Winter Heat

Discussion in 'UTAU Writing' started by IrisFlower, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Alright so since spoiler tags are working I can post this now. Yay! This is where you guys can read Winter Heat, forum wise. You can also read it on UO and on my dA. Also remember this is the tumblr where I'll have like character info and what not:
    http://winterheatfanfic.tumblr.com

    Chapter 1
    To most people, the chilly breeze that had just arrived in the town of Lancaster Falls was most annoying. To them, it had only been a month or so ago that the warm rays of summer had just graced them with its presence. Now, it was starting to get frigid and cold and they all knew that the freezing air of winter had been set upon them.

    As she stood at the bus stop, waiting for her ride to come, Iris realized that she too wasn't too fond of winter. Winter meant that her garden that she enjoyed tending to in the warmer seasons would soon die and it was quite depressing watching her flowers wilt in slow motion. Not that watching them in fast motion would have been any better...

    The young woman shook the thought out of her head, allowing strands of her hair to fall in her face, and began to ponder about more important things. Like what she was going to make for dinner that night. She hadn't stopped by the store or anything. She had just stepped out to drop off those movies she had rented the other day. For a second she thought about turning around to go pick something up; but as she clasped her hands together in an attempt to warm them up, she took note of the setting sun in the distance and decided that she and her baby sister Daisy would just have to settle for leftovers.

    She looked down the street, hoping that the bus would be making its way there but only other cars and vehicles drove past. Iris sighed heavily and figured they must have been running late again. When it got cold, the buses especially were unprepared and prone to breaking down more often than usual. Frustrated, she turned and began to head home on foot. Something she wouldn't have minded in the summer or spring because she loved the warm fresh air. She wrapped her arms around her body, pulling her light sweater closed, and sighed again.

    "Why does it have to get cold anyway?" she grumbled to herself as she continued to think about the half hour walk ahead of her. It was times like this where she liked to think of happier thoughts to keep herself going.

    "When I get home...we have all that hot coco in the cabinet." her usual smile returned, "I can make some for Daisy and I. Yeah...that'll be nice..."

    "Excuse me, ma'am!"

    Iris stopped and turned to the small child who had caught her attention. She was bundled up in a nice winter coat, with matching mittens and a hat. Iris envied her greatly but smiled as brightly as ever. She wasn't about to let her sour mood ruin someone elses day.

    "Yes? What is it?"

    "You look like you're having a rough day! Here, take this. It's a freebie courtesy of Madam Lira's Fortune Shop!" the girl pointed behind her to a small brick building as she handed Iris a slip of fabric, decorated with a pink and silver border. A velvet symbol was sewn in the middle.

    "What's this?"

    "It's a love amulet! It's supposed to...I mean it will give you the strength to confess to that special someone that you care about! We're giving them out for free so that people will come visit us later. Thank you for your time!" the girl smiled brightly and scooted back to her spot before Iris could protest.

    Blushing extremely, she shoved the fabric into the pocket of her sweater and continued on her way. She didn't rely on fortunes and such entirely, but she somewhat believed that science couldn't explain everything. Maybe a well decorated piece of fabric could in fact give her the courage to tell that certain someone that she really liked him. Of course, unfortunately for her, no sooner did the thought pass her mind did she run into said someone on the street.

    "Iris?"

    She turned away as her friend, Rai, approached her, heading in the opposite direction. She immediately tried to shake her earlier thoughts about the love amulet out of her head. She hadn't known Rai for very long and truth be told she couldn't remember when she had decided that she had feelings for him. But it wasn't something she liked to constantly think about. She didn't have a problem with love...it was when you threw in friendship that it became a problem for her.

    She wanted to tell him the truth...but what would happen if he accepted her feelings and then somewhere down the road they had a problem and broke up? She could pretty much kiss her entire relationship with him goodbye. At least that's how she felt about the entire thing.

    "H-hey, Rai. What are you doing out here?" she unintentionally shivered as she tried to stand up straight. No matter how embarrassed she was, Rai was taller than her so she couldn't exactly talk to him hunched over like she was and like with the child before, she envied the fact that he also had a nice warm coat on.

    "I could ask you the same thing..." Rai sighed heavily and shook his head at her, "But to answer your question, I'm coming from the store. I had some things I needed to pick up tonight." he lifted his hand to reveal the two bags he was carrying, "You?"

    Iris shrugged, "Same...just running an errand. Now I'm going home." she smiled again.

    "In the cold...with just a sweater on? Why didn't you take the bus?" Rai questioned. Iris reluctantly let her arms drop and let out an exasperated sigh.

    "Because...it didn't look like it was coming anytime soon! And I didn't want to stand out in the cold."

    "So you decided to walk out in the cold?"

    "Listen you, I-" she brushed her hair out of her face and shouted in frustration as the bus sped by them in a terribly mocking manner. "Ugggh!!!....Why me..." she mumbled as she buried her hands into her face. Truthfully she felt like crying and she probably would have if it weren't for the fact that she was afraid her tears might freeze on her cheeks she was so cold.

    "This is all your fault Rai!!" she stood up straight again and shouted at him.

    "What? What did I do?" Rai stared back at half-concerned, "I was just seeing what you were doing. You can't blame me because you decided to be impatient."

    Iris whined as a chilly breeze brushed against her back "I need someone to blame because this isn't fair..." she wrapped her arms around herself and sighed, "Whatever...it's not your fault. I'll see you later, Rai." she smiled again and walked past him. She didn't feel like talking anymore. Even if it was him. She liked talking to Rai but she was too upset now...however, he wouldn't let her leave and grabbed her arm before she could walk away completely.

    "Wait a minute...why don't you...why don't you let me walk you home?"

    Iris blinked and then shook her head vigorously, "W-what? No! I couldn't make you do that, Rai. I was just kidding ya know? This isn't your fault obviously! You don't have to bother yourself with me, honest."

    "It's not a bother. Besides, " he sighed and draped his coat over her shoulders, "I'd feel really bad knowing your walking home in the cold and dark. My fault or not. If something should happen to you...I don't think I'd be able to live with myself."

    Iris blushed and smiled, "Rai...thanks but-"

    "Come on." he motioned for them to continue forward. Iris didn't know what to say truthfully. She didn't want to trouble Rai but at the same time, her neighborhood did get quite dark at night since it took the street lights a long time to come on. And she was pretty cold...his coat being the perfect thing for her at that moment.

    She sighed and followed him down the street in silence. It was a half an hour walk...what could she possibly talk to him about for half an hour? Especially with a love amulet in her pocket.

    "Rai...what about you?"

    "What about me?"

    "Well this is your coat. Here, I'll be okay."

    Rai shook his head and stopped her from returning it, "If you were capable of being okay, I wouldn't have given it to you. I'll be alright. It doesn't bother me that much." he gave her what she considered a smile and they continued to walk in silence, save the occasional sniffle or sigh. It was only when they were about ten minutes away from Iris's home that Rai finally broke it and spoke again.

    "So...is there someone that you...really like?" he hesitated to ask. Iris stared at him. Being embarrassed had become her past time for that day.

    "W-what? Why would you ask me something like that? What do you mean?" she stopped and stepped back a little bit.

    "I just..." he reached into his pockets and pulled out a familiar looking piece of fabric, "I got one too. And I saw that you had one...I just...sorry. I shouldn't have asked."

    Iris sighed relieved, not quite sure why she had been worried in the first place, "Oh uhh...don't worry about it! It's okay. I...there's no on that comes to mind." she lied, "I was just gunna give it to Daisy or something. I mean...cause I don't need it."

    They both laughed sheepishly and continued on their way for a little while longer before Iris felt her heart begin to sink. She was alone with Rai. No one else was around to hear her. But at the same time that possibility that she could ruin their friendship was hanging over head. Still, as they got closer to her street, she felt like now would probably be the only chance she'd get. She clutched the amulet in her pocket and held her breath.

    "Uhhh....Rai." Iris stopped and stared at the ground.

    "What's the matter?" he looked back her slightly worried again.

    "I uhh...well..." she sighed and looked at him, "I guess...there is someone that I like. A lot."

    Rai stared at her and gave a very small smile, "Really? Well...you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I probably don't even know him so it doesn't matter."

    "Actually...the truth is..." Iris did her best to try and finish but the extreme rush of air above their heads forced them both forward and into the ground. The sound was deafening and the sudden flash of light blinding. All of Iris's senses were temporarily disabled in that one moment. Her ears ringing and vision blurred, she squinted at the flames ahead of them and watched as the entire neighborhood went up in a cascade of explosions. She desperately tried to crawl to her feet but the sudden rush of heat combined with the dizzying pain crippled her greatly...the only thing left for her to do was close her eyes and fall unconscious.

    ******

    "Reni!! Dammit, Reni! Give it back already!" Kaisho slammed her fist on the kitchen table as she chased her blonde friend around the kitchen. Reni stood triumphantly at the other end.

    "Give what back?" she giggled innocently, "You should be more specific Kaisho or else I won't know what you're talking about."

    Kaisho glared intensely at her and muttered through clenched teeth, "Give me my hat back...now."

    "Oh...you mean this hat?" Reni waved her friends trademark item in front of her and smiled, "If it was so important to you...you wouldn't have left it at my house in the first place now would you?" she put the hat on and folded her arms. Then, as Kaisho flipped herself over the table, Reni took the chance to crawl under it and on to the other side.

    "Kaisho!! You're so slow. You can do better than that!"

    "Listen you little menace!" Kaisho leaned against the table and exhaled, "Please? Can you just give me my hat back? Why are you being so difficult?"

    Reni shrugged, "Cause it's fun to watch you get so freakin' peeved!" she giggled.

    Kaisho stood up and cracked her knuckles. Then grinning sharply shrugged herself, "Whatever. I don't need it. That's what I have extras for. I have plenty of hats so you go ahead and keep that one. Just go home." she folded her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. Reni frowned at her friends surrender and tossed the hat to her.

    "Geez...it's no fun when you give up like that." Reni rolled her eyes and waved before stomping out of the door. She heard Kaisho say something about not being so loud but she ignored her and slammed the door shut before running off of Kaisho's porch...just in case she decided to chase her down or something.

    When she knew she was at a safe distance away, she took notice of the sirens off in the distance. At first they didn't bother her. Sirens always randomly went off because someone, somewhere always needed help after all. But they were quite loud and...not the typical sound of firetrucks, ambulances, or police cars. They were more like the sirens of warning one hears in the movies when a nuclear meltdown or something happened. And as she rounded the corner, her jaw dropped at the huge pillars of smoke rising up to the sky.

    "What...what is that?!" she exclaimed to no one in particular. She felt uneasy as she remembered a few of her friends lived off in that direction. The chances of whatever was going on involving them were slim....but there was so much smoke that the chances of them not being involved felt even slimmer. She quickly ran out of her neighborhood and into the main shopping district that was about forty-five minutes or so away from what looked like a major disaster.

    The sirens only got louder as she got closer and the people only got more panicked, shoving each other out of the way trying to get to safety. Reni was small but she wasn't weak. She held her ground and pushed past them just as hard. She wasn't about to let a bunch of frightened pedestrians slow her down. Between the screams and the sirens though, she only heard the "warning" too late.

    "He...he's got a bomb!"

    Reni looked towards the mall where the shouts were coming from in time to be thrown back by the explosion. Others were tossed along with her, however, she was lucky and landed in the nearby shrubbery that had been planted around the mall for decoration. She opened her eyes in time to see the burning building crumble, crushing those who were unfortunate enough to be underneath or worse...inside.

    Reni pulled herself up and began running in the direction of her friend's neighborhood even faster than before. She didn't understand what was going on but she knew she had to find out before it was too late.

    ******

    Rai couldn't tell if it was the pain or the noise that woke him up. He figured it was both as he sat up and reached to cover his ears and found he could barely move his left arm. The blood practically streaming down his face blurred his vision but he could still see the flames. Houses burning and crumbling as if made of paper. The residents once peacefully living inside them running for their lives. The armed men gunning everyone down is what really caught his attention though.

    Brandishing what seemed to be every weapon ever made, they easily shot down any and everyone they got their eyes on...the sight was painful to watch and Rai knew he'd be next if he didn't get up and move. He turned and saw Iris laying a few feet away, completely unmoving, his coat miraculously still covering her. Was she still alive? He crawled over to her, heart racing as the knowledge that he could be shot dead at any moment sunk in. He grabbed her and began to pull them towards a group of bushes, hoping that maybe they could hide there until...whatever was happening ended.

    His arm and head were both killing him but he couldn't just allow them both to sit there, waiting to be killed. It was an adrenaline rushed decision, but seemed to also be the only decision. The gunshots and screams seemed to only escalate as he reached his destination and forced them both out of sight. Inspecting his arm, Rai remembered the missile fly over their heads. He couldn't even remember what had shot it. It had literally come out of no where! There wasn't even a noise to signify something had been fired...but when it had thrown them both to the ground, he had landed on a bed of rocks.

    That would explain the terrible gash in his arm and his head injury. He held on to and looked at Iris, who aside from a few scratches, didn't seem to be hurt. Rai allowed himself to feel relief for a few seconds. However, the feeling evaporated the moment he peered out of the bushes at the chaos unfolding. He couldn't make any sense of it. Innocent people were dying right in front of him and he himself didn't think that he could last much longer in his current condition.

    He clutched his arm and stared down in pain. There was no way he'd be able to continue like this. For a moment he wanted someone to come and shoot him too but he retracted the thought, remembering that Iris still needed his help. He couldn't allow himself to die so quickly. Not until she was safe. He regretted even considering surrender as he glanced up and was met with the barrel of a shotgun. He froze and felt his entire body go numb. Someone had seen him get up and it was all over now. The dark figure before him didn't kneel down. They just stood and aimed right for Rai's head. There was no escaping this time. The previous explosions and landing on rocks hadn't killed him....but he knew that this certainly would. He held his breath and prayed that if anything, Iris would make it through whatever was happening okay.
     
