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Vampire Knight: The Prophecy

Vampire Knight: The Prophecy

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Private Role-play between Dynamite, Naga's Shadow, and Myself

1,843 readers have visited Vampire Knight: The Prophecy since Nephilim created it.
Naga's Shadow, and Dynamite are listed as curators, giving them final say over any conflict & the ability to clean up mistakes.

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

http://vampireknight.wikia.com/wiki/vampire_knight_wiki

Heads Up: Completed Storyline!

This universe is marked as COMPLETED, indicating that no further changes will be accepted.

Introduction




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"Years of love have been forgotten in the hatred of a minute" - Edgar Allan Poe






In the beginning, when civilizations began to fall, a race rose from the ashes. Creatures of the night that required blood in order to survive. They would later become known as vampires to the humans of the world. For years, the vampires managed to keep their race underground, hiding from the prying eyes of the humans and only feeding when necessary. Most vampires did not require the blood of a human, instead, having their thirst quenched by the one they loved. For the ones who could not control their thirst, they began feeding off of humans which would become a threat to the vampires secrecy. In consequence, if a pure-blood, a vampire whose blood-line remained pure and untainted through that of a humans, attacked a human; that human would then fall into a state of vampirism that could only be treated with the blood of the pure-blood that attacked them.

As such, humans slowly became aware of the dark world of vampires. In order to protect themselves, a group of humans began to fight back, however; their weapons were useless. That was until a vampire gave the humans a fighting chance by becoming a weapon for the humans to use. With this at their advantage, humans were finally able to stand toe-to-toe with vampires. This did not deter some vampires to quit, and instead continued attacking humans. A war raged between the two races for centuries.

It was during one attack that a pure-blood, an ancestor and one of the progenitors of the vampire race, stumbled upon a human shaman. Before the human died, the human foretold that a being would be born underneath the glimmer of the moonlight. This being would not be human, nor would it be a vampire, but something completely different. The Shaman uttered the words "...and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives...". At first, the pure-blood didn't know what to think, and misunderstood the words as something to be feared. The pure-blood thought it as an end to their race and as such rallied the other vampires of the world to be prepared.

Then, it was born.

A creature that was neither vampire, nor human. No one knew where it came from, who it was born to, or what it exactly was. The only ones who knew of it's existence were the human parents it was born to. These parents were no ordinary humans though. They were the descendants of the Shaman who foretold the birth of such a creature. Afraid for their child's life, the parents went into hiding. For a majority of it's life, the child was raised away from the troubles of the world and grew up not knowing their purpose or heritage. Then, the unthinkable happened. A group of vampires, led by a pure-blood, stumbled upon the only world the creature had known. The creature's parents were killed, trying to protect their child, and in a fit of rage, the creature transformed underneath the glimmer of moonlight provided by the full-moon.

Frightened of what this creature was, the vampires tried to protect themselves, but found their abilities rendered useless. The creature managed to destroy most of the vampires, including the pure-blood that led them. The one that survived was alarmed at such a creature until the words of the ancestor rang through their ears. Vampires, being of an insurmountable power and with no natural enemies, except for the hunter's, were frightened of such a thing. The prophecy was reigning true for them as a new creature entered the world of the dark. For years, they hunted this creature, trying to kill it but found they were unable to.

It was then that something happened. The ancestor, the pure-blood who prepared their race for the coming of the creature, fell in love with the creature's human form. The vampire pursued the creature until, eventually, the creature fell in love with the vampire. Their love was hidden from the world since vampires feared the creature greatly. Their love, however, was short lived. It was soon discovered that the Ancestral's love was for the creature they had been so desperately hunting. Using this to their advantage, the vampires turned against and regrettably killed their ancestor. A great sorrow filled the creature and managed to disappear from the world. No one knows what happened to the creature or if it is still alive.

As such, the creature became nothing more than a whisper on the air and was soon forgotten. Vampires became the creature that hunters and humans feared alike and the prophecy was long forgotten. The creature, however; wasn't just a mere legend. The creature eventually died of a broken heart, however; it managed to reincarnate itself into the life of an unborn child. This child would either bring about the downfall of the vampire race, or share the same fate as it once had. The story begins at a place known as Cross Academy. It was a school built by a hunter with a dream of vampires and humans living together in harmony in request by a friend, however; they had not suspected that the creature would also be attending the school.

There are whispers floating throughout the vampire community that a secret has been discovered at the death of the last remaining Leoht pure-blood. What these whispers foretell is the returning of the creature, however; this time, will the past replay itself? Will the prophecy come true? Or will something entirely different, that was meant to happen, be foretold?




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Shizuka Leoht | Werewolf; Prefect; President of the Kendo Club | Played by | Nephilim

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Nicole Edyta | Vampire; Pure-blood | Played by | Naga's Shadow
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Hikaru Minamoto | Hybrid | Played by | Dynamite

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Sora Akarui | Vampire; Pure-blood | Played by | Nephilim




Haha, this is the character sheet I used...it's my own personal one but feel free to add/edit/change/whatever to it!!
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[center][img]IMAGE OF NAME GOES HERE[/img][/center]
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[center][font=cambria]Meaning of name[/font]
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[ PERSON | ANIME ][/font]
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[ COLOR ]

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[ HEIGHT ]

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[ PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION ][/font]
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[font=cambria]⌈[color=Secondary Color][i][b]Potential Interest[/i][/b][/color]⌋
[u][b]None at the current moment[/b][/u]:  Reason Why

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[list]★ [b]SKILL[/b] || EXPLANATION
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[list]✠ [b]ABILITY[/b] || EXPLANATION
✠ [b]ABILITY[/b] || EXPLANATION
✠ [b]ABILITY[/b] || EXPLANATION[/list][/font]
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OTHER

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[list]✘ [b]DISLIKE[/b] || EXPLANATION
✘ [b]DISLIKE[/b] || EXPLANATION
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[list]♦ [b]STRENGTH[/b] || EXPLANATION
♦ [b]STRENGTH[/b] || EXPLANATION
♦ [b]STRENGTH[/b] || EXPLANATION[/list]

⌈[color=Primary Color][b][u]Weaknesses[/b][/u][/color]⌋
[list]☯ [b]WEAKENESS[/b] || EXPLANATION
☯ [b]WEAKNESS[/b] || EXPLANATION
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HISTORY GOES HERE[/font]
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Threads

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The Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK




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"It is my job to protect those who cannot do it themselves. I am their protector, their defender."




Beads of blood formed across Shizuka's bottom lip as her face remained glued to the one in front of her. She wiped at her lip as she glanced between the person who caused such the liquid to appear and then towards the frightened boy hovering behind her. It was her duty as prefect to protect the students of Cross Academy from every thing and anything that threatened the peace. And that included humans as well. This much larger boy hovered in front of her, a smirk pulling at his lips as she kept her burgundy gaze on his form. It was time for the switching of the Day Class and the Night Class, however; she had caught this male trying to take the smaller boy's money. It was a classic 'give-me-your-lunch-money' scenario and Shizuka wasn't going to allow something so menial upon her school. So, here she was with a busted lip that would heal within an hours time as if it never existed.

"I will tell you this once, I do not like repeating myself so I advise you to listen. Go to your dorm, leave this twerp alone, and you won't be hurt," she stated in a tone that could be compared as light and friendly, however; her eyes were showcasing an entirely different emotion. Anger. She had other things to attend to and she wanted to get this over and done with. A laugh pierced her ears like a sharp whistle as she sighed. She peered over her shoulder towards the smaller boy. "You are witness here that I gave them the chance to leave. I always love it when they choose the harder way though," she stated through a malicious grin, causing the small boy to cower back in fear.

Needless to say, Shizuka walked with her head high and a bright smile on her face as she made her way towards the gates that provided the only separation to the Day and Night Class. A large crowd had already formed, screaming and giggling like mad men and women. It hurt Shizuka's ears at the loud squeals and calls for affection, even though the Night Class had yet to appear. She couldn't fathom a reason why these humans were attracted to such forbidden fruit. Sure, they had an ethereal beauty to them, but if that was the only reason, then perhaps the human race should be wiped out. She shook her head from the thought as she sighed deeply. Now she was thinking like a vampire, and she wasn't one. Oh no, you see, Shizuka isn't quite human, nor is she quite vampire. She has her own little secret that she hides from the world.

Playing with one of the rhombus earrings, she leaned against one of the poles and watched with amused eyes as the gates to the Moon dormitory opened. Immediately, the shrieks escalated into full screams as the girls and boys of the Day Class clamored around the Night Class students. Shizuka watched on in amusement, however; it was short lived when one of the Day Class students tried to jump over the barricades and rush towards the group of vampires that had walked so eloquently from their dorms. She had to resist rolling her eyes at the way they presented themselves, but she only sighed as she pushed herself away from the pole. She muttered underneath her breath as she quickly made her way towards the front of the crowd. The by-standers who spotted her immediately parted for the flame-haired prefect who wore an un-amused expression. She was hoping that today would not have any problems but it seemed fate was against her. Reaching out, she grabbed the student from the collar of her shirt and pulled the girl back.

"And where do you think you are going?" she stated as the girl turned to face Shizuka. She could see the fear growing inside the crystalline orbs of the girl as a smirk appeared on Shizuka's face. "Be a good girl and get back to your dorm. That goes for ALL of you," she stated in a thundered tone. Immediately, a majority of the students dispersed, some running while others walked away briskly, including the girl that had moments ago been in Shizuka's hands. With a satisfied nod, she directed her attention back towards the Night Class students. She would wait for the Night Class to enter the academy before continuing with her rounds. It was the only time that gave her the freedom to relinquish the animal instincts that were housed in her body from time to time. Even though she didn't have a partner, it was something she preferred. Being alone often helped clear her mind and she could focus more on other things.

It didn't help that tonight was a full-moon either, although, she didn't have anything to worry about as long as she kept the earrings on. If even one were to be removed, everything she had tried to hide would be all in vain. She couldn't risk that, especially since she knew that if she were to lose control around a student, or worse a vampire, nothing would be the same and Cross Academy might have one less student on it's roster. With a heavy sigh, she pushed those thoughts out of her mind where they belonged. This night couldn't be any different than the rest, could it?

If she only knew.




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"It's always the same thing everyday. Is there ever a night where it's quiet?"




The sun faded into the last hours of twilight, the sky painted hues of purple and pinks with pastel oranges. Sora sighed softly, a small smile tugging at his lips as he adjusted the uniform he was wearing. He pulled the white blazer over his shirt and fixed the tie so that everything appeared pristine. Normally, he would have gone with his tie undone, along with a few buttons to his blazer, however; after the sudden announcement of his engagement to a one Nicole Edyta, he was required to play the part of a well-groomed pure-blood. And that meant keeping up with appearances. He has yet to officially meet the girl, and doesn't even know who she is, despite being in the same class as she.

He chuckled softly to himself as he pulled his locks into a ponytail, allowing that to be the only thing to take a life of it's own. Strands of blue fell into his eye sight as he swept them away. With a deep breath, he placed a smile upon his lips as he exited his dorm room. He greeted the others as he had always done, smiling in response to their waves and questions. He dismissed them as politely as he could before descending the stairs in a rather face-paced manner. It wasn't unusual for him to not act like a pure-blood, seeing as how he hated when the others would address he and Hikaru as "Sir", "M'lord", or something of the sort.

Instead of waiting for his brother, Sora left the man to his own accord and left a bit earlier towards the bridge. He knew that the Day Class Students would already be crowding around the fence and barricades, so he figured he'd get a little ahead of the game and miss the crowd. Unfortunately for him, it did not go as planned. There, at the barricades, were the screaming masses of the Day Class waiting for his class to appear. He sighed softly before forcing a smile on his face and approached the crowd silently. So far they hadn't noticed him, and he planned on keeping it that way. If he could sneak around them, then he wouldn't have to worry about the students overwhelming Shizuka, whom he could see already controlling the crowd.

Unfortunately, the calling of his name, along with the appearance of the others, caught the attention of the Day Class. They began screaming out their confessions, holding up signs with their desired person's name on it. He tried not to chuckle lightly but couldn't help it when a student was pulled back rather roughly by Shizuka. He shook his head lightly at the scene as he waited for the others to catch up. Once he did, he fell in step with them. He glanced to his side and spotted one of the Night Class students to his side. He didn't know her name, but somehow, she seemed familiar already. With a shrug of his shoulders, he focused at the crowd in front of him.

"It seems that they never give up do they? I commend them for that," he spoke offhandedly while placing his hands on the back of his head in a nonchalant manner. The smile, however, remained on his face while he continued to walk. He was enjoying the breeze for the time being, and waved at Shizuka when they neared the barricades. She merely grinned at him before he watched her get back to her job as the school's only prefect. Sometimes he wondered how she managed to keep from killing the students with that personality of hers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"Do not call me 'My Lady'."



Nikki walked across the bridge separating the Moon Dorms from the academic building, her walk brisk and determined. She wasted no time, paying little heed to the boys, and few girls, who were screaming at her and her fellow classmates. It was the same thing every night, and she was used to it by now. She was also trying to ignore the young vampire running after her, calling her things like 'My Lady' and 'Princess'. She finally struck a nerve when the girl called out, calling
her 'Princess Nikki' that Nicole turned around, her face feral, her normally calm grey eyes flashing dangerously.

"Do not call me Princess. I am not royalty, I'm just a vampire. Perhaps I am a Pure Blood, but that is it. Do you understand me?" She spoke low enough that only the girl and perhaps a few others directly around them could hear, but the girl's eyes got big and round, showing one thing: fear. She nodded, handed Nikki her bag, and then slunk away as quickly as she could. Nicole sighed, and then turned to continue on her way, her ears catching an offhand comment by a male vampire near her.

"I suppose it is rather commendable when you think about it, if still rather annoying. I've been here for two years and one boy in particular continuously asks me out at least once a week. I suppose he deserves points for trying, even if I am no longer available, as it were." She glanced him over, taking in his hair, especially. It was a striking color, cornflower blue. She had to admit, it was rather impressive, and it had a subtle beauty. She then realized that the boy looked vaguely familiar, yet she could not place his name. "I don't believe that you and I have met, have we? My name is Nicole Edyta." She offered him a small nod, accompanied by a slight smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“Choose your actions carefully. What is done may never be undone, and there are those that will make you suffer for that...”


Among the Night Class students was one who would not be attending the evening’s lectures. Though Hikaru inevitably grew sharper and more irritable as the night of the full moon approached every month, he was much worse on the eve itself. He was forced to become other than he wished to be, and there was simply nothing he could do about it. It was best for everyone involved if he remained absent and free of all other people on this day.

When the left the Moon Dorm, therefore, he did not make his way across the bridge to the classroom building like the majority of his fellows. Rather, he cut backwards across campus and disappeared into the trees on the fringes. At first, he’d been uncertain about the efficacy and safety of allowing the change to take place here, still so close to humans and vampires both. But he’d spent a lot of time out here, and learned that only rarely did another student venture into this place, and at night even more infrequently still. It was as safe as anywhere could possibly be, and it was probably better not to leave campus for an extended period, besides.

Though he lacked the fully bestial transformation his mother had undergone, at least according to those who had known her, he still didn’t look like anything human or vampire when he underwent his. He supposed, if one were inclined towards mythology, what he became resembled more a demon than anything else. The people of this country might refer to such a being as an inuyoukai or even a kitsune, but for him there was no hiding the truth. He was an abomination, something caught between the elegant deadliness of a pureblood vampire and the raw, feral force of one of them. A werewolf. That his features also met in the middle was mere coincidence. He was still an uncontrollable force of violence and rage, more like the beast than the man on nights like this one, and he had no choice in the matter.

His feet made no noise on the forest floor as he tread, walking among the trees in complete silence, even to his own supernatural hearing. His lupine nose could not detect the incoming presence of anyone or anything, though the breeze was strong enough to carry him the scents of the intermingling Day and Night Classes, no doubt at this very moment kept separated by their determined, brash prefect. The particular train of thought attached to that one led nowhere good, and so he abandoned it as quickly as his mind would enable him to. It was better to think calming thoughts on this night, and whatever that woman was, calming was nowhere included.

Once he reached the heart of the small forest, he glanced around a bit, taking in the familiar sight of the still, clear pond and the grove of trees that ringed the clearing it was in. It would do—as it had for a year now. Hikaru wore only loose clothing, and not many layers at that. His body temperature had always been unnaturally high, and he did not stifle himself unless he absolutely had to. Picking a spot in the middle of the clearing, he turned a few circles out of habit before sitting down, then reclining back, folding his hands behind his head, mostly because it was something he always did, and not because he needed to. It was a gesture he’d picked up from his brother, who would often walk so, elbows stuck out to either side like an absurd butterfly or bird of some sort.

From there, he let his thoughts drift, generally keeping them on safer things like family or classwork, and he waited for the inevitable changing to come.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK




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"Somehow, I expected this meeting to be...different."




"That is why they are commendable. They do not give up, and that spirit alone should be given a respect," Sora replied as the girl to his side retorted to his statement. He rose an eyebrow at the next choice of words she used. No longer available? Who spoke like that any longer? Regardless, he knew what she meant by those words. She must have either recently married or was soon to be married. It wasn't uncommon for most of the vampires to be so in their class. In fact, almost all of the Night Class was engaged to one or another student. There was perhaps a handful of them that were still available, but that wouldn't last long. They would eventually be given the same ultimatum he was given. Marriage to a complete stranger, or if they were lucky enough, to someone whom they knew.

Then, she introduced herself. At the mentioning of her name, Sora blinked a bit owlishly. Nicole Edyta, the Nicole Edyta. He found himself chuckling, shaking his head in the process. He release a sigh of relief and stopped walking, turning so that he fully focused on the girl before him. He offered out his hand as a gesture for her to take, something that may or may not have been normal for her. Regardless, a smile still played at his lips. This was his soon-to-be, and first impressions always lasted the longest. He didn't want to start off on the wrong foot.

"Then I am a lucky vampire to have such privileges to know that it will be I to stave off the others. Sora, Sora Akarui at your service," he finally stated, introducing himself in the process. He had meant that statement as a light joke, something to ease the situation a little better. After all, meeting your betrothed so soon could have positive or negative affects. He didn't want negative at all. He had made a solemn promise to himself, that even though they may not agree to this marriage, he would try to be as pleasant as he possibly could. He didn't want her to be uncomfortable around him, nor anyone else.




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"Even the moon with all it's beauty, can bring out the animal in us all."




Satisfied with the last student inside, Shizuka decided it was time for her rounds. She walked through the Academy grounds, watching as the moon brightened the dark corners of the school. It was strangely beautiful, the way the light illuminated the flowers, particularly the cherry blossoms that continued to fall. It brought a strange case of serenity to Shizuka as she allowed the breeze to comb through her hair. She closed her eyes, feeling the cool breath of the wind against her heated skin. The pain in her shoulder seemed to escalate as she rotated it. She brought her other hand around and massaged the muscle, trying to keep the pain from becoming irritating.

She sighed, and continued her way, trying to keep her mind off of the growing annoyance. Even with the help of the earrings, there was a feeling that she couldn't keep the beast at bay much longer than she already had all these years. There were times where she felt she would lose control, that the beast would overpower the earrings and emerge. That thought truly frightened her. She had no control over herself when she transformed, and to risk that, especially here, was something she didn't want nor did she need. It would cause a huge explanation to be needed, and she didn't feel the particular need to explain anything to anyone.

As she walked the compound, the wind tossed a peculiar scent in her direction, causing her to contort her face into one of displeasure. It seemed that there was still one student out and about, and it was a particular student she didn't want to deal with. The two never truly got along, or sometimes they did. It was hard to tell with the shift in his personality, and that alone was enough to cause Shizuka's temper to emerge from time to time. With an aggravated sigh, she followed the scent to a clearing. Sometimes she hated having that extra strength in the nose. It always brought unwanted scents, and things she didn't need.

She spotted the one student, Hikaru (or was it Hotaru?) leaning against a trunk of a tree, elbows propped against his head. A frown marred her face as she approached the vampire, crossing her arms over her chest as she peered down at the man. Part of her was tempted just kick his foot, stir him from whatever thoughts he was having, and another part of her was tempted to just leave. So far they were tied. Instead, she cleared her throat and kept her gaze on the man.

"You know it's against school policy to be out of class," she stated, her tone rather demure and lacking of any hint of amusement. She didn't need this, not right now. It didn't help that she became more edgy during full moons, and being in the presence of the one she didn't particularly like only made it worse. She tapped her forearm with her finger as she waited for his reply, trying her hardest to not just walk away here and now. Perhaps if she did, she'd save herself a lot of trouble. She, however, couldn't do that not only because he was out of class, but because of her job as the schools prefect.

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"Oh, you have got to be kidding me. Not a very conventional way to meet your betrothed, is it?"



Nikki scolwed slightly as the man in front of her chuckled. She opened her mouth to ask what exactly he found so funny when he, too, introduced himself. He had stopped walking, and when she heard his name -and his comment- she almost tripped over her own feet. Luckily she was able to keep enough composure to simply stop next to him, and instead fixed her grey eyes onto his rather stunning gold eyes. She fond herself having to look up at him, which annoyed her slightly.

Nikki was tall for a female, being only three inches shy of six foot, but Sora had her by -if Nikki had to guess- somewhere around five inches. That being so, he was roughly a head taller than she. Still, there was nothing to be done about that, so she forced herself to stop thinking about it. This was decidedly not the way she had planned to meet her betrothed, but she supposed it was better than the two of them picking a fight over something stupid, or meeting on the practice mat in Fencing Class -both of them took that class last year, she recalled-. She found herself wondering which one of them would win in a test of blades.

She smiled a sly, half-smile at the thought. She just might have to propose that to him at a later time. Right now, however, she'd been standing there too long with her eyes glued on him not saying anything, as she quickly realized, and then blushed lightly. "Oh, forgive me. Mother often says I have a tendancy to get lost in my own thoughts, which I believe I have just proved her point rather spectacularly." She took the hand that he offered, and shook it lightly. "I must admit, this was not how I -or my father- had planned that meeting. From what I gathered, my father was going to invite you and your family to diner one night within the month. Some sort of familial meeting which I will be more than happy to escape from. Since the main reason for the event was our meeting, the event is no longer nessecary. So unless you have some strong urge to sit through a diner where my father will spend most -if not all- of the evening asking you multiple questions on how you will spend your days providing the means to which you intend to care for any offspring which may come of our marriage, I am going to have him cancel that invitation. Speaking out of personal experience from spending four hundred plus years with the man, I encourage you to simply go along with it."

While she spoke bluntly, and every word was truth, she had a coy smile on her face, and there was a slight note of humor in her voice. "Now with the unpleasantries out of the way, I must say, it is a pleasure to finally meet you, my Lord." The title was customary, and she would do her best to quell the urge to punch him in the face should he call her 'my Lady'. She would also make it quite clear the simply Nikki -or Nicole, if he insisted- would suffice.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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“You don’t understand what you just walked into.”


The first hour or so of his repose was calm as it properly could be, though he could feel the other part of him beginning to surface, that one that would surely herald the coming of the beast. Hotaru was so much more like the animal they both became that sometimes, Hikaru could not be bothered to distinguish between them, though they were in fact different. While Hotaru was hardly the model of restraint and quietude that Hikaru was, he at least had control of his own faculties, and chose his actions as he wanted, rather than sue to manipulation by some outside force. The beast inside them both was not like that. It was subject to his will in only the loosest of senses. He’d crafted what control of it he could over the years of his life, but it was still a creature of instinct, wholly different in character from either of his “sides.”

He was afraid of it, and anyone with half a brain to think with should be the same, he was certain. Which was why, when he inhaled and scented her coming in his general direction, he groaned inwardly and cursed his luck. Shizuka complicated his life to a degree that he did not appreciate (though that part of him quite enjoyed it), but he’d never want to hurt her any more than he wanted to hurt anyone else, which was to say generally not at all. But the beast would not discriminate. If it felt like slaying her, it would.

He considered just running, disappearing further into the forest, but he was in the center now, and leaving would take him too close to populated areas. He definitely didn’t want that. He had to get her to go away somehow, before he transformed and ruined everything his mother had built for him. This life, where he could pretend that he was only a vampire, and that would be enough. Where he had a brother, and things to look forward to. Where his little personality issue was taken to be an interesting eccentricity and nothing more. Most of the people he knew had seen weirder things, but none of them had ever seen what he became on nights like these.

Her words were hardly a surprise. “Always the prefect,” he muttered, mostly to himself, though he did not doubt she could hear. Honestly, he had trouble figuring this girl out. In one sense, she was very simple—bound to what she saw as her duty, rude, and belligerent. She’d more than likely attempt to deck him if he straightforwardly insulted her to get her to leave, but she was stubborn enough that she probably wouldn’t go if he just asked. He pushed himself up off the grass, eyeing her suspiciously. “Would it kill you to leave me in peace, just once?”

As he spoke, his left eye shifted from purple to red in hue, and the inky-black of his hair took on definite white streaks. Well, damn. He wasn’t sure if this was the transformation proper or just Hotaru being provoked, but either way, Hikaru clamped down on the changes for just a moment, leaving him in a strange state of limbo that he imagined must resemble what he would have been like if he hadn’t rejected the Hotaru portion of his personality enough to make it an almost-separate entity. “I don’t have time to deal with this.” And he didn’t—he could feel time growing short.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"We all have our secrets to hide. My secret just happens to be a matter of life or death. It matters because your life will be the death of you should you ever witness that secret"




Shizuka scoffed at his offhanded comment. Always the prefect, not entirely. Sure, she could have neglected this particular duty, left him to his own accord, but where would the fun in that be? Not that she was having fun of course. Instead, she merely rolled her eyes at his response. She had better things to do than to look out for some vampire who was breaking rules. Besides, even though she might not have liked being an only prefect, getting the job done had always been somewhat of a game for her. A challenge if you will. She took a deep breath and released it, rubbing the side of her temples in annoyance.

"I don't have time for this, you need to return to the Academy. As much as I would love to leave you in peace, it is not within my power to do so. You know the rules, you know the punishment for breaking the rules. Consider yourself lucky I am not enforcing those punishments right now," she retorted. She really didn't need to be here, and had other things she needed to attend to. Before any more words could be spoken between the two, a peculiar scent filled the area. Shizuka's head snapped in the direction it came from, her eyes narrowing slightly. The scent, it reminded her of the fresh rain, staining the floor of the grass in the morning. It was pleasant, and insulting all at the same time to her senses and she couldn't help but rub at her nose in an attempt to get the annoying smell from it. Her eyes darted back and forth, trying to zone in on the one responsible, but she saw nothing. She pursed her lips together as she turned around, only to meet the discolored eyes of crimson and amber, and an amused smile playing on the man's lips.

"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Shizuka Leoht," the man spoke. Shizuka stared at the man before her, her eyes set into a glare. The man only chuckled while holding his hands up in a mock surrender. This man, his scent, everything sent warning signs off in the back of Shizuka's mind, however; she was choosing to ignore them at the moment. She was focused completely on the male in front of her. She had never seen him before, and for him to show up out of the blue gave her enough reason to be extremely wary of the man. Esaias, however, could tell the girl was on guard, and it only caused his smile to widen. He knew she wouldn't make this easy for him. He only had news to deliver and he wanted to see her reaction to it. It was always such a great pleasure to see the light sucked from the eyes of those who lost everything endearing to them.

"Who are you and what do you want?" she stated in a straight-forward tone. She didn't have time to play guessing games, especially with someone who was in her school without a proper reason to be. Not to mention it was dark, and the only people up and about at this ungodly hour were the Night Class students. Shizuka knew for a fact this man wasn't part of the group, nor was he part of the teacher's lounge. She had met them all and was informed when new ones came and old ones left. As a prefect, she had to know these things in order to properly patrol. Esaias cleared his throat as he shuffled through the words he could use against her.

"I am here for you, Leoht. It is about your mother," he began, watching as the confusion flickered across her face. What was wrong with her mother? The last thing she knew of the woman was that she had entered a slumber after the death of Judai and her father. For a split second, sadness filled the mahogany eyes of Shizuka as she lamented on Judai's death. It was her fault that he was gone, that her mother had taken to slumber, and that she would never see him again. She never understood why her father had tried to kill her, however; she had accepted that fact a long time ago and had come to terms with it. As quickly as the sadness overwhelmed her, it was gone. It was as if it had never been there to begin with. "You have my condolences, but it seems that you are the only surviving Leoht member," he played on, faking the sympathy that seemed to come easy to him. The look on Shizuka's face was worth it though.

Complete and utter shock.

Her mother was dead? How could that be? She had made sure that her sleep would go unhindered and that she would be safe. How could her mother be dead? It was enough for Shizuka to drop her guard, and in that one moment, Esaias pounced. He was quickly behind her with a speed only known to vampires. His breath trickled down her neck as he grabbed her chin, forcing her to look up at him. How he wanted to rip out those dreadful eyes of hers. They were glaring at him in defiance, however; he wanted to have a little fun first. He wanted her to become the animal she truly was and devour everything in sight. He wanted to let the beast out. Shizuka hadn't the time to react when the man grabbed her, forcing her to look at him and she did with a heated glaze. He was touching her, something she didn't like unless she allowed them to or if they were her friends.

"I think it's time the beasts come out to play. Don't you think so?" he stated in a teasing voice, kissing the crook of her neck before grabbing hold of the rhombus earring attached to her ear. Without much effort, he pushed her away and pulled the piece of jewelry off, watching as horror set in place on her face. His smile widened as he glanced towards Hikaru. "Let's see you hide this from them now. Especially this friend of yours. The two of you do have rather intriguing history together," with that stated, Esaias disappeared, leaving Shizuka in a frenzied panic. She could feel the sudden surge of pain shifting throughout her body as she cried out in the pain. She fell to her knee's, clutching at the grass as her breathing became labored. The wind combed through her fiery hair that was now taking on a peculiar shade of white until she was fully cloaked in it.

Her eyes turned from the burgundy brown to a golden amber. The cries of pain echoed through the vicinity to whomever was close enough to hear such cries. And she knew that it would belong to the ears of the night class. She needed to get away from here, hide herself further into the forest. She glanced towards Hikaru. She couldn't reveal herself to him, not right now. She tried to stand, however; the elongation of her limbs, the stretching of her torso was too painful. With a frustrated cry, she pushed herself away from the scene, running as fast and as hard as she could to get away from the vampire. She couldn't risk killing him, it wasn't his fault. That was when she lost consciousness, allowing the animal instinct to take over. Within minutes, the shredded uniform of Cross Academy's notorious prefect lay on the ground, and a large, white beast standing where she once was. The creature glanced at the sky and let loose a thunderous howl before taking off in the direction of the school.

Without a doubt, the noise of the window crashing, pieces of the building folding in on itself, would draw attention, however; none of that mattered to the white beast stalking through the hallways. Nose pointed to the ground, sniffing with such fervor for the owner of this particular scent. Her lips curled back in a feral snarl as the scent became stronger in a certain direction. Without much of a second thought, she leaped, clearing a few feet with ease as she began to run. A sight it was to behold a large beast charging with much grace and swiftness that it almost seemed surreal. The blurs of white that passed by unsuspecting slumbering occupants seemed almost like a quaint nightmare. The scent continued to assault her senses. It was wretched and the one that held it needed to die. She would rid this world of that horrid stench and cleanse it.

Within a matter of minutes, she stood outside of a door that the scent seemed to be radiating from. Curling back her lips, she released a feral growl as she pushed her shoulder against the door, trying to open it. She put more force into each hit as she continued to hurl her body at the door. Finally, it gave way and crumbled before her. Immediately, her eyes locked with the living persons inside of the room. Her ears flattened against the back of her head as she stalked into the room, like a predator who had just cornered it's prey and was going in for the kill. Her eyes snapped towards the vampire that moved first. She sported short blue hair, and Shizuka could feel the confusion rolling off of the vampire. She felt it rolling off most of the vampires in the area, and if she could have, she would have smirked. Confusion and fear walked hand in hand. It wouldn't be long before that fear took hold.

As such, she stalked her way as chaos erupted, vampires trying to get away from the large beast while others attempted to use their abilities on her. Their surprised faces caused Shizuka to savor them when their abilities did not work on the beast. Instead, she swiped a paw at the closest being, capturing them in the arm and nearly ripping it off in the process. It was hanging by tendons now as the blood spurted through the open wound. The bone was clearly broken in one clean sweep and Shizuka was enjoying the pain-filled expression on their faces. She lunged for another vampire, capturing them by the shoulder and ripped off their arm, listening as the crunching noise of bone became nothing but dust to her teeth. The vampire that was now missing an arm tried to crawl desperately away, however; Shizuka's eyes landed upon the creature and with one sweep of her claws, tore the vampires throat open before latching her jaws onto the wound. The crack and the sound of flesh being severed filled the room as the vampires head lolled from her teeth. She crunched her jaws, causing the head to explode before turning into dust along with the body.

Death. That is what she was bringing to this class. Her eyes were then fixed once more on the blue-haired vampire who seemed to be standing protectively in front of another girl with glasses. She'll do just fine. With that in mind, Shizuka engaged in a short battle with the vampire. Even if the girl was a pure-blood, there was nothing she could do as Shizuka captured the blue-haired woman in her teeth. She tugged at the woman's neck, trying to pull her head off, however; the vampire was struggling to remove her iron-like jaws. It made it a bit difficult seeing as she wasn't exactly as strong as a pure-blood vampire, but the strength she possessed was still inhumane. She grasped the woman by her shoulders as the sound of glass breaking entered the area. Finally, she was able to tear the woman's head off and tossed her head across the room. Shizuka then proceeded to tear out the pure-bloods heart, ripping it to shreds as the blue-haired vampire's body turned to shattered pieces.

With a satisfied huff, Shizuka then proceeded to glance at the students still running with fear. A few of them managed to escape through the broken door while others were still standing in fear. Before she could cause more chaos, she felt a sharp pain enter her shoulder, causing her to growl out in pain. She turned to see a blonde-haired boy, standing in the door. He held a weapon in his hand, but it was futile. She wasn't a vampire so the anti-vampire weapon in his hand would not work on her. With a quick, fluid motion, she bit into his leg, ripping it clean from the socket as the boy cried out in agony. She silenced him by snapping his head in half, not fully removing it from his shoulders. His head just dangled there as his body slumped forward. So much blood pierced the air and it was something that the beast was enjoying.




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"The moon, somehow, it doesn't bode well."




Sora chuckled at Nikki's response. This was starting out better than he thought it would. Maybe...maybe there could be a happy ending for this. Of course he would only think positively. Whether she would be happy or not would be up to her and the actions that followed of their courtship. He sighed softly though when she spoke of her father. He was fully aware of the meeting and the dinner they were going to have. His father had told him in a letter not too long ago and that he needed to prepare. So much for that now.

"Trust me, he can be no worse than my father. Well then, I look forward to meeting my future in-law. And to answer that question, all and any offspring produced will be at your approval, not his" he stated, taking her hand in his and kissing the back of her hand lightly. An old and outdated gesture, but something he felt he needed to do regardless. "Shall we continue to class, my Lady?" he stated, a smirk adorning his features in the process. Soon enough, they sat quietly in the classroom, listening to the idle chit-chat of the teacher as he gave the night's lecture. Sora kept his focus outside, watching as the clouds rolled by in a nonchalant manner.

It seemed quiet and peaceful for the moment, until an odd chill rolled down Sora's back. Whether it was due to the howl he could hear, or not, nothing could have prepared him for what happened next. A loud crashing noise could be heard coming from the side of the building, and immediately, Sora stood up, glancing down out of the nearby window. He was only taken from the window when the door to the classroom was violently broken down. There, in the door frame, stood a peculiar sight. If one simply glanced, they would see just a rather large wolf standing there, however; Sora's eyes widened slightly as the creature began tearing through his classmates. Finally, the creature seemed sated if only for a second. Sora took the opportunity to jump at the window.

"Nikki, get the others out of here, now" he stated, trying to get the terrified students out of harms way. He was worried about Nikki's well-being as well. He didn't want to explain to his father-in-law that he allowed harm to befall Nikki. That wasn't his way, and he wouldn't allow it to be. The creature merely snarled as Sora tried to gain it's attention.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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“I do not take kindly to being ignored, you know.”


To say that he was annoyed by this turn of events would be rather an understatement. The irritation he was feeling only served to beckon forth someone who was much more inclined to confrontation, and while this insolent stranger bickered back and for the with the prefect, Hotaru folded his arms into his loose sleeves, observing the scene with eyes the color of blood rubies and frowning markedly. A hint of fang stuck out from one side of his mouth, but as this could be taken to be a vampiric trait of his, he didn’t much care. Actually, he wouldn’t have cared either way, but brother and mother were so very insistent that nobody discover the secret.

Something about this male raised his hackles, so to speak, and though he was not jealous, because that would be absurd for a man like him, who could have whatever he wanted anyway, he was feeling a bit territorial, so when the fool touched the prefect who’d come here with the intention of speaking to him, Hotaru snarled, instinctively reaching for the sword that was not actually at his waist. Why would he bother to bring a weapon on a night like tonight? He was about to become a weapon.

And apparently, he was not alone in this. He watched with a certain kind of morbid curiosity as the prefect reacted violently to the removal of one of her earrings, Like his, her hair turned white, her eyes shifting color. But where he always retained a certain amount of elegance to his appearance, the byproduct of his vampiric genes, she was nothing of the sort, and he blinked slowly at the snow-colored beast that she became, right before his eyes like the kind of sick magic trick he knew all too well. Even unshakeable, ever-bored Hotaru was surprised, his eyes widening momentarily with his shock, but when she took off towards the school, he knew she had not the level of control that he possessed.

He watched her go for all of two seconds before he made his decision. He of all people knew what such a creature was capable of. For the moment, he compartmentalized his surprise and all the questions he had about it, and simply focused in what needed to be done. Hotaru honestly didn’t care that much about all the people that would die if he didn’t intervene. But the part of him that was Hikaru would care, and Sora and mother would care as well. Besides, their goals in this case aligned with his, and he would not want to miss the opportunity that this would bring for a fight. So for once, he welcomed the change that overtook him as the moon wakened what was in his blood, a heated melody reaching a fever-pitch underneath his skin. His limbs burned as he rapidly grew taller, topping seven feet without any difficulty, and gaining broadness to match. His ears and eyes shifted until they were more lupine, the former planted in the glorious mane of silver hair he sported. His hands were tipped with wicked silver claws, and his already-long vampiric teeth grew thicker and stronger, the whitest of ivories. The long, plumed tail gave him balance, and he sped off after Shizuka, faster than she but also delayed during his own transformation.

He arrived to a tableau of pure carnage. Hotaru appreciated the effort even if it was lacking in artistry. He wondered just what kind of bloody canvas this creature could create opposite him? Or would it be more of a finely-acted bit of stagecraft? Either way, it was an opportunity he would not miss. He spotted his brother and another vampire woman amidst the crowd, apparently trying to get them away. Red eyes locked with gold, and Hotaru wordlessly conveyed that he would deal with this.

Swifter than he had any right to be, he approached the rampaging thing that had once been Shizuka, and, seizing her by the arm with a werewolf’s strength, he threw her, far away from the school building, chasing after her with the unerring precision of a hunting hawk in flight. He reached her just as she was standing, and bared his teeth in the universal gesture for threat. “You fight me now, bitch. Come.” His posture was deceptively relaxed, as though this were a Sunday walk in the park, but he was having a hard time not attacking first, his instincts screaming at him to assert dominance here, as animals did everywhere and form any reasons. But he was not thinking about reasons—such things were unimportant. There was only him, and her, and the fight, and he knew she would feel it too. The need to tear your way through the strongest thing you could find to prove to everything else that you were sovereign of your domain.

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"There were once three of us. Now there are only two."



Nikki clenched her jaw shut when Sora called her 'my Lady'. In the sweetest, yet most deadly, voice she could manage, she smiled at him and said, "If you value your life in any way, you will not address me in such a fashion ever again. Nikki, or Nicole, if you must, will simply do." The rest of the walk to class was rather uneventful, as well as the beginning of said class.

It wasn't until a great white beast resembling a wolf of sorts burst in that things got interesting. As soon as the beast had killed at least three of her fellow classmates -one of them a fellow Pure Blood- Nikki was on her feet. She did not have her sword, which she mentally cursed herself for, but in the end, it appeared that it would not be needed. A second beast appeared, and after a brief altercation, both of the creatures were gone. Sora had shouted something at her, but she never really registered it. There were students running and screaming all around her, and she was having trouble concentraiting. As she felt her temper rise, she walked up to the chalkboard, grabbed a piece of chalk, and then threw it at the light above her, the shattering bulb shrouding the front half of the room in darkness. The remaining lights flickered like the cheap effects of a bad horror movie as the shadows swirlled around Nikki's feet. Almost instantaneously, every student was grabbed and restrained by a shadow-like tentical, aside from herself and Sora.

"That is ENOUGH!" She scowled at the occupants of the room, covering the mouths of those who would not stop yelling or screaming. "You! Find the Prefect, inform her of what's happened. You, go inform the headmaster. You will inform the nurse to come remove the bodies. The rest of you, either sit here in silence, or leave if you cannot be quiet." She designated jobs to people with a commanding tone that brooked no argument, acting every bit the Pure Blood that she was. She didn't like this side of herself, but she understood that sometimes it was nessecary. It was easy to see that she was angry. She slowly released all the students, and finally turned to Sora. "The second one looked at you. Do you know what they are? Or why they attacked us? And if you're going after them, then come Hell or high water, I am going with you. That thing already killed one Pure Blood, and now there's two of them. You really think that you can stand a chance against the both of them alone?"

Once again, her tone brooked no argument. If she had to, Nikki would probably restrain him herself to keep him there if it came to that. She was scowling at him, a stark contrast to the happy young woman she'd been less than an hour before.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"There is a time for explanations, however; now is not the time, nor my place to do so."




Sora watched as the beast circled the room, eyes focused on the next meal it would make out of the next vampire. Sora was confused. This beast, it wasn't Hikaru. Hikaru's form was still rather humanoid in appearance, albeit more wolfish and feral, but nonetheless humanoid. This beast was a completely different form, appearing as a wolf should, only elongated limbs and taller. This couldn't be Hikaru, there was no way it could have been. He tried to pinpoint a source, another scent that could link who this beast truly was, however; all he could smell was wolf. As far as Sora knew, Hikaru was the only one of his kind, but even then, what that kind was, it was still a mystery to Sora.

Before long, a second beast entered the premises, and for once Sora was glad. He knew this form to be Hikaru and when their eyes locked momentarily, he knew what Hikaru had spoken. Even if words were not spoken between the two, Sora knew that this problem would be solved and taken care of. He nodded, acknowledging Hikaru before he made his way through the crowd of screaming and terrified people. Hikaru had managed to throw the beast out of the window, following after. At least the situation would be able to be handled more thoroughly now, however; before he could address the screaming masses, the lights went out of the class room and Nikki took hold of everyone.

He rose an eyebrow at the sudden shift in personality of his soon-to-be, and allowed a smirk to adorn his features. So, there was another side to Nicole, and this intrigued him. How often it was that others put on a mask before losing themselves to who they really are. Perhaps Nicole was the same, and needed her mask removed. He'd gladly do it, but now was not the time to be thinking of such things. She had managed to gain control of the situation as she barked orders towards the vampires. He knew they were frightened, and they had every right to be, so, he placed a hand on Nicole's shoulder and smiled softly.

"Yelling will only cause them to be more fearful. Let's just get them out of here for now," he stated, releasing her shoulder and grabbing another student by the arm, swinging it over his shoulder as he helped them up. "We can deal with this problem later, and as for your questions, I believe they will be for another time. I do not plan on going after those two. As long as they are away from the building and us, we have to attend to our comrades first," he finished as he began leading the students out. Once everyone was outside, he picked up the scent belonging to the prefect and gave Nicole a look that he would be back.

He then took off in the direction of the forest, his speed helping him to move further through the forest. Once he reached the spot the scent ended, his eyes glazed a bit. Hikaru's scent, along with another one, one that he couldn't make out, lingered in the air. Then, he found the shredded uniform of Shizuka's. His eyes widened slightly as he picked up the shreds. Had the beast attacked Hikaru and Shizuka? Where was the blood then if Shizuka was dead? Where was the body? Something didn't make sense. He took the shredded clothing of the prefect and went back towards the school. Something was definitely odd, but for now, he'd keep the clothes hidden.

It wouldn't do any good if the news of the school's only prefect had managed to get herself killed by a beast that had attacked the entire night class, unafraid and immune to their abilities. He sighed, running a hand through his sky colored locks. Hikaru sure did have some explaining to do, and even so, he had explaining to do with Nicole. If she was going to be part of the family, she would eventually stumble upon Hikaru's secret, and whether she accepted that secret or not, it was a risk he had to take.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“I will not lose to you. Oh but darling, you already have.”


Blood coated the air in a thick, metallic scent. Shizuka could feel her nose twitch at the amount and only snarled when vampires tried to leave the room. There was one in particular that caused the wolf's ears to flatten against the back of her head, baring her fangs with a certain kind of ferocity. It was a blue-haired vampire, and he seemed so familiar to the wolf, yet she did not care. The only thing on her mind at the moment was killing the one thing in the vicinity that could prove to be any form of a threat or challenge to her. As she circled the room, something else, a different scent that burned the back of her throat, assaulted her senses.

Before she could take in what the creature before her was, she found herself thrown violently out the window, crashing into the nearby forest as a result of the strength used. Confused and shocked, it took Shizuka a few moments to comprehend what had just happened. She scrambled to her feet, lips curled back in a show of defiance as the creature appeared. He bared his fangs at her as she returned the gesture, ears flattening as the hairs along her back rose. This creature was invading her territory. He had no right to be, and to Shizuka, he was another being that needed to be dominated. This was her school, her lands, this intruder had no business here.

With that in mind, her claws dug into the earth, pulling up the pieces of grass as she growled at the creature before her. The animal inside of her was burning at it's cage, begging to be released however; even as a wolf, she was no fool. If this creature had managed to throw her with such force, she would need to be careful, but it didn't help that he too had bared his fangs, threatening her as well. She couldn't have that. She wouldn't allow something else to dominate her, nor take over what was rightfully hers. Then, it spoke, muttering words that Shizuka could make out, and that only further angered her. With as much force as she could, she pulled up pieces of the earth, tearing out chunks of it as she charged the other creature, fangs glistening beneath the moon.

His soundless snarl morphed into a smile, entirely inhuman but nevertheless recognizable as such. She was really quite something, this beast of a woman. He couldn’t remember the last time the blood in his body had boiled at such a temperature, perhaps because he had never been challenged by something that could almost match him for strength and speed both. It was properly exhilarating, and it ratcheted his adrenaline up several more notches. She was reacting to him—violently, and he was inclined to respond with the same. She wished to assert her dominance, did she? Well, he was no weakling, that could be controlled with such fear. He might not look the same, but he was just as much an animal, and just as territorial.

Her claws dug into the loamy earth beneath their feet, and he tensed in response, waiting for the slightest hint of motion from her frame. When it came, it was surprisingly fast, but not fast enough—she came at him like a freight truck intent on bowling him over, but he was ready and bent with the hit, allowing both of them to be carried to the ground. It was a serious contest of strength thereafter, but the point was not, at least for him, to kill her, only to wear her down and defeat her. He did not want the most interesting thing to have happened to him in a century to be taken away so soon, after all.

Her claws were as sharp as they looked, and her bite no less powerful, but he didn’t mind—his unnatural regeneration was vampiric in nature, and he would not have to wait an hour for the wounds to disappear. He chose very carefully where he scratched and bit her, or as carefully as one could in a vicious, bloody tangle of limbs and jaws and shredded ground. He worked to get her arms under his control, encircling the wrists with a grip stronger than ordinary steel, using one of his feet to roll her over onto her stomach and pin her forelimbs to her back, his knee resting just below them to hold her in place.

“Shizuka,” he growled, the sound deep and throaty from the exertion. “It’s time to change back.”

Shizuka charged at the creature in front of her, intent on taking him down with everything that she was. Appearing as a white blur, she tackled him to the ground, however; she wasn't expecting him to flow as smoothly as he had. Instead, they both fell into a mess of tangled limbs and snarls. Her fangs found their way into his fur-cased hands, her claws raking into his skin as she tried to assert her dominance. She was matched, strength for strength, speed for speed, and it was causing her to become infuriated. This creature was surely causing the beast to descend further into madness as they continued attacking each other, wounds healing while new ones were created.

She found herself pinned to the ground, limbs forced behind her back as she felt pressure as well. She snarled into the ground, saliva running down the sides of her jaws as she struggled to regain control. He kept her pinned down, and she didn't like it at all. He was overpowering her, her a beast who just killed a pure-blood, and three other vampires. A mixture of a howl and a whimper escaped her throat, her body still trying in effort to remove the creature from her back. Her breathing became labored as her muscles finally gave into the fatigue that was slowly descending upon her.

The more she struggled, the faster she became tired. Soon, a defeated snarl left her lips as the creature spoke, calling out her name as her golden eyes swept to meet his own ruby colored ones. If possible, they held a sort of confusion, yet they still glowered in defiance. Just because this creature bested her now did not mean she would allow it again, however; the words 'change back' echoed through her subconsciousness. Slowly, the golden orbs turned violet as the sound of bones cracking pierced the air. With a final pop of a bone, Shizuka glared up at the creature before her, arms covering her form in the process.

"Are you going to stand there and stare, or are you going to get something for me to cover myself with?" she snapped, her eyes never leaving the creatures.

A dark chuckle rang into the air, and he stood with far too much grace, his form also receding into the one he’d occupied before. It was certainly still Hotaru standing there, though—the white hair and red eyes did not change in the slightest. He cocked his head to one side and tucked his arms into the loose haori-like shirt he wore. “And if I’d rather just stare,” he said slyly, raising a brow, “precisely what would you be able to do about it in your state, hmm?” He’d clearly been the winner of their little tussle, and both of them knew it on a visceral level that went past simple fact. Mercy was his to bestow or deny as he chose, and he was not known for being the most charitable of men.

Even so, he shrugged out of the shirt, which given the height disparity between them was more than long enough to cover her almost to her knees, and slipped the sleeves from his arms, taking a step closer to drape it over her shoulders rather than just handing it to her. He closed it over her front, and, after a thoughtful noise in the back of his throat, loosed the long ribbon holding his hair in its tail, spilling the starlight locks over his shoulders. The thing was long enough to wrap about her waist twice, cinching the garment closed over her rather lovely figure.

“And there you are, she-wolf. I think I rather prefer being the only one to see, after all.” His smile was wicked, and still hinted at fang, given the fact that he was half a vampire. “But you know,” he continued in the same velvety tone of voice, capturing a lock of scarlet hair and twisting it around his finger before tucking it behind her ear, “You do have some explaining to do. And your choices are me, who will keep the secret if I have it, and those rather terrified and angry vampires out there, who most likely will not.”

Shizuka merely rolled her eyes at the response she was given, ignoring the male as his form had receded. She stood in her spot, arms still covering herself as her eyes never left his own. This man was truly infuriating and insufferable, that she could feel the hairs on the back of her neck standing on edge. There were many things she could do in her state. One of those things, regardless of anyone was awake or not, she could walk away and head back to the dorm. It wouldn't be the first time she was out naked in public and it surely would not be the last. Or, she could just simply walk away. Either one did not sit well with Shizuka.

"Whether I receive anything or not, does not matter. This is not, and will not be, the first time I was out nude in public. Didn't you know? I make this a daily habit," she replied in a sarcastic tone, the edge and defiance still laced behind it. It was at this moment that he shed his haori and placed over her, tying the string that had held his hair momentarily around her waist. She frowned at his next statement. The only one? Who did he think he was? This would be the only time he'd ever see her like this, and that was a promise she would keep.

"Don't flatter yourself Minamoto. This will be the only time you ever see me like this. Trust me, I wouldn't dream of offering myself to you in such a way," she retorted, pulling at the haori as it kissed her knees. His next statement, however, caused her to flinch. She-wolf, that she was, however, she wasn't inclined exactly to tell him her secret. Of course, he too would have some explaining to do. She wasn't the only one in the hole. At that, her eyes narrowed as she glared at the male.

"I am not the only one here with a secret, and as far as I am concerned, this secret has already been exposed. Judging by what you appear to be, what more explanation do you need? And what of you? You are not exactly prince charming on a white horse. You've explaining to do as well," she snapped, her face sporting a faint hint of pink due to the anger bubbling within. How dare this vampire, this wolf, whatever he was, tell her she had a choice between him and the vampires. She didn't have to say anything. He had his own secret to hide, she wasn't the only one.

“Mm, of course not,” he replied. Her anger was so… invigorating. Like being hit with a blast of cold air in summertime. “But my secret did not just kill three vampires, now did it?” He wasn’t judging her for that, exactly—he knew just how difficult controlling those feral instincts could be. But he did have a point, and he knew it. The burden of this situation was hers to bear, and whatever his motives had been, he was the one who stopped her before she did worse. He crossed his arms casually over his bare chest, fixing her with an appraising look, though unlike the last one, there was nothing lewd about it. It was just cold, practiced analysis.

“Very well, then. Your secret, such as it is, is safe with me. But if a total stranger can cause you to lose your control so easily, are you really safe here? You will be discovered eventually, perhaps by someone who cares what you have done. I think, that when you are desperate to learn control, and when you feel that your own resources have been exhausted, you will realize that I can help you. I look forward to your humble request.” With a half-smirk and a wink, he turned and walked away, apparently perfectly content with leaving things at that… for now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"I don't like this. Secrets are rarely kept for good reason. And they are even less often revealed in good light."



Nikki sighed, forcing herself to relax. Sora was right, losing her temper would get them nowhere. Still, she kept her shadows close as they made their way. She nodded to Sora when he looked at her. She had caught the scent as well, but someone had to stay with the students, she knew that. She did her best to keep them all calm. Now that she was calmer herself, it was easier. Her gentler side took over, calming those who were scared. Before she realized it, Naya came running up to her.

"Sister! I heard what happened, are you alright? Someone said one of the Pure Bloods were killed, I was so worried it was you. Wait, where is Dairen...?" Her sister had placed both of her hands on Nikki's shoulders, making it so that she had no choice but to answer. Not having the energy to say the words aloud, Nicole shook her head tiredly. Dairen Haro had been the Pure Blood that the white beast had killed, and her sister's lover. No engagement had been set, as their father had wanted to cement Nikki's own engagment before he married off his younger daughter, but they had otherwiet in stone. And now Dairen was gone.

Naya's eyes widened, and she collapsed into Nikki's arms, sobbing. Nicole held her younger sister as she cried, doing her best to comfort her, trying to calm her down. Nicole looked across at the other students as the two of them sank down to their knees, Nikki rocking gently back and forth as she held her sister. "Shhh, Naya. It's going to be okay. It's alright." She whispered. She saw Sora re-enter the courtyard, and she locked eyes with him. He looked at them, a worried glance on his face, and he made to come over to them, presumably to see what was wrong with the girl sobbing.

A shadow tendril latched on to Sora's wrist, pulling him back gently. Nicole locked eyes with him again and shook her head slowly. The last thing Naya needed was to be around the only other Pure Blood, the one who was Nikki's fiance, when her own lover was dead. She used her shadows to scrawl a message on the stones in front of him. We can discuss what happened later, and I'll tell you about Naya in private. Right now I need to take care of my sister. When he nodded, Nikki gently rose, taking Naya with her, and led her away from the crowd.

It took Nicole almost to sunrise to get her sister to be still, and to finally fall asleep. Nikki herself was exaughsted, but there was too much she needed to do. She had ever intention of doing so, as well. She intended to seek Sora out and figure out what was going on, and see if he knew anything. Instead, Nikki found herself heading to the infirmary, where the bodies would be stored before they were taken away for proper burial.She wasn't sure why, she knew Dairen's body wouldn't be here. Like all Pure Bloods, his body had turned to glass when he had died, and the beast had shattered it, leaving little trace of the vampire behind other than shards of glass. Nikki sighed. She was going to write home and have her mother remove Naya from the Academy. At least until they figured out what was going on, and Naya got back on her feet.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"This is infuriating. Never again will this happen."




Shizuka clenched her fists tightly, her eyes narrowing ever more in anger than they already had been, as she stared at the back of the retreating Hikaru. He thought she would go to him for help? She scoffed at the idea. She had her beast under control, but thanks to that man, it was loosened upon the Academy. At the thought of that, she immediately tensed. That man, his scent, his voice, everything about him caused Shizuka to feel her temper rising again, however; she stilled it for the time being. The moon was still out and she couldn't risk another transformation. She sighed with aggravation before she made off towards her dorm.

She her eyes spotted the small group of vampires huddled outside of the Academy and she cursed her luck. She didn't need to be spotted, not wearing his shirt and practically scented with the wolf all over her. Instead, she muttered and went around, unaware of a pair of golden eyes lingering on her form. She made it to her dorm, slipping silently into her room as she closed the door. Making sure it was locked, she turned around and immediately, her breath caught in her throat. There, on her dresser, was the silver earring that had been ripped off of her ear. All the hairs along her neck stood on end, the scent of fresh rain littering her room.

A growl escaped her lips as her eyes zoned the area. She couldn't see the man, but she could still smell him, and she didn't like it. Sighing, she slumped her shoulders and removed the haori from her form. She didn't want to be in his clothes any more so that she didn't want to smell the other one. She showered as quietly as she could and put on fresh clothes, allowing her nightgown to sweep across the floor as she fell into a deep slumber, unaware of the discolored eyes peering down at her. A certain glint of mischievous flashed behind them as Esaias leaned over her bed. A faint smirk tugged at his lips as he descended upon her neck.




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"There is a lot that needs to be explained, but some of it can wait. This, however, cannot."




