I never see her face, she's just a silhouette against the rising sun, a girl that looked to be twelve at most. She held out her hand to me, and I find myself holding a cage with a single raven in it.
"It's time to let her go," she would tell me.
"Why do we have to? Lets keep her, what if she gets hurt again? O-Or starves? Or..." I found the words coming from my mouth, I felt the worries build inside me over this bird.
I heard her giggle, it was a beautiful giggle. Not a high forced giggle, but a deeper, relaxed giggle, one that a girl would let out when she's perfectly comfortable. "Jirou... you silly willy, we can't keep her."
"But why not?" I would whine, "I just... isn't she safer with us? Lets keep being her parents, just me and you!"
"Jirou..." a soft sigh came from her as she turned from me, "... do you know why caged birds sing Jirou?"
"... Umm... Cause they're trained to?" I blinked, finding the question to be weird.
Another giggle, I really liked that giggle. "No... Just... Think about it... having wings but not able to fly? Having your keys to freedom clipped, just because the person that put you in the cage doesn't want you to leave, because they like to stare at you and be entertained by you? Wouldn't... you be sad?"
For some reason, those words resonated with me in a way, "I... would probably be very sad... But... I wouldn't sing. I'd probably bite."
I smiled knowing I made her laugh yet again. "You'd be punished if you started biting silly butt."
"I missed the point didn't I?"
"Kinda, but I don't blame you," she chuckled. "I mean if you couldn't fight or fly... all you can do to let out how you feel is to sing... wouldn't you? I... know I would... I'd sing my heart out."
"But, birds sing in the wild too, are they sad?"
"No Jirou... they are free," she smiled, "they are free to sing, not because they feel they need to."
Something bothered me, she... seemed sad to me. I tried to say her name but nothing came out, "... Is everything okay?"
"Yeah... just, home troubles I guess, nothing to bother you with."
"You know, you can always talk to me. No matter what it is."
"I know Jirou, that's what makes you a good Mommy to our lucky little one," she teased.
I pouted, "How am I the mommy? You're the girl I'm the daddy."
"Neh... Mommy fits you better."
I pouted, "Well... you know, if you'd want, we can go to the pet shop, buy all the birds, and release them all!"
She laughed, "That's sweet Jirou, but not a good idea. They've never been outside of a cage before, wouldn't know what to do. And they're so bright and colorful..." She trailed off, "Our girl knows how to care for herself, so that's why we're letting her go."
My face fell a bit, "yeah, I got ya."
"Sweet idea though, I love your ideas," she smiled, "come on shes restless, let her spread her wings."
I felt uncertainty, I put my fingers on the cage but couldn't get myself to open the door. She smiled and put her hand on mine, her hands felt warm, and I felt my cheeks heat up. "She'll be okay, I mean all good parents have to let their kids go at some point."
"I-I... guess," I submitted, and together we opened the cage. The raven looked uncertain, she cocked her head to the side but hoped to the door, a look to me, then a look at the girl. Finally her wings spread and she took off. I put the cage down and waved good-bye, "Be good don't forget to write!" I called after the bird. The girl started cracking up.
"She can't write silly!"
"Course she can, she's got all those feathers to make a pen out of," I grinned. We both laughed then watched as the bird flew around, enjoying the wind beneath her feathers. I smiled, and felt her hand on mine again, our fingers intertwined a bit, we glanced at each other, blushed then pulled our hands away.
Then I'd wake up.
I sighed as I washed my face, I've had that dream over and over again since I've woken up after my accident. After I dried my face off with a towel I looked at my reflection. Was... that a memory? Could I possibly be getting my memories back? If it was it's a very happy memory. My glance went down to the three flying ravens tattooed on the right of my collarbone, they were small, not detailed, just three silhouettes of the bird. How did I know they were ravens? Because of the dream? I really wanted to figure out who that girl is... I felt like I knew her. I had to know her...
I didn't take myself as the type to have a tattoo... but when I questioned my parents as to why I had one they told me it was some rite of passage. Taro had the family Uchiha crest on his upper left arm. Mom and Dad both had Uchiha crests too. Only their's had their wedding date tattooed right below the design. I saw Dad's on his right arm, and he told me Mom had a matching one, though when I asked where he just smirked and grabbed Mom's butt. Mom of course blushed and smacked him, something about being a pervert in front of the kids. Well.. good to know he's not some stony, intimidating guy all the time. Apparently Mom had a back piece with her birth clan's crest too. I mean it's pretty cool, but still, tattoos? A bit weird if you ask me. When I asked why mine wasn't a crest as well they told me that I had been free to choose what my tattoo would be, and the three ravens was what I chose. Unfortunately my past self didn't think of telling them why. I really didn't leave many clues for myself did I?
Kairi told me it was because I liked birds, though she didn't seem to know I had it before I showed it to her asking if she knew the story. Weird... you think my girlfriend would know about my tattoo... not like it's in a secret place, I take my shirt off and it's right there. Why wouldn't she know about it?
I found myself thinking about the dream I had last night. It was different... very... strangely different.
It started the same, with the girl and the caged raven, but this time she had it on the ground, struggling to get the door open. "It's stuck..." she finally told me.
