me in the hallway. She had to take attendance for the classes first. I'm sure she was marking off on the calender when december break was here and mark the end of her misery. "Holy shit holy shit this is huge and on the night before your birthday too?" I nodded. "Almost symbolic like the universe rewarded you for surviving 17 shitty years on this planet"  

"I figured you'd freak out more than this" She shrugged. 

"I'm exhausted" I frowned.

"Taking your medication?"

"Yes Mom. Nothing to do with it. Ever have one of those days when you wake up in your bed and decide everything else sucks and your bed doesn't?"

"You mean every fucking day of my life?"

"See I knew you'd relate you're the laziest lazy ass I know and we both know Ria and Yuiko" She paused biting her lip. "Kiseki too...and Jirou before the whole fall thing" She sighed her shoulders falling. My own mood deflated. 

"How is he?"

"Was at school on friday...Taro didn't let anyone near him since he was practically a lost puppy. God news thought no one near him meant Kairi too"

"Good. Hope he can keep that shit up." I muttered. "Still no sign like his memory is coming back?"

"Still early yah know?" She said. "But be hopeful. It's tuesday, Monday he was a bit confused but he's getting the hang of it but it must suck to be in woodshop with a fucked up memory I mean. That's not shit you can just..pick back up you know?"

"Maybe he can rely on muscle memory. If his body remembers it could help him"

"Well muscle memory saved his ass when the couch shoved him into the pool" I snickered.  "Probably not the best thing to do with someone whose already a headcase." She turned on her heel heading to east side instead of straight ahead. 

"Ugh where the hell are you going? Math's this way?"

"I have to do some stuff for Naruto first, you know how he is. Track got cancelled by the weather so he's hoping a bunch of us could go to Suna and do the long jump since he has they have theirs set up indoors"

"Oh. Well. Good luck with that. Break a leg"

"Not your best advice but thanks" She headed off. I felt strange about this whole thing. I narrowed my eyes and took out my phone texting Ria. 

'Hey ria good luck with long jump'

'With whut'

'Long jump Amaya said you guys have to head to Suna'

'Right right shit. Silly me thanks Aika and Happy birthday!!' Everyone was the same way, Saya had extra classes she had to head to, Kasume wasn't even in school that day but promised to swing by after school at my house. Akina was the only one at lunch at the table with me. Daichi went home early because he was sick. Kiseki had detention and Mai headed out right after lunch saying she had to drop something off for her parents. Taro was god knew `where but probably with Jirou. Akina gave me a gift of six new book releases, book marks and mugs in a huge gift bag. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Advanced reader copies of some books that hadn't even come out yet. Brand knew, paperback versions but readable. Akina ran a blog and posted book reviews and sometimes got new releases. I smuthered her in hugs and kisses. Amaya just gave me a ticket tha said "extra boobage. You need it'. 

"Thanks Akina. This is incredible you didn't have to do all of this"

"Pssh. This is nothing I would have gotten more if I had more money." She'd smile. "Happy birthday. Don't think I gave you the books as an excuse to cop out of homework"

"Too late" She giggled holding a baby carrot in her hand. Daichi had gotten me alot of stuff too in a huge silver gift bag. Two strawberry shaped plushies, huge and huggable with captions like 'Hug me' 'Cutie arms required'. The new boxset of the new Harry potter editions. The ones designed with the stars in the actual hardcover. I hadn't been able to find them anywhere. I almost kissed him again. I would have if he hadn't said he was sick and insisted he didn't want to get me sick. I should have went to check on him anyway. Fuck school. 

"Fuck...Harumi pick up..pick up" Kairi muttered. 

Kairi had been sitting alone at the table near me. She shot a glare when she caught me staring. Bitch had been in a sour mood ever since Monday morning. I didn't appreciate that stunt she pulled at the dinner so I dropped a custard balloon on her head from the roof when she was heading in the school. Days old custard and even if she hadn't seen who it was she knew it was me. 

Since one Amaya was at the gate, Yuiko hadn't gotten there and no one else would dare pull that. She screamed in anger, her face as red as her hair and stomped off to the girl's room Harumi following her worriedly. I almost chocked to death with how hard I was laughing. I should have made an extra balloon for her but I didn't have enough custard. Super worth it. 