Sora zoned in on Nicole as she stood, holding her sister, if he remembered correctly, who was crying in hysterics. A flash of confusion crossed his features as he made his way towards them, however; he was stopped by a shadow tendril, causing him to be more confused. What was going on? What happened? He was so very confused, however; the look in Nicole's eyes told him that he would have an answer soon enough. Although he would have some explaining to do as well. That was soon answered when the shadows inscribed a message on the nearby stone. He nodded in understanding before turning his attention elsewhere, frowning as he did so.

Was that Shizuka? Wait, was she wearing Hikaru's haori? His brows furrowed as his head began to hurt. This was too much to process. He needed to find Hikaru, now. With that in mind, Sora honed in on Hikaru's scent and sped off in the direction he could find him. It took him a while, but he was finally able to find his brother, and the current form he had taken was not one that disturbed him at all. He was quite used to this form of his brothers. He gave Hikaru a questioning glance.

"Do I even want to know who that was or what you've done to it?" he questioned. "And what did you do with Shizuka? She was wearing your Haori. Please tell me you didn't," Sora continued, trailing off on the last sentence. Shizuka was his friend, that much was known, however; he truly didn't need to know what his brother was up to when it came to his animal side. It was not exactly wise of him to be out and about during this time of night though. Although the sun was finally setting in, there was still a lot of explaining that needed to be done. And Sora felt that his brother would know.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“Your questions actually have almost the same answer.”


After the little incident with the she-wolf, Hotaru returned to his dormitory, selecting himself a new haori and sliding it on. This one was bright red, in honor of the current subject of his thoughts. Well, that and because he looked very good in red, of course.

Actually, he wasn’t thinking only about Shizuka and the interesting little secret he’d learned about her. He was also curious about this other person, the one who had shown up and forced her to transform in the first place. Looking at it logically, that one had to have known even before Hotaru had, and was also able to deduce that she had been stopping her transformations via a measured kind of silver poisoning. An interesting thought, and clever, but it would never teach her to control and harmonize with the beast, only to subdue it until someone else figured out the trick and removed one of the pieces of jewelry. Hardly a method of control.

Hotaru padded back through the forest, his hair gaining black lowlights as his logical thought processes calmed his frame of mind and allowed Hikaru to reassert himself, at least somewhat. This intermediate stage was interesting, in that both of his halves were at play, and that tended to make it easier to think in different ways. Hikaru was abstract, Hotaru concrete, but this way, he could get a bit more of both. He raised a brow at the sound of incoming footsteps, and he didn’t need to turn around to know that it was his brother. Plucking a handful of blackberries from a bush, Hotaru popped the first one in his mouth and chewed it over thoughtfully, turning to face his brother.

The questions had more to do with one another than Sora knew, of course, but as loyal as he was to his brother, Hotaru did not plan on telling him this. He might not seem like it, but he was a man of his word, in either form. Still, he’d only promised to keep the one secret—there were other things he could say. “Didn’t what, dear brother?” He asked coyly, completely ignoring the first question for the moment. “Take her to my bed? You think she’d agree?” Oh, he could be charming when he wanted to be, of course, but the impression he gained from Shizuka was that the was not the kind of woman for whom any amount of charm was sufficient. It was fascinating—he wanted to see how much it would take to wear her down on this point.

“She was present for part of my altercation,” he explained with an air of boredom, eating another of the berries. They were causing his mouth to turn a deep reddish-purple, but it wasn’t like he cared. He was telling his brother the truth, if not in a clear way. “Her wardrobe suffered some… collateral damage. It seemed best to offer her something with which to preserve her modesty.” He shrugged, but then frowned when a strong, distinctive scent combination hit his nose.

“Speaking of which… I think it would behoove us to check on her...” He knew that smell, and he didn’t like it one bit. It was coming from the Sun Dorm, and mixed with it was her and a faint hint of himself. Something was wrong.

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No characters tagged in this post!

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"I don't know if Naya can handle this."



Nikki stood in the infirmary, a sense of dread washing over her. She turned around, and came face to face with the great white beast with the golden eyes. The last thing she thought before the beast slashed her throught was, It has such beatiful eyes.

Nicole jolted awake, clutching at her thraot, and looking around wildly, trying to figure out where she was. She realized through the fog of sleep mixed with terror that she was in her room, on the floor next to the foot of the bed where it seemed that she had fallen asleep She looked to the head of the bed, where Naya was still sleeping, -rather peacfully, it seemed-, which was a releife. She let out a sall sigh. The pillow underneath Naya was soaked, it seemed as though she'd cried while she'd been asleep.

Nikki checked the window, moving the curtains out of the way. It was about an hour after dusk. She thought for a few seconds, trying to decide what to do, when she made up her mind. She needed to know what was going on, and Sora at least had some of the answers. She changed out her school uniform, choosing one of her more casul outfits as classes had been suspended due to the attack, and left the room after checking on her sister one more time.

She walked through the halls of the moon dorm, tracking Sora's scent. It wasn't hard to find his room. Taking a deep breath, she knocked on his door once. "Sora, it's me. Think we can talk?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK




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"I knew it would come down to this."




Sora rubbed his head in a violent manner as Hikaru spoke. This did not bode well at all, especially if Shizuka had been there and saw his secret. Would she tell anyone of Hikaru's secret? Would anyone else find out? He groaned out in frustration as his hands slugged to his side. Releasing a heavy sigh, he turned to his brother and was about to speak when Hikaru suggested to check upon Shizuka. He furrowed his brows together at the thought. They couldn't do that, not right now. She'd more than likely have questions, and he wasn't inclined to answer them quite yet, and his brother had been sworn to secrecy about his gift, if one could call it that.

"You've caused enough damage for one night. I think it's best if we return to our dorms now. Everyone is frightened and we are not allowed in the Sun Dorms. You, if you so desire to, can do that tomorrow," he retorted, leaving no room for argument. If he had to, he would have to send word to their mother, and as much as he didn't like involving the woman in such things, she would be the only one to properly contain Hikaru. With that in mind, he turned his back to his brother, glancing over his shoulder as if expecting him to follow him. Satsified, they returned to their dorms for the night.

The following day, Sora found himself sitting in his room, thoughts running to the previous night. Yesterday was the first night of the full moon, and full moons tended to last for three days. That meant that for the next day and a half, Hikaru would be absent from classes. Not that it was much of his concern, but his concern was that of his red-haired friend. He was sure she would have questions, and since Hikaru was his brother, she would come and question him about it. After all, they were friends and she and he always spoke of nonsensical things. He sighed, running a hand through his hair before tying it up in the feathery pony-tail.

His attention was taken when a subtle knock was at his door. He rose a brow at this. Was she here already? Shouldn't she be out on patrol? That thought, however, was void when the voice of Nicole reached his ears. He sighed. He should have known she would come seeking answers as well. He stayed silent for a moment, contemplating whether or not to allow her in his chambers. What could he tell her though? Hey, sorry about that my brother is a werewolf, vampire hybrid and that other creature seemed to be a pure-blood werewolf? That sounded believable. He scoffed silently before making up his mind.

"Come on in," he stated, waiting for her to enter his room. Once she had, he ushered her to a chair for her to take a seat. "I'm sure you have questions about last night. Just know, I have limited to what I can tell you, for it is not my place to properly say. But, I will answer what I can," he spoke, his eyes remaining firm and honest of what he spoke.




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"Is this some sort of sick joke?"




Shizuka woke to a burning sensation on her neck. The sun had long passed and dusk had settled in. She groaned as she sat up in her bed, rubbing her neck to quell the sensation. It soothed if only for a moment, allowing her to dress in her prefect uniform. She might have missed class, or she might have not. She did destroy the classrooms last night. Speaking of which, it seemed that there was another who shared a very similar secret. She growled to herself as she recalled the words he spoke. She wouldn't lower herself so low as to seek him for help. If she wanted to control her beast, she would learn to do so on her own. Perhaps it was the pride that was talking, or her stubbornness. Regardless, she wouldn't fall to asking him for help.

With that, she walked towards the bathroom to quickly remove the dried blood from her body. She placed a fresh uniform on, finally fully clothing herself in the process. Placing the prefect band around her arm, she only hoped that there wasn't any human casualties. Vampires were not her main concern, however; a sharp pain entered her chest. He had been her concern, and more. Her gaze faltered as she thought of him. She stopped in her tracks, allowing her bangs to cover her eyes as she remained lost in thought. She clutched her fists tightly together, turning her knuckles white in the process. Taking a deep breath, she cleared her mind and pushed herself towards the building.

What she saw didn't surprise her. There was a large hole in the side of the building followed by another not to far from it. She knew she was the cause of it all. She had never felt so much rage as she had now. A death, multiple deaths were on her hands. Answers were going to be needed by the questions that would undoubtedly follow. It would be best if she left this place. At least then the students would be safe from her. But, she couldn't leave them either. Her friends, she couldn't leave them. She was chained to them.

Even if it was to protect them, she couldn't leave them. She shook her head as she turned from the scene. She needed to get this cleaned up, quickly. Surely the deaths of the vampires would go unnoticed since they were but piles of ash now, however; the death of a day class student would be the flying gossip in the school. How would they be able to explain that one though? A tragic accident that happened during the night? This was going to eat her up inside. Would she be able to handle it? She forced herself away from the scene. The scent of blood was becoming unbearable and she didn't want to be there any longer. Without a doubt, the Headmaster was probably already alerted to the situation and was taking the necessary steps to cover it up.

And true to the thought, there was already a clean-up crew on their way to the location to patch up the accident. There was a shadowed light in Shizuka's eyes as she slowly made her rounds. She could hear the chattering monkeys talking non-stop about the sudden change of demeanor for the prefect, however; she ignored them as best as she could. Anger was seething through every pore of her body at the moment and she didn't want to be responsible for another death of a student. There was one statement, however, that garnered her attention. Immediately, her hand flew to cover her neck as she quickly dashed towards the restroom. She pulled her hair out of the way, and there in the crook of her neck, was a symbol. Her eyes widened slightly as she rubbed at it, trying to see if it was a joke. The mark remained where it was. It resembled multiple infinity signs although there was something a bit different from it.

"How am I going to conceal this?!" she nearly panicked. Although her hair could conceal it, it wouldn't always be able to. She could try painting over it, but that wouldn't work very well. She pursed her lips in frustration as she grabbed her head. She let out a frustrated groan as she slumped her shoulders. "It's fine, it's fine. I'll just figure something out," she muttered to herself as she pulled her hair back over the symbol. She still needed to report to the Headmaster about last night. She was supposed to be on duty, so this would have been something she would have been a part of. But what would she tell him? Sorry but there was a large wolf that killed everyone?. She scoffed at the thought. He wouldn't believe her, but she had to think of something.

Reporting to the Headmaster had not been an easy task. Immediately she had been bombarded with "What happened? Why were you not there? Blah...Blah." She had ignored the man and only spoke when he had finished. What had caught her off guard though was the subtle change in demeanor when the Headmaster spotted the mark on her neck. He had asked where she received it from, but she didn't know. So that was what she told him. Of course, he didn't believe her but she didn't momentarily care. What he decided was for his thoughts and actions alone. She wasn't going to try and persuade him otherwise. When she was dismissed, she could hear the faint word of binding slip through the Headmaster's lips. She furrowed her brows in confusion. What had he meant by that?

Was it something to do with this mark? If so, what had he meant by binding? She let out a frustrated grunt as she glared at a few of the passing students who scurried away quickly. She rolled her eyes at how quickly they disappeared around the corner and continued on her way. The mark itched, and it was irritating her. What if it had something to do with that man who forced her change? She furrowed her brows further at the thought. She quickly dismissed the thought though. What business did he have to make such a thing on her? The mark, it pulsed a bit as she winced at the sudden movement. She rubbed at it before bringing her hair over to cover it.

"Stupid piece of shi--" she was cut from her statement as she felt a weird surge through her body. She needed to go somewhere, but she knew not where. Soon, she found herself walking against her will outside of the Academy and down a beaten path. She tried to regain control of her body, but it was no use. She was present, but the control of her limbs, everything, seemed null and void and belonged to something else. She gritted her teeth in the process as she allowed her body to take her to wherever it was that seemed to be calling to her. She was soon greeted by a very familiar sight, and the one person she most wanted to rip apart.

"It seems that even you cannot resist it," a playful smirk adorned his lips as Shizuka stared at the male. "That mark, it is a symbol. What it symbolizes," he paused as she took a step back, finally regaining her senses in the process. This only caused his smirk to widen into a grin as he took another step forward. If he wanted to, he could subject her into submission, force her to kneel in front of him, but of course he would wait for another time for that. Right now, he wanted to enjoy the torment and the helplessness she was bound to feel. "is that you will never belong to anyone else. You are now bound to me. There is one way to free yourself, but I take pleasure in knowing you will never seek it out. You despise them too much," he ended. There was always reason as to the things he did, and for this particular one, well that was for him to know.

The hairs along the back of her neck curled and she could feel the bile rising from her stomach. Belong to this man? She didn't belong to anyone! There was only one person she would ever belong to, and that person was dead. She tightened her fists together as her eyes narrowed in a dangerous glint towards the male. For a brief moment, one would probably see the glint of amber flash behind her mahogany eyes. This man truly had the nerve to speak such words to her. Yesterday, he had spoken of her mother's death, and then stole the earring that held the beast at bay. He was the reason as to why there were so many deaths that night.

"I do not belong to you, nor anyone else. I would never allow such a thing as to be chained to someone. They would be chained to me," she retorted, a feral growl escaping the confines of her throat in the process. Anger was seething through every pore of her body and it only intensified when the male began to laugh. "This mark means nothing, and just like everything else, it will fade," she stated, raking her finger nails along the symbol, drawing blood in the process. The man ceased his laughter as his eyes flashed crimson, covering the one amber eye he held. An amused look still played at his lips as he was immediately in front of her. She did not waiver as he stared down at her.

"Even now you are subjecting to me. This blood of yours, it will never belong to anyone else. It is mine," he stated, sinking his fangs into her shoulder in the process. She did not cry out in the pain, for there was none. Pain was irrelevant to her, something that had been pushed out of her system long ago. She placed her hands against his chest and shoved hard against him, causing him to rip out a small portion of her shoulder as his fangs held latched on. Unfortunately, it was not the spot where the mark was, and instead she was now bleeding profusely. She placed a hand over her shoulder, applying the necessary pressure to stop the bleeding. He smiled, wiping the blood from his mouth in the process. "Do not worry, you will be the one to come to me in due time. Then, you will fulfill your purpose," he spoke before disappearing.

His words echoed in the back of her mind as he disappeared. They infuriated her. She would never go to anyone, let alone this man. It was apparent he was a vampire, and had to have been a pure-blood to be subjected into the sunlight. But there was this odd feeling in the back of her mind that he was something more than that. She glanced at her shoulder, noticing the wound already stitching itself back up. It was a bit slower than usual, but it would heal fully in less than an hour. At least her questions of the symbol had been answered. That meant that the Headmaster knew something about bindings. Well, the man did mention something about being free from it, but she would never seek it out because of her hatred for them. Did her freedom require something from a vampire or something else?

She furrowed her brows as she slumped against a tree, raising a hand over her eyes to block out the sun's rays. If that were the case, then he was right. She wouldn't seek it out because she wanted nothing to do with them, however; a horrible anger seethed through her. She wouldn't allow this man to chain her to him. Even if she had to subject herself to whatever it is she needed to do, if it meant being free from the man, she would do it. What she didn't know was that she would have to be bound once more to be free. It was why he knew she would never seek it out because she would require to be chained once more to another being.

"I grow weary of these games," she gritted through her teeth. She fell against the tree, hand still holding pressure against the wound that was now healed slightly more. The bleeding had stopped by now, but her hand remained where it was. "Ju...dai," she spoke the name of the one who had been precious to her. He was the only one she would ever allow herself to be chained to. If he had been the one to chain her, she would not have minded. She would have allowed it, his dominance. But now, he was forever lost to her. There would never be another to take his place. It is why she will find this way to be free from the chains. Time passed as it always has, and she made her way from her dorm, dressed in fresh clothes. The ones she had worn were bloodied and needed to be cleaned...again.

The mark still lingered on her neck as she pulled her hair back. She wouldn't hide it. She wasn't going to allow that man to get the better of her, and as such, she would not abide by his rules. With that in mind, she grabbed her prefect band and secured it against her arm. She made her way towards the bridge, she would need to focus at the job at hand. She was now the sole prefect of the Academy, something she knew the Day Class would try to take advantage of, however; a stern glare their way would keep them at bay. Most of them at least. So she waited at the bridge for the Night Class to come and go as they always had.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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“That’s foul play, brother.”


Hikaru sighed when his brother insisted that he’d caused enough trouble. Caused? He’d been the cause of exactly none of the problems that had occurred this evening. As a matter of fact, he’d mitigated the damage what both Sora and the She-wolf seemed to misunderstand was that if not for him, she would have slaughtered her way through at least half the Night Class. Sora may indeed have been able to stop her, but only by killing her. Only Hikaru had had the mix of brute force and mercy necessary to end it without further bloodshed. Nevertheless, he shrugged. It wasn’t like he cared about what happened to the prefect, as such. She was an entertaining diversion, and she amused him. It would be a shame for her to die, of course, but that didn’t mean he’d go out of his way to prevent harm from coming to her.

The reason he’d done so tonight was simply because the longer she spent in the open, the greater the chance that the secret they shared, after a fashion, would be exposed fully, and he did not want that. It was a perfectly-good reason, and though he would have preferred to erase the memories of all those involved, Sora had for some reason decided not to—and he did trust his brother, even if he wouldn’t admit it. Plus, he knew what that look meant: cooperate, or I’m telling mother. It had worked to bring Hotaru to heel since they were children, and it worked still. If there was one being he desired always to protect and never burden, it was mother. She had done so much for him, when she would have been well within her rights to curse the ground he walked on.

So Hikaru followed his brother back to the dorms, dropped into his bed, and slept the day away like a log. Transformation tended to take a lot out of a guy—especially when there was fighting involved.




The second night of the full moon was no less dangerous than the first, of course, so he woke and ate a large meal of his own devising before he headed back out into the forest. Hopefully, he wouldn’t be interrupted this time—though admittedly, the row he’d gotten into the previous evening had been great for his blood pressure. He felt healthy, invigorated, and quite self-satisfied. In fact, there was only one part of the situation that bothered him at all: the appearance of that guy. Honestly, who did he think he was, intruding on private conversations like that?

Hikaru grumbled a few words under his breath and then dismissed his anger. It didn’t matter. None of it mattered. The world was comprised only of boring people, interesting people, his brother, and his mother. The prefect and that man might have been interesting, but they were not his concern. Only two beings in this world had ever had that status, and only those two ever would. It was just that simple. So he flopped down in the milled of the clearing as he had before, resting his head on his interlocked hands, and chose not to think about it, opening his senses up to the forest around him and waiting once again for the inevitable.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"What happens when the one you're supposed to trust the most lies straight to your face?"



Nikki sighed as she sat down in the chair Sora ushered her into, listening as he spoke. She looked thoughtful as he told her it wasn't his place to explain, which obviously meant that he at least knew what those creatures were, and perhaps, more importantly, who the were. She was fairly certain that they were not simply animals, if only because of the very humanistic look they gave off at times, but mainly for their eyes. She corssed her arms before finally speaking. "Fair enough, but before I begin, is there anything you want to ask me? I did say I would tell you about Naya if you wished to know. And I would rather speak of that first before anything else."

Sora watched as Nikki sighed, his golden eyes never leaving her form in the process. She folded her arms over, the questions swirling through her, at least as far as he could tell. Then, she spoke. Fair enough. He did have questions of his own, particularly concerning the look she held that night, and the young woman she held in her hands that night. He knew that as her sister, Naya, as far as he knew. After all, he was her fiance and he would need to know her family eventually. He stilled himself as he glanced away.

"If you insist," he spoke, returning his attention to Nikki. "What happened last night between the two of you? Was she hurt during the attack?" he started. Although he had not seen, nor smelled, any blood belonging to either of them, there was undoubtedly a large amount of blood covering the area. Perhaps the young girl was just scared, and she had every right to be. A creature as those two could kill a vampire, pure-blood or not, with little to no ease. They were lucky, if they could consider it luck, that Hikaru was one of those beasts and had helped out.


Nikki stopped herself before she could sigh again. She kept silent for a few seconds, gathering her thoughts. "No, she wasn't physically hurt. She doesn't have the same first class as we do. She'd heard about the attack from another student, as well as that a Pure Blood had died in it, and she rushed over because she had feared it was me." She paused again, her eyebrows furrowing. "Dairen Haro was the Pure Blood who was killed, and my first betrothed. I rejected that outright, and by doing so, I rather insulted his father. Still, Dairen didn't hold it against me. But the reason I rejected the proposal was because Dairen is--" She stopped, closing her eyes as she remembered that he was dead.

"Dairen and Naya were lovers. She's not taking his death very well, as one could imagine. That's why she was crying, and that's also why I asked you to stay away. The last thing she needed was to see my own fiance given the fact that her own was dead." She opened her eyes and looked at him once more. "Frankly I'm not sure how well she's going to be, mentally, but right now that's neither here nor there. I suppose it would be too much to ask just what exactly those two creatures were last night?"


Sora lowered his gaze as she spoke, his hands clenching tightly in the process. It seems that the death of those pure-bloods, or rather that one, had affected her as much as it had her sister. Sora paid no heed to the fact that the pure-blood had once been Nikki's fiance, and actually found it commendable at what she did. He managed a small smile at that. She rejected something for the sake of her sister, something he would gladly do for his brother if he were to just ask, however; they were not blood brothers, and therefore could not really reject his fiance simply because his brother loved her, which he did not nor was he inclined to do so any time soon.

"I am sorry for your loss," he spoke, his words laced with sincerity. If Hikaru had been there sooner, perhaps then Naya's lover would still be alive. "I am glad that you are okay though," he continued. Then, she asked about the creatures. He knew it was coming, and so he ran a hand through his hair. How to explain it without sounding crazy was going to be a bit...difficult. He searched, trying to figure out the right words so that he didn't sound too crazy. Settling for those ones, he decided to answer.

"This may sound a bit...hard to believe but," he started, pausing to gauge her reaction before continuing, "The first creature, that, was a werewolf. I am not sure exactly where it came from, but that thing was a pure-blood wolf. I know it sounds unbelieveable, but trust me when I say that, that was a werewolf. The second creature," he paused. Should he indulge that information to her? He took a deep breath, sighing and relaxing his shoulder's he hadn't realized were tense.

"The second one I am not so sure of, but it was vaguely similar to the first one. I do not know why it stared at me, however; I do know that it at least saved the rest of you," he lied, his body showcasing that he wasn't. If he was anything, Sora could be a liar if he had to be. And this required him to be if only to preserve the secret that was his brother.[/font

[font=candara]Nikki fought to keep her face neutral. She could tell that Sora was lying, but she couldn't say which part. However, everyone was intitled to their secrets, and perhaps he would tell her in time. She persed her lips before speaking. "It's not as crazy as you might think. We're Vampires, after all, so it's only logical that there are other creatures out there besides us and humans. But it does beg the question..." She narrowed her eyes at him slightly before asking her question. "How did you know that the first werewolf was a pure blood, so to speak? Does that mean the second one was not a pure-blooded werewolf?"


Sora took a deep breath. Perhaps this wasn't the best way at going about it. He had let slip that piece of information of the difference between the two werewolves. He laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head in the process. How was he going to answer that one now? There wasn't any known information on werewolves simply because of the fact that they didn't exist. He sighed and took a deep breath once more. He shifted his gaze away from Nikki, glancing out the window in the process.

"That wolf, I only assume it was a pure-blooded wolf. It took on the appearance of an actual wolf while the other looked...deformed," he stated, unsure of how to properly state what his brother was. The sun had long disappeared behind the clouds and the horizon. Classes had been canceled for the night and he couldn't use that excuse that they were late. Instead, he turned and smiled at Nikki.

"I think that is about as much as I can answer for now," he stated, standing he offered his hand to her. "Besides, I was hoping you would accompany me to the Blue Moon festival. The Headmaster is planning a festival for the students to ease their minds off of the events of last night. It would mean something if you agreed to attend with me," he stated, smiling as he awaited her answer with a hint of nervousness. He was trying to change the subject as quickly as he could. Perhaps, he'll indulge her during the festival.


Nikki raised an eyebrow as Sora clearly avoided her question. His body language clearly suggested his unwillingness to discuss the topic, so, reluctantly, she let the matter drop. For now, at least. She smiled slightly when he asked her to attend the festival. "Well, considering you are my fiance, it would seem rather inappropriate for us to go any way but together." She smiled slyly up at him, taking the hand that he offered. "So, yes, I will gladly go with you, Sora."

There were a few things she wanted to say, particularly about the nagging feeling she got that made her think he was lying to her, but another part of her held back from saying it. While she could tell that Sora was hiding something from her, she, too, was keeping secrets from him. That alone made her a hippocrate to feel angry at him for not telling her everything. She stood up and excused herself, and headed back to her own room.

She found Naya awake, the girl staring blankly at the wall across from the bed. Nicole sighed, slipping an arm around her shoulders. It disturbed her how little her sister responded. She needed to get Naya home. She hoped their mother would be able to help her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK




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"A true blue moon happens once in a while...somehow, this doesn't seem right." "Someone somewhere is laughing at my misfortune...and I don't like it."




Sora merely smiled at Nikki when she left the subject alone. Truly this girl was more patient than he would give her credit for. He watched as she left, letting out a sigh of relief as he ran a hand through his hair. He hated having to hide things, especially from someone who would eventually become a part of his family. It was going to drive him insane, however; to protect his brother, he had to lie, and he had to keep it a secret. Somehow, he felt that this wasn't going to end so well. Regardless, he laid back in his bed, folding his arm over his eyes in the process.

A week later found Sora walking the compounds of the Academy, various little shops being put together as everyone readied themselves for the festival. It was well-put, and he had to give the humans props for doing their best. The Night Class already had everything set up, everything looking pristine and flawless on their end of the shops. Sora chuckled as he shook his head. Some of them went all out and brought in extravagant things, unnecessary things. He glanced around and smiled. It seemed that so far everything was going to accordance to their plans. Everyone seemed to have a smile on their faces, having momentarily forgotten last weeks events. He only hoped his brother was fairing just as well.




The next morning, the sound of metal clashing with something dull echoed through the compounds. Shizuka couldn't sleep last night, and as such, she had stayed up staring at the ceiling all night. When the sun rose, she had quickly dressed to perform her morning prefect duties and once they were done, she headed to the gym. Part of it was set up for her club. She hadn't been here in the last two days and she had missed a few things. Needless to say, the club members were a bit surprised to find their president inside already working up a sweat, however; she wasn't using the traditional shinai. Instead, two gleaming katana's were shining brightly beneath the dull luminescent lights of the school. She lowered them and turned to face the members of her group. It wasn't a large group, consisting of mainly ten people in total, including herself.

She glanced towards her members when they appeared and offered them a smile. Yes, a smile that was rarely seen without being forced plagued her lips. She considered these people her friends, and as such they were not terrified of her. They were the few people who managed to worm their way into her bubble and be accepted as her friends. Either way, one of the members spoke of the upcoming festival. At this, Shizuka rose an eyebrow. She wasn't informed of any gala's that were going to happen, however; the member continued stating that it was because of the "Blue" moon that would be appearing soon. It wasn't such a grand thing truly. It happened once every two or three years and there was nothing special about it, however; apparently this years Blue moon was going to be rather spectacular, or so they said. Shizuka merely rolled her eyes at the sudden hearts that appeared in their eyes at the thought. Apparently each club was to participate with some sort of festivity for others to enjoy while they enjoyed the small carnival that was bound to happen.

"Touki-sama! Can we do that this year?" Shizuka glanced to the one who called her Touki. She hadn't heard that nickname in awhile. She frowned a bit. The girl had been adamant about doing a maid cafe themed booth ever since she fell in love with a certain cartoon. Shizuka couldn't recall the name of it, but it had to do with some high school girl working at a maid cafe. It was supposed to be a secret, but one of her classmates found out about it. Regardless, Shizuka only shook her head. "Please Touki-sama!" the girl pleaded while the others joined in. They apparently were into the idea. Since she was the president, the decision would ultimately be hers to make. But their eyes.

How could she say no to them? So it was decided, the kendo club would be participating in this festival of sorts. Shizuka was brought out of her thoughts when one of the members pointed something out to Shizuka. Glancing in the direction, she saw a piece of the mark left from the other night, peaking out of the corner of her neck. She frowned slightly and turned towards the one who pointed it out. "It's an odd birthmark," was the only reply she gave them. That seemed to satisfy their curiosity for now. Shizuka had other things to attend to now. If they were to be ready for the gala, she needed to get to work on paperwork and how many people would be willing to participate. Not only that, she had to get the proper materials, outfits, and other things that would be needed.

She sighed in annoyance. She loved her friends, but sometimes she wondered why she caved into them so easily. She rubbed her cheeks in frustration as she let out an aggravated sigh. This was going to be a long day...and it wasn't even lunch time yet.

Time flew by as it always had, and Shizuka found herself staring at the ridiculous stands. She was dressed in a red kimono, one that was left rather, revealing, with a green Katana by her side. She had her arms crossed over her chest as she glared at the people who thought it fitting to stare. Although really, it was her own fault for wearing such a thing, however; it was the only thing that she owned that she could wear. She sighed, rubbing the mark on her neck in annoyance as she waited for the festivities to begin.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“I’d never had cause to consider it before now, but ‘death by irony’ would be a rather interesting way to go, wouldn’t it?”


Ah, the tender blue moon. How she hung in the sky, drawing eyes to her like the foul temptress she was. Or so Hotaru seemed to think, anyway. Hikaru was perfectly content to ignore the thing for as long as possible. Twice in a month really was bad luck, but he’d dealt with so many of these events that he just accepted it by now as part of his lot in life. He’d had to accept a lot of things as such—and most of them were not at all pleasant. Occasionally, the thoughts of how much easier his life would have been if his mother were actually his mother made him bitter. He could simply be a pureblooded vampire from an extraordinary line, with no hidden monster under his skin, no second self, his distilled violence and sexuality, to plague him by taking over his body at the worst of times. No risk for the people he might have come to like or love.

Normality, in other words. He could spend his days getting to know the woman he was to marry, making connections among his peers, studying, even, without this burden settling over him like so much weight. Sometimes, he envied his brother so much he almost couldn’t stand it. Sora was the model child, the very essence of what everyone expected a well-bred man of his caliber to be. Hikaru had always been… otherwise. Too wild even at his tamest.

But it was a poor time for such reflection. He wandered the festival, not having been particularly inclined to participate in anything himself but nevertheless dressed for the occasion, in a silk haori of deep red-violet, patterned in shining gold thread. The loose hakama he wore were black, as were the tabi he wore with his geta. If one was to do something of this nature, one may as well do it properly. His hair was bound into a topknot ponytail with another length of cord, this one gold as well, ending in meticulously-carved golden feathers, which clinked together gently as he walked, hands tucked into his sleeves.

The moon was by this stage bright overhead, shining down on the festivities with her customary silvery highlight, when he decided to take a rest at one of the booths that had been set up. He knew her scent was nearby, but he was content to ignore it. He did not feel Hotaru’s fascination with her, and honestly would rather steer clear of anything that reminded him of what he really was, underneath all the silk and thread and perfect skin. It wasn’t until he’d started browsing the menu that he realized that the staff were all members of the kendo club… and appeared to be dressed mostly indecently, as either French-style maids (minus most of the fabric normal to such costumes), or else in very nonstandard kimono.

Well… leaving now would look rude, he supposed, and Hikaru as himself was not, generally, a rude person. He supposed it wouldn’t be so bad—he knew a few of the members of this club, and he could politely ignore the way they were dressed when he was approached, he supposed.

It wasn't until far too late that he remembered who the president of this club was.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"It does help to take one's mind off of things, doesn't it? Perhaps it will help Naya, too."



Nicole once again adjusted the top of her dress. She hadn't worn this one in particular in a very long time, not since the nigth her father had given her the scar that the dress so openly displayed, along with most of her chest. However, she was out of other options. This was deemed to be a more fancy event, and this was the best pick. It wasn't overly fancy, yet gave her a classy air. The scar gave her an animalistic, feral look that, she had to admit, she liked quite a bit, perhaps a bit more than she should have. Naya had not left her room in three days. Nikki hoped to lure her out with the promise of salt water taffy.

Surprisingly enough, it worked, and ten minutes later, the sisters were walking arm in arm down the main way of the festival, walking between booths. The elder was searching for the cornflower-blue hair of her betrothed. She thought to herself with a sly smile, that, At least I'll never lose him in a crowd, not with that hair color. As she zoned in on him, her sister found herself surrounded by fellow classmates, all concerned for the Pure Blood. Nikki waved her off with a small smile, saying that they would meet up later.

She was happy that Naya waseast attempting to rejoin society. She had taken Dairen's death so badly. Her thoughts were pulled in a different direction as she found Sora standing next to one of the booths, looking at what it had on display. Smiling, she walked up next to him and crossed her arms behind her back. "Hey there, stranger." She felt almost shy suddenly, which was strange to her. She wasn't normally one to shy away from others, especially people she knew. Perhaps it was the fact that he could see her scar. Few people had ever seen it, aside from family. She shruged it off mentally, reminding herself that more than likely, Sora would be her family.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"Somehow, I have this feeling that for once, everything will be okay. But then again..."




Sora had greeted and spoke with his fellow vampires, all of whom were eager for the pure-blood to attend the festivities with them. He had politely declined, saying that he had prior engagements. It wasn't a lie, for in fact he did have a prior engagement, one that had involved a certain Edyta pure-blood. He glanced into one of the booths, noticing it to be a strange collection of stuffed animals and an assortment of sweets. Well, he did have a sweet tooth from time to time, and he was sure that Nicole would probably appreciate one of the plush creatures. Before he could move to purchase either one, a voice called out to him. With a smile, he greeted his intended with a light bow, eyes locking with hers momentarily.

He noticed the dress she was wearing and the slight nervousness in her voice. She had a rather large, and what appeared to have possibly been painful, scar across her bosom area. He frowned slightly. That scar had to have come from something rather powerful, or at least somewhat to scar a pure-blood in such a way. Vampires were known for their regenerative abilities and as such, would heal almost instantly. Realizing he had been staring, Sora coughed, a light pink dusting his face as he rubbed his neck in a nervous manner. He couldn't help but wonder what had happened for her to receive such a thing. He wasn't one to pry, and if she wanted to speak of it, she would tell him on her own time. He wouldn't force her to.

"Who is this woman? Do I know you?" he playfully bantered, offering her an arm in the process. "I do not know if my fiance would appreciate me attending this festival with such a lovely creature as yourself, but," he paused, leaning slightly closer and closing one eye, "if you do no tell her, I would much like to attend with you," he finished, a sly smile appearing on his lips. He did not want to cause her discomfort. If anything, Sora wanted Nikki to enjoy herself at this festival, if only because he felt the selfish need to make her smile a bit more. After what she had told him about her sister and her sister's lover, Sora couldn't help but feel that it was partially his fault that the other pure-blood had died.

Even though he did not physically cause Dairen's death, he had inevitably done so by not distracting the wolf when he had the chance. At least then the Night Class wouldn't have suffered so many casualties. Living with Hikaru, Sora had learned a few things about the werewolf's blood, and what could be done to control it, however; he was too shocked at the sight of the creature for anything to properly act. These thoughts of his, however, did not appear on his face. He would think about it in a different time during a different place. Right now, he wanted to enjoy the carnival with his fiance.




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"Troublesome. It is the only word befitting of such events and twisted irony."




The night had proceeded so far without so much as a disturbance, and for once, Shizuka was glad. She wouldn't have to worry about students causing mischief or trouble. They all seemed to enamored with the Night Class that had attended. She placed a smile upon her face as she spotted her own club, attending to the people who were visiting the small cafe and mingling with the others. There was a scent on the wind that caused Shizuka to curl back her lip and her nose in disgust. He was around somewhere, although she couldn't pin-point exactly where he was. The wind was blowing in different directions and made it seem as if he was everywhere. Sighing, she decided to check on her club.

"Touki-sama! We need a bit of help!" one of the club members stated. Shizuka rose an eyebrow as she glanced around. The booth did have a few extra heads walking in, and as the club president, she was entitled to help out her fellow members. With a sigh, she forced a smile to her face and disappeared behind the stall. Although she wore the red kimono, she had stashed a uniform behind the club so that, if she were needed, she could at least look the part of a maid. She quickly changed into the maid outfit and pulled her hair back into a ponytail, allowing some of her hair to hang loosely from it. She then secured it with a black bow and walked back to the front of the booth.

She grabbed a menu, and with another forced smile, approached one of the tables. She hadn't seen, nor smelled who it was, and perhaps if she had, she would have walked away. Fate must enjoy toying with Shizuka and giving her to misfortune, however; as it were, Shizuka had not been aware of her surroundings. So when she approached and opened her mouth to speak, she immediately regretted it. There, sat the one person she truly did not wish to see, and the sudden change in her demeanor had some of her club members shuffling away with worried glances. She couldn't afford to be rude, not right now at least. Although given her reputation, it would probably be unwise to chase potential customers away. Instead, she bit her tongue.

"Couldn't choose a different booth could you," she muttered loud enough to be heard, but low enough for him to be the only one to hear. With that said, a smile wormed it's way to her face as she felt her eye twitching slightly. "What can I serve you today, sir?" she stated, trying to be as nice as she possibly could without snapping at the man, unaware of a pair of eyes lingering on their forms nor the scent of fresh rain lingering in the air.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“The universe does so enjoy making me the butt of its jokes.”


Hikaru was making every effort not to look at Shizuka, because some things were just too far up Hotaru’s alley to tolerate and he was going to go out on a limb and suppose that the interesting prefect in an equally-interesting attire was one of those things. He didn’t need that side of him putting in an appearance so soon after the night had begun, after all—it was his desire to at least spend some time at the festival his classmates had gone out of their way to prepare. Hotaru could do that, he supposed, but he also didn’t really want to wake up next to a stranger tomorrow, be that stranger alive and very satiated, as with Hotaru, or dead, as with a case of berserk beast. Best not to tempt fate, perhaps.

But then a smell, familiar and associated with things that he couldn’t care less about but his other side disliked, hit his nose, and Hikaru’s head snapped in the direction of the smell, or it would have, if he hadn’t stopped mid-motion to stare. It wasn’t her manner of dress that did it, either—if only it were something so simple and banal as that.

Rather, the cause of his sick fascination was the mark on her neck, clearly prominent and obviously of a very particular kind. Only a few very old bloodlines could produce bindings of that sort—his among them. But this was nothing Hotaru had done; even he had boundaries, and binding someone in this fashion was hardly something he would desire to do. Violet eyes narrowed precipitously, a strange mix of emotions churning about in his guts. Mostly it was disgust—such marks were not to be casually given, nor received, and certainly a bond of that depth would not have been hidden from the eyes and ears of the school’s gossip mongers.

Either this girl was stupid and being fooled because of it… or someone was a filthier creature even than he. Given the unlikeliness of the second, he was almost inclined to believe the first. “You fool,” he said, voice so low as to be inaudible to anyone but her. “Have you any idea what you have allowed?” He couldn’t have imagined her willingly submitting to something like this knowing the consequences—very few would, and those only in circumstances of sacred importance. He didn’t believe in the kind of love such a mark was supposed to signify, but all the same, he had been raised to understand—that was the only circumstance in which one may be made. To do otherwise was a moral transgression of the highest degree, and it made him sick just to look at it.

Hotaru, rather than the amusement Hikaru would have expected, was just angry, and he knew that was a reason to leave, and now. Pushing his chair away from the table. “I am sorry my presence inconveniences you,” he snapped, eyes flashing dangerously between colors, “but your contempt is better directed at whomever did that without telling you what it meant.” Shaking his head, he turned to leave, intent on finding somewhere to regain his equilibrium. This girl and her stupidity or her problems were not his concern, and he desired to be moved by them no longer. Distance was best. Distance had always been best.

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"Well, if you can keep a secret, too..."



Taking the arm that Sora offered her, Nicole actually giggled. "Well, if you can keep a secret from my fiance as well, I'm sure we could work something out..." She smiled to herself. Was she actually flirting with him? She glanced at the things at the booth, looking thoughtful. "Though it does beg the question, if you think that I am a lovely creature as you so kindly said, what does that say about the appearance of your betrothed?" A sly smile pulled at the corners of her mouth as she looked up at him through her eyelashes. He'd walked right into that one.

"I would never dream of saying something like that about my betrothed." She winked at him, holding her right eye closed. "He has too interesting of a hair color. Though, I do believe that you could possibly make it up to her by getting her..." She looked at the plush toys in front of her, picking out a cat that had the same color blue as Sora's hair. She pointed at it before continuing, "That one. I hear your fiance likes cats." She smiled at him. She was enjoying this banter more than she probably should be. She had to admit, she had underestimated Sora. She geniuenly enjoyed his company.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"Dreams, I wonder if they can come true? [This is a night of Nightmares. Dreams are nothing but a fleeting illusion."




Sora blinked owlishly at Nicole's response. He stood still for a few minutes, allowing the information to process into his mind. A bright grin appeared on his lips as he let out a rather loud laugh, garnering the attention of the nearby bystanders. He hooked his arm with Nicole's as he contained his laughter. She was probably looking at him confused, but this was just too much for Sora. He hadn't really expected her to respond that way, so it was really a surprise to him when she did. He calmed down his laughter, wiping at his eye with his free hand in the process until he had it under control. Clearing his throat, he glanced down at Nicole and smiled.

"Of course, whatever milady desires," he responded, however; her next question had him slightly raising an amused eyebrow. He thought about it for a second before a sly smile tugged at his lips. "It is true that you are a lovely sight to behold, however," he paused for dramatics, giving a slightly thoughtful smile appear on his lips "My fiance is a beauty beyond compare. Even the beauty of the moon cannot hold a candle to hers," he finally answered, bringing Nicole's hand to his lips and brushing them ever so lightly against them. A smirk crossed his features in the process as his golden eyes momentarily flashed a bright crimson. To say he wasn't enjoying himself would be an understatement. He was having the time right now.

His eyes roamed to the blue stripped tiger and chuckled lightly, purchasing the creature and handed it to Nicole. "Well, if she likes cat's she would perhaps enjoy Jiro, my familiar," he answered, referring to the black cat that rarely was seen at his side. As of now, the familiar was hanging back at his dorm, being as lazy as he ever was and probably trying to cause trouble for Sora in one way or another. He shook his head softly at the thought before returning his attention back to Nicole. As he made to speak, screams burst into the air, causing him to snap his head in the direction it came from. What he saw, caused his eyes to widen.




What she allowed? Shizuka, for once, blinked confusedly before her eyes narrowed in on the vampire. She hadn't allowed anything to happen. She placed a hand over the mark as her eyes remained in their position. His next set of words caused her to furrow her brows. What had he meant by that? Was there something more to this mark? Did he know something about it? Her face twisted into one of utter confusion as he stood, turning to leave in the process. The only thing she felt was anger swelling within her as she reached out to grab his shoulder, however; her arm was stopped mid-way. She glanced at the hand holding her own, violet meeting discolored eyes once more.

"Let the pup be on his own. He's a bit, upset," Esaias spoke, leaning close to Shizuka's ear in the process. She could feel the hairs along her neck standing up as she felt a shiver run down her back. "This mark means that you belong to me, and no one else. Of course, he knows how to remove it, but he won't. And you won't allow it. It is why you will always belong to me," he continued, causing a seething rage to build within Shizuka. The students merely watched on, slightly awed at the sight of the blonde man as he spoke to their club president. Did she know him? Is this some sort of play for the others to watch?

"I belong to no one, not even you," Shizuka gritted through her teeth as she ripped the hand from her arm. Esaias merely chuckled darkly as Shizuka continued to glare at the man. "You do not own me," she continued, causing Esaias to take a step forward closer to her until they were merely centimeters apart. She glared up at him, he being almost a good foot taller than she, and he returned the gesture. He grabbed her chin forcefully and tilted it up further, his hand restraining the one that attempted to remove his.

"On the contrary, you will always belong to me. A wolf only chooses one mate in it's lifetime, you're mother surely did," he spoke, directing his eyes towards Hikaru's back before a devious smile crossed his lips. "It's time," were the only words that left his lips before Shizuka's eyes widened slightly. Much like she had, Esaias began to shift, his blonde hair taking on a peculiar shade of black. His limbs elongated as his eyes, both, took on a shade of silver. Before Shizuka stood a rather large, monstrous black wolf. If it could have, the wolf grinned devilishly as he threw Shizuka, causing her to slam into one of the podiums of a nearby booth. A strangled cry escaped her lips as she scrambled back to her feet.

The smell of blood immediately assaulted her nose as her eyes fixed upon Esaias. He had a student within his jaws, another in his arms, and one underneath his foot. His jaws, powerful, snapped upon the torso of the student, causing the student to be ripped in half as he snapped the neck of the student in his hand. A strange glint crossed Shizuka's eyes as she let out a scream, charging Esaias in a blind fit of rage. The wolf chuckled darkly as he tossed kicked the student towards Shizuka, causing her to pause in her place and brace for the impact. The student, however, was already dead as Shizuka caught him in her arms. The screams of the terrified masses pierced the air as she watched on.

Esaias was murdering people left and right, however; the student he held next in his hands was none other than Sora, the only vampire friend she had. That was the final straw for Shizuka. She couldn't allow Esaias to take him. With a feral growl, she ripped off the earring she had placed back to keep the beast at bay. She could already feel the transformation beginning as she charged the beast. Sora coughed as he had stepped in the way of Nicole, the large black beast appearing as it made a grab for his fiance. He had tried to electrocute the beast, however; his ability wouldn't work. He stared at the silver pools of the beast, his fangs bared as his eyes turned a crimson color.

Before anything else, Sora found himself ripped from the black beast's grasp, and for a moment, he thought it was Hikaru, however; what he saw was not Hikaru, but Shizuka. She hadn't fully transformed quite yet, and as such her hair had taken on the shade of white as her eyes were golden. She fixed Sora with a gaze, one that left no room for retort as he merely nodded. The next thing he knew, two large beasts, one obviously smaller than the other, were tearing at each other's throats. Blood coated the air along with their fur and Sora could only stare.

Shizuka had no control over her transformation once Sora left. Her body shifted, her limbs elongated until once more, she stood as the white beast, however; she had control of it. This only happened once in a while, and she used this opportunity to focus everything on the black wolf before her. Ears flat, teeth bared, she latched onto the black wolf's arm, teeth sinking in fully. Esaias let out a dark, throaty laugh as he pulled Shizuka's neck, grabbing as much fur as he possibly could and ripped her off of him. He tossed her to the ground and charged her, his own fangs sinking into her neck in the process. A strangled cry escaped Shizuka as she tried her best to remove the black wolf from her, however; with his physique being different than hers, she couldn't. He kept her pinned to the floor.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“That bitch was not my mother. Your attempt to provoke is truly amateur.”


He told himself that he wasn’t going to interfere when that thing appeared, because frankly, he didn’t care. Not about her, not about him, not about whatever stupid dramatics they were about to undergo. The parting shot about his mother didn’t even phase him. If he’d considered the wolf his mother, he might have been insulted, but he did not. His mother was a vampires who’d been tossed over for some sub-human whore, and that was that. It only made him more incline to leave the two of them to their contentious business. Shizuka had made it clear that she had no interest in his help, and he was far too disgusted by such a cavalier use of the mark to want to stay.

Hotaru was a little more inclined to do so, for the opportunity to contest the smug asshat who thought he knew enough about Hikaru to insult him, but even this was subsumed beneath the layer of irritation that he needed to manage. So while the little public display of not-so-blissful bonding continued, he took his leave.

It was, in the end, the right thing to do, because the minute that scent shifted, he knew he was in for another night of fighting, and unlike those two fools, he wasn’t going to allow everyone and their mother to recognize him. With great speed, he retreated to the forest, shedding most of the layers of his clothing as he went, leaving only the loose hakama pants and one of the layers of his haori in place. Both were ample enough in construction to support his taller, bulkier frame, and this time, he drew a sword as well—one made of silver. His half-bloodedness allowed him greater resistance to it than most, and of course, wielding such a tool was not difficult. He knew not which of them he’d have to slay, but he was not in the mood for mere fun tussling this time.




Hikaru arrived just in time to see the darkly-colored wolf pin Shizuka to the floor. It took no longer to make his decision, and moving faster than the eye could see, Hikaru sank the silver sword into the creature’s back, producing from him an unearthly howl of pain. It did not seem to damage him as badly as it should have, however, and he managed to rip it out, tossing it to the side until it stuck in a nearby wall.

Esaias was predictably agitated with the interruption, but seemed a bit more interested once he realized who was responsible. That feral, lupine smile stretched wider, his lips pulling back from his fangs in a grotesque parody of a grin, and he launched himself at the smaller Hikaru. The two met with a definite thud and the cracking of limbs, but both of the recovered just as quickly as the other, the marrow and bone knitting back together almost instantaneously. That was something a pure werewolf would not be able to do, and Hikaru suddenly understood. Esaias was as he was, not as she was. Why his heritage had lent him a full transformation was hard to say, but size and weight were irrelevant when both parties were as strong as these two were. Hikaru was simply more compact, and even then not by much.

The two tore at each other with reckless abandon, breaking limbs and delivering cutting slashes with claws. Teeth buried themselves in flesh and fur, and blood spattered the nearby ground and walls like some kind of macabre modern art piece. It was certainly a strange sound, the growling, shattering, crunching symphony of death. As fast as the damage could be dealt, it was repaired. The only advantage was one possessed by Hikaru: the other had been wounded by a weapon of silver, and it was working slowly to delay the healing of his body. Lest this turn into a contest of endurance that lasted days or weeks, it needed to end with a more decisive stroke. There was one more possible advantage that Hikaru could take advantage of, but that was a dubious risk at best.

Well, it wasn’t like the wolf in him was very cautious anyway. “Shizuka—the blade!” Esaias tried to turn to refocus on the girl, but Hikaru was having none of that, bowling into his back with all the force of a freight truck and carrying them both to the ground. Shizuka would have to be doubly careful of what she did with the weapon—she could hurt herself if she handled it wrong, or him if she aimed badly. There was also the chance of Esaias trying to compel her through that foul bond they shared, but he was going to keep the man so busy he wouldn’t be able to concentrate enough for that. This needed to end, before any more lives were lost.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"This cannot be happening. Not again."



Nicole had been hapy, actually happy, being there with the man who was her betrothed. For once in her life, there was soemthing actually going right for once.


And it just couldn't last. Before she knew what was happening, Sora was in the clutches of some great wolf. For a split-second, Nikki thought it was the one from the night before, but this one was different. Now, all of a sudden, there were three of them. he two from the nigth before, and a third. And one of them had tried to attack her, and ended up attacking Sora, who had stepped in to protect her.

Nicole bared her fangs, wanting nothing more than to rip all three of the creatures apart. However, common sense would win in this battle. She was not strong enough, nor was she fast enough to fight these things, she knew that. Instead, she focused her power in using her shadows to keep the three beasts away from the students, and vise versa as she crouched next to Sora. She checked him over rather breifly; any injuries he'd sustained were already healing, so she wasn't overly worried about him. She felt helples, and she hated it.

It would seem that the two from the night before were fighting against the third one. She had seen the prefect transform into the white beast. One question answered and replaced with a new one. Did that mean Shizuka was a werewolf? She would save that for a latter date. She had also realized that the second beast from the night before had appeared after Hikaru had disappeared. She knew though hear-say that Hikaru was Sora's brother. That would explain what he had been hiding from her, if Hikaru was the second creature, and also why he would hide it from her. She would confront him later. Right now, she was too busy warily watching the creatures as they fought.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"In a world full of possibilities It is only the nightmares that come true."




Shizuka continued to thrash beneath the large black wolf, his teeth sinking further into her neck in the process. She could feel the desire to dominate, not kill. It rolled from this wolf in waves, and for a split second, a sudden force filled her as she stopped struggling. Esaias smiled beneath his fangs as he forced her to submit. This would be easier than he thought it would be. After all, he was here for her, nothing else. He wanted to see what she would do if her precious school was attacked, her friends killed. And he received his answer. She would do that to protect them, going so far as to reveal her secret to them. He almost manically laughed at the thought of something so disgusting. Before anything else, Shizuka found herself being released as Esaias backed off.

She stumbled to her feet, standing on all fours in the process as Esaias focused on Hikaru. She could see the bloody battle between the two, matched strength for strength, and speed for speed. Slowly, her vision began to fade, and panic set into Shizuka. She was loosing control. She couldn't, not now! She fought the thick black sheet as it continued to threaten to cover her eyes. She could hear Hikaru shout something, but it fell on deaf ears. Her once glimmering golden eyes were now sharper and defined. The animal had taken over once more. She saw the two wolves in front of her, fighting in a dance of power, however; her ears flatened back and her teeth were bared.

They were intruding on her territory. She couldn't have that. They needed to disappear, and fast. She made to charge the two beasts, however, something took hold of her arm to prevent her from doing so. She turned, golden eyes meeting crimson as her hair ruffled up. Sora stared the white wolf down as he kept her from leaving. He had seen the change in the wolf the moment her eyes changed. He might not have the same strength, but he couldn't have her attacking Hikaru as well when she wasn't in control. She would either get herself killed or one of the others. Though preferably she would get the black wolf killed.

"Shizuka, snap out of it!" he shouted to her as she lunged at him, teeth grazing his arm slightly. He could feel his healing already kicking in to cover the wound as he dodged a pair of claws aimed for him. Though she was fast, Sora was still a bit faster. His speed could match either one, however; he wasn't trying to harm his friend. "The Shizuka I know wouldn't allow herself to be overpowered by anything, least of all a beast," he snarled out as her fangs sank into his forearm. He did not cry out in pain, instead, staying in place as the wolf kept her jaws clamped around his arm. A throaty growl escaped her lips as she slowly released his arm.

They locked golden eyes once more as Sora gave her the sword Hikaru had spoken of for her to get. She stared at the blade, and stood on both legs. She towered over Sora, reaching almost a good foot taller than him as she took the blade in her hand. It was a peculiar sight to behold. She didn't have the humanoid appearance Hikaru shared, but she was still humanoid to wield the weapon, if only for a bit. Nodding her head, she charged Esaias, sinking the blade into his back while clamping down upon his shoulder with her jaws. She could hear the painful cry escaping him before she felt a force flinging her off. Her back collided with a sturdy tree as the back of her head connected with something sharp.

She fell unconscious upon the floor, her form turning back into that of the human prefect. Sora quickly made his way towards her and covered her with the haori that he had, ensuring that she was properly covered before turning his attention towards Nikki. He could see the worry behind her eyes and something tugged at his heart, like strings pulling it apart slowly. Once he made sure Shizuka was safe, he returned to Nikki's side, his arm still bleeding in the process. He cursed himself as he tried to keep it from trailing down his arm. He wouldn't be healing this slow if he had a proper blood supply, not those damn blood pills.

"Don't worry, it's a minor flesh wound," he spoke, giving her the best reassuring smile he could muster before returning his attention towards his brother and the black wolf. By now a majority of the students had already been evacuated out of the area, but there were still some about. He cursed to himself once more as he turned to Nicole. "I think we should help evacuate the students. This is becoming too dangerous for them to stick around for."

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Nicole was angry, to say the least. As an answer to Sora, she glared at him, and then used her shadows, pulling the other students away, redirecting others, pulling them away. "There. They are gone, now you stay put." She almost hissed the words at him. "That is not just a flesh wound, and don't you try to say it is!" She was angry. She was angry at herself for being so useless, she was a Pure Blood, for godness' sake! She was angry at Sora becuase he had gotten hurt protecting her. She was angry at the wolf-beasts, two of which she was certian she knew for causing such a disturbance. And unfortunately, Sora was the closest thing to take her anger out on, even if it was only minutely. He was injured, so there was little she could do. He was alo taking much longer to heal. She suspected it was from a lack of blood. That thought gave her slight pause. She would have to proposition him later.

Betrothed or not, Sora was now her friend, and they were both of the same Social Class. There was nothing wrong with her offering. But that was for a different time. Right now she had other matters to attend to. Without hesitation, she tore off the sleeve of her dress, tying it tightly around his wound, hoping to maks the smell, if only by a fraction. While she doubted that any vampire would dare do anything to a Pure Blood, she wasn't taking any chances, not tonight. She led Sora back over to Shizuka. While she had many questions, she knew now was not the time. Shizuka appeared to have no major wounds, which was a relief. She let out a tired sigh. "It never ends, does it?" She asked quietly.

Before Sora could offer any type of answer, Nicole stood up like an arrow. Something was wrong. The scent of vampiric blood was in the air, and it was a Pure Bloods'. And it wasn't Sora's. Her eyes widened as she realized who it belonged to. It was Naya's. Why could she smell Naya's blood? What was going on? She began looking towards the crowd, when something caught her eye. Nicole turned towards the acedemic building, and could only stare with wide eyes as she watched something fall to the ground below, tendrils of blood following it.

The way it fell, head-first, it looked very much like a doll. The last coherent thought she could remember having that night was What a large doll....who would throw it from the building like that? A long , keening, heart-breaking wail tore itself from her throat, and at the time, Nicole didn't realize it came from her. She was vaugely aware of someone grabbing her from behind as she tried to scramble towards the building as people began to scream and gather around the corpse. She wasn't sure who was holding her, but she lashed out at them violently, desprately trying to get to her sister. She was yelling incoherently about having to help her, when suddenly she was sobbing into someone's chest, that same person holding her while smoothing her hair. She clutched at them like a life line as the spoke softly to her, though she was unable to make out any of the words. All she coud hear was a strange roaring sound. She would only later learn that this person had been Sora.