"Oh um... here," I came over but despite my best effort I couldn't get the door open.
"You can't force it open Jirou..."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Because you can't force these things."
I blinked and looked at her, "It's... just a door."
"Are you sure it's just a door Jirou?"
I felt confusion, then I looked at the bird, who stared right back at me. I felt a kinship as I looked into it's beady eyes. "It's... not is it?" I turns back to her, "Who are you?"
"I can't answer that Jirou, but your conscious is speaking through me."
"Why can't you tell me who you are?"
"I simply can't, I'd love to tell you, but I can't."
"Just say your name, you know who I am don't you? I know... that you know... Tell me your name and I'll find you."
"You can't find whats under your nose silly."
"Under... my nose?" I asked.
She walked up to me, bopping my nose lightly with her finger. "Under. Your. Nose."
"Why can't you tell me?"
"I can't, Jirou. Something is stopping me. Just remember, question everything. Jirou, if something doesn't seem right, question it." she said sternly, "Someone is taking advantage of your situation, you have a right to question what you're told."
"Please just..." I was so confused, "what is stopping you? What am I questioning?"
"Please Jirou, ask questions, get answers, it's up to you if those answers make sense. You'll know who I am if you work through this but if you take too long I fear it may be too late."
"Don't let yourself be blinded."
Just then I blinked and I found myself behind the bars of the cage, my breathing hardened as I looked around. Why... was I in the cage? What...? I started screaming.
I gasped as I sat up in my bed that morning. I felt a cold sweat clinging to my body. What.... just what the hell was that all about?
My reflection joined my gaze as I stared at the mirror. Something... something wasn't right here was it? But... what could it possibly be?
I paced around in my bedroom. Harumi had decided to sleep over and was already in bed by the time I got home from the dinner and with the way the night went I couldn't even think about sleep much less attempt it. I growled almost wanting to knock the books off my desk. My plans went so wrong. Instead of bonding with Jirou's mother I practically shoved Amaya into her arms attempting to get her written off. The only good thing about the night was being able to get Jirou's diary which at first didn't have anything I didn't already know.
He was scared of me, wondered why I hadn't gotten over him as yet, called my hands talons at some point. However there were lots of mentions of the things he and Kasume did at the lake, swim, paint, play games and even brought food on the weekends to last out the day. I almost wanted to rip those pages out.
Damn why was this so difficult? I'd never had these problems before. It was easy for people especially adults to love me. I did everything right, I had great grades, positions and could sweet talk my way into most things.
So what the hell was the problem?
Harumi rubbed her eyes as she stretched herself awake. "Kairi....did you" she said sitting up. "Did you even sleep last night?"
"You were in bed already didn't want to disturb you" I said simply my eyes still glued to Jirou's diary. My stomach wanted to heave if I read another thing about Kasume.
"How was the dinner?"
"Horrible. Absolutely horrible. None of my plans worked as a matter of fact one failed so badly I wanted to punch myself out"
"Damn....so still haven't won her over yet huh?" she yawned.
"Not even close." I said flipping the pages. "Got Jirou's diary though"
"Really?" she crawled out of bed and headed over to me. "What does it say?"
"I'd repeat but my stomach isn't strong enough.......I'm only half way through too..how much can this boy write?"
"Apparently alot" she snickered. "But while you were out the spell book revealed another spell" That at least perked my interest.
"Yeah it's a spell that ..in a nut shell stronger version of what we've been using can make you force a person's body to have whatever reaction you want...like a heart attack or asthma or something"
"Yeah...Maybe it could help Jirou get his memories back.....I mean the love spell should still be intack though"
"Don't forget the book said no spells can counteract another....so chances are it won't work." Her shoulders fell. It disturbed me slightly how much she wanted to give Jirou's memories back. That'd only cause a few more issues for me. I preferred to work with a blank slate rather than one who would probably figure out he had no idea why he fell for me in the first place. I'd like to think there was something about me he liked, spell aside that he liked before the stooges showed up, we talked about books and shows, even watched game of thrones, not the best series to start off with someone with the mentally of a little kid so we switched to Doctor who.
Though something during the night caught me off guard and it came in the form of three bird silhouettes wings outstretched in flight, tattooed near Jirou's right collar bone. I almost chocked on my soda when he slipped off his shirt to show me. Not only shell shocked by the fact he was willing to take his shirt off with me around at all. Never in my wildest imagination would I image, that dorky, oblivious cutie pie who wimps out on taking pills would get a tattoo, especially one so close to bone. I stared longer than I should have. God fucking damn it looked hot on him. He must have used some water proof covering to hide it during swimming, Tattoos weren't allowed to be shown for some dumb reason. I chocked up when he asked what it meant, I hadn't the slightest clue and didn't believe the answer I gave myself. I almost wanted to snap a picture but I didn't want to scare him. I'm his girlfriend, i was supposed to already know about it in his mind. I fucked up slightly, I knew he didn't buy what I was selling but what choice did he have? It took everything in me not to kiss him and leave hickies trailing from the tattoo down his stomach. I hadn't known Taro had one either, Jirou said it was the Uchiha crest but i didn't care too much, neither did Harumi when I told her. A thought wondered if maybe it had something to do with anything in the journal but there was no mention of it. I had to get more information. "Though those might be helpful"
"What are you talking about?" she blinked. "You said you were done with the book after the love spell"
"I may still need it." I said when something in the journal struck me as odd. Jirou made reference to a guy he and Taro had to deal with, someone with ESP who managed to almost chuck a truck right at them. "Jirou's family knows something about magic"
"Yeah it's right here. He and his brother apparently had to handle some guy with ESP..."