She continued poking at her macroni and cheese with a fork. Half moons hanging under her eyes. Amaya had complained about being tired but Kairi looked the part. She seemed paler, thiner and her hair wasn't styled only left down curled at the ends. Nails unpainted and uniform had a few creases. 

"Fuck up with her" I muttered. 

"Up with who?" Akina asked with a bowl full of noodles. Rice noodles with sasusage and vegetables were her favorite. I tilted my head in Kairi's direction. "She doesn't look to good. Wonder if something happened" Akina's eyebrows furrowed in worry. She and Amaya really were like night and day. 

"Good. Her insides can finally match with her outsides"

"I can hear you two morons" She said in an exasperated voice. "Mind your own fucking business." She didn't make eye contact only pushed away her food and slung her bag over her shoulder and headed out.

"Must be pissed over Taro not letting Jirou anywhere near her"

"Maybe.." she said her voice wondering finishing up her lunch while we chatted. 

The rest of the day was boring and uneventful. I knew I didn't give a shit about my birthday but the fact everyone else was so absent meant there had to be a party since while I didn't give two shits they did. It was just like Amaya and the others to plan one even when I told her not to. I decided to kick her ass later then went home. Played with Tekkin for a half an hour before I headed out to meet my Uncle.

I had to tell my Mom I was heading to Ria's since the gun thing was instantly thrown out. I told Uncle the second thing I wanted just as badly and that he was willing to do.

He had one of his workers pick me up at the coffee shop in town and drop me off at one of the houses on the other side of town near the parks. Tall massive oak, pine and sakura cover each side of the road, their branches arching the road way to the house. The driver didn't speak, not even crack a joke on the way there. Most likely Uncle's doing. The fact he used a random guy and didn't just have Natsuko bring me meant he didn't even want him to know which was for the best.

We pulled up to a large Victorian mansion, three floors, fencing with chopped pieces of wood off to the side. Uncle had dozens like it all over the place, different size, looks but safe houses all the same.  Minzuko was sitting at the couch of the large living room. Book in hand, he raised a brow at me.

"Follow" He said simply getting up and heading down the halls into a basement. Bright, cement walled looking prison with boiling water on a stove. Long smoothed wooden sticks.  Weapons sealed in crates by spells and locks. 

"I'm going to ask again" He turned to me. "Are you sure you want this?"

"I've been wanting this for years okay? Just because I can't do the work doesn't mean I can't be trained" His eyes narrowed.

"Fine. Starting this second then you'll be my student. Don't tell your parents or anyone about this if they ask. It's extra shooting lessons as compensation. The yard has a gun range to the back. Under no circumstances do you reveal what we're doing here understand?"

"I get it"

"Good" The stick came flying at me before I could blink. I caught it with both hands. It weighed a ton but before I could think. Pain exploded by my ankle and sent me to the floor. "Lesson one. Be on your guard" He held a similar training staff in his hand. "Get up"

"Cheap shot" I said in a low growl when I tried pushing myself off the floor but my ankle gave way under the treatment. The pain was searing. I wasn't a medical professional but ankles weren't supposed to look like that. The space the staff had hit was purple and swollen, looking a tad out of place. I used the staff to balance myself. 

"Stand without the staff. Keep it in your hands plant both your feet on the ground"

"Is learning how to walk with one leg part of the lesson because I may have missed that part." He frowned swinging the staff once more. I managed to block the first attack but not the second. With one swoop the staff knocked from my grip, In two more and my fingers were bruised while I was knocked onto my ass again. He stood over me not looking anymore impressed than when he started. He wasn't being my uncle anymore. He was the leader of the Suzuki family and right then I felt small under his gaze. 

"Pain. Fighting through pain is what everyone has to master first. Pain is unavoidable. Suffering is optional. People aren't just going to stop fighting because you're down. You get up. You work through he pain. Don't let it weigh you don't accept it" I rolled out of the way of his next blow. My hand reaching for a wooden piece throwing it straight at him. He angled the staff to move it out the way effortlessly. I swung my good leg at his feet only for him to step back and have the staff jabbed into my foot. 