It was all she could do to not let herself get torn apart by her sobs. She heard someone repeating the name "Naya" over and over, only to realize it was her. Her sister was dead. Worse, her sister had killed herself. Naya was gone. Finally, with one last gut-wrenching sob that ended in a near hysteric scream, Nicole passed out in Sora's arms, every shadow that had been under her control vanishing in an instant. Even so, the tears falling from her eyes did not stop. She was also muttering softly, "Don't leave her like that, Sora. Please don't leave her...she deserves better than that..."


Naya had been distracted when the chaos broke out, people screaming and scrambling to get away, shouting about beasts and monsters. She was confused slightly. Had one of the Vampires attacked a Day Class student? Suddenly, she felt an overwhelming urge to find her sister. She picked up on her scent, and made a beeline for where Nicole was with Sora. It was then that she took in the scene.

Three large beasts, covered with fur, one black, one brown, and one white, were all fighting, and Sora was there, too. He seemed to be trying to converse with the white one. Naya would never know. All she could take in was the white wolf. Nicole had told her that Dairen had been killed by a white wolf-like beast. Suddenly, Naya felt an inexplicable desire to just...end.

She didn't quite remember how she had gotten up to the roof of the acedemic building. No one noticed her leave, and maybe one or two people noticed her up here. She had a blade in her hand. She looked down at it, confused. Where had it come from? Warm drops of water fell onto the blade as she looked down at it. She touched her cheeks. They were wet. She leaned forward slowly, as if unsure what would happen if she did.

She was falling, and everything around her seemed to be going in slow motion. Without hesitation, she drove the knife into her chest, coughing as she did so. Blood poured from the wound, but she didn't feel any pain. Funny, she didn't feel anything any more. She was going to see Dairen again. The thought made her smile.

She pulled the blade out, and then stabbed herself, this time pulling it down her chest, tearing a great gash through her cardiac muscles. She could feel a thick fog forcing its way over her mind. Before it completely overtook her, she looked out at the crowd below her as she fell. She saw her sister, and she closed her eyes. I love you, big sister. I hope you're happy with Sora. Please, forgive me. I just...want to be with Dairen too much. She then knew nothing more, as she connected with the pavement below her. She never heard her sister scream.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"It seems that no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to stop your tears from falling."




Sora cracked a small smile when Nicole scolded him. Of course, it was truly just a flesh wound. If it had been anything otherwise, he would have been dead by now. He couldn't understand why he had intervened with Shizuka. He could have failed, and she could have killed him. But some part of him knew that he could reach her. She was the type to look out for her friends, not kill them. And that instinct to protect was stronger than the urge to kill. He didn't mind Nicole taking her anger out on him, and rather welcomed it. At least she was acting rationally during this chaotic event, and he had to hand it to her. She was taking this rather well.

He sighed as she tore a piece of her dress off and used it as a tourniquet for his bleeding arm. She lead him back to Shizuka's fallen form and let out a heavy sigh. It never ends, of course not. That was the curse of being immortal. They would never seen an end, only eternity. Their lives would continue to exist while they watched endless others perish. Even a Noble vampire had an expiration date, it was just a matter of when. But then again, they too, pure-bloods, had an expiration date. His thoughts expired there when Nicole suddenly snapped her head up. He too glanced in the direction of the scent of blood came from. It was vaguely similar to Nicole's own scent.

His eyes traveled to the top of the Academy, where a figure fell. Trails of blood traveled behind the figure that fell, and the deafening crack filled the air. It radiated off of the snarls and throaty grunts of the two beasts, one being Hikaru, however; he was not focused on that. He was focused on the blood curling scream that escaped from Nicole's throat. There was only one reason for that, and he knew exactly who that was. As she stood to run, Sora immediately snatched out to grab her, clutching her arm as firmly as he could to prevent her from leaving.

He flipped her around so that he covered her face in his chest, smoothing her hair out as he tried to console her. He could feel his heart breaking ever so lightly at the painful sobs she released and a sense of helplessness filled him. It was pathetic. How could he be so useless? Here he was yet again failing to protect the woman who was to be his. He couldn't protect her from harm, nor the pain that she was currently feeling, and he could feel his heart constricting against his chest. He felt her go limp in his arms as she let out one final cry. He laid her down softly as he would comply with her final request. Standing from his spot, and laying her down next to Shizuka, Sora made his way towards where Naya lay.

She was a pure-blood, and as such, it wouldn't be an easy thing to do as to die from a fall such as that. He could see that she was still breathing softly, but the damage done was already irreparable. There was nothing more he could do to save her. Not even with the consumption of blood would she be able to recover. So, he knelled down beside her, stroking her hair in a gentle manner. He whispered soft words to the girl before hovering his hand over her heart, his claws elongating slightly in the process. This was the least he could do. He could put a final end to it, to her suffering, to Nicole's. "Forgive me, Naya. Nicole would not want to see you this way," he stated, closing the girl's eyes that peered wide open still.

With that final word, his hand plunged deep within her heart and ripped it out, watching as it beat before him. He gave a gentle squeeze to it, causing it to stop and fade into ash before Naya's body shattered into pieces before him. He stood, hands clenched and covered in blood. He could feel his knuckles turning white as he focused his attention on Hikaru and the large black beast, his eyes covered and shrouded in darkness.




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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“I do believe humans have invented a term for this situation: clusterfuck. Charming, no?”


Hikaru was only distantly aware of anything but the fight he was having with the other wolf—it was taking the total devotion of their mutual attention to keep either of them from gaining an untoward advantage over the other, and it was obvious that they were so evenly matched as to be almost identical, not just in skill itself, but in the degree to which they had practiced with this kind of combat. Each reacted in mere fractions of seconds, and even their patterns of thought and instinct were similar.

It was uncanny, and it was clearly affecting Hikaru more than it was Esaias, suggesting that the other… whatever they were knew something about this situation that Hikaru himself did not. It was proving to be a small advantage for him, but in a fight this close, even a small advantage was one worth having.

Fortunately, the advantage soon reversed, and in a much better way. Shizuka came through and plunged the sword into Esaias’s back, though unfortunately they were clocked close enough together that it also pierced Hikaru’s abdomen, leaving him with a deep, diagonal cut that tore through the rapidly-shredding fabric of his haori and his flesh alike, covered with a finer layer of fur than the other’s. He hissed and snarled against the pain of poisonous silver, but in the end, it was not nearly as grave as the wound dealt to Esaias, and he was able to flip them both over, digging his teeth into the juncture between the other’s neck and shoulder and tearing at his jugular vein.

The blood hit his tongue, spicy and hot in flavor, and he was momentarily assaulted by a barrage of memories that were not his own. This was not so abnormal for a vampire, but Hikaru had never felt a connection so strong before, and the force of it hit him hard enough to slacken his muscles for just an instant, but one that Esaias was able to take advantage off, throwing Hikaru off himself and staggering to his feet. He had to pull the blade out of himself, but tossed it to the side afterwards, bleeding still copiously from the throat, and fled. Two opponents of such strength was unwise to handle on his own, especially because that one was more his equal than he had thought to expect. Someone had given him misinformation, and that someone was going to pay dearly.

Hikaru rose to run after him, but the mental assault of the memories he was seeing and the physical damage from the silver were combining to make it very difficult for him to so much as see straight, and he just barely managed to make it behind a building before he changed back, covered in blood and with only the left half of his haori still intact. Given how many bloodied people there were hanging about, and the fact that they all seemed distracted by something, he probably didn’t look enough out of place to warrant any more notice than usual. His breaths moved in and out of his lungs with unusual force, and he spat excess blood—his or Esaias’s, he did not know, to the side, wiping his crimson chin with his intact sleeve.

It was only after a few seconds that he was able to process everything else that had happened while he was engaged. The unconscious pair of women, the dead body only now crumbling to ashes, his brother returning from completing the deed the jumper had started. He blinked slightly, eyes still red and hair still pristine silver-white, and sighed through his nose. “Take care of your intended,” he told Sora wearily, moving to crouch beside the unconscious Shizuka. Ensuring that he was safely wrapped up in his brother’s outer haori, he picked her up as gently as fatigue would allow him, placing one hand under her knees and the other across her back. “I’ll see what I can do for this one.”

He met Sora’s eyes solemnly for a moment, then inclined his head in acknowledgement of something they both knew but neither would say: this could not go on. Esaias had been free to do what he liked for too long, and Shizuka’s troubles were not going to abate because he’d been chased away once. The two of them could erase the necessary memories for now, but this could not last forever. It would not be long until she was discovered, if things continued to happen this way. And when her secret was out, Hikaru knew his own would not be far behind.

Picking up his pace, Hikaru was back at Shizuka’s dorm room in no time at all. He placed her down carefully on her bed, and checked for wounds with his nose rather than his eyes. While it was true that Hotaru would have had no compunctions about leering at her, it was no fun if she wasn’t awake to get mad at him. Even that part of himself had some decency. A decency Esaias clearly lacked. From her bathroom, he grabbed a few washcloths and a bucket of water and cleaned her wounds to prevent infection, which was an outside chance with a metabolism like hers but still possible. The water was pink by the time he was done, but he kept himself from licking any of his bloodied fingers. It was tempting to be sure, but he refrained anyway. The last thing he needed was more foreign memories to deal with, and it was taboo, besides. He had some respect for certain vampiric conventions, mostly due to the influence of his mother and brother.

When he was done, he stood to leave, but not before he brushed a piece of her hair aside for a moment, exposing the mark that had been left on her neck. Esaias was right about one thing: he would not remove it. There was only one way to do that, and it was not an idea that any part of Hikaru particularly savored. His mother would be ashamed that he’d even thought about it. Releasing her hair, he shook his head and left. She was in well over her head, but there was only so much he was willing to do about that. The rest of it was on her.

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"Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."



She was walking. It was dark, so dark that she couldn't see anything, not ever the hand she held up in front of her face. It was also cold. So very cold. Suddenly there was a strange wrarmth, engulfing her, making her feel safe, subsiding some of the panic that had been building in her chest.

But then it was gone, and the cold returned, this time penetrating her to her very core. She was confused. What had that warmth been? Why was it gone now? Where was she? Who was she? She couldn't remember. How odd. Everytime she tried to pull something out of the deep reseces of her mind, it was as if someone was shutting the door in her face, keeping her from figuring it out. She felt tired, her limbs heavy. It was so very, very cold.

Something assaulted her nostrils. Blood. It made her mouth water. Of course it did. That was what kept her alive. She was a vampire. No, she was more than that. She was abeast in human form, that preyed upon the life of humans, and she was one of the few vampires who were pure. No human blood tainted her veins. Why did that thought make her heart hurt so? Was she afraid of her heritage? Why? She was a Pure Blood, one of the last true vampires.

That answered the question of what she was, but not who she was. There was a light off to her right. She saw a scene shift before her, a girl falling from a building, blood trailing behind her, and another girl in hysterics, behing held back by a man. Her heart ached. Why? Did she know these people? What a strange thing to feel. She turned and walked back into the darkness.



For a day, Nicole lay still where Sora had laid her. Other than the fact that she was breathing, one would almost think that she was dead. At midnight of the day following the attack, she shifted slightly, ever so slightly. And then she lay still again. She responded to nothing, not to touch, not to sound, not to light. All she did was lay there and breathe.


She still had no idea who she was. Why was it so hard to figure out? Why did she feel the need to figure it out? Why couldn't she simply stay where she felt safe? She stred dull-eyed at the scene in front of her. A young girl was being held against the wall by a tall man, his hand around her throat. A beautiful female was weeping in the corner, begging the man to let her go. The little girl made no sound, and didn't even struggle. She looked dead in the eyes, like this was something normal.

Her chest constricted, the scar aching painfully. The woman began yelling, begging the man not to hurt Nicole. Something in her memory perked. Nicole. That was her name. Nicole. She was Nicole. But why was she here, in this darkness? Why had it taken her so long to remember? The scene shifted, and twisted, ugly cretures with the faces of people she knew loomed up in front of her. Her father, her mother, Naya, Shizuka. Others were there as well, Dairen, and Hikaru. They were blaming her, yelling at her. Her father and mother were telling her how disappionted in her.

Naya was blaming her for her death. Shizuka was taunting her, asking her why Nicole had not stopped her from killing Dairen and Naya. Dairen only stared silently at her, his eyes accusing her silently for letting his beloved kill herself. Hikaru was laughing. She turned and ran, trying desprately to get away from them. It wasn't her fault, it wasn't, it wasn't! Suddenly Sora was there. He alone, looked normal. Without hesitation, she ran to him, into his arms, into safety. But even that didn't last.

Sora's arms turned into vines, holding her in place. Shadows began to crawl up her body, her shadows. No matter how much she tried to stop them, they kept coming. Blood poured from her eyes as they were gouged. She could do nothing to stop it. She stoped trying. After all, it was her fault.



At midnight on the second day from when she had passed out, Nicole sat up in bed. She looked down at her hands, one arm in a sleeve, the other bare. What had happened? Suddenly, it all came rushing back. The wolves, the attack, Sora protecting her, her bandaging his wound. Naya's suicide. She shut her eyes, wrapping her arms around herself tightly. She looked around, taking in where she was. It was her room.

She let her eyes wander, landing on Sora who lay sprawled across the couch at the far end of the room. He was breathing lightly. He was still asleep. Something in her chest constricted. Had he stayed with her? Why would he have done that? She tried to clear her head, to figure out how long she had been out. She looked out the window, using the moon. Forty-eight hours, give or take, by her estimate. She looked at the man who was her betrothed once more.

A small light burned in her eyes, despite the hollow, dead look she exuhmed. Suddenly she didn't want to be alone. She placed her bare feet on the floor, silently standing up. For a few seconds, she didn't move, she only stared at the Pure Blood on her couch, before gliding over to him like a ghost. She knelt next to him, laying her head on his chest, clutching at his shirt. She took him in in every way she could, the way he felt, his scent. She was alone, so very alone. And it made her heart hurt.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"I will not fail to protect you a third time. I will stay by yourside for now and forever until you get sick of me."




Sora nodded towards Hikaru as his brother spoke. He glanced down at Nicole's unconscious form and knelled down, stroking a few strands of hair from her face. He could see the dried tears crusting around her eyes, and he wiped them away with the back of his forefinger. He sighed before lifting her gently, much how like Hikaru lifted Shizuka, and nodded once more towards his brother. He then walked towards the Moon Dormitory, being as gentle as he could with the woman in his arms. Once he made it inside the dorm, he made for her room and found it with ease. It had her scent all over it, so it wouldn't be that hard to find. He placed her upon her bed as softly as he could as to not disturb her.

Once he was satisfied, he walked towards her bathroom, grabbing a bowl and towel in the process. She wasn't injured, but she had blood staining her face and parts of her arm from him. He pulled a chair next to her bed and began rubbing the various blood spots from her face and arms. Her clothes needed to be changed, however; Sora was too much of a decent man to undress her himself. Instead, he called for one of the female vampires and had her change Nicole while he waited outside of her room. Once the female was done, he went back inside and placed the covers over her. He could see the pained expression upon her face, and it only caused a similar expression to cross his.

He felt so useless. After living a bit over six centuries, he should have had the capability to protect others. To protect her. She was his betrothed, his fiance, more importantly, she was his. Though it was her decision if he would be hers, he wasn't going to push her into something that would make her uncomfortable. He didn't want that for anyone. Sighing, he released the band that held his blue locks in place and glanced around, spotting the blue tiger he had purchased for her. Smiling softly, he grabbed the creature and placed it next to her, settling it so that she appeared to be clutching it.

The next day, Sora and Hikaru, along with a majority of the Night Class managed to erase all of the Day Class students' memories, however; the Night Class could not get their mind off of the events. That was the butt of gossip during that day. They were frightened of the first beast, but now there were three of them. They knew the identity of the first beast, the white one that attacked them the first time. And they were not sure how to feel about that. Some opted to go to the council about it while the others proposed to deal with the problem now. This had Sora's blood boiling. He stood suddenly, eyes darkened in the process.

"No one will do anything. She is not the threat. Did you forget? She saved your lives last night. She could have refused to help you all and allowed that black beast to annihilate you all. If it were not for her, you would have all died," he stated in an eeriely cold voice. There were still objections coming from some of the others while the ones who were quiet were still contemplating the situation. The fact remained either way: she was dangerous. What if those two beasts were here because of her? What if she was the cause of all the death roaming the halls of Cross Academy. Surely the Headmaster wouldn't allow such a thing to continue to attend the Academy.

The second day found Sora asleep on the couch of Nicole's room. The soft rising and falling of his chest signaled that he was in a deep sleep. He was only disturbed from it when he felt something laying on his chest and clutching him tightly. He opened his eyes quickly and spotted Nicole kneeling in front of him, her head burried into his chest as she clung to him. He sighed softly, moving so that his arms encircled her form and pulled her up to her feet. Once she was off the floor, he pulled her towards him, settling her so that she was craddled in his lap as she still clung to him. He rubbed her hair in a comforting manner.

"Nikki," he began as he paused. What could he possibly tell her? She had lost her sister, her family. There was an anguish filling her up and he couldn't do anything about it. "I'm here Nikki, I'm not going anywhere," he stated softly, setting his chin atop her head as he continued to hold her. If he could bring a little bit of comfort to her, like this, then he would hold her until she decided she had enough of him. He didn't want to fail her a third time by leaving her.




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"I've seen these hands before...in a dream not mine. Who do they belong to? Who are they?"




Whispers.

Words were echoing through a dark hole, however; no sound could be heard. The only thing visible was a pair of lips moving, talking as if conversing casually with another pair of lips. The smaller ones, more defined and shaped feminine, slowly tilted into a smile. They then spoke another word before dissolving into nothing. The background faded as Shizuka watched as the sky became apparent. Indigo, orange, and violet painted the sky in a beautiful twilight. Two lone figures stood a top a hill, standing beneath a large weeping willow. Words were once again being exchanged, however; small fragments could be heard.

"It is my choice."

"It doesn't have to be."

Shizuka frowned in confusion. What was happening? Who were these two people? She tried calling out to them, but found she had no voice. The woman, she held onto the man's hand, almost as if to beg him not to leave, however; the male only shook his head. Something was familiar about him, something Shizuka couldn't pinpoint. She continued to watch as the man turned to face the woman, cupping her cheek in his hand as he did so. Shizuka could see the faint glistening of something. Was it tears? She couldn't tell, but then, the man was gone. Shizuka glanced around as she was shrouded in darkness again. She was so confused. Who were those people? Why was she dreaming of them? She turned around, only to find herself staring into bright amber eyes. For the first time, Shizuka felt fear.




"Shizuka!" a voice called out to a young Shizuka. Her violet eyes turned to the source and spotted a young boy, hair the color of the black sky and eyes that rivaled the moon. He ran over towards her, something in his hands as a smile littered his face. Shizuka canted her head to the side, trying to remember who this boy was. A frown marred his face in the process as he noted the confusion. He pouted his lips as his hands dropped to the side. "You don't remember me? How could you not? You did this to me," he stated as his body began to morph.

It became a grotesque figure, his innards hanging out as his throat was slashed open. Shizuka's eyes widened in fear as the boy began bleeding every where. His arms were being torn from him, his eye's hanging from their sockets as blood coated the area. "How could you forget your cousin and what you did to him?" a voice resonated through the darkness. It sounded eerily familiar, like it belonged to someone she knew, or previously tussled with. A single word left her lips, the sound of a name passing through but failed to reach her ears.

"Mordecai"




Shizuka sat up in bed, her body coated in sweat as it dripped from her forehead and down her arms. Her breathing was heavy and her hand shot to her forehead, resting it there as she tried to control her breaths. Who were those people? The man and the woman? She didn't know who they were, why were they plaguing her dreams? How long was she out? The dream, it seemed so real, as if she had been re-living it. She sighed before noticing she was in a fresh pair of clothing and her wounds had been cleaned and were already healing. Her bones were still sore, however; she merely frowned. Mordecai, that name assaulted her like a needle piercing her brain and it was painful.

He was her cousin. She had killed her cousin when she was younger, when she first turned. How could she have forgotten that? She clutched her sheets tightly, turning her knuckles white in the process. She could feel something warm falling from the corners of her eyes as her brows furrowed. All she brought was death to those around her. She was death incarnate, and she hated it. She didn't want to be the one responsible for killing innocent people. She wouldn't feel so bad if they actually deserved death, however; the ones she killed didn't. They didn't deserve it, least of all Mordecai. He had been so frightened that night and all he tried to do was comfort the scared Shizuka.

She buried her head into her knee's, allowing the tears to fall from her eyes in the process. Once she felt them fall no more, she ripped the sheets off of her body, taking long strides to her closet as she redressed herself into her uniform. She pulled her hair into a ponytail, exposing the mark in the process. Her eyes narrowed in on that atrocious thing that covered her. She would get rid of it one way or another. Whether she would like it or not, she would rid herself of the mark, even if she had to kill Esaias to do it. She had another destination in mind though. She needed to find someone. Her pride, she needed to swallow it. This was the path she was choosing to walk.

Honing in on the scent she was looking for, she walked briskly to find the one she was looking for. Once she found him, she stood in front of him, locking her mahogany irises with his violet ones. This wasn't an easy thing for her to do, and least of all it was the last thing she wanted to do. But if she wanted to keep this under control, if she wanted to stop being Death, then she needed to learn. If he could teach her, she needed to swallow that pride of hers and accept it. She needed someone. And it was unfortunate that she needed him. With her mind made up, she sighed slowly through her nose.

"Teach me."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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“Fate plays games with me.”


The gentle susurrations of the leaves canopied above his head were soothing to Hikaru, and even as he propped his back against the trunk of an ancient oak, he felt that irrevocable connection to the natural world reengage, giving him the distinct feeling of feeling at home. He was and would always be a child of two worlds, torn between them and tormented by the irreconcilable divide in his very nature. But the vampire was quietly discontent, the beast much louder, and it was it that needed the soothing, lest it overtake him completely. His other half despised this quasi-enslavement to the whims of a baser creature, but at least he was rational enough to do what he must.

Laying his recently-cleaned sword beside his knee, he tipped his head back, pressing the crown of his head into the bark behind him, and breathed deeply of the scent of the forest—loamy earth, fresh flowers, rain on the horizon and the sharper tint of pine. This was also his scent, overlaid with the distinctive musk of something humanoid and masculine and strong, but at base, he smelled like the forest, at least for the moment.

Amethyst eyes fell closed, and the memories started to flit about behind his eyelids. He had come to understand something very important about Esaias over the intervening days that he’d spent processing what he’d learned, and what he knew now disturbed him deeply. If he were a better man, he might have even felt some measure of sympathy for the man, but what he’d done was in so many ways unforgivable that all trace of that softer feeling was erased entirely. He knew now, both in his rational mind and his instinctual one, that the two of them were not meant to exist at the same time. They could not—the world had room for but a single abomination of their kind, and containing two was bound to tilt their existences too far on the axes of fate—until one of them fell off an into the endless dark.

It was strangely similar to a line of thought he’d heard, interwoven with the rest of the visual memories. Neither can live while the other survives. Esaias believed that this was meant to refer to vampires and werewolves, but Hikaru was no longer so certain. Were they both not living proof that both could exist simultaneously? Or perhaps they were as he had always known—abominations, not worthy of the life in their bodies, destined to die as time cleansed itself of this mistake. But maybe… all it meant was that there was only to be one of them, and the other must die. He could feel the instinctual enmity there, settled deeply in his bones. He had not felt it for Shizuka; fighting her had been fun, in a way, and felt like the natural course of things. Fighting Esaias had never been anything other than a bare contest for survival, and both of them had known it.

For all that he knew now, there was still much he did not understand. Hikaru was trying to put the thoughts from his mind when a familiar scent drifted towards him on the gentle breeze, and some part of him lamented that his life would never again allow him rest or peace. Repose was for other people, it seemed—and the truth of things would be his, even if he didn’t want it.

He opened his eyes as she approached, and stood as she entered the clearing. Her wounds seemed to have properly closed, without infection, and he tried to suppress the small flicker of relief he felt for that, dismissing it as rightful concern for a temporary ally. Her words were much more demand than request, but that was a farce, and they both knew that beyond doubting. She was swallowing a lot of pride to stand before him like this, and Hotaru may have been inclined to take advantage of that. Hikaru just wanted her to go away and leave him alone, but his mother’s voice in his head reminded him that it was the right thing to do, and he was a man of his word, besides. He’d said he would do this if she asked it of him, or at least implied it, and regardless of which part of him had made the commitment, he was bound to it.

He maintained their eye contact for a few more seconds, then inclined his head. “Do not wear the earrings again. The only thing that will inure you to the beast’s influence is exposure. You must learn how to be the stronger presence as often as possible.” Reaching forward, he removed them himself with surprising gentleness, sliding the silver pieces of jewelry into a pocket. “I will keep them for you, and return them when you need them no longer.” He paused, lingering on the mark on her neck, then exhaled through his nose.

“Transform. Focus on keeping your own thoughts as well as the instincts you are presented with. And do not concern yourself too much. I will not allow you to hurt anyone, and we both know you would have great difficulty hurting me.” Hotaru would have said it with arrogance; Hikaru only meant it as a statement of fact.

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"And sometimes, the darkest of monsters are those who are supposed to be the ones who protect us, those we are meant to trust."


Nicole easily adjusted as Sora sat up and pulled her into his lap. She could feelhis chin atop her head. She was comfortable like this. She felt safe in his arms, like it didn't matter that Naya was gone. Well, that was overstating it. It was more like it didn't hurt as much, knowing she was gone. She sighed softly when he spoke. "Have you been here for two days?" Her voice came out scratchy, and soft, from disuse. She had been sleeping for two days.

A long, sleek black car pulled up to the gates of Cross Academy, and a tall man stepped out, adjusting his suit as he did so. Stone grey eyes took in his surroundings, and with an elegance unatainable by any human beings, he strode to the moon dorm. He knocked once, and the door was answered by a young Noble, whose eyes widened with fear and apprehension. After all, Sebastian Edyta was a Pure Blood, and had bever graced the Academy with his presence before. The boy could only silently point in the direction of where he could find his daughter, and he silently strode off, following the scent of his oldest, and now only, daughter.

When he reached the door and laid his hand on the knob, he paused as a new scent came to his nostrils. The Akarui heir was here. He cocked his head in slight amusement. They were betrothed, after all, so he suppose he should not be surprised. Though after tonight, that would no longer be truthful. Without more hesitation or even so much as a knock, Sebastian entered his daughters' room. Without a word, he silently bridged the space between himself and Nicole, grabbing her by the hair and forcibly slamming her face-first into the wall behind the sofa she had previously been sitting on. "You will tell me why you let your sister die, Nicole."

Blood ran from Nicole's nose and from the cuts on her scalp where her fathers' claws had dug into her. She was far too dazed to answer him at first. She could not even gather her thoughts, let alone speak. When she did manage something, she had only one coherent thought, which she unwittingly spoke out loud. "What are you doing here?"

Sebastians' nostrils flared as his grey eyes burned with a cold rage. He flung Nicole to the side, his claws tearing into her throat as he did so. He strode over to where she lay in a crumpled heap, one hand clamped to her throat, glaring coldly at him. A slightly smug grin pased over his face. She had the defiance of the woman that was his sister and his wife, and her mother. Nicole had never been one to submit to him, not like Naya had done.

Suddenly Nicole's eyes widened as a look of pure pain passed over her face, her body contorting ino an awkward kneeling position that was not possible under normal circumstances. She let out soft whimpering noises as he made her bend over, her face to the floor. This had not been the first time she had dealt with this, but in her weakened state, she did not have the strength to fight him this time. "You did not answer my question, girl." He hissed the last word at her.


Sora smiled softly against Nicole's head as she adjusted herself. He could hear the faint beating of her heart in a soothing rhythm and it was a nice feeling knowing he was bringing a sense of comfort to her. After all she had been through, she needed this more than anything. And he wasn't going to deny her anything. Whatever she wanted, if it were within his power, he would provide it for her. For now, all he could do was offer her the warmth he provided to help calm her nerves. He chuckled at her question and removed his head, glancing down so that he was staring at her. For two days, he had been here. Granted that the first day he spent trying to calm the Night Class down, but he had spent most of the second day here.

"Well, I suppose you could say that. What kind of fiance would I be if I just left you by yourself?[/b]" he replied in a playful manner, trying to get her to smile. His eyes softened a bit though at the sound of her voice. It was tired, almost as if she had been screaming her lungs out, which she had, but she should have healed by now. Vampires were not susceptible to viruses or illnesses like humans were. And not only that, she was a pure-blood. She should have had a more resilient regeneration. He then placed his chin back on her head, eyes immediately fixed upon the door when someone opened it.

"Edyta?" Sora stated out, tilting his head in confusion. Before he knew it, Nicole was ripped from his arms by the older pure-blood. Sora was confused, and as such, he remained glued to his spot as Sebastian began his torment on Nicole. What was Sebastian doing? Why was he here? That was answered when he spoke to Nicole, asking her why she had let her sister die. That wasn't right, Nicole wasn't at fault. She had tried everything to make her sister happy, to console her after the death of Dairen. She had tried everything in her power to heal Naya. Something snapped in the back of Sora's mind when Sebastian began using that god-forsaken power of his.

Sora knew about the other pure-blood's ability to manipulate blood once it was exposed, however; he was causing Nicole pain, and she didn't deserve that. Without a moments hesitation, Sora was up from the couch and slamming into the back of Sebastian, forcing the both of them into the wall. He might not have been as old as Sebastian, but Sora was only twenty years shy of the pure-blood. They would be on equal grounds in terms of strength. Sora's eyes flashed crimson as they bore into Sebastian's grey pools. He bared his fangs at Sebastian as he gripped the man's throat tightly.

"You have no right to touch her that way," he stated, his hand gripping Sebastian's throat tighter. The older pure-blood gripped at Sora's hand, but he ignored the claws tearing into his flesh. He was angry. This man had just attacked Nicole for no apparent reason and then had the audacity to do it in front of Sora. That would not pass by so easily for him. "Apologize or I will snap your neck in half and rip out that heart of yours," he demanded, throwing the older male to the floor with much force that he left a dent in the wood.


Sebastian was slightly surprised when he felt himself being attacked, however; the placid look on his face never changed, save for a flash of amusement that passed over it when the boy tried to force him to apologize. The boy had some nerve, asking him somthing like that. "I believe that I have every right, the girl is my daughter, and only your betrothed. Think about what you say, boy. The Council will not take to kindly to my life being threatened, and I highly doubt they would think twice about executing you should you kill me, which I do not doubt you have the power to do so."

He had managed to at least loosen Sora's hand enough to speak. But it was shadows that separated them. Sebastian raised a slight eyebrow when his daughter restrained Sora. Sebatian stood up, not even sparing a glance for the girl. "You would do well to learn control of that temper, Akarui. I also suggest that you begin your search for a new bride. The Edyta lost both its daughters two nights ago. I have no use for someone who will not even protect her own."

And with that, it was over. Nicole had used every ounce of control she possed in order to drag her betrothed off of her father. Wrong or not, she would not allow Sora to threaten himself in order to protect her. She lowered her eyes as Sebastian claimed she was dead. It was odd. For so long, she had wanted nothing more than to get away from her father. So why did she feel so hollow inside now that he held no claim over her? She coughed once Sebastian left the room. She drew her hand away from her neck, her vision hazy. A grim smile crossed her lips. She had gone far too long without feeding. It was effecting her ability to heal.


Sora's eyes narrowed at the Edyta pure-blood. Had he just threatened Sora? Did he think he was the only one on the seat of the council with any influence whatsoever? He'd be doing them a favor, getting rid of the older male. The Edyta pure-blood was not exactly well-liked, even amongst his own kind, however; the only reason why he was still alive was because there wasn't a pure-blood around who really cared to eliminate the Edyta pure-blood. Oh, but Sora could feel his blood boiling to the point that little cracks of lightning were at his finger tips in an instant.

"I've no need of words from you Edyta. And I have no need to search for a new bride. I already have one," he spat out as Sebastian left. He wanted to destroy that pathetic excuse for a vampire, however; the smell of blood caused him to calm down and focus on Nicole. He sighed, his eyes retaining the golden color they once were as he made his way to her. He moved her hand away from her neck and noticed she wasn't healing properly. "When was the last time you fed?" he asked, eyes focused on the wounds. Shaking his head, he sighed and pulled Nicole's head close to his own neck, tilting it slightly so that she could get better leverage.

"Take it, I'm not giving you any other option," he stated. As if to enforce that, his hand gripped tightly against her own to prevent her from leaving, however, it was still gentle enough so that he didn't hurt her. She was losing too much blood and if this continued, she would eventually die. Pure-blood or not, the loss of blood in both humans and vampires was still a dire situation. And he didn't want to lose her.


It didn't matter how much she would protest or she tried to pull away; Nicole wasn't going anywhere, and she knew it. Still, a part of her hated this. She shouldn't be forced into a position where she didn't have a choice, even if the alternative was death. For a split-second she thought about just sitting there, holding him until she died. Then the true nature of her spirit kicked in, along with an almost overwhelming urge to live, not only just for the sake of living, but to be able to live with him. Her eyes turned crimson as she bit into his neck.

In the space between them, her hands fisted into his shirt. When she released him, she flicked her tounge over the wounds she had left. She then rested her forehead on his shoulder. She wasn't quite sure why, but she suddenly felt the need to explain. "I'm one of the few of our kind whose body cannot accept the blood tablets. Naya was the same. So, we fed off of each other. That's something that cannot ever happen again. You shouldn't have done that."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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"I shouldn't have? But I did, and you cannot undo what has been done."




Sora could feel the resistance rolling off of Nicole, and he merely sighed. She didn't want to take his blood, but there was no other choice. They were not in possession of any blood pills, and there he wasn't going to allow another vampire to feed her. He silently scoffed at that thought. He shouldn't be thinking of things at a time like this. It was then that he felt her pierce his skin with her fangs, and a small smile crossed his lips. At least she was drinking now, and she'd be able to recover faster. The longer she went without feeding, Sora was almost afraid that she'd starve herself. When she released him, she spoke in a hushed whisper that Sora almost missed what she said.

"What do you mean? Are you ashamed of feeding from me? If that's the case then I'm sorry, but" he paused, removing himself so that he could see Nicole's face. He moved a few strands of loose hair from her face to the back of her ear and smiled, "I wouldn't forgive myself if something happened to you," he stated, offering her a bright smile, hoping she would see that it was okay, that he didn't mind. He sighed, running a hand through his hair as he placed his arm behind his head, standing in an awkward position. If her body rejected the blood pills, and Naya was her source of blood, how would she get it now?

"You can't just not feed though. You'll starve, and I won't allow that so," he started, turning so that he fixed her with his golden gaze, all traces of playfulness gone and replaced by a serious notion. "I'll be your supply," he concluded, placing a hand on her shoulder in the process and cupping her neck. His eyes softened a bit as he stared at her. He might not have been able to protect her twice, but he wasn't going to allow her to starve. She mattered to him, more so than he thought was possible, and he was going to do everything he could to keep her happy. Even if she wanted him to leave, but then again, that thought caused his eyes to fall a bit.

"Unless you have another family member or another supply," he stated, a bit of disappointment laced in his voice. "Of course, I won't force you. I will let you decide. When you do, I'll be waiting for you," he finished, the smile returning to his face. He released her and walked out of her dorm, making his way towards his own. He meant every single word he said. When she made her decision, he would be there waiting for her, no matter what she decided to do. So why did that though scare him a bit?




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"Easier said than done."




Shizuka did not move when Hikaru removed her earrings. There was, however, a slight chill running down her spine. She had always relied on those earrings to keep her beast at bay. They were crafted by her father as a means to keep her from going on a rampage throughout the compound. It was their insurance of sorts. Her eyes narrowed at the thought, another wave of memories assaulting her in the process. She wasn't their daughter, but their trophy. She could see them through the eyes of her beast attacking her, stating what an exquisite creature it would make to their collection.

"I can't transform, it's not a full moon. I cannot just transform on whim," she stated, crossing her arms in the process. She wouldn't be here asking for his help if she could do that. If she could transform on her own, then she would have had some control over her beast form. She sighed, releasing her arms. "Whatever, I'll try," she stated, closing her eyes in the process. She cleared her mind, or attempted to. The noise of the forest, his scent, it was distracting. Her brows furrowed in the process as she tried to search for her beast. She let out an aggravated sigh. She was getting no where with this. She could feel the frustration bubbling within and it was causing her to become angry. Then, she heard a voice. Eyes closed, she rose a confused brow.

"Focus on not just the beast, but becoming one with it. You cannot tame a creature meant to be wild. Let it loose, let it free," Shizuka tilted her head in confusion at the voice. She recognized it as the one from her dream. Who was that lady? What did she know of the beast? Shizuka released the thought from her mind as she tried to focus. She could feel the familiar burning sensation within her limbs, the painful stretching of her bones as her hair once more took upon the white coloration and her eyes, the golden hues. She opened her eyes and stared at Hikaru, however; she could feel herself losing the battle with consciousness.

She fell to her knee's, gripping her head as the pain continued to spread through her body. The beast was threatening to come out, threatening to take over, but she couldn't let it. Instead, a feral growl escaped her throat as she clutched the earth, digging up the grass and felt it coating her hands. She gritted her teeth as her hair began receding and taking on hues of red, giving it a light pink hue. It was flickering between scarlet and white before retaining the white shade permanently. Her eyes were glazed over as her body shifted fully. The white beast stood once more, snarling at anything her eyes could be fixed upon. And currently that was Hikaru. Her human side lost to her beast.

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"Ashamed is not the right word, and that wasn't what I meant."



Nicole let out a soft sigh. It had not been so long ago that the thought of offering herself to him had crossed her mind. So why did she feel mortified at thought of him doing the same for her? She watched his back as he left. Why did he infuriate her so? The way her skin unnerved her to a great extent, and she didn't know why. Still, she realized they had some things to talk about.

But she needed to clean herself up first, as she looked down and realized she was still covered in blood, most of it now dried. So, without further interruption, Nicole stood up and walked to the bathrooms. She took a shower, standing under the hot water for a long time, thinking.

So much So much ran through her head. Dairen and Nya's death, Shizuka and Hikaru being werewolves, the odd third werewolf that no one knew the identity of, her father's disownment of her. And Sora offering to be her supply. Suddenly it realized why it bothered her so much. Her father had disowned her, perhaps not publicly yet, but word would soon get out.

Nicole had no family that way. She had no claim to anyone or anything. As such, there was no reason for her to marry, or for Sora to marry her. So why would he offer to be her source of blood? She sighed, watching the pink water run down the drain. It made little sense to her.

She dried off with a towel, and dressed in simle, black clothing. A pair of jeans and a black, long-sleeved top that exposed her shoulders and the tips of her scar. She left her hair wet. She wasn't in the mood to bother with it. Steeling herself, and wondering why she felt so odd, she followed Sora's scent, and knocked on his door.

When he answered, she gave him a pointed look and said, "You lied to me. You do know the second werewolf, the silver one. Though I can clearly understand why you lied. I would have, too, in your siuation."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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“War is the wrong metaphor. The essence of this lesson is not a victory or a loss, but a reconciliation.”


Hikaru watched impassively as she tried to reach for her beast, offering no means of assistance for the most part. Once, he had thought as she did: that the creature inside himself was something to be always contained, always suppressed, and never anything but hated. He could not lie and say that even now, he did not hate it, but he had learned that total suppression was not the answer. It fought that—beasts did not like to be caged. But they could be bargained with. His own bargainings were flawed, and had resulted in the twisted reflection of himself that was Hotaru, but that was at least in part due to the fact that he was also another kind of beast: a vampire, a creature that fed on the blood of others. His two halves were diametrically opposed; it was hardly surprising that he himself had split to accommodate them. What Esaias had become was even worse still.

But she… she might be able to come to true accord, actual harmony with the creature inside herself, as Hotaru had managed to do, for the most part. Her struggles initially seemed in vain, but then she began to change. Still Hikaru did not move, his hands folded calmly into his sleeves. He sensed the exact moment she surrendered, and exhaled heavily through his nose. Someone had taught her poorly, if she thought she could not coexist with it, that one of them had to be the master.

At least she didn’t run right off to kill anything. Hikaru maintained his own form. There were limited things he could teach her should he transform as well—it would probably only aggravate her fight instinct more than he did already. And that was quite a lot; he knew this because she had the exact same effect on him. Even now, against his will, he could feel the adrenaline in him, heightening his every sense to the pinnacle of sentient perfection, because she was here.

Part of it was what it always was: the desire for territory and dominion, to establish himself as the Alpha he knew he was. But part of it was something else, something that itched and burned and sang in his blood at uncomfortable pitch. He could feel Hotaru stirring, the glee in his darker half pointed enough to disturb him. While Hikaru viewed Shizuka with an even mix morbid curiosity and mild disgust, Hotaru wanted nothing more than to be under her skin, in her thoughts, and the focus of her existence. He wanted that with people generally, really—it was part of his general lust for the regard and attention of others that Hikaru did not need. But She was somehow different, and the desire more urgent in ways he could not explain.

His hair took on frosty highlights, and one of his eyes turned red, but Hikaru otherwise retained control of himself for the moment at least. This was too important to trust the flighty, fickle, deceptive one with. “Shizuka,” he said, hiding well his alarm at the fact that Hotaru was so close to the surface already. “Look at me. Look only at me.” Directing her focus was important—his tone brooked little argument, but it was not straightforwardly combative. “This is not a matter of war and surrender. It is a negotiation.” She needed to understand that she could not fight the creature and win if she wished to survive without slaying others. She needed to make peace with this part of herself, however tenuous that peace may be.

“I know you’re in there, She-Wolf.” He took a step forward, locking eyes with the creature. “Return to me.” His aura flared slightly as he said it, exerting the latent dominance of his other self—a creature that was used to commanding and being obeyed, whatever shape he was in. It wasn’t quite an open challenge, not yet. Just a reminder… of who had overcome whom last they engaged. And a promise, that the same would happen should the situation reassert itself. Hopefully, she would regain some rational control before that needed to happen. Hikaru did not relish the thought of transforming himself at the moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"One must achieve harmony in order to coexist with the monster within."




Ears flat against her head, Shizuka bared her fangs at Hikaru. She didn't like this creature, and it didn't help from their previous encounter that she wanted nothing more than to destroy him. He had forced her, her to submit and that was something that struck a deep cord to her pride. Not only as a beast, but as a creature always asserting their dominance over others. To have been dominated in such a way, it was like something had cut deep into her bones and caused her such excruciating pain. It wasn't something she was used to, and definitely not willing to repeat. Her eyes remained locked on his form as he began talking. She, as a creature, understood nothing he spoke. It all came out as grunts and snarls to her. Although they were not, to her, they sounded like challenges being made, and she stood her ground until his aura flared.

She bared her fangs, tongue swiping over her canines as she took a step back, all four paws digging into the ground. Her breathing evened out as she remained locked in a heated gaze with the male in front of her. She hated the feeling of whatever this was. The feeling of wanting to dominate the creature that had dominated her so easily. She wanted to prove that she and not he, was the superior creature, however; there was something that clicked in the back of her mind as her eyes glazed over slightly, her instinct to fight receding temporarily. Shizuka opened her mahogany eyes, floating in a deep abyss as a fraction of light pierced through the veil. She squinted her eyes, trying to adjust to the light that blinded her so.

"Shizuka," there was that voice again. She managed to adjust her eyes in time to see a woman, beautiful golden locks flowing gently behind her with piercing blue eyes that felt as if they would peel off Shizuka's skin. She was wrapped in a white cloth that Shizuka couldn't quite pin what it was. "Shizuka, you must not fight it. It isn't a contest of who is the dominate one. It is to come to an understanding that you need each other," the woman spoke, hand reaching out to caress Shizuka's face. The woman smiled at the confused look upon Shizuka's face and merely shook her head.

"What are talking about? If I am not the one in control, then the beast will be let loose upon everyone. I can't afford that," Shizuka retorted as her eyes hardened. The woman shook her head, a sad sigh leaving her lips. She was confused. How could she need something so...vile? She didn't ask to be born with this curse. She didn't ask to be born at all. The woman's eyes saddened greatly at that thought, causing Shizuka to frown. Could she hear her thoughts? The woman floated closer to Shizuka, taking her arms in her hands before pulling her into a warm embrace.

"It is a gift, Shizuka. It is not a curse. It is a gift that will allow you to protect those you love, to protect those you must," the woman whispered softly against Shizuka's hair. Something warm fell against Shizuka's cheek as it ran down her face. "I couldn't, but you can. But you must also learn that it is a great responsibility, one you cannot share alone. Let him help. Do not fight him," she stated, causing Shizuka to tilt her head in confusion. Let who help? It was then that she heard her name being called, and she turned towards the source. Through golden eyes, she could see Hikaru, talking and keeping eye contact with her. She turned to face the woman, however; the woman was gone. In her place sat her beast.

Shizuka glared at the creature as its fangs were gleaming, bared in a stance of challenge. She merely kept it's gaze, a chill crawling down her spine in the process. The wolf stood, it's paws digging into the black veil as it walked towards her, baring it's fangs still in a challenging manner. There was only one thing Shizuka truly wanted. She wanted him dead, the one who was responsible for the mark on her neck, the deaths of the students at the festival, and attacking her friends. She could feel the wolf's hot breath against her face as it stood merely centimeters away. Her hand reached out to the wolf, grasping it's nose in a surprising gentle manner. The wolf merely growled loudly, it's lips twitching as Shizuka scratched the bridge.

"I do not need you. You are the one who needs me. Without me, you would not be here. You would cease to exist until the next unfortunate soul inherits you, however; who knows how long before you are reborn again," she stated, hand still gliding over the bridge of the wolf's nose. The wolf growled as if to disagree with that statement. "You have killed my family, those vampires, and have scarred countless others. You will not do so again, but," she paused, glancing back through the golden veil of the wolf's eyes. She could see Hikaru take a step towards her as he demanded that she return, to him. She scoffed before returning her attention towards the beast once more.

"Give me Esaias," the wolf stipulated. "Give me Esaias and I will be at your whim, however; fail to deliver him to me shall result in the annihilation of those you love," it continued as Shizuka's gaze hardened once more. She couldn't deny the boiling feeling in her blood at the mention of that man's name. It was he who marked her with his mark, and the wolf in her had loathed it. She loathed the thought of belonging to anyone but him, her precious Judai, but even then that thought seemed wrong. The wolf laughed at that thought. "You poor child. You do not know do you? Even if you had loved him, he was not yours. Esaias was right about one thing, a wolf only chooses one mate for the rest of its life. Esaias believes it to be you, however; you are not his," the wolf mocked her as Shizuka shook her head.

"You forget. I belong to no one, but I will comply with your demand. Esaias will pay for what he has done," Shizuka retorted as the wolf smiled a wolfish grin. She could feel her bones snapping back into place as her frame shifted, however; her eyes remained the golden hue and her hair the snow-white sheen it once retained. "What makes you think I would ever return to you," she stated to Hikaru, however; it was stated in a mocking tone as a smirk played on her lips.




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"Lies are told to protect those we love, but in the end, they only end up hurting them."




Sora couldn't explain the clenching feeling of his heart nor why it hurt so much. With the events that came to pass, there was a lot weighing on his mind. The first was the first incident with Shizuka, when she first appeared within the classroom before Hikaru had intervened. How could he have not known that she was that creature. Looking back on it, the scent of cinnamon had filled the room almost as strongly as the scent of blood. But then again, he wasn't focused on the scents littering the room, but the vampires that were being torn to pieces. There was nothing he could have done. If he had learned anything from Hikaru, it was that the wolf's blood wouldn't allow his own ability, nor the others, to be used to subdue her. There was literally nothing he could have done, but that did not change the fact that he should have done something.

The next was the festival, when the third one appeared. How many werewolves were there in the world? Hikaru did not count amongst them for he was not a werewolf but he was neither vampire. He was a creature stuck in between. The third creature had shifted fully like Shizuka had, however; it was evident that he was much stronger than she. More-so that he had managed to stand toe-to-toe with Hikaru. That alone caused Sora to worry. If that creature was as strong as his brother, then what exactly was it? Hikaru had shown just how much stronger he was than Shizuka, she being a pure-blooded werewolf, or as far as he could tell. Was the third one like Hikaru? Sora shook his head of the thoughts as they traveled back to Nikki and what had happened.

She had lost her sister. Her sister tried to commit suicide during the attack, and would have succeeded had she not been a pure-blood. It was why he had dealt the final blow to the young girl. Sora glanced at his hand as he reached towards the ceiling. His hands were clean, but they still felt so dirty. He could smell her blood still lingering on them, mixing in with Sebastian's. His eyes narrowed at the thought of the older Edyta pure-blood. There was no doubt in his mind that Sebastian would be informing his father of Nicole being disowned. He frowned at that thought. His father had never been a key factor in his life, and it wasn't until recently, when he announced the engagement to the Edyta pure-blood's daughter, that Sora even saw his father.

Heisuke was never one to be part of the family, however; if Sebastian told Heisuke that he no longer had heir's, then Heisuke would call of the engagement and shove Sora to another. He frowned at that thought. He wasn't a bargaining chip to be placed wherever his father saw accordingly. He was a pure-blood vampire, one who wanted to see much more of the world than he had with his mother and brother. He wanted to see that world with her, his current fiance. He wanted to share that with Nicole. He sighed, running a hand through his hair in the process. What had become of him in these last few days, weeks? He had never felt the desire to protect someone so much as he wanted to protect her, and having failed her twice, it only caused him to doubt if he'd be able to truly do so.

Perhaps, if the engagement is called off, she can find someone who was stronger than he was, someone who would be able to protect her. There was a soft knock on his door, causing him to sit up from his bed in the process. He could smell her through the door, and he debated whether or not he should answer it. Of course, it would be hypocritical of him not to answer it. He did, after all, state that he would be here for her once she made her decision. He took a deep breath and released it slowly. He stood from his bed and slowly made his way towards his door. There was a sense of anxiety running through his being, and it only intensified when he opened the door and ushered her inside. Once she was seated, her statement caught Sora off guard. He swallowed thickly before releasing the breath he wasn't aware he was holding.

"I didn't want to lie, but I had no choice. Hikaru and I were sworn to secrecy by our mother to never share what he was with others. But, I suppose there was no going passed you. I hope you can forgive me for lying to you, but honestly, I was trying to protect you. Fine job I'm doing so far," he stated, a bitter chuckle leaving his lips in the process. "I did not lie though when I said I didn't know the first one, but now I know her identity as are you I am sure," he stated, referring to Shizuka's transformation in front of the whole school. The Day Class wouldn't remember it, however; keeping the vampires of the Night Class in a hushed whisper about it was going to be difficult.

"I have no worries of those two, but it's the third one that...sends chills down my spine. I do not know who he is or what he wants," he continued, sitting cross-legged in front of Nicole. His golden gaze stared at where her wounds once were and a small smile of relief plagued his lips. At least she could heal properly now. He took in a slow breath, releasing it just as slowly as his gaze never left hers. "I can understand if you are upset with me though," he stated, his smile returning to his lips as it brightened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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“Bargaining with a beast is always a dangerous proposition.”


She seemed to retreat inside herself, and he could sense the internal bargaining she was doing with herself. Perhaps, had he no sense of irony, he would have told her that treating Shizuka and the creature as different entities was a fundamental mistake—they were, in fact, one and the same person. But he would have been a hypocrite indeed if he expected her to act like that. He had not two people in him, but three, a poor showing for anyone who wished to speak of the oneness of his parts. He would let her do this much her own way. It was the only way that any of it would work, regardless.

She struggled, and he changed as well, the harsh-but-mannered Hikaru receding until the deceptively-gentle, sensual, and generally sociopathic Hotaru was dominant inside his mind. He watched with interest as she returned to something like her own being, but like him, this form was still a little bit… wolfish. His grin stretched wide when she spoke to him, flashing the pearly-white of his fangs, prominent especially in this form. “Perhaps,” he said with a touch of amusement flashing in his reddened eyes, “because you have.”

He clasped his hands behind his back as he said it, leaning far enough forward that their noses were only a few inches apart, and his smile grew for just a moment, but then he leaned back again and cocked his head to the side. “Now then, while you’re here, perhaps it will behoove you to sharpen your senses. Like a sword, they do much better when honed, no? Close your eyes, and tell me what you smell.”

Shizuka rolled her eyes at his statement, clasping her arms over her chest in the process. It didn't help her temper much when he leaned forward, their noses barely inches apart, and his scent assaulted her senses. She scrunched up her nose in the process as he leaned back. She was very tempted to bite his nose, but she refrained. She released a quick breath through her nose, as if to expel the scent and it's unpleasant feeling it caused her. "If you see it that way," she retorted once the smell left her. She rose an eyebrow at his next statement, however; she would comply for now. It was she, after all, who sought him out for help, was it not? She narrowed her eyes slightly before closing them fully.

Her brows furrowed as she tried to take in the scents around her, however; his scent made it difficult to concentrate. It was the only thing she could take in, save for a few flowers that were surrounding them. "You stench is over-powering everything else," she nearly gritted through her teeth. She took a deep breath once more, opened her eyes and glanced around. There were a lot of other things she could focus on, so why was it so difficult? With a frustrated groan, she tried once more. Again, his scent assaulted her, however; there was a another, lighter, scent that came with it. She couldn't tell exactly what it was since it was covered in a light, pepper smell.

"There's...a raven ten feet behind you. And," she paused, tilting her head to the side in the process. There was something else, something she couldn't quite place. Perhaps it was because it was so clear, hardly any scent to it, but it was still there. "A stream about five yards to your right," she concluded, opening her eyes once more.

He chuckled, throaty and low, at her comment about his stench. He knew for a fact that it was nothing so offensive, but of course that was hardly the point. They both had their own little fronts to put up, their roles to play, and for now, her pride demanded that she hate him. He was fine with that—when one as hated, one was often at the center of the hater’s thoughts, and this was precisely where he wished to be with her. How he got there was irrelevant, and riling her up was simply too much fun to resist. Her second attempt at an answer was somewhat more satisfying, but only a little.

Clucking his tongue as a reproachful teacher, she shook his head, mirroring her body language from a mixture of mockery (well-intentioned enough, though she’d never believe such) and subconscious forces he didn’t care to understand. “Ah, my dear She-Wolf, that was rather… disappointing. Surely, there is more to it? Even in this intermediate form, you and I have noses that vampires can only envy. What of the trees—their species, the amount of birds nesting in them? The warren of rabbits not fifty feet from where we are standing? The scent of dying leaves on the air, the wet earth beneath our feet, the rain not three hours from falling upon us all?” He enumerated just enough of the possibilities for her to get the point, then waved a hand dismissively.

“Again. And this time…” he seemed to disappear from in front of her, but it wasn’t more than half a second later before his warmth was obvious at her back, and he leaned forward to speak directly into her ear. “Tell me what you can hear.” His voice was a low rumble, almost a growl, even, and his lips just barely brushed the shell of her ear as he straightened to stand upright, though other than this, he apparently had no plans to vacate her personal space. Contrary to what one might think, there was a point to that other than annoying her. One needed to learn to use all one’s senses even when distracted or in a crowd… and he wondered if her ears were good enough to detect his heartbeat or his near-silent breaths, stilled largely for her benefit.

"Bite me," she retorted at his statement. It's not that she couldn't smell anything else, but rather it was hard zoning in on one particular scent when his was everywhere. She grumbled beneath her breath as he continued to speak, however; a slight chill went down her spine when he disappeared and reappared behind her. She shivered when his breath was on her ear as he told her to listen. She had a strong urge to maim the man, but she resisted the strong temptation. She twitched somewhat at how close his lips had been to her ear, and did as she was told. Truth be told, it was easier to hear than it was to smell. She could hear the endless chatter of a few ducks, the soft whispers of the crickets in the nearby field, and something beating. It wasn't fast, and it wasn't slow. It was an even rhythm that, for some odd reason, was comforting. She could feel the hairs along the back of her neck rise at that thought.

"You have a steady heartbeat, I'll give you that. And those ducks don't seem too inclined to stop their chatter any time soon," she began, tilting her head slightly at another sound. "And it appears that one of the Day Class students has decided to take a stroll," she concluded as she turned her head in the direction of footsteps. They were still a good distance off, and although it wasn't exactly night, that student should still be in class. She shrugged her shoulders in the process. She may have been prefect, but they were of little concern to her right now. The only way she would be concerned is if a vampire had decided to take a stroll (and not just any vampire), as well and tried to attack said student.

It was then that she finally heard his last statement. It was going to rain. She finally took in the scent of rain, and immediately her eyes darkened a bit. She once loved the rain, but now, it held similarities to that man. She didn't like the scent of it at all. As if on cue, the mark on her neck began to burn slightly as she covered it with her hand. There was no evidence that it hurt at all. Pain was irrelevant to her, only when she shifted. Pain comparable to that had yet to be discovered for her. She glanced at Hikaru, or Hotaru, from the corners of her eyes and narrowed them slightly before returning them back in the distance. Her hearing was fine, it was her sense of smell and perhaps her control, that she needed work on the most.

Tempting, he thought inwardly when she told him, angrily, of course, to bite her. He considered, just for a moment, doing so, if only to see how she would taste, and how she would react, but he decided against it. The game was not fun if it ended too soon, after all. Unseen by Shizuka, he smiled a little when she mentioned the sound of his heart. She was right, of course—he was so used to physical exertion that it rarely ever became irregular, but there was something almost soft in his expression for half a second, before he caught it and corrected it. Her hearing was at a more acceptable level than her nose, he decided, and he wondered if this was simply an effect of his scent, or if something else seemed to be the problem. Though he knew a lot more about their capabilities than she did, he did not know what it was for two of their kind to interact.

He could smell past her scent all right, though he would admit that it did draw his attention, as though everything else were still present, but beneath her in the hierarchy of his concern. Or rather should be. Perhaps that was natural—she was much more a threat than anything else he could smell, even if he did believe her generally incapable of killing him. Perhaps if she had the advantage of surprise, though… yes, that was possible. Surprise could be quite the advantage, indeed. But the way she smelled, her presence would never surprise him. An interesting thought.