"Like....throw things and read people's mind kind of ESP?"
"Apparently....." Ever since discovering the book I had a deep desire to learn just what else was out there. If magic was real what else could be? I skipped ahead to the page entry on the first day of school and my heart sunk. "Oh boy..."
"First day of school, the reason why Jirou was so sleepy? his dad was screaming all night into the phone because his workers lost track of four ancient spell books." Harumi's eyes widen. "They're looking for them.."
"All the more reason to stop using it! We got what we want leave it some where they can find it"
"Are you insane?" I got up going over to the spell book in the drawer. "This thing is insurance...if they know about magic it's only a matter of time before they find out about the love spell too."
"Then we'll find a way to reverse it or something....we gotta stop this if they're looking for it then that could spell trouble"
"We'll just have to keep them busy then is all"
"Are you listening to yourself?" I glared at her. "This is getting a bit out of hand"
"Think about it Harumi. There are three more books out there and by the looks of his entry, one for the dead, one for the living, ours , elemental and creation....could you imagine what would happen if we got the others?"
"Now you've officially lost it"
"the more powerful I become, the more leverage I have? the more untouchable I become. It's simple as that. If I distract everyone while I look for the other books. It doesn't matter if they find out I did the love spell they won't be stupid enough to do anything about it" Harumi stayed silent while I opened up the spell book. "Give them other worries to be concerned about and i'll make my move on Jirou. Let him get more comfortable with me until I gain his trust completely."
"It's a good plan right?" I stared straight at her. "Right?"
She nodded hesitantly. "R-ight..."
"Good. Now help me get the ingredients for these spells later okay?. We got work to do" She nodded and went to brush her hair while I went back to Jirou's journal, heading back to my original page. I didn't mind getting to school late, not like the teacher would really ask for a late slip anyway. Not from me. All of the nonsense he wrote about Kasume was borderline bearable until I got to an entry from the last few days of him in 11th grade.
If stares could ignite i'd burn the book to the ground with that alone because there as one of the final entries before summer vacation was a sentence that sent my blood boiling. 'I donno kasume is just so amazing... i think... i think I love her... but I'm scared to ruin the good thing we have... i guess I'll see how it plays out but I really really want to be with her, my heart pumps faster and my face goes hot whenever I even think about her or hear her voice, I can't possibly not be happy around her. 'if that's what love is then yes I'm completely in love with kasume'
The horror show didn't stop there either. My hands flipped to the day before I sent him down those stairs and I saw something even worse. It was all about jirou deciding to ask amaya if kasume had liked him and if she said kasume had then he'd confess to her. He also wondered why he was spending so much time around me because he was miserable and uncomfortable so he had to get to the bottom of it as soon as he can figure out why he can't tell Taro.
Had I waited a day later my plan could have been ruined before it started. I screeched throwing the book across the room. Harumi seemed concerned but I didn't care. I couldn't have that blonde worm ruining things for me and I definitely couldn't have Jirou regaining his memories. I needed her out of the way and I won't stop until she is.
This day only seemed to be getting worse by all perception even little things seem to fall into today's chaotic zone. It was the early days of October and the air had already gone frosty. Clouds graying and swallowing the blue sky. Leaves swaying freely in the Autumn breeze while a sea of amber, gold and auburn leaves rained around me and crunched beneath my knee high black boots. Autumn and winter was the only time we were allowed to wear them after all. Hands buried in a warm forest green coat with a warm purple scarf practically chocking my neck. Saya had put this on far too tight but apparently the worry of an asthma attack from the cold which I knew I was deadly prone.
"I don't think cutting off circulation is the best way to keep her from having an asthma attack" Aika pointed out relieving some of the tension around my neck. Madana snickered at Saya as she pouted.
Strolling down the streets I started smelling the sweet scent of Apples, Cinnamon and Pumpkin coming from the home bakery just a block away from Shisui's house. The woman there was a sweet one, Mrs. Yung widowed 16 years now. Always had her faded sage colored hair in dual braids rolled up and held into buns by pins, a . Rinka said she started the bakery to keep herself busy after his death. Her kids were away and barely paid her a visit so she always encouraged us to visit her, help her with chores and of course buy food. I stepped through her door, and parted the shower of dangled blue beads that curtained the entrance. Instantly hit with a wave of something I identified immediately.
Piratically bounced my way over to the display counter, meeting on her smile while a few customers happily passed me on the way out. "Cinnamon spice bars?"
"It is the season for them isn't it? After all gingerbread and pumpkin cakes are so common" She smiled taking off her apron, moving through the door the separated the kitchen to the front and scooped me up in her soft arms burying me in her bosom. "How are you my dear?"