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  3. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Chapter 2
    Rai held his breath as he waited for the shot to be fired but nothing came. The attacker poked around the bush but no sooner had he arrived did he leave. Staying still a little while longer, Rai finally relaxed a bit when he realized that once again, for the time being, they were safe, for lack of a better word. He leaned back, twigs from the bush jabbing him in the side, and closed his eyes tightly, hoping that whatever was going on was just a bad dream. A horrid nightmare that would end if he could only wake up. But no such luck...the chaos unfolding around him was all too real.

    His eyes opened once he felt Iris pushing him away and waking up. She touched her head and crawled from their hiding spot, away from all of the commotion. Sitting down she slowly came to her senses.

    "What...what happened..." she shook her head and looked back to the main street where the violence was being displayed.

    "Iris..." Rai muttered, reaching to pull her back towards him but she was already visibly shaken and backed away.

    "No...what are they...what's going on?!" she covered her mouth and then screamed, "Daisy! I have to go find her! Daisy!!" she lifted herself up and sprinted towards the destruction much to Rai's horror. If she went out there, she'd surely get herself killed!

    "Iris!! Iris, no! Come back!!" Rai tried to go after her but the pain was too great. He couldn't follow. She looked back at him for a moment but continued on through the street.

    "I have to go find her! I can't...I have to find her!! Daisy!!" she yelled and forced herself through the panicked crowds.

    Rai could hear her yells for her baby sister dissolve among the screams of terror, gunfire, and explosions. He desperately wanted to go after her. The last thing he wanted was to see her die but...his wounds wouldn't allow him. He couldn't even stand up. He pushed his way back into their previous hiding spot as the fear that he had just lost one of his dear friends settled into his mind. There was no way she could make it home without getting herself shot. Iris was gone. And as Rai felt his consciousness slip away once again...he could only blame himself for it.

    ******

    "Onomichi! What's going on?!" Daisy could barely keep up as she was dragged down the hallway, half asleep. Iris, her sister, had gone out to return the movies that they had watched together and had asked Onomichi to babysit while she was gone. Daisy was best friends with Onomichi's "little brother" Tomo, so it only served that she be the one to watch them when Iris couldn't. However, Iris had taken longer than expected and the two children got bored and fell asleep, only to be awoken an hour or so later by screams and the sound of guns outside their window.

    "Ono! What's with all the noise?" Tomo yawned and looked outside as another explosion resonated through the air, knocking all three to the ground.

    "Dammit...will you two hurry the hell up?!" Onomichi yanked both children to their feet and glared intensely at them, "I don't know what's going on alright?! But we have to get the hell out of here now! So wake up already and move it!" she grabbed their wrists and pulled them just as the front door was broken down.

    She quickly shoved the children back into a nearby closet and watched as three men ran towards her. They were clad in black and body armor, their faces completely covered. They also had their guns aimed right for Onomichi's head. She ducked just as they fired and dealt the first one a swift punch to the stomach causing him to double over. Yanking the pistol out of his hand she aimed and fired at his head, killing him instantly and paying no mind to the blood that had splattered so effortlessly across the floor.

    She pressed herself against the wall as her victim's reinforcements attempted to exact revenge, she proceeded to shoot both in their legs to cripple them before dealing them the same head shot she had given their friend.

    "Damn...Tomo! Daisy!" she opened the closet and pulled them to their feet, ignoring their extremely terrified expressions.

    "O-ono..m-michi..." Daisy stammered as tears stung her eyes, "W-what's..."

    Onomichi proceeded to pick up extra weapons and ammo from the dead intruders, taking their holsters with her so that she could carry it all.

    "We're leaving." she finally said coldly and pulled the children out the house.

    The sight outside was much worse than she had anticipated. Bodies lined the streets and yards and those who were lucky enough to still be alive ran through roads screaming until they were brought down by gunmen similar to the ones that had entered the house. Onomichi knew she couldn't waste anytime. She looked and noticed a small jeep in the neighbors drive way. Pulling Tomo and Daisy off in that direction she busted out one of the windows and opened the door.

    "This is Ms. Fuu's car!! We can't take it!" Daisy exclaimed through her sobs.

    Onomichi picked the two children up and placed them inside.

    "Ms. Fuu is probably dead anyway! I'm pretty sure she doesn't need it where she is!" Onomichi shouted as she found she was lucky enough to have the keys still be in the ignition. She started the vehicle up just as it's owner came running from her house, just as frightened as everyone else but carrying what seemed to be supplies with her.

    "Ms. Fuu!" Daisy shouted out of the window.

    "Daisy?! Daisy!!" Fuu Nakane, Daisy and Iris's neighbor waved to the small girl in a panicked manner, "Daisy! Wait! WAIT!! Don't go! That's my car! Wait for me!"

    Onomichi revved the engine and took off before the young woman could make it all the way, leaving Fuu standing in her driveway completely lost. Daisy watched through the review mirror as the woman returned to her house and tugged on Onomichi's arm as they got further and further away.

    "No! Ono!! We can't leave Ms. Fuu behind!" she cried. When Onomichi wasn't around...Fuu had always been the one to watch Daisy if Iris had to step out. She had almost become like a second older sister to the young girl.

    "There's no room and I don't have time to worry about her!" Onomichi snapped and swerved both ways as she ran down attackers and civilians alike, dodged bullets, and sped over the lifeless bodies in the road. As she drove she almost couldn't believe what was happening. The attackers were not taking any prisoners and they surely were not being very merciful with their deaths. Some even going so far as to cut limbs off, or shoot their victims multiple times even once the person had stopped moving. No one was safe.

    Onomichi turned to the kids, Tomo looking out the window in a horrified manner as Daisy kept her face covered, sobbing heavily. Daisy. Where was Iris? Onomichi scanned the streets as she drove but saw no sign of the woman. If anything she was dead and Onomichi would end up spotting her body. How do you explain to a child that their only sister was-

    "Ono! Look out!" Tomo pointed and ducked down with Daisy as a barrage of bullets destroyed the windshield. In an attempt to dodge the attack Onomichi ended up jumping the curb and sending them into a still standing house. The airbag did not deploy, leaving Onomichi's head no choice but to slam into the steering wheel. Adrenaline, however, forbid she slow down or stop. Grasping one of her guns she leaned out of the door and took aim at her attacker. Despite her splitting headache she managed to take him down and slid back into the car.

    Looking at the children huddling together in the car, she quickly came to the conclusion that she could only do so much with them around her. She pulled both of them out and looked around desperately for a spot to place them...just until it was remotely safe.

    Noticing the cellar of the house they had just run into she hurried the kids down and closed the doors tightly behind them

    "Ono!" Tomo called up to her.

    "Just...just stay down there! Hide somewhere and I'll be back!" Onomichi got back into the jeep and drove it over the door so that they could not get out...and that no one could get in. Taking the keys and her weapons with her she headed out into the street. She didn't know what she could possibly do. She didn't even know why she hadn't hidden with the children themselves. Her reasoning was being hidden and muddled by the harsh pains in her head and the confusion of everything around her. So, as she staggered through the roads, all she could think to do was take aim until she couldn't shoot anymore.

    ******

    "Come on, Daisy!" Tomo turned to his friend in the dark who stood shaking and sobbing out of pure fear.

    "T-t-tomo. What's happening?! Where's Iris? Why is Ono leaving us?!" she sobbed heavily as Tomo looked for a spot where they could hide. He didn't understand what was going on either. And truth be told he believed Iris to be dead after what he had seen outside. What answers could he possibly offer his friend?

    "Daisy..." Tomo grabbed her hand and held back his own tears, "Ono will be back. She won't let us get hurt. I promise. And...Iris will be with her. That's why she left! To go look for her."

    Daisy looked less than convinced and only continued to sob. She sat down on a nearby box and held her head. Not saying a word, she only cried.

    Tomo sighed and began to explore the cellar desperately. Should whoever was out there killing people decide to come in, he and Daisy would be sitting ducks. The place was full of old knick-knacks and antiques caked in dust though. Nothing they could use for weapons or protection really. However, after shifting boxes and crates around a bit, he eventually found a small crawl space underneath the stairwell...just big enough for the two of them to fit.

    "Hey, Daisy..." Tomo whispered through the shadows, "Over here."

    It was quiet before he heard Daisy moving around. Her footsteps sounded heavy and long, as if she were dragging her feet and he could tell she was still crying. Eventually though, he felt her grab his wrist from behind.

    "W-what is it?" she sniffed.

    "We can hide in here. Come on. We'll wait for Ono...and Iris...in here." he allowed her to go first and followed when she got comfortable, pulling a box in front of them just in case.

    "Don't lie, Tomo. Iris won't be with her." Daisy sobbed again, "I...I just want my sis! I want her here right now!"

    Tomo buried his face into his hands and allowed a few of his own tears to fall. The sight of death all around them as they drove through the streets, Onomichi desperately trying to keep them alive. No one should have to experience something like that. Let alone children like them. How long would it be until they too met grim ends?

    They sat in the dark for a long time, underneath the stairs leading to the main part of the house. Tomo could have sworn that they both had fallen asleep a few times too. It was damp and the smell of mildew stung at his nostrils as he tried to adjust himself against the hard concrete. Daisy's quiet sniffles and sobs made him feel guilty that he could not do more for them. All they could do was sit there and wait for Onomichi to return.

    He shut his eyes in an attempt to relax once more but was startled by hard footsteps above their heads. Running around and loud shouting erupted from the upstairs. Gunfire tore through the house as screams of pain could be heard. The door leading to the cellar came down and the attackers themselves soon after. Tomo felt his heart begin to try and force its way from his chest. Daisy clasped tightly onto his arm and covered her mouth. The men, and woman Tomo realized, pointed rifles and shotguns, kicking over everything in their path.

    "Please don't...don't come over here..." Tomo thought as he swallowed hard and watched them destroy the area. A man, walking awfully close to their hiding spot, scoffed at the scene.

    "Hmph...you find someone. Kill them. Turn this place upside down and leave no one but your own alive! Understood?"

    "Yes, Sir!" the others replied in unison and continued the search. Should they decide to move that one box Tomo had placed in front of the crawl space...the two children would certainly be done for. The rampage seemed to last forever. With every shattering antique that hit the floor, Tomo had to put forth all of his effort to keep himself from whimpering. One sound...just the smallest sound would be enough to alert the attackers of their presence. As long as they kept quiet...the crawl space would be left undetected and they would be okay.

    "No one here, Sir." a young woman saluted the man who had placed himself in front of the stairs. The man grunted a reply and Tomo could hear him step back up the stairs. Still, he and Daisy pressed themselves as far as they could back into the small space. They were not about to take any chances.

    "You heard the man!" the woman shouted, "Move out! You! When this place is clear....flush it out. Just in case. Understood?"

    "Yes, ma'am!"

    The soldiers, Tomo assumed that's what they were now, hurried back up the stairs. The one who had been given an order fumbled around before placing something on the ground. He set it in the middle of the room and quickly hurried off after the others.

    Flush out? What was that supposed to mean? Tomo looked at Daisy who had shut her eyes and covered her face again. Were the two still in danger? He watched as the room became empty once more and gently pushed the box that had kept them covered out of the way.

    "Tomo! Wait!" Daisy reached for him as he crawled out and peered over to where the man had been standing. His eyes widening in horror as the bomb clicked down to it's set off time. Flush out....blow the place to smithereens should someone be good enough to hide from them. Tomo looked back at Daisy and then back to the bomb. It's timer read ten seconds. They couldn't escape. He launched himself back into their hiding spot and held onto Daisy for dear life. The clicking, Tomo counted, had reached five seconds and soon enough, the device went off.

    ******

    Mimi watched from the woods as they tore her house a part, looking for her and her neighbor, Souta. It all happened so quickly but Mimi was one of the lucky ones to have heard the newscast before disaster hit. As she sat, crouched in the dirt, twigs, and leaves, she remembered it very clearly.

    An "unknown group of terrorists"...that's what they were being called...had begun taking Lancaster Falls by storm. They had started on Camomile Drive, gunning down anyone in their path. Breaking into and burning down homes and basically destroying any and everything they could get their hands on. It made Mimi sick to know that her friends lived over there and were not warned of the attacks in time. In fact, the attackers were just leaving Camomile and spilling into the rest of the town by the time the news was broadcasted. Everyone was advised to get to a safe place before the cable station had gone out. Mimi assumed it was because the terrorists had found their way there too. But really, looking at the mess outside, there was no safe place. You either slipped passed these soulless men and women or you didn't.

    For once in her life, Mimi was happy to be on the small side. She was able to crawl out of her window and into her backyard undetected. From their she had found her way into the woods behind her home and sat there...watching everything. Bombs, guns, missiles, grenades. These people had everything. And they certainly were not content with killing those they saw. They were trying to kill those they didn't see but assumed to be there as well.

    She looked to her left as they entered Souta's house. He wasn't with Mimi. She had seen him run off in a different direction. And truth be told she was glad he did. She and Souta did not get along. Not that she wished death upon him...she only didn't want him getting in the way. She sighed as the "terrorists" set fire to both their homes and crawled deeper into the woods. It wasn't something she enjoyed seeing...but better her home than Mimi herself.

    She swallowed hard and crawled as quietly as possible. Maybe if she were lucky...she could cut all the way through and make it to Kaisho's house undetected. If Kaisho were still alive that was. At that point she knew she'd be lucky if any of her friends were still alive.

    ******

    It was all over. At least on her end it was. The gunshots and other various sounds of death and destruction were beginning to fade off elsewhere, and so Iris took the opportunity to make it the rest of the way home. Having left Rai behind she managed to slip behind a row of houses and stayed in the dark until things grew quiet. When they did she hurried the rest of the way to her house.