Her hand went to the mark on her neck, which he had successfully ignored for the entirety of this session, but was now unable to. Hotaru’s eyes narrowed, and he did something that Hikaru would not have dared. Still standing behind her, he took her wrist in his hand and tugged as gently as he could while still succeeding in removing it, and pressed the first two fingers of his other to the mark. There it was—the aura of the one who’d made it. Snorting softly, Hotaru focused his own aura to a point and countered. It would hurt quite a lot, but only for a brief moment, and then the pain, though not the mark, would be gone. “A temporary solution to a permanent problem,” he muttered, tone edged with something a little more intense than irritation, all traces of playfulness gone from his demeanor. Shaking his head, he dropped his hands and stepped back, effectively putting distance between them and his back to her. “Be here again tomorrow, at the same time. We have much work to do, you and I.” It would be a slow process, but he would figure it out… if only to spite the one who sought to take advantage of her weakness.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"I can feel the darkness spreading over us like a cloud. Something is coming, and the storm is only its herald."



Nicole smiled slightly, a fang protruding from the corner of her mouth as she did so. "I already said I understand why you lied. I fully understand what it is like to protect one's siblings, blood or no. I'm not upset with you, Sora." There was a flicker of pain in her eyes then, remembering Naya. She had failed to protect her own sister. It had only been a few days ago, yet it felt like an enternity had passed, and yet only a few seconds as well. There was a hole in her heart where her little sister had been. Though she had been unconcious, she was well aware of what Sora had had to do to her, and she was grateful that he had done it. Nikki didn't think she'd have been able to, if faced with the same situation again.

She changed the course of her thoughts. "Hikaru does not trouble me. It is quite clear that he has control over that side of himself. Truth be told, he's not much different from a full-blooded vampire. We, too, must learn to control our urges. Shizuka, however..." Her eyes darkened. Had the girl not killed Dairen, then Naya would still be alive now. It could entirely be held to her fault, of course, Nicole had some part in it as well, but blame could be laid at both of their feet. "I cannot say that I trust her. She clearly has no control of her beastial nature, and that third one seems to have a great ammount of influence as well. Did you notice the way he smelled? I think that third one is like Hikaru. Half-werewolf and half-vampire. He certianlly smelled that way." There were dark days ahead of them all, it seemed.

"I doubt Sebastian will waste any time notifying the Council of my disownment. That being said, I'm sure your father will have something to say to the matter of our engagement. Still, thank you, for what you did. Right or wrong, I highly doubt I would be here right now had you not stopped him, or offered yourself to me. As for your offer, all I have left in my family are my parents, and Mother is hooked to Sebastian like a dog on a chain. He's disowned me, so there's no way she would risk his wrath in order to see me. I cannot outright decline, yet I find myself hesitant to accept. It is not an easy thing to allow yourself, when the rest of your fellows are able to take the blood tablets. Feeding off of my sister was one thing. Feeding off of you...is an entirely different matter altogether."

She sighed. "I suppose you would wonder why I am so hesitant to accept such an offer, and here is the reason: You saw what my father is like tonight. Everything he does, he does for a reason, and everything he asks for, he gets, always at a price. He'll give you nothing without taking something in return." She pointed to her chest, where the tips of her scar peeked out from the neck of her blouse. "He gave me this the day I told him I would not accept my intended betrothal to Dairen. It was my payment for making him look the fool, as he expected me to readily accept, like a good little girl should. I grew up with the realization that everything asked for must be paid for in some way, and sometimes I find my judgement in others obscured by this. Perhaps I am wrong to think so, but as I see it, almost everyone expects some form of payment for their offers. That is why I am hesitant in accepting anything from others, even in the form of a gift. Blood for blood, so to speak." She concluded her explenation grimly. Perhaps now he would understand why she was the way she was. Growing up with Sebastian for a father had certianly not been easy, but it had made her strong. And it had also made her cold.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"This isn't exactly what I had in mind."




Shizuka flinched uncomfortably when Hotaru pressed his fingers upon her mark, sending a pulsing sensation that subdued the pain in her neck. She glanced at him warily, however; she dismissed any possible thoughts when he spoke. A temporary solution to a permanent problem. That was a mouthful. She snorted softly when he spoke of tomorrow. There was nothing but truth in that statement for there was a lot of work to be done. Even now, she could still feel the beast lurking in the recess of her mind trying to take control of her, still fighting to resurface. It was taking every ounce of sheer will-power that she had just to keep her focus. She sighed, closing her mind as she felt the beast pacify for the time being. Returning to her scarlet hair coloring, Shizuka made her way back to her dorm. There was an odd feeling in the back of her mind that this was going to be extremely difficult for the next few days.

And so it was. The week that followed had been nothing of bickering and trying to hone her sense of smell, and control. The third day she had lost control and shifted back into the full form of the wolf, tearing apart the forest in the process. Luckily, or not, Hotaru managed to bring her back a bit forcefully that day. Of course she was bitter about it (the fact that she lost control of course) at first, but she couldn't really hold it against him. The fourth day saw an improvement in her sense of smell, however; she still couldn't see passed his scent. It was getting irritating to her. It was as if his scent was the only thing that mattered at the moment, and that she should be focused only on that. She, of course, always voiced this dislike to him, and it only made things worse when he had seemed rather amused by it all, but nonetheless was still a bit upset about her lack of control.

The sixth day, she had managed to ignore him, barely paying attention to what he was saying, what he was doing, and had managed to focus in on other scents in the surrounding area. She had a silent victory that day needless to say, and she was quite happy with herself. It was a better improvement to the first day she had started, and she was learning to block out his scent. If she could do that more often, controlling that aspect of her senses would be impeccable. Regardless, by the end of the week, she had a bit more self-control over herself, the beast, and her senses. Though she was hardly a master of them, she had come a long way. Today, she found herself roaming the halls of the empty Academy. It was the weekend, and a majority of the students had decided to spend it out in the city a few miles away. She had contemplated going with her club, however; she decided against it.

Having the school to herself was something she wanted to take full advantage of. She could be free in a sense that she didn't have to feel like she was constantly hiding something from her friends, which she was in truth. It didn't help the fact that a majority of the vampires in the Night Class had taken to either silently insulting her (when they thought she couldn't hear them), or backing away with such fear that, if it were any other day, Shizuka would have found it funny. But it was irritating her now. She couldn't stand the way they were sneering at her with their eyes, their words, with everything they were. Usually, it wouldn't have upset her so much, but it was starting to bother her lately. She was brought out of her thoughts when the soft treading of footsteps caught her attention. Someone was still here? She tilted her head in confusion as she tried to single out who it was, however; there was no scent, nothing. She couldn't pick up on anything.

Furrowing her brows, she made her way towards the source, however; it disappeared. Odd, she thought as she continued searching for the source. She shrugged her shoulders and made her way outside, allowing the cool breeze to caress her heated skin. A small smile tugged at her lips at the peaceful feeling, and closed her eyes, taking in what she could.




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"I don't expect anything in return. I hope one day you can see that."




Sora remained quiet as she began talking to him. He listened to every word, his eyes focused on her as if she were the only thing in the world at the moment. He felt something pull at his heart when she mentioned what her father had did to her for her refusal to marry Dairen. He frowned slightly, his eyes darkening a shade as he glanced at the tips of the scar peeking out of the corner of her blouse. His gaze steeled for a second before they softened. He released a soft, inaudible sigh, and leaned on his knee's a bit. Then she spoke of her feeding. How was feeding from him any different than her feeding from her sister? He was her betrothed, more importantly, he was hers. Even if Sebastian informed the council of her being disowned, Sora was not going to change his mind of who he was to be married to.

Heisuke might have a different opinion on that, however; when the time came to deal with it, he would. Right now, the dilemma lay with her position and her ability to feed. He could understand a bit of her reluctance, but if she didn't feed, she would starve. And he didn't want her to starve if he could do something about it. If he could protect her at least one way, he wouldn't feel so upset at failing to protect her the first two times. He sighed softly as he ran a hand through his hair. This wasn't going to be easy for her, that much he knew. Then there was the issue with Hikaru and Shizuka. He chuckled softly at her response. Of course she was right to not trust Shizuka, however; Sora had no doubt that Hikaru would be able to help her. Perhaps, in some way, they could help each other. A faint smile pulled at his lips at that thought before he focused in on Nicole.

"There was something off about that man's scent, but I don't think he is entirely quite like Hikaru. Hikaru cannot shift into a full form as that man had, it's only a partial transformation. That man has to be something like Shizuka, if not something else entirely," he responded to the first question she held. She was right, that man did have a rather peculiar scent, and it was one that Sora had not particularly taken a shine to. "As for Shizuka," he paused, glancing out the window before fixing his gaze on her once more. "Shizuka may be who she is, but there is more to her than just that. I do not blame you for not trusting her, but," he hesitated. How could he put this that it would make sense somehow? He didn't want to send the wrong message about Shizuka to Nicole, for if anything he wanted them to be friends.

"You should talk to her. I know that she is upset about the events the first night, however; I believe that if she didn't care, she wouldn't have saved us the night the third one showed up," he finished, standing up in the process. He made his way over towards Nicole and grabbed her by the arm, and gently picked her up, pulling her to him in the process and embracing her. He held her for a moments time, taking in everything that she was, down to the way her heart beat in a steady rhythm to the faint smell of Geraniums that covered her scent. He smiled softly at that. It reminded him of his mother before she died. Keeping her in place, he finally spoke.

"All that I ask from you is to trust me. I do not want anything in return for offering myself to you. If something must be returned, then give me your trust," he stated, releasing her and holding her by the shoulders as he stared at her. There was no hint of playfulness behind his amber gaze. It only held truth and the fact that he was serious about his proposition. The next week was a bit awkward for the two of them. Sora had meant his words and was not going to take them back. Today, however, he held two white envelopes in his hand. Both were from his parents. One was from his father, the other, from his mother, Reiko. He had opened both of them, which currently his current mood that had shifted to something bright, to something dark.

His father had heard from Sebastian, and was immediately calling for Sora, however; he was choosing to ignore it. Instead, he would oblige his mother. She wanted to meet Nicole, his fiance. He smiled at that thought as he tucked the envelope inside of his coat pocket, throwing his father's carelessly into the trash bin. He would need to find Nicole and ask if she would like to accompany him. There was a slightly hiccup in his heart beat as he thought about it. If she refused, he paused in that thought. Now was not the time to be thinking of such things. Instead, he closed the door to his dorm and made his way towards Nicole's.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“I never could deny her anything.”


Dearest Hikaru,

I understand that things have been difficult for you lately; word
has reached many of us of the strange events at your school. At
first, I was afraid that something had happened to you, something
that would expose your secret. I cannot say for sure if I am relieved
or further afraid at the murmurings of truth I have heard instead. I
understand that you know this other werewolf, the girl Shizuka.

I would like to meet her, Hikaru. I think there is a great deal that
the two of us could discuss, and I would like to help her as I once
helped you. I’m sure you are the best teacher for this kind of thing,
but even so, there is knowledge I would impart to both of you, if she
be amenable to the suggestion. I have written Sora, asking him to bring
his fiancée to the estate over the school holiday—I would like you to
bring Shizuka, if you can convince her to come. Show her this letter if
you believe it will help. I have enclosed another for her specifically, also.

I hope my letter finds you well, my son. There is not a day gone by that
I do not miss your company and your light. You and your brother are, as
I have tried to tell you regularly, the most precious of things in my life, and
I want for nothing more than your happiness. As always, if there is anything
you need, or anything you would confide, write me back.

All my love,
Mother


Hikaru shook his head, the faintest of smiles gracing his masculine features for a few moments. The paper on which the missive was written ruffled slightly in the breeze, but his grip on it was good enough that it would not go flying out of his hands. His mother always seemed to know what was required in any situation, and he knew that she of all people would be able to help Shizuka, perhaps without the residual something that tended to distract him in her presence, especially when he caught sight of the mark. She was making progress, but perhaps slower than she needed to, and he supposed that if anyone would understand why, it would be his mother, who had raised one half-wolf, and trained two sons for battle. He and Sora owed their prowess with a sword to Reiko, and she had a way with teaching that was hard to match.

Perhaps it was the right solution, but was he the right person to pass this on? How likely was Shizuka to take him seriously when he offered? He trusted that his mother’s letter would be sufficient to convince her—if she even read it. Coming from him, though, she might not. Shizuka made no secret of the fact that she hated him, and while Hotaru just found that funny in his way, Hikaru as a whole grew tired of it. It wasn’t like he had to go out of his way to teach her. He could have let her tear apart the forest and the school on the fourth day, and it wouldn’t have been on his conscience. At least… not wholly. But he helped her anyway, and even he didn’t know why. Sure, his darker side found it fun, but Hotaru was amused by a lot of things, many of them requiring a lot less effort. It was true that the force he’d had to exert to make her submit that day was exhilarating in its own way, but it wasn’t like he was going out of his way to fight Esaias, and that had required more. Something about her was different, and he didn’t understand why.

Maybe this, too, was something his mother would understand, but he dare not ask her in a letter. That would require a talk in person. She was the one person he never had reservations about sharing with, not even something as ridiculous as his emotions. She knew them better than he did, anyway.

Decided, at least for the time being, he lay back on the stone ledge of the school’s roof, tucking the letters away in his pocket before propping his head on his folded hands, staring directly up at the sky. The clouds moved by lazily overhead, and there was small chance of him being disturbed here. It was a weekend, and he only smelled two people. One of them was her, and as always, he could not fail to notice. The other was faint, enough so that she could not properly identify it. He took that to mean that it was sufficiently distant so as to be of no concern. He doubted she would seek him out if there wasn’t something she wanted from him, and he’d told her today was hers to do as she wanted with—he wouldn’t force her to work seven days a week, after all. He was surprisingly disciplined for a man of his demeanor, but he wasn’t some kind of drill-sergeant hardass.

The wind stirred the ends of his black hair, tossing a few of the strands over his brilliant eyes for a moment, but he was content to let them be. Instead, he closed them, and drifted into meditation, aware of his surroundings but focusing on everything and nothing in particular. He willed his mind to be empty of troubling thoughts, and tried for a while to simply exist.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"Wait, I'm invited to what?"



Nicole sighed, her mind wandering yet again to the conversation she and Sora had shared a week ago. She understood his position, and his feelings, yet it remained difficult for her to accept his decision. In the back of her mind, she couldn't help but think of herself as a burden to him.

He had asked her to trust him. Her fingers ran along her scar. Could it really be that simple, to trust someone with no reservations? She wasn't so sure. That wasn't to say that she didn't trust him. Truth be told, there was something there, something she felt for him, in the way she noticed his sideways glances, or the way it made her feel when she knew he was looking at her. She just didn't know what that feeling was.

It was confusing, and she found it hard to focus around him, which was why she had mostly avoided him this past week, trying to sort through what she felt. She was making little progress. A scent wafted through her door, and she sat up. She could smell him through the door, and she felt her heart give a slight leap. She stood up and crossed the room, opening the door as he approached. He hadn't even had time to knock. "Hey."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"To be free is a wondrous feeling. To be in control is euphoria."




Shizuka stood for a good ten minutes, allowing the wind to carry her hair in it's hands before it brought an uncomfortable shift, and a rather familiar scent. She scrunched her nose as it passed and glanced up towards the top of the building. He was up there, but she had no particular reason to be in his presence. Although, she did have something she needed to return. She hadn't quite understood why she had kept it this whole time, but it was starting to smell like him in her room. She didn't like that, but she hadn't bothered to return it quite yet. She couldn't understand why it was so. Perhaps it was because that scent overpowered that mans, and she would welcome anything that rid it from her room. Sighing, she made her way towards her dorm, albeit slowly. She wasn't in a rush to be anywhere, and she was liking the temporary peace.

Once she was in her room, she searched her closet for the offensive piece and brought it out. It was the haori-like shirt that he had given her that day she had transformed the first time. She sighed as she closed her closet. She had washed it several times, trying to get the smell out of it, however; it seemed as if it were embedded into the shirts own DNA. She scoffed lightly at the comparison. She made her way back out of the dormitory and walked across the bridge, stopping at the edge and peered over it. There was something off in the distance, something she couldn't quite see even with her heightened vision. Her eyes narrowed slightly though as she could see the figure turn to leave. How odd that she couldn't see, nor smell who it was. After all of the training this passed week, her senses should have been a bit sharper than they once were.

Shaking her head, she continued to cross the bridge and made her way back inside the Academy. She paused momentarily at the room that she had crushed not more than a few weeks ago. The damage had been repaired, however; she allowed her fingers to glide over the frame. She could still feel some pieces were missing and it was scarred. She sighed heavily until the soft mewling sound captured her attention. She glanced down, blinking a few times in surprise as she knelt to pick up the white kitten. She placed Irihi on her shoulder and watched as he curled, purring softly in the process. Her face softened greatly as she hooked an index finger across his head and around his ear. She glanced one last time at the room before making her way towards the stairs that lead to the roof.

She took her time ascending the stairs, not in any particular rush to see him, nor be in his presence, yet. She shook her head, now was not the time to be thinking of such things. She opened the door as quietly as she could, knowing full well he would hear and smell her long before she could approach him and searched for where he was. It was difficult to find him, she'd grown used to his scent covering everything and it was easy to zone in on. He was sitting against a stone ledge, staring up at the sky, and Shizuka couldn't help but stare up in the process. The clouds were moving slowly by, and the sun seemed a bit brighter than usual. Why was she even here to begin with? Simply returning an item? She scoffed at the thought. She could have given it to Sora if that were the case, and avoided him all together, but still...

"Here, I think this belongs to you," she stated a bit softer than usual. The instinct to be riled up was running hot through her veins, however; she was trying her best to not let it show. She didn't want to ruin this day because she decided to return something that could have been done by another. Plus, he had been kind enough to help her, something he could have chosen not to do. Part of her was grateful for that, however; she wouldn't tell that to him. Not ever. Regardless, she shifted uncomfortably, second-guessing her decision to come here.




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"Well, here goes nothing, right?"




Sora had taken his time getting to Nicole's room, the contents of his father's letter still haunting him strangely. He had tried not to think of what it had said, but the tone it radiated was nothing that could be ignored. His mother surely hadn't heard of Nicole being disowned. If she had, she wouldn't have requested to meet her. Unless, shaking his head, he allowed a smile to pull at his lips. His mother had always been a perceptive one. He laughed lightly as he found his pace quickening. He found himself raising his hand to knock on Nicole's door, and was slightly surprised to see her open it before he could even knock. He actually had to pull his hand back before he risked knocking on her face. And that wouldn't look pleasant at all.

He laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his neck in the process. "Sorry about that, I wasn't expecting you to open the door so quickly," he apologized, a sheepish grin playing at his lips. Laughing nervously, he glanced around to dispel the pink lightly dusting his cheek as he scratched it a bit embarrassingly. "I actually came here to ask you something," he stated, clearing his throat in the process. He straightened his posture as he finally subdued the embarrassment. He glanced around, noticing some of the Night Class students were outside and staring at the two intently, as if waiting for something interesting to happen. It wasn't a hidden fact that the two were engaged and it was to be slightly expected, however; Sora found it annoying.

"Can we talk inside?" he stated, waiting as she let him in her room and took a seat on one of the couches. He pulled the letter from his pocket, rolling it through his fingers before he fixed his gaze on Nikki once more. "My mother wants to meet you," he stated, putting all of the pieces out at once. He waited for her reaction before continuing. "She wants to meet you and has invited us to go stay with her for the next school holiday, which I believe is next week," he stated, leaning back in the chair and draping one arm over the arm rest. He sighed softly. It wasn't something to be taken lightly. But then again, his mother always had her reasons. Plus, she had invited Shizuka as well. That was rather odd, but again, she had her reason.

"Of course Hikaru and Shizuka will be there as well so it won't just be the two of us," he stated, a hint of playfulness playing at his tone. He smiled brightly at her, hoping she would agree to go with him. "Plus, I think it would be nice to get away for a bit. You know, away from this place and everything that has happened so far," he continued, his voice a bit grim, but never losing the playfulness behind it. Truth be-told, he did want to leave this place, if only for a bit. He had thought about it, but the thought of leaving her behind wasn't exactly on his to do list. If she wanted, he would take her wherever it was she wanted to go, but first, his mother was summoning them. And he couldn't go against his mother, not after all she has done for them, Hikaru included.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“Somehow, I didn’t mind you having something that was mine.”


The way her scent was mixed with cat amused him to a degree, but unlike his other self, Hikaru did not live to be amused, so he didn’t really show it on his face as such. In fact, until she spoke, he didn’t look at her at all. When she did, he lowered his head so as to look her in the eye, though she was standing and he seated. The red haori he’d been wearing, what seemed like an eternity ago. He’d say he’d forgotten about it, but that would be a lie—he simply hadn’t cared to retrieve it. It didn’t bother him, that she had it. Actually, there was something slightly interesting about the idea. But if she wanted to give it back, he would accept this, as well.

“Are you sure you do not want it? As collateral, I mean. I do still have your silver,” He referred, of course, to her earrings, which had once kept her beast at bay through minute silver poisoning. A rather barbaric method, he thought, but then, desperate people were sometimes moved to desperate measures, and those who knew not what a werewolf was or how to deal with one were quite desperate, indeed. One need only look to some of those in this school to understand that—the Night Class shied away from her like she had the plague… all save for himself and his brother, anyway.

Well, if she didn’t see the need to hold the shirt hostage in hopes of regaining her earrings, he would consider it progress. Towards what, he was not sure. Either way, he took the garment, folding it with precision and setting it down next to him. “Before you go,” he said, withdrawing the parchment, “I would like you to read this, if you will. It is from my mother, the person who taught me to control my beast, and it’s for you.” He said no more, merely held out the envelope for her to take. Within were words he knew not, but they were, in fact, an appeal to Shizuka as well as an invitation.

Miss Shizuka,

We know each other not, and if you think me strange
for writing to you in such a fashion, I suppose I can
understand that. My name is Reiko Minamoto, and
I am told that you know my sons, Sora and Hikaru.
Sora speaks fondly of you, and that Hikaru speaks
of you at all says even more than that. I have gathered
that you are a woman of character, and also that you
find yourself confronted by a most unique challenge.

I have no intention of disparaging you for your struggle.
As you surely know by now, my son has not been
without his own trials in this regard. As I helped him,
I would like to help you. I was fortunate enough to meet
the very first of your kind, more years ago than I can
properly count. Before her death, she was able to impart
unto me some knowledge of her circumstances, so that
I might better raise my son. I would share this knowledge
with you, if you will permit me. Please, accompany my
sons and Miss Edyta back to my estate for the holiday
break a week hence, and hear what I have to say. I would
not offer if I did not think it important.

Regardless of your decision, you have my thanks for being
a friend to Sora, and, whether you desired to or not, for
showing Hikaru that he is not alone in this world.

Warmest Regards,
Reiko Minamoto

Setting

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Earnings

0.00 INK

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"Well, I no longer have a home outside of the Academy..."



Nicole listened silently as Sora explained that his mother wanted to meet her. It was odd, but then, from what she understood, the Akarui family was not well-connected. It would seem that his mother cared little that she was no longer Sebastian's daughter. A small smile played at her lips. If only her own mother could get over her fear of her husband, and actually be a mother.

He certianly posed an excellent point. While she had no home of her own any longer, she had found life at the academy harder than she had expected to be lately. But then, with it being the place of her sister's death, it wouldn't be easy. Although, she wasn't exactly sure it was a good idea to be going anywhere with Sora. She didn't want to tie him down to something that would inevitably hold him back. Her status as a vampire was just that. She still couldn't see why he strove to do so much for her.

Still, to turn him down would be more harsh than she was willing to be, at least right now. She gave him a coy smile. "Alright. Then let's go. You're right. We, and by that I really mean myself, need to get out of here." She sighed. "Sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"If it'll help me learn, I have no choice but to accept."




"Wasn't the purpose of you holding on to those so that I wouldn't have to rely on them? Your shirt serves me no purpose such as that," she scoffed lightly. Irihi purred softly against her neck, causing her to twitch slightly, however; she focused on something else and ignored the slightly sensation running through her neck. She then focused her attention back on Hikaru when he spoke of something else. He pulled something from his pocket and handed it to her. She tilted her head in confusion as she stared at the letter in his hand. He wanted her to read it, something from his mother? To say she was confused would be an understatement. She reached out, hesitantly, and grasped the letter from his hand. Furrowing her brows still, she opened the letter to read it's contents. She read each sentence carefully, furrowing her brows even more until she read the last sentence.

The first of her kind? She gave Hikaru a questioning glance before turning her attention back to the letter in her hand. This woman, their mother, knew about the beast. If what she says is true, then perhaps it would prove to be in Shizuka's best interests to meet this woman. Reiko seemed to know a great deal about the curse, if the letter was anything to go by, and Shizuka sorely needed to learn more about it. Hikaru, for the most part, had been a teacher, but perhaps not the best one. Perhaps it was simply because his scent was distracting her from focusing on other things, or it could have been something completely different. But if his control was thanks to his mother...without a second thought, Shizuka placed the letter back in Hikaru's hand.

"One week," were the only words out of her mouth. Turning on her heel, Shizuka left Hikaru to his own accord. She needed to prepare for this trip of hers. Normally, she would have protested. She would have declined the letter and continued her stubborn route. She would have found a reason to reject the notion. For all she knew it could have been a sick, twisted deploy to get her away from the school, which was something she sorely needed to begin with. The vampires were becoming more annoying than usual, and she was about ready to let the beast loose upon them if they did not stop with their constant noise. Irihi purred next to her as she glanced at the snow white kitten. She smiled softly as she found comfort from the animal. Some might have found it a tad odd that she was so fond of cats, being a dog as she was.

She, however, saw nothing wrong with it. She preferred them over any other creature and at the current moment, Irihi was her companion. If she were a vampire, she might have considered Irihi her familiar. Shaking her head softly, she continued to enjoy the day, ignoring Hikaru and his scent for the remainder. Almost in the blink of an eye, the week in which school was to let out rapidly approached. The last bell signaled the long awaited freedom the students were waiting for, and immediately they all stormed across the bridge to their dorms. The Night Class, a majority of them at least, had already left the night before. The Day Class had no need to stand and idly gawk at the vampires who were not currently present. The only ones left were Sora, Hikaru, and Nicole. And of course they were waiting upon her.

She shook her head softly, dislodging a few strands of scarlet as she tucked them back. Reiko's letter had still ran through her mind, each word still fresh as if she had read the letter not more than a few seconds ago. Shizuka was partly curious as to what exactly this woman could offer her in terms of information, however; what other choice did she have really? This woman raised Hikaru and his secret, so perhaps she could trust this one vampire, this one pure-blooded woman who was willing to go out of her way to help Shizuka. Once everything was in order, she bid farewell to Irihi and made her way towards the front of the Academy, waving to Sora who was already there, waiting with the others.




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"My mother, she is an amazing woman, you will love her."




Sora waited for Nicole's response, a hint of nervousness running through his being. She had every right to say no. She had every right to decline the invitation, however; he was hoping she wouldn't. He truly did want Nicole to meet his mother. If anyone could help Nicole, even if it was just a bit, it would be his mother. She was a gentle soul, sweet, kind and caring all at once. But it wasn't overly so. It was mixed with a hint of stern discipline, something that was instilled into both Hikaru and himself. He would always be grateful to her for that. Despite not being his birth mother, there were times he wished that Reiko was. His birth mother was just the same as she, kind, sweet, and it was those traits that betrayed her in the end and got her killed. He loved both of his mother's dearly, however; it had been Reiko who had been the one to raise him. And if he had to introduce his intended to one of them, it would be his living mother.

Her response allowed a slight breath of relief he hadn't realized he was holding. Instead, he offered Nicole a bright smile, though it faltered once he caught her last statement. She felt like she was suffocating? Was being here at the Academy that hard for her? He couldn't possibly understand, having still Hikaru, so he couldn't say he understood the pain of losing a sibling. Or was it simply because her father disowned her? Perhaps it was both, Sora couldn't be quite sure. Regardless, if she had no place to go, then she could stay with him. He was, after all, still engaged to her. That wasn't going to change, at all. Unless of course it was her decision, he would still offer her a home. Being without someone to care for you was a very unpleasant feeling, one he had experienced the moment his father set him upon Reiko's shoulders to raise so to speak.

"I hope you don't feel as if I am the one smothering you," he stated light-heartedly, trying to defuse the situation. He laced his fingers with hers, feeling the soft, yet rough feeling of her hands against his own. "I am sure my mother will adore you. And just so you know," he stated, bringing her closer to him so that he laced his arms around her shoulders, placing is chin on top of her head. "You don't have to carry anything alone. I am here too you know," he stated as he kept her in his embrace. Like all things, the promised week had finally arrived. To say he was excited would have been an understatement. There were no words to describe how Sora felt at the moment. He was with his family, going to see his mother who had summoned them all to their family home.

He wanted to introduce Nicole to her, and hopefully Shizuka and Hikaru could cooperate a bit to tolerate each other. There was this odd feeling that Sora had about the two of them, however; he thought nothing more of it. He would probably be over thinking it to begin with. Shoving all thoughts aside, he stood patiently waiting for the others at the front gate. It wasn't long before Hikaru and Nicole showed up. The Night Classes had already left the night before, traveling when it was safest, especially for the Noble vampires. They were more susceptible to the sun than a pure-blood was. As the bell finally chimed, it wasn't long before Shizuka showed up, he waving towards her as she returned it. She stood next to him, glancing warily at Nicole before softly glaring at Hikaru. Sora chuckled quietly as she turned it towards him.

"Is everyone ready?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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“Every moment, every person, is precious in this world, but I cannot deny that to me, they are the most precious of all.”


The Minamoto estate was a castle, quite literally. Situated in the Romanian countryside, it had walls of dark grey stone, giving it a shadowlike aspect at night. It was beautifully-illuminated by floating lights, seeming to have no particular source, but Soran and Hikaru both knew that this was simply one manifestation of their mother’s powers. The lights were in many different colors, but reds and oranges predominated, and her sons could read from the hues that she was both happy and anticipatory—she was waiting for them.

Hikaru would generally not have allowed himself to show his happiness in front of people not his brother, but at this moment, he honestly didn’t care that the other two were here. He could smell them, of course, and he never forgot that they were present, he just ceased to pay attention to this fact. They both liked Sora better than they liked him anyway—let his brother entertain them.

The castle home even included a moat of all things, and the staff had to lower the drawbridge to allow the car that held them all through onto the grounds. The gardens were absolutely breathtaking, even in winter, but they were only able to glimpse them as they drove past, arriving at the front doors to the estate several minutes later. The chauffeur let them all out, and several other servants attended to their things, leaving only the act of walking through the door to their own power. He didn’t need to do so to know that she was there—her scent was in the air. Pine, ice, sunshine, and mint, his mother smelled like, a strangely wintry combination for someone who was in demeanor so warm.

The four of them were shown in, and Hikaru’s eyes went immediately to the top of the balustrade staircase, where his mother stood. She was still the most elegant and graceful woman he’d ever seen, even dressed in a simple cream-colored gown and with her dark umber hair spilling down her back in a loose cascade. She was lovely of course—what vampire wasn’t?—but she also exuded such an obvious sense of love and safety and maternal care that it was impossible for him at least to imagine her as anything other than his mother. She smiled down at the four of them, and turned slightly to descend the stairs.

“My sons,” she said softly, embracing first Hikaru and then Sora. Hikaru returned the gesture with surprising tenderness, the smile on his face for once entirely genuine and not even slightly condescending or mocking. She was still the only person on earth that could bring out that part of him, and his expression smoothed out again immediately afterward, save for the subtle softening of his eyes. That stayed.

Her children greeted, she turned to the other two. “Nicole, Shizuka. I’m so happy to meet the both of you,” her voice was smooth and sweet, like honey, and gentle as the brush of a feather. “My name is Reiko, but you may refer to me by whatever makes you the most comfortable.” She stood first in front of Nicole, regarding the younger woman gently for a few moments, the smile curving her mouth tinged with sorrow.

Reaching forward, she gently clasped the girl’s hand in both of her own, imparting a soothing sense of comfort in the gesture. “Whatever else may happen, wherever life might take you, you are always welcome here,” she said, and there was no doubting the sincerity of the sentiment. How much she knew of what Nicole had undergone was impossible to say for sure, but a fair guess would have said that she was not so ignorant as she had been believed regarding the girl’s situation.

Shizuka, she did not touch, out of awareness for the fact that the werewolf in her might not take it well. She’d shown no such reservations for Hikaru, but they were long past that. “I’m so pleased that you’ve come,” she said honestly, and there was something in her dark garnet eyes that was impossible to read, something just at the edge of her tone that suggested heartbreak. Hikaru immediately paid attention, his spine straightening and his eyes narrowing suspiciously, but he did nothing, and his mother shook her head slightly. “Forgive me. You must all be tired from your travel. Please, rest all you like. There will be time enough for talk tomorrow. My sons will show you to your rooms, surely.” Hikaru frowned slightly, but it wasn’t as though he could deny her.

“You’re this way,” he told Shizuka, heading up one of the twin staircases at the back of the room.

Setting

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Earnings

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"I must not be good at communicating, you always seem to misunderstand me."



She sighed softly, closing her eyes and taking in Sora's scent. He always seemed to know exactly what to say. Her arms snaked around him, hugging him gently. "It wasn't you that I was reffering to, Sora." She said softly.


Nicole was slightly stunned at the sheer enormity of the house. No, house was not the right word. It was, in every sense of the word, a castle. It even had a moat, for goodness sake. None of that drew her attention, though, like the floating lights did. Thew were beautiful, and while she wasn't entirely sure what they were, it was quite obvious they were not a natural occurance.

She remained silent as Reiko introduced herself, and then thanked her afterwards. There was a sad smile on her face as she watched the woman. She remembered a time long ago when her own mother had been like that, before her father had been around much. She could already tell that she liked this woman, very much. She did not, however, miss the subtle change in her facial features.

While she was curious, she had little chance to process the information, because all of a sudden, she was nudged sharply from behind. A look of surprise crossed her face as she turned, coming face to face with what appeared to be a female lioness, though still quite young, it appeared. Nicole stared at the creature in comeplete surprise, blinking slowly, before she cried out softly once, throwing her arms around the big cat's neck. "Kira! Oh my, where have you [i]been[i]?"

The cat lept up, knocking the both of them to the floor, nuzzling Nicole while she purred loudly, Nicole laughing. She finally managed to shove the lion off of her, grinning up at Sora from where she sat on the floor. She began to pet Kira softly, looking happier than she had since her sister's death. "This is my familiar, Kira. She's prone to wandering every so often, it's been a while since I've seen her."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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"This...isn't exactly what I was expecting, but I can't help but smile in your presence."




Shizuka had not exactly been expecting to go to the Romanian countryside let alone leave the country. Regardless, there was no taking back her word, they were well on their way towards the Minamoto estate. It wasn't long before the reached it, and Shizuka couldn't help but stare in awe of it. It was a beautiful place, and the presence it emitted was one of inviting warmth that Shizuka couldn't help but want to revel in it. The feeling was something entirely out of place for her, and she didn't understand it, not once. She sighed quietly to herself, falling behind the group as they approached the mansion, or rather, the castle. She kept her gaze on Sora's back, ignoring Hikaru as best as she could, but his damn scent kept drawing her attention from Sora's back to his back.

No one had spoken a word to each other since the departure, however; there were no words that needed to be said between any of them. Sora was her friend, her only friend here at the moment, and she was sure that his fiancee had quite the opinion of her. Not that she cared what the pure-blood thought of her to begin with. Once they were inside, Shizuka eyed the interior, noting the particular scents immediately filling the vicinity. There was one in particular that caught her attention. It was a scent that stirred something in the depths of her mind, a long forgotten scent perhaps? She traced it, allowing her eyes to sweep towards a woman who stood at the top of the stairs. She smiled down upon them, and Shizuka couldn't help but shift uncomfortably beneath it, as if she didn't deserve that smile.

The woman embraced her two sons, greeting them in a warm like manner. Then, she turned her attention towards Nicole and Shizuka. She greeted Sora's fiancee first and then Shizuka. The woman did not touch her, something Shizuka noted a bit, disappointingly? It was an odd feeling, but she allowed it to roll over her. There was something about this woman, not only her familiar scent, but the warmth she exuded. It confused Shizuka greatly. Reiko then began addressing their trip, and spoke that her two son's would show them to their rooms. She rose an eyebrow at this, but said nothing. Surprisingly, there was a soft smile upon Shizuka's face.

It wasn't something she did freely, or even often, but couldn't help herself. The smile seemed to come naturally, and so, she nodded her head in gratitude towards Reiko and followed behind Hikaru as he lead the way to her room. Since he knew where they were going, Shizuka followed behind him slightly, glancing to the side to admire the structure of the castle they were inhabiting. It was quite beautiful, even on the inside. A bit rustic and had this sort of dark romance about it, perhaps even a little Gothic in taste, but nevertheless; it was beautiful. Shizuka returned her attention to Hikaru's back, her fingers twitching slightly as she resisted the strong, yet strange, urge to poke his back.

"You have a beautiful home," she stated, unsure of why she did. There was no reason for her to say anything, no reason at all. But, something compelled her to state something. Maybe it was the silence that was deafening that she was trying to fill?




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"These are the most precious people in my life. I would do anything in my power to protect them."




Sora held a goofy smile upon his face, eyes lingering on the place he called home. It was where he and Hikaru spent their days, growing with Reiko as their mother. He missed it after all these years. This was the first time since his enrollment to the Academy that he's been back here. He spent the summer roaming around, traveling here and there. His father had tried to contact him a few times at his mother's home, and it was something he hadn't wanted to impose again upon her. Heisuke could be...demanding, and his mother didn't deserve that. He sighed softly, taking in the floating lights, smiling in the process.

His mother never ceased to amaze him with her abilities. He glanced at Nicole, gauging her reaction to the place and smiled softly before they reached the entrance of their childhood home. As expected, the caretakers and servants began receiving their luggage, Sora lending a hand or two before catching up with his family. He paused mid-step at that thought, glancing at the three before him. A bright smile played at his face as he thought about it. Nicole was his fiancee, Hikaru his brother...but Shizuka was just his friend. A sly smirk crossed his features. He would have to fix that. Without another thought, he was by Nicole's side, lacing his fingers with hers as he held her hand.

It wasn't long before they saw their mother, the elegant creature that she was. Lovely in her appearance down to everything that she was, there was no wrong that she could do in Sora's eyes. Perhaps this was the part of him that owed her his life simply for saving it. If she hadn't stepped in, hadn't been a part of his life, he might have turned out a completely different person. Sora was still a fairly young vampire when his birth mother died, and he was close to her. Losing Reiko was not an option to him. If anything ever happened to her-- he paused in those thoughts, chasing them away. They had no reason to be there. When she embraced him, he returned the gesture, and greeted her warmly. When she dismissed them, he made to grab Nicole's arm, however; the sudden appearance of a rather large feline had an uncharacteristic scream leaving Sora's lips.

His eye twitched slightly when Nicole seemed a bit happy to see the feline. Apparently the feline was her familiar. Sora released a short breath and tried to regain his composure. "Right, I knew that," he stated, coughing to dismiss the pink that dusted his face. He then turned his attention back towards Nicole and allowed a faint smile to taint his lips. She seemed to be extremely happy about her familiar returning, and the feeling seemed to roll off onto him. "So, shall I show you to your room then? I do not think it is proper for us to be sharing a room quite yet," he teased, hooking his arm with hers and leading her to the other pair of stairs.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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“Being here has always put me more at ease.”


Almost as soon as he’d come upon his home and his mother, Hikaru’s eyes had half-changed color, and his hair had taken prominent streaks of frosty white to contrast the inky darkness of the rest. It was almost always so when he was at home—he was able to relax the iron control of himself and let a little of his more… casual inclinations assume influence over him. Hotaru wasn’t only his violence and sexuality—he was his more tender emotions as well. As such, it only made sense that he would be both his selves here, the one place he’d never needed to worry about anyone judging him for what he was.

He was actually a little uncomfortable with the fact that the women were here. This place had always been his sanctum, his refuge, and the only people who’d been in it were people that he trusted, people that—he could barely even think it—loved him. As though he deserved to be loved. It had made him fiercely protective of everything: his mother and brother, the few trusted servants the household employed, even the grounds themselves. Letting others into the place was something that happened only rarely, and he’d never liked it. This time, though, it was more than even that.

Here, he could be as he truly was. It was exhausting to wear a face of artifice all the time, and in the end, both of his “selves” were masks—part of him, yes, but only part. What would happen, he wondered, if she knew his whole self and hated him anyway? Hikaru didn’t care what she thought, Hotaru was only amused by her aggression, but… the person that was both of them was more vulnerable than either. It did not bear contemplating. Some part of him knew that the girl behind him as just like all the rest. She hated him, and rightly so. But… but she was also the only other person in the world who knew what it was like, to have this thing living inside you, and somehow, in the last few months of their acquaintance, he’d felt less… alone.

It was weak of him, and he didn’t like it, but he smothered the thoughts, and registered her words as they dropped like solemn stones into the empty air between them. He didn’t stop moving, but he slowed a bit, turning to regard her over his shoulder. The things he was feeling: the uncertainty, his gladness to be home and tender affection for those that dwelled within, his wariness at the intrusion of strangers, and his caution around her, all swam through his eyes in a heady mixture of emotions. It was quite the intent look, though he did not quite realize it. There was a bit of pride there, too, and gentleness. His voice lacked almost all of its usual certain or haughty volume when he replied.

“It is as she is,” he said simply, referring to the general atmosphere of the place as well as the elegance and loveliness of it. “My mother has dwelled here for many centuries.” In that time, she had made the very land on which the castle stood wholly her own. It reflected her moods and her melancholies, as though the earth itself were responsive to her desire. In spring, the flowers bloomed for her song, the light motes floating by overhead in light green and cheerful yellow. Once a year, on the day that man had died, there was scarcely any light or cheer at all, just the sense of a bastion, a wall holding fast against a threatening tide of grief, and even the walls seemed colder.

He reached a carved wooden door and pushed gently on it, stepping back to reveal a room full of elegantly-carved furniture. It was a rich red in color, the wood dark and most of the fabric a soft cream or gold. There was an obvious sense of finery to it, but it was not ostentatious. Hikaru folded his arms into his sleeves and turned to face Shizuka. “There is a bathroom attached. I am several doors down if you require anything.” With that, he turned on his heel and departed.





The next morning, Shizuka was invited to a private breakfast with the Lady herself. Reiko sat at a small round table in her salon, various teas and pastries laid out in front of her, with jams of every conceivable flavor, clotted cream eggs, and even richly-cooked meat in maple glaze. As soon as Shizuka entered, the woman looked up from where she was placing a blood tablet into a cup of tea and smiled with friendliness. “Good morning, Shizuka. I didn’t know what you liked, so I made a little bit of everything. I hope you don’t mind.” Cooking was a skill shed picked up while raising Hikaru, who went through a phase where he refused to sustain himself on blood or anything like it. Given that his metabolism could handle either-or, she’d taken it upon herself to learn. Now, though, she rarely had the chance to practice.

Reiko crossed her leg elegantly over the opposite knee, smoothing the edge of her deep blue dress. The room was much like the others, except this one contained a traditional set of three swords over the fireplace: katana, wakizashi, and tanto. From the look of the weapons, they were priceless and old, but still in working condition. It hadn’t been any man who’d taught her sons to use the blade, after all—Reiko believed in doing things herself. “Please, have a seat. I know my letter must have been quite sudden, and I also know that what you’re going through can’t be easy. You must have questions, and I’d be happy to answer what I can.”

Setting

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Earnings

0.00 INK

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"Nothing I have ever lived through compares to the way I am feeling now, in this moment. It is something better than I have ever experienced."



Kira stretched, her mouth opening in a yawn as she did so, her back arching and her claws unsheathing themselves. She looked up to the head of her bed, where Nikki lay still asleep. The tabby watched her breathe softly, her tail twitching. The vampiress' hand was curled around the blue stuffed cat Sora had gotten her. Kira wondered, with a small smile -or as close to a smile as a cat could manage- if the boy knew Nicole had brought it with her. The familiar was well aware of the events of Nicole's life of late, and it was good to see her sleeping. She also had an inkling of the cause.

Whether Nicole would admit it out loud or not, Kira knew that being around Sora was good for her, in more ways than one. The cat leapt silently off the bed, padding around the castle. Her electrifyingly green eyes glowed in the shadows that she prowled, eventually coming across Sora's scent. Her tail swished as she entered one of the numerous studies of the home, finding the boy with his nose buried in a book.

Kira contemplated it for a second, and then trotted over to Sora, leaping up into his lap with a soft mew. She was purring softly as she regarded him with her green eyes. "So, do I scare you like his, too?" she asked him.


Nicole's eyes slowly opened, and for a second, still caught in the throes of sleep, she wasn't sure where she was. Then, she remembered. She smiled slightly, recalling meeting Reiko. She slipped out of bed, changing quickly into one of her more simple dresses. It was all black, with long sleeves and closed up to her neck, completely covering her torso. Coupled with a belt and tall black boots, she was done. She ran a hand through her hair once, noting that it was getting a bit longer than she was used to. It was almost down to her shoulders.

She noticed that Kira wasn't in the room, but thought little of it. It didn't surprise her, the familiar took to wandering new places. For an hour or so, the Pure Blood sat in the center of the room, cross-legged. Her eyes were closed, and her hands clasped. Her posture was perfect, and she didn't move a muscle as she meditated, the only indication that she was alive was the gentle rise and all of her chest as she breathed.

Once she was finished, she began walking the castle, eventually making her way into a study or a library or sorts. As far as she could tell, it was empty. She browsed the books on the shelves, selecting one, and settling herself in one of the armchairs. Within seconds, she found herself completely lost within Sun Tzu's "Art of War".

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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"There are indeed many questions to be asked, but I am not sure you can answer all of them."




Shizuka shook her head softly, resisting the urge to roll her eyes at Hikaru. She did, however, acknowledge his statement about the bathroom and needing assistance in which she had thanked him for. It was a soft, begrudgingly thanks, but it was there nonetheless. That night was restless for Shizuka. There were so many new scents, so many different things to occupy her mind with, that she hadn't really fallen asleep. She spent a majority of her night outside, watching the moon hanging with the stars. She had felt, strangely, at peace here, as if she'd been here before. It was an odd feeling to say the least and it confused her greatly. The next morning, she was surprised to receive an invitation to breakfast from the Lady.

She wasn't quite really expecting that, however; she put on her best behavior, if not for the woman who could help her control her beast. Whether she would owe this woman anything would be yet seen. She may have raised Hikaru, but she was not him. She was completely different in every way. For one, she had no vampiric blood flowing through her veins. It belonged to the wolf inside. Hikaru was a completely different creature all on his own. She shook him from her thoughts as she approached the room she was invited to. With an unexplained nervousness, she opened it and was greeted by the warm greeting of Reiko.

Something about the woman set Shizuka at ease, erasing all of the worries and nervousness that spread slowly through her viens. She offered Reiko a smile in return, taking a seat in front of the woman. "Thank you, but you didn't need to cook anything for me," Shizuka replied as Reiko apologized for not knowing what Shizuka liked. It wasn't the woman's fault; Shizuka was someone she was meeting for the first time. She shouldn't feel inclined to know what someone liked when meeting them for once. She shook her head, indicating she meant no disrespect and folded her hands in her lap. Reiko was right, she did have questions.

"Actually, before I even think of asking questions," she began, pausing as she fidgeted a bit before continuing, "I want to say thank you. Though I know not the circumstances of why and how you knew the first of my kind, I am grateful that you would pass on knowledge of such a thing to me," she finished, bowing her head to show respect to the woman. Reiko did not have any reason to help out Shizuka with her problem. She shouldn't have offered to help, however; Shizuka was truly grateful. Hikaru had managed to teach her somethings, but it wasn't enough for Shizuka to learn. He was always so damn distracting and she couldn't understand why.

"That being said, you said you knew the first of my kind. What exactly am I? Werewolf, is probably the first thing that comes to mind, and it would explain a lot, but" she paused, unsure of how to continue. She was a werewolf. There was no other explanation. So why did she feel as if there was something more to it. She shook her head, sighing in the process. "A silly question to ask I suppose," she continued and sat back in her chair. That question was perhaps not the best one to start with, so, she'll change it to something more appropriate for the situation. After all, this woman had knowledge that she was willing to pass onto Shizuka, she needed that.

"What is it that I need to learn in order to be in control?"




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"I'm never going to live that down am I?"




Sora had slept like a rock that night, tangled in his covers with a content smile on his face. It had been such a long time since he was home, and he missed it. He missed the smell, the warmth, the aura, everything that he had loved. And now he was here, sharing it with his friend, and his fiancée. A soft thud signaled that the blue-haired pure-blood was now awake, his back on the floor and his eyes staring up at the ceiling. He blinked a few times, trying to process what happened as he turned to stare at his once comfortable bed. A scoff escaped his lips as he sat up, pulling the covers with him as he made to stand. This was the first time in ages that he ever fell out of his bed. He hadn't realized he was tossing around so much.

He stretched, popping his back and the rest of his body as he dressed himself for the day. There was nothing in particular going on and about, so he had nothing to do. Well, he did plan on surprising Nicole with a dinner later, perhaps something with actual solid food since her body rejected blood tablets, and he was sure that it would be a rather awkward dinner for the both of them if he let her feed off of him. He chuckled at that thought and shook his head, glancing towards Jiro, his own familiar in the process. The black feline glanced at him with jade-colored eyes before yawning and returning towards his slumber. Sora shook his head, how did he end up with such a lazy familiar?

Because I am an extension of you, therefore; you are also lazy, was the snarky reply coming from the black feline. Sora snorted at the response as he exited his room. He decided he would retire to one of the studies until later on in the day. There were some books he was interested in reading that he had not had the chance to before. Besides, judging by the time, everyone, or mostly everyone, would still be asleep. As such, Sora found himself sitting in one of the studies, book in hand and very much in-tuned with it. It wasn't until something small jumped into his lap that took his attention away from the book. He glanced down, half expecting to see Jiro, but was slightly surprised to see Kira, Nicole's familiar. He laughed nervously at her question before setting the book down.

"You are frightening in any form you take, however; I think I could handle death by fright of such a cute object," he replied, picking her up from his lap and holding her out at arms length. "Besides, you popped out of nowhere. I didn't even smell you approach so therefore all is forgiven," he continued, setting her back on his lap and rubbing her ears with both of his hands.

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Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht

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Reiko smiled at the girl seated before her, inclining her head slightly. “Please, consider it a favor to me to eat what you please. I don’t often get the chance to cook anymore, and it is something I greatly enjoy.” But the conversation was always meant to turn to more grave matters, and it did. The smile did not fade as the crimson-haired girl bowed her head—indeed, Reiko’s expression only gentled further. There was no way she could think of withholding this information from any of the heirs of those powers, but she was relieved to see that the one who had inherited the creature’s powers in full seemed to have a level head and a measure of understanding. She would need both, before her time was done.

“Some call it that,” she said, not thinking the question silly at all. “Others you meet may simply refer to you as ‘the Creature,’ for that was what she was known as before anyone thought to name her condition. The more proper term is lycanthrope, for as you are well aware, you do not actually transform into a wolf, but a being somewhere between human and lupine. This has been termed a lycan, for lack of a more appropriate designation. Not counting my son, there have been only two of you in history, though now it seems that Hikaru is not alone in his strange duality, either.” She looked for a moment at the mark on Shizuka’s neck, and something in her eyes darkened and grew sad all at once.

Tipping her head to one side, Reiko tugged down the collar of the elegant dress she wore, exposing a mark of a similar kind, though a different pattern, on the side of her own neck. “It is not being a lycanthrope that enables one to give a mark such as that, after all.” She neatened her collar again and folded her hands back into her lap. For now, she would address the question she had been asked first, and then, she would speak to anything the girl wished to know about such marks. “As to your control, that is largely dependent on you. Your predecessor was a gentle woman, and generally unfond of violence. Learning to accept her own darker half was a process that took her much time and soul-searching. Hikaru’s control was learned faster, from need—his own beast was much more violent. As you have no doubt noticed, his control came at the price of a fissure in his personality. He now lives almost, but not quite, as two separate people. I do not think that you will have to do that, but it is not as easy as speaking an incantation or going through a ritual. You must learn, and then master, yourself. I can help, and so can he, but in the end, the trials of this are your burden to overcome. For that, I am sorry. It is not something that anyone should bear alone, but something that each of you must.”

Shizuka listened intently to every word Reiko spoke. Lycanthrope, that was what she was. A creature not entirely wolf, nor entirely human. Shizuka glanced at her hands as she rolled the information around. That explained a bit, however; her eyes returned to Reiko when she finally addressed the question, not without mentioning the mark though. Shizuka instinctively placed a hand on the mark and allowed her eyes to fall into slits. She wasn't entirely fond of being reminded of the mark, however; it seemed that Reiko possessed knowledge of them. Perhaps she could inquire about that as well, however; she asked a particular question that had been addressed.

Her predecessor was a calm woman? Shizuka was nothing of the sort, that much she knew. She was brazen, loud-mouthed, and hot-tempered. She wasn't exactly the epitome of water, more like fire. How could she hope to control a creature when she couldn't control her own emotions? She sighed softly in frustration at that thought. She must learn, and then master herself, that is what Reiko was saying. She frowned slightly as she cast her gaze once more to her hands. That was easier said than done, and Reiko knew it. Her attention was pulled when she mentioned Hikaru's own trials. That would explain a lot, she thought.

"If things were meant to be easy, I don't think there would be a need for teachers," she replied dryly, though she meant nothing by it. It was just how she saw things. Which was, in fact, a bit true. If things were meant to be easy, what use would they have of teachers? That was what they served, to teach things to people who had difficulty learning something. She shook her head of that thought. "I am well-aware of your son's shift in personality. I don't like either," she stated a bit freely. She was being honest though. She didn't like Hikaru as much as she liked Hotaru, though recently, they were coming to a bit of an understanding.

"I mean nothing by it, it's just that since he's been helping me, his scent has been nothing but distracting. He makes it very hard to concentrate," she stated, huffing and crossing her arms over her chest in the process. She rubbed her neck softly, releasing a held sigh. "I take it you know more about these marks then," she finally stated, holding Reiko's gaze once more. The woman had shown Shizuka a similar mark on her neck just a few moments ago. So it must mean something else then if she also had one. She was intent on knowing what they were created for.

"What is this mark and what does it entail? Is there a way to get rid of it?" she finally asked. If there was a way to get rid of it, and Reiko knew, then she wanted to know.

Reiko chuckled quietly to herself at Shizuka’s opinion of her son. It wasn’t at all surprising; the boy could be difficult at the best of times, and until he truly let someone in, they were always fooled by the faces he showed them. His gentleness and his kindness and his genuine happiness were gifts, and unfortunately, he did not bestow them nearly enough upon anyone. Unlike Sora, who was free with his kindness and his light, Hikaru hid his behind a seemingly-impenetrable veil of darkness. Shizuka was closer to piercing that veil than she knew, that he had agreed to teach her at all. As for the matter of his scent… well, that was amusing for its own reasons. The girl clearly did not understand what she had just admitted to the boy’s mother, but Reiko would leave that alone for a while. She liked Shizuka, but if the girl was already marked, the realization of what it meant that Hikaru smelled the way he did would be uncomfortable at best, devastating at worst.

“It is called the Royal Mark,” she said quietly, her fingers delicately tracing the pattern of hers. She knew it as she knew her own hands—it had been part of her for so long that she might as well have been born with it. She hardly considered the life she’d had before him to be a life at all, when compared to everything that she’d known after. The sheer joy of his company, the heat of his kiss, the way he felt moving in time with her… and the keenness of his betrayal, too. Everything had been amplified. Because of him, she’d lived her life in color. She could hardly blame Fumiko for being as in love with him as she was. He was just that kind of person.

“It is an ability, I suppose one could call it, of a very specific line of vampires. Hikaru’s father was of that line, and Hikaru himself is heir to the house. The only one, or so I had thought. But there is no mistaking it—the one who gave you that mark must be of Hideki’s descent. I suppose that, if someone had managed to get ahold of his blood, such a thing might be possible…” It saddened her, to know that there was another child of her husband out there in the world that she had never known. It made her angry that he would abuse his mark in such a way. “The mark has always been used for one purpose—to designate the one chosen by the line to live alongside its heir. When conducted properly, it is a betrothal and a promise: to love the one it is given to until time itself should end. It is only ever undertaken with the cooperation of the recipient, because it binds the lives together. When he was alive, Hideki and I could communicate telepathically, and he had the ability to compel me, though he swore never to use it.

“It also means that the other party will know when you are injured or endangered, and that your lives are linked. Should one of you die, the other will as well. The only reason I yet live is that the bond between my husband and I was annulled by his decision to have a child with Fumiko, your predecessor. I suspect you know what child that is.”
Reiko smiled sadly, the heartbreak shining right out of her eyes. Oh, how she had loved him, even after he’d told her what he intended to do. The world needed a child like that, he’d said, so that everyone would know that Fumiko and her kind were not to be hated, scorned and hunted, but celebrated. Their child would be a prince of two worlds, and secure the safety of all the lycans to follow. That was what he’d wanted. Fumiko… well, she’d just wanted some part of the man she loved. It had worked out well for none of them, but only Reiko had survived it.

“Unless the one who gave you that mark does something like that, there is only one way to erase what he has done to you. A stronger bond must be created, and your bonded must use his power to replace the mark with his own. There is only one person in the world that could do this for you.” Reiko looked down into her teacup. She doubted very much that either of them would be amenable to the idea, just yet. Perhaps, with time, they might come to mean something so important to one another, but unless and until that happened, Shizuka had more than one unfair burden to bear.