I screamed. Pulling my foot into my grip. One toe was bloody and the bone definitely broken. "You're not fighting through it. I whimpered a bit using the wall as support to stand on my feet. The pain was dizzying. His features softened at me. "Aika. If you can't-"

"Shut up" I said through my teeth. I stood on shaky legs. Pain threatened to introduce me to the floor but I kept pushing it. Pushing it aside and fighting through. Pain was no stranger to me. The amount of times my Dad tossed me around as a kid because he had too much to drink. I tried stepping forward. He resumed his cold persona stepping back and kicking my staff over to me hard. It hit me in the knee and threatened to steal the balance I fought for. Fuck him and his super strength. I felt pride blocking his second hit for the first time and attempted to land one of my own when he moved and the elbowed me in the gut. No matter how hard i fought or blocked his moves kept finding me. Assaulting bone after bone. I ended up looking like barney with how purple and bloated I got. Each time he barked at me to get to my feet.

Nails bloody and broken. Toes swollen sausages and ankles red and protesting every movement. I stood to my feet, wobbly. I expected another blow and prepared myself for it only for his arm to pull me into him for a half hug.

"That's enough for now. You did good so far" I almost went unconscious. He picked me up. I groaned but he rested me on the bed to the far corner. He healed all of my exterior wounds. He poured the metallic liquid into a bowl and whispered a few spells over it. It shimmered silvery light before he soaked a sponge into it and soaked it over all my wounds. My toes that had damaged turned perfectly normal. My arms and legs were pale and smooth instead of black, blue and purple. My eye was healed and my lip no longer split.  He looked at me. "Your back is up next" 

"You can skip it" He frowned annoyed. When I pulled up my shirt hesitantly for him to heal my back. He sucked in air as his eyes 

widened. "Jesus Aika. Fuck if I had known you had relasped...Shit..shit.." 

I cringed a bit. "That's why I didn't tell you. You wouldn't have agreed to train me but this is why I have to do this." I said in a small voice. "Please. Don't stop training me okay?"

"Aika this is so damn dangerous for your health. Your body's too weak to handle the training"

"That's the whole point Uncle." I said. "All my life I've been too weak. Too weak to fight back against my father, against Kairi and Harumi, against myself. I stumble and fall then stay down when I should be getting up and that's not how I want to live anymore" The pain still danced along my nerves even when he healed me physically. It hadn't been as bad but it persisted. "I can't do your work. I get it but I don't want to be the person that needs saving anymore. I want to be able to do shit if I have to. If  something happens I want to be able to defend those I love" I looked at him. He rubbed the sponge against my cheek to heal the swollen sore. "If I be strong in one area...if I can learn to keep getting up through physical pain..maybe I can learn to with everything else.."  He stared at me, unsure but he said nothing only healing all of my wounds. A smile tugging on his lips. 

"You've never been weak Aika" He said. "Stumbling and falling then staying down isn't weakness, just acknowledging you're down is a form of strength. We get stronger every day just by surviving and some day...it may be sooner or later..but some day we'll have the strength we need to stand up. Friends help as well" He finished the healing putting the sponge in the bowl. "Life'll knock you back down on your ass yea..but sometimes after a while..it gets easier and easier to get on your feet" He said taking a breathe. "When my sister died..I couldn't function. I felt like a failure because she was my responsibility and trust me when I said I didn't even feeling like getting up either" He picked up a soda from the mini fridge in the corner and gave one to me. I recognized the engraving on the smooth metal. It was a magically enhanced drink.

I barely ever heard of uncle talk about the sister he lost. His biological one, Kimi. She had been four when a Gaurdian opened her throat right in front of him and his mother as revenge for him losing his Guardian wife that same day at the hands of Grandma Hanabi. Uncle had been thirteen and Uncle Kentaro 9. 

I couldn't imagine going through that. If I ever lost Tekkin I wouldn't be able to come back from that. Everyone knew their limits and I had mine.  "How..did you get through it?"