    But she knew she was too late. The busted in door, the bullet ridden walls, destroyed property...everything told her that there was no way Daisy was still there. She couldn't even bring herself to walk inside for fear that she might find her baby sister's dead body amongst the ruins.

    "Daisy!!" the young woman yelled out in hope that maybe someone would answer but she was only greeted by a silent wind. "Onomichi! Tomo! SOMEBODY!" Iris buried her face in her hands and sobbed. How could anybody do something like this? The horrible stench and sight of death was everywhere. Fires burned where houses once stood and pools of blood had settled where there was once fresh grass and flowers.

    "Anyone...please..." she stepped towards her once well kept home but gasped in shock as a wall collapsed...the rest of the house coming down with it. Iris couldn't take it anymore. She dropped to her knees and began to sob harder. Daisy and Tomo were gone, her friend, Onomichi, was gone and to top it off...she had abandoned Rai, who was probably dead himself too. Everything around her had been destroyed and now she was alone. She clutched her sides and pulled out an all too familiar piece of fabric. It had been burned a bit somehow and was crinkled, it's once sweet elegance ruined by ash and blood stains.

    She released it and allowed a breeze to take it away from her. She didn't want it anymore. All she wanted was to just close her eyes and disappear...to just get away from all of it forever.
     
  4. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Oh geez...I hope I don't get in trouble for triple posting OTL I would have put them all in the first post put there is a character limit >< I'm sorry if I'm causing trouble...(I apologize and yet I'm still doing it.../shame)

    Chapter 3
    Out of fear that someone would see her, Mimi stayed on the ground, crawling. Her knees and elbows were sore, maybe even cut or bruised, her face was scratched up by the low growing shrubs and plants, and she had lost hair to more than one branch. Still, she'd rather look a little worse for wear than suffer through what those people had in store for her. Anything was better than what they had in store for her.

    And so she continued on her way, her destination being Kaisho's house. If she could get there...maybe they could come up with a plan to help others? Or maybe Kaisho wasn't even there to begin with. The thought made Mimi kind of sick. However, if she quit before knowing the truth, she'd regret it forever.

    As she got further and further away from her home, the woods grew darker and quieter. She could still hear the screams and feel the ground shaking slightly from the explosions and such, but it was much easier to bear as she grew closer to the middle of the woods. In fact, it was quiet enough to hear the slight rustling behind her.

    Mimi stopped and listened again. Whoever was behind her stopped with her. So it most likely wasn't an animal. She wasn't exactly wearing bright colors. There's no way someone could have seen her could they? And yet as she moved again, the sound of rustling and the proverbial out of place twig snap caused her to freeze in place. She was positive there was someone behind her now.

    She couldn't tell what she should do next though. Should she get up and confront her follower, would that not get her killed no matter who or what it was? If it were one of those terrorists they could easily overpower her. If it wasn't and she made a lot of noise in the commotion she could give herself up and end up caught, ultimately resulting in her death.

    She swallowed hard and made an attempt to move forward more only to have her foot quickly grabbed from behind.

    "No! Leave me alone!" Mimi kicked back as hard as she could, feeling her heel dig into someone's body, she pulled herself forward and crawled as fast as she could. She felt that her kick should have at least been enough to stun her pursuer so that she could escape but still the person managed to latch onto her ankle.

    She had made the decision to keep going no matter what and couldn't give up here. Mimi kicked again, harder than last time. However, this time she got a response from the one who had been so desperately holding onto her.

    "Ow! Mimi, wait! It's me! Suika!"

    Mimi stopped and turned, sitting up to face the little girl in the dark. Her face was stained with tears and honestly she looked worse than Mimi herself. Her hair had fallen out of it's classical side ponytail and was riddled with twigs and leaves. Her clothes were filthy and her arms and legs bruised very badly. Mimi swallowed at the thought of having probably given her some of those injuries.

    "You...you kicked me in my shoulder." Suika sat up as well rubbing her injury, "Th-that really hurt." she sobbed. Mimi relaxed and reached out for her.

    "Suika. I'm sorry but...you scared me! I thought you were one of them. Are you alright?"

    "I think so. Ouch..." she continued to rub her shoulder and stared at the ground. Mimi felt bad for hurting her but why was Suika following her to begin with? She lived at least six houses down from Mimi's house. How did Suika manage to catch up to her without getting caught?

    "Suika? What are you doing here?"

    "Well actually...I-I saw you leaving and I thought I'd be safer if I followed you! I didn't think you'd kick me like that though."

    "You should have said something! You don't sneak up on people when we're all in the middle of a crisis!" Mimi almost shouted out of frustration. She really didn't have time to waste. She had to get to Kaisho's pronto.

    "Suika, please. Find somewhere safe to hide. You'll get hurt if you follow me. Well...more hurt."

    "No, Mimi! Please! I-I don't understand what's going on but please let me come with you!" Suika began to sob...rather loudly.

    "Suika, shush!" Mimi leaped forward and clasped her hands over the girl's mouth, "Do you want them to hear?"

    Suika hiccuped and only continued to cry harder. Mimi looked out and over the bushes in the direction of her house. From what she could see and still kind of hear, the attackers were not through terrorizing and murdering people. She sighed heavily. She couldn't just send the young girl out into the midst of all that mess. She pulled Suika close to her and motioned for her to calm down.

    "Alright, you can come with me. Just keep quiet and stay low alright? We have to be as quiet as possible or they'll find us." she whispered.

    Suika nodded and wiped her face, "A-alright. I-I'm sorry." she hiccuped again.

    "Don't be sorry, it's okay. Come on, follow me." Mimi began crawling off in the direction of Kaisho's house again, Suika following closely behind her. Mimi did want to help people and Suika was going to be no different.

    When they made it to Kaisho's street, the attackers had yet to arrive. However the panic had already spread as people were running about, desperate to escape before it was all over for them as well. Cars tore through the streets full of frightened passengers and those without a vehicle simply boarded themselves up in hopes that they would be safe.

    Suika stuck to Mimi's side as they scanned the crowds for their blue haired friend and when they finally spotted Kaisho leaving her home, they were nearly trampled as they tried to reach her.

    "Kaisho! Kaisho!" Mimi held onto Suika's wrist as she pushed and forced her way through the crowds. When they were close enough, Kaisho reached through and pulled them onto her porch.

    "Holy...are you two alright? What happened to you?!" Kaisho stared at them clearly worried. Mimi suspected it was because of their current appearance and nodded.

    "Yeah, we're fine. We're fine. It's just...the woods and yeah...we're okay. What about you?"

    Kaisho shook her head and pulled them all back inside the house where it was slightly quieter. Inside her home, if it weren't for all the ruckus outside, one would suspect that it was just your average, ordinary evening. Everything was in it's lace and undisturbed.

    Mimi exhaled deeply and took a seat on a nearby couch. It was a bitter sweet moment. It was nice to sit down for a bit but they didn't really have time for idle chatter or relaxation.

    "Kaisho..." she leaned forward intently, "Iris and the others...Onomichi, Tomo....they all live on Camomile."

    Kaisho began to dig through random cabinets and closets frantically, ruining her home's previous order, "I know they do."

    "You don't think they're dead do you?" it hurt Mimi to say it but was there anyway any of her friends were still living?

    "I don't want to. But there's no way they could have been ready for something like that...we were lucky enough to get a warning of sorts but them?" she continued to search until she found what she was looking for. A small flashlight. She handed it to Mimi and continued to look around as the noise outside grew louder, signifying that they only had so much more time left.

    "Well, what are we going to do?" Mimi's voice had an agitated tone now. Kaisho stood up and sighed heavily, however she did not answer. Instead she grabbed a nearby bag and handed it to Suika.

    "Alright let's go." she pulled Mimi to her feet and grabbed Suika's hand as well, leading them out of the back door.

    "W-wait! Where are we going?" Suika stammered as she nearly tripped out of the door. Kaisho yanked both of them across her backyard and finally up to her shed.

    "Kaisho, please don't tell me you expect us to-" Mimi could not finish as an explosion forced them to the ground. The screams of panic were nothing compared to the new screams of pain erupting from the streets now. Kaisho managed to pull herself to her feet and unlock the shed door. She then forced Suika and Mimi inside, shutting the door behind them.

    "Kaisho...there's no way we'll be safe in here!" Mimi tried desperately to catch her breath once more and regain her senses as Kaisho threw random objects out of her way, trying to reach the back of the shed as quickly as possible.

    "Do you still have the flashlight or did you drop it?"

    Mimi held onto Suika's hand and climbed her way over to where Kaisho was, "No I still have it. Here...what are you doing?" she handed the flashlight over to Kaisho who clicked it on to reveal a trap door on the floor. She pulled as hard as she could until it finally flew open revealing a dark passageway underneath.

    "Whoa! How long has this been here?" Suika knelt down close next to Kaisho who shrugged.

    "I have no idea. It was here when I moved in. For awhile I was a little worried about what might be down there until I-"

    The entire shed shook as Kaisho's own home was destroyed behind them. The force from the blast collapsing the front wall and door of the tiny shed and soon the whole thing crumbled as Kaisho shoved Mimi and Suika down following rapidly after them. All three landed on the hard earth that lined the underground passageway as objects that had been on shelves fell with them, a bucket of paint falling unforgivably onto Kaisho's back.

    "Kaisho!" Mimi coughed and help her friend to her feet, "Are you alright?"

    Kaisho nodded, the wind completely knocked out of her. Suika picked the flashlight up and pointed it down the tunnel.

    "K-Kaisho...what's in here?"

    Kaisho took the flashlight from the girl and clicked it off, "They'll see us." she coughed and straightened herself up, "Come on...just follow me." Kaisho grabbed a hold of Suika's arm, who in turn grabbed Mimi's hand.

    "Where does this go Kaisho?" Mimi asked.

    Kaisho looked back at the covered exit before pulling them all forward, "Away from here."

    ******

    Reni kicked various dead bodies and objects out of her way as she surveyed the damage that Camomile Drive had suffered. If she didn't know any better, she would have sworn all of Lancaster Falls had been killed and then piled into the neighborhood. She shook her head and kept herself focused.

    "Iris! Daisy!" she shouted for what felt like the hundredth time that night. She didn't want to believe that the two were dead and hoped that maybe they had gotten to safety before it was too late. Or better yet, maybe they weren't home when it all had started.

    "I doubt it..." Reni sighed to herself and kicked a helmet, most likely once worn by one of those attackers, off into the distance. Iris wasn't one to make very late errands because she couldn't leave Daisy by herself and she didn't like burdening other people to babysit. Taking Daisy with her was never an option either because the child wasn't fond of going out in the dark for boring old errands and what not.

    Reni found a clean spot on the curb and took a seat. She shook her head and looked out at still smoldering piles of rubble and unrecognizable bodies. It wasn't easy reaching Camomile. The panicked people, the constant explosions and fires. Reni herself had fallen under attack a few times but...she was resourceful. She figured out her own way to get around everything but now that she had, she couldn't help but wonder if it had all been worth it.

    "Iris...Daisy..." she almost whispered to herself, "Where are you?" she rested her chin in her hands and stared off into the distance. Whoever decided to go on this rampage really didn't want to leave any survivors behind. Reni had seen it for herself after all. It wasn't as if these people were looking for something. They almost seemed like robots programed to do nothing but kill the innocent.

    She held her sides and shivered. It was an eerie sight and she could only hope it'd end soon.

    "Reni...that...that is you."

    Reni spun around to find Iris standing behind her. The woman looked like she had been crying and was covered in ash but never the less Reni jumped to her feet and wrapped her arms around Iris tightly.

    "Iris! You're alive! I thought you were a goner! I got here as fast as I could and every-" she let go and looked around for a few seconds, "W-where's Daisy?"

    "I..." Iris shook her head and held herself very heavily, "I don't know. I left her with Onomichi and Tomo and I can't find them anywhere. I don't know where she is."

    Reni could tell her friend was trying her best to hold back tears that she had probably just finished wiping away.

    "Well then we just gotta look harder!" Reni hugged her again, "We'll find her! If she's with Ono then she has to be okay!"

    Iris looked like she wanted to believe her but was having trouble doing so. For awhile she only stood there as if in a trance and Reni couldn't blame her. She had witnessed the destruction of her home first hand and now her only family member left, her baby sister, was missing.

    "We'll find her, Iris, I promise. And...and if we don't then I'll get revenge for you!" Reni folded her arms and glared sharply, "They won't get away with this as long as I'm alive! Come on...let's get out of here and find somewhere safe for the rest of the night." Reni reached forward and grabbed a hold of Iris's hand but the woman pulled away and shook her head.

    "N-no...I can't just leave...I..." Iris seemed very reluctant to explain herself and turned away as Reni grabbed a hold of her hand once more.

    "I know you want to look for Daisy, Iris. But we can't stay here all night long. They might come back."

    "I know..." Iris continued to shake her head, "But...Rai is still here too! He was with me when all of this happened but I-I abandoned him! I shouldn't have left him and I did! I have to find him, Reni!" she shouted and tried to pull away again but Reni held on tightly.

    "Iris, okay! Just calm down a sec! We'll find him but we can't look for him if you're going to be hysterical!"

    Iris shook her head vigorously, "No...but I-"

    "Iris, listen!" Reni grabbed her arms and held Iris still, "Calm down, okay? We'll look together for a bit but we can't stay long. We have to get somewhere safe soon. We won't be able to look for anyone if they find us and kill us!"

    Iris stopped and stared at the ground, "I...I just..." she took a deep a breath and nodded, "I-I'm sorry."

    "Right." Reni nodded and smiled, "Where was Rai when you guys got separated?" she questioned.

    Iris looked around the area. It was obvious that it pained her to see it all in it's entirety but eventually she pointed in the direction that Reni had just come from, "Over there...I'm sure of it."