An ability, that was what she had called it. Shizuka kept her hand over the mark as she felt it pulse a bit. Her eyes narrowed slightly as Reiko began explaining it, what it meant, and how it could possibly be removed. She allowed the information to settle in, however; she didn't miss the way Reiko's eyes seemed to express something she couldn't quite explain. Was it heartbreak? Or something else? Whatever it was, Shizuka felt something in her own heart clench. Then, the reminder that she was bound to that man in that way caused an unexplainable anger to course through her veins.

"That thing that left this mark, is nothing like Hikaru. I do not believe he is of the same house, but there is still that possibility. For one, Hikaru doesn't fully shift as I do. He still retains more of a humanoid appearance than I. That man shifted fully as I did. Though he and Hikaru were about the same in strength and speed," she stated. If Esaias and Hikaru were related, kin even, then wouldn't they both have the same transformation? "I do intend to find a way to remove this another way. I will not ask him for help," she stated more-so to herself.

It was enough that she had swallowed her pride to ask him in controlling her beast, but to do something such as that? She couldn't, she wouldn't. This was nothing that concerned him, and she wasn't going to allow herself to be bound to another. She sighed, sinking into the chair in the process as she placed her elbow over the armrest, leaning her head into her hand in the process. Perhaps she shouldn't have asked about the mark, but what was done was done. She couldn't take back the question. So, if Esaias were to die, so would she? Her mark must be a bit different from Reiko's. She has yet to hear the man speak with her, however; she has felt the power of his compulsion.

Reiko considered this information, tilting her head to the side slightly, but part of it was easily explainable enough. “Hikaru has a full shift,” she said mildly, “but he does not use it. He has mastered the beast in him to the extent that he does not have to, and he despises that part of himself very deeply. The last time he used a full transformation, he nearly killed me. I do not think he will ever use it again, but regardless, the ability is his if he desires it. Your condition is very rare, Shizuka. There are no others in the world like you, and I had thought Hikaru the only one of his kind as well. But if this other man exists, and he has the abilities he has, he can only be kin of Hikedi and Hikaru. There is nothing else to be.”

He had compelled her to him as if she were nothing more than a puppet, and she gritted her teeth at that memory. "It seems you truly loved Hideki," Shizuka finally stated, changing the subject a bit. "It must not have been an easy thing to do, loving someone who loved another," though she could not say she knew how it felt, she did know how it felt to love someone. She had loved Judai, with everything that she was, and she had accepted the fact that he would never love her in return. She accepted it, but loved him still. Was it the same thing as what Reiko had felt? Probably not, however; she shook her head from that that.

"Thank you Reiko, for everything. I am not sure of what that is quite yet, but thank you," she stated, returning her attention back to the pure-blood. "I may not get along quite well with one of your sons, but I am grateful that you had one of them. It is because of him that I will have a better understanding of what I am and how I can control it, but," she paused, looking away sheepishly. She didn't want to admit it to herself, but still, "Don't tell him I said that," she murmured. She wouldn't live it down if he found out that she was grateful he was alive, or around at that.

“My dear, love is never easy. Even two people who love each other more than anything else in the world, who are free to be together as they choose, will face difficulty. The world is an unkind place. It is why I have made this home my sanctuary, so that my sons might remember the good with the bad. Because love, like anything truly good, is worth the sacrifices we must make for it. Hideki did love me, in his way, but it was not the way he loved Fumiko. That was fate, and I am what was left behind. But whether they intended to or not, they gave me something just as precious in return. Were it not that they had loved each other, I would never have been able to meet Hikaru, and love him as my own son. That is a gift unmatched, and I regret only that they died for their love, instead of being able to live for it.” Yes, he had broken her heart, but Hikaru and Sora had made it whole again. And not a day went by when she wasn’t grateful for that.

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Reiko's word's rang in Shizuka's ears as she walked down the corridor of the castle. They had pierced her deeply, because she knew those words were true. Loving Judai was not easy. Even when her mother had told her that Judai couldn't love her, because of what she was, she couldn't stop loving Judai. He was the only thing she knew, and it caused an unbearable ache in her heart that night he died. It still ached in his abscence, and it didn't help matters from what he told her that night either. He had loved her too, but he was gone now. There was no going back now. She sighed softly as she leaned against the wall, her eyes glazed over as memories danced through her mind.

"I don't need this right now," she stated to herself, shaking the memories loose and continuing her walk. Her legs lead her to one of the many libraries in the castle, and smiled softly. It has been awhile since she last indulged herself in a book, perhaps there was something new here that she hadn't read before. With that in mind, she walked into the rather large, spacious room and took in the surroundings. It was then a familiar scent assaulted her nose. It wasn't Sora, and it wasn't Hikaru. It was Nikki. She inwardly flinched as she realized who it was. Sora had told her about the incident with Naya, Nicole's sister, and a part of Shizuka felt bad about it.

It was her fault that so many people were dead, including Nicole's sister. She sighed heavily, running a hand through her hair as she sighed. She had to apologize fore that, but how exactly could she go about doing that? Shizuka wasn't one to be an apologetic person, but she also didn't want to hurt people intentionally. Nicole has never did anything wrong to Shizuka, and Shizuka had no quarrels with the girl. It was now or never, she supposed. "Is that seat taken?" she stated, a random book in her hand as she pointed to an empty seat next to Nicole. Though there were other seats to take, this was the only way to break the ice.


Nicole breathed heavily through her nose. It was slightly unnessecary, as Shizuka had done nothing wrong, but she really did not like being interrupted when she was reading. But perhaps this was for the best. Sora had been bugging her to talk to the girl, after all. Nicole, however, saw nothing to talk about. She was well aware that Shizuka and the creature within her were essentially both two different beings and yet one in the same. They truly were a lot like vampires. She was also the reason that her sister was dead, to a certian extent. That was also something she truly did not wish to talk about. It was something too raw just yet.

But if this was the time, then so be it. She closed the book softly, regarding the girl quietly before speaking. "Unless it is being occupied by a ghost, I do believe that it is, in fact, empty." Sarcastic as her answer was, there was no actual bite to it. While she veiwed Shizuka as the one responsible for Naya's death, she was not overly-confrontational, if only because she did not want to see herself become her father. Unless this girl threatened someone else she cared about, Nicole would let her be. Revenge was not a part of her vocabulary, so to speak.


Shizuka snorted at Nicole's response. For all they knew, a ghost could be occupying that chair and neither of them would know it. They may have been supernatural creatures themselves, but their senses were not that intuned with other supernatural forces. She removed those thoughts from her mind and took the seat in front of Nicole. She didn't miss the way the girl released the heavy breath, and Shizuka herself sighed. This wasn't going to be an easy conversation, she knew that, but it needed to happen.

"Sora told me about your sister," she began, her eyes focused on the book in her own hands. "I am sorry," she stated, fidgeting somewhat in her chair. This was harder than it looked, apologizing for something even though she knew it was her fault. "I know you won't, and probably can't, forgive me for that, so I won't ask for your forgiveness," she finished, her tone coming out a bit firm in the process. Which was true, she wasn't going to ask for this girl's forgiveness, though all she wanted to do was apologize. Whether Nicole accepted that or not, Shizuka wasn't going to go any further than that.


Nicole's jaw clenched as she gripped her book tighter. While it was somewhat expected, it still was not overly welcome to her ears. She didn't want to hear Shizuka apologize, any more than she wanted to or was going to forgive her for what she had done. And the reason for not forgiving her was not something she expected. She kept her stone grey eyes facing forward as she spoke. "It is good that you will not ask, for forgivness is not something I will give, not freely. My sister was the only thing equatable to family that I had, and she is now dead. Her blood is on the both of our hands." She paused for a few seconds, her eyes hardening slightly. "Even still, you have less than I do. That does not mean I will forgive you still. When you can control that beast inside of you, then come back, and ask again if it still bothers you. Then, and only then, will I forgive you." At that point, she fell silent.

There was something admirable about this girl, and it showed through the gleam in Shizuka's eyes. The girl wasn't going to forgive her, not until she learned to control her beast. Shizuka smirked a bit at that, her eyes slightly shadowed as she set the book down. There was no point in reading it if she wasn't here to read in the first place. She took in a deep breath, focusing her attention back on Nicole in the process. She could see why now, and she had to admit, Sora would have a bright future with this girl.

"I have more blood staining my hands that not even my hair could hold a candle to it," she replied to Nicole's statement of having more blood than Shizuka. For her, it may seem so, but Shizuka was responsible for more deaths, more blood than Nicole would ever know. "I killed my own cousin when I first transformed. I lost that memory of it, but he was everything that I ever had. He helped me through a lot, and I repaid him by taking his life," she began, unsure of why she was even telling Nicole this. She shook her head, sighing heavily through her nose in a drawn out breath.

"Then it is agreed, I will not be forgiven. I can see why he loves you so much," she stated, addressing the condition in which forgiveness would be shared. "Just take care of him will you, he's an idiot sometimes," she added in the process.


Nicole couldn't help the smirk that snaked across her face at Shizuka's comment. It would seem the girl would have to learn to forgive herself before she began asking for someone else's forgiveness. It explained why she had been so uncomfortable in the beginning. Her comment about Sora, however, gave her slight pause. She stood up, taking the book she had chosen along with her. "All men can be idiots at times, it's what makes them men. You learn control, and I swear that nothing will happen to him, so long as there is something I can do about it." As she said this, she made her way to the door. She paused at the door farme, throwing over her shoulder, "When there is something out of your control, and you had never had control of the situation before, then the consequences are not truly your fault, Shizuka." She then left before the girl could respond.


Kira's ears flattened on the top of her head and she let out a huff. I am not cute. She told him. However, when he set her back on his lap, she perked up a bit. Kiki was with Shizuka just now. Hm. That went much better than I thought it would. Her tail flicked back and forth, and then she lept lightly off of his lap, heading out of the room. Both of those girls hurt inside. Neither of them will ever openly ask for it, but they need you and your brother, perhaps now more than ever.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui

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Sora blinked at Kira as she lept from his lap, his eyes laced with confusion. Nicole still hurt? He sighed, running a hand through his blue locks, pulling a few strands to the front as he tugged at them. He knew something like that would occur, and he was trying his best to keep her happy. Was he failing? He blinked a few times as the thought finally registered that Nicole had spoken to Shizuka. He cringed inwardly at the thought. Though Kira said it had went well, something still didn't sit right with Sora as he felt an unfamiliar clench in his stomach. Sighing, he stood from his spot and left the room, zoning in on the familiar scent of cinnamon and sunlight, a peculiar scent to have, he thought, and made his way through his home.

Fond memories flooded his mind as he wandered the corridors, voices echoing through his mind in the process. He smiled softly before he stopped in front of a door, opening it, and closing it behind him. He glanced around, spotting Shizuka sitting on one of the chairs, a book in her hand. Her brows were furrowed, as if she were trying to read the book, but couldn't understand it. He chuckled softly, taking the seat in front of her and folded his arms against his chest. He leaned back in his chair, closing his eyes for a moment. Shizuka stared at him, a brow raised as he continued to ignore her. She shrugged her shoulders and continued to ignore him. They sat in relative silence for ten minutes before Sora broke it.

"So, Nicole finally spoke with you?" he stated, jumping straight to the reason why he was here. Shizuka sighed softly through her nose, setting the book down on the table and stared at Sora. Nicole hadn't come to her to speak, it was the other way around. Shizuka came to her, and it wasn't something she wasn't too keen on telling to Sora. Regardless, she sighed and slumped a bit further into her chair. "I take it it didn't go so well," he stated, confusion laced in his tone. Kira said it had, perhaps she was mistaken?

"No, it went...well. She said she wouldn't forgive me, but," she started, signaling Sora to remain quiet as he opened his mouth to protest. "She said she might if I learn to control it. That is easier said than done, even with your brother and mother's help," she continued. Sora released a sigh of relief, closing his eyes and smiling a bit. At least Nicole had spoken with her, that was the first step. He could understand where Nicole was coming from, stating that forgiveness wouldn't be given unless something happened first. Something Kira said, caused Sora to stare at Shizuka, causing her to furrow her brows in a somewhat mixture of a glare and confusion.

"Asking for help couldn't have been easy for you, and receiving it must have been just as difficult," he began, sitting upward and situating himself so that he was more comfortable. "But you know you are not alone in this Shizuka," he finished, his eyes holding a certain kind of determination. He wanted her to know that he was here for her, that, in his own way, Hikaru was there for her, and now his mother. She didn't have to carry that alone. Shizuka scoffed, relaxing into her chair as she folded her arms against her chest. Sora smiled softly, there she goes putting up a front again. He truly hoped that she knew that she could rely on him and the others for help.

"Yeah, go take care of your wife or something," Shizuka stated, standing in the process. "I need to go outside and stretch my limbs," she continued, glancing over her shoulder and giving Sora a lopsided smile. He returned it with a toothy grin as she exited the room. Sora sighed into his chair. He could never talk to Shizuka right, and when he got the chance, he could never form the proper words. Some friend he was, but he knew that was the type of person she was. Perhaps, in due time, she would come to see how important they were to each other, all of them. Well, time to check on Nicole, he thought as he left the room moments after Shizuka.

Shizuka found herself outside, the warm sun caressing her skin as she felt the grass beneath her bare feet. She had wandered a bit from the mansion, finding a rather secluded area that left her a bit breathless to say the least. The lake was a brilliant crystalline color, clear as the sky itself, that harbored a variety of fish. The grass was luscious, bright, and had a certain air of healthy vitality to it. There were scents that littered the area, sounds that pounded in her ears, and she felt at peace. She could get used to this place, however; she wasn't here to find peace. She was here to learn to control her beast. Somewhere, in the confines of her mind, she could hear it scoffing at her. She took a deep breath, calming her mind as she searched for it. Practice made perfect, right? She could feel the changes seeping through her body, her limbs cracking and shifting as she controlled her breathing.

The pain was something she should be used to by now, but the shifting always caused it to be unbearable. For a brief moment, she lost her consciousness, allowing the beast to roam freely, and it did. Though it wasn't particularly in a rampaging mode. Instead, she stood, paws to the ground, taking in the surroundings. Something felt, different, about this place, as if she belonged here. She walked towards the lake, glancing down and stared at her own reflection. So, this is what she looked like as a beast. Somehow, she expected it to be a bit different. The sound of a twig snapping caught her attention, her ears perking up and her lips curled back into a snarl. She couldn't smell anything out of the ordinary, only the occasional wildlife and the scents of the ones who inhabited the home not too far out. She growled, eliciting a deep rumble from her teeth as she kept her gaze on the area.

Satisfied that there was no threat, she allowed the hairs along her neck to recede and her lips to once again cover her fangs. She sat, a rather odd sight to behold. A large, snow-colored beast sitting at the edge of a lake was reminiscent to a dog sitting, staring off of the porch waiting for its master to come home. If she could have this level of control over her beast, she wouldn't have to worry about losing control again. She laid down on the grass, rolling over on her back and rubbing against the grass. She was having the time of her life right now, and nothing could disturb that. She ran, bounded, chased after a few deer, and caught one. She did not, however, kill it. Which was odd to her.

She could feel it thrashing beneath her jaws, trying to escape, but then it fell limp. She could hear its rapid heartbeat still pounding though, however; it just seemed to give up. Slowly, she released it and watched as it slumped to the floor, laying there as if it were pretending to be dead. She nudged it with her nose, trying to get it to stand up again, but it just lay there. Something about it's eyes caused a wave of sadness to flash through her own golden eyes. She hadn't meant to kill it, but the thrill of the chase was a bit too much for her. The deer's breathing finally stilled as Shizuka sat next to it, a mournful howl escaping her lips.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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He could hear distantly the sounds of his mother training Shizuka, but eventually even those fell quiet, presumably as the girl left to take a break or something. He could smell her getting further away, and knew that she was headed in the direction of his sanctuary. Well… he supposed she was welcome to it, if indeed she happened upon it. His other side could be very territorial, but it wasn’t all there was to him. She would never know of his concession, because he would never reveal that one had been made. Keeping one’s intentions and mercies obscured was often the best way to get the end one desired when all was said and done.

He could smell that his brother’s woman was in the library, but he did not allow this to dissuade him from entering, certainly. She sat in one of the armchairs by the fire place, though the flames were not currently lit. It wasn’t cold enough for that, quite yet. A few of his mother’s lights served as the illumination in the room, the warm yellow glow speaking to her contentedness at the moment. At this time of day, she was usually either exercising or maintaining her ancestral blades. He thought of seeking her out, but he would leave it for now. He had come to the library for a reason, after all—he sought some of his books on vampiric ability inheritance. His mother seemed confident that there was only one likely way to break the seal Esaias had placed on Shizuka, than they both knew he would not, could not, do it. That didn’t mean he intended to leave her to her fate. She’d been stupid to allow it, or maybe just unwary, but everyone made mistakes. One of the things his mother had taught him was that nobody deserved to suffer so much forever. If there was another way, he intended to find it.

Taking several tomes from the shelf, he stacked them beside another armchair and took up residence in it. His posture was a little odd—Hikaru crossed his legs underneath him, opening the first of the thick books over his lap, but not before he noticed what she was reading. He wondered if she knew the copy was his. “All warfare is based on deception,” he said aloud, quoting a passage from the book. A brow ascended his forehead slightly, though his facial expression was still mild. “Reading that does not give the highest impression of your honesty.” Despite the words, the tone in which he spoke indicated nothing about whether he favored or was suspicious of her because of this fact. He was curious as to why she thought to read, of all the books in the library, a volume on warfare. Their world had been at peace for centuries, after all, and families like hers were rarely touched by such conflicts even when they did appear.


Nicole glanced up from her book as Hikaru entered, but otherwise paid him little heed. However, when he spoke to her, she sighed, closing the book. It would seem that she would not, after all, get any reading done that day. "One could call it a misguided attempt at understanding the motives that drive my father, or you could simply say it was habit. I've read this book in particular somewhere around eight times in my lifetime. There is no such thing as 'peace' in my family. My father almost killed me simply because I refused to accept the first male he threw at me for a betrothed. My mother is nothing more than a simpering shadow of a woman tied to her husband like a dog on a leash. That is not something I wish to see my children grow into. My father is also not a man to simply throw something away. His disownment of me is...uncharacteristic of him. I am suspicious, to say the least." She surprised herself with the long-winded answer. Yet, once she had started speaking, she had found it difficult to stop.

To his credit, Hikaru was patient while she spoke. He hadn’t really expected much of a reply to his words, but he wasn’t going to be upset that he’d received one. In the end, he shrugged—purebloods were notoriously assholes about things like this. Hers wasn’t the first such story he’d heard, and it would likely not be the last. In the end, he offered to Nicole the same advice he always offered to the people that recounted such stories. “What’s stopping you from killing him, then?” There was obviously no love lost there, and if she tried to feed him nonsense about familial loyalty, he was going to leave. Loyalty was doing what needed to be done for the sake of the people that actually mattered in your life, and it sounded as though Nicole had thus far failed to do just that.

A harsh thought, but then… Hikaru was not a gentle person. His own experiences with family had taught him well that blood was not the thing that made the difference. If his father had still been alive, Hikaru might have killed him, just for all he’d done to Reiko. It was irrelevant that he himself would not be alive if his father had been a better man—he should have been a better man. Instead, he’d betrayed his wife, left her heartbroken and cold when he ran off to be with some wench who was honestly probably too naïve to understand what was really going to happen to her. To them. To him.


Nicole regarded him silently for a few seconds. "My father is a man who prides strength. First of all, I know that I am not strong enough to kill him on my own. And second, killing him simply because I don't agree with how he does things would make me no better than him. I will not become my father." She said this rather harshly. It had been something the had long thought of.

Hikaru raised an eyebrow, tilting his head to one side. “Perhaps, if your disagreeing was the only reason, you would be,” he conceded readily enough. “But there is no shame in killing a cruel person for the sake of protecting the ones you love. What if he were to threaten your mother’s life? Your own? How about my brother’s? Would you stand by and do nothing, because you fear becoming like him?” his eyes narrowed to violet slits, and for a moment, they reddened just a little bit. “I am not a chauvinist, Nicole. If you are to marry my brother, it will be your responsibility to protect him as much as it is his to protect you. If you are not willing to do that, whatever the cost, then you do not deserve him.”

It might have been a bit strange, coming from someone like him, but the unusual combination of what he was and how he had been raised made him consider romantic bonds to be sacred and absolute. Family was the same—but not blood. Family was the people you chose to care for and protect, and people who protected you in turn. Given how important he took those relationships to be, it was perhaps unsurprising that he’d never been either betrothed or married himself, though he was long of an age. He refused to make something political out of it. And if he ever did find himself in a situation like that, his loyalty would be absolute as well. It might be a high standard to hold others to, but his brother was worthy of such a standard, and deserved nothing less. If she could not give it, then she did not have a right to be here, to accept their protection.


To say that he had touched a nerve was possibly an understatement. It was too soon after her sister's death... her own eyes flashed. She didn't actually glare at him, but her eyes conveyed quite a bit of anger. "If he so much as even thinks of hurting Sora, I would not hesitate in any way, just as I did not the day he tried to strangle my sister. As for if he threatened my mother...my mother is no better than he is. My entire life, I was always the one who protected Naya, and who took the brunt of my father's anger. My mother never so much as lifted a finger to help either of us. Frankly, I don't honestly care what happens to her. But I myself would die before he hurts anyone here. And that does include you, whether you intend to be included or not."

Hikaru gave that a moment’s thought—her words were pretty, but they were false. If she had truly not hesitated when the man attempted to kill her sister, he would be dead. Had someone tried to kill Sora, Hikaru would not stop until that person was dead. It was why Esaias was marked for death, why the moment Hikaru caught even the faintest whiff of his scent, there would be no words, no attempts to bargain, only teeth and claws and blood. “You know the right things to say,” he said, though his tone remained flat and unimpressed. “But your father yet lives, and your sister does not. One day, you will have the opportunity to show me that I am wrong. I hope that you will take it.” Closing the book he had opened, he stood in a fluid, smooth motion, and tucked it under his arm. He would leave her for now—he did not expect that she found this conversation pleasant, but he had said what Sora was too soft to say, and his point was made.

He was hash, but not cruel. He would not inflict misery upon her for its own sake. It wasn’t in his nature to torture—only to cut as precisely as needed to be done to impress the things he needed to. For everyone’s sake. “She who hesitates is lost.” He said by way of parting, and then he took his leave.


Nicole sighed once Hikaru left. It was almost uncanny, how similar their trains of thought were. He was right, of course. Knowing the right things to say had become something she had had to learn, in order to please her father. She smiled slightly. It would seem fate would not let her put her sister's memory to rest until her father had been dealt with. She looked at the cover of the book she had been reading, and then she returned it to the shelf. She would not openly seek out her father. But she would kill him if he set foot anywhere near where she was. Be it here, or the Academy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Sora sighed as he left the room, once again finding himself wandering the halls of his childhood home. His hands glided over the wall, allowing the rough texture to mix with his own calloused hands. He missed this place deeply. It was as if a part of him had been locked away for a few years, and it was now only resurfacing with the key in tow. He took a deep breath as a familiar scent entered his senses. It seems that his bethrothed was on the run so to speak. He knew she was somewhere in one of the libraries, but now her scent was traveling. Where was she headed to now? He frowned slightly, Kira's words still echoing through his ears. She stated that Nicole, and Shizuka, were still very deeply hurt.

He needed to find Nicole and speak with her to see if it was true. He couldn't allow her to be so down trodden. This was supposed to be a vacation, a time to get away from all the chaos that had ensued back at the Academy. It was time for them to recover if anything, and so far, none of them seemed to be doing so. He spoke with Shizuka earlier, and it was obvious that whatever his mother had said to the red-haired girl had an affect on her, and he could smell Hikaru's scent mixing with Nicole's as well. Perhaps they had a talking as well? He inwardly cringed at that thought. Hikaru wasn't the most eloquent conversational partner, a bit too blunt, but honest. Pushing the thoughts away, he followed Nicole's scent and found her outside. Smiling, he took a place to her side and leaned against a railing, peering out into the distance.

"Beautiful isn't it?" he stated, breaking the thin silence. Of course, he was referring to the landscape of the place he called home. "Mother tends to the place as if it were her child, as she did to us when we were growing," he continued, folding his hands in the process. He glanced at them, suddenly more interested in what his hands were doing than anything else at the moment. Taking a deep breath, he tilted his head so that he was facing Nicole. "Are you okay?" he suddenly asked, vaguely aware that something seemed to be on her mind, and bothering her if anything. Perhaps he was being too perceptive about it, but nonetheless, he was here and worried about her. Kira hadn't exactly put things at ease for him.


Nicole found herself sighing for the unknown numbered time that day, although this time she at least had a smile on her face. "I can see why this place makes you so happy, and it isn't just the scenery." She almost frowned at his question, although now, Kira's apology seemed to make a little more sense. All the tabby had told her was 'I'm sorry', and then had left her alone, shortly before her conversation with Hikaru. She shook her head slightly. "Has anyone ever told you that you worry far too much? Kira has a tendancy to not fully explain herself, just as I do. Wounds heal, but they take time. Eventually, they become scars, and with even more time, even those eventually fade. It has only been a few weeks since my sister's death. That wound has not yet healed, but it will. I am fine, Sora." It was different, being fussed over so by someone. It was truly something she herself had never experienced in her lifetime. Her mother had been tere little and her father was a tyrant, and it had been she who had fussed over Naya. To have someone do so for her was unexpected, but she would not deny that it was not nice, in its own way. Her eyes flickered over him for a second. "And before you get your hair too twisted, all Hikaru did was put things in a bit of a new perspective for me, nothing more. It's almost scary, how closely our minds seem to work. He's a bit more blunt than I am, but, we both follow the same paths and end with the same conclusions." That in and of itself was true. They both were feircely loyal over those they cared about, the only difference being Nicole had failed where he had not. But that had become her resolve. She would not fail again.

Sora smiled softly when Nicole responded. Worry to much? He had been told that once, but he never paid much heed to it. His logic was that if everyone had worried more about themselves, and what was going on around them, he wouldn't have to. Until those he cared about started taking better care of themselves, he would always worry about their well-being. He blinked a bit confusedly when she spoke about Hikaru. So, he had spoken with Nicole then. He released a deep breath and shook his head. His brother was blunt, that much he knew, but Hikaru always had his reasons for being that way, and it was something Sora admired about his younger brother.

"You are right, wounds tend to heal over time, but," he began, pausing as he straightened himself out, grabbing Nicole's hand with his own and ran his thumb over the top of it. "Wounds would heal faster if you rubbed ointment on them, and allowed it to help the healing process," he stated, holding her hand a bit longer before releasing it and allowing his to fall to his side. He was trying so hard to make her see that she wasn't alone in this, that he was here for her, and that he would always be. So far, everything that has happened, that has transpired between the both of them, usually ended with failure to protect on his part.

And it was weighing heavily on him to know that he couldn't even protect his betrothed properly. "But as I said, I will not force you to do anything you do not wish to do. Your life is your own, I cannot tell you how to live it otherwise. Just know that I am always, and will always, be here for you. You are important to me, Nicole," he stated, his amber eyes fixed with her own deep gray, a serious edge laced with his words. It was true, over the last few weeks, after the festival, from the day he met her, she was becoming so very important to him, that everytime he saw her, he swore his heart would stop beating and it felt as if he couldn't breathe. Even now he could feel the same effect wrapping around his heart.


Touch had never been a very common thing in her family, even between herself and Naya. So, she found it somewhat surprising that she did not object to being touched by someone outside of her family. But then, he wasn't outside of her family. He was now her only family. She smiled slightly at that thought. It was interesting to think of him that way, and in no ways unnatural for her. She wanted nothing more than to potect him, just as he clearly wanted to protect her. It was even stronger than her desire to protect her sister had been, and that scared her slightly. She looked back to the landscape in front of them, the breeze ruffling her hair slightly. After he let go of her hand, she found herself reaching for his, twining their fingers together. "Just as I am here for you, Sora." She gave him a funny little half-smile. "You are important to me as well."

Sora couldn't help the smile that appeared on his face when she took his hand again, lacing their fingers together in the process. He was important to her, as she was to him, and that was all that mattered at the moment. "Good, because I would have to be worried if I wasn't important to you," he joked lightly, bringing her hand up to his lips and brushed them softly over her hand. A devious smile played at his lips as they lingered on the back of her hand. He placed his free hand on her back and pulled her towards him, his lips capturing hers in a swift moment before releasing her.

"You look adorable when you're flustered and smiling, princess," he stated, releasing her as quickly as he had and disappeared, running for his life at the moment.


The joke, she expected, that was just what made Sora the way he was. The kiss, however, was not expected, though it was not objected to. She found herself blushing, standing almost rooted to the spot where Sora had left her, when she finally registered what he had called her. Princess echoed through her mind as she then scowled, although irked, a part of her found it slightly comical. She did give chase, which lasted probably longer than either of them expected. She did not, however, catch him; the male Pure Blood proved to be faster of the two. Nicole found herself still smiling long after the search had been abandoned, Kira purring on her lap as she pet her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Image




Shizuka had found her way back to the mansion, the smell of blood no longer lingering on her form. She had washed it off of her multiple times before she came back. The deer's blood was a bit thicker than she had imagined it to be, or perhaps she was imagining it. She shook her head of those thoughts as she glanced towards the sky. The sun was sitting highly in the sky, signaling that it was perhaps about noon time. The sudden sound of her stomach rumbling caused Shizuka to tinge a bit of red in the cheeks. She hadn't realized she was hungry, she hadn't eaten her breakfast with Reiko. Sighing, she followed her nose to where the most food was gathered, and found herself in the kitchen.

"I suppose I should cook for more than just one," she mused to herself. Though she was probably one of the only two people around that could survive on solid foods, Sora had told her once that vampires liked to indulge in human cuisine every so often. They couldn't survive on it though, their digestive systems wouldn't be able to handle it. She wouldn't be just cooking for herself, or him, but for the whole family who inhabited the home. With that in mind, she sighed, pulling her scarlet locks back into a ponytail and grabbed a few pots and pans. "What would they like to eat though," she muttered to herself. She wasn't exactly aware of what they liked, and she didn't want to make something that they wouldn't eat.

“Sora and my mother both favor sweet foods when they eat anything solid,” a voice answered from behind her, and Hikaru leaned himself against the door frame, folding his hands into his sleeves. He raised a brow slightly, as though trying to reconcile the familiar images of the spitfire She-wolf, as Hotaru liked to call her, and something as domestic as cooking. “But you and I will probably need something more substantial.” Apparently making up his mind, he pushed back from the wall and started opening cupboards, taking down utensils and ingredients with quick, sure movements. It was clear he knew the kitchen very well, himself, and it was impressively stocked. Like everything else in the house, the utensils and appliances were the very best, enough to make most professional chefs weep for joy.

“If you want them to eat anything that isn’t junk, you’ll have the best luck with traditional Japanese items.” He pulled what appeared to be an entire swordfish out of a freezer drawer by its tail. Inspecting it for a moment, he sniffed the air and nodded, satisfied that it was both fresh enough and free of disease. “…how much do you know about sushi?”

Shizuka glanced up from her thoughts and spotted Hikaru leaning against the door frame. She resisted the urge to frown, and instead, settled on pursing her lips together. Her question, more like statement, had at least been answered. Typical, she should have known Sora liked sweets. He seemed the type to lean towards that, but she was never one to really say. Instead, she sighed softly, trying to keep her temper under control, and for an odd reason, she still felt at ease in this place. She raised an eyebrow when he questioned if she knew anything about sushi.

"Sushi is the relative term used for the rice. People over the years have skewered its meaning to believing that it is the actual fish inhabiting it," she began, walking over so that she was standing beside him and staring at the swordfish in his hand. "There are a variety of ways to make it to, each one with a different name. Chirashizushi is actually my favorite, not that you need to know," she replied with a shrug of her shoulders. That may have been her favorite, but she wasn't here to cook for herself. She had others to think about and what they preferred.

Hikaru was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t have to explain this. So instead, he grabbed a large cutting block from another cupboard and set the fish down on it. It would thaw quickly; that particular freezer drawer kept thing just cold enough to prevent rot, and not much colder. “I don’t think any of them are that particular,” he pointed out. “Most vampires don’t eat human cuisine often enough to develop a particularly discriminating palate. My mother and brother indulge more often than most, but I assure you that if you make it for them, they will find it wonderful and praiseworthy. They are both quite fond of you.” He wasn’t sure how he felt about that, exactly—it was still a little bit like the only place in this world that he’d ever felt comfortable being himself was invaded, and as a result, he’d not been nearly so relaxed as he usually was when he returned home.

As if in response to his silent discomfort, the floating light closest to his head flickered comfortingly. His mother was an empathy of surpassing talent, and her lights tended to pick up on this in certain ways, so that sometimes, they seemed to have minds of their own. “You can command the lights, if you want. Should you find it more convenient to relocate one of change its color or alter the size or brightness, you need only speak to it and make the request.” He retrieved the short grained rice, rice vinegar, and other ingredients necessary for the staple of the food and set them down in front of her.

“Just tell me what kinds you want to make and I’ll take care of the fish.”

"I've only just met your mother, I do not believe she could be that fond of me. I get along with only one of her children, after all" she stated truthfully. Though she wasn't quite sure what Hikaru had meant to her at the moment. Their sessions, had proven to cause her to be not as, aggressive as she once was around him, and there were certain things she noticed about him that confused her. His scent, for one, had been so irritating to her, that she could never seem to focus on anything but that. Even now, it was becoming a bit difficult to concentrate, however; she pushed those thoughts to the far back of her mind.

He stated that she could command the lights, that she only need to speak to them. "Lighting doesn't mean much when your eyes adjust on their own. But, they are still beautiful to look at," she muttered as she left his side. She thought about the variety of sushi that could be made, trying to focus on which one would be most suitable for the ones they were making for it. She glanced at Hikaru and then back to the ingredients. She sighed softly and a thought crossed her mind. She frowned at the thought, but decided to ask it anyways.

"What...do you want?" the question came out a bit softly, and her eyes were narrowed in confusion. "This is for your family, and yourself too," she continued, shifting nervously in her spot. Though she really wasn't quite sure what possessed her to ask, she felt the need to. She must be losing her mind if that's the case.

He was honestly surprised to be asked, and the expression flitted across his face for a moment before he smoothed it over with a shrug. He’d rather thought that her hatred of him would have extended to apathy about his preferences, as hatred usually did. Worse, he’d almost thought that she might ask him what he disliked, just so she could make that. In the end, he only blinked and spoke honestly. “I… have a preference for Chirashizushi as well, though anything with eel in it is also fine, or this—” he indicated the now thawed swordfish and started in on gutting it and carving it up appropriately, not really bothered about the fact that he was by necessity covering his hands in fish guts. Why would he? He’d killed things before, out of a need to protect what was his or eat. Death was simply another fact of life.

“Perhaps… it would simply be best to see what ingredients we have, and go from there.” He was perplexed by the civility of this conversation, and a little of his confusion crept into his tone. Usually, he honestly didn't care for talking to many people, and Hotaru preferred antagonizing people over anything else. Maybe it was the reason they were talking, which was to do something nice for his family and their guests, but he found he wasn’t really irked by the exchange of words the way he so often was. It wasn’t a labor to talk to her, and he supposed that might partially be because there was much less he had to hide. It wasn’t like talking to his mother or brother, because there were still things he would not say, topics he would not broach, but neither was it like talking to anyone else. Perhaps that was enough.

Shizuka's face pulled back into one of displeasure when he mentioned eel. Her tongue lolled out of her mouth as if she could taste it and was trying to get it out. Eel wasn't exactly a favorite of hers, in fact, she despised it. The taste was something she just couldn't get used to, and it made her sick once. But then again it probably had a lot to do with the fact that it was her mother that had cooked it. The Leoht's were not exactly a family of vampires that dined in human cuisine. Now that she thought about it, they didn't. Their diet was mainly blood, hers belonging to her mother. She frowned at that thought before pushing it away. Those people were dead now, they did not belong in her thoughts but...

"The good thing about Chirashizushi is that the ingredients do not really matter. It is what the one who cooks it prefers or those who have ordered it with specific ingredients in mind," she replied, watching as he gutted the fish and carved it appropriatly. There were a lot of ingredients that they could use, but she didn't want to go all out and turn it into a buffet. She, herself, had an appetite that could be matched by the wolf inside, but she didn't want to over do it either. She sighed softly, shaking her head in the process. "I suppose we could just go with something simple then, perhaps just Sashimi," she suggested. Sashimi was easier to make and didn't really require a lot.

“If you like,” Hikaru replied simply, preparing the ingredients with that in mind. He paused for a moment, trying to decide if he really wanted to say it. In the end, he did, and so with a surprising amount of hesitation, he spoke again. “I… hope that this time has been helpful,” he said. “I occasionally forget how difficult it was, when I was young and trying to learn what you are. I may have been harsher than I should have been. My life has taught me to be harsh, that harm will come to people if I am not, but all the same… it is a reason, but it is not an excuse. I am not kind, and I do not know how to be. I just want you to know that I understand why you hate me, and I do not hold it against you.” He wasn’t exactly an easy person to get along with—it took extraordinary souls like his mother and Sora to manage it. Not everyone was so tolerant and forgiving.

The fish was carved with skill, perfect for sashimi, and he set the tray of it down next to her arm before he took up the seaweed and started slicing it appropriately as well.

Shizuka sighed a bit heavier than she intended. She never said (or did she?) she hated him. She just didn't get along with him at all, though at the current moment, they were. "I cannot say I understand what you went through growing up. I didn't, and still don't, know you," she began, taking the tray of Sashimi set down beside her and grabbed a few plates. "But I never hated you. I just," she paused, placing the strips neatly across the dishes. "I grew up believing I was a vampire at first," she scoffed at herself. It was partially true. She did grow up believing she was a vampire until the first night she changed in their presence. It was a scary thing as she woke up the next day unaware of what had happened.

"I was ten when I first shifted, and I killed my cousin because of it. He was only trying to help me, but because I didn't know what I was, I ended up killing him. You had your mother, and your brother to help you, I've had no one," she stated, her eyes shadowing over in the process. "And then I was attacked by the family that raised me. They took me in as some trophy creature to display in their collection, but my mother had other uses for me. I went a long with it because I thought they were my family. I...had lost my memories up until recently," she continued before shaking her head, unsure of why she was even telling him this. But there was a strange feeling that she wanted him to know.

"Judai...he was the only one who treated me as if I were a normal person, that I wasn't a monster, and I loved him for it. I loved him with everything I had, even though he didn't return it. My father tried to kill me one night, but," she paused, something burning at the back of her eyes. She shook her head, placing more of the strips on the other plates. "You don't need to know that, but it is understandable why you are the way you are," she finished as she sighed heavily once more. She laid out her past to him, unknown why she even did so, but it felt...nice, to actually speak to someone who knew, and wouldn't say anything about it.

He wasn’t sure what he’d done to deserve this level of confidence, and frankly some part of him was telling him he shouldn’t want anything to do with it, but… they were more similar than even he’d suspected. Something in his rigid posture slumped slightly, and he sighed, a most unusual sound coming from him. “We didn’t figure it out right away, either,” he admitted. “What Reiko knows how to do now, the methods I’ve learned to contain myself… that was something we had to figure out from the bottom up. My mother almost died giving birth to me, and she did die before I was old enough to remember her. My father was dead even before that. Reiko was just a vampire who knew nothing about what I was, other than what she’d managed to glean or deduce based on a few short moths with my mother. I… I almost killed her, more than once. I would have killed her, on one occasion, except I managed to get her my blood in time. If it had been just a moment later…” He cringed.

“I guess my point is… the difference between almost disaster and disaster is very small. Everything we are, everything we do… it puts us on the edge of a razor, and if we tip too far to one side, we could lose everything. That doesn’t just go for me when I was a child or you a few weeks ago. It’s still true now. I have… I have tried very hard to make it so that I risk only a few things, and then I make sure those things are so important to me that it would be very hard to just… lose it. There was never any room for anything in-between. I think that if I had been in your position, I would have had just as much difficulty as you did. Maybe more. I think that’s true of anyone. The world is hard, and cruel, and oftentimes out to get people like us, who do not fit its paradigms.” Another sigh. “You… don’t need to think that I’m out to get you, too. We both have enough problems and enough enemies without adding to each others’ burdens. I’m willing to call a truce if you are.”

"I will agree with you. The world is hard, it is cruel, but there are it's moments it can be beautiful. It can have a certain way about it that it'll leave you breathless and grasping to preserve it. Not everything is without its flaws, but even then, the imperfections in them are what truly matters, because it sets them apart," she replied, taking a deep breath and releasing it slowly. She was tired, so very tired of everything, but, here he was offering a truce now. She rose an eyebrow at that and tilted her head to the side. It was true, they did have their own problems, one was starting to irritate her slightly as her hand went to cover one of them. She didn't need another enemy, and least of all she didn't want him to be her enemy. She wasn't quite aware of what she wanted him to be to her, and at the moment, she wasn't going to dwell on that thought.

"A truce, remind me again what it was we were doing again to need a truce?" she stated in a friendly banter, however; she stuck her hand out, her eyes hardening in a serious tone as she did so. "Shake on it then," she stated, holding her hand out still in the process. In some ways, it was a childish notion, almost as if one were to pinky promise something, but she needed that reassurance that the truce was just that. A truce and nothing more.

“My hand is covered in fish guts and seaweed,” he pointed out flatly, but there was a hint, the barest hint, of laughter in the corners of his eyes, and he shook his head, topknot swishing quietly, and left her hanging for a moment to wash off in the sink. As soon as his limbs were clean and dry, he grasped her hand in his and shook firmly. “You should know that I don’t take this to mean I have to be as nice and humorless as Sora,” he said with a slight smile and a raised brow, “but I expect I’m not the only one who occasionally enjoys teasing someone.” The glimmer in his eyes was turning them red, but other than that, his appearance remained largely the same.

Setting

Characters Present

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Earnings

0.00 INK

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"I never actually thought to see her again..."



All too soon, the four of them had to leave. It was time for them to return to the Academy, though Nicole was loathe to do so. At least, she thought, she would still be with Sora. That thought made her smile brightly. It was a bit surprising to her, how well they were getting along, yet here they were.

Their departure went rather smoothly, and mid-flight, Nicole fell asleep with ehr head on Sora's shoulder. He woke her when they landed in London. They had a stop over here which would be an hour, but when they entered the terminal, they found out it would be closer to three, due to weather.

They had found a relatively secluded part of the terminal in which they would wait for their next plane when Nicole stood up rather abruptly. There was a rather hard expression on her face as she glared at someone behind Hikaru. Kira, who was curled up on Sora's lap, also picked her head up, a soft hiss escaping her in response to Nicole's anger.

The woman in question looked, in fact, quite a bit like Nicole, from her steel eyes to her raven-colored hair. There was an odd, sad look about her, like a woman who had been utterly beaten into submission by the entire world. The woman took a step forward, and Nicole quickly walked over to meet her, keeping distance between the two of them and the rest of the group.

"How are you doing, Nicole?" Michaline asked softly. She heasitantly reached towards her daughter, as if to brush her hair back. A pained look flashed across her face, with a hint of understanding, when Nicole took a step back, out of her reach.

"What are you doing here, Mother?"

Michaline sighed. "As blunt as ever, I see. I'm afraid I need your help. I know I am in no position to ask you of all people--"

Nicole scowled, cutting Michaline off mid-scentence. "No, you're really not."

Michaline smiled wanly, playing with her fingers. Nicole's eyebrows raised in surprise. Her mother wasn't wearing a wedding ring. "What is this about, Mother?" she asked softly.

"I'm pregnant, Nicole. I know that I was never there for you and Naya, and I am so sorry for that, I truly am. I'm asking you to help because I don't want to loose this child like I've lost my daughters. If not for me, then for the child. Please, Nicole." There was a pleading look in her eyes.

A dark shadow passed over Nicole's face and for almost a full minute, she didn't speak. When she finally did, there was a dangerous undertone in her voice. "You're asking me to protect you from Sebastian. You, the mother, are asking me, the daughter, to protect you from your husband, my father. What the Hell made you think this was a good idea? You never so much as lifted a finger to help me or my sister in almost five hundred years, and now all of a sudden you want to become a good mother for this child?!"

Nicole's voice had started off soft and had risen almost to the point where she was shouting. Her mother simply stood there with her hands clasped, her eyes cast downward.

"Yes." She said simply.

Something finally broke inside Nicole, and there was a deep sadness in her eyes as she suddenly yelled at her mother, "What the hell is so special about this child that you care more about it than you did about me or Naya?"

For once in her life, Michaline spoke without hesitiation. "The child isn't Sebastian's. It's Michael's."

Nicole was utterly stunned, and she stared at her mother, speechless. She was aware that she had begun crying, and she wiped them away. When she returned her gaze to her mother, she looked very tired.

"Oh god, Mother...what have you done?" She sighed, running a hand through her hair. "Fine. I can't say I'll be much help, but...I'll try. But I'm doing this for no other reason than you are my mother. Did you tell Uncle?"

Michaline shook her head. "He would only fight for rights for the child, and you know Sebastian. He'd kill Michael, and then turn around and kill me and the child. I'd rather not see Michael dead."

Nicole nodded. "Alright...we'll be leaving again soon." She looked more than tired as she returned to the group. Kira looked up at her. "Well...it appears we will be joined on the next flight by none other than my mother."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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The week spent at his mother's came all but to an end too soon. Sora bid his mother goodbye, laying in her comforting embrace before they departed back to the Academy. He was a bit upset that he was leaving, but nonetheless smiled. He at least had his new family to go back with. Hikaru, Shizuka, and Nicole. His smile brightened at that thought alone. Nicole had become such an important figure in his life now, so quickly, that he wasn't sure he could understand a life without her now. After everything she was put through, what they went through together, here they were still standing beside each other. He was also pleasantly surprised that Shizuka and Hikaru seemed to be on better terms.

They were not arguing or fighting as much as they once had, and Sora couldn't help but think of positive things of the situation. Perhaps with more time, they might even laugh, but that was a thought for the future. Their plane made an abrupt landing in London due to weather conditions, forcing the four of them to take up residence in the terminal until the weather cleared. Sora had leaned in his chair, holding onto his balance by the table with his foot as he pet Kira. She had taken to laying in his lap as the group had picked up a spot in a secluded part of the terminal. He could hear the humans whispering about of their group, how attractive they all were, but he paid no mind to it.

Living as long as he had, he was well aware of the allure vampires, and apparently Shizuka, had to the humans. Vampires, he could understand, were more graceful, elegant, had an air of just something out of reach, but Shizuka? He glanced sideways at her, meeting her mahogany eyes with his amber ones. She narrowed them at him, raising a brow in confusion as he just shook his head. Perhaps it was the unapproachable rigidness she held that drew them in. She was certainly an attractive woman in her own right, but not nearly so as vampires held. And he let his eyes soften as they landed on the one woman who would be his own.

His thoughts were shaken when Nicole stood up abruptly, Kira lifting her head as well and releasing a soft hiss. He tilted his head in confusion at the situation until his eyes landed on a woman. He rose a brow at the woman. She looked familiar, sharing in qualities of Nicole. Was this someone related to her? Shizuka furrowed her brows at the newcomer, however; she remained in her seat, unfazed of what was to come. It was then that Nicole answered the hidden question on both of their minds, causing Sora to tilt his chair back too far and falling backwards. Shizuka snickered at his misfortune, however; he recovered quickly and returned to his chair, his eyes still wide.

It was Nicole's mother, and from what he could hear from the conversation, she was asking for help. Nicole came back to the group, stating that her mother would be joining the group. Sora could see the frustration rolling off in waves from Nicole, and he made to stand, however; Shizuka beat him to it. She could smell the stress of everything weighing down on Nicole, and Shizuka didn't like it. The scent was unbearable and she wanted it to end, so she did the only thing she could think of. She grabbed Nicole's arm and pulled the girl towards her, wrapping her arms around the girl's shoulders in the process. She wasn't quite aware of how to give a proper hug, and she was trying her best to comfort the girl. Shizuka wasn't one for comfort, however; this was Sora's fiancee, and in some odd way, her own friend.


A hug, while desperately needed, was also completely unexpected, especially from Shizuka. For a few seconds, Nicole could only stand there, in shock, a perplexed expression on her face, when suddenly she giggled. Shizuka let go of her, and Nicole had to sit down abruptly before she lost her footing because she was laughing. She wasn't even sure why, but she knew it felt better than the frustration she felt towards her mother. After half a minute of uncontrollable giggling, she finally managed to compose herself. "Thanks, Shizuka...I needed that."

Shizuka frowned slightly when she released Nicole, and the girl burst into fits of laughter. Did she do something wrong then? She watched as Nicole sat down abruptly, still laughing like a maniac. Sora only smiled at the confusion laced on Shizuka's face before he joined in the laughter, though his was a bit softer and hardly noticeable. She sighed roughly through her nose and sat back in her chair, crossing her arms over her chest in the process. She puffed her cheeks out somewhat before she turned her attention towards Nicole. It was then Nicole expressed her gratitude. Shizuka sighed softly, allowing a smile to plague her lips momentarily.

"You're welcome, but don't expect another one any time soon," she retorted, the smile never leaving her lips. Sora just shook his head. It seems that the two of them were getting a long better than he had originally thought. And that thought made him happy. If they were getting a long, though she might not have forgiven her quite yet, it was still the first steps to doing so. In due time they could be perhaps extremely close friends, and that was something he was counting on. Shizuka was a fierce friend, and he knew he could rely on her to protect Nicole should something happen to him. She wouldn't allow her friends to be hurt, and he had appreciated that over the years.


After a few seconds more, Nicole sighed softly. "Frankly, I didn't expect it in the first place." she told the other girl with a small smile. She then turned to Sora. "Well, I've met my future Mother-in-Law. Ready to meet yours?"

Sora was taken back by the sudden question and he coughed nervously in his hand. Sure, she'd met his mother, but honestly, after what transpired between Sebastian, he wasn't sure if he really was quite ready to meet her parents once again. Though her mother had not physically been there, he had heard enough from Nicole to understand why she wasn't particularly fond of the woman. That in turn, caused him to be hesitant to meet her, however; there was no going back now. And it was far too late since she was here. Taking a deep breath, he forced a smile on his face.

"Well, it'd have happened sooner or later I suppose," he replied with a light shrug of his shoulders. Though it was true, he would have met her sooner or later, and though it was much sooner than he would have liked, regardless, it was happening. "Are you going to keep her away from the group or are you going to introduce her to us?" he stated, glancing over her shoulder to gaze at Michaline, who still kept her distance from the group.


Nicole shook her head. "Nope, this is a two on one thing. Come on." Nicole then stood up, dragging Sora with her over to where Michaline was now seated, leaving Shizuka and Hikaru alone. Michaline looked at them both with a shadow of something across her face. It was something that Nicole couldn't place. Hope? Sorrow? She gave up trying to figure it out and instead spoke. "Right. Sora, allow me to introduce my mother, Michaline Edyta. Mother, this is my betrothed, Sora Akarui." While she said this a bit stiffly, her mother actually managed a smile.

"It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Sora. I will apologize on behalf of my husband, your meeting with him was not overly...welcoming." Nicole had to hold in a snort. That was an understatement. "Introductions was not the only reason I brought you over here alone. As it so happens, I'm sure you surmised that my mother came to me for help. Now, I'm turning to you. My mother is pregnant, and not by my father. You can imagine what sort of situation that will put us all in if she comes with us. Frankly, I'm not entirely sure what to do."


Sora let out a startled yelp when Nicole dragged him away from the table, shooting the others an apologetic glance as he followed behind Nicole. Her mother sat, a solemn look upon her face though she tried to smile at the both of them as Nicole introduced him. He offered a smile in return, though he could see something flash behind Michaline's eyes. He couldn't exactly deduce what it was, however; it wasn't his concern.

"Like wise, Mrs. Edyta," Sora replied as she spoke. "Your husband is of no concern to me, so do not apologize on his behalf," he replied, sighing softly through his nose. It was then Nicole began speaking, and he furrowed his brows. A child from another vampire wasn't exactly a favorable thing in the community, and was frowned upon. Depending on old customs, if the husband so chose, he could have his wife condemned to death. And that was something neither of them could really do anything about.

"I am sure you are aware of the law, Michaline. If Sebastian so chooses, your life would still belong to him regardless. There really isn't much we can do about it to interfere. That being said, however," he paused, running a hand through his blue locks in the process. "It seems that Sebastian really isn't a favorable person. I cannot say for certain what will be in store for us, however; my family comes first. If something were to happen to any of them, Nicole included, do not think for a moment I will not hesitate to give you back to Sebastian," he stated. Those his words were harsh, he meant every word of it.

Nicole, Hikaru, and Shizuka were his family. Should Sebastian even think about harming them, he would give Michaline back to him without a moments hesitation. Though he had no doubts in his mind that he, or even Shizuka and Hikaru, could easily dispose of Sebastian, Michaline meant nothing to him, regardless if she was the mother of his betrothed. And that was all that he harbored for the woman. She was nothing more but the one who gave him Nicole. He wasn't going to sugar coat anything for her.


Michaline offered Sora a wan smile. "I completely understand that, and that is why I did not come to you. Besides, I'm sure my daughter feels the same." Nicole frowned slightly, but otherwise nodded. "I do. Sebastian disowned me. Blood or not, you are no longer considered my family. Sora, Hikaru, and Shizuka, however, are my family. I will protect them before I protect you." She sighed through her nose, the intercom above them signaling that their plane had come in.

"If you're coming, I won't stop you, so long as you understand the stipulations." Michaline nodded, an odd little smile on her face.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui

Earnings

0.00 INK

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It had been almost forty-eight hours since they got back to the Academy. Michaline had been moved into the room that Nicole had previously shared with her sister, and due to the fact that she was not overly on good terms with her mother, Nicole had moved in with Sora, for lack of a better term. It caused a bit of a stir within the dorm community, but Nicole ignored them, as usual. Still, she continuosly had the skin-crawling feeling that someone was watching her.

That someone was her father. He'd been lurking since the group had gotten back, waiting. What, percisely, he was waiting for, only he relly knew. Whatever it was, he didn't seem in any sort of hurry. Sebastian's lips curled into a grin when he caught Sora's scent. So the boy finally came. How interesting...


Sora had spoken with Shizuka and Hikaru, laying everything out in front of them of what was going on. Shizuka had been against it in general. Not only was the woman pregnant, but her stench that she was plagued her. It was no doubt invading Hikaru's senses as well, however; he probably kept his composure for appearances' sake. Regardless, Shizuka shrugged it off and said nothing more on the subject. She would trust Sora in his own judgement, he usually didn't make horrible decisions. Two days later, and they had settled back into Cross Academy. Sora had made arrangements with the Headmaster, inlisting Michaline as a transfer student, however; she wouldn't be attending class like the others.

Nicole had moved into his dorm, something that had caused quite the stir in the community, however; he shrugged it off. She was, after all, his fiancee, and soon would be his wife. They would share a room eventually. But still, he respected her and had another bed brought into his room so that they could at least sleep seperately. Something had taken his attention, and Sora found his feet traveling in the direction of a peculiar scent that insulted him. He knew who it belonged to, and he could feel the eyes lingering on both him and Nicole over the last few days. His eyes narrowed as he finally found the one responsible.

"You have no standing on these grounds, Edyta. Cross Academy is a neutral place, and I highly doubt you are here to join," Sora addressed the older Edyta. He crossed his arms across his chest, his eyes narrowed in on the other pure-blood.


Sebastian's obsidian eyes gave of a slightly red gleam. "I very much have standing when it concerns my wife, boy. Whom, I do believe, you are providing safe harbor to here. Now tell me, that does not seem very neutral, does it?" Sebastian chuckled softly. "And for being such a neutral place, you certianly don't come very peacefully, now do you? I can very much consider that a threat, Akarui. Your father seems to be concerned, it would seem that you have been ignoring him. He's found you a betrothed, you know."

"Sanctuary is provided to all who come to Cross seeking it. I am not the one providing the safe harbor. If you have something to say about it, take it up with the association and the council," Sora spat back. His eyes gleamed slightly when he spoke of being threatened. "I made no such notion. All I asked was for your reason being here. I did not threaten you in any way, unless you consider words a threat," he continued, unfolding his arms in the process. His eyes, however, widened slightly at the news. Heisuke found a new betrothed for him? His brows furrowed in slight anger as he stared at Sebastian.

"Then you can provide a message to him; I am already engaged," he retorted. He would have to send word to his father then if that were truly the case. He should have known Heisuke would do something like that, however; he had made it clear the first time that he would accept no other other than the Edyta pure-blood that shared his room. "And since it is already written, I cannot accept another," he added. "I suggest you leave if you have no other business here Edyta," Sora spat over his shoulder as he turned to leave.


Sebastian's smirk grew wider. The boy certainly did know what words to say. In the end, that was all they were. Michaline had not come to the Academy, she had gone to Nicole, and by extension, to Sora. It also amused him that he thought him a messenger. If he wanted to give his father a message, he would have to do it himself. When Sora turned away from him, however, the smirk vanished, replaced by a look of malice. Within the space of half a heartbeat, he closed the gap between himself and Sora, his nails slicing into the boy's neck. Sebastian then focused his power on making him kneel as he licked Sora's blood off of his fingers.

"Something to note: never turn your back on someone, friend or foe. It may just cost you your life. Tell me, do you think Nicole will weep for you if you were to die?"


Sora knew he shouldn't have turned his back on Sebastian, however; he didn't think the man was foolish enough to attack him on neutral grounds. How wrong he was. Not only had Sebastian attacked him, ripping his flesh by his neck, but he also just openly declared war. Sora felt himself spasm for a second before his wounds quickly began to heal, however; they were prevented from fully closing. He knew Sebastian's blood ability, and it was because Sora had been careless that he was currently subjected to it. He was forced to kneel, a feral sound escaping his throat in the process. His eyes turned vermilion when Sebastian mentioned Nicole.