"I haven't. I still can't go through her photos or even look at her old toys. I keep them in a box in the basement. I channeled missing her into something else. I never wanted anyone I love to go through that again...and then..well..your Mom gave me alot of hope.. I barely let her out of my sight you know? Just like the basic training..channel your pain into strength. The pain's still there..you'll still feel it" He poked my forehead. "And that's okay..but don't let it weigh you down." I pulled him into a hug and he chuckled half hugging me back. "What?"

"Nothing just....needed to do that."

"If you're done being weird. Our lesson isn't over yet." I nodded at him smiling when he took my hand to help me onto my feet. My nerves were still flayed and screaming but I gently walked back over to the sparring area. We focused on defense through pain for another hour. I got my ass kicked but it hurt alot less. It was him teaching me how to block basic moves, look for openings and exploit my surroundings. We even shot some targets at the range so that I didn't have to technically lie. The sky was beautiful sea of amber and gold by the time we were over. Light spilled into the room from the small windows showing the property lawn. "We'll stop for today" He said. I struggled to catch a breath holding my knees. He tossed me a bottle of water that I eagerly finished. "I'll train you everyday after school for three hours. Assignment. Go through the day without showing an inch of pain. If anyone asks you if you're okay. You fail the assignment. I'll know if you're lying to me"

I nodded pushing myself upright. "Right..and you guys train your agents at like Four right?"

"Six" He said. "Immediate family gets trained at four"

"That's insane" He shrugged.

"Better from me than from someone whose trying to kill him"

"Did I at least do better than Natsuko on his first try?"

"Considering he was four at the time probably wouldn't be fair" He laughed. "Alright the driver would drop you straight home." His phone vibrated in his pocket and on the second vibrate he answered it. Pure Russian. I hated when they did that. I knew he was half Russian but I had the feeling he and Natsuko refused to teach me was so I could crack jokes without anyone understanding. He hung up and looked at me. "Good timing I have to leave." He kissed my forehead and ruffled my hair. "Same time tomorrow?"

"Yeah..thanks.

"Enjoy your birthday Aika" He smiled following me out the door. He locked the door then waved his hand over the knob. A symbol flashed for a second and a second series of clicking sounds sounded.  It was dark by the time we made it back. We had just passed Konoha high when something caught my eye at the school.   Kasume was sneaking around the back with a box filled with things I couldn't see.

"Hey hey. Stop the car" The guy looked back at me glaring ignoring my request. "I saw a friend. Stop the car"

"Your Uncle said to drop you straight home"

"And I said to stop the god damn car"

"I don't take orders from you" 

I frowned opening the door. "Well I image jumping out and getting injured won't serve well for your boss will it" He glared daggers before the car came to a stop. I ran out and headed to the school grounds. The gate looked shut but it hadn't. It was unlocked and the chains were loose. I snuck inside and followed around the back entrance where I saw Kasume disappear to. 

Opening the back door I went into the hallways hearing music and voices. 

"We still have a half an hour before Aika gets here" Kasume said to someone. I turned the corner and Saya and Kasume were holding boxes walking down the hall. "I'm not super satisfied are you?" 

"Well we did the best we could fromt he time frame we had. Amaya seems happy about it and everyone else thinks it's cool" I followed them silently until we reached the pool area.  My heart froze in my chest. Black drapes were hunk up where the curtains for changing were, with ghost, pumpkin and zombie shaped lights. Tables of endless snacks were on tables to the far end. Supernatural demon trap symbols on the starting boards in what looked like stickers and almost everyone was dressed up as a monster or character from the show. I could almost cry.

Akina and Saya called Amaya's attention to a few more props when she turned to look at them she spotted me. "What the fuck-" Saya's eyes widened.

"They're not that bad"

"Not you, that!" She pointed at me. They turned around. 

"Oh shit.." They both said.

"I knew you fuckers were throwing a party" I said softly. "But god damn....I may not kick your ass after all Amaya" They're eyes lit up in excitement. People were already in the pool or dancing to the Pop sounds. "How the hell did you guys pull this off?"

"Magic of course" Saya said proudly. 

"What?"

"What can we say." Amaya said putting her arms around them both. "They have the magic touch when it comes to decorating" Kasume giggled and hugged me.