    Reni turned. She hadn't seen Rai while she was walking...or seen any bodies that looked like him. She wanted to ask Iris if she was absolutely sure but the woman had already brushed passed her. Stepping carefully Iris made her way down the side walk, with Reni following behind her. They searched quietly until Iris stopped next to a small clearing between destroyed homes. It was the same spot where she and Rai had stopped and then been separated.

    The area had been burned badly, almost to the point of it being unrecognizable though. Bodies now littered the ground as well and there was no sign of Rai anywhere.

    "Are you sure this is it?" Reni looked at Iris worriedly as she nodded.

    "I'm positive...this is the place."

    The air around them grew completely still. Neither dared to go in and search the area out of fear that instead of Rai...they might find his corpse instead. Reni looked up at Iris again. It hurt her to see her friend on the verge of tears once more. Her original plan was to find Daisy and Iris and make sure they were okay but the idea was slowly unraveling. After awhile, Iris couldn't look anymore and turned to face the street.

    "This is all my fault. I shouldn't have left...this is all my fault..."

    "Iris." Reni leaned against her and sighed, "You can't blame yourself. You were worried about Daisy. She is your sister."

    "I could have trusted Ono...I didn't have to leave Rai behind like that...he even helped me and I just...I just left."

    "Come on. Don't say that. And what if you had stayed? You would of-" Reni stopped herself and held onto Iris's arm, "You know we don't even know if he's really gone. Rai could still be alive. Daisy could be too. Onomichi, Tomo, Mimi, Kaisho, Suika, and Reicheru...everyone. We just don't know yet. Come on. Let's go find somewhere safe until morning when we can think clearly. We can even look then. When it's light out, ya know? Please?" Reni tugged on Iris's arm pleadingly but the woman turned again to face the destroyed clearing.

    She shook slightly and stepped inside, over bodies, and wrapped her arms around herself, "This is all my fault...but..." she stopped and looked back at Reni, "I would never forgive myself if we left without looking. Please, Reni..."

    Reni heaved a sigh herself and looked around. She knew Rai was important to Iris. Anyone with eyes could see it. But at the same time she knew it wasn't smart to linger around. Sure the attackers were gone for now but who was to say they wouldn't come back? Double check their work and make sure there really wasn't anyone alive. At least if they were hidden, they stood a better chance of surviving. Reni was with Iris now...one out of two wasn't bad and she wanted to keep it that way.

    "Iris...I know you're worried but-"

    "Worried doesn't cover how I feel Reni! I'm not leaving until we look for him! I know he's here!"

    Reni frowned deeply. She wanted to help Iris she really did. But she was more concerned about them being safe. She watched as Iris forced herself to flip over corpse after corpse in search of their friend but to no avail.

    "Rai...are you here?" Iris whispered, wiping her face. Reni walked to her side and looked around. There wasn't any sign of life and everything was ruined.

    "He's not here Iris. Not anymore. Come on. Please. Let's just get out of here. We need to get somewhere safe." she reached down to help her but Iris stayed in her spot, once again not able to hold back her tears.

    "This is all my fault. I shouldn't have left...he's gone because of me."
     
  5. Rai

    Rai Teto's Territory

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    I'm so happy you transferred the fanfiction over but if there's a character limit, how is this going to work with updates? =(
     
  6. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Well it's a pretty big limit lol just not big enough to house three chapters XD And all my chapters are roughly the same length so it shouldn't be a problem -nod-
     
  7. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Chapter four ya'll~ After this...shit gets real. Like more real than it's already gotten.


    Onomichi stared intensely at what was left of the house where she had left Tomo and Daisy. The building had been completely leveled and there was no sign of the children. The surrounding area was charred as well and it would have been a miracle if there was any sign of life at all.

    She focused on the ground, clenching her teeth. How could she have just left them alone like that? But would they have been safer with her among all that chaos? It was a wonder she was standing there now asking herself such questions. She turned and gazed out to the street, as if half expecting the children to be there. But Onomichi knew better than to think such thoughts.

    The streets were filled with nothing but bodies and rubble, destroyed vehicles, parts of houses and trees...but not a single living person. It would be foolish to believe that the children were anywhere nearby, so, Onomichi had no choice but to make her way out of the neighborhood and maybe if she were lucky she’d find them but she wasn’t going to keep her hopes up.

    As she stepped over piles of junk and through ruined yards, she touched her head, which was still throbbing from hitting the steering wheel, and sighed. Whatever was going on…Onomichi could only worry about other people for so long no matter how much she cared about them, for lack of a better word. If she stayed on Camomile and searched for the children she’d only be exposing herself and putting her own life at risk, which in the end wasn’t necessary.

    “Let’s hurry, okay? I promise you we’ll find them but we can’t look right now.”

    Onomichi pulled herself from her thoughts and spotted an all too familiar blonde across the street. Reni was kneeling next to Iris of all people in some abandoned and destroyed clearing. It was obvious that Reni wasn’t too content on staying out either and was desperately urging Iris to stand. They hadn’t noticed her yet and truth be told Onomichi didn’t want them to see her. Iris had trusted her with Daisy and if Onomichi showed up without the little girl…how would Iris react? How would anyone react?

    To Onomichi’s knowledge, Daisy was the only family member Iris had left. She wasn’t one hundred percent sure but…she had never seen any other members of the Libra family around. She made a move to keep going but it was too late. She watched as Iris and Reni finally stood and turned to head out to the street…and immediately spotted her.

    “Onomichi!” Reni waved and motioned for her to come over but when Onomichi didn’t move, Reni simply just dragged Iris along with her to Onomichi’s spot, “Ono…holy cow. See?” the young girl turned to Iris and smiled, “Things are looking up! We found Ono!”

    Iris was silent however and only stared at Ono blankly. It was almost as if whatever it was that normally made her so cheerful had been completely extinguished by the recent events that had befallen them all. But Onomichi figured that she’d be more surprised if Iris had greeted her in the same fashion that Reni had. With that same over the top happiness…

    “Daisy isn’t with you is she?” the words came with a severe coldness that would never be associated with someone like Iris. They were enough to make Onomichi divert her gaze and even deliver a phrase that Onomichi thought she’d never say to anyone.

    “I’m sorry.”

    The three of them stood there completely still for what seemed like forever. What else could they say or do? Reni held onto both of her friends and stared at the ground as well.

    “What happened to her?” Reni almost seemed to force the question out. Onomichi shook her head.

    “I don’t know…I left Tomo and Daisy alone and came back when it was safe but when I came back they weren’t there.”

    “So then they could still be alive, right?” Reni looked up at Ono who shrugged. There was nothing left of the house where Onomichi had left the kids. Still alive…Onomichi wasn’t going to hold her breath but something inside her wasn’t going to allow her to share that thought with Iris or Reni.

    “I…I guess so.” Onomichi finally replied.

    “Right, so let’s not give up! We found each other didn’t we?” Reni tilted her head up at Iris who avoided looking back, “We can find everyone else too! And I mean everyone!” she went to hug Iris but the woman only shrugged Reni off and turned to face away from Onomichi as well.

    “Iris…” Onomichi folded her arms tightly.

    “Don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault. You did what you thought was right at the time…and thinking about it…you probably didn’t have much of a choice. I don’t blame you for anything Ono.” Iris looked up at her, eyes still void of any specific emotion, “I’m glad you’re still alright.”

    Onomichi let her arms drop, “She’s still your kid sister.”

    Iris stared back at her, “What do you want me to do, Onomichi? What would you prefer I say? Would you prefer I fight with you and get angry?” she asked.

    “No, let’s not do that.” Reni jumped in between them, “Can’t we just get out of here until we understand what’s going on?” she latched onto Iris, “Come on. Ono tried her best so don’t get mad at her, okay?”

    “No go ahead.” Onomichi folded her arms again, “I’d love to see you get mad at me. She’s your sister and I didn’t protect her like I said I would! What’s wrong with you?!” She stepped closer and pulled Reni off, “Do something!”

    Iris glared intensely at Onomichi for a moment, the look on her face leading to the fact that she really was considering hurting Onomichi for not protecting Daisy. However, the woman’s expression eventually became empty once more and she only wrapped her arms around Onomichi in a tight hug.

    “I can’t…you tried. And you lost Tomo too. I can’t…” she sobbed lightly, “I’m sorry.”

    Onomichi sighed and to her own surprised hugged Iris back, “Me too.”


    *****
    Reicheru tugged at her torn clothes and coughed a bit. The area smelt of burned wood and dust which made it hard to breath. Everywhere she went the smell and sight of destruction lingered heavily. Even the house of the porch she had perched herself on was in ruin. Riddled with holes of various sizes, windows busted out completely, the color of the paint not even close to being recognizable…it was a wonder the house was still standing. Reicheru had come to Camomile in search of a playmate. It was still early, at least to her it was, when she had arrived and she figured she’d ask Daisy to play with her for a little bit but before she could reach Iris’s home she was startled by an explosion off in the distance, others following soon after. Reicheru had no clue what was going on and did the best thing she could do at the time…hide.

    “I wonder what’s taking Souta so long…” she pulled her knees up to her chin and whined slightly, “He’s been gone for a while now. He said he wanted to see if the coast was clear but…I wonder why he’d do that and just leave us here. I hope he’s alright. I hope he comes back soon.” She turned around and when no answer came continued on talking, “I wonder how Iris and Daisy are…I hope they’re okay, too. I remember when things started happening; it was pretty close to their house. I wonder if they got out okay. I wonder if that’s what Souta is really doing! Looking for them!”

    She turned around again and frowned deeply as she was greeted with silence once more, “Hey, I know you’re not feeling well but you don’t have to take it out on me, Rai. I didn’t do anything!” she pouted.

    It was after things had settled down that Reicheru found Souta…or rather he found her hiding underneath the back porch of a house. He never explained why he was there, seeing as Souta lived on the other side of Lancaster Falls, but he still helped Reicheru. Together, they found Rai passed out in a wrecked clearing. Rai could barely walk and wasn’t very coherent at the time but the duo soon got him on his feet and made their way to their current location where Souta left them to check the surrounding area for anymore danger.

    “I wasn’t taking it out on you…” Rai’s voice came from a corner of the porch where he was sitting and leaning against the house, “I’m just…tired.” he sighed heavily. He hated the fact that Reicheru kept asking about Iris and Daisy. When she and Souta had woken him up, Iris wasn’t with them.

    Rai admittedly had hoped that she’d return with Daisy or something and he’d wake up and she’d be there with him. Or better yet that he’d wake up and everything would have been a dream. But it was all too much to hope for and he knew that.

    He never mentioned Iris to Reicheru or Souta. All he told them was that he was on his way to her house when the attacks happened and that he didn’t know if anyone else was okay.

    “I bet you’re worried about Iris too, huh?” Reicheru had made her way to his side, “I’m sure she’s okay! She’s tougher than you think! I hope…” she planted herself down next to him and nodded, “No wait. I’m sure of it. She’s fine! Daisy and Iris…” Reicheru tried her best to sound reassuring but how could she when the doubt she held inside her showed itself in her voice.

    “Reicheru, it’s a blessing that you and I are here. That we’re here waiting for Souta and worrying about our friends in the first place. No matter how tough someone is there’s only so much they can do against people who do things like this.”

    “Y-yeah but…we can’t give up on our friends! They have to be okay they just have to be!”

    Rai held his head for a second and then stood up, “If Souta returns tell him I’ll try to be back…I’m leaving.”

    “W-what?!” Reicheru latched onto his arm, the one that just so happened to be injured, and tried to hold him in place, “Souta told us to stay here!”

    Rai winced in pain and pulled her off, “That hurts! And I don’t care what Souta says I’m leaving.” He stepped quickly down off  of the porch, the pain of his injuries now returning thanks to Reicheru’s outburst, and began to head back in the direction of where he and Iris were separated. He couldn’t sit with Reicheru anymore and wonder if Iris and Daisy were okay. He had to know for himself.

    “But we should stick together! If we split up we could get into serious trouble! Rai!” Reicheru called after him but Rai forced himself to ignore her, “Rai!! Hey! Wait for me!” the little girl jumped down off of the porch as well and quickly caught up with him.

    “What about, Souta?” Rai mocked as the girl trailed behind him.

    “W-well…” Reicheru held her hands together, “If I come with you and help you look for Iris….we’ll cover more ground, right? Then we can get back sooner!”

    Rai stopped and looked down at her, “I never said I was going to look for Iris.”

    “Yeah well what else could you be doing?” Reicheru smiled up at him as he began to walk off once more. She sighed and skipped behind him, “That is what we’re doing right?”

    Rai didn’t answer. It was what he was doing but he didn’t want Reicheru following him. Should he run into any danger there would be no way for the two to protect themselves, especially in Rai’s current condition.

    “Go back.” He stopped again and stared down at Reicheru, “It’s too dangerous for you to follow me. So go back.”

    “But I wanna help! Iris is my friend too and Daisy might be with her!”

    “I don’t care. You’ll just get yourself hurt.”

    “No I won’t! You don’t have to look after me! I won’t get in your way, Rai! I promise!”

    Rai shook his head at her however and pointed back to the porch, “Look, I can barely keep myself up right now…there’s no way I can look after you if something happens. Go back. Now.”

    “But…but…then I really should come with you! In case you pass out again or something!”

    “Go!”

    Reicheru tilted her head down and began walking back, “Fine.” She looked back at him for a moment, but still continued on.

    Rai watched as she returned to their initial spot and placed herself back on the porch steps. He then proceeded on his way down the sidewalk. Now, not only if he got into trouble, would he not have to worry about Reicheru’s safety, but if he did find Iris and Daisy…more than likely he’d find their bodies versus finding them alive, and Rai didn’t want Reicheru to have to see that. He didn’t even want to have to see it.