"Exams are coming up next month" I replied when she released me when I was able to take a breath and sat on the chairs to the counter. "I haven't really been focused at all for it.."
"Oh?" She asked taking her place when a few more customers came through the door. Mrs. Yung tended to them promptly and politely. It was such a small business. Mrs. Yung did almost everything. she had an assistant for lunch time but for the most part she prepared, cleaned and served all on her own. "How so?
"Mom and Kai are in america now" I said. Her eyes raised and studied me while she cleaned the counter.
"America, that explains why I haven't seen the tike around" She smiled "He practically inhales the brownies in here, how are you doing dear? why didn't you go with them?"
"My friends are here you know?" My gaze falling to my lap. My chest ached, when I would remember how Kai would jump through the piles of leaves much like the ones outside.
"Look at me sis" He'd yell whenever I was raking with Mom then he'd take a swan dive into the biggest pile imaginable, ruining hours of work but the look on his face was worth it. Even Mom couldn't be mad at him. I wondered if he had big enough piles to jump in now. Doubted it, Mom and Kai were staying in an in city apartment.
"I miss them so much, I skype them all the time and I'm going up for Christmas....I just wish I didn't have to choose at all but Mom needed to solidify a few new branches for her business there.."
"Staying by Shisui till they're back then?" I nodded. "Well dear, trust me time would fly by when it comes to it." I nodded after she handed me one of the freshly baked Cinnamon Bars. "But something else is on your mind isn't there? You've been so quiet these last few weeks."
"A bit of drama in school..is all"
"When isn't there drama in school" She sighed. "Adults almost always forget what it's like to be a teen. Troubles, deadlines, other teenagers. Then they're at a lost as to how to deal with their children's issues honestly it's ridiculous. What's up? boy trouble? girl trouble?" She said again after a pause. Heat raced up my neck.
"Friend trouble" I said breaking the sweet bar and tasting piece. "A friend of mine, he got into an accident and lost his memory but someone at school filled his head with lies and well doesn't seem interested in being my friend at all now"
"I wouldn't bother to much with someone who chooses against being your friend. Friends are called friends because they're supposed to make you feel better about yourself, never forget that"
"It's not his fault." I started "He's really super loyal, a little too loyal but well, this girl convinced him that she was his girlfriend. I don't know how she managed to gain his trust at all but now. He trusts her and well she hates me"
"Was she his girlfriend?" I shook my head. "Wow she sounds like a real bitch then" I almost did a double take on my stool, when those words came out of her mouth. She looked at my shock and her lips parted in a smile. "I call them as I see it. Memory loss is tricky. He'll either remember or he won't but what was his opinion of her before he lost his memory?"
"He was absolutely terrified of her" I smiled weakly. "She was the extra pushy type yah know? He wasn't remotely attracted to her"
"Well can't be remotely. He seems attached now." She spoke and almost deflated my soul. "Honey I'm not saying this to upset you but if he's attracted to her now, then it means it couldn't be all fear he felt." She paused. "Oh..I see..You love the boy don't you?"
"Hardly matters now" I smiled weakly. "All I want is to be friends again"
"If you were friends once. If it's meant to be it'll happen again" She smiles. "Sometimes you have to let destiny take it's course" I couldn't stop myself from snorting. Destiny? There wasn't nothing like that in this existence at least. Not every tragic thing had some bigger meaning. If so, I'm still waiting for the big output that my father's death had brought. "You don't believe in destiny dear?"
"Not remotely" I said. "Sorry Ma'am, just i don't believe bad things happen for some cosmic reason. Bad things happen because they just do. No reason behind it really." She gave me another smile while I worked on the bar. "People make bad decision sometimes that lead to bad things happening"
"Have I ever told you about how my husband and I met?" She started working in and out of the back kitchen replacing the finished treats. She saw the shake of my head. "It was in college but we lived around the same block. He was 21 and I was 19, I loved partying. Woo, no one could have downed drinks than I could in my day. We were complete opposites and we absolutely despised each other, well. I wanted to jump his bones, because he was quite the looker but he always ruined everything when his mouth started moving" My eyes widened a bit. "What? do you think this generation invented being promiscuous? I saw what I wanted and went for it, we got together when I was drinking one day at a party. My family had gone broke and I was worried I would be pulled from school so I went to the bottle for therapy. He so happen to be there as well, surprisingly. I don't remember what happened that night exactly, but I woke up in his bed. Worse headache of life, remember dear for future reference. Liquor before beer." She winked handing me another treat. A corn muffin by the looks of it. "Turns out, I had been so drunk that I attempted to drive myself home. He stopped that from happening plus knowing my dad would freak, let me stay over, I guess whatever I said to him semi-drunk got him worried about me"
"That's how it started?" She nodded.