"Tell me, who will weep for you when you die? At least I know there are those who will love me enough to do so. No one will weep for you, they will rejoice," he spat, focusing his attention to his own ability. He could feel the sparks flowing through his hand as he focused the electricty into a current, and tried to meld it into his own body. If he could shock his self, he would regain control of his body, and his wound would heal enough for him to deal with the man.


Sebastian made a 'tsking' sound. "I'm afraid I'm not the one who will be dying tonight, and it is not a role reserved for you, either, though if you press the issue, you of all people should know I won't hesitate to kill you in the slowest way possible. My, my, it seems my brain is already coming up with delicious ways to do so. How do you think Nicole would handle it if I made her kill you, hm?" Sebastian began twisting Sora's arms back, away from the front of his body. The man thrived on seeing pain, only moreso when the rat fought against its inevitable trap.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Sora only grunted when his arms were twisted behind his back. It was okay, he could use that momentum to focus his electricity to his chest if that were the case, however; in order to do so, he would need to concentrate. And that was increasingly hard to do when he spoke of using Nicole as a means of killing Sora. For a split second, fear crossed his amber gaze. Not fear for his life, but fear for Nicole. He had promised he wouldn't allow anything else to harm her, to befall her. If her father took control of her again, he would have broken that promise. And he wasn't one to break promises.

"Leave her out of this Edyta. If you want your wife, go get her. She's in the dormitory," Sora stated, malice laced in every word, a promise that once he was free, he was going to tear the vampire to shreds. His mind briefly wondered towards his brother and Shizuka. Where were they? Shouldn't they have smelled his blood by now? Perhaps they were too far to smell him. Whatever the reason, he was now glaring at Sebastian. "Take your wife and leave this place. You've just declared war on these grounds," he continued, venom laced in every word.


A maniacal smile flashed across his face when he saw the flicker of fear cross Sora's face. "I'm afraid that this has no longer become just about my wife, boy. I'm going to enjoy killing you too much to--" There was a horrendous snarl, and Sebastian was cut off as something very large -and very angry- barreled into him from the tree above them. Nicole landed silently on the ground where Sebastian had been before, the Pure Blood too busy contending with Kira in her true form. Nicole herself looked...different. She was barefoot, and in her nightgown. The second she had smelled Sora's blood she had moved, thinking litle about anything else.

But that wasn't all. Her eyes glowed crimson, and anywhere her skin was showing, there were markings. Black spirals and swirls wound their way around her skin, covering her like tattoos, including her face. She turned and looked at Sora, anger flashing across her face, and then turned back to face her father. Her voice was very soft, yet very deadly. "You won't be killing anyone tonight, Sebastian." Kira backed off, circling around behind Sora, her own eyes glowing.

Sebastian regained his feet, but then a look of surprise crossed his face as he realized he couldn't move. Kira had scratched him a fair amount, and Nicole had complete control of him now. There was a dark look in her eyes as she forced Sebastian to his knees, and then made him face towards the ground. Sebastian managed to turn his hand half-way and he glared up at his daughter. "...How?" was all he managed to choke out.

Nicole's lips curled back into a snarl. "Surprise, Dad. I inherited your pathetic ability to manipulate poeple using their blood, yes."

She then forced him to look directly at her, using her shadows to hold him directly as she glared at him. A pained smirk crossed Sebastians' face as he spat at her, "Well, what are you waiting for? Aren't you going to kill me?"

Nicole's scowl deepend. "No, I'm not going to kill you, Sebastian." Sebastian laughed. "No, it's not that you won't, it's that you can't isn't it? You're too weak--"

Nicole's aura flared by a great amount, and Sebastian gave a pained grunt as she forced him back to the ground. "No, it is because killing you would make me no better than you. And I won't become you. But if you ever threaten any of my family, and that includes Shizuka, Hikaru, Sora, and my mother, I will kill you." she told him through clenched teeth. She then did the only thing she could think of at the moment, she hit him with a wall of shadow, knocking him out. As her father collapsed to the ground, she nodded at Kira and then knelt next to Sora. The markings were slowly disappearing from her person, and she hesitantly laid a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, are you alright?" The familiar, meanwhile, was dragging the psychotic Pure Blood off of the school grounds.


Shizuka and Hikaru had been far away from the school, deep within the reaches of the forest, working on several new techniques that Reiko had suggested. Though she was learning admirable control quite quickly, Shizuka was still far from perfect at it (as, indeed, was he). It was, therefore, on a delay of about five minutes that the scent of his brother’s blood reached Hikaru, but his reaction was immediate. He stiffened, eyes flashing and settling red. He knew what this meant—and he wanted blood-price for it. “Sora,” he said, the single word enough to convey his intent. With a look at Shizuka, who would doubtless follow, he bounded off in the direction of Cross, picking up speed—and white hairs—as he went.

By the time the two had covered the mile or so to the scene, Sebastian was already gone, but he could smell the blood mixing thickly in the air, and he turned at once to his brother, whose neck wound was closed, but still obvious, from the way the red stain smeared over his skin. Seeing that the actual culprit had vanished, he turned, narrowing scarlet eyes on the woman. “Liar,” he growled, the word spat gutterally from his chest with the force and raspiness of stones grinding together. “Coward. Explain yourself, or run, and quickly.” The beast was close to the surface now, even in him. He had not been speaking falsely when he spoke of his desire to protect his family, and it was clear that this bitch was becoming more of a danger to his brother on a daily basis, given her utter inability to hold up her end of a bargain.

Shizuka walked in silence behind Hikaru, keeping her focus on everything else but him. As of late, his scent had become increasingly distracting, and though she was improving on her control, her ability to focus was still something she needed to work at. She sighed, combing a hand through her ponytail when her fingers stiffened mid-way. The scent of blood covered the air, and the hairs along her neck stood. It was Sora's blood, from the distictive scent it held, she knew that much. Almost immediately, she bounded after Hikaru as they approached Sora and Nicole.

Immediately, Shizuka was by Sora's side, checking him over as he tried to shoo her hand away. She fixed him with a stare as he stared back, however; both of their attention was taken by the sudden hostility in Hikaru's voice. Sora frowned slightly as Shizuka furrowed her brows. "Hikaru," Shizuka stated, his name coming out as a deep rumble in her throat in the process. She stood from Sora's side and was by Nicole's, her eyes fixed on Hikaru. She didn't like the way he spoke to the girl, and it was obvious that they both missed something. It wasn't wise to threaten before asking what transpired, but she could see the intent to protect clearly in his eyes, even as they were rubies now.

"Hikaru, it's not her fault," Sora stated, pulling himself up in the process. He dusted his uniform down and rolled his back, popping it in the process and stretching the muscles that needed to be. "Sebastian caught me off guard, and if it wasn't for her, I'd probably look a lot worse than I do now," he continued, standing on the other side of Nicole. His eyes were soft as he glanced at her, grabbing her hand into his own in the process. Shizuka merely kept her gaze on Hikaru as Sora returned it to him as well.


Nicole's silver eyes roamed over the others that had joined them. Very little showed on her face, but she did sigh. "No, Sora. Hikaru is right. At least, in some sense. This is my fault, I'm the one who brought my mother here, which in turn lead Sebastian here. However, the thing we discussed was protection, which I did. Not killing. I am sorry if that disappoints you, but I am not a killer when I do not have to be. If my judgement in this proves to be wrong, I can guarantee that I will be the one to pay for this, because I know how my father is. I peaked his interest tonight, so from now on, I will be the one he comes after. Besides," She gently took her hand out of Sora's stepping away from his as she did so. "You no longer have much reason to worry about my connection to Sora anyway. There is no longer one."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image




Image




Hotaru’s eyes narrowed; he scoffed low in his throat. “Your guarantees are worth nothing to me, wench.” He could hardly call whatever had happened here proper protection—an enemy that lived was one that could attack another day, and a manipulative man like that would know to strike at the heart first. If her heart was where he believed it was, Sora was no safer now than he had been before. The revelation that she was no longer ‘connected’ to his brother was hardly of concern to him; it might actually be good riddance. Whatever the case, it was likely to cause Sora some distress, and he was no good at handling that. “Clearly, there are matters to be discussed. You will forgive me if I am uninterested in remaining.”

It was the best he could do, to give his brother some privacy. Knowing Sora, he’d want to talk the woman out of this, and Hotaru was going to be no help either way. He wasn’t even sure he wanted that effort to succeed, but for now, it wasn’t his business. He turned, putting his back to the whole scene, and departed.

Sora frowned when Nicole removed her hand from his, grasping for it once more but kept his hand to his side. Her hesitance in her words caused Sora to catch a lump in his throat, a small bout of fear coursing through his veins. But what? What did she mean by that? It only escalated when she stepped away from him, a sudden chill spreading through the warmth she once occupied. And then, the words snaked their way through his ears and lodged inside the back of his throat. No longer a connection? It took him a few seconds to register what she said, ignoring the words Hikaru spoke moments before as he turned to fully face her.

"What are you talking about?" he stated as confusion flashed behind his amber eyes. He was truly confused. Didn't he say that he that she was important to him? Didn't she say the same thing. "I don't understand," the words coming out a bit softer than they should have. Shizuka, sensing that this was something they needed to sort out on their own, followed Hikaru's lead and left the two alone, however; her eyes traveled to the departing Hikaru, a frown tugging at her lips. He needn't be so harsh with his words, but then again, he had said he wasn't a nice person to begin with.

"You don't have to be so harsh with Nicole," she stated, having decided to go after the male. "It is obvious that your brother cares a lot for her, and if he is willing to hurt himself to protect her, that should be his decision to do so. You don't have the right to interfere with that. I know he's your brother, and I know you are protective of him. I am as well, he's my friend too," she continued, her eyes flashing a golden hue for a moment before retaining their mahogany color. She just sighed though and shook her head. Hikaru cared for his brother, a lot. She knew it wouldn't make a difference in what she said, but still.

Sora had made that decision to protect Nicole and that was his right to do so. His life was his own and no one else's. He had every right to do with it as he pleased, no matter who he hurt in the process. All Hikaru could do was just be there for him at least and support his decision. Perhaps it was the wolf that was in him that compelled him to do what he does. She could understand that because the same animal instinct drove her, but instinct and decisive actions were always two completely opposite things. Perhaps it was because they were siblings, in a way, and that's what they did. She couldn't understand that, she had no siblings of her own.

“That’s not how it works,” he replied, unsure why he was bothering trying to explain this to her. “When you enter such an arrangement with someone, your life is not simply your own anymore. You have to think of the other always as well. And my brother is a stupid fool, picking fights he cannot win. His life is not only his own, either, and I will not allow him to spend it frivolously, for someone who will not even risk her precious pride to protect him. This is why I do not bother with such affairs.” If he ever did, he certainly wouldn’t hesitate to kill for the person he loved, not when their life was on the line. He would not throw his own life away, either. Because he knew very well the pain that could cause, and he would never wish for anyone he should love to suffer as his mother had. Sora should know better as well.

But to say what he would do was perhaps pointless. He had no plans to love anyone in such a sense. His mother and his brother were his family, and he was willing to call Shizuka… well, something of concern to him. But that was where it ended. Love clearly made people morons, which was a good enough reason to stay away from it.


A hint of a smile crossed her face at Hikaru's choice of words. Wench? Now that was an interesting term. Still, with the way Sora was looking at her, she had little time to think it over. She sighed as Hotaru and Shizuka left. She had known this was not going to be easy, but the moment she had caught Sebastian's scent along with Sora's blood, she had made up her mind. Surprisingly, it had been the conversation with Hikaru she had had earlier that had helped her make the decision. "Don't look at me like that, please. We both knew the moment that Sebastian disowned me this was not going to end well, no matter how we feel. Sebastian attacking you tonight only solidifies my decision. I will not stay here and put you or anyone in danger. I can't just stand by and watch you get hurt, Sora. I won't." She closed her eyes, trying to center herself before she let her emotions get out of control and the tears that were threatening to fall began.

"I'm taking my mother and we're leaving. It's the only way to keep Sebastian from hurting you."


She was going to leave? That was the only thing that registered in his mind. His eyes remained void of anything as he stared at her. Did she truly believe that? Did she truly believe that because she was disowned by Sebastian, that he wouldn't want her? That nothing good would become of them if she remained? His heart beat slowed, an uneven rhythm beating against his chest in the process. He released a slow sigh, grabbing her hand one last time, brushing his thumb over the top of hers. If this is truly what she wanted, he couldn't force her to stay. No matter how much his heart was aching, how it was cracking, he wouldn't force her to stay.

"I told you once before, I would never force you to do anything you don't want to do. I would always respect whatever your decision you made. Just know," he paused, releasing her hand and providing a respectable distance between them. "Just know that I am here still. I will always be here," he finished, swallowing the lump in his throat as he turned to leave. "Take care of yourself Nicole," were his final words as he left her. He couldn't turn to face her again. He was afraid of what would happen if he did. He didn't want her to leave, he wanted her to stay. But he couldn't force her to.

"Your brother is anything but a stupid fool. He was looking out for the life of the one he chose to be with. I didn't choose mine," she stated, her hand flying to the mark at her neck in an attempt to cover it. "I didn't choose to enter into this arrangement. If I could, I would end it as quickly as Nicole did. You cannot even hope to understand what this mark means to me, but at least your brother chose Nicole. He isn't spending his life frivolously, Hikaru. He is trying to protect her in the only way he knows how to," she retorted.

Her eyes were faintly dim-litted in the process. His statement struck a nerve with her. After Reiko had told her what the mark meant, she had spent every waking moment, before training, trying to find a way to be rid of it. There had to be another way besides the two that Reiko mentioned, but so far she had failed in finding it. Being bound to Esaias in that way was not something she found pleasant at all. Every fiber of her being felt as if it were set on fire, burning her. And she hated it. At least Sora and Nicole had chosen each other. She'd give anything to have what they had, but she was a fool to think so. She had lost that a long time ago.

He would have given up the point and receded into silence, but it seemed she had misunderstood him. “I am not a good person,” he said coolly, “but I hope you do not think I am the kind who would hold you to those obligations. You chose nothing—that man deserves to burn for what he did to you. Never doubt that, nor that I believe it so. I would slay him myself if it would not kill you as well.” He stopped speaking with an abrupt clicking of his jaw. Now he sounded the sentimental fool. It wasn’t as though he were attached to this woman, it was just that the injustice and the twisted nature, the perversion of something so sacred, drove him to want to right it inherently. And that was the rationale he was going to stick with.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image

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Shizuka let out a frustrated growl. Not only was the kendo club participating in the tournament, but her partner was sick. There wasn't anyone else on the team who could replace him, and if she didn't find a solution, her team would be disqualified. They had been looking forward to this tournament since the week they returned from vacation. She would have asked Sora, but his depression was starting to smell, and she couldn't tolerate it. No one else would be nearly as qualified to participate as her partner was, and a majority of the students at the school thought the club a tad, out of their tastes. She sighed, running both hands through her hair as she tried to keep the headache from coming.

A sudden thought struck her. Sora had mentioned that he used to spar with Hikaru, perhaps she could ask him? Her lips pulled forward in a frown. She could ask, but he'd probably say no. Why would he help her in the first place? He didn't owe her anything nor was he a part of the club. He had no obligations whatsoever to the place. She sighed heavily, laying her head on the desk. What other choice did she have? It was either ask him, or forfeit the tournament. She couldn't let her club down, that would devastate not only them, but her as well. They hadn't practiced for nothing, and she wouldn't let them go down for nothing either. She swallowed whatever pride she had left and began searching for Hikaru.

His scent wasn't too hard to find, and she followed it up the flight of stairs that lead to the rooftop. She sighed, second guessing herself wasn't going to get her anywhere, and with that in mind, she began traveling up the staircase, pushing open the door and was immediately blinded by the light. She hated that stairway. It was always so darkly lit and by the time she reached the outside, the light would always blind her. Raising her hand to cover her eyes, she scanned the area and spotted Hikaru not too far away. Sighing softly, she pushed herself from entrance and walked so that she stood next to him.

"I need your help," she muttered, glancing away in the process. "My partner is sick and I need someone to replace him. Sora said you and he used to spar," she spilled out in one breath. She wasn't going to beat around the bush and wait for him to ask what she needed help with. She needed to know his answer quickly so that she could move on. "This tournament means a lot to my club, and I promised them we'd compete this year, but we won't be able to if we are one person short," she added, folding her arms across her chest in the process.

Hikaru presently sat, cross-legged in meditation, on the edge of the roof. He wasn’t worried about falling, and even if he did, it wasn’t like such a distance was capable of killing him. He’d been somewhat neglectful of his meditation recently, perhaps because of the pace that events seemed to take. But he’d spoken with his mother on the matters that plagued his mind of late, and she’d agreed that it would probably be best if he got back into the habit. So he’d chosen the roof as a likely spot to be left alone without straying too far from those of concern to him. He might have invited his brother, but Sora was moping, and Hikaru had neither the desire nor the ability to deal with that.

He’d been at it for perhaps half an hour when he sensed her coming, but he didn’t actually move to acknowledge her until she spoke, at which point he cracked open an eyelid and glanced at her from the corner of one violet ocular. He was as tranquil as he ever got right now, so he didn’t immediately retort with something sarcastic, and instead considered the situation. Rationally, there was no reason for him to agree, but there really wasn’t any reason not to do it, either, which meant the matter was entirely up to his preference. He tilted his head to one side, then the other, stretching out his neck for a moment, then he opened his second eye and cut a side-glance at her with both, turning his head just enough not to be rude.

“I do not usually fight as part of a team. I suppose it might be a good skill to have.” He nodded, just slightly, and his answer was contained in that. He would do it, though he gave no reason why. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to, even if he were asked for one.




Going into this, the last of the team matches for the tournament, Cross Academy had been several points behind first place, and it was the outcome of this fight that would determine whether the team would walk out of there in first place or no place at all. Hikaru, his eyes red and his hair dark as night, would not have had it any other way. The team from the other school was formidable for a pair of humans, the girl lithe and quick, and the boy strong and lean. They were, of course, obligated not to use their extra abilities for victory here, as there were quite a lot of humans watching. Their swords were wooden bokken rather than the live steel katana he was used to, but Hikaru had had quite a lot of practice time in which to hone his skill, and Shizuka was easily the best kendo practitioner on her team roster.

Anyone who knew how the two interacted would have been surprised at how seamlessly they moved together, each covering the other’s weaknesses and blind spots without once needing to be asked. It was, in fact, a side effect of the fact that they’d been training together for other purposes for so long now, a few months, at least. He was strangely aware of her, as he always was. He seemed to know where she was at any given time, without thinking about it, and her anger, happiness, and fear all spiked against his senses in ways that the emotions of other people did not. He had long suspected it was because of what she was, but… perhaps it had more to do with who.

Whatever it might be, it helped them here, and though the other team was well-coordinated also, they were simply nothing next to Shizuka and Hikaru. He landed the last hit on the clavicle of the male student, and the referee called a stop. That was enough points—the match was theirs. Smirking his satisfaction, carmine eyes flashing with confidence, he turned to his partner. “How’s that for helping?”

Shizuka blinked a bit surprised. She hadn't thought he would agree, but some part of her was slightly happy that he had. It was only because her team could compete now and they wouldn't have to forfeit. She smiled slightly as she turned to leave, not without giving him the time the tournament started. And once it started, Shizuka could hardly believe what had happened. Even without training with her, Hikaru seemed fluid and able to move in sync with her and she had to admit, she was impressed. Perhaps it was because of their previous training sessions that they seemed so in-tuned with each other. She shook the thoughts from her mind as she concentrated on what was going on around her.

Before she knew it, the tournament was over and they were crowned the victors, a part of Shizuka swelling with pride and excitement. And it was in this excitement that she grabbed Hikaru, even as he spoke, and slid her lips across his cheek. She heard a few gasps and giggles from her members, and she allowed a confused look to cross her face as she blinked slowly. It soon registered into her mind what exactly it was she did and her face flushed all color from it. It then turned a color to brightly match her hair color as she covered her mouth.

"I'm...sorry!" she almost yelled through her hand. If it were possible, she would have practically died of embarrassment, which was a bit odd really. She had no qualms about being naked in front of him (when he first discovered her secret), however; an innocent gesture such as that had her completely red. She could still hear the snickers behind her from her teammates as she turned to glare at them softly, however; it merely caused most of them to continue in their laughter. She coughed inside her hand as she tried to get the heat of her face to go away.

"It was great," she muttered underneath her breath as she finally addressed his question. She couldn't keep the red from returning to her face as she tried to ignore a feeling from bubbling within. She pursed her lips together as she turned to face him once more. The only thing that mattered, or should matter, was that they had won...right?

Hikaru’s eyebrow ascended his forehead at the gentle brush of a mouth over his cheek, and when she pulled away red as an apple, he chuckled under his breath. Though he managed to keep his hair the same color, the red of his eyes deepened and grew more vibrant, and he grasped her wrist, gently pulling that hand away from her mouth and using it as a means of leveraging himself closer, so that he spoke directly into her ear. “You mustn’t tease a man so, She-Wolf,” he murmured, voice low with something dark. “Some of us are inclined to finish what was started.”

He allowed that to sink in for just long enough, then smiled brightly at the entire club around them. Then, much to the amusement and delight of its members, he quite literally swept the usually-abrasive captain off her feet and into a bridal-style carry, one arm at her back and the other hooked beneath her knees. Leaning over, he locked their lips together, and this was no hesitant, uncertain things. Hikaru kissed her like he meant it, deeply and with no mean skill, though it lasted for only a moment before he pulled away. “I think we all owe our delightful Captain a celebration, do you not?” There was, of course, widespread agreement, and some of the other members began planning a victory party as they left the ring to receive their prizes and recognition.

He still hadn’t put her down.

Shizuka's frown deepened when she heard Hikaru chuckle beneath his breath. She did not protest when he removed her hand from her face, however; there was a certain chill that ran down her spine when he leaned closer to her, whispering something in her ear. It took her a moment to register what he said, the words playing over at least three times before her eyes widened. She hadn't meant it, and she wasn't teasing. That much she knew, if she wanted to tease someone, there were a lot of other ways to do so, but when she kissed him on the cheek, her intent was not to tease.

She opened her mouth to protest, to correct what had happened, but she soon found herself swept off of her feet and he leaned over. Shizuka was in shock to process what happened, and then it happened. Their lips locked, and something burned deep within Shizuka's stomach, a feeling she couldn't quite grasp. She didn't respond to the kiss at all, instead blinking like an idiot when he pulled back and trying to register what had just happened. She blinked rapidly, and then slowly before the color on her face deepened. She made no effort, however, to remove herself from his arms, and listened to her teammates begin planning a victory party and the likes.

She turned to stare at Hikaru, glaring slightly at his usual confident spark in his eyes before something clicked in her mind. Two could play that game if he so desired. With that in mind, a sly smile crossed her lips as she grabbed his face in her hands and pulled his face closer to hers, their noses touching as their lips were just centimeters a part. "One shouldn't be so ready to eat his own words," she replied before she pushed her face to his and capturing his lips in her own. Though his had been deep, and meaningful, hers had been fierce and forceful. There was a hint of dominance to it, but also a hint of hesitant submission. She then broke it, breathing a bit harder than she once was.

"You can put me down now." was the only thing that escaped her lips, a smirk adorning her lips and a playful, amber glint to her mahogany eyes.

He complied, setting her gently on the ground, but not without running a single finger down the curve of her spine, stopping just a little short of where it ended and letting his hand drop back to his side. “You’re playing with fire, Shizuka.” He said her name like a caress, as though it were at once sinful and indulgent just to speak it, in a tone low enough that only their ears would properly register. “I do hope you’re prepared to get a little burned.”

Actually, if there weren’t matters of public decency to think about, he might have called her on that bluff right here and now, but he did have some measure of consideration for the fact that they were not the only two people in the room. If they had been, well… she would have discovered just how delightful the burning could feel. He would have enjoyed demonstrating this. Alas—life was inconvenient sometimes. But she had fired the first shot, and the war was on. It was one he did not plan to lose. For now, however, he would bide his time. Hikaru had learned to be patient when it came to certain matters, and this was something that he was willing to take his time with. He did have a certain reputation to uphold, after all, and in some things, haste was the sign of an amateur. An amateur he was not. So they were swept up in the tide of the team’s enthusiasm, and that was fine for the moment.

"I don't play with fire, I am the fan that merely flames it, Hikaru," she replied just as softly. The chill, she couldn't stop it from going down her spine as his finger ran along it, stopping only where it stopped. She rolled her shoulders back, allowing them to pop as she readjusted herself. "You sir, have no idea what you are getting yourself into," she muttered as she allowed her teammates to drag her away, celebrating with them and their victory.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image




Image




A week passed since the incident with Hikaru, and Shizuka found herself avoiding the male. She couldn't understand why since she was the one who initiated the challenge to begin with (inadvertently mind you), and it didn't help matters much when her club began inquiring about him. They wanted him to join the club, wondered aloud if there was something going on between him and herself. To each one, she said no. He wasn't joining the club, and there was nothing going on between them. What had happened at the tournament was just a passing wind, and she was caught up in the moment of victory. She growled in frustration as she attacked the mannequin, her bokken striking against the arm of it.

She had retired to the club room as a means to blow off some excess frustration. Her club had hounded her all day, no matter how many times she told them no. She sighed, standing straight in the process as she popped her back. She couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She thought by avoiding Hikaru, she would be able to keep her mind on things that mattered, however; there was always a little voice in the back of her head that told her he was all that mattered. It had confused her and she hated the feeling it was causing. She threw herself to the ground, folding her legs underneath her in the process as her arm rested on the hilt of the bokken.

She took a deep breath before pushing herself back up and walked to her dorm. She quickly changed into fresh clothing after washing herself off. Leaving the dorms, she followed a rather beaten path, one that she memorized to the point of being able to follow it blindly. It took her to a secluded spot, one that had an open field and a lone Cherry Blossom tree standing on the middle of a hill. She smiled, allowing the sun to warm her skin as she lay beneath it. Throwing an arm over her eyes, she took a slow breath. "What is wrong with me," she muttered more to herself than anything.

“Would you prefer an itemized list or prosaic description?” A voice answered from somewhere up in the boughs of the tree, and Hikaru unmasked his scent. A nifty trick, one he’d learned from his mother. In meditation, one tended to exude fewer pheromones, and with a bit of practice, one could blend one’s distinctive traces with the environment, making it hard for even canine noses to distinguish the two. Of course, he was no longer in meditation, so she could certainly recognize him now. He sat in the branches of the massive tree, looking for all the world as though he belonged there. He’d certainly been present for a while, a few hours at least, judging from the current position of the sun.

“Honestly, I’d rather spend my time extolling your considerable virtues, but if you prefer to linger on the negative, I could start with the fact that you’ve been avoiding me.” There was no question in his tone, and no room for arguing the point. He knew it was true, and no protest would sway him on this matter. Scarlet eyes flashed a little as he uprooted himself from his spot, jumping carelessly out of the armor and landing softly on the ground. “One wonders why, She-Wolf.” His tone suggested that he had a hypothesis, and was rather pleased with it, but he did not bother giving it.

A breeze stirred the air, casting a few strands of ink-dark hair over his shoulder, and carrying her scent to him. Pleasant as always, but he could sense her frustration. Rather than take blatant advantage of the fact that she was laying and he was standing, Hikaru simply sat beside her, folding his legs beneath him and his arms into his sleeves. He glanced askance at her, but did not otherwise move. He also seemed disinclined to speak, perhaps waiting for her to do so, but his motives in this were unclear at best.

Shizuka groaned. She had come here for a reason, and that reason was to relax and allow her mind to stop buzzing. It felt as if the world were spinning and she was just caught in the tumble. She left her arm across her eyes, refusing to look at him as he spoke. The hairs along the back of her neck stood when he mentioned her avoidance of him. At this, she lowered her hand slightly, allowing one eye to peek forth as she stared at him. A frown marred her face as she tried to respond to that. She pushed her arm back up, covering her eyes once more.

"Since when did it concern you whether or not I avoid you or not?" she retorted, finally removing her hand from her face and laying it across her stomach. She took a slow breath as she tried to focus on anything that wasn't him such as the smell of the petals, the sky, the sun, anything. It proved futile as the scents would always have a lingering moment of him. "I've had a lot of other things on my mind," she finally replied. In a sense, it was true. She did have a lot on her mind, however; it was of only one thing, or rather, one person. She hadn't missed the undertone of his implication when he spoke why, however; she wasn't going to fan that flame and put herself in a hole.

"I assure you that whatever it is you think, that is not the case," she muttered, glancing towards the other side of the field, trying so hard to keep from redirecting her focus on him. She really didn't like being distracted so easily, especially when it was him doing the distracting.

“Mm-hm.” His tone, a bit bored and slightly detached, indicated that he really wasn’t interested in the excuse, and didn’t believe it, furthermore. She wasn’t the only one persistently distracted by the other’s presence, but he was allowing it to bother him much less than she did. It was a perfectly natural phenomenon, to be drawn to other members of one’s own kind, either combatively or, well… otherwise. She still seemed to be under the impression that what she sought from him was something like a fight. In a way, it was, but not the way she continued to suppose. He knew better—much better, in fact, but he wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it.

This… thing, that existed now between them had taken the form of some kind of challenge. Hikaru was content to let it be this way because it was safer. They would dance around each other for a while, and eventually, both would capitulate in some fashion. It need not be anything other than that. It could not be. He was the wrong type of person, and she… she still bore someone else’s mark on her neck. It wasn’t that he blamed her for it, nor that he even took it to be legitimate, but his aversion to it was present all the same. It was complicated, but while he would completely disrespect certain lines it set up, there were others he would not touch.

But he did not like to linger on foolish things like that. Crossing those lines had never brought anyone anything but pain. Look at his mother. His brother. He was not such a sentimental person as they, and they were the reason he never would be. Cautionary tales, and he was sensitive to the lesson in them. Already bored with his thoughts, and her silly protestations of resistance, Hikaru gave up the pretense of leaving her to her own personal space and moved quite unexpectedly, placing an arm on either side of her shoulders and throwing one of his legs over her waist. He didn't touch her anywhere, but he was incredibly close.

“I think we both know a little better than that,” he said quietly, his mouth but a hairsbreadth from hers, so that when she exhaled, he inhaled, and their breaths exchanged. His tailed hair brushed her collarbone where it fell over his shoulder, and he smiled wickedly. But he waited—the next maneuver in this game was hers, after all.

Oh how she hated him so much right now. Well, hate wasn't the proper word right now, but it was pretty close. He moved so that she was caged beneath him, his face incredibly close to her own and Shizuka could feel her heart beat rise. His breath entered her senses as they exchanged breaths. She could taste him every time they exchanged breaths, and she almost shivered when his hair brushed against her collar bone. Her eyes, however, gleamed amber for a moment, the beast threatening to take over her and devour what he was. She chased those thoughts away as quickly as they came, ignoring the feeling that was clenching her chest so tightly.

That smile on his face, she wanted to rip it off of him, however; there was something crossing her own lips as she pulled a hand from where it was, raising it so that her finger crawled from his diaphragm up his chest and finally allowing her hand to rest on his face. It was so warm, much warmer than she had recalled. A smirk lingered on her face as she responded, "Is that so?" and remained where she was. So, he thought he knew the reason why she was avoiding him. Perhaps he did, perhaps he didn't. It mattered little to her at the moment. Her thoughts were swarming with a foreign concept, one she would never have imagined to have lived within her.

"Care to enlighten me on what it is?" she spoke in a heated whisper, however; she gave him no time to respond as she closed the distance between them. Her lips connected with his, a certain kind of unknown hunger being portrayed through the connection. It was heated, demanding, and a certain kind of need was behind it. As swiftly as he had covered her, Shizuka took the moment to turn the situation around, flipping him over so that she was now the one on top, her legs straddling his waist in the process. Her mouth did not leave his until a burning sensation filled her lungs and she released him.

Her words sent an all-too-familiar tingle down his spine, and that was good. Hikaru liked it when a woman knew how to give as good as she got, and he did not protest the sudden flipping that followed the hungered lip-lock, choosing instead to simply roll with it, as it were. He smiled still against her mouth—her need was obvious, and he greatly enjoyed it. It only amplified the heat between them, the fire as he’d called it—and she had been correct. She was rather talented at fanning the flames. This acknowledgement was a far cry from surrender, however, and his hands wandered through her hair, down her back, and locked around the backs of her knees. She may have the height advantage for the moment, but that didn’t mean he intended on letting her leave.

Something like a growl rumbled out from a place deep in his chest when she pulled back to breathe. “Air is overrated,” he muttered, a touch of grumpiness in the tone, but then he moved one of his hands from her leg and used it to pull her back down by the collar of her shirt—which was really beginning to seem less and less necessary, honestly. Well, that was a thought to entertain later, not now. He wasn’t done here, quite yet. He nipped at her lower lip, tugging delicately to coax her to open her mouth for his tongue, and began a languid, slow exploration of her mouth. She tasted like something sweet, with a hint of spice. Cinnamon and sugar, he thought, and it was quite to his liking. His hands slid from her knees, brushing over the outside of her thighs just a little more slowly than was necessary, before he found the hem of her uniform shirt and slipped both hands underneath, brushing his knuckles over her lower rib cage and splaying his callused fingers over the warm, soft skin of her lower back.

A smirk had covered her face when she had released, him, fully intent on just leaving as it was, however; it seemed that wouldn't be the case. He pulled her down from the collar of her shirt, having removed one hand from the back of her knees she had felt earlier locking her in place. Their lips collided once more, something of a grunt leaving her lips in the process. She was pleasantly surprised, perhaps not as much as she thought she would be, when he bit her lip, causing her to react accordingly as he explored her mouth. She cared little at this point, and only shivered when his hands moved slowly across her knees and the outsides of her thighs. Her body stiffened momentarily when his hands were on her bare back, a sensation burning through her as her body warmed considerably. It almost felt natural, that she should be here, with him, doing these things with only him, however; it was a thought she crushed quickly. This was nothing more than a test, was it not? A test to see who would cave to whom first.

But still, that little voice kept telling her it was okay, that she wasn't mistaken. Her hands were sprawled on the sides of his face as she tried breathing through her nose. There was no way she was going to allow this test to be over so quickly. She was, after all, dare she say, enjoying this. She brought one of her hands, leveraging herself with the other one, over his head, tangling her fingers through his midnight locks in the process. They were surprisingly soft, however; her hand kept traveling so that it was placed behind his neck. With a fluid movement of her other hand, she pushed herself up so that she brought him with her. She raised the both of them so that she was sitting in his lap, her lips never leaving his. Though her lungs burned, they did not burn to an intensity as the feeling she was desiring so.

That fire burned now under his skin, but Hikaru, or Hotaru, or whomever he was now, had never been one to say no to temptation. It might have been a weakness of character, but considering that it had landed him in this particular situation, he didn’t think so. It was more, perhaps, like an ability to appraise outcomes, and a lack of resistance to doing what seemed the most fun at the time. He couldn’t fault such tendencies right now, at any rate. His hands ghosted over her abdomen, feathering with only the lightest of touches, and not straying any higher than the last of her ribs—for now, anyway. In this, he well knew the rewards of patience and taking one’s time.

He rose as she did, adjusting their positioning a bit so that it was comfortable to sit up, but this time, it as he who pulled away from the kiss, a glint of mischief in his eyes. “What do you think, She-Wolf? Are you enlightened yet? Or does it fall upon me to labor for your knowledge still?” He didn’t sound at all sorry at the thought, and really, before even giving her a moment to properly respond, he was planting open-mouthed kisses along her jawline, descending slowly and deliberately to the line of her neck, but not before he stopped at her ear, nipping at the lobe and exhaling right next to it. “Shizuka,” he murmured throatily, threading his fingers through fire-colored hair and tipping her head gently to one side.

It was a bit less-than-savory, but he was struck with the inspiration all the same, and kissed all the way down to her mark. Nipping and teasing the skin with his teeth and tongue. It was really unfair that such a lovely spot on such a lovely woman should be nothing but a source of misery, after all. He could not erase the mark, that was a course neither of them wanted to undertake. But he could certainly give her something else to think about when she looked at it.

She almost frowned when he pulled away, giving her lungs the much needed air they desired in the process. She merely smirked at his question, and before she could answer, his lips were upon her jawline, traveling down the sides before he nipped at her ear. Shivers were racking her body, and it was taking every ounce of self-respect and restraint to not take him where he was. He was burning a fire deep within her, and she was inclined to see it all the way through, however; the way he murmured her name, she wanted him to speak it more often. She threaded her fingers through his hair as he tipped her head, exposing her neck slightly.

When he reached the mark, he began biting at it, nipping and tugging at it as his tongue laved over it. Immediately, Shizuka reacted, pushing herself away from Hikaru almost as quickly as she had latched onto his lips, however; it was the sound of something filling the air that caused her to cover her mouth quickly. She couldn't stop the fits of laughter that had escaped her. She was extremely ticklish in that area, and though he did not know, there was no doubt in her mind that he knew now, and her face turned a less shade of the color of her hair.

Hikaru snorted, obviously very amused by her current state, the grin spreading over his face with deliberate slowness. “Red always was your color,” he said lightly, but he wasn’t content to leave it at that. Oh, no. He’d just discovered something rather interesting about the She-Wolf, and he planned to make quite the thorough inspection of the phenomenon before his curiosity was satisfied. Taking her wrists in his hands, he leaned closer, blowing a gentle stream of cold air on the spot and chuckling to himself at the result. This could be fun.

Predictably, she tried to escape, but his hold was tight. Even so, she was resourceful, and it wasn’t long before they were somehow rolling around on the ground, covering their clothes and hair in sakura petals as he tried to get at the spot to torment her further and she endeavored to get away. For once, he wasn’t thinking much in terms of likenesses or kinds. It was something that was simply him, and her, and whatever they made. In this case, too much amusement to be ignored.

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A little over a month had passed since Nicole left, and Sora had been inclined to stay in his dorm room. He had left it only to attend class and to take care of personal hygeine, however; that was all he did. Shizuka had to force blood pills down his throat because he had neglected to take those, and his brother wasn't around as often. Part of him knew the reason why, however; it didn't really bother him much. They could come around at their leisure if they so desired, but he wasn't going to say anything on the matter. He preferred this time of solitude so that he could reflect upon what had happened, and why. His father had contacted him via letter again, informing him that he was to meet his new betrothed today, however; he wrote back for once.

He had declined his father's notion, and he knew it would more than likely come back to haunt him, but he didn't care. He wanted no other, only Nicole. He had seen his new betrothed once, about a week ago, and to say she was nothing short of lovely would have been a lie. She was what a line of pure-bloods had hoped to acheive through proper breeding. Silken hair the color of pale wheat, skin unnaturally darker than most, she was exotic, and any vampire would be smitten to have her. But Sora was not. A beauty she may have been, but she was just a candle to the sun that was Nicole. There was a radiance about Nicole that drew Sora to her like a flame does to a moth, however; he had enjoyed the burn that she had left.

Now, she was gone, and there was nothing he could do about it. Jiro turned to his master, yawning slightly as he stretched out his limbs. "Care to do something about it?" he questioned the other feline in the room. Kira had stayed behind with Sora, something that confused the pure-blood but nonetheless allowed the creature to do as she pleased. Jiro had taken to her almost like a dog does to a flea, but he wasn't much of a familiar himself. He would rather allow his master to wallow in his self pity, but he knew that the female familiar would not, hence why he directed the question to her.


Kira had, indeed, stayed behind with Sora and Jiro, the two felines spending most of their time sleeping, but still, they had hit it off rather well. Kira had, however, been thinking on the exact question that Jiro now posed at her. The cat yawned herself, stetching as her emerald green eyes ran over Jiro for a second. "Yes, I've grown quite tired of watching him wallow in self-pity so much that he doesn't realize the answer is right in front of him." She lept off the bed, landing lightly, and shifting back to her true lioness form as she padded over to the male Pure Blood. Gently, she knocked him over, forcing him to look directly at her.

She bared her teeth at him before speaking. "Listen, you pathetic fool. Do you love her or do you not?"


Sora did nothing as the lioness pushed him over, his amber eyes bore into her own eyes. Her fangs did nothing to him as he blinked slowly, processing the information slowly. Did he love her? Was it not obvious with the torture he was putting himself through? The question was irrelevant. He would not have denied his father if he did not love Nicole. He would not have said no to the exotic pure-blood that was to be his second choice, and he would not have allowed himself to deteriorate if he didn't love her. His eyes hardened for a second as he glared at the feline. He was slightly surprised though, to say the least, that Jiro had chimed in. His familiar was about as lazy as a sloth moved. Which, was to say very lazy in this case.

"Where is she," were the only words that left his mouth. He knew Kira would know the location of her master. There was a reason familiars were so important to vampires. They could relay information that was needed, whether it was valuable or not. Kira would know where Nicole was, and this time, he wasn't going to let her go. Even if he had to tie her to his leg, he was going to bring her back. Even if it meant chaining her to the bed or a dungeon to prevent her from ever leaving him again, he would do it.


The familiar actually grinned, if it was even possible for a cat to grin. Kira moved off of Sora. "Good answer." She returned to her smaller form as a tabby, peering up at Sora as her tail flickered back and forth. "She is in the abandoned cabin back in the woods about one-hundred miles to the west of here. Go get her, you dumbass."

With that, she lept back up on the bed, curling back up next to Jiro. They really are stubborn creatures.


A smile lit his features at Kira's response. He pat the tabby's head in an affectionate gesture. In the blink of an eye, he was gone, Jiro merely yawning as his master left. He cracked one eye open when Kira jumped up, curling next to him in the process. He shoved a paw at her, attempting to push her off. "Go get your own bed," was the only statement he gave. Sora, meanwhile, had approached the cabin Kira had been talking about. Already he could smell Nicole within it, and a certain spark lit his eyes. As briefly as he arrived, he pushed open the door, nearly ripping it off of it's hinges in the process. His eyes zoned in on the one he was looking for.

Nicole wasn't too far from where he was standing, and in a second, his eyes were burning an intense vermilion. He was only a few centimeters from her as he stared down at her. With a delicate hand, he put it behind her head, combing his fingers through her hair before pulling her face to his. His lips locked with hers, the heated desire lingering behind it as he did so. Both of his hands were now at her face, one on the back of her head and the other cupping her cheek tenderly. How could he have ever let her go in the first place? He was a fool, a dumbass as Kira so eloquently put it. When his lungs burned, he removed his face from hers, eyes still aglow.

"You are no longer permitted to leave my side," were the only words he spoke before capturing her lips again.


Kira whacked at Jiro's paw with her own. "You're not big enough to request that, we both fit." She then closed her eyes, rather intent on ignoring him.

Nicole, on the other hand, had sensed his approach, but she hadn't had enough time to react to any of it before she found herself drowning in pools of intense vermilion, and then he flat out kissed her. For the first split second, Nicole was too shocked to react. There was no denying that she had done little other than wonder about Sora in the month she had been here with her mother. Her mother had even tried to talk to her about going back. Now, he was here, he had found her, and with an intensity that equaled his own, she kissed him back. There was a longing in her eyes when he finally pulled away. At his statement, she wanted to laugh, but she didn't get the chance to as his mouth was once again over her.

Her left hand tangled itself in the long, blue locks of his hair as her other hand laid on his chest. Oh, how she had missed him. She couldn't even bring herself to be angry at Kira, who had been the only being that knew where she was. Because in this moment, she didn't care.


Sora smiled at her response and slowly released her lips from his, resting his forehead against hers. He really was a fool to have let her go, and he should have done more to make her stay. Though he said he would not force her to make a decision that was not her own, he could have tried to sway her mind, change it so that she would stay. He could have done something other than let her go. All he did was mope and because of it, his brother and friend steered clear of him. He didn't blame them though. How could he? It was he who had put himself in that situation, but now, here he was. His hands released her face, resting them so that they were sprawled along her waist, holding her close to him.

"I missed you," he stated, moving his head so that it rested in the crook of her neck, inhaling her scent in the process. There was a lingering desire behind his words as he spoke them, trailing a kiss along her neck, slowly working his way back to the corners of her lips. He paused there before pulling away, his eyes now retaining the amber glow they once held, however; there was something light within them. They reflected everything he was feeling at the moment. His hurt, his confusion, his anger, and yet, a small dose of something else. A certain craving filled his eyes as he hooked an arm underneath her legs and placed the other one on the small of her back so that he had her cradled in his arms.

He couldn't smell Michaline around, and figured the older Edyta woman had left for a moments time. That was fine by him, he was hungering for something, someone, and it happened to be the one in his arms. He couldn't explain the sudden influx of emotions as he began walking, finding the nearest door and kicked it open as softly as he could without breaking it off it's hinges. He broke one door, and he didn't plan on breaking anymore doors. There was one thing he did plan on breaking though. And a smirk adorned his face as he placed Nicole softly on the bed, leaning over her as his hair fell to shield the both of their faces.


There was a building pool of desire flooding through her, something that Nicole couldn't explain. She shivered where his lips touched the skin on her neck. Her silver eyes stared into his amber ones, absorbing everything that flowed from them, her own eyes reflecting the regret she felt for leaving him. This was replaced, however, by surprise when he suddenly scooped her up in his arms. Her arms snaked around his neck on instinct, and when he kicked the door to her bedroom in, she began to speak, but was cut off by finding herself on the bed, Sora looming over her.

"What are you--" A pink blush crossed her face when it became rather clear what Sora was intending to do. A split-second later, the surprise was replaced by a smirk that matched his own, and she grabbed the front of his shirt, pulling him down to her as she locked lips with him again. If he wanted that, well...who was she to say no?


The question she started was quickly released with the realization just exactly what that answer was. His eyes, light and playful, also burned with desire and want. They all reflected the person he was staring at, and honestly, he wasn't even sure if he was in control of his actions or not. His body had responded to everything he did, and he followed it, guided merely by the instinct to have what was already his, to claim it further than necessary, and he wasn't going to deny it any longer. With that in mind, his lips were once more on hers as he shed both of their clothing, their bodies intertwining in a moment of heated passion and lust, but most of all, want.

The next morning, Sora held a smile of contentment upon his face, rolling over slightly only to release a small grunt as he met the cold, hardwood floor. Slowly, he opened his eyes, taking in the scenery as it finally settled in what had happened. His face flushed slightly as he peered up at the bed, noticing Nicole laying there in the process. Had he really? His face flushed deeper at the thought, though a content smile littered his face.


Nicole had been perfectly content curled up next to the man who now shared more than just her oath, when she was awakened by the sound of something hitting the floor. Nicole opened one eye as she rolled over, looking down at Sora who was grinning stupidly up at her. She stared at him blearily for a second, and then murmured sleepily, "The sun is still up. Get back up here, I'm sleepy." At that point, she rolled back over, intent on sleeping once more.

Michaline, on the other hand, shook her head with a slight smile in the other room. She supposed that at some point tonight they would be heading back to Cross.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

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Two weeks passed since Sora and Nicole came back. Shizuka could smell the scent lingering on the both of them, and had pestered Sora to no end about it. The blue-haired pure-blood merely tried to ignore the girl, however; his face had sported a color very similar to Shizuka's hair. It was, in a way, cute. During those two weeks, Shizuka had tried to avoid Hikaru as well. He had found something about her that she didn't want anyone to know about, and he took full advantage of that. She wasn't a happy camper about it, however; so far, the last few days, she had been able to avoid the male. Satisfied, she let out a huff with a nod of her head, and traveled down the hallway of the Academy.

It was the weekend and a majority of the students had left to the city. Shizuka had stayed behind, hoping that Hikaru had been one of the few students to leave. Of course, knowing her luck, Hikaru would have remained. She sighed heavily, slumping her shoulders in the process. Shaking her head, she rounded one of the corners and immediately, her eyes widened. She twisted so that she could avoid the on-coming body so that they wouldn't collide. Once she regained her balance, she turned to glare at the person responsible, however; her eyes readjusted once she noticed it was only Nicole. She took a deep breath, tilting her head slightly in confusion.

"You...smell weird?" Shizuka started, closing the distance between the two of them and smelled along Nicole's neck, and down to her collar bone. She took in deep inhales before something clicked. She placed a hand over her mouth, trying to keep a straight face but had failed. "You might want to make sure you are getting enough blood. You'll be eating for three, and that includes yourself," Shizuka stated, crossing her arms over her chest with a smirk tugging at her lips.


Nicole had, indeed, returned to Cross with Sora and her mother, their living situation being much the same as it had when she left. Her mother was housed in Nicole's old room, and she herself was with Sora. Nicole was well aware of Shizuka's teasing of Sora, as the male had in turn whined to Nicole about it. Nicole had merely smiled and told him to deal with it.

At the moment, Nicole found herself halting in the middle of the hallway as Shizuka rounded the corner and almost bowled her over. Nicole quirked an eyebrow when Shizuka said something about her smelling weird, and opened her mouth but was cut off as she continued. A look of utter confusion crossed her face as the other girl smelled her, and was finally able to find her words. "Did you seriously just smell me? And telling someone they smell weird is not a very good con...ver..." Her words slowed down as her brows furrowed, something clicking. Eating for three...?

Her eyes flew open and she practically shouted, "What?!"


Shizuka tried her hardest not to snicker at Nicole. The girl's eyes nearly flew out of her head, and Shizuka was enjoying it. She removed her arms from her chest and popped her hip out, placing one of her free hands onto her hip in the process. Her smirk grew into a wide grin as she continued to stare at Nicole. She could smell the other scents, and not just Sora's, mixing with Nicole's own scent. Judging from it, she would be having two, not just one. That confused Shizuka a bit. Vampires, they couldn't have twins. Perhaps later on in her pregnancy, assuming she is keeping them, they will turn on each other in the womb. It's how it was and will be.

"Well, I am not sure how soon Sora and yourself wanted little ones, however; you will be having two pairs of feet running around, assuming they don't consume each other in your womb," she replied. Shizuka chuckled lightly. What would Sora think when he found out? Oh how she wanted to see his face.


Nicole crossed an arm over her midsection, her look of surprise fizzling down to one of wonder. Considering what had happened two weeks ago, she shouldn't be overly surprised. It also dawned on her that something else now made sense. A slight smile crossed her face, and she chuckled softly, shaking her head. More than likely, they would end up with one, twins were non-existent in the vampiric community, but it was also not that common that both children would be lost. Still, that too, was a possibility.

She sighed softly. "As if one wasn't going to be enough trouble, now there will be at least two and at max three running around, four months apart. Oh dear...I didn't realize Cross had turned into a daycare." Her eyes grew light with amusement. It would be rather interesting to see how Sora took the news, and if the look on Shizuka's face was any indication, she was thinking the same thing.


"I'm sure they have a day care as part of the facility. Though I'm not sure it's equipped for vampire offspring," Shizuka stated nonchalantly before it clicked that Nicole wasn't being serious. She scoffed slightly before scratching the side of her cheek. "Congratulations though," she stated, a smile littering her face in the process. Nicole was going to be a mother herself and a part of Shizuka's heart clenched. She had wanted offspring of her own, however; that was no longer an option for her. The only person she ever wanted them with was now dead. She wouldn't want them with any other, however; her face pulled back into a frown.

Why did it feel like she was lying to herself about that? She shook her head violently before she felt her cheeks flare up. She glanced at Nicole and pushed her buttom lip out a bit. "You should go tell Sora," she muttered. Turning away from Nicole and walking in the other direction. She needed to clear her mind right now. As much as she would love to see Sora's reaction, her mind was filling with certain thoughts that she did not need to be thinking about right now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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For the last two weeks, Sora had been extremely bright and cheerful, the complete opposite of what he had been prior. Nicole was back, he was happy, and life couldn't be any better for him. His father had yet to respond to his letter of leaving the family, so in a way, he was only Reiko's child now. That thought, however, was something he knew better. Heisuke wouldn't let him leave the family so easily, and he was sure his father would lash out, but he couldn't bring himself to care. He had the woman he loved, he had a great friend, and his brother. He didn't need anything else, or at least that's what he thought.

Currently, he sat underneath one of the trees on the grounds of the Academy, staring up at the sky as the clouds rolled idly by. It was strangely peaceful, and it was harmonic with everything around him. He allowed a content smile to wash over him as he closed his eyes, enjoying the passing breeze. He cracked one eye open, tilting his head to the side slightly. A frown marred his face before it was quickly replaced with a smile. The wind had carried both Shizuka and Nicole's scents to him, causing him to deduce that the two were together. A part of him was glad they were. If they could become friends, his life would truly be complete.

Hikaru made no effort to hide his scent or the small amount of sound he made as he sought out his brother. He, too, was in a good mood, but one could argue that it was for less… wholesome reasons than Sora was. In fact, he was feeling quite smug, and was going to enjoy dropping this interesting little piece of news in his older brother’s lap and seeing what came of it. When he strolled over to where Sora was sitting, his hair seemed to be an even mix of colors, and his eyes the same carmine red they’d been for a number of weeks now. It was odd—Hotaru seemed to be bleeding back into his personality; the line between them was not so sharply divided as it had once been. Curiously, this seemed to bother neither of them, at least not at the moment.

He raised an eyebrow at his brother and sat beside him, leaning back on his hands and sprawling his legs out in front of him, lifting his face a bit so that it caught the sun. His side-lance was sly, though in a different sort of way than the one he used with Shizuka. He was beginning to suspect that he was developing an entire repertoire of facial expressions that corresponded only to thoughts centered around her. It was vaguely unnerving, and perhaps explained how she’d been so successfully able to avoid him for the past week or so. It wouldn’t last forever, though: he was still far too amused by her to let it go. Especially after he’d discovered how easy it was to dissolve her into a rather helpless—and fetchingly-pink—bundle of laughter.

“So,” He started, drawing out the single syllable in a manner that suggested he knew something Sora didn’t. Which was usually true, but today, was true in a much more interesting way than usual. “I have to say, I really doubt that fatherhood is for me, but I might like being an uncle.” Uncle Hikaru did have a certain ring to it, perhaps, one that he actually kind of liked. Strange, considering his general opinion on children, but there it was. Perhaps he just liked feeling like there was something bigger than him that he could be part of. Not that he’d ever say such annoyingly-sentimental things out loud, of course. That was more Sora’s territory than his.

Sora greeted his brother with a smile, grinning up at him as he approached. Hikaru had seemed to not be avoiding him as much as he had when Nicole left, and he could only assume it was because of the mood he had been in. Regardless, he was still happy that his brother was here with him. He turned to glance back at the sky when Hikaru spoke, drawing out the sound which caused a confused brow to raise. Said brow then furrowed in confusion when Hikaru spoke something about fatherhood and being an uncle. Sora pursed his lips together as he thought about it.

"I'm sure if you ever fathered a kid, I wouldn't mind being an uncle either," he replied with a casual shrug of his shoulders. "Which wouldn't be too hard for you to find a willing girl seeing as you are so popular with them," he threw out as well. It wasn't a hidden fact that Hikaru had had his share of lovers, but they never concerned Sora. What Hikaru did was his own business, and he wasn't going to start judging his brother because of it. He then turned so that he was facing Hikaru once more.

"Are you saying you want to be an uncle? I'm not sure how Nicole would feel about having kids right now, especially with everything that is going on," he finally concluded rolling so that he was propped on his elbows and giving his brother a questionable look.

Hikaru scoffed at the notion. Lovers were easy to find, if one could even actually call them lovers. There was certainly no love involved on his end, and presumably not on theirs either. He didn’t care to know, and he’d certainly never asked. He wasn’t attached to anyone, and he made sure that he never pursued anyone who was attached either, regardless of whether or not such people would have been willing. He’d never been able to shrug off his respect for certain forms of bonding, even if he thought they were fool’s errands. It was one of a few reasons he’d never so much as looked at Nicole the wrong way, though she was in fact a beautiful woman.

The last comment, though, struck the part of him attuned to humor, and he barked a short laugh, trailing off into a sequence of dark chuckles. Oh, poor, oblivious, nose-blind Sora. However was his oh-so-dutiful brother to break the news to him? In the most sly, shocking way possible, of course. “I suppose,” he said, “that you’ll just have to ask her.” A pause. “Personally, I’m skeptical about your preparedness for fatherhood, but perhaps it’s one of those things you can learn as you go.” He smirked, the expression almost evil in its wickedness. There was, after all, no mistaking that he was enjoying this. “Perhaps one learns twice as fast, with twins...”

Sora furrowed his brows, lips pursed together as Hikaru chuckled. He didn't like the way his brother chuckled, and he was slightly worried. Was there something he was missing? What did he mean by that? Sora closed his eyes as he allowed the information to set in. He tried sorting it out, trying to put the pieces together, but he couldn't get his mind to churn. Was someone having twins? Sora shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly before laying down on his back, propping his hands behind his head in the process. He would ask Nicole later about it then, however; he was curious as to who was having kids. Especially since Hikaru said they were twins, it would be something of an event if that were true if a vampire was having twins.

"Well, she might say yes, or she might say no. And who's having twins?"

He’d somehow managed to forget how dense Sora could be sometimes. Rolling his eyes, Hikaru sighed. This was no fun—it seemed the only way to get his point across was to come right out and say it. “You are, you moron,” he said, the fraternal affection underlying the exasperation obvious in his tone. “Well, actually, your wench is doing all the actual work, but it’s half your fault all the same.” He wondered if he’d get it now.

"Oh okay," Sora replied almost immediately, almost expecting Hikaru to say someone he knew, however; it took a moment for the actual message to set into Sora's mind. He blinked once, twice, and then broke out into rapidly blinking. The world began to spin a bit as he tried to steady himself. He was having kids? Nicole was having his kids? Wait, when did that...oh that's right. Sora's face turned a beet red as he shot up in his spot, sitting slightly upright in the process. "I'm having kids?" was the last thing Sora said before he passed out. The information was a bit of an overload in his mind. He wasn't exactly prepared for fathering children, and Hikaru was right; he was partially responsible for Nicole's current condition. He wondered if Nicole knew.