    *****
    “What’s the matter with you?” Souta returned it seemed no sooner had Rai walked out of sight. He didn’t have anything or anyone with him much to Reicheru’s disappointment and only stared down at her as she wiped the tears from her face. Unlike Reicheru and Rai, Souta wasn’t hurt or dirty despite the fact that he had helped them. There were a few patches of dirt and ash here and there but he still seemed to be perfectly fine. Reicheru assumed it was because he had arrived just as the chaos was ending.

    “Rai left and he wouldn’t let me come with him.” She sniffed as Souta examined the porch.

    “What the…well where the hell did he go?”

    Reicheru shrugged, “To find the others I guess. I only wanted to help and he told me to come back here.”

    Souta took a seat next to her and shrugged as well, “Geez…oh well.”

    “Oh well? Don’t you want to go after him?!” Reicheru grabbed Souta’s arm and shook him slightly.

    “Not really.” Souta shrugged her off of him and placed his chin in the palms of his hands, “If he wants to go look let him. Come on. Let’s go inside this place and see if there is anything we can use.” He stood up and tried to lead her up the porch and into the house.

    “No!” Reicheru folder her arms and pouted harder, “I want to go help, Rai! He can’t look for everyone by himself! And he’s hurt! What if he passes out again and we’re not there to help him?”

    Souta grabbed her arm and, forcing the front door open, pulled her inside the house with him, “Well he wants to try by himself. Else he would have taken you with him now wouldn’t he? If he wants to go off by himself I say let him.”

    Reicheru kicked Souta in the back of his leg but it didn’t faze him. He only glared at her a bit and returned his focus to the house, “Geez, this place is a dump.”

    “Hmph…well, duh. You’d be a dump too if you were burned or something.” Reicheru folded her arms and looked around.

    The inside of the house looked much worse than the outside. It was completely black. Furniture was no longer recognizable let alone usable and it was soon obvious that the house was just an empty shell. The smell of smoke grew stronger and stronger as Souta turned over various burned items. It got to the point where neither he nor Reicheru could stand it and the two returned to their places outside.

    “Well that was productive.” Souta coughed.

    “Can we go help Rai now?” Reicheru wiped her forehead, but only succeeded in covering it with ash.

    “No.”

    “But-!”

    “If we leave now and Rai comes back and we’re not here…” Souta trailed off as the little girl focused on the ground.

    “I get it…nevermind.” She sighed and leaned against the porch banister. It wasn’t fair. Everything was falling apart around her and all she could do was sit there and wait.

    *****
    “My feet hurt…but I’m worried that none of these buildings are stable.” Reni rested her hands behind her head as she led Iris and Onomichi through the streets.

    “I wouldn’t trust them either…so what options do we have left? Why are we even staying here?” Onomichi scoffed as she looked around.

    Reni stopped and turned back to the two of them, “Because we still have to look for our friends! That and we’re less likely to run into those…those monsters if we stay here. They’ve done their damage and probably won’t be back for a while. Not when they have the rest of Lancaster Falls to annihilate.”

    “Reni…do you really think that we’ll find anyone?” Iris shivered slightly. Before, with all the explosions and fires she had forgotten about how cold it was. Now that everything was settling down, the season’s true temperature was starting to make itself known again.

    “Rai, Daisy, and Tomo have to still be here somewhere. Come on, Iris. I can’t keep this up forever. You’re much better at being optimistic than I am.”

    Iris stared in disbelief, “Is that what you’re doing?”

    “Someone has to do your job while you’re emotionally damaged!” Reni gave her a thumbs up, “So I guess that’ll be me until you decide to be Iris again.”

    Iris smiled and nodded, “Alright…I’m sorry. I’m sure we’ll find everyone soon enough. And when we do we can figure a way out of this mess together.”

    Reni clapped her hands together and nodded back, “That’s much better. Right, Ono?”

    “Tch…whatever.” Onomichi stormed past her two companions mumbling something to herself. Reni shrugged and stared back at Iris.

    “She was worried about you too. She just doesn’t want to admit it.”

    “Reni…thank you.”

    “Don’t thank me! We’re buddies remember! And didn’t you tell me that if you’re cheerful, even when times are tough, then good things will happen and the bad things won’t seem so…bad. That was totally you I know it was.” Reni grabbed Iris’s hand and pulled her along so that they could catch up to Onomichi, “So no more depression! Let’s go! Onomichi wait!”

    Reni caught up and grabbed Onomichi’s hand as well.

    “Let go.” Onomichi tried to pull her arm back.

    “Nope. We gotta stay together, okay? So that we don’t get lost or something. It won’t do us much good if we get separated. We’ll work better together I swear.”

    “I said let go.” Onomichi gritted her teeth and squeezed Reni’s hand in hopes that the girl would let go but only received a squeeze of equal strength in return.

    “Don’t you want to find the others?” Reni grinned. Onomichi frowned deeply and glared at Iris who only smiled at her as well.

    “She’s right, Ono. It won’t do us any good if we get separated.”

    “Fine, whatever! But we don’t need to hold hands!” Onomichi jerked again but to no avail and only got more frustrated as Reni and Iris laughed at her trying to free herself.

    “It’s good to know you guys are taking all of this so well…”

    Iris and Reni’s laughter stopped almost immediately as Rai approached them from the sidewalk.

    “Rai…” Iris almost didn’t want him to come any closer for fear that it wasn’t really Rai she was seeing, “You’re alive…I…I can’t…”

    “Whoa. Are you alright?” Reni stared worriedly at him. He was still injured pretty badly and it seemed like a miracle he was now in front of them but before Rai could answer her, he was nearly knocked over by Iris who had quickly run up and thrown her arms around his shoulders.

    “Rai! I can’t believe you’re alive…I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry please, forgive me. I shouldn’t have left…I’m sorry.” She sobbed. Rai quickly regained his balance and hugged her back. His arm was still sore from earlier but he was thankful that she was alive.

    “Iris…It’s okay. I’m just glad you’re alright. You guys aren’t hurt?”

    Iris shook her head and continued to sob harder, “We’re fine I just…I thought I was never going to see you again! I thought you were dead! I’m so sorry…I’m so sorry…”

    “Iris…” Reni couldn’t help but smile. She was glad that things, even though they were still pretty grim, were finally looking up for them. She exchanged glances with Rai who motioned in the direction of where he had just come from.

    “Souta and Reicheru are waiting back there. We should hurry before they decide to move on without us.”

    “Sounds like a plan.” Reni nodded and followed as Rai led them back to the house where he had left Reicheru earlier.

    “Just Souta and Reicheru?” Onomichi questioned. Rai turned back to face her and nodded.

    “Yeah…it was just us but I left for a bit to look for well…you guys.” He took notice of the disappointed look on her face, “Why? Wait, where’s-“

    “Forget it.” Onomichi shook her head and gave him a look that told him to keep moving forward, “I was just wondering.”
     
  8. mewberry101

    mewberry101 Momo's Minion

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    I love this~ I only got up to the end-ish of the first chapter, though :x Maybe I'll finish when I'm a little less busy :3
    Rai is so sweet, giving Iris his jacket ^w^
     
  9. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Chapter 5~ Am I the only one who finds it weird that Winter Heat is the only thread in the UTAU writing section?

    Away from the screams and fires, away from the endless rising pillars of smoke, and away from all the terror felt by hundreds of people. Miles and miles away from the blaring sirens and overwhelming sounds of gunfire that had engulfed Lancaster Falls, rested a city. A city that calmly, silently, and unknowingly reflected the fate of Lancaster Falls. The city already blackened by fires and stained with rivers of blood, Canerace.

    News of the city’s destruction never reached the outside world. Only the citizens knew and of course they only knew too late because now the only thing that remained were their lifeless bodies lining the streets.

    “I don’t like this…this…this was wrong. We should have stopped him.” The words were spoken from the top of a building that was placed in the center of the city. It was a sturdy office building that seemed to have come from an entirely different time. It was clean with maybe a few flecks of ash and a broken window or two. Decorated with nothing but a few satellites one couldn’t possibly hope to tell what this building was for or begin to understand how it had survived the city’s ordeal. On its rooftop stood two figures whose silhouettes only seemed to blend into the dark and coarse scenery.

    “I don’t like it any more than you do, Bekkah. But I also didn’t want to join them.”  A young man sighed heavily and turned to his female companion, “He would have thrown us out there with all of them had we uhh…ya know…tried to stop him.” The man brushed a few strands of his blonde hair out of his face and sighed.

    “Hayao, we’re all he has left. You really think he would have killed us like he did all these people?! He would have listened to reason! He…” the young woman, Bekkah, stared out at what was left of their home as tears trickled down her cheeks, “This wouldn’t have happened. He wouldn’t have done this. And now everyone else is going to suffer because we didn’t-“

    “Because you didn’t what? What are you two doing up here?”

    Bekkah flinched for a moment before turning around to face the very subject of her conversation with Hayao, “T-Taizo. We were just uhhh…talking. What are you doing out here?”

    Taizo, a small boy, clearly younger than Bekkah or Hayao, stepped out of the shadows and up to the two of them. He sighed heavily and stared at them as if they had done something wrong. To Taizo…they probably had. The young boy was quiet before heaving another sigh that blew his own blonde bangs from his face, revealing an eye-patch over his right eye. He lifted it up and squinted out at the horizon before smiling and placing it back down.

    “My office. Both of you. Now.” He turned on his heels and retreated back inside the building, with Hayao and Bekkah following closely and nervously behind.

    “I-is something wrong, Taizo?” Bekkah questioned as they walked carefully down a dark stairwell. Taizo did not answer her though. He only led them into an equally dark hallway and up to a heavy metal door. Reaching into his pocket, Taizo pulled out a silver key and unlocked the door. Forcing it open, he motioned for Bekkah and Hayao to follow him into a gently lit room containing a rather large wooden desk surrounded by blank television monitors, a medium sized wooden chair behind it as well. Sitting on the desk was the rooms light source, a small candle, and a few stacks of paper but nothing more. In fact aside from a small air vent on the wall the rest of the room was empty. Not even a window. 

    Taizo took a seat on the chair and smiled at Hayao and Bekkah as they stood in front of him “Nothing’s wrong…hopefully.” he finally spoke, “I have a task for the two of you.” When they didn’t respond he continued, “Go out there and see if anyone is still alive.” He leaned back and folded his hand behind his head.

    “What? You can’t be serious. You really think anyone is alive after that?” Hayao folded his arms and shook his head, “I think you got them all, Taizo. It’s dead quiet out there.”

    Taizo sighed heavily and only glared at Hayao in return before the older man finally shrugged.

    “Fine. Let’s go, Bekkah.”

    “Actually, “ Taizo tapped a finger on the desk and smiled, “Why don’t you go on ahead, Hayao? She’ll catch up with you.” He almost smirked. Hayao looked down at Bekkah who only focused on the ground and hesitated. But eventually, realizing arguing wasn’t an option, Hayao turned and exited the room, closing the door behind him.

    It was silent for a while before Taizo reached underneath his desk and pulled out a small remote, “Bekkah…can I ask you something?” he ran his fingers across the buttons as he spoke, as if he wanted to push them but wasn’t ready to.

    “Anything, Taizo. That’s what I’m here for…”

    “Don’t you think society as of late has just been falling apart?” Taizo turned his chair around and sighed, “All anyone cares about is getting a paycheck at the end of the week. And once that paycheck is in their hands that’s it…they don’t really care about anyone else. Society as a whole is just very selfish. People die every day and…no one really cares about that. Just as long as it’s not them. Don’t you think so?”

    “I don’t think that’s fair.” Bekkah held her hands to her chest and continued to look at the ground, “Taizo…no one could have stopped it from happening. I know you’re upset-“

    “Hmph…upset you say? Is that the best you can come up with?”

    “But no one could have…no one could have helped. No one deserves what you’re doing to them. Innocent people are dying-“

    “No one is innocent!” Taizo turned to look at her, “Everyone is guilty of something! Everyone!” he faced the monitors once more, “No one is innocent and they all deserve to die. Let Hayao know that if you guys do find any survivors…kill them. Don’t care how just do it.”

    “But Taizo-!”

    “See you later, Bekkah. Go away.”

    Bekkah ran her fingers through her hair and sighed, “I hope…I hope you feel better. We’ll be back okay?” She turned and left just like Hayao, the door making and awfully loud thud as she closed it behind her. Taizo rubbed his head and ran his fingers against the buttons of the remote again before pressing the large power button it had to offer.

    The monitors immediately flickered to life and what they had to show brought a sinister smile to Taizo’s face. His very own soldiers doing exactly what he had instructed them to. It had only been a day or two since he first ordered them to annihilate Canerace after all. And now there they were ridding the world of everyone else.

    “They all deserve it.” Taizo clenched the remote in his hands tightly as he watched the destruction of other cities, other towns, and even the replay of Canerace’s destruction play out in front of him, “All of them…”

    Almost as if responding to him, a soft ringing began playing from underneath his desk. Quickly turning his chair around, Taizo set his remote on top of the papers and retrieved a small cell phone from a desk drawer. For a moment he was hesitant to answer but he quickly got over it.

    “What is it?” Taizo began to tap his fingers on the desk anxiously, “If you’re going to tell me something went wrong you can kiss your career, and the rest of your life, goodbye.”

    “N-no, Sir.” A man on the other end answered, “This is the unit deployed to Lancaster Falls. Everything is done, Sir. The whole town is gone. “

    Taizo chuckled slightly to himself, “Really now?”

    “Yes. You were right. They never saw us coming. What do we do now?”

    “Hold your perimeter of course. In case there are survivors who try to escape. Then tomorrow send a few men back here got that? It’s boring with just Hayao and Bekkah. All they do is complain…it’s annoying.”

    “Yes, Sir.”

    “Then, well…we’ll see what happens next. If all is good after a few days you all can come home I guess. But for now stay there, got that?”