"Sorry I blew you off..I just"

"Trust me when I say. It's perfectly fine" I smiled ignoring the pain her hug gave me.  I tried not to flinch.  I almost teared up seeing everything and when everyone else caught me looking they screamed 'Happy birthday' at the top of their lungs. I recognized all of them, My dance club and class friends, Swimming club and other close friends. 

"Well at least we can tell Daichi and the others to come" Akina joked holding up a box with costume in it. Beige trench coat and feathered black wings. "We got your measurement from the uniform fitting so.." 

I smiled hugging her tight. "I love it..and I love you guys" i glared at Amaya. "still sorta kicking your ass though" She scoffed. 

"Good"

Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. The party was a festive thing, the treats were absolutely smoking hot. Literally. The dumplings had at least three different peppers and the boneless wings were honey grlazed sticky and stuck to my teeth. The chocolate fudge had cayenne pepper since Kasume was addicted to the stuff and downing spicy food with soda wasn't exactly a smart decision. "It's supernatural Dean and Sam went to hell before so are we!" Amaya reasoned dressed as Meg. "So Unicorn wanna dance?" I laughed  "I need medicine for my mouth first wait for me on the dance floor" She shrugged leaning off the bright tiger colored table and disappeared into the crowd. The only thing that remotely cooled any of it down were small sponge cakes of strawberry and mint frosting.   Every bite was orgasmic. Daichi had to have made it himself. Absentmindedly I scanned the crowd of zombies, deans and Sam's.  Akina said Daichi was coming as Dean. So where was he? 

I shuffled through the crowd trying to avoid the water backlash of the morons diving into the pools like flapping their arms like vampires mid bat transformation. Everyone in the swim club was wierd. Which meant they fit in just fine.  The air was think with the scent of chlorine, booze and pumpkin scented stickers Kasume had up. Cinnamon and Apple filled the lower half where those stickers were put up. It made the halloween theme come alive. 

Kasume had been chatting it up with Jirou all night despite Kairi's efforts to pull him away he was glued to the pool and unfortunately for her, Kasume had no problems staying there. My lips curled to a proud smirk. "You get um girl"  As if attuned to me. Kairi turned and glared. She used Jirou to snake her way into the party. We couldn;t refuse her with her arm tangled with Jirou's. He just gave me a nervous happy birthday and brought me a box of pocky. He seemed nervous. I didn't have the heart to tell him I hated the stuff and thanked him for it. 

"This party need smore booze" Yuiko cooed next to me putting her arm  around my neck.

"You're underage" 

"Are you really the one to pull the card on me?" She raised a brow. I shrugged.

"Guess not" 

I couldn't get over my reflection in the mirror. The way the beige trench coat hugged and formed invisible curves I wish I could have kept. The black small but detailed feathered onyx wings stitched into the back and flowed and moved with every step I took. Akina and Saya made the trench coat while Madana helped with the wings. 

"Where the hell is  big brother? or any of them? I texted Kiseki saying he didn't have to go over to your place anymore and I got no reply."

"I tried calling but nothing" I said. 

"I wouldn't be surprised if those morons got held up at Daichi's place. The party has alot of fun games. I mean pretty much a game night so...or the food."

"I guess.." The hours were crawling by. Taro and Mai showed up late. Taro was dressed as Crowley, I knew it instantly from the suit and the angel dagger he kept in his hand. It was a pretty good model. Mai and I exchanged hugs and she gleefully gave me her gift, Taro handed me a box of his own saying a few greetings of his own.  I couldn't respond to either of them well. I kept searching the crowds. Inhaling the cakes. Looking and looking. An hour, half an hour and before I knew it it was midnight. Two hours to go and still no Daichi. I found a familar arm in the crowd and tugged it gently.

Saya turned to me. "Are you guys sure Daichi isn't actually sick?"

"Yeah we're sure he just made it up so he could do the snacks...but Ria and Kiseki aren't here either maybe they got held up by their folks." Maybe. I thought but something else was troubling me. "Did Natsuko invite Natsuko?"

"Course plus we need his van to clean all of this up"   Natsuko wasn't one to miss a party unless he had a job but Minzuko assured me it was his day off. He always got day offs on my birthdays.  