"He kept checking on me, and soon enough it turned from annoying to sweet. His ramblings didn't sound as pompous as they had before and well. One thing led to another and before the end of his graduating year we got together. My parents still got a divorce. My family had been in shambles at the time but I have to say. The happiest moments of my life were the ones I spent with him, sure we fought like mad and I was extremely difficult pregnant lady but it always worked out and I don't know if it would have happened if I never had gotten drunk over my family that day" She poured a steaming cup of cocoa for me in a small mug. "Not every sad things have some meaning dear but to me, certain things happen just to open up doors." Her stormy grey eyes turned to the windows. "The weather has been so unpredictable lately. Rain storms at random or baking sun. I better adjust the crystal by my window when I get home" Her eyes landed on me. "You can let time sort things out. If he doesn't love her truly, it'll show. Relationships in high school can fizzle out faster than candle in a rainstorm or" Her eyes looked off to the side when she brought a cup to her own lips. "You can take matters into your own hands"
"What do you mean?" Her brow raised, waiting for me to catch what she meant. "Fight for him?"
"If he means so much to you, and know that you once meant something to him. Fight for it. We all deserve to be happy, life's far too short to pay attention to the minor details"
"I'm not exactly the fighting type" I admitted. "I mean, I'm practically a rabbit compared to her. She'll claw me out"
"Rabbits are also quick, can go to places lions or tigers cannot. I'm not saying give the girl a round of black eyes. I'm saying use your own strengths. There are more than ones ways to a guy's heart. His pants is one of them" My face caught on fire, so she sped up on the last part. "Or
, his brain. If you know him as well as you say, then you know exactly what it takes to get his trust again. You know his likes. dislikes. Use it. Beat the bitch at her own game. Memories or no memories."
"And if I can't?" Finishing the flaky muffin. "I know him, if she doesn't want me talking to him. He won't want to upset her"
"I don't like to hear can't's especially from capable people" She replied finishing her cup. "It's getting dark early dear, better head home" I nodded pushing myself off the seat taking change out of my wallet paying for the treats despite her pleas against it. "Honey, honestly. you're tempted me to stuff you with so many treats you won't be able to afford to pay" A laugh escaped my throat.
"That doesn't sound so bad.." I admitted slipping my gloves back on. "Thank you again though for everything" She nodded.
"Anytime dear" I turned to leave when a question popped into my mind. She saw my hesitation. "The police said he killed himself" She said as if reading my mind. "Hung himself off the tree in our backyard. That's what they tell me, those half wits in suits. No offense to Shisui of course, but the policemen back then didn't care much for solving crimes. Only closing cases."
"You don't believe he did?"
"Absolutely not. My husband was many things. Stubborn, boasting and god he couldn't shut up sometimes but we were happy. He
was happy. He would have never left the way he did, he would rather lose an arm and a leg, chop them off himself with a butter knife before he purposely left me and our kids. I have no doubt in my heart someone killed him"
Leaving the bakery, my mind was swimming in so many topics. How to get Jirou back to being my friend. How Kai was handling the autumn, it was in the evening which meant in America he was in bed and not to mention the burning question of who would have had the heart to murder Mr. Yung. She had told so many stories of him before, I felt like I had known him too despite him dying when I was a few months old.
I wondered if I could have gotten his case to get another look at. Surely she had probably asked that of Shisui before. Poor guy. Poor Mrs Yung. I sighed hugging myself to contain the warmth. She was right at least, I couldn't sit back and let others push me around all the time even though my body shook from my new resolve. It still swelled me with a bit of pride. The idea of fighting back was equal parts fear and anticipation. Amaya and the others might be proud of my resolution I sighed making my way home. Twisting the key into the door, I pushed my way into the warm house. Already tearing off my scarf and Jacket.
"Shisui?" I called out stepping out of my boots leaving them to the side of the entry way with the others. "Rinka? Kaede?" Silence met my ears. I walked from the entry way into the living room, then into a kitchen where a bowl of covered down stir fry noodles was on the table with a note on the top.'Hey princess, taking Kaede's to my Mom's talk when I get home. Made you your favorite, I'll be back before six. Extra in the fridge if I'm not back' - Shisui
I uncovered the stir fry, praising whatever brought Shisui into my life once more. Beef and Vegetable stir fry noodles with extra broccoli. I hadn't even mattered if I was stuffed from Mrs. Yung. I made room for that treat. Retreating to my room with my food, dumped my bag onto the bed and took a shower before starting my work. I sat on the bed, in my pajamas and fuzzy warm socks, Ria got me for secret santa last year. He always went with socks and honestly it wasn't wrong.
They were electric blue, with monkey patterns on them swinging on vines. I stared at the calendar pinned on the walls by puppy print shaped notes. Aika's birthday was circled over a dozen times and for the first time I was stumped on what to get her. I chewed on my lip. Snacks from the bakery was one route but there was no way I'd only go with that. I would ask Daichi, he was the expert on all things Aika even if Amaya hated to admit it. I highly doubt Amaya would know Aika's favorite brand of nail polish.
'It's black does it matter the brand' I'm sure she would have said. I pushed that on the top of the things to think about. It was a few days I could manage to get something together before then. Aika has been one of my closet friends forever. It didn't matter that she hated when anyone would spend money on her. She deserves to be drowned in goodness. I felt an urge to suddenly call her over the phone and spill my guts about everything my stepfather did. She would relate the most, after all her biological father abused her and her mother when she was younger, I never knew what stopped me. Fear of Amaya finding out through whatever telepathy she shares with Aika or Guilt I could be making her relive the moments all over again.