    “Understood.”

    Taizo hung up and set the phone next to his remote. He turned his seat around and smiled once more at the monitors.

    “They all deserve it…”

    *****

    It felt like they had been walking in the dark for hours and Suika was starting to feel the overwhelming tug of exhaustion. Her feet ached as she trailed slightly behind Mimi and Kaisho and her body shook as she rubbed her hands together. The tunnel was very cold and the earth that made it up was extremely hard. Still, Suika didn’t want to complain. She knew that they had to keep moving and that stopping was not an option.  But they had been walking for quite a while…where were they going?

    “K-Kaisho?” Suika finally managed to speak, “Where does this lead?”

    “Yeah, I’m getting kind of tired. Can we at least take a break or something? For just a few minutes?” Mimi sighed and knelt on the ground, “This is kind of ridiculous.”

    “Fine.” Kaisho flicked the flashlight she had on and pointed it down the tunnel, “We still have quite a bit of walking to do so only for like ten minutes. I guess…”

    Suika sat on the ground next to Mimi and took note of the annoyance in Kaisho’s voice. It was understandable…here they were running for their lives and who knew? Maybe even the lives of their friends and all they wanted was to sit down and rest.

    “I’m sorry…” Suika wiped her forehead and sniffed.

    “Forget it. I’m tired too.” Kaisho sat across from them and, pulling her knees up to her chin, quietly laid her head down, “We’ll sit here for a few minutes but then we have to get going. We can’t stay down here forever and we have a long way to go before we reach the other end.”

    “But what’s at the other end?” Suika asked once more but Kaisho didn’t answer. She had never told Suika or Mimi where it was they were going, she had only been urging them to keep up and not fall behind but the suspense that hung on the air was daunting. Suika didn’t like moving blindly and she wanted to find her friends.

    Finally, Kaisho looked over at her and sighed, “Camomile.”

    “What? But…but…how do you know?”  Suika held her hands together, “Have you been through here before?”

    “Of course. I admit I wasn’t too sure about it when I first discovered it but eventually my curiosity got the best of me. At the end of this thing, is the wooded area behind Iris’s neighborhood of all places.”

    “And does Iris know about this? Or anyone else for that matter?” Mimi tilted her head.

    “Heh, I never got around to telling her.” Kaisho hesitated and looked away from them, “I should have though…if she had known then…”

    “Kaisho, please. I’m sure Iris is fine! She’s tougher than we give her credit for.” Mimi tried to smile and crawled over to sit next to her friend, “You can’t blame yourself. No one knew this was going to happen.”

    “But…she could have had a place to hide…”

    “B-but ya know,” Suika crawled over next to them as well, “Camomile was first. Would they have had the time to run?”

    Kaisho shrugged and laid her head down once more, “I don’t know anymore.”

    Suika and Mimi stared at each other for a while and silently decided to drop their conversation for the time being.  Instead they mimicked Kaisho and waited for their break time to be up. When it was, Kaisho helped them to their feet and flipped the flashlight off once more.

    “Umm…wouldn’t it make more sense to leave the light on so we can see?” Suika rubbed her eyes as they tried to readjust to the darkness.

    “Not really, “ Kaisho scoffed, “This thing is a straight line directly to Camomile so there’s only one way we can go. We should save battery power.”

    “It’ll be alright, Suika. We’ve made it this far haven’t we? Let’s go.” Mimi reached forward and grabbed the young girl’s hand, “Ready?”

    Suika sighed and nodded. At least now she knew what they were doing and where they were going,  “Yeah I-“

    “Ouch!”

    A short scream and loud thud from behind caused Kaisho to quickly flick the light back on and direct it behind them.

    “Hey! Who’s there?! Come out before I make you come out!” she threatened, but no one answered. She looked at Mimi and Suika, who could only shrug, and then focused back on the spot where the yelp had come from, “You have five seconds before I come over there and-“

    “Alright alright…come on, Lun.”

    Kaisho rolled her eyes as a young boy and girl crawled from around the corner. They both had silver blue hair, the girl’s hair pulled back into two pigtails, and matching eye patches on their eyes. They were clearly twins, standing at almost the same height and even wearing matching outfits.

    “Hell no…absolutely not! Go away!”  Kaisho pointed in their direction as the girl twisted a strand of stray hair around her finger.

    “Well that’s not very nice. What did we ever do to you?” she smirked.

    “L-Luna don’t…she’ll really send us back there.” The boy reached up and touched his sister’s shoulder

    “Damn right I will! Go!”

    “Wait a minute, just who are you guys anyway?” Suika, still shivering slightly from the coldness of the tunnel stared at them, “Were you following us this entire time?”

    “Kind of. My name is Luna. Luna Akimine. And this is my brother Lun.” The girl smiled back and then continued to look at Kaisho, “You really want us to leave?” she said mockingly.

    “Yes!” Kaisho folded her arms, “You two are the last people I’d ever want to follow me!”

    “Now hold on, Kaisho. What’s the matter? I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t come with us.” Mimi motioned for Luna and Lun to come closer.

    “Well I do!” Kaisho continued to glare at the twins who were in fact her neighbors. They were, in her opinion, quite obnoxious and often played pranks on her when they were bored and on holidays like Halloween. They could be good when occupied with the things they liked but even then Kaisho preferred not to talk to them or acknowledge they were there.

    “She’s just always been jealous of us that’s all.” Luna giggled, “That’s okay. We were following you guys to see if you wanted our help. Then you turned the light out and I tripped on something, probably a rock. But if you really want us gone…” she swung her arms playfully.

    “If you wanted to help us why were you hiding?!” Kaisho raised an eyebrow and shook her head, “You should have spoken up, and how did you get in here? The entrance was blocked.”

    “We moved the stuff, duh!” Luna folded her arms and stuck her tongue out at Kaisho, “Geez, why are you such an idiot?”

    “What did you say?!” Kaisho grabbed Luna by her shoulders but both Lun and Suika stopped her from doing anything else.

    “Luna was it? Please, don’t antagonize her.” Mimi sighed and pulled the two apart, “If you want to help fine that’s up to you but if you two are just going to cause problems then you can’t come.”

    Luna took a step back and pouted at the ground as Lun stared pleadingly at the others.

    “I’m sorry…we do want to help. Honest.” he looked up at Kaisho as he rubbed his hands together nervously, “We saw you go into your shed and then the thing blew up. Honestly we were worried about you guys and when we could escape to go check things out you were gone and we found the entrance to this tunnel. We had to walk really fast and quietly to catch up and keep up with you guys.”

    “Still, you should have said something. Right?” Mimi looked at Kaisho as well who only turned around and shrugged as she started walking towards the exit again.

    “Wait hold on!” Luna reached forward and grabbed a hold of Kaisho’s arm, “You guys are going to Camomile, right? That place is completely gone! What’s the point of going there now?” she stopped for a moment before continuing, “Even if your friends are over there….couldn’t we just stay down here until it’s safe?”

    Kaisho pulled away, “No. You can stay down here if you want but we’re going. Let’s go, Mimi. Suika.”

    “Right behind you.” Mimi let out an exasperated sigh and hurried back to Kaisho’s side, pulling Suika along and motioning for the twins to follow.

    “What if they’re all dead?” Luna kicked a small rock as she walked behind them, “What are you going to do then if they’re all gone? Your friends I mean.”

    Kaisho didn’t feel like answering. She knew that there was little chance she’d probably see anyone she cared about, save for Mimi and Suika, again. But despite the odds being stacked against her she was still determined to try.
     
  10. Austria

    Austria Momo's Minion Defender of Defoko

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    Wow, it's coming along nicely :D
     
  11. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Thank you~ Here's the next chapter~!

    To Kaisho, with the addition of Luna and Lun to their little team, the tunnel went from cold and damp to hot and stuffy pretty quickly. It seemed with every step she took, Luna was making some aggravating breathing noise or asking a question that didn't need to be asked. Lun would only advise her to stop by simply calling her name and frankly Kaisho just wanted them both to disappear. She had no time to babysit, especially two children who were anything but interested in finding her friends.

    So it was only natural to feel relief when they had finally reached the end of their expedition, the exit hanging above them in the form of an old wooden door. Kaisho handed the flashlight over to Mimi and proceeded to jump and push the thing open, allowing the faint light of the outside to pour through.

    "So…Camomile. It's out there isn't it? We're finally here." Mimi's voice shook as Kaisho nodded.

    "Yeah, and I don't expect things to be too pretty out there either. Better prepare ourselves for the worst."

    The group exchanged worried glances but eventually they all nodded in agreement and Kaisho pulled herself up and out. As she expected, it was indeed a lot colder outside the tunnel than inside. She dusted herself off and inhaled deeply, the cool air calming her nerves for only a moment as she focused on what was in front of her.

    Streets laden with the debris of destroyed houses and the bodies of murdered people. Camomile didn't even look like a neighborhood anymore. It looked more like a dumping ground for any and everything people could possibly think to dump. The air went from cool and relaxing to heavy and thick in a matter of seconds and all Kaisho could do was stand there and wonder how vain their efforts were now.

    "Hey! A little help here!" Luna shouted from below as she rested her hands on her hips. 

    Mimi looked at the young girl and sighed, "Kaisho? Is it…that bad?" she asked as she jumped and pulled herself out as well.

    "See for yourself…" Kaisho turned on her heels to help the others as Mimi took note of their surroundings.

    "This is terrible…who would do something like this to innocent people?" she kicked the ground slightly and although it pained her to do it, she began walking ahead of the others. As she got closer to the streets, the stench of decomposing corpses stung at her nostrils and she was almost sick on the spot. She covered her mouth and nose and continued until she had reached the sidewalk.

    She shivered as her gaze connected with the twisted expressions of the dead but forced herself to look and get a sense for where they were.

    "Iris lives around here somewhere doesn't she?" Suika sniffled from behind as she and Kaisho had finally caught up.

    Mimi nodded silently, "I think so…"

    "Over there." Kaisho pointed at a pile of rubble that resembled anything but a house, "I'm sure of it."

    "D-do we have to? They're probably not even there." Suika wiped her face as more tears fell, "And if they are…they'd be…"

    "We have to try." Mimi turned around and rested her hands on the girl's shoulders, "We'll never know if we don't. Come on, let's go. Luna? Lun? Where did they go?"

    Kaisho folded her arms and nodded behind them, "It's stupid to go out there. Let's stay here where it's safe!" she said mocking Luna's voice, "If they want to stay in that musty ass tunnel I say let them. We have to find Iris and the others."

    "Kaisho, we can't leave them behind. " Mimi folded her hands together and turned in the direction of the tunnel, "I'd feel better if they came with us."

    "Alright fine, I'll go get them.  Just…wait here." She sighed and hurried back to the tunnel's entrance.

    Mimi smiled softly for a moment before catching Suika staring off at Iris's wrecked house.

    "Suika?" Mimi reached and touched her shoulders, "It'll be alright. We'll-"

    "I don't want to go over there." Suika sniffed and wiped her face again, "I don't like this. What if they're not over there? Or what if they are but they're…gone? Why are we even doing this?!"

    Mimi brought her focus to the ground. She didn't want to risk finding her friend's dead bodies either but she'd also rather find them dead than not at all. Mimi wiped at her own eyes and looked back at Suika. She was friends with Daisy, Mimi knew that. And it would be cruel to drag the poor girl over there only to reveal the fact that her friend was no deceased.

    "If you want to Suika…you can stay over here with Lun and Luna and Kaisho and I will-"

    "Get down!" Kaisho whispered fiercely as she pulled the two to the ground and behind an overturned car, Luna and Lun hurrying closely behind her.

    "Ow! Kaisho, what gives?" Mimi tried to stand up but Luna pulled her back down and, shaking her head, pointed over at what was left of their friend's home. The rubble was beginning to shift and although they were faint, voices could be heard from somewhere underneath.

    "Why are we hiding? What if it's Iris and Daisy?!" Suika stared over at Kaisho pleadingly but the young woman only shook her head.

    "And what if it's not? You wanna risk it?"

    "Yeah for all we know it could be them!" Luna sat in between her brother and Suika and held onto the small girl, "I knew we should have stayed underground! They'd never find us in there!" her whispers got louder as she began to panic more, "We should go back!"

    "Will you be quiet they'll hear us!" Kaisho elbowed the girl and adjusted herself so that she could get a better look at the ruins. If it really were the terrorists why were they rummaging through the wreckage of her friend's home and if it wasn't the terrorists…then who could it have been? She knew Iris was one to wait things out until the very end, no matter how bad they seemed, but even she wasn't dumb enough to stay put when her home is falling apart around her, especially when she had Daisy to take care.

    Kaisho continued to peek around the front bumper of the car until an all too familiar voice, and figure, finally appeared.

    "Ha! Now look what we have here…I guess Onomichi was right. They really didn't do much to this place." Reni, of all people, dusted off the top of her head as she clutched a small, white metal box in her hand, "I wonder if we'll find any weapons or something…doubt it."

    "Reni?" Kaisho almost couldn't believe who she was seeing.  How did Reni get all the way over to Camomile without getting hurt? And now what was she doing at what used to be Iris's house? Reni lived a block or two away from Kaisho…it didn't make sense for her to be over here.

    "Reni! Reni, over here!" Suika waved frantically as she ran out from behind the car. On top of the rubble Reni jumped slightly and stared over at Suika with a cold glare. It was only for a moment but Kaisho could have sworn Reni looked like she was ready to attack the poor girl. But no sooner had the look crossed Reni's face did it vanish and she was smiling and motioning for Suika to come closer.

    "Suika? That is you. What are you doing here by yourself?" Reni held whatever it was she had found close to her chest and slid down to greet Suika in the middle of the street, "I can't believe it's really you."