Well… that was dramatic. Hikaru blinked down at his unconscious brother. “Idiot,” he muttered. This was something that used to happen with some frequency when they were children. Sora would receive a piece of news that was simply too shocking for him to handle, or else the situation would grow stressful enough, and he’d just up and pass out like a sack of bricks. He was about as useful as a sack of bricks when swimming, also. With an eyeroll and a put-upon sigh, Hikaru stood, contemplating just leaving him there for a moment before he thought of a better idea.

Throwing his unconscious brother over his shoulder, he ran the sleeping Sora back to the room he knew he and Nicole to be sharing, knocking until the woman answered. “The father of your children took the news worse than you did,” he said without preamble, giving his brother’s body an expert toss so that it landed smack in the middle of his bed. That was something he’d done before, too, but Sora might not be aware of it. “You can practice mothering on him if you want; he’s basically an overgrown child anyway.” Quirking a brow and smiling slightly, he turned his back on the pair and left the room.

Sora wouldn’t be able to just forget what he’d learned when he woke up so close to the other half the problem, as it were.

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Nicole was very much confused at Hikaru's comment, and even more-so when the man tossed his brother onto the bed. She opened her mouth, but then shut it with a sigh as Hikaru walked away. She looked over at Sora, who was sprawled out exactly as Hikaru had tossed him and sighed again. She shook her head and then simply sat down in a chair, to await his waking.

Kira, on the other hand, perched on the bed directly in front of Sora's face. When he began to stir, she looked over at her Master. "Hey, your baby daddy is awake, Kiki!"


Sora swam in darkness, his mind clouded and heavy. The last thing he recalled was Hikaru telling him something, something important. What it exactly was, he couldn't recall. All he remembered was it had to do with Nicole, and himself, however; his head began to burn slightly as he tried to remember. His eyes opened slowly, groaning out in the process. Amber eyes met a pair of smaller ones as Sora blinked. Kira was perched near his face and Sora frowned slightly. How did he get back into his room? Did Hikaru bring him here? He lifted himself up from his spot, glancing around the room before spotting Nicole, Jiro resting contentedly in her lap. Something didn't feel right. As he opened his mouth to speak, Kira's words registered in his mind.

"Baby? We're having baby?" came his incoherent response. His head began to spin again, however; he managed to keep hold of his consciousness this time. Shaking his head slightly, he brushed the back of his hand against his forehead before bringing his hand to his cheek. He pinched himself, a soft Ouch, escaping passed his lips. "Nope, I'm not dreaming," he muttered as he swung his legs over the bed and leaned over, his elbows propped against his legs. He was going to be a father. Him, a father? He glanced up towards Nicole, a small, soft smile upon his lips.

"I'm really not dreaming am I?


Nicole scowled slightly at her familiar's comment. "Kira..." She laughed softly, however, as she watched Sora pinch himself and ask various rhetorical questions. She shook her head and stood up, Jiro in her arms as she crossed the room to sit next to him on the bad. "No, you're not dreaming, Sora. And according to Shizuka and her nose, we're having twins. Or at least, there's two right now. We'll see what happens when I come to term." She smiled softly at him, leaning into his shoulder with her head resting at the crook of his neck.

"That explains how Hikaru knew. I swear their noses are a lot stronger than ours. I still can't smell anything," he stated, a hint of disappointment behind his tone. He laid his head on top of Nicole's as she rested her head in his neck. He allowed a small smile to flutter across his lips as he turned slightly to press them upon her head. He was going to have children, Hikaru was going to be an Uncle, and his mother...a grandmother. Oh boy, how was he going to tell her the news? He had just seen her not more than a few months ago, and now she was going to have grandchildren. Well, summer was right around the corner, they could always go back and tell her.

"Alright then! That means you cannot skip out on meals, you have to be watched everywhere you go, and Shizuka will be your escort into the girl's room when you need to go!" he stated, removing himself from her and hit his fist against his palm. He would have to make sure that Nicole was as comfortable as she could be, and if he had to be in her shadow for the next nine months, then he would be so.


In sync, both Kira and Nicole raised an eyebrow at Sora. Nicole then let out a slightly frustrated sigh. "The meals I can understand, but there is no way that anyone is going into the bathroom with me. I'm fairly certain I can handle that all by myself. And this whole "watched everywhere" thing, um, no, Sora. For the most part, I will be with you or my mother. I'll be fine, Sora. I'm pregnant, not dying." She wasn't entirely sure why this surprised her. Hikaru did tell her that he was an overgrown child. In certain instances, it was endearing. In this case...it was just annoying.

"Pregnancy is a delicate thing, and I will not have something happen to you! What if you slip and fall in the bathroom!? If Shizuka's with you at least she'll be able to catch you before you fall! And what if something else happens while none of us are around?" he began ranting, standing from the bed and began pacing back and forth. All of what he was saying was nonsense, and Jiro cracked an eye open, having been disturbed from his sleep. He yawned slightly before glancing up at Nicole.

"Will you shut him up?" he stated as Sora continued to pace back and forth, listing off reasons, some logical, some not, as to why she couldn't be by herself.


Nicole glanced down at Jiro. "I think you know as well as I do right now that I don't think I can do anything...but I'll try. He's giving me a headache." She stood up, setting the cat on the bed, and marched over to Sora. She caught him by his shirt and all but forced him against the wall, her face inches from his face. "I am the one carrying these kids. Not you. Sora, I appreciate your concern, I really do, but you need to calm down. I am two weeks pregnant, do you know what that means? That means that currently, there is little to no change. Now when I get to eight months, that's a different matter entirely. But right now, I can take care of myself. I think I know what I can and cannot do while I'm pregnant." She glared at him.

Sora hadn't expected Nicole to grab him by the collar of his shirt, and thus was pushed into the wall, her face merely inches away from his as her eyes narrowed in a glare. He blinked owlishly, Jiro laughing in the process as Sora tilted his head slightly. A faint smirk crossed his features as he pulled her hands away from his shirt and brushed his lips against hers in the process. He rather enjoyed making her angry, and flustered. It was cute to him. Of course, there were other ways to resolve this conflict. He would say nothing more on the matter, but it wouldn't stop him from shadowing her every moment. He would keep an eye on her for as long as he could and wherever he could. He would just have to take her for her word that she'd be fine regardless.

"As the princess wishes then," he replied, a grin tugging at the corners of his lips in the process.


Nicole's glare only sharpened at what he called her. Kira gave Sora a look that clearly said, Run, dumbass!, but the girl gave him little time to do so. Instead, she socked him in the shoulder, and then kissed him rather heatedly. When she pulled away from him, she made a rather ungracious grunt and muttered, "I told you never to call me that."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Shizuka tapped her fingers lightly against the desk, her eyes focused on the outside. This was the first time, in a long time, that she actually attended one of her classes. Her grades had not faltered during the times she hadn't attended class, simply because of the fact that she was allowed to make them up with tests. In between her prefect duties, club president duties, and hiding from Hikaru, she had managed to push in studying and keeping her grades up. She didn't want to fail only to have to attend summer school. She was looking forward to getting away from this place and having time to recuperate. Plus, she wouldn't see him for the two months school would be out.

She almost smiled with relief at that thought as she leaned back in her chair, twirling her pencil in her hand. She chanced a glance at the clock, and read the digits, sighing in frustration when they still held two hours before school was finished. She had two more hours of this place, and she would be free. They couldn't come fast enough, and as the minute hand signaled five minutes left, she held a long breath until the bells chimed. Students cheered, some cried, others were already running out of the building. Shizuka, however, remained in her spot, letting the others trample each other as they tried to exit the room.

Once everyone was gone, she picked up her pack, adjusting it over her shoulders as she gathered the rest of her belongings from the desk. She chanced a glance outside, watching as the sun was settling over the horizon in a radiant glow of colors. She frowned slightly at the sight, almost sad that she was leaving, however; she had to. She needed to use this time to collect her thoughts and sort everything out that was new to her. In reality, she already knew what it was, but the fact that she didn't want to accept it was eating her up inside. If she accepted it and moved on, she could forget anything ever happened. She sighed deeply before exiting the room.

She was greeted by her club members, some crying as they said their farewells. She shook her head at them, telling them that it was only a couple of months that they wouldn't be able to see each other. This caused a few of them to cry harder and Shizuka had to keep from laughing at them. They were such sentimental people, and she loved them for it. Once she was free of them, she made her way outside of the building, slightly surprised to see Sora standing out with a grin on his face. She frowned at him, his frown sending off warning signs for her to avoid him, but he was her friend, and she couldn't.

"Shizuka" he called out, waving his hand over towards her. Behind his back, he held a letter, one that he received a few days ago. He was excited to ask Shizuka if she wanted to attend, since it addressed all four of them. He was hoping she would say yes. After the last four months, he was ready to leave the school and take Nicole back to his family's home so that he could keep a better watch on her, however; this letter that he received, it was almost to good to be true. "What are you planning for the summer!?" he questioned.

Shizuka rose a curious brow at the blue-haired pure-blood, giving a wary glance towards him. "Why?" she drawled out. She knew Sora well enough to know that he had something planned, and she wasn't liking the way the hairs on her arm and neck were starting to stand at his grin. "No," was the first word out of her mouth before he had a chance to even ask the question. Whatever he planned on asking her, she wasn't going to do it, and she had a feeling in the back of her mind that he was going to ask her to accompany them somewhere.

Sora frowned before laughing lightly. "You'd be breaking my mother's heart if you don't go. She addressed you too in the letter you know," That was a low blow. Shizuka stiffened a bit at the mention of his mother. She pursed her lips into a fine line, he grinning in the process. "Come on Shizuka! You won't have to worry about anything! We'll take care of it all. All you have to do is say yes," he pleaded as he walked up closer to her, grasping her hands in his, a certain starry-eyed expression covering his face. Shizuka only furrowed her brows deeper. She wasn't worried about anything, but rather someone. But she couldn't say no to her friend and his mother.

She owed his mother a great deal, and she would feel as if she were betraying the woman if she didn't answer. Sighing deeply, she took a soft breath and slumped her shoulders in defeat. "Fine, I'll go. But not because you asked alright!" she exclaimed as Sora merely took off running back to his dorm to inform his betrothed and brother. She was going to regret this wasn't she?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Southern Italy had always been a beautiful location, and in fact one of Reiko’s favorites, so it was hardly surprising to her sons when it was the location she’d planned for their summer move this year. They had many estates, scattered across the face of the world, largely maintained by staff, some of which would never meet the owners even once in their lifespans. The staff in Italy, however, knew them rather well, enough that the humans among them were privy to their natures… or at least the vampiric side of their natures. Hikaru was a bit of a challenge to explain, and it was unnecessary to do so anyway.

The house they occupied here was an old manor in the Tuscan style, though it was situated on the very edge of a private beach that spanned for miles in either direction. The sand was so pale it was almost white, speckled here and there with shells but otherwise free of debris. The Mediterranean was a lovely green-blue, and clear enough to see down for at least ten feet. Reefs had been cultivated in the area, and over the centuries that the family had occupied the home, had grown large and vibrant. Exotically-colored fish swam everywhere in the water, and crustaceans occupied the occasional tide pool—though not the bottom of the pristine white yacht moored to the sole pier for miles.

It was, in a word, paradise. They had arrived just the hour before, long enough to hand their things over to the servants, who would see that everyone was quartered appropriately. Already, motes of light in cheerful blues and greens floated above the ground, a sure sign that Reiko was present, though she currently stood, barefoot, on the warm sand of the beach, clad in a white sundress and a hat with a large brim. “I’ve missed Italy,” she said with a sigh.

“You always miss Italy,” her violet-eyed son replied, and she smiled over at him, nodding slightly in acknowledgement of this fact. She usually insisted on making at least a trip here every decade or so with the both of her sons, and she occasionally absconded here alone when the winters in Romania grew too cold for her tastes. Hikaru himself was also barefoot, his clothing more European than his usually slightly-Japanese apparel, between the half-buttoned blue shirt with short sleeves and the loose tan trousers. His hair was still tailed, though.

“More than some things, less than others,” she admitted, touching his elbow gently. Nothing more need be said. “Now… where are your brother and the young ladies, I wonder?”


Nicole sighed, rubbing the back of her neck slightly. There was a small smile on her face. Italy truly was a beautiful place. She could also tell right off the bat why her family had never come here. Sebastian had never been a "beach" guy. That thought almost made her frown. Due to her mother nearing the end of her pregnancy, it had been decided that Michaline would be staying behind. Nicole was not overly happy about that, but there had been little she could do, her mother had made up her mind. Nicole shook her head, forcing herself to not worry about any of it any longer. It was now officially vacation, she did not need to be stressing over other things.

Of course, with Sora hovering over her every second of the day, it was sometimes hard not to stress. Like right now. To make matters worse, her blue-haired fiancee swept her off her feet, carrying her to the home that had come into view. She scowled at him. "Sora, put me down!"


Shizuka couldn't decide which home had been more beautiful; the one in Romania, or the one here in Italy. They were both eloquent, decorated to the fittings, and surprisingly, still so simple. Sora had explained many of the things along the way, however; she had drowned most of it out, instead, opting to ignore him. He had, in turn, decided to literally sweep Nicole off of her feet, and was currently carrying her bridal style towards their home, a large grin spreading across her face. The three of them had arrived a little later than Reiko and Hikaru, having fallen behind on the way up to the home. Shizuka hadn't minded much, instead, had been grateful for the lack of attacks.

Sora, on the other hand, merely frowned down at Nicole. "Why would I want to do that? Your feet could swell up and it could be hard for you to walk. At least let me carry you until we reach the house," he almost pleaded, earning a snort from Shizuka in the process. It wasn't much longer that they had arrived and their belongings were situated in the designated rooms. Shizuka had shed the clothing she arrived in, a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt, and instead sported something a little less, common. She was dressed in a simple, violet colored, sundress, one that tied around her neck and fell to the tip of her knees.

Sora had, in fact, kept his word and had set Nicole down as she had requested. He smiled sheepishly at her as they made for their rooms. When he re-emerged, he was dressed in a pair of khaki shorts and a white t-shirt, something simple and easy to maintain. They were, after all, going down to the beach and Sora wanted to be dressed for the occasion. He held out his arm to Nicole for her to take as he gave Shizuka a simple nod of his head. Soon, the three of them were in sight of his mother, and he left Nicole's side to embrace his mother.

"È bello vedere ancora una volta, madre," he spoke to her as he released her. Though it was only a few months since the last time he'd seen her, it still felt like a lifetime to him. Shizuka shook her head, unaware of what he had spoken, but nonetheless offered Reiko a small smile, furrowing her brows at Hikaru as she stood a bit closer to Sora's side, as if the blue-haired pure-blood could do much to begin with.


Reiko chuckled lightly, returning her son’s embrace with a small shake of her head. Over her shoulder and unseen by his mother, Hikaru shot Shizuka a smile that was positively sinful, flashing for just a brief moment the pearl-white canines on either side of his mouth. It faded just as quickly as it had come, though, and he returned his attention to his mother as she spoke.

“Well, everyone, welcome to Italy. Please, feel free to spend your time doing as you please. There’s a village not a mile inland, if you’ve a mind to explore, and the beach here and boat are of course yours to explore as you see fit. I do believe I’m going to go find myself a book and a parasol and relax here for a while. Please, just let me know if you need anything at all.” She returned Shizuka’s smile of greeting, and then made a small shooing motion with both hands. “But I’m sure you all have better things to do than spend time with an old lady. Sora, you leave that fiancée of yours in peace. A woman knows better than a man does what she needs in such a condition, and you’re being overbearing.” She could tell from the way he hovered, and also from the fragments of conversation she’d heard as they approached.

She couldn’t help smiling at them, though—they made such a darling picture that her heart ached. They were everything that she’d hoped to have, one day, with Hideki. Everything that was not to be. But she was so very happy for them, because they were strong enough, loving enough, to weather the storms. She could feel it, deep in that part of her that was a mother, despite never having carried a child to term on her own. She was so proud of them, both of them, for she knew what both had endured to reach even this point, and that their struggles were not yet over.

But those were heavy thoughts for another day, and so with another benevolent smile, she took her leave of them, her steps light upon the sand as she headed towards the house to find that book.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui

Earnings

0.00 INK

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The moment Reiko shooed them away, Shizuka took off with all the speed she could muster, leaving the others behind in the process. Though it was quick, she took off with a bit more respect to the vampiress as she put as much distance between her and the others as she possibly could. A shiver went down her back as she rubbed both of her forearms, trying to bring the chills to a minimum. She succeeded in only making them worse, and she laid down upon the grainy sand, watching the clouds roll by in the process. She had provided enough distance between herself and him that she was finally satisfied to rest. She took a deep breath, taking in the scenery and the different scents of the ocean.

It was pleasant, the smell of the salty water, the dirt seeping through as she ran her fingers through the grains. The air was peaceful, and she was enjoying it. That was until a shadow loomed over her and she popped one eye open. A frown marred her face as Sora's grinning one came into view. She sat up from her spot as she turned to fully face Sora. He had been searching for Nicole, she had disappeared on him. Her scent had also seemed to disappear to him, perhaps because of all the water around. Whatever the reason, he had stumbled upon Shizuka instead. He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly as he tried to form the words he was searching for.

"Your mother is correct you know. You're going to smother Nicole away from you if you keep acting like this," Shizuka stated, folding her arms across her chest. Honestly, she understood where Nicole was coming from. Sora could be a bit overbearing, and she knew he had the right intentions, however; he needed to learn how to give Nicole her space. If anything, Sora could make it worse on Nicole. She would never admit to it, but though Nicole was the one who was pregnant, Shizuka had taken time out of her day to read parenting books. She had wanted to help Nicole out when it came time to deliver the twins, whom she was sure she was having now. A part of her wanted to be there, to experience it for herself. Shizuka wasn't a sentimental person, and perhaps, kids were not for her, but that didn't mean she didn't yearn for something like Sora and Nicole.

"I know," Sora replied, slumping down to sit next to her. He ran a hand through his blue locks, eyes focused out into the ocean in the process. "I know she hates it when I do that, but can you really blame me? She's having my kids, and I worry about her," he stated, falling onto his back in the process. "It's a scary thing, parenthood, and I hope that you are never as fearful as I am," he stated as Shizuka rose an eyebrow. He chuckled softly at her expression. He shook his head, he hadn't meant it that way. He had only meant that he hoped that she wasn't afraid to have a family.

"Yes, I can blame you because you have the choice to be that way. You could let her decide on her own what is best for her, she's carrying them, not you," Shizuka replied, punching his arm in a playful manner with a small smile. She sighed though, returning her arms to her side as she draped one over her lap. "Besides, I don't see much of a future with children anyways," she replied almost solemnly that it caused Sora to flinch. He had forgotten about her little ordeal and how sensitive to it she had been. She pulled her knees closer to her body as she rested her chin ontop of them.

"You and Nicole, you are lucky to have each other, to have someone to love. I...," she paused, turning her head so that she was staring directly at Sora. He nodded his head in understanding as she remained silent, burrying her head further into her knees in the process. She did want a family, kids of her own, perhaps one day, but that was just a dream. Being what she was, if she were to have children, could she really curse them with such a heavy burden to bear? Her parents, they never knew what she was. She had lost them at such a young age, that they never knew the monster they bore. Her heart clenched painfully against her chest at that thought, causing Sora to rub her back in small circles, trying to comfort his friend.

"Hey, it's okay. Not everyone is meant for little ones anyhow, and besides," he stated, turning out a grin for her. "You're not alone, remember. You have us," he stated, bringing a small smile to her face in the process. He was right, she wasn't alone, not any more. She had Sora, Nicole, and in some weird, uncertain way, Hikaru. They had become such a large part of her life recently that she wasn't sure what it would mean if she lost them. "Speaking of which, why are you hiding from Hikaru?" Sora asked, curiosity laced in his voice with a hint of amusement. Shizuka puffed out her cheeks at that.

"He...discovered something that I don't like people knowing about. He doesn't know personal space either," she spoke hesitantly, her face coloring a light pink in the process. Sora laughed as he shook his head. That sounded more like Hotaru than anything, however; he hadn't missed the way Shizuka's face tinged to that. A smirk wormed its way towards his lips as he leaned forward, a hint of amusement dancing across his eyes. Shizuka furrowed her brows at his current expression and tilted her head in confusion.

"Is that the real reason you are hiding from him? Or is there something you're not telling me? He is my younger brother, and it is a brother's job to protect the younger ones, especially from those who may cause them harm," he stated, causing Shizuka to pull a rather stoic face. "Not that I don't approve, I mean you both always seem to have so much fun being around each other," he continued, the smirk tilting wider into a sly smile. Shizuka allowed her hair to cover her face as she tilted her head down.

"Sora, if you value your life, I'd suggest you run," she spoke in an eerily calm voice, the sound of Sora screaming wailing in the distance for all to hear.

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Sora's wails could be heard by almost everyone in the area, and Nicole only shook her head and sighed. After being shooed away by Reiko, Nicole had somehow miraculously managed to slip away from Sora, and so far, she stayed away. She stretched languidly, her body stretched out across Kira, who was lying in the sun in her lioness form. Nicole relaxed against her familiar. It wasn't that she didn't love Sora, because she loved him more than she even thought it was possible to love someone, but Reiko and Shizuka were right. Sometimes, she really just needed her personal space.

She ran a hand over her stomach, which had grown slightly. If she closed her eyes and focused, she could hear two heartbeats that were not her own. That thought made her smile. These were her children. She would be a mother, and of twins to boot. So far, neither child had consumed the other. She had no idea why, but she would not question it. Already she had begun to feel a strong desire to protect them, even though they weren't even born yet. She yawned slightly, frowning when a scent invaded her nose. She opened one eye. "Unless you left Sora somewhere you had better stay away from me."


Somehow, the blue-haired pure-blood managed to escape from Shizuka, a low growl rumbling through her throat in the process. Her face had burned a shade darker than what was considered normal, and she didn't like being flustered so easily, especially when it was his fault that she was. Pursing her lips together, Shizuka released a frustrated groan as she ran a hand through her scarlet hair. She could smell him farther inland, and she wasn't going to chase him all the way in. He'd come back soon enough, and she would deal the proper punishment when he did so. Instead, she turned on her heel and walked back towards the place she once inhabited, a familar scent catching the wind in the process. She turned her head and smiled softly, following the scent before stumbling across Nicole.

"Actually, you are safer with me around than far away," she retorted, taking a seat next to Nicole and reached over to scratch Kira behind the ear. "He's currently on my wanted list," she added. "Has he suffocated you yet?" she questioned, leaning so that she was resting on her elbows and her feet kicking the sand.


Nicole snorted. "Yet? He passed that point three months ago. Five more months to go." This was all said with a smile, though. He really did mean well, even if he was incredibly over-bearing. "I can only imagine what he's going to be like once they're born." Kira purred slightly when Shizuka scratched her ear, the deep rumble vibrating across Nicole's back. She wondered if there was a way to tell what genders they were. She shrugged away the quesiton, choosing instead a topic that was perhaps a little more dangerous. "So, why exactly is Sora on your wanted list? That is my fiancee and the father of my children you're hunting."

"I am sure once the twins are born, his attention will shift from you to them. Sora, he," she paused, trying to think of the proper word to say when she finally found it. "Sora doesn't know his limits, and tends to be overbearing to a point it might be obsessive, but that should work to your favor once the twins are born. You'll be getting a majority of the sleep while he wakes to tend to the kids," she replied before she quirked an eyebrow at Nicole's next question. She sighed softly through her nose before leaning fully on her back, hands propped behind her head in the process.

"He touched a touchy subject for me, and I didn't like what he was implying," was her only response. Which was true, she didn't like what he was implying, partially because she was afraid of it. She wasn't sure if she was ready to admit this to herself, because if she did, it would mean surrendering to everything that she was fighting against. For so long, it had only been Judai that occupied her heart, and now, she was afraid of her heart. It was betraying her, causing her to feel something she didn't want to for another. Every time she saw his smirk, the pull of his lips, that was all she could focus on. Nothing had pulled her so strongly as to what he was currently doing to her now.


Nicole stretched again, closing both of her eyes. A small smile appeared on her face. "Ah, he mentioned Hikaru, didn't he? He means well, which is why I try not to get too upset with him. It isn't easy, but then, love never is. And I'm looking forward to the thought of sleep." She sighed softly, but her eyes flew open a second later, both of her hands on her stomach. She laughed softly. "Well, I guess I had better get used to not sleeping...they're kicking."

Shizuka scoffed at Nicole's statement about Sora. She knew that, from the beginning she knew that love wasn't easy, and that it would never be easy. It was a curse, yet a blessing in disguise, and she wanted to covet it for as long as she could when she had Judai. And it was a painful feeling to know that he had never reciprocated her feelings. He never acknowledged them, never mentioned them, and that night when he turned his back on her when she confessed, it broke something in her heart. But she had promised herself that she would always love him, that no matter how hard she would try to ignore those feelings, she would still love him.

She sighed softly though and turned to face Nicole. "Am I really that obvious?" she stated with a light laugh. Maybe she was, maybe she wasn't. If she was, then she'd have to be more discreet about it. She couldn't allow him to know she had conceeded and was just ready to give into him. She didn't want that. No, she wanted something more, something that she wouldn't be able to provide, and she wasn't sure if that was okay or not. She frowned, deciding to push those thoughts to the back of her mind.

"I doubt you'll be getting any sleep regardless. With the way Sora is, I'm sure he'll be driving you insane at the oddest of hours," she stated, leaning up so that she was now sitting in an up-right position. She took in a deep breath before releasing it slowly. "Good-luck with hiding from Sora. I have someone I need to find now," she replied, standing and dusting the sand from her dress. She still had retribution to pay to the blue-haired pure-blood. He wasn't going to get off that easily.


Nicole shook her head with a smile, and called after the red-head, "Just don't kill him, okay?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image

Image



Hikaru had decided to spend the afternoon in town, mostly on a whim. The little seaside village that surrounded his family’s home was a bit like being transported back in time—the storefronts were old, but well-maintained as they had been when they were new, and the people carried a sense of history about them. Many had been doing the same work as their parents for generations. Of course, it was relatively trivial in terms of his lifespan, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate it for what it was. He’d personally known the ancestors of most of the people here, and that they still remained was a strange sense of nostalgic continuity.

He wandered largely aimlessly through town, at least until he caught the scent of his brother’s betrothed. He still couldn’t say he was entirely happy with the woman’s place in Sora’s life, but he was learning to accept it, at least for now. Whatever else was true of her, she seemed to make the idiot happier than Hikaru could remember him being since they were children, before all the bullshit that came with maturity in vampire society. Sora was never happier than when he had someone to dote over, and she accepted it with a bit more grace than most would have—he really could be insufferable sometimes.

She was in a small tailor’s shop, looking at baby clothes. He blinked, raising an eyebrow at the sight, and crossed his arms over his chest for lack of sleeves to fold them into. “You’re having daughters,” he informed her from over her shoulder, inspecting the clothing in her hands with a critical eye. “Just for the record. The pheromones are different, and the temperature runs a bit lower,” he said, to explain just how he’d come to this conclusion. It was perhaps an odd use for his nose, attuned as a vampire’s was to pheremonal language and as a wolf’s was for sheer detection ability. He couldn’t even really explain it more specifically than that—he was just aware of it, like he’d been aware of the fact that there were two.

“This tailor does good work. You’ll want to go elsewhere for shoes, though. Just put it on the estate tab if you want anything.”


Nicole had decided to escape from Sora -yet again- this time by heading into town. She hadn't had any sort of particular destination in mind, but a tailor shop had some baby clothing, and with the twins now doing somersaults in her womb, she was more aware of them than ever. She had actually been looking at a set of boys' clothing when a certian voice rang through her ears. She started slightly. She had smelled him, of course, but she was still well aware that he was not overly happy with her. She couldn't blame him. That being said, she wasn't really expecting him to speak to her.

She smiled slightly, turning to look at the man. "I've still got five months before I really have to worry about clothes. I was only browsing. And it's good to know that they're girls. That means most of the names I've been throwing around would fit."


He hummed some syllable or another of understanding and nodded slightly. “It is well that you are—it will be easier to survive life with my brother. He will dote on girls.” He did not say it, but he was rather pleased with the news as well—the idea of having little nieces appealed to him on a level he had not really expected it to. Actually… he glanced at another rack of infant clothing, and a thought crossed his mind, manifesting in a contemplative frown before he stowed it away for later consideration.

“Is there anything else you would like to see?” One might wonder why Hikaru was inclined to stay, but in truth the answer was rather simple. Whatever their standing might be without one another, he wasn’t going to allow his brother’s pregnant fiancée and his unborn daughters to wander around in a place she did not know when it was obvious that her father still wished her harm. He was not going to whine and lament about it like Sora would, but strange as it may be, as much as he may believe truly that women were every bit as capable as their male counterparts, the concept of chivalry (and basic decency) was not, in fact, lost upon him. He just chose to display it only in front of those that mattered in his life, and these were relatively few.


Nicole sighed through her nose. She was fairly certain that she would never understand Hikaru. "Surviving with Sora is never going to be easy, but, we've both chosen it. I'm not going to just back out of it now." She looked contemplative for a second, before answering his final question. "I could definitely go for something chocolate. Which is saying something, because I hate chocolate."

Hikaru snorted and shook his head. His mother had always said that women experienced strange cravings during pregnancy, apparently to supplement their bodies with the extra nutrients that they required. He didn’t really see chocolate being a nutrient, but there was good stuff in there, he supposed. Besides, he knew just where to go for that. “Follow me, then,” he said simply, heading out the door—though he did at least hold it for long enough for her to pass through. It was only a few twists and turns until they arrived at a small building, the front of which was mostly windows. The signage was in Italian, but it was clearly a gelato shop, and he pulled open this door also, the bell on it jingling faintly with their entrance. “Ehi, Carlo. Avrò il solito, e per la signora ...”

He turned to Nicole. “What exactly do you want? There’s lots of kinds of chocolate here, in case it wasn’t obvious. Carlo speaks some English, so don’t worry too much about it if Italian’s not your thing.” He shrugged; not everyone had all the language he and Sora did. Reiko had made it a point to teach them one for every country they had a home in.


At Hikaru's comment, Nicole actually cracked half a smile. Not her thing? "Mi hai ferita, signore. Solo perché sono cresciuto con un'infanzia terribile non vuol dire i miei insegnamenti sono mancate." She wasted no time in ordering, thought her order did entice quite a few odd looks. "Avrò il chocolat buio, per favore. Oh, e se li avete, dei sottaceti e formaggio. Qualcosa di tagliente. Grazie." She shrugged when Hikaru just stared at her. "What? I'm pregnant. Shut up."

He wasn’t even sure they had cheese here, but apparently Carlo was well and truly prepared for anything, because sure enough, her gelato contained both pickles and sharp cheddar. “Your wife… she is spirited, eh?” Carlo offered, handing over the items they’d ordered. Hikaru’s was a cinnamon sugar swirled in vanilla. He frowned at it for a moment. His “usual” was whatever Carlo happened to randomly pick that day, and this was a little weird. Well, he’d take it, anyway. Of course, then it properly registered what the old man had said, and he shook his head.

“Carlo, you old bat, this is not my wife. And they aren’t my kids.” The very thought was a little disturbing, mostly because it involved him having a wife and kids. Definitely not his thing.


Nicole was prompted to raise an eyebrow when it took Hikaru so long to answer the man, an odd little smile on her face as she listened. She shook her head slightly. Sometimes she wondered if everyone were as clueless about things as the four of them seemed to be. Ah well, it couldn't be helped, she supposed. They were halfway through eating when she did look up at him again. "Despite what you might think or how you act, you would make a good father, Hikaru." She laid a hand on her stomach, slightly surprised as they once again kicked her. "Either your nieces are agreeing with me, or they really like the pickles."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image




Image




Sora peeked out from the confines of thick palm trees, glancing in both directions before taking a hesitant step out. He seemed to have a penchant for angering the women in his life, and Shizuka was one he feared almost as much as he feared Nicole. Not only was she capable of tearing his head off, but also a lot of other things he would rather not find out. He knew he shouldn't have pestered her about Hikaru, but it was obvious to him (even if he was a bit dense on the subject) her feelings about his brother. When one person was in love, it was easier to tell when other people were as well. And he could see it by the way they interacted, at least from her, and how almost happy she had truly seemed. Though most of the time they were fighting, Sora couldn't help but notice the small subtle smiles she would give when she thought no one was looking.

Regardless, he'd rather not endure her wrath at the moment. He couldn't quite understand why she was so upset, but he could only assume it was truly his fault. He sighed, slumping his shoulders in the process. "I really have no luck with women," he stated, shaking his head in the process. He really didn't, otherwise he wouldn't torture his betrothed so much and he wouldn't have an angry "She-Wolf", as Hikaru called her, breathing down his neck. He could sense her scent a few miles away, and was well aware that she probably had his, however; it disappeared almost as soon as he caught it. A small bout of fear washed through him as he tensed, turning over his shoulder half-expecting to see Shizuka there, however; the sight that greeted him caused him to relax.

"It's just you," he stated, breathing a sigh of relief.

Just me? You wound me, brother,” Hikaru replied blandly, leaning against the scaled bark of one of the palms. “But I would agree. All the luck with women in this family seems to be mine.” He only half-meant it. It was true that he was generally the object of quite a lot of female attention (and he quite encouraged this), but his brother did not seem to be doing so badly for himself, considering. He was affianced and almost halfway to being a father. While Hikaru could not say that these were goals he’d ever had, he recognized that they were nothing to turn one’s nose up at, when it came down to it.

The younger of the brothers took a whiff of the air, and that was all it took to figure out more or less what had happened. Shizuka's scent spiked most enticingly when she was angry. “I think your root problem is more like a gift for provoking people. I’d be interested to know what you said the She-Wolf to set her off so, but I think I can guess.” His tone was one of amusement, and there was an easily-discernible flicker of mischief in his violet eyes.

"You try having an angry 'She-Wolf' after you and you'll be saying the same thing," Sora retorted lightly. He rolled his shoulders, only satisfied when they popped and turned towards his brother, his amber gaze trying to read his body-language. He rose a brow at the statement but shrugged his shoulders. "Besides, all I asked her was the reason she was hiding from you. She didn't tell me, and I might have said something else, I don't recall," he added, rubbing the back of his neck while laughing nervously. Oh he knew exactly what he had said, however; that was information only he was privy to. It seemed that Hikaru had an idea of what it was, so there really was no other reason to speak of it.

"And of course, little brothers always tend to have a way with the ladies. Though I am sure you have no problem with that, I mean, you aren't anchored down. Why should it matter to you?" Sora stated, a slight smile pulling at his lips. "I'm surprised, you haven't taken on a new lover yet since, what was her name? Jun, Lin? Something like that," Sora added, trying to remember his brother's last lover. Though his brother may not have been as he was, Hikaru always managed to have a new lover within a period of time. At this, he only shrugged his shoulders.

Actually, Hikaru rather liked the idea of having an angry She-Wolf ‘after’ him, as Sora put it, but he did not say this, for fear the obvious innuendo it would drip with might short-circuit his silly brother’s one-track mind. Nevertheless, he did smirk, though there was a sort of fond indulgence in it. Sometimes, it really was hard to tell which of them was the elder and which the younger, but there it was.

“Emiko,” he replied without hesitation. He may not be the most romantic of men—in fact, he was far from it—but he did know the names of the women he took to his bed, and their interests, and sometimes even a little bit about their families. He may not have been the commitment type, but it didn’t make him a complete cad, either. Those women knew as well as he did what they were getting themselves into, and the choice was always theirs, in the end. He did nothing that wasn’t wanted. He just refused to make the connections any deeper than two bodies and two minds joining for a little while. Hearts were for people who believed in love, and Hikaru no longer did.

It had been a while, though—but that was fine, too. It wasn't like he was bored at the moment. “It doesn’t,” he said in response to Sora’s none-too-subtle implication. “But information is always useful when planning tactically, no?” This time, he did allow a bit of innuendo to creep into the words, half smiling with a touch of wickedness, and shrugging. The rest of his body language was as relaxed as it always was.

"Right, Emiko. What ever happened to her? She seemed really fond of you," he threw out, however; he didn't allow the question to truly sink in as he watched Hikaru shrug. "Well, information is something I do not have so you'll have to take your fun elsewhere," he replied. He wasn't going to indulge his brother more than he already had, and besides, he was still technically on the run, and also looking for his fiancee. She was still nowhere in sight and he was starting to grow just a little worried about her. He frowned slightly before turning towards his brother.

"I will say this much though, don't take it too far with Zu-Zu. She's my friend y'know and I don't know if she really will be able to handle it all," he stated, for once, in a serious tone. As much as he entertained the idea that perhaps she and his brother might have had something, Shizuka was still his friend and he didn't want to see her hurt. "You wouldn't have seen Nicole anywhere have you? I've been looking for her. I actually do need to talk to her," he questioned finally, dropping the subject and glancing towards his brother for answers.

“I’m not going to make her do anything she doesn’t want to, Sora.” Hikaru replied, eyes narrowing slightly at the implication. Sometimes, feelings did become involved with liaisons such as his, and that was always when he broke it off. They were never his feelings, and it was the kinder thing to do. He couldn’t be sure if he’d ever hurt anyone in a lasting sense, but he didn’t ever intend to do so. He wasn’t a tender man, nor was he touchy-feely like his brother, but he wasn’t cruel, at least not to his lovers. “She has a right to her own decisions, and the consequences of them, and I’m sure she knows that.”

She was certainly strong and independent enough to make her choices however she wanted to. Hikaru knew how to persuade, but he did not insist, and he knew well where the boundaries were. “As for your wench, I believe she is just returned to the estate. She was out in the village earlier—I made sure nothing happened. I haven’t smelled anything unusual, either.” He’d say don’t worry so much, but he knew by now that would be like telling a fish not to swim or a bird not to fly. It was a fundamental part of Sora’s nature to worry, and that was why he generally didn’t get offended by any of the things his brother said or did—he simply accepted them.

Sora only shook his head at his brother's response. He'd be surprised at how truly delicate things were when they involved Shizuka, however; he wasn't going to tell him that. No matter how strong something seemed, that strength was balancing on a delicate pillar that could crumble with just the slightest breeze, and when that day came, as he knew it would, he only hoped that they would both be prepared for it. His eyes lit up at the mention of Nicole returning to the estate and took one last glance over his shoulder, trying to see if the familiar red hair appeared. Satisfied he was clear, he waved to Hikaru.

"Thanks Hiki! I owe you one!" he replied as he took off in the direction of the estate. There were a few things he needed to discuss with Nicole, and something he had to clarify so that he would no longer be on the receiving end of her wrath.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image

Image






Nicole sat on one of the many balconies, enjoying the sea breeze. Kira sat pearched next to her. Nicole wasn't sure why, but the familiar seemed rather intent of staying in her true form rather than that of a tabby cat. She didn't question it, Kira did as she pleased. She was enjoying the solitude, though she was well aware that Sora would probably soon catch up to her, as he always managed to. The thought made her smile even as the twins were now causing her some measure of discomfort, acting like gymnasts instead of eighteen-week-old fetus's. She let out a soft sigh.

With the twins' antics, she was often rather tired, though not enough so that should couldn't enjoy the time she spent here. Italy truly was a lovely place.


Sora had been rummaging through the estate, searching for Nicole who had still managed to evade him. He found it, oddly, relaxing though, as if he were playing some cat and mouse game: he the cat and she the mouse. He knew she was nearby, and that she was okay by her scent alone, however; he wanted to physically see her to make sure she was. Shizuka and his mother may have been right, but until the twins were born, he was going to fawn over Nicole. A curiosity had etched its way into his mind lately. Vampires tended to have their own doctors for pregnancies and such things, however; they were no where near a vampire doctor, and Sora had pondered the genders of his unborn children. Though he would love them still, no matter what they came out to be, it was a bit unnerving to say the least.

If they were both boys, he wouldn't know what to do. Though he wouldn't mind, boys couldn't have been the easiest of the genders to raise. Look at himself and Hikaru for example, he still wasn't sure how Reiko managed. If they were both girls, well, they'd be either extremely happy to have him for a father, or extremely creeped out. Something about having daughters was an exciting notion. He could dress them up in the little dresses he'd seen so many others dressed in, and plant bows and ribbons in his hair. Sora, for the most part, had toyed with the idea of having daughters to the point he was hoping they would be. Regardless, whatever came to be was something he'd have to wait for.

A familiar scent passed through the vicinity as he smiled, immediately making for Nicole as he finally zoned in on her scent. Once he reached her, he leaned over her chair and smiled down at her, planting a soft kiss on her forehead. "Can I ask why you've been avoiding me?" he stated, a hint of disappointment laced in his tone. Though he knew the reason why, he still wanted to ask.


A slight chuckle escaped her at Sora's question, her eyes closing as he kissed her forehead. She laced her fingers with his as she took his hand, taking a few minutes to answer him. "Because I grow rather weary of day after day of your ceaseless picking of nits, love. Honestly, you worry far too much." She tugged at him, to pull him around in front of her, placing her hands on her stomach. "And you're not the only one to not let me be, your children are doing somersaults."

Sora smiled when Nicole took his hand, bringing her hand to his lips before pausing. He blinked slightly when she mentioned the twins and he let loose a light chuckle. "It's because they worry about you too," he stated before brushing his lips across her knuckles and releasing her hand. He pulled a chair next to hers, sitting so that he was only a few inches away, and once again pulled her hand into his. He liked the way her hand fit into his, how it seemed to match perfectly. He would have never thought he would have enjoyed holding someone's hand as much as he did now. But perhaps it was because he had often held Reiko's when he was a child. That comforting gesture, he had revelled in it.

"I'm sorry," he finally stated, his grip loosening just a bit. "I'm sorry I worry too much about you, but I can't help it. I've...never been a father and this is still all so new to me, as I am sure it's new to you. Having something, two somethings, moving around inside of you can't be easy, and I wouldn't know exactly how to take it if I were in your shoes. That is why I am only trying to make things as easy on you as possible," he stated, his eyes softening a bit. He was only trying to make sure she was well taken care of. He didn't know the first thing about fatherhood, nor how this pregnancy was affecting her, and all he wanted to do was take care of her.


Nicole shook her head with a knowing smile. "It's a good thing you're not the one pregnant, then, hm? And you can really start helping me by not hovering so much. Besides, we still have four and a half months before you're allowed to pass out again." She ran her thumb over the back of his hand before speaking again. "And love, they may not be born yet, but our children are not "somethings". They are our daughters."

He chuckled at Nicole's response, nuzzling his face into her hand. He could try not to hover around as much, and be incessant with his worry, but he wasn't going to make any guarantee's about that. It was hard for him to even entertain the thought of leaving her side, however; he was going to try his best. If not for his mother's request, but also from the request of Shizuka. He really didn't want to face either three women's wrath for the most part. He breathed a content sigh, closing his eyes as he listened to Nicole's voice. He enjoyed listening to her talk, something about the softness of her voice always seemed like a calm serenade.

"Wait...what?" he stated, his eyes snapping open and widening. Daughters? He was having daughters? Something between a squeal and a scream escaped his lips as he pulled Nicole into his lap, squeezing her as tightly as he could without harming her in the process, or his unborn daughters. "We're having daughters!" he nearly shouted once again, covering his face in Nicole's hair. "We have to give them names!"


Nicole let out a yelp as Sora scooped her up into his lap. She did smile and laugh as he buried his face into her hair, though. As overbearing and fussy as he could be, she did truly love him. She smiled, running her hands through his hair. "Hikaru told me while we were in town last week. I've been throwing around a few names already, but it was nice to hear the one idea I had would fit. But first, what do you have in mind?"

Sora blinked in rapid succession. He hadn't honestly expected her to ask him that. He released a thoughtful sigh, chewing his bottom lip in the process. He hadn't thought of a name quite yet, however; there was perhaps one name he would not mind giving to one of his daughters. He glanced hesitantly down at Nicole. He wasn't sure how she would take it, and he didn't want to upset her. That was the last thing on his mind. Hurting her intentionally was one thing, but unintentionally was another. He took a deep breath, propping his chin ontop of her head.

"Well, if it's okay with you," he started, moving so that he glanced down at her. "I'd like to name one of our daughters, Naya," he stated, gauging her reaction as he waited for it with a bit of hesitance.


Nicole had rested her head on his chest, her eyes slipping closed when they suddenly snapped open again. He couldn't seriously be suggesting what she thought he was suggesting. She sat up slowly, raising her head to look up at him. There were many different things, differnet emotions, playing through her mind and showing in her eyes, admiration and happiness being the predominant ones. She was not in the best position to go up, so instead she brought Sora down to her, kissing him softly. "Of course it's okay with me. But on one condition. We name her sister Reiko."

Sora smiled against Nicole's lips as she pulled him down into a kiss, kissing her once more as she pulled back. A wave of relief washed over him as he took in her reaction, however; he blinked his surprise when she made another suggestion, or rather, a condition. His face pulled back softly as he smiled, leaning to take her lips into his once more, lingering for a few seconds before smiling against her and pulling back.

"It would be my honor," he replied. Using his mother's name to bequeath to one of his children was something he hadn't thought about, but perhaps, this was a good thing. Maybe his daughters would grow to be strong like Reiko was, and that was something he had certainly hoped for.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image

Image



For the most part, he’d left her alone over her vacation, as he wasn’t entirely merciless, and he did realize that she needed it. He’d limited his interference to occasionally running into her in common areas and shooting her looks heated enough to melt metal when nobody else was looking. To the rest, it looked like he was mostly unconcerned by her presence. Of course, they all knew better by this point, at least to some extent, but when eyes were on him, he was as mild as could be. Which made it all the more fun to watch her squirm when he wasn’t, because it was something only he was able to see.

But he was done being indirect, at least for the moment, and he’d judged that it was time to tip the delicate balance that had held between them for the better part of this month, and the fortnight that had preceded that. Hikaru was a very patient man, and even his other half knew its virtues, but sometimes, more decisive action was necessary. Oddly, he’d never once stopped to ask himself why he was so intent on his pursuit of Shizuka—there were, after all, much lower-hanging fruits that could be obtained, in basically any flavor he wanted. But Hikaru also knew that nothing tasted quite as sweet as the forbidden, and as long as he did not cross those lines he’d drawn for himself, he intended to see what could be drawn from this cat-and-mouse of theirs.

She was out on the beach, as she had been for quite a while now, given the constancy of her scent. She seemed to have a fondness for the sea. That was something he supposed he could work with. Actually… yes, that seemed quite mandatory. He knew his mother was planning some sort of bonfire on the beach the following night, doubtlessly involving food and fireworks as it always tended to, but opportunity was limited when she had other people to hide behind.

He didn’t bother masking his scent as he approached her this time, because there was nowhere she could go, should she choose to run. He was blocking the direction of the estate, and he was faster than she was on foot, and probably also in the water, plus he knew the area better than she did. The advantages in the hunter’s game were his, and she was good enough at it that she would know. He was dressed in a similar manner to the first day here, and he was pleasantly surprised to discover that she was as well. He rather liked that dress on her. Planting himself behind her, he leaned forward slightly. “Hello, She-Wolf,” he rumbled into her ear, his tongue darting out to lick the outside edge of it before he pulled away. “It has been a while.”

Shizuka knew she would regret coming to the paradise known as the summer house in Italy. Though oddly, Hikaru had managed to let her be a majority of the stay, and she was silently grateful for that. She didn't want him constantly hovering around her trying to make her into a heap of laughter, and she was slightly disturbed that he had found enjoyment in it. Lately though, the only encounters she had with him were the occasional run-ins inside the common areas, which even then were limited. Everytime they did though, the looks, the gazes, each one almost caused her to cave into him, and she wanted nothing more than to do so. Her only solace that she found comfort in was the beach. The waves rolling gently hummed a soothing lullaby, one that she had grown accustomed to listening to for the past few nights.

She had opted to settle herself in the sand, sitting so that her legs were pulled to her chest while her fingers drew pictures in the sand. She may have been an artist, but she could never replicate what nature had provided. A smile had brightened on her face when she realized that she had been left alone for quite some time, Sora tending to his fiancee and Hikaru off somewhere not near her. That thought caused her to frown a bit. She missed him being near, his heated gazes, every thing that was Hikaru. She sighed heavily, distracted by her own thoughts to even take notice of the scents or sounds around her. She was only brought out of her reverie when a voice echoed next to her ear followed by something wet.

"Hikaru!" she nearly shouted in surprise as she tilted her head upwards to meet his gaze. She frowned slightly at him. Perhaps she should stop thinking about him, because all it ever did was bring him around, as if he knew she was thinking about him. She wiped at her ear, her frown still etched on her face. She made no effort to move, however; her hands automatically reached for the sides of her neck, planting them firmly on each side so that he couldn't remove them to torment her. "Couldn't find an empty spot on the beach for yourself?" she stated flatly. "Or is there something that you need help with?" she added, a hint of amusement crossing her features before disappearing.

She couldn't allow that side of her to come up, not right now. She was doing so well at ignoring him, the things he was causing her stomach to do, and the way a fire burned beneath her skin. She had managed to quell all of it during the time he had left her alone. Now, it seemed as if she hadn't any restraint on them, and that fire was burning once again through her skin. She really hated the way he made her feel.

He dropped into a crouch beside her, chuckling with amusement at her attempt to thwart him from making her laugh uncontrollably again. Silly She-Wolf… she was a few steps behind in the dance. He had not come here with the intention of reducing her to laughter. What he was after was something quite different. He caught the flash in her eyes, interested to note that it didn’t seem that every part of her was quite so slow to catch up. “Oh,” he said nonchalantly, but the tone was fooling no one, and he didn’t intend it to. “Really, it’s more about how I can help you. You’re a little tense lately, aren’t you?”

All his fault, of course, and he’d be lying if he said he didn’t find a great amount of satisfaction in that. Something lit behind his red-purple eyes, and he grinned dangerously, taking advantage of the fact that her arms were otherwise occupied to scoop her up off the sand like she weighed nothing (which she may as well have). He was knee deep in the sea within seconds, and the half-formed smirk on his face and the slight bunching of the corded musculature of his arms were the only hint as to what would follow. As it happened, he threw her, a fair distance out and high enough that she was sailing over the water for a while before she broke it.

Crossing his arms over his half-bare chest, he waited for the inevitable retaliation. He was actually looking forward to it.

One minute Shizuka had been on the beach, the next, she was soaring through the air, a frown and a terrified scream escaping her lips. Her body contorted, twisting so that when she hit the water, she wouldn't have done so on her back or stomach. She was not fond of doing belly flops nor back falls. They tended to sting and she wasn't going to subject herself to that. Instead, her feet went first followed by the rest of her, however; she did not re-emerge right away. She stayed, her breath stilled to keep herself sunken. She was seething, and if it were possible, her body on fire to the point the water should have been boiling.

She tried to calm herself, keep her beast from surfacing as she finally broke the water. Her hair clung to her face in no particular fashion as she glared at Hikaru, her eyes flashing amber in the process. "Hikaru, you asshole!" she shouted at the male, swimming back to shore in the process. It was a good thing she had decided to wear her bathing suit underneath her dress. She had wanted to go swimming eventually, but she was taking her time with these things. Once she reached shallow water, she removed the water from her hair and glared at Hikaru.

"What was that for!?" she nearly shouted, removing her dress in the process. Her bathing suit wasn't exactly something one could wear so easily. A dark blue bikini covered her form as she tried wrenching the water from her dress. Some women were a bit shy when it came to wearing such tings, but Shizuka had no shame in wearing whatever it was she felt at the time. Once the water had been squeezed out enough, she walked closer to Hikaru, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt and pulled him down to her level. For a moment, she stared at him, trying to read his face, anything she could, but couldn't. For a brief moment, her eyes flashed with uncertainty, something foreign, and an emotion she wasn't so sure of. She growled between her teeth at that thought, pulling his face closer to hers as she captured his lips in a heated possession.

Only laughter answered the yelled question, a rich sound that was also surprisingly light. She was dripping wet, her hair and clothes plastered to herself, and really, that had been half the intention of it all. He remained rooted to his spot as she swam for shore, watching with only a playfully-raised brow as she stripped her dress off. So she had planned on swimming—probably not with him around. She was most unashamed, the She-Wolf, and of course she was right to be. One was not logically ashamed of a figure like that. Still, nothing made it to his face but simple amusement, and the same half-smile and glimmer to his eyes remained even as she seized on part of his shirt and yanked.

Hikaru went quite willingly, knowing before she did exactly what she was about to do. Shizuka was, after all, a much more straightforward person than he was, and her intent was obvious from the way she looked at him. She didn’t want to want him, but she did. He was still smiling that smug little smirk he had when she kissed him, and he responded with just as much heat, aiming to complete the conversion she had started. It was rather remarkable how simple it could be, to coax the threads of anger into a very different weave. In the grand scheme of things, it was very much like desire—it burned and consumed and directed focus above all else onto its object.

He returned her kiss, but no more deeply than she did, and in fact, his arms remained crossed loosely over his person—he did not touch her, nor did he attempt anything else. It was, of course, mostly to tease and frustrate her, something which he greatly enjoyed. He intended to make her demand everything of him that she wanted; he was not simply going to read her desires off her body language and react, as he had done before. This was no longer going to be about the things he could do to her, though they were many and varied and enjoyable. This time, it was going to be about what he could do for her, at her urging and moved entirely by her desire. Dominance and submission were not such clean categories as the uninitiated might expect. It was not in him to submit, but this, he could certainly do.

“Tell me what you want, Shizuka,” he murmured into her kiss.

What she wanted? She wanted a lot of things, some that confused her, and some that she was unsure of. Like right now. She was unsure of what she was doing, why she was even doing it, and it bothered her. But his question kept running through her mind. She mused it over, trying to formulate the words properly that she wanted to say, but she had a feeling he knew exactly what she wanted. With that in mind, she broke the kiss, trailing smaller ones along his jawline, down his neck and paused at his collar bone. She nipped at it gently before she raised her eyes, never her head, to meet his gaze.

"What I want?" she stated, almost in a surprised tone, however; there was something dark and secretive about the tone she used. She moved her hand towards his chest, using two fingers to crawl upwards until her finger traced the outline of his jaw and then towards his lips. "What I want," she began again, tapping her chin in a thoughtful manner before casually shrugging. "What I want is something I cannot have. And it's not you," she replied casually, pulling away from him in the process with a smirk grimacing her features.

It took a rather large effort in control to remain perfectly still while she moved her ministrations down his neck, but he was certainly good at it, and he returned the look with a veiled, half-lidded gaze, unreadable and somehow dark. He was still perfectly unmoving as her fingers traced their way up from the place where his heart would be if he had one—in fact, there was a blood-moving organ there, but in every other sense, he was rather bereft. He would admit—the tone of voice she was using was doing very pleasant things to his train of thought, but even so, he said nothing when she declared that she didn’t want him in that flippant way of hers.

She lied, and he knew she lied, but he wondered if she understood that. So he echoed the shrug, the heat in his gaze simply switching off until his eyes were cold, and he tilted his head to one side slightly, regarding her with apparent disinterest. “As you wish,” he replied simply, and took a few steps backwards before he turned and headed properly for shore, not before pausing and throwing another sentence over his shoulder. “Just don’t regret it, later.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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The vacation was finally nearing an end, and it was time for them to get back to Cross. While Nicole was somewhat reluctant to leave, she was also getting slightly antsy. Her mother would be entering into the end of her eighth month, and she wanted to be there for her brother’s birth. She, too, was now showing and rather obvious, being in the fifth month in her own pregnancy. Reiko had been more than overjoyed to discover that one of her granddaughters would be named after her.

Kira paced back and forth, as restless as her master, seeing as Nicole was also pacing. Naya and Reiko were having a field day, kicking her this morning. Nicole sighed. She was not looking forward to the trip home. Sitting still was currently not very much of an easy task for her, as the twins seemed to prefer her moving.


Italy was drawing to an end, their month long vacation finally singing it's death song. Sora had sighed, combing a hand through his blue locks as he watched Nicole pace back and forth. They were partly leaving due to Nicole's mother about to give birth, and Nicole had wanted to be there. Not that Sora could blame her, she was about to receive a new sibling. It was always exciting, child birth, or at least it was somewhat to Sora. He wanted to be there when Nicole gave birth to his own children, however; a queasy feeling rose in his stomach. Did he really want to see that? He shuddered lightly as Jiro laughed at him, rolling around on his lap before stretching.

"You are making me dizzy with all that pacing. Come, sit down with me while we wait for Shizuka and Hikaru," he stated, patting the seat next to him. Shizuka, on the other hand, had taken to staying locked in her room. Hikaru had practically given her the cold shoulder ever since that night and it confused her to no end. He ignored her, didn't even acknowledge her when she tried to be civil and greet him. She furrowed her brows, pulling her pillow over her head in the process. Once they returned to cross, she was going to forget any of this ever happened. The kisses, the heated gazes, her feelings, she was going to forget it all.


Hikaru, to those who knew him best, wasn’t acting all that abnormal. At least, not abnormal for the way he’d been before the last year or so. This side of him had always been detached and a bit cold, but he erred on the side of glacial these past few days, though he still allowed warmth for his mother and his usual teasing for his brother. Nicole, he was as he usually was around, but he seemed intent on acting as though Shizuka was nonexistent. He’d been serious in what he told his brother: he never did anything that someone didn’t want, and if she didn’t want him, she wouldn’t have him. It was that simple.