Eating the stir fry while working on homework. Pulling out my Ipod and speakers out. Pushing myself over to the dressing table propping them up and putting it on, wincing when my knee collided with the drawer. It had been fully healed before my step father decided limping was a good look for me I suppose. I put the music on full and danced through the pain.
Battlefield by Jordon Sparks came on full volume. I loved English and French songs sometimes more than Japanese ones. My Ipod was filled with them and this was no exception. I twisted and moved my hips to the song, singing the lyrics thinking of all the battles I had unwillingly found myself into.
The more I thought of it, the worse I felt and the louder I started singing. Closing my eyes letting the words warp around my mind the moments replaying over and over. The look of guilt on Jirou's face whenever I tried to talk to him at his house, the way he seemed to scared to be around me. Kairi's prideful look whenever she felt she had won some imaginary prize by toying with his heart. Her Cheshire cat like grin and patronizing remarks. Oh how I wanted to punch a few of those teeth out.
A smirk found my lips when the sentence raced through my mind. Surprised myself for a moment but honestly I kept killing my anger. All my life, I hated the feeling since I didn't feel entitled to anger. I lived my life on the notice I deserved everything I had coming to me, good or bad. I hated the fact Kairi thought she could step and manipulate anyone as she pleases, that my step-father could bully me around just because he knew I'd never tell. Everyone was taking advantage of the fact I didn't want those I loved hurt even if it was hurting me in the process.
"Fuck it" I muttered. Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield came echoing throughout my room. I ran my hand through my hair spinning moving happily singing at the top of my voice something I hadn't been able to do for a long time. Step father hated to hear me sing. It was a constant reminder of one of the few things I had stole from Mom when I caused my father's death. He sung to her all the time. She wasn't the best but she'd hum the tunes during morning breakfast. I had to find a balance. I had to. Avoid being my stepfather's kick toy but so long as he wanted the land it was going to be difficult. Kairi was the easiest matter to handle and that's where my thoughts went. My mind drifted to the last true time Jirou and I had to hang out alone. The lake scene came to mind closing my eyes recalling the moments.
I giggled as I stayed in the tree looking at the curious looks of the guy below. I stayed on the top branch and hung upside down being sure to keep the grip on the tree with my legs. I had to change out of my skirt for it though to a long dark jeans that I wore during art. My arms would have failed me alot sooner. For the second day of school it was far too exhausting.
When Jirou's shoulders fell after looking around for me I grinned and decided to let him out his misery.
"I missed you yesterday" I spoke up laughing and almost losing my balance on seeing him jump. That would have been bad. He looked up in a worried look that almost resembled the way my mom used to look when she saw me like this.
"You shouldn't be upside down like that from that far!" He gasped his eyes opening. "And I had to head straight home yesterday....."
"Evening to you too" I grinned after climbing back down. "Aw come on it was funny seeing your reaction.....hug?" I suggested. His worry melted away and replaced with a smile as I wrapped my arms around his neck, he held me back tight as I grinned. I did notice him wince on contact. I gave him a worried look when we pulled away. "Are you okay there ?"
He nodded with a smile. "Just sore" He rubbed his arm before rotating his shoulder with a groan before we took our usual seats by the tree trunk. Jirou and I spent most of our evenings by a lake a ways off from school. The lake itself was so huge, that it was easy enough to find a secret spot and it so happened we found the same one years back.
I still remembered the confusion I felt in Middle school at seeing a boy asleep in front of the tree. My Tree. I had gone there dozens of times before and was so convinced no one had found it I felt a little upset that my sanctuary could have been breached. It took a few blinks before I had recognized him. Jirou had been giving my friend Aika swimming tips when she had some problems with the stroke. They were in the same club she was only a year below him but I hadn't really met him that long before that.
I blinked wondering what I should do. Leave? forget about the spot all together? I shook my head on looking around. The smell of the grass and lightly scented flowers, the sounds of the animals in the woods and water. The clear sky and cool air. Not to mention the climbable trees. Perfect for archery practice and the quiet was perfect for drawing. So I did the only thing I could have done.
Woke him up. In my own creative way. His face when the water hit him was priceless and since then we decided to share the spot.
"School get you too huh?"
"Kinda" He laughed. "First day started and ended horribly and second day was no better"
"I think my arms are going to fall out from the amount of paintings I did today" I pulled my bag closer and took out two large bags of pink fluffy cotton candy and smiled at him. "I got this in case you had another sugar crash and I got two boxes of cookies for after you swim" His eyes lit up at the sweet treats.
"You're a life saver" He said opening his bag and savoring the fluffy treat. "Swimming was brutal more than usual so I don't even know if my arms could move to swim in the lake right now....I didn't see you at lunch yesterday......or today" I looked off to the side after rubbing the back of my head.
"Eh, I was a little busy" He stared straight at me. "I'm not breaking my resolution I'll have you know...I didn't skip lunch I just ate it in the art lab" I said proudly opening my own bag of cotton candy. He pointed at me with his own cotton candy bag.
"You're not worm holing you're way through this resolution missy"
"It is not a worm hole" I pouted. "Worm holes go through space and time silly...it's a loop hole." He stared. "I know i know doesn't matter"
"You're eating at the cafeteria~ that way we know you're actually keeping it" I gave him a sad look.