    "I'm not by myself." Suika turned and pointed behind her, "Kaisho is here too! And Mimi and then there are these other kids…"

    Kaisho frowned and followed as Mimi and the twins made their way over to where Reni and Suika were standing.

    "Kaisho! I'm glad you're alive too…and you still have your hat! Good on you. Make sure to hold onto it." Reni giggled slightly as they approached her.

    Kaisho rolled her eyes and shook her head, "Now isn't the time for jokes, Reni! Where are Iris and Daisy?!"

    Reni pouted slightly "Iris's back at the house with Rai and Reicheru. We were coming to see if there was anything we could salvage from her house since Onomichi said those creeps didn't blow it up like everything else."

    "We? Who's we?"

    Reni turned back to the house and shrugged, "Well, Ono and Souta were here a second ago. We split up to cover more ground so we could get back quicker. I wouldn't be surprised if they left me here by myself though."

    "Souta's here, too?" Mimi folded her arms, "How did he…how did either of you get here, actually. I know Onomichi lives close by but you and Souta…"

    Reni was quiet for a moment before answering, "I just walked okay? I can be sneaky when I want to be and I was worried about Iris. I could ask you guys the same question ya know. You don't exactly live close by either."

    "And we could give you the same answer." Kaisho shrugged, "You said Iris and the others are at a house? Where is it? Can you take us to it?"

    Reni sighed and stared at the box she was holding, "Yeah, sure. I doubt we'll find anything else here. The most deadly thing Iris could possibly have is bleach. And anything else is probably crushed beyond recognition…"

    "What's that?" Mimi pointed to the item in Reni's arms.

    Reni turned the box around and grinned, "It's a first aid kit! I can't believe it's still in one piece. We could use it, especially for Rai. But I'm sure he won't be the only injured person we find."

    "Rai's hurt?" Mimi shivered an icy breeze blew passed them, "What happened to him? Is
    he going to be okay?"

    "I mean he's still breathing. I'm sure he'll be fine but ya know..." Reni shrugged, her voiced being laced with an annoyed tone as if she were tired of talking to them, "Come on let's just go back okay? If they're still out here, Ono and Souta will catch up I'm sure."


    *****

    There was no heat or electricity inside of the house. Only a few candles that were found scattered about were lit for light in places where it was absolutely necessary, specifically rooms without windows. It wasn't charred and ruined like the last one Rai was at with Souta and Reicheru. It was damaged but still mostly intact as if the owners weren't even home when the attacks had started. It was also quiet because no one really felt like talking. They were all happy to see each other alive and well, but they were still missing friends and family and it was no secret that they were all terrified. If they made too much noise they could be found by the people who had attacked them…so there was no room for celebrations of any kind.

    Even so, as he sat with Iris in the upstairs restroom, there was a lot Rai wanted to say to her. For what felt like forever, he had thought she was dead. That something had happened to her and he'd never see her again and yet there she was, carefully wrapping his arm with the bandages that were inside the first aid kit Reni had found.

    Her expression was cold and straight and her eyes were devoid of any emotion, but she was still alive and Rai couldn't help but feel a little bit of relief, even if it was miniscule. He watched as she finally finished and set the kit on the edge of the sink carefully.

    "I'm…glad you're not hurt." Rai finally said the only thing he could think of.

    Iris looked over at him and nodded, her face completely unchanging, "I'm glad you're okay too, Rai. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if…if you were…killed because of me." Her voice bared the sad emotion her blank expression lacked.

    "Iris, what are you talking about? How could I have-"

    "I shouldn't have left you..." She stopped him and gently touched his hand, "I shouldn't have left you behind like that. I promised Reni I wouldn't beat myself up about this anymore but I can't help it. I can't just forget. You were trying to help me and I abandoned you. How could you even be sitting here forgiving me for it?"

    "You're actually asking me this?"

    "Yes…I am." Iris focused on the floor and nodded again, "I put you through so much and you were just trying to help…"

    "You were worried about your sister, Iris. You think I'm going to penalize you for that?"  Rai turned to face her and touched her shoulder, "Please don't do this to yourself. I'm just glad you're okay. Really. That's all that matters to me."

    Iris shook her head and allowed a short sob to escape, "No…I'm not okay. I couldn't find her!" she buried her face into her hand and sobbed harder, "Daisy's gone. She's gone, Rai…I couldn't find her. I left you to look for her but I didn't even find her! What was the point of leaving…what if I never see her again? What if she's…"

    Rai drew her close and sighed. He couldn't bring himself to tell her that everything was going to be alright because he didn't even believe that himself. This was the only family member, to Rai's knowledge, that Iris had left and for all he knew little Daisy could be dead. He couldn't tell her that he knew how she felt either. It wasn't his little sister that was missing. He didn't have any
    family in Lancaster Falls. He couldn't even tell her that they'd find Daisy eventually. If they never did find her, the lie would forever weigh heavy on Rai's shoulders.

    All he could do was sit there and listen as she cried.

    "I'm sorry, Rai." Iris pulled away and stood up, "I just…I just need some fresh air. I can't… I'll be downstairs if you need me." She hurried out of the room and down the stairs before Rai could stop her. Not that it would have helped if he had stopped her. There was nothing he could do for her. Nothing.


    *****

    After sitting alone for a few more minutes, Rai soon found himself resting in one of the bedrooms of the home, staring out of an ash stained window. Quietly touching the bandages on his head and arm, he watched Iris sitting in the backyard, holding her sides and shaking slightly. It hurt him to know there was nothing he could possibly do to make her feel better. He hadn't realized it until now but seeing her happy made him feel happy as well…even if he didn't always show it.

    He pulled up a nearby chair, not content with sitting on the bed and rested his arms on the back of it. Outside, the smoke had finally cleared and a full moon shown dimly against the night sky, almost as if it was pained to illuminate such desolate destruction.

    "Feeling better?" Reni suddenly and rapidly tapped her fingers against the wall from the doorway and smiled at him.

    "Yeah…Iris does nice work…I'm still sore but I'll get over it. The bandages help a lot…" He rubbed his arm and continued to focus out of the window as Reni sat on the bed across from him.

    "You won't get over everything so quickly you know…"

    "What's that supposed to me?" Rai looked over at her but then shook his head, "Nevermind. Forget it. Listen, Reni…"

    "What is it?"

    "You don't know where Daisy is either do you? You didn't see her on your way here or anything…"

    "If I did, don't you think she'd be here right now with us? Or maybe you think I saw her body? I didn't. I'm just as clueless as the rest of you."

    "Right…" Rai sighed and stared up at the ceiling, "I don't know what to do anymore. For as long as I've known her, Iris has never…she's never been that depressed before. She always found something to be happy about. So seeing her like that makes me…it bothers me. I don't know what I should do…"

    "Unless you can make Daisy appear right now…there's nothing you can do. There's nothing any of us can do. Iris has been taking care of Daisy for a long time. They're family. And now…who knows what's happened to her. There's nothing we can do, Rai."

    "We could go look for her." Rai found himself glaring at Reni now, as if it were her fault Daisy was gone, "She has to be out there somewhere! She has to be."

    "Of course she is but you know...she's a smart kid, she really is. Sweet and cheerful like her sister and smart. So, I know that if she were really okay she would have found Iris by now on her own. "Reni stood up and made her way to the window, touching it with her hand she began to rub the ash away as best she could.

    "So, are you saying she's dead?"  Rai tilted his head and continued to glare at her.

    "I didn't say that." Reni looked at him from out of the corner of her eyes, "I said if she were okay she would have found Iris on her own.  The same could be said for Tomo and Onomichi. Those kids aren't stupid. "She folded her arms and looked back at Rai, "It's upsetting though isn't it? To see the people you care about being hurt so badly and all you can do is sit there and watch. "Reni's eyes seemed to drain of any feeling she had previously felt and she began to smile at him.

    She returned her gaze to outside the window and nodded, "It's not a good feeling…you want to find whoever's responsible for hurting them and make them pay but you can't. You can only dream about it…"

    "R-Reni…I…" Rai watched as she looked at him one last time, her lips still shaped into the form of a grin.

    "But you should hold on to that feeling, Rai. Because you never really know…." she turned away and headed towards the door, "You might run into whoever is responsible for hurting them and when you do…you'll want them to pay for what they did to her. I'll make them feel just like they do. If not worse…"She turned her head and pointed towards the window before finally walking out.

    However, Rai felt reluctant to look out the window again. Reni's words fell hard on him not only because they were so harsh but because at the same time…she was right. He was upset and wanted to find whoever was responsible for the mess everyone was in. But what would he do when he found them, if he found them? He didn't think he could possibly be angry enough to kill another person but he didn't want them to go unpunished either…but what punishment besides death could possibly be enough? All the innocent lives that had been taken and those who weren't killed would only end up wishing they had been.

    He didn't like thinking about it…he didn't like thinking about more death but it was hard not to.

    Finally though, Rai was broken away from his thoughts by Iris's screams from outside. From the window all he could see was Kaisho and Onomichi sitting next to her but he couldn't see what the matter was.  Iris only continued to scream and then cry loud enough for him to hear her on the second floor. Rai quickly hurried down the stairs, passed the living room, and into the doorway that lead out into the backyard, Suika standing and crying softly next to him.

    "What happened? Suika? What's going on?"

    Suika looked up at him and wiped her eyes, "Tomo and Daisy…they're here. They're outside…"
     
  12. Rai

    Rai Teto's Territory

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    Best. Chapter. Ever.
     
  13. moonst4r

    moonst4r Witch of the Night Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Oh. My. God. That chapter was so awesome I-I can't find words to describe its beauty.

    I actually caught a glimpse of the real chapter before you changed it fufufu
     
  14. Chihaya

    Chihaya Momo's Minion

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    A-Ahh, I can never seem to comment on this whenever it's updated or a new chapter is released. I love reading Winter Heat so much! I've read up until chapter five [reading chapter six now] and really like the plot and gfkhfdkjughfsku. I hope I don't seem creepy about it. D:
     
  15. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Chapter seven for everyone. And thank you Chihaya that means a lot to me ;u;

    “Daisy…” Rai carefully touched the blankets that had been placed on top of the small child and glanced over at the doorway leading out of the bedroom where he now sat. It had been three days since the children had appeared in the backyard with Iris’s neighbor, Fuu. She had told the group that she had been looking for Onomichi when she found the kids among a pile of rubble, miraculously still alive. But that was all Rai knew or cared to know.

    He didn’t ask any questions as to how Fuu managed to make her way to the house with two injured children or even if she was alright. He admittedly didn’t care. She was alright enough. She wasn’t bleeding or seemed to be physically harmed, just shaken up. Even Tomo was able to get around on his own now. 

    Rai’s main concern rested with Iris and Daisy.

    Daisy was barely recognizable as the small child he had come to know. Her left arm and torso had immensely deep gashes and wounds and her head hadn’t been spared of injury either. It was astonishing that she was still breathing and that she hadn’t lost any limbs or enough blood to die. And Iris...Rai knew that the sight of seeing her sister in such ruin had destroyed any scraps of hope that she had left. If she had any left to begin with.

    The pain in her eyes whenever anyone, not just Rai, talked to her was beyond heartbreaking and she never once left Daisy’s side since the child’s arrival. Even as Rai sat there, he knew Iris would much rather be the one in the room instead of talking with Kaisho downstairs. He continued to look at the doorway expecting her to return any moment but when she didn’t he fixed his gaze on Daisy and let out a small sigh.

    “How could you do something like this…” he folded his hands and rested his forehead against them, his own injury giving him a sharp reminder that it was still there. From what he had seen, it was an army that had attacked them, a group of trained soldiers for lack of a better word. He knew that no matter how brutal the attacks were…they were still organized. And therefor he knew that someone was out there. Someone was behind everything that had happened, pulling the strings and giving the commands.

    And what frustrated him even more is that he knew they didn’t care. They didn’t care that millions of people were dying…let alone about children like Daisy. And there was nothing he could really do about it which only proved to upset him further.

    The sound of a chair being forced across the floor snapped him out of his thoughts and he smiled slightly as Iris took a seat next to him.

    “What did Kaisho want?” he tried to ask as carefully as possible.

    “It doesn’t matter…” Iris stared at her hands folded in her lap and shrugged, “It’s not important. Not to me anyway…you don’t have to sit here anymore if you don’t want to. Thanks for watching her for me.”

    “I know she’s your sister, not mine, but I care about her too. I’m not going anywhere.”

    “I…” Iris looked at him for a moment before focusing back on her hands, “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sorry. “

    Iris,” Rai turned his seat to face her and grabbed her hands, “You don’t have to apologize and you don’t have to sit up here by yourself either. You’re not alone, okay? I’m really worried about you…“

    Iris pulled away and stood up to adjust the blankets that were keeping her sister warm. She didn’t respond to him and only stood there quietly. Rai sighed and stood up as well, wanting to reach out for her but not knowing what else he could possibly say. It felt like the more he tried to voice his concern to her, the more he only ended up making things worse.

    But he couldn’t stop himself from trying. He didn’t want to see her hurt any more than she already was, even if it was pointless to try.

    “I know you’re upset, Iris…” he swallowed hard, “But, I-“

    “How could you possibly know how upset I am right now?”  She finally turned to face him again, her arms folded tightly across her chest, “You’re an only child aren’t you? And you only have to worry about taking care of yourself! How could you possibly know what this feels like?!” she turned away again as tears began to stream down her cheeks, “I promised I’d keep her safe…I promised that’d I’d always be there for her and give her a life that I knew our own mother never could…and now look what’s happened! How can you possibly feel the same way as I do? How could you possibly know what this feels like? You can’t!”