Feeling hot and sticky I took off the hug inducing trench coat and put it onto the black chair at the table. Amaya came up to me hands on her hips. "You know being stood up for a dance is about the lamest thing that's happened to me yet"

"Sorry. I just didn't feel up to it"

"Love sickness would do that to you"

"I'll drop kick you into that pool"

"Only for the truth." She sighed. "I called Uncle he said he's heading over to Ria's place see what's up so no worries"   I bit my lip before letting out a sigh.  "Look I just. I want you to enjoy this party. It's all for you. I know you can't technically swim safetly yet but..you loved pools..you love supernatural....you don't seem to... I don't know. we want you to enjoy it too.." She said. Guilt wrapped me. I had been so caught up in worry, I couldn't even stop to appreciate what they all had done.

I went to wrap my arms around Amaya when my feet tripped over something.  Pain sliced through my when my stomach hit the edge of the pool as I fell straight in.  Weightlessness covered me. My limbs frailed aimlessly trying to swim to the surface through the pain until something pulled me up and my head broke surface. Amaya had already jumped in. 

"You okay?" She pulled herself up onto the pool edge and helped me out. All eyes were on me. When Saya scrambled to get my trenchcoat I hadn't noticed why until I looked down.

"Holy shit" Someone whispered. Their eyes glued to my drench thin white blouse. That outlined my tiny frame. Every boney curve of the rib was popped through the thin fabric. Under their horror filled gaze, everything became too much. The physical pain that lingered, the weight of their crushing gaze and sick thoughts. My teeth started chattering. Grinding against each other. 

"Are those her ribs?"  Kairi gasped.  "I think she's going to have a panic attack"

Someone started screaming. "Aika aika calm down" Yuiko and Saya wrapped the trenchcoat around me. One so The looks burning holes into me. A horrid wail I couldn't recognize as my own. Between the hyperventilating and registering. 

I wasn't strong at all. I tried and tired but once again I was reminded it was useless. How I made it outside without interference was beyond me. I just kept running. Hoping that stupid driver hadn't actually made off with the vechile and fortunately he hadn't. I saw the black car parked a while away. His head leaned against the glass. I needed to go home. I needed to cry in my bed. 

I turned the corner and hit something solid that would have sent me to the ground if it wasn't for the arm that kept me steady. "Woah, easy there" Natsuko said. His eyes studying me. "Aika?" I couldn't hold it in . I sobbed. Ugly chocking sobbing pressing my face against his chest.  "Okay, crying birthday girl is never good."

"J-J-just take me to your dad.. Okay? h-h-he needs to I..i need to see him again"

"Again?" He asked looking straight at me when I pulled away. "You've seen my Dad today? when?" The urgency in his voice frightened me.

"E-earlier this evening..from 4 or so to 7....we were practicing at the gun range. He left after a phone call and had a driver drop me home...why?" He bit his lip. "Why..Natsuko?"

"You know how the tattoos..we have for our family? they keep track of us...monitor vitals...stuff like that?" I nodded. His voice shaking. "...Dad's went dark at 8pm today..no one knows where he is"
Beyond the Veil C.22
Previous Chapter:  BTV Chap 21
Aika Inuzuka - Aria-Abomination
Eri Sincera Jirou, Taro, Mai Uchiha - :iconaisteachsam:
Yuiko Uzumaki - CheshireNova
Amaya and Akina Shiranui, Kasume Aio, Kairi Hozuki, Harumi Yamanaka (c) Me
Ria Uzamaki, Madana Uchiha and Kiseki Uchiha - annria2002
Daichi Uchiha (c) ch3rryb3rry101
Saya (c) Pelissa
 
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:iconshadowlord19:
shadowlord19 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Happy Birthday. 
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:iconitachixsakura7777:
itachixsakura7777 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2014
Happy Birthday :party: :cake:
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:iconqtmartina:
QTMartina Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2014
my car guy xD im laughign so hard about the think where i linked you at fb xD i imagen how we are sitting in the car which you drive and all around us are zombies xD
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:iconcookiezoela:
CookieZoela Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:crai:
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CookieZoela Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
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