"Would I lie to you?"
"Yes. Yes you would. You'd work for ages and forget to eat. You're a workaholic so I can only trust evidence"
"You're faith in me is so incredible" I said sneaking a piece of his cotton candy.
"What are you going to do about it eh~" I got up taking off my shirt to reveal the full swim suit I had beneath. "Good thing your arms are sore huh" I ran straight over to the lake and jumped in the cool water. When I surfaced Jirou was already stripping his own clothing. I couldn't help but feel my cheeks burn a bit.
Over the years It was clear that puberty had done wonders for his body. Not to mention kendo and swimming club. He was slim kid in middle school, not much taller than I was and taking off our shirts and swimming in vests didn't feel weird at all. It didn't help I still had the curves of a middle school er. Little to know hips but a decent bust, like my Aunt. Jirou however, got taller, had abs and even not too long ago, got a tattoo on his collarbone. I couldn't believe it when he showed it to me, or believe the fact he actually remembered our little bird child Rin. It was so sweet at the time but looking at him now, soaked from the water and in nothing but swimming trunks everything got distracting and that tattoo was such a nice fit. I tried not to dwell on the changes too long least I become a stuttering mess in front of him. He dived into the waters and I squeaked and swam away realizing he was heading straight at me. Out swimming Jirou was pointless but that didn't mean I'd give up either.
He caught me in less than five minutes would have been less if he wasn't so sore and then picked me up and tossed me in the air. I laughed before crashing back down in the water after feeling the air flow through my air during the seconds I had lift off. "Cotton candy is avenged!"
I surfaced again and ran my hands through my hair. "Avenged indeed....what happened to being sore?"
"Cotton candy thieves out priority soreness my beautiful friend" We both froze and started glowing at tomatoes.
"Uh-uh ...n-n-ot a-anymore! candy candy thief it took that away" he chuckled as I found myself giggling soon after. My eyes immediate went to something I hadn't seen before. Was that a bruise on his arm? I blinked.
"Did you hit your arm somewhere? what's with the bruise" He froze and looked at it before brushing it off in a few seconds.
"Oh no big deal you know me clumsy as ever" I gave a weak smile. Jirou definitely wasn't the best of liars but if there was one thing I knew that there were some things you shouldn't push.
"Well girls seem to love the clumsiness...heard you got a date with Kairi." He lost the color in his face so fast I couldn't help but burst out in laughter.
"You're the cruelest friend alive, you know that?"
"I'm not the one who said yes"
"Neither was I!" He groaned and pretended to sink in the water mumbling a quick 'Let me drown now' . I pulled him up with a smile. "I don't get why she still likes me! It's been how long?!"
"Well it's not hard to see why Kairi'd like you Jirou...never know maybe the date'll go well" He gave me a look that clearly contradicted that.
"It's not a date! god is she calling it a date? she just asked me to help her move boxes during my free period!"
"She told everyone it was a date since I'm pretty sure you're the only one she told to meet her an entire period before she told the others"
"You got to save me"
I giggled and started floating near him. "Maybe it'll go so terribly that she never wanted to see you again."
"Honestly no..its impossible to be bored around you" I said with a smile. "Just...go late...don't be in the same room as her alone. Wait till someone else shows up. I want my friend in one piece you know"
He groaned and pretended to sink again "or i could take myself out my misery now"
"Orrr I could go with you" he stared at me and practically jumped in the water.
"Really? Will you??"
"Of course, it's my free time too. I'll make sure she doesn't attack you buddy"
"You're so the best" He cheered hugging me tight. "You could steal all my candy and food if you want! all of it" I laughed patting his back trying to ignore the feeling of his abs pressed against me. Why did my brain want to make those known now? My heart was doing it's own Olympics in my chest. My head got dizzy from the heat inevitable boiling my brain as it went through such totally non-awkward thoughts such as, what would it have been like to kiss him? He was there, barely a few inches away from I was. Showing the most adorable grin imaginable. God my heart was weak against it. I felt like grabbing his cheeks in my hands and pulling him to me, just aching to do. Excitement drilled through me while simultaneously the thought turned my resolve and limbs to jelly.
I really hated the way my brain chose to betray me at the worst of times. I tried to avoid looking straight at him scared that my face might betray me too. It was no secret that I liked him, well it seemed so for everyone but him. Amaya picked it up the fastest and I'm sure Taro had made a few sly comments about it when we had archery together but...if Jirou didn't see it. Wouldn't that just mean he wouldn't even have thought of the possibility? of us being together? maybe?
I used to joke thinking that Kairi scared him away from ever wanting to date anyone. I couldn't say anything even if I wanted to. Everything we had going was fine, we've hung out for years and the idea of that possibly ending terrified me. If he only saw me as a friend or a little sister I couldn't bring that kind of awkwardness to us. I'd much rather stay how we were now. I was happy with that. I'd rather keep him as a friend then ever jeopardize having him at all.
I couldn't help but wonder what might have happened if I had. If I had bypassed the rational fear in my mind and kissed him anyway. I only came up with three possible answers and not a single one included a situation where he kissed back.