He had no need to concern himself with those who were not part of his life, and she had indicated, truly or not, that she wasn’t, so he allowed her not to be, in the fullest sense of the sentiment. He arrived onto the beach with his mother, where the fire pit had already been set up. Hikaru was burdened down with the trappings of truly excellent s’more construction, because this, too, was something his mother always insisted on. It might seem strange for the dignified lady Reiko to enjoy a child’s confection of such a messy sort, but she did, and she was one person he would always indulge.

“I didn’t know if you were still feeling like chocolate or if you’d gone back to hating it,” he told Nicole with a raised brow, “So we brought butterscotch as well.” If he took the werewolf’s absence to be conspicuous, he did not mention it, nor did he look around as if to see her. He knew she wasn’t present, and, he reminded himself firmly, he did not care.


Nicole sighed again, sitting next to Sora, laying her head on his shoulder. ”I’m sorry…the girls like moving, they get fussy when I sit still.” She had her eyes closed, humming softly, when Hikaru approached. She smiled slightly at his comment. ”I do still like chocolate, though you forgot the pickles.”

Sora chuckled at Nicole's response, leaning his head down so that he rested his ear against her stomach. He gently placed a hand on her stomach as he turned towards it. "Listen you two, leave your mother alone. When you come out, you can cause all the havoc you want," he spoke softly. He chuckled again before resting his head on top of Nicole's. He could smell the s'mores his brother had made, and his mouth watered slightly. He had a sweet tooth, one he wasn't going to deny, and so, he indulged himself, taking only about three and grinning wildly.

"I don't think this could be any better," he stated happily. He did, however, frown when Shizuka hadn't shown up. Was she sick? No, that couldn't be the reason. Perhaps she just didn't want to come out yet. Was she still hiding from Hikaru? With that he tilted his head in his brother's direction, but shook his head. She'd appear soon. And she eventually did. She had contemplated in her room, pacing back almost as vividly as Nicole once was before she finally allowed her mind to settle.

She could smell the sweets, and she would admit, she's never had a s'more before. She would hear her club members mention them whenever they used to go camping, and she always wondered what they tasted like. She glanced over towards Nicole and Sora, smiling softly at them and making her way towards them. She sat on the other side of Sora, leaning on his empty shoulder as she glanced towards Nicole. "Do you mind if we share Sora right now?" she questioned, her head already laying on his shoulder. Sora, however, scratched his cheek and laughed nervously. Why wasn't she bothering Hikaru?


“Hmm… you’d think so, wouldn’t you?” Hikaru replied to Nicole, but he stuck a hand into one of the bags and produced a jar of pickles, giving it a gentle toss so that in landed in the sand beside her. It wasn’t like any of the stuff would get in the jar—it was sealed, after all. He mostly left them to their own devices, though. They were talking about their daughters again, which was understandable but nothing he could really contribute to. And then of course, she showed up, so he remained close to his mother instead, selectively choosing to ignore the disapproving glance Reiko gave him.

She knew what had happened, as she always seemed to know everything about their lives. Well, that wasn’t exactly true—she’d noticed his change in demeanor towards Shizuka, and asked about it. He could lie to almost anyone, and very well—but he would not lie to his mother. She deserved better from him than that. So he’d told her the truth. Reiko had sighed softly and hugged him, but she hadn’t said anything further, and he hadn’t understood why she’d done even that much. It didn’t matter, did it? He’d helped train her, and that was done. Whatever else they could have been had never even come to pass, and he wasn’t one to mourn over something like that. It would be absurd, and most unlike him.

The sky overhead darkened on their last night in Italy, and everyone had a s’more or some pickle-fied version of one as the first of the firecrackers started to go off overhead. Like mist things they did, this was tradition—Reiko supported a local pyrotechnician almost exclusively on this one contract: every year, he was to produce the biggest, most elaborate show he could, and set it off over the ocean on this day. Sometimes, they were there to see it, and sometimes they weren’t, but it was a tradition for the entire town by now. Hikaru had quite enjoyed it as a child.

Taking a seat on the sand, he lay back against the warmth of it and cushioned his hands beneath his head. Behind and to the left of him, he could hear the rest of them moving around, but he was fine leaving them be. This display had always given him some much-needed peace of mind, and he saw no reason it would not do so right now as well.


Nicole’s eyes widened and she laughed. She leaned into Sora’s shoulder, smiling at him. ”Your brother is never going to cease to amaze me, honestly.” She said as she reached for the pickle jar. She was munching on one of them when Shizuka came up to them. She raised an eyebrow, looking over to where Hikaru was, but she said nothing on the concept. She did offer the girl a small smile. ”I suppose, but you get the other arm.”

She could tell that whatever the two of them were going through was not easy, and she wasn’t going to pry. If Shizuka wanted to talk about it, she could come to Nicole. If not, then so be it. Before she realized it, Nicole had eaten three pickles. She looked down at the jar and then handed it to Sora. ”You’d better take this before I eat them all.”


Blinking, Sora took the jar in his hand, giving Nicole a quizzical look in the process. "And what's wrong with that?" he stated before setting the jar down. He chanced a glance towards his brother, noticing he was close to their mother instead of joining the three of them. He frowned lightly but thought nothing more of it. His brother was entitled to his own peace if he wanted it, and he didn't always need to be around them. He slumped his shoulders a bit, earning a grunt from Shizuka in the process. He apologized before the sounds of fireworks popping in the air caught his attention. He smiled fondly as he brought Nicole closer to him.

Shizuka merely kept her gaze on the fire that lay before them. Her eyes watched as the embers burned, licking the air in an attempt to move further from the wood it lay on. She had to keep her focus on something, anything than what was trying to run amok through her head. Anything was better than that. She sighed, glancing over towards where Hikaru lay and for a moment, something flashed behind her eyes, something she wasn't quite sure she saw. She heard laughing, almost as if the person who was laughing was enjoying what they saw. She removed her gaze from him, finally glancing up at the fireworks as they passed over head. She really wanted to forget everything.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Nicole sighed as her eyes once again read the same sentence for the fifth time in a row. It was now four days before Halloween, and she was just over two weeks from her due date. Sora had been shooed away from her by Michaline, who was in the chair beside her with Trevor in her arms. Nicole's half-brother was asleep, now just about three months old, and absolutely adorable.

Still, with Nicole now so far along, she was getting restless, and so were the twins inside of her. They were squirming almost constantly, and she hadn't slept in about three days. It was beginning to wear her thin. At this point, she was ready to just have the girls and be done with it.

Michaline looked at her daughter with a knowing smile. "It gets better, dear. You won't even remember this when you're holding your little girls. Now, how about I make us some tea? Can you hold Trevor for a bit while I'm gone? He won't sleep unless he's held."

Nicole smiled, taking her little brother from her mother. "Thanks, Mother." Trevor squirmed slightly at the changing of hands, but the boy stayed asleep. Nicole sat back, closing her eyes. It was slightly awkward, holding a baby while pregnant with two more, but she'd done it quite a bit in the three months since he had been born. Nicole stood up, unable to sit still any longer. Sometimes moving around helped the twins to settle their antics.

Nicole had her back to the window, and never noticed his presence, not until he felt his hand on her throat. She stiffened at once, clutching at her brother. Her heartbeat sped up as he spoke in her ear. "You're going to come with me now, Nicole."


As soon as Michaline entered the room where she had left her son and daughter, the only thing that was heard was a loud crash as the teacups hit the floor. While normally the vampiress' face was one of calm kindness, a dark and murderous shadow crossed it as her fangs elongated with a sharp hiss. She looked at her daughter's familiar, who had gone with her, and told the cat to stay with Trevor, the baby still asleep.

Her husband's scent was all over the room, and it wasn't hard for her to track them down. Sebastian was carrying Nicole, who wasn't fighting him. But then, eight and half months pregnant, it would be insane to try and fight in her condition. Michaline did not have to wonder what Sebastian wanted with their daughter. Twins were considered a myth, and it was now clear that Nicole was having twins.

Two large vines came whipping out from the trees, encircling Sebastian's throat. The man's eyes widened with a look of shock as the vines tightened, and he stumbled. Nicole took the opportunity to scramble away from her father, the shock mirrored in her own eyes. What was her mother doing here?

Sebastian managed to rip the vines from his throat, turning to glare at the woman who was his wife and sister. He could not recall ever seeing her so...lively. He smirked slightly. This would be fun, indeed.

The battle was short, but incredibly intense. Brother and sister clashed in the air with fang, claw, blood and vine. Blood stained the very air itself; if the vampires on campus had not known of their location, they certainly would now. Nicole watched desperately as her parents fought, unable to do anything.

She wasn’t even able to move when Sebastian feigned a shot at Michaline but instead went for Nicole instead. She shut her eyes, reflexively coiling around her abdomen. But the attack never came. Nicole smelled blood. Michaline’s blood. The girl opened her eyes, greeted by a horrific sight. Michaline stood over her, Sebastian’s hand through her chest.

A drop of blood fell from his finger, landing between Nicole’s widening eyes. Michaline couched once, the vines around them withering and crumbling. ”Mother…”

Michaline smiled slightly, even as the telltale cracks began snaking across her being. ”I’m sorry, Nicole. Take care of Trevor for me, won’t you?” Tears fell from Nicole’s eyes as she watched her mother’s body shatter into thousands of pieces glass. Sebastian slowly licked the blood from his fingers, staring down at his daughter’s reaction.

Nicole could feel her heartbeat and breathing speed up. She could also feel something else, a sharp pain in her abdomen. But that was the last thing on her mind. All she could see, all she could hear, was her mother. Her eyes turned a deep shade of obsidian, and she screamed. She could feel something tearing through her chest, and it was breaking.

Shadows exploded around them, tendrils writhing and fastening themselves to Sebastian. It did little good, as suddenly she couldn’t move. Her eyes went wide as Sebastian held her still. He grinned at her as he knelt down, running a finger across her cheek. ”You see, my dear, I learned long ago…I can control you using your mother’s blood. So long as you have the blood of the parent, the child is under your complete control. I will have my grandchildren. I have very high hopes for them, Nicole.” His eyes gleamed ruby as her eyes widened even further, the whites of them turning red. She couldn’t breathe.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

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He’d been walking through the forest when he caught the scent. The moon drew close to full, and the beast in him hadn’t been this restless in many, many moons. Perhaps even centuries. He usually managed to keep it under control by a combination of his own emotional suppression and giving it what it wanted—in other words, by being sometimes Hikaru and sometimes Hotaru, but for once, it simply would not settle. There was something it wanted, and he could not allow it to drive him to take that thing. However much it may seem otherwise, he was not cruel, and he was not evil. There were things the beast could have, and things he would never allow it to.

It made him restless.

As it turned out, this was the fact that saved the life of his sister in law. He caught the scent of her mother, and of her father, the one that had been lingering about Sora after he was attacked. Nicole was in close proximity to them both, and both were bleeding. Hikaru did not stop to think about it. He did not consider the pros and cons of the situation, he did not even contemplate what morality and goodness demanded of him, because that was not the kind of person he was. He simply registered the situation—family, danger, and acted, taking off through the trees with incredible speed. Branches and trunks flashed by in the peripherals of his vision, but the ruby oculars focused on only one thing: the picture of Sebastian standing over his sister, and his nieces.

Hotaru didn’t like that, not one bit. Which was perhaps why, when he slammed into Sebastian’s side, it was with enough force to carry them both into the nearest oak tree—and shatter it, the resounding cracking of the wood echoing through the deepness of the forest even as it toppled over. The white-haired half-breed snarled, the sound ripping from his throat like a landslide, and he glared down at the man who dared harm what was under his protection.


Nicole slumped over as the weight of her father's control lifted, but it was only for a fraction of a second before her throat closed up again. She clutched at her chest, and as yet another pain sliced through her, the only thought in her head as she tried desprately to breathe was Not now. Please, not now. She understood now what her father was doing. By shutting off her airway, and putting her life in danger, he was forcing her into labor. And he had succeeded.

Sebastian, on the other hand, allowed something of a scowl to grace his face before he smirked. "And here I expected the Pure Blood to come along, not his lap dog. So be it, if you truly wish to die." He flickered, and then vanished. Nicole's eyes widened. He had resorted to that? She was forcing herself to wheeze, if only to keep concious, and she did the only thing she could think of. Her shadows began searching, feeling, and they found him. She pulled Sebastian out into the open, and while she lacked the strength to kill him, she could hold him in place long enough for Hotaru to kill him.


When his target disappeared out form under him, Hotaru immediately swung around. Nicole’s condition was troubling, but it had to take second priority to the lunatic who wanted to take his nieces and possibly kill their mother. He didn’t know anything about childbirth, anyway, she was probably better able to cope on her own. What he was good at was killing things, and the moment she pulled him from the shadows, the snow-haired wolf had him by the throat, his hold choking, but not enough to kill him. Oh, not yet.

The smile that crossed his face was a very different kind of wicked than the one Shizuka knew. That one still maintained traces of playfulness, even along with the danger it conveyed. This one held only malice, and a certain kind of perverse enjoyment of the man’s obvious struggling. “I don’t envy you then,” Hotaru said darkly, voice raspy and low, “Because you’re about to get killed by a lap dog. How very shameful for you.” He’d show this fool exactly how much the purity of his blood mattered in the end—which was to say not at all. From the day he’d been born, Hikaru had been fighting to live, to find a place in a world that seemed intent upon rejecting him. It had made him strong, and it had made him sure. He would not hesitate.

His fangs, the part of him that as vampire, extended, but he wasn’t going to use them. Oh no. This would be no elegant death, no shattering into a million little specks of light. At least not right away. “I don’t take a lot of things seriously,” he remarked in that same voice, but this was almost conversational, and he watched Sebastian claw ineffectively at the hand that held him in an iron grip, “But my family is the exception. This is for my brother, who you made bleed.” With his free hand, he took hold of Sebastian’s shoulder and yanked, dislocating the limb. But he didn’t stop, and his strength was such that he tore it right out of the socket, throwing the arm off to one side. Bits of flesh and blood spattered the perfect alabaster of his cheek, but he didn’t even blink. It was impossible for the man to scream, given the pressure on his windpipe, but Hotaru saw the realization beginning to blossom behind his eyes: he was going to die here. The fear only stretched his smile wider.

“This is for my nieces, who you will never touch.” With a wet grinding and a sickening tear, his left arm joined his right on the grass. Sebastian was flickering in and out of consciousness, so Hotaru slapped him once, to make sure he was awake. “And this,” he said, drawing an arm back as his eyes flashed murderously, “is for my sister, and everything she endured because of you.” He plunged his hand into Sebastian’s chest, and the man really did dissolve then, turning to dust as his wife had not long before. The arms on the ground disintegrated as well, and Hotaru stepped back, looking at the blood on his hands with some mix of disinterest and disgust, before turning to Nicole.


Nicole showed little to no reaction to her father's death, other than she began coughing and gasping for air now that the pressure on her windpipe had left. She was rather happy he was dead, of course, but she had other matters on her mind right now. Like the fact that she was about to give birth in front of Hikaru. Or Hotaru, or whoever the hell was standing there, she really wasn't sure, and she had little time to think about it. Her arms shook as propped herself against a tree. She looked at Hotaru, dark rings under her eyes, with the whites of her eyes still blood-red from the lack of oxygen. "I'm...going to need...your help."

Bright red eyes blinked back at her, almost as if he didn’t believe that he was in fact the one being addressed. Surely, if she was seeking someone else to help her give birth she would have known that he was not the optimal choice. Or even a choice at all, really. But of course, he then recalled that there wasn’t any other choice, and his left eye started to twitch. He opened his mouth to violently protest the very notion, but closed it again. Anything for his family, right? “You’re going to need to tell me what to do,” he said matter-of-factly. “I don’t know anything about how to deliver children.”

Nicole smirked slightly. She had not missed the fact that he called her sister. She grit her teeth as another wave hit her, and for about a minute, she couldn't speak. "You need to look...and see if I'm crowning. If I am...then be ready...as soon...as her head is clear...she's going...to come sliding out. You'll have...to cut her...umbilical cord...then...give her...to me...there's no way...to tell...how long...before the other...crowns." She grit her teeth again, her fingers sinking into the ground as she clutched at it. She let out something like a cross between a grunt and a scream.

Check…? Oh. Oh. Well, that was a little awkward, wasn’t it? “Sora is going to owe me for the rest of our natural lives,” he muttered, shaking his head and kneeling in front of Nicole. Perhaps fortunately, Nicole was wearing a dress, though if anyone had known that he was removing his sister-in-law’s undergarments, this was not what they would have assumed, he was sure. Still, he told himself that nobody was ever going to hear about this, which was basically necessary for him to do it. His reputation did not include delivering children, and it was easier to be irritated than afraid, which was definitely the other option. People trusted him to take life, not to bring it about, in whatever small part he was responsible for this.

“You’re crowning,” he told her, or at least he assumed that was what the fact that a baby’s head was partially visible meant. Oh, for the love of—that was a baby’s head. A baby. And he was in charge of making sure it didn’t accidentally die! Gritting his teeth, Hotaru breathed deliberately through his nose, trying to ignore the smell. When that didn’t work, he switched to letting it pass through his slightly-open mouth. He noted the irregularity in Nicole’s own breathing, and frowned. “Match your breaths to mine,” he said, exaggerating both the sound and the rise and fall of his chest and shoulders so that she could do so. “It’s… it’ll be fine.”

But he had to return his attention to the child after that, because it was definitely on its way now.


The pain was excruciating, blinding even. But she was able to focus on one thing: Hotaru's heartbeat. The sound grounded her, and her breathing regulated. She felt a crushing urge to bear down, and she did, screaming through her teeth all the while. True to what she had said, the child slid out of her rather easily, fluid and blood following it. She put her head back, panting, but at least half of it was finished. She didn't open her eyes as she spoke again. "Cut her cord and give her to me, Naya isn't very far behind her."

Hotaru caught the child, deftly sliding her from underneath her mother to hold for a moment against his chest. His shirt was beyond ruined by this point, but he found it honestly hard to care. Shifting enough to grow some claws, he used them to sever the umbilical cord, checking to make sure that the little girl was breathing before he handed her over to her mother and ducked back down to repeat the process. He wasn’t even the one pushing them out, and this may well be the most exhausting thing he’d ever done…

Nicole looked fondly at the daughter in her arms, so captivated that she barely registered the pain any longer. She was holding her daughter, Reiko. Even as she thought this, she was bearing down again, Naya sliding out of her much easier than her sister had. The afterbirth followed as well, and suddenly Nicole felt...empty. It was an odd thought, considering she almost felt like her heart was going to burst. As tired, sweaty, and disgusting as she was, she was smiling. That smile, however, vanished almost instantly when a smell hit her. It was blood, and it was Sora's. Her lips curled back as her fangs elongated, and she hissed. There was a venomous anger behind it, both for whatever was hurting Sora and the fact that, at the moment, she was utterly useless. Her eyes burned black as she looked at Hikaru. Her arms tightened around her daughters, and she nodded once to the man that she now -and would forevermore- consider her brother. "Go."

Hotaru caught the second infant with more certainty than the first, careful not to hurt her with the claws that remained and once more slicing through the umbilical cord with them. Thinking quickly, he shrugged out of his outer shirt, covered in blood and grime as it was, then removed his inner haori more carefully, only to use his free hand and teeth to rip it in half. Throwing one of the halves over his shoulder, he swaddled Naya in the one he still held, encasing the child gently in the soft linen. The other half, he offered to Nicole, so that she could do the same with Reiko.

It was then that the smell hit him, and a growl started low in his throat. Had his family not suffered enough this night? His lips pulled back from his teeth much as hers did, and he handed her Naya carefully as he could, pulling his outer haori back on and tying it in place. He nodded simply to her command, and took off in the direction of the blood.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

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Shizuka had been in the company of Sora, speaking with him on matters of Nicole's state and her mothers'. It was three months ago that Michaline delivered a baby boy, named Trevor, and Shizuka had nearly passed out from all the scents mixing with the blood. She had insisted she be there to witness the birthing so that she would have some knowledge of what to do should Nicole go into labor and not be around anyone but Shizuka. She wasn't sure anymore if she wanted to be there for the delivery. Sora, on the other hand, had laughed when he heard about the ordeal. As soon as she made to retort to his statement, both of them froze in their spots, their noses both pointed towards the sky.

Immediately, both shot off like a bullet train, running as fast as they could before Shizuka felt a strong force pulling her into an abrupt stop, causing Sora to press deep into the ground to prevent himself from tripping. "Shizuka, what are you doing, Nicole's in trouble," he stated, however; Shizuka's eyes widened in fear as a deep chuckle echoed through the area. Sora's eyes snapped behind him as he spotted him, the one person whom they never thought they'd see again: Esaias. Sora's lips pulled back into a snarl as he jumped further back, landing so that he was beside Shizuka. Shizuka kept her gaze, fearful, and angered, directed towards Esaias as he folded his arms across his chest.

"It's been awhile, Shizuka," he stated, his crimson eye shining brightly beneath the moon. "It seems you've used this time wisely that was granted to you," he continued. Shizuka merely pulled her lips back into a snarl, causing Esaias to tsk and shake his head. There was something different about his scent, something she couldn't explain. It no longer held the fresh rain, and was encased in something more like what power would smell like if it had a scent. She didn't like this essence at all, and her head shot towards Sora.

"I am going to give you a choice, Shizuka," he started, a hint of something smug and confident laced in his voice. "You will come with me. Come with me and be by my side, or I will force you to kill your friend here and then I will dispose of that abomination you've grown so fond of and your friend's lover," he stated, causing Sora's eyes to flash crimson in the process. He threatened Nicole's life, and that was something Sora wouldn't stand for. Within the blink of an eye, Sora lunged for Esaias, however; the blonde-haired male smirked as a look of sheer confusion crossed Sora's eyes. He glanced back, spotting Shizuka grabbing hold of his arm before twisting it behind his back, causing Sora to cry out in pain as she popped his elbow out of place.

She held a look of sheer horror as her body moved on its own, flinging Sora over her shoulder in the process as she stood protectively in front of Esaias, who was smiling with a wicked grin. She could feel her joints stretching, the pain in her body escalating as her features began to change. He was forcing her transformation. He was forcing her to change. Panic swelled within Shizuka as she tried to resist, but felt a painful shock course through her body. "There is no resisting this Shizuka. You chose this, now you get to watch your friend die by your hands" he spoke through their link. Before she could react, where Shizuka once stood, a pale beast now snarled angrily towards the sky. Sora's eyes widened slightly as he tried to pop his elbow back in place, barely dodging the speed at which Shizuka charged him with.

"Shizuka! Stop!" Sora cried out, trying to evade the claws and fangs that were intent on killing him. Esaias merely laughed with glee as he watched the sport playing before him. He was enjoying this, making her attack, and eventually kill, her friend. She had made her decision to defy him, and so she was going to pay for it. He watched as Shizuka tore at Sora's arm, crunching down with a sickening crack as he managed to pull away, his arm healing almost slowly now. He was losing blood, and that wasn't a good sign. If he lost too much, his regeneration would slow down to replenish the blood he was losing. He twisted just in time to avoid a swipe of her claws, however; he miscalculated and was pinned down by her other paw.

Immediately, his hands went for her jaws that clamped shut around his neck, trying with all the strength he had left to remove her from him. Esaias bore a look of plain sadistic glee upon his eyes as his grin widened to the point he was flashing pearly whites. Sora was trying to concentrate on every ounce of sheer strength he had left to keep Shizuka from biting his head off. "Shizuka! I know you can fight this, don't let him win," he ground out through his teeth. Esaias merely laughed at his false hope. Clearly the boy did not know what the mark he had placed upon her months ago was for. She was his to command, to control, to abuse her power in any way he saw fit. And he was doing so now with all the pleasure of a man enjoying himself.

She tried desparately to gain control of herself, but she was failing. With every muscle she restricted, he would will it to move. She could feel Sora's hands trying to pry her jaws from his neck, the sound of glass being broken filling the area. If she did't release him soon, she would kill him. Her heart was beating wildly against her chest as she tried to fight it off with every fiber of her being, but she couldn't. He was in control, of her body, her mind, everything. And she was losing the battle to keep from tearing Sora's head off. Esaias had wanted her to kill the blue-haired vampire willingly, however; when she spat in his face, he was given little choice. He would make her destroy what she loved, what she had come to befriend.

"Esaias, stop! I'll do it! I'll go with you," she cried out through their shared link. She could feel the warm tears assaulting the white fur of her coat as she felt her muscles loosening, Sora able to break free in the process. She jumped as far away from him as she possibly could, shifting back into her human form as Esaias placed a black coat to cover her form. No other eyes needed to see her as she was. That would only be privy to his eyes and only his. Shizuka glared defiantly at Esaias as a dark chuckle rumbled through his chest. In due time, she will succumb to her place, but for now, he was enjoying the dark glares she sent him. He hooked two fingers under her chin and forced her to stare at his mismatched eyes.

"In due time Shizuka, you will come to love me, but for now, you are needed for other purposes," he spoke, causing Shizuka's glare to intensify. She almost spat in his face, however; she didn't. She needed to be wary of her next course of actions because he could force her to do anything at this moment. She couldn't risk turning again and attacking Sora. The sound of footsteps rushing towards their direction caused Shizuka to snap her head in the direction they were coming from. The familiar scent of him hit her like a freight train as she felt something breaking in her. She could feel her heart tighten against her chest, her breathing becoming labored as she fought to control the burning in the back of her eyes.

Shizuka's eyes dripped with sorrow, regret, and a hint of something like uncertainty. She glanced over towards the group of people she called her family. Sora, he was a father now, if the smell of blood still lingering in the air, and on Hikaru's shirt, that belonged to Nicole was any indication of it. She smiled at him, causing something to break within him as he saw the mournful look. Her thoughts traveled to Nicole, the woman whose life she had nearly destroyed by taking her sister's life from her. Though she didn't physically do it, she was still the cause of Naya's death, and that still plagued her. Nicole never forgave her, and she wasn't sure if she ever wanted to be forgiven for that. How could she? She was a monster, a monster who had no right to the world she was in. She had no right to be alive, to be what she was, and to have the people she had as her friends.

She had no right.

Her eyes finally landed on the person to arrive: Hikaru. Something hot burned beneath her eyes as she stared at him. Her heart, it felt as if someone were clutching it tightly, trying to tear it from her chest as she felt her breathing hitch. She could feel the lump in her throat growing as she took a step towards him, however; she paused when she felt a sharp pain enter her body. He wasn't going to allow her anywhere near that other abomination. She clutched her fists tightly together, the shaking of her shoulders displaying her lack of control over her emotions. She should have told him that night, on the beach. She should have told him what she wanted, what she desired, and she didn't. He told her not to regret it, but she was. She regretted not telling him, that all she wanted...was him.

"I'm so sorry," she choked out finally, her tears free-falling from her face. She made to mouth another sentence, something she would never get the chance to say again, however; she was gone in a shroud of shadows, the only thing resonating through the area were the three words she spoke, with every meaning to them, directed for Hikaru.

"I love you."


Hotaru did not usually consider himself the indecisive type, nor the uncertain one. Hikaru wasn’t those things, either. So it was very unusual for him to not be sure what to do in a given situation. But as he ran into the clearing, knowing well just what three people occupied it, he was not entirely certain what to make of the things he saw. Sora was heavily injured, bleeding badly enough that his scent almost concealed the others, but neither was one that Hotaru would ever forget. One belonged to a man he loathed more than he usually disliked anyone, and the other… the other was hers.

But the blood of his brother was on her, and she stood protectively in front of him. Ordinarily, the simple sight of his brother’s state would have sent Hikaru flying into a rage, similar to what he’d felt and done when Sebastian was trying to attack Nicole and take control of his nieces. But he knew, with a certainty that he did not understand, that he could not hurt her. No matter what she’d done. The realization that his body would not respond to his commands, that his beast would not surface when he knew she would be used as the other’s shield from his wrath, startled him, and he could do little more than stare dumbly at her.

He was a fool. He’d known this was coming, known it for a fact. That was the nature of the Royal Mark. This man, Esaias, had perverted it, turned it into an object of control, but perhaps that had been its only purpose, and he and his mother were simply foolish for believing it was anything else, much less sacred. Something, some unnamable light in his eyes, extinguished as she looked at him. The game was over, and they both had lost. He should never have started playing to begin with, because this had always been in her future. If he’d just ignored her from the start, he would have been able to kill her now, on the way to the man behind all of this, and that might have been a mercy. He wouldn’t have cared anyway, and the necessary would have been accomplished. But now he could not compel himself to move, and his rage was left impotent in the end.

She spoke, but he knew they were already disappearing. Even so, he could not move his eyes from the spot until she was gone, and the words she left behind hit him like a blow to the stomach. Hikaru—for his hair had lost its snowy lustre and his eyes receded to the gentler purple hue—stepped backwards half a pace, shaking his head. She… what? He’d known she desired him, that much had been obvious. That she’d ultimately lied about it and shut him down was irritating, but ultimately unimportant. He didn’t like rejection, particularly the dishonest kind, but he’d gotten over it, and resumed his former lifestyle in the months that followed. Just when had her feelings become involved?

Just when had anyone on this earth found something in him to love?

It shouldn’t matter. It didn’t matter. It didn’t. Shaking himself free of the thoughts, Hikaru swallowed thickly and turned to his brother, still heavily injured. “Will you heal?” he asked neutrally. “Nicole is too weak to provide you with blood right now. If you need it, it will have to be mine.” It wasn’t what either of them would prefer, obviously, but they were brothers, and emergencies were emergencies. He raised his claws to his opposite wrist as he asked the question. There was much to be explained, and much to be accounted for, but he would start with his family. As he always did. Everything else could wait. Must wait. He ignored the fact that he could still smell her, even though she was long gone—cinnamon and sugar, sunshine and vanilla, salty tears. He didn’t want to think about it.

Sora blinked, ignoring the pain that had coursed through his body moments ago. One second he was staring at Shizuka and Esaias, the next, he was staring at open space. She was gone, in the blink of an eye, Shizuka was gone. His mind, trying to process the information, ignored the fact that his body was in need of either rest, or blood. Hikaru's words echoed through Sora's ears, the blue-haired vampire turning to meet his brother's gaze. There was something, empty in the look Sora gave Hikaru. His friend was gone, trying to protect him, them, even if she nearly almost killed him herself. Sora slowly, almost painfully, shook his head to his brother.

"I'll heal," were the only words that left Sora's mouth, a solemn tone in his voice. He could feel the back of his eyes burning, however; he would not let the tears fall. Why had she gone with him? Why didn't Hikaru do something? So many things plagued the back of his mind that he wasn't aware to his shoulders shaking. He clutched his fists together, turning them white as his fist connected with a nearby tree, sending it into another as it created a domino affect. He sniffed, wiping at his eyes with the back of his hand as he turned towards Hikaru.

"I told you," were the three words that escaped from his mouth. He turned his back to his brother before making his way towards Nicole. He needed to check on her to see if she was okay, and his newborn daughters. They could discuss what happened then and there; all three of them.

Told him? Told him what? To be careful? Hikaru was of half a mind to tell Sora just how careful he’d been birthing his daughters. If ever there was a reason not to have been around when Esaias showed up to fuck them all over, that was it. But he held his tongue, knowing that to aim his anger at his brother would be to misdirect it. Sora would understand that eventually as well. Wait… his anger? Where had that come from? He’d just been… there, and it had come upon him without warning, like something thick boiling over all of the sudden in his blood. Because he was angry. Violently so. He could feel the great beast in him rising, and without another word to Sora, he fled, deeper into the forest, as deep as he could go.

He needed to get away from it. From her scent. From his, because it was provoking the part of him that was usually well under his control. A creature like him was the consummate killer, and he didn’t want to bring that upon anyone else. Not now. Preferably not ever. The last time he’d felt this far gone, he’d nearly killed his mother—and that was an experience he promised himself he’d never repeat.

As he ran, his body changed, his bones snapping and realigning themselves with grinding and wet pops. His spine elongated and bent, until he was running double, silvery-platinum fur sprouting from his skin. His jaw stretched out, the rest of his teeth lengthening to compliment his vampiric canines. His claws, moon-white and hooked, hardened and tore into the earth as he passed. Hikaru was, for the first time in centuries, a beast. And he ran like hell itself was after him, because the moment he turned around… well, he could not turn around.

The brothers were perhaps more similar than anyone thought they were, because his violence was rendered on the environment as well, and for the rest of the night, there were great cracks and snaps as he utterly obliterated any tree unfortunate enough to enter his line of sight. He knew that these were not what he wanted to destroy, but all the same, he could not reach that which he truly desired to sink his teeth into. The worst part was, he didn’t know what he truly wished to kill. For come part of him, it was obviously Esaias, but there was a part of him the also wished to destroy her. Because she had made him into this. He didn’t know how, and he didn’t know when—Hikaru didn’t even properly understand why—but somehow, for some reason, she had become something to which he was weak. And he hated that with a fury that matched what he felt towards Esaias for taking advantage of it.

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Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

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Two months.

He didn’t recall the passage of time, much. For the first week, he had been entirely unapproachable by anyone—not even his brother had been able to get through to him. Then, his mother, having heard about what happened through Sora and Nicole, arrived on campus, seeking him out in the depths of the forest where he’d sequestered himself in his violence. She had always been the only one who could truly quell his rage, because she accepted it about him, and accepted the risk that she underwent every time she reached out to him in such a state. His brother might, too, but Hikaru had chased him away rather than let him try, because he was afraid of what he might do.

But her, he could never push away. He’d promised it—that no matter how mighty his problems or how dangerous his state, he would always allow her to come to him, to speak with him, and with another three days, he reverted to his usual form, returning to the school grounds as if nothing was amiss. Reiko had followed, looking at him with saddened eyes, for she saw the emptiness in his, and recognized it. It had once been something she saw in the mirror. It was a shame, that of all three of them, her son was most like her, after all, no matter how strongly she saw Hideki in him.

She’d visited her new granddaughters, delighted by them, and Hikaru had found solace in them as well. There was something he didn’t quite understand about his reaction to the children. He was not a man of tender feelings, but holding one of his nieces in his arms… something about that was different from any other feeling in the world. He was, without doubt, the only babysitter Sora and Nicole would ever need, and tended the girls whenever their parents needed a break. He lavished his attention on them, in fact, to the exclusion of just about anything else. When he wasn’t with them, he tended to think of things he didn’t want to contemplate.

And that was something he avoided as much as possible. Bereft from time to time of the company of Nana and Rei-chan, as he called them (but not in front of anyone else), he simply… reverted, becoming much as he had been the year before. He attended class, took lovers he didn’t much care for, and generally did things according to whim. The split in his personality, which had started to recede, grew sharper again, with Hikaru embracing an almost monklike existence of little eating and quite a lot of meditation, and Hotaru taking up the flag for debauchery of various sorts.

And still, the sense that something was off, that something was missing did not leave him, however hard he tried to chase it away. His banter failed to amuse him any longer, because those he used it on were dull. Nobody had enough fight in them for him to really catch their spark, and his own rather fizzled out as a result, though perhaps only internally. It wasn’t until the winter holidays, when he was forced back into the close proximity of the person who understood him best, that he was forced to confront these facts.

“Hikaru.” On his mother’s tongue, his name was like a warm embrace, the kind one family member gives another for comfort. He could tell that she wished to hug him for truth, but he did not open his arms, only swung deadened wisteria-colored eyes to her. They were more the color of blossoming bruises now, and dull. Though the rest of his visage showed no strain, she could see his vivacity seeping right out of his eyes, and it killed her a little bit more every day.

She asked him to walk with her in the garden, so he obliged, falling in step with her until they reached his spot, with the water and the trees and the smell of life. Was he imagining that he could still smell sunshine and cinnamon here? Surely—he imagined it all the time, to the point where he now simply ignored it. Reiko selected a spot in the grass and sat crosslegged, patting the ground next to her so that he would do the same. Hikaru complied, but only because he could see no reason not to. Surprisingly, his mother then pulled him down, so that his head rested in her lap, and stroked his hair soothingly, as she had used to do when he was a child, and had woken crying from the nightmares in which he killed her—in which he killed everyone he knew.

He let his eyes close, cutting off the view of the bank of the pond, sparking in the sunlight. “Tell me what you feel,” she said, and that, too, was traditional. It was what she’d always asked him. She unwound the tie from his hair and continued to comb through it with elegant fingers. He swallowed.

“I do not know,” he replied quietly. “I am angry. I am restless. I am…” he shook his head and started to rise, but she stopped him with a gentle hand to his shoulder. He sank back down, gritting his teeth. “She told me she loved me, mother. Stupid woman.” The hand in his hair paused for a moment, then resumed it motion.

“Why does that make her stupid, Hikaru?” The question was asked without a trace of judgement, or even amusement. Those things had no place here, in this spot, where she asked him and he explained.

“Because…” he frowned. Did he really have to say it? “It just is. It’s stupid to love… and stupid to love me.” It was just a damn trap. She knew that better than anyone. If it didn’t kill you, it left you behind, and that was even worse. She should know—she’d been left behind and he… well, he just didn’t like losing. “Especially when she knew this was coming, that he’d come back for her. Perversion or not, one does not leave a mark like that on someone with no intention to collect.” He felt her flinch, and he backpedalled. “Mother, I—”

She shook her head. “It’s all right, Hikaru. I know what you meant. And perhaps you are right. Perhaps it was foolish of her to love you. But not because it was you. Love itself is a foolish thing, but that does not make it bad. It hurts now, I know, but wouldn’t you say that loving her made your world a different place, even for a little while?”

Loving her? His brows furrowed, and he cracked his eyes open, to find his mother looking down at him intently. This time, he really did rise, still narrow-eyed. “I didn’t say anything about loving her, mother. I didn’t. I don't.”

She regarded him silently for a little while. “But you do, my son; you really do. This anxiety, that feeling inside you that won’t go away because she is not near. The way you started to become whole again after you met her. The reason you did not simply attack her when she was responsible for the harm that befell your brother…” She fixed alizarin eyes on him, and his frown deepened.

“She was being controlled through the mark, you know that.”

Reiko smiled, as if she had just outwitted him somehow. “I do. I also know that would not have stopped you before, Hikaru. And so do you. It hurts to admit it, I know. It will continue to hurt. You will suffer for this feeling, and so will she. We all suffer for love. Because even when all is said and done, even if our hearts and our lives are in ruins when it is over, even if we lose everything else… it is worth it.” The tears fell freely and silently from Reiko’s eyes as she looked over at him, and this time, when she opened her arms, he pulled her to him, setting her forehead gently against his shoulder. He hated seeing his mother cry.

“How could anything ever be worth this?” he said, though whether he referred to her pain or his was entirely uncertain.

“Because it makes us who we are meant to be, Hikaru. Love is the fire in which our souls are forged. Whether it ends for good or ill, we are better for it, and stronger.”

He didn’t claim to understand what she said. But he didn’t deny it, either.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Nicole could not remember the last time she'd felt this helpless. She'd been able to do nothing but sit there with her daughters once Hikaru had run off, and from what she could gather from sounds, and the look on Sora's face when he showed up, it was not a good situation. And then Hikaru had all but disappeared. After what they had been through together, Nicole had been rather worried about him.

And then he had returned, along with Reiko. Nicole had smelled them coming, and had met them outside. She hadn't said a word, and neither had they, but the vampire hugged the man, whispering to him as she did so, "Thank you, for being strong enough to do what I never could." She didn't say anything else, as the thanks for helping her deliver was unneeded.

And so two months had passed. Nicole had learned what had happened, which only made her more angry with herself, but moreover, she was mourning. In the end, her mother had truly been there for her. Had she not, Nicole would have died. Had Hikaru not come along, she would have died. She sighed. It was over, it was done, and there was no sense in wishing she could change it. She sat back down, Naya in her arms. The child was asleep, with Reiko being held by her name sake. Nicole smiled slightly. Hikaru might think that no one knew he called her daughters Nana and Rei-chan, but their mother knew. She'd taken to calling her daughter Rei, anyhow, if only to differentiate between the two. Naya fussed slightly, and with a slight shake of her head, Nicole stood back up.

"These two just refuse to sit still."


Sora had been relieved when he came back to see that Nicole was fine, holding his newborn daughters who were also healthy. The following morning, it felt empty, cold, as if something were missing from their lives, at least to Sora. And it felt like that for two months that followed. He had occupied himself mainly with taking care of his daughters, making sure they were safe and occasionally leaving them with Hikaru. When he did, he often left to be by himself, trying to enlist the help of people he knew, and had connections with to see if he could find where Shizuka had been taken. No one could find even a trace of her, not a scent, hair, anything. It was as if she had vanished completely from the planet, and Sora's heart continued to drop.

The only anchors he had were the ones his family created. Without them, Sora wasn't sure what might have happened. He took to Shizuka's departure a little more subtle than his brother, whom he was sure through his facade that there was something wrong with Hikaru. He tried asking, tried talking to him, but every time Sora drew near, Hikaru would chase him off. It hurt. Every time Hikaru chased him off, Sora felt his own heart breaking even more, and it hurt him to see his brother that way. He had written to his mother, detailing the events of what happened, and it was only through her that Hikaru could be reached. So, he left his brother to his mother. Winter was upon them again, and they had returned to the estate in Romania.

He glanced over towards Nicole, who stood up and muttered something. He smiled softly, standing and walking towards Nicole and took Naya from her hands. "It's because their mother is as well," he stated, smiling and rubbing his nose against Naya's. The young child giggled slightly, hand shooting out to grab a lock of blue strands and yanked on it, causing Sora to yelp slightly. He laughed nervously before turning to his mother, asking if she'd watch the twins while he spoke with Nicole. "We need to talk," were the only words he spoke when he pulled Nicole along by her hands.

"I'm sorry I wasn't there," he spoke, pulling Nicole to him and embracing her once they were outside. "I should have been there for you, but..." he paused, his eyes sinking into a low gaze, breathing softly over her head.


Nicole had been about to warn Sora when he put his down next to Naya, the girl had shown before to be a hair-puller. Alas, she was too late, and she laughed softly when Sora yelped. She raised her eyebrows, however, when he said they needed to talk, handing the girl to her grandmother. She let out a soft sigh when he apologized, and she pulled away slightly, looking up at him. "Hey, what happened that night was not your fault. If not for my mother and Hikaru, yes, I probably would be dead right now, and my father would have run away with our daughters, but he didn't, and he's dead Sora. You have been there for me in every way possible. Sometimes you just can't be there. But you're here now, and that's what matters."

Sora sighed, shaking his head lightly. "Still, it doesn't matter. I should have still been there. If I had..." he paused. What would have happened? He wasn't entirely sure how she had been taken in the first place, but none of that mattered. What mattered was that he had failed to protect her, again. "I'm sorry," he apologized once more, though this time, there was a light laugh to follow it. He shouldn't be thinking these things. He should be grateful that Nicole and his daughters were alive, even if he wasn't the one to have saved them. Nicole was right, as long as they were alive and well, it shouldn't matter. He sighed softly.

"I think my brother is mad at me," he stated softly, a sad smile crossing his features. Though he wasn't entirely sure why Hikaru was mad at him, he could only assume it had something to do with Shizuka's departure. He couldn't understand... well maybe he could. But Hikaru had never been the sentimental type. When it came to his family, Hikaru never hesitated, however; he did. When he had seen it was she who had attacked Sora, Hikaru hadn't moved, made no effort to attack her. And Sora was worried about the behavior his brother was showing as of late.


Nicole sighed through her nose, contemplating the situation. Hikaru had been extremely distant from everyone, even Reiko, aside from his nieces. From what she was able to get out of Sora, Shizuka had attacked him, unable to stop herself, and had agreed to leave with Esaias in order to protect them. She had also said I love you, apparently this directed at Hikaru directly. Hikaru had also hesitated when he had come across the situation, and from what she had seen earlier, when he literaly ripped her father limb from limb, hesitation was not apart of his nature. She pursed her lips.

"No, I don't think Hikaru is mad at you. I think...I think he may be mad at himself. He's confused, and he doesn't understand what he's feeling. I mean, my God, the man killed a Pure Blood, helped me give birth, and then lost his friend who had attacked his brother. I don't think there are many people in this whole world who can go through that and not get some type of emotional scarring. Just give him some time." She sighed slightly, knowing that Hikaru's hesitation to attack Shizuka had been bothering him as well, so she added, "And think of it this way: If it were me being controlled by Esaias, and I attacked Hikaru, would you have attacked and possibly even killed me? It's not an easy decision, especially when you're caught between saving your brother and destroying the one you love."


"I don't think he was expecting her to declare she loved him," he muttered, recalling the incident. Her eyes, her tears, every thing she had expressed in those last few minutes had been sincere; it had been the truth. "When it comes to love, Hikaru's a cynic, and he has every right to be. He even said I was crazy," he air quoted, signaling it wasn't quite what Hikaru said, but fairly close, "for loving you. But you're right, we'll just have to let him be for now. I just worry about him," he stated, wrapping Nicole back up into his arms. Not everyone could be as lucky as him, or at least that is what Sora thought as he kept his grip on Nicole, afraid to let her go.

Nicole inhaled his scent as he embraced her again. She smiled, turning her head to look up at him. "You silly man. You worry about everything."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Four months.

Four, long, grueling, months subjected to pokes, prods, chains, silver, had come to pass. She was so tired, so weak, against what they were doing. She couldn't understand it, their reasoning behind it all. They wanted to create more like him, so that they could finish what was started so long ago. But what was started? Why did they need more like him? Why did they need more like her? She had tried resisting at first, but Esaias would simply subject her to the point she was on her hands and knees, doubling in pain and trying with the last of her strength to keep from crying in the pain. Had she made the right choice, in leaving with Esaias, to protect them, him? Had she truly made the right choice for the right reason? Was love truly a reason to be subjected to what she was enduring?

"My child, love is the only reason we are alive in this world," a voice, soft, sad, and regretful, echoed through Shizuka's ears as she picked her head up, the chains binding her arms rattling in the process. Mahogany eyes leveled with a pair of violet as Shizuka tried to focus her vision. It was blurred, hazy, and fading in and out. She was still suffering the side-affects of a fool who over dosed her with silver, and she was trying with all she could to remain conscious. "My only regret is that I did not tell her nearly enough before I lost her, your mother," he spoke, the confusion laced within Shizuka's eyes.

"My...mother?" she managed to stutter out, pulling herself so that she was leaning a bit further into the chains. "What...who...are you?" she breathed out slowly, trying to keep her breath from hitching and betraying the broken sound it already conveyed. The purple-haired man merely shook his head, his eyes conveying a mixture of hurt, powerless, and regret. "I...I don't...understand," she continued, searching for the answers she so desperately wanted. The violet-eyed man merely shook his head, causing something to burn in the back of Shizuka's eyes as he approached her, placing a gently hand upon her cheek.

"If you must remember, remember one thing," he spoke, his tone soft and gentle, like a melody soothing a crying infant. "Remember that I never wanted any of this for you, nor Fumiko. I wanted you both to live a life free of worry, full of life, of love. But I see now that the only way is to make you forget," he spoke, his hand glowing a soft yellow in the process. Shizuka's eyes widened a fraction when he spoke those words. Forget? Forget what? Forget what she has been through? Forget her friends? Forget...him? She pulled back violently, however; his hand felt as if it were glued to her face, his other being placed on the side of her neck where the mark was. "You must be free of this man," he continued.

"Please, don't take my memories! I...I don't want to forget them! I" she began pleading. This was the first time she had ever truly felt fear coursing through her veins. She didn't want to forget her memories. She wanted to keep them, every single one of them. She didn't want to forget her friends, her family, Hikaru. "Please don't make...me...forget..." she trailed off, her consciousness fading. "Hikaru," was the last word she spoke before darkness consumed her world. Aram shook his head sadly, unhooking the chains from around her as she fell into his arms.

"Forgive me, Shizuka. I never wanted this for any of you, but if you remember, do not regret your decision to do so," he spoke before walking away, Shizuka in his arms. Aram soon found himself upon a lavish estate, the scent of warmth radiating from it, and a small smile crossed his lips. He carried Shizuka up the front steps, knocking gently until the door was answered. "Reiko, it has been awhile."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shizuka Leoht

Earnings

0.00 INK

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Reiko knew it the moment he set foot on the grounds of her palatial French estate. It wasn’t a castle proper, like the one in Romania, but it was almost as large, considering. Nevertheless, one of the effects of her powers, the ones that manifested in the gentle spheres of light, was that she was always aware of what was happening on the grounds, and if any significant disturbances occurred. His presence, accompanied by hers, certainly counted. The Prophet, called by others the shaman, was a being unlike any other in the world. Ageless, but neither vampiric nor werewolf. His presence was distinctive to her, and she recognized it immediately, standing from where she was working at her desk and descending to the main level of the house.

She gently waved aside the servant who went to open the door and did so herself. There he was, changeless as ever. It was always the same—they only saw each other perhaps once every few centuries, but their paths never did stop crossing. As she looked down into his arms, her eyes softened with evident concern. “Aram… come in.” She threw the door wider and stepped aside to allow him over the threshold, telling one of the nearby maids to prepare two guest rooms, one urgently. As soon as they were able to get Shizuka properly settled, she led the Prophet into her private study, preparing tea and letting him rest for a few minutes before the explanation would have to begin.

Settling herself into the chair opposite his, Reiko smoothed the skirt of her deep blue dress, fixing him with a look of patient concern. “She’s been missing for four months,” the vampiress said gently, but there was a hint of protective steeliness to her tone as well. She knew that Aram had good reasons for everything he did, but her maternal nature did not always allow her to see them immediately. “And the mark is gone…” Reflexively, Reiko felt the desire to touch her own faded imprint, but she did not. Over the centuries, it had receded from a deep, ink-black to a medium grey, as her connection to Hideki weakened and faded. Part of her would always love him, but she had found other things to love since his death, and the fading represented that, in part. It was only possible because he wasn’t alive, and the connection had been severed on his end before he died, else he would have taken her with him when he did.

Needless to say, she was relieved to see that Shizuka no longer bore the burden of hers, but she could not tell of this was truly a cause for celebration or not. Aram’s countenance suggested otherwise. Setting a cup and saucer in front of him, she picked up her own and leaned back a bit in her chair. She would let him explain this in his own terms, and assume nothing until given reason to do so.

Aram smiled at Reiko as she ushered him in, following one of the maids to the room and set Shizuka down on the bed. He glanced down, a solemn look crossing his features as he removed her bangs from her face. Once everything was taken care of, he followed Reiko to one of the study rooms. His time was running short, and he had, at most, an hour before he expired. He could already feel the fatigue, the effects of what he did, sinking into him. He sighed softly, grasping the cup in front of him, sipping the liquid and allowing it to sooth his mind. Four months? So, they had her that long. He wasn't aware of it until only last month, when he sensed a spike in activity that was cause for concern. It took him until recently to find her.

"I was unaware she had been taken," he finally spoke, the fatigue evident in his voice, but the smile never fading from his face. "I would have never allowed it if I had known, but I did not think they would pervert her blood the way they did. Esaias...he's an abomination created from the blood of Fumiko and of Hideki. How they managed to get their hands on Hideki's blood is still something of a mystery to me," he began, pausing only momentarily to breathe. "My only regret is that I could not have found her sooner. As for the mark," he paused once more, glancing at his hand in the process.

"The mark is gone, but only temporarily. Shizuka...she will not remember anything. I am sure you are aware of the magic a pure-blood is capable of to turn another into a human. What I have given to Shizuka is fairly similar. Her memories are suppressed and with it, his mark. It is the only way I can conceal and protect her from him. Her scent is masked, he will not find her but I cannot take her back. He will search there first once he realizes she is gone," he explained, his eyes growing heavy. "If she manages to regain her memories, the mark will return, and she will no longer be invisible to Esaias. That, however, is for her to decide. I cannot stop her from remembering, especially around your son. It will force her mind into trying to remember," he finished, gauging Reiko for her reaction and input.

Reiko had thus far been silent, save for the gentle clinking caused by the fact that her spoon hit the edges of her chinaware cup as she stirred a small cube of sugar into her tea. Her eyes were soft when she looked at her friend, understanding immediately what he had sacrificed for his child. “Oh Aram… I’m so sorry.” Her voice was heavy with sadness, and she sighed softly. There was really no telling if Shizuka would want to remember them or not, but something told Reiko that she would. She already knew how her sons would react to the news, and could predict their reactions down to the words they would use, even if they would initially be confused about how to feel, as she knew Hikaru would.

“I know how it will begin,” she confessed softly, sipping her tea again. “But I do not know what they will all choose in the end. That is, I suppose, the beauty of having choice at all. But you have my word that, come what may, I will do everything in my power to protect her.” And her power was not inconsiderable. Though she had never been one to be ostentatious about it, nor to throw it around without need, Reiko was an ancestral vampire, a direct descendent of the first of them all. She made the promise with all the gravity such vows deserved, but then she stood from her spot, coming to kneel beside him and taking one of his hands in both of hers. He drew near to that time, and it filled her with sorrow.

Moving a thumb in a circular motion over the back of his hand, she took the pain and the weakness away, but she was not a goddess. She could not stop a death that was intent on coming, only lessen the pain of it in every way possible. When they had first met, all those centuries ago, Aram had come to collect the body of Fumiko, his relative, and look upon her infant son. He’d even offered to take Hikaru, but by that stage, Reiko had been firmly attached, seeing the boy as her chance to be the mother she would never be otherwise. Neither of them had had anyone else left in the world but each other. Not many years later, she’d taken Sora in as well, when his own mother had died, and thus she’d built a family. It was small, but it was precious. Aram’s visits had been periodic, and always when her boys were elsewhere, but she had come to value his friendship even so. It was he who’d guided her when she knew not what to do with Hikaru, and to him she owed a great debt. She hoped to be able to repay it, just a little, in giving everything she had to protect Shizuka, come what may.

His breathing was growing shallow, his heart beat slowing. The smile still tainted his face, even as Reiko stood, grabbing his hand in the process and causing the pain to recede. She always had that affect on him, even without using her abilities. Slowly, his hand reached out, his thumb caressing her cheek before laying his hand fully upon it. "Reiko, there is nothing to be sorry for. I know you will care for her, as you've done Hikaru. I only regret not being in her life, in his life, in your life," he confessed solemnly. He loved Reiko, he loved her as much as he had loved Shizuka's mother. He had even when Hideki took her as his bride before leaving her for Fumiko. He would always love Reiko, however; he knew her heart laid with Hideki, and still does.

"My only regret is not being able to tell you that I loved you, and that I couldn't take away your pain," he spoke, bringing her hand into his and bringing it to his lips. "Do not grieve, Reiko. All will be well, and your family will be healed. I have faith in...you," he spoke before his body glowed lightly, his smile never fading from his face as his body turned to golden ashes.

The soft touch of his hand on her cheek was warm, and Reiko leaned into it. How silly, that she was seeking his support for this ordeal, when it was he that was passing forever into the beyond. But had it not always been thus between them? She leaned on him when it was too much to stand on her own. She’d leaned on him when she first discovered Hideki’s infidelity, though he’d had more reason to sympathize with Fumiko than she. She’d leaned on him when raising Hikaru, after the one she loved had died, and again repeatedly throughout the years, when the Council had pressured her into giving up her son to them. She’d refused, and that refusal had not been without consequences.

But how had she never known? An empath of surpassing talent, and she’d never known that he loved her. She’d always just assumed that he was… a hot sting pricked the back of her eyes at his confession, and she wondered, for a strange and tilting moment, if things would have been different if she had known. Could she have grown to love him, as well? Looking at him now, it all seemed so very possible—only it wasn’t, because that chance was going to be ripped from them the moment she at last came to see it. “I promise, Aram,” she said as he started to glow. “I promise, I promise, I promise…” His particles of light drifted towards the ceiling, and she dissolved into sobs, bowing over the seat of the chair and burying her head into her arms upon it.

How much could one person lose? How many dear friends and loved ones could she stand to see leave her behind? Why was she always left behind? It would seem she was never enough to make anyone stay. The tears fell freely from her eyes, and above her, all the lights around the estate turned an ill black-red, throwing the entire house into the gloom of her sorrow. They pulsed with the sluggish, mournful beat of her heart, and Reiko wept.

“I promise, I promise… I promise.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sora Akarui Character Portrait: Nicole Edyta Character Portrait: Hikaru Minamoto

Earnings

0.00 INK

Image




Sora had stared dumbly at the letter in his hand, reading the thing over and over until it set in. Almost immediately, he had packed his things, along with the twins and Nicole, and was swiftly off to see his mother in France. All she had mentioned in her letter that it was urgent that they come, the reason left unsaid. He never thought to question it. When his mother said something was urgent, that was all Sora ever needed to make his mind up. And with his family, he wasn't going to just leave them behind either. A day later found the three staring at their mother's France get-a-way, a scent of something lingering about. It was almost familiar, yet there was something also different about it. Did his mother have company?


It was not odd if she did, however; Sora pushed those thoughts to the back of his mind. Time was of the esscence. There was still no lead on where Shizuka was, and Sora was exhausting everything he had. He wanted to keep searching, however; his mother came first. Once they reached the doors, they were opened for them and the were escorted towards the main hall, causing Sora to stop in his tracks at the sight before him. He rubbed his eyes slightly, confusion written all over his face. There, sitting with his mother, was none other than her: Shizuka. He took a hestiant step towards her, his mouth open like a fish out of water.


"Shizuka?" he spoke softly, almost in a whisper, however; the red-head merely frowned at him. "Am I supposed to know you?" came the curt reply that stabbed at him like a hot knife. There was not a hint of sarcasm, no hint of playfulness. It was spoken with utter truth behind it. Shizuka turned towards Reiko, a confused brow raised before she was ushered out by the maids. "I don't understand," were the only words to escape Sora as he glanced from Nicole, to Hikaru, and finally, his mother.



Reiko sighed softly. She hadn’t meant for them to see Shizuka until she had explained everything. Casting her eyes over the three of them, she took a deep breath. There was hardly any trace visible of her own ordeal, but if one looked very closely, she was w