1. One he became a stuttering mess and began sinking in the lake after fainting from fear possibly drowning one or both of us since he was far to heavy to keep afloat.
2. Run away from me marking me as the second Kairi for life. (Or in this case swim away)
3. Put me down gently like a wounded puppy.
"Anytime" I smiled as he breathed a huge sigh of relief. "We probably shouldn't have gone in the water so early now that I think about it" He nodded a bit.
"I kind of have to head home again early..too" he said with a sigh.
"Is everything okay?"
"Yeah just some family stuff...it's fine" he smiled. "I promise I'll be able to stay longer tomorrow okay?" I nodded.
"It's alright it's not your fault. Don't push yourself if you can't make that's fine." I smiled as we both got out of the Lake and headed over to our bags. I changed in the bushes far from him. One of the sweetest things is I knew Jirou'd never try to peek. He wasn't at all like those perverts at school , he actually respected others. I sighed changing the final pieces of clothing and putting them into a bag.
"See you tomorrow?"
"Won't be online tonight I'm guessing?" I smiled as he shook his head. "Family stuff I know.." I gave him a quick hug. "Better get going" He nodded and headed off. I smiled before sighing and sliding my back down on the tree trunk staring at the new message on my phone. From...Kairi?
I blinked. How did she get my number? I pressed on the screen opening up the message. Message: Hello Kasume, Your teacher wanted me to inform you that you and your little club have to finish the banner for Science fair coming up. She wants you to work on it during your free periods. Have fun ; )
I stared at my phone in disbelief. Jirou went alone to help with the unboxing and ended up getting detention shortly after snatching the rest of his free time. Detention with Kairi at that, even when things went bad she always found away to twist it to her advantage. By the time the song started I really had a pocket full of sunshine. "I'm not going to let you win bitch"
"It's been a while since I heard you sing like that" A voice said at the door after a few knocks startling me onto the bed in a squeak. Attempting to shake off my embarrassment by the time I opened the door. It was in no way close to six yet. Shisui laughed "No need to be embarrassed I love hearing you sing."
"You laugh and then say I shouldn't be embarrassed totally effective by the way" He snickers. "Just figured you'd be home later"
"Glad I wasn't then" I groaned but hearing an angry voice downstairs caught my attention. At first I was worried My Stepfather had suddenly become brave enough to get me here but then when Shisui hadn't reacted, I realized it was a woman's voice and by the sounds of it it seems she was yelling into a phone.
"Why do you have an angry Russian speaking lady downstairs?" I mused.
"Angry Russian lady happens to be my wife" He sighed.
"I didn't know Rinka could speak Russian too" I knew Natsuko's family were half russian, since Natsuko's grandfather came from the country and married down here. He actually learnt Russian before Japanese.
"Well, they grew up around each other so she learnt."
"What's wrong? why's she so upset did something happen?"
"DO NOT TELL ME TO CALM DOWN DIMITRI" Rinka growled into the phone. "MY BABY BROTHER IS MISSING IN YOUR GODDAMN COUNTRY AND YOU WANT ME TO CALM DOWN?!" Her next words could not have been compliments, didn't need to know Russian to figure that out. She kept repeating one word that sounded roughly like 'Ke-nee gah' mockingly. It kept popping up, she even made a harsh laugh.
My Heart sunk. "HE WAS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY UP THERE, I SWEAR TO GOD IF ANYTHING-"
"Her brother's missing?" Shisui nodded grimly. "Which one? Youngest..um..that would be Rai right?" Rai was the runt of the extremely large family. If memory served right he was around the same age as Hashi, Shisui's eldest with my Aunt. 24. He was in university last Rinka spoke of him. Studying Law.
"Don't worry so much okay?" Shisui tried to reassure me since clearly he's tried to calm his blazing wife down to no avail. "No one's heard from him in a while and Rinka and the others are worried, she's mad because Dimitri was supposed to be his guide there."
"How long is a while and what was he doing there?"
"Some outreach project for his university and you know how it is with Rinka's family. They tend to vanish for a while so when no one heard from him for a month they didn't think much of it but then it became well three months"
"Three months!?? No wonder she's freaking out" The hole in my chest kept growing and growing. I couldn't imagine how I'd act if something had happened to Kai. If no one knew what happened to him. "God, What do they think happened?"
"They're looking onto it now but a three month old trail well.." He sighed again running his hand through his hair. "When it comes to missing persons the first 48 hours are crucial and no one knows exactly when he went missing during those months"
"I hope he's okay"
"If you think she's freaking out you should see the way her other brothers are acting. Scary.." Rinka screamed then slammed the phone down hard enough to echo through the room. "Go inside, okay? Gotta give her some breathing room to calm down so I'll bring you some more food in a while" I nodded and he smiled kissing my forehead. I went into my room with a nod the word still bouncing around in my mind. I turned on my laptop and google searched the Russian pronunciation hoping for a word match. It seemed important. She kept on repeating it, in anger and desperation.
Only one possible match came up.
"Book" I blinked. "It means book?" Rinka was arguing about a Book that some how involved her brother's disappearance. My stomach twisted. I didn't know what it meant but it hadn't at all sounded good.