    She let her arms drop to her side and shook her head, “You don’t know what it’s like…you don’t. None of you do! ”

    Rai reached over and, grabbing her hand, pulled her closer to him, “I still know how hard it is to watch someone you care about suffer…and how much it hurts knowing there isn’t much you can do about it.” He tilted her head up to face him and smiled slightly, “I may not understand exactly where you’re coming from but I still care about you, Iris. I’m not going to let you be by yourself and I’m not going to watch you punish yourself like this. “

    “And what if I told you I wanted to be alone? What if I told you I didn’t want anyone to bother me and to just leave me alone?”

    Rai couldn’t help but laugh now, “And what if I reminded you of the times I told you the exact same thing and you didn’t listen? Are we really having this conversation?”

    And for the first time since she had been reunited with her sister, Iris smiled. Not a smile that was forced or trying to cover up unsaid hurt, but the genuine smile Rai knew her for. It bore no significant solution to the bigger problem at hand but it was still a victory to him nonetheless.

    *****

    “So what are we going to do…”Reni ran her fingers over the ornate designs of a picture frame that held the photo of a young girl with red bangs and what appeared to be dark blonde hair, “We’ve been here for three days now. We can’t stay here forever.”

    “I’m surprised we’ve stayed here so long already anyway. I’m surprised they didn’t find us thanks to Iris’s little outburst.” Souta shrugged and glared out of a nearby window, “Could she have been any louder…”

    “Could you be any more insensitive?” Mimi rested her hands on her hips and shook her head, “That’s her little sister up there! Her family…Daisy is almost like a daughter to Iris. How would you react if…you know what don’t answer that cause I don’t want to know.” She took a seat on the floor in between Luna and Fuu and pulled her fingers through her hair as she watched Kaisho pace back and forth slowly and in deep thought.

    After Fuu had showed up with Tomo and Daisy, there wasn’t really much the group could do in terms of staying safe and finding supplies. Leaving others behind wasn’t an option, that was one thing they agreed on, but now everyone was starting to get antsy. There had been no sign of the attackers but there was also nothing to indicate that it was now safe to come out of hiding. They didn’t know anything to be exact.

    “Insensitive or not, Souta has a point.” Kaisho rubbed her hands together and placed them against her chin, “We can’t just stay in one place. We’ll get too comfortable and we’ll end up lowering our guard…and then lord knows what’ll happen then.”

    “But Daisy is still unconscious; don’t you think we’d be more vulnerable if we were walking around not only in such a large group but with someone carrying an injured child too? I don’t think that’d be very smart either. And it’s not like Tomo is completely healed either. We have to think of everyone.” Reni kicked at the ashes on the ground and folded her arms, “What did Iris say by the way? When you told her what we’ve all been thinking?”

    Kaisho sighed and ceased her pacing, “She…didn’t say anything. I don’t even think she was listening to me. And I don’t blame her either. “She said rubbing her arms as a chilly breeze shook the house, “She’s depressed. How could she…how could any of us have known we’d be in this kind of situation? A few days ago we were all just minding our own business, living out our normal lives, and now look. We could all be massacred at any moment.”

    “Hmph…well, way to give us a boost of confidence, Kaisho!” Luna slammed her head against the wall and groaned in annoyance, “I wanna go home!”

    “Luna, please...Reicheru and the others are trying to sleep.” Fuu clasped her hands together and whispered softly.

    “Sorry, but I don’t like this! I want to go home.”

    “We all do, kid. But half, if not all of us, don’t have homes to go back to.” Souta shook his head at her, “Those guys destroyed damn near everything. Where the hell would you go?”

    Luna balled her fists and stared back, “How about out of this city! Did any of you adults ever think of that? Why don’t we just pack what we can and high tail it out of here? Shouldn’t it be that simple? We take what we can, and we all just leave! Why are we just sitting here?!”

    “I guess you’d think it’d be that simple. But it’s not and that’s where the dilemma lies.” Reni sighed and placed the picture frame she was holding onto a nearby side table, “We don’t know if those people are still out there, waiting for survivors to show up so they can finish the job, or if they left. But at the same time we’re running out of supplies and I doubt this house will hold for much longer so we can’t stay here. We gotta move on.” Reni almost chuckled to herself and folded her arms, “But if the people are still out there the moment we leave we’re dead people walking. But if we stay here we’re also dead because-”

    “Okay okay…I get it. Geez…” Luna returned to her spot on the floor and wiped at her eyes, “I get it.”

    Kaisho exchanged looks with Reni and the others before rubbing her shoulders in distress, “Alright look. Let’s just…let’s just all get some sleep for now, okay? We’re just talking in circles right now and I’m seriously about to pass out. Who’s got first shift?” she knelt on the ground and cupped her chin in the palms of her hands.

    The group had decided that when it was time to sleep, one person would stay awake at a time to keep an eye on things, switching with someone else every hour.

    “The person who’s about to pass out. But I’ll stand guard first. I’m not tired.” Reni smiled down at her and skipped over towards the stairs, “Don’t sweat it.”

    “Thanks…” Kaisho smiled back at her and found a spot where she could lay down, quickly falling asleep.  Everyone else also began to settle, finding spots or cushions where they could sleep for the night. With the two beds that were still useable in the house being occupied by Tomo and Daisy, everyone else had to make do with what blankets and pillows they could find. But Reni was okay with just sitting somewhere. She placed herself on the stairs and prepared for what she thought was going to be another long night.

    ****

    A few hours passed and the entire house was quiet. Reni smiled softly to herself as she listened to the silence. Even though she couldn’t sleep well she understood how everyone else could. It was cold and frigid both inside and outside and they had been actively keeping an eye out for any danger nonstop for three whole days. It felt like they were all trapped. And they were the more she thought about it. Trapped like confused animals being hunted by an unknown force for an equally unknown reason.

    “Reni?”

    Reni turned around and smiled at Rai as he carefully stepped down the stairs and sat next to her.

    She elbowed him playfully and smirked, “So, is Iris still mad at you?”

    “You heard that, huh?” Rai sighed and leaned against the wall.

    “Everyone did. It was hard not to. We just didn’t want to interrupt.”

    “Well… she’s fine now. I don’t think she was mad at me, though, just scared. Like everyone else.” He hesitated for a moment as another cold breeze made its way through the air before continuing, “When we’re scared and we can’t find the real reason behind it, or maybe we don’t want to find it…either way we tend to find scapegoats and take our frustration out on other people to relieve our anxiety. It’s just how we are sometimes.”

    “You’ve got a point, I guess. I feel bad for trying to force her to be happy. But moping around isn’t going to get us anywhere either. “

    “I know. She’ll come out of it. I know she will, we just have to give her some time. So, I take it there’s still no plan of action?”

    “Nope. We’re basically stuck for the time being. Not surprising. There’s not much we can do until Daisy either wakes up or-“Reni paused for a moment before tilting her head towards the front door.

    “What’s the matter?” Rai questioned as he watched her stand up and rest her hand against it as if waiting for something, “Reni?”

    “I thought I heard something. Like someone walking around outside.” She looked back at him worriedly and nodded, “In fact I’m sure I did.”

    “You think it’s one of them?” Rai made his way to where she was standing as quietly as possible but she didn’t answer him. The doorknob twitched for a moment as the person on the other side tried to open it, however they quickly gave up and began to walk back and forth. Reni undid the locks as quietly as possible as the walking stopped but picked up again.

    Rai touched her shoulder in a hushed signal not to do what he knew she was about to but once again he was ignored and Reni swung the door open at full force, tackling the girl on the other side to the ground.

    They both screamed as they tumbled backwards and into a pile of wooden planks, the young girl struggling to push Reni off of her. 

    “Ahh…stop! STOP! What the hell is wrong with you?!”

    “What’s wrong with you?!” Reni tightly pressed the girl against the ground and glared angrily, “Who are you? What are you doing here?!”

    “I live here!” the girl glared back at her, “Who the hell are you people?!”

    Rai ran his fingers through his hair and pulled Reni up off of the ground. He reached out to help the other girl but she refused and crawled out to the sidewalk where she stood to dust herself off.

    “Are you okay?” Rai watched as she began to pace back and forth in a highly irritated manner.

    “Am I okay? Are you okay?! Who are you guys? What are you doing in my house?” she finally paused, folding her arms sternly and furrowing her eyebrows in annoyance.

    “Reni? What’s going on what happened?” Kaisho, accompanied by Souta and Onomichi, stood in the doorway after being woken up by the commotion, “What’s going on out here?” she rested her hands on her hips almost in disappointment when she spied the girl on the sidewalk.

    “For crying out…just how many of you are in there, huh?! What the hell are you people doing here?” the girl nearly shouted in frustration.

    “Wait a second…you’re the girl from the pictures I saw inside. I guess you really do live here.” Reni frowned, “Sorry about that.”

    “Sorry?! I’ll show you sorry you little-“the girl paused and shook her head, waving her hands out in front of her, “You know what forget it. Just…just forget it. Not what I came all this way for but I guess…I guess it’s good to see other people alive. Everyone’ll be happy to hear there are more of us I guess.” She sighed, “Still pissed you attacked me while being held up in MY house. But fine. Whatever!”

    “Wait a minute what did you say?” Kaisho jumped down from the porch and stood directly in front of the girl anxiously, “Everyone? Us? You mean there are more people who are alive? Where are they? And…who are you exactly?”

    “What the…well…there aren’t that many of us.” The girl took a few steps back, “We’ve been gathering in the center of town, trying to help each other as best we can. I came here to see if I could find any food or something when your psycho friend attacked me for no reason! And if you must know my name is Savannah. Savannah Pensato.”

    “What about the attackers? Where did they go?” Rai watched as Savannah carefully stepped to the side, the look on her face revealing she was probably just as confused as they were.

    “No one knows…those guys left a while ago. No one’s seen them. They’re gone.”
     
  16. NicolaCola

    NicolaCola Ruko's Ruffians Defender of Defoko

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    Ah, yay~ Glad to see that there are more people alive, especially Fuu, since Onomichi did run off with her car earlier, ha. I hope Daisy gets better, and I'm also excited to see who the group will meet in the town square~ Great work, can't wait for the next chapter! >w<b
     
  17. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Next chapter! It's been up on my dA this entire weekend but I'm only able to post it here now heh;; Sorry for the long wait uwu

    "W-wait a minute…what do you mean?!" Reni grabbed a hold of Savannah's arm and glared at her harshly, "They just left? Just like that?!"

    Savannah rolled her eyes and pulled her arm back, "I don't know! A bunch of us were hiding together and when we all came out there was nothing but uhh…well I guess…you know. But the guys who attacked us were gone that's for sure."

    The group fell silent for a moment, the same thought plaguing their minds. How long had it been safe to go out and was it truly safe in the first place? Did the attackers really just leave?

    "I don't get it. That doesn't make any sense! Why would they just pack up and leave without making sure the job was done? It's almost like they got bored." Souta shrugged and leaned against the doorway, "So, this whole time we've been here laying low for nothing…hiding from something that wasn't even there anymore."

    Savannah folded her arms tightly as a cool breeze blew past them, "I'm sure you guys aren't the only ones still hiding. Look, whatever. Why don't you all just come back with me, huh? Like I said, everyone is gathering in the center of the city…near the hotels and hospital and everything. It's quite the walk but you'll be better off there than here."

    "Now hold on, how can we be one hundred percent sure it's safe to go out? Just because you come over here, one person, and tell us?" Kaisho shook her head and continued to stare at Savannah sternly, "How do I know we can trust you?"

    Savannah gave a fierce shrug and turned her back to them, "Fine! Don't! See if I care! I'm just trying to help you but if you don't want it-"

    "Kaisho, wait." Reni jerked on her friend's sleeve, "Even if you don't trust her, we should at least go there for Daisy's sake. She needs help or she'll…she'll die."

    Kaisho relaxed and nodded, "Yeah I know…something about this doesn't seem right though…it's just…"

    Savannah turned herself back around at the mention of another name, "Whoa whoa whoa, who the heck is Daisy? How many of you are squatting here exactly?"

    "Look, we'll come with you just give us a little time, alright? One of us is really hurt so it might take a while. Let's go." Kaisho pulled Reni back into the house with her, followed quietly by Souta.

    "Well…don't take all day! And wait!" Savannah threw her hands up in frustration, "Who's Daisy?!"

    "She's my friend's little sister." Rai looked over at Savannah and sighed, "I'm sorry we broke into your home, Savannah."

    "You can call me, Savy…if you want." She folded her hands behind her head and smiled sheepishly.

    "Savy. But we were kind of desperate. We didn't have anywhere else to go without splitting up and we kinda wanted to stick together, ya know?"

    "Hey, that's alright. Forget it. I just wish that little brat hadn't attacked me! And…I'm sorry. About your friend's sister I mean. Is she in really bad shape?"

    Rai looked up at the front of the house and into the window of the master bedroom; even though he knew he wouldn't be able to see anything. He couldn't help but wonder how Daisy was holding up since he had come downstairs. He wondered even more if she would survive the trip. He know someone would have to carry her. He looked back at Savannah who rubbed her hands together and chuckled slightly.

    "Uhh…forget I asked." She shivered, "I don't suppose the heat's on in there is it?"

    "It's not. We've had to make do with what we're already wearing and the blankets we found lying around your house." Again Rai's thoughts shifted to Daisy. They had used most of the blankets to cover her up and keep her warm, as well as to bandage up some of her wounds.

    "Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking…" Savannah scratched the back of her head and then allowed her arms to drop to her side, "Sure is chilly out here though. I never really liked the winter…"

    "If you two are done, "Onomichi scowled at Rai, clearly annoyed, "let's start packing so we can get the hell outta here!" she returned to inside the house and immediately up the stairs. Savannah frowned as she left and clenched her fists tightly.

    "Who the hell made her the boss, huh?!"

    "Ignore her. We'll try to be ready as soon as possible okay?" Rai stepped past her and like the others went back inside, leaving Savannah standing by herself. She ran her fingers through her hair and let out an exasperated sigh. The only reason she had come back home was to see if she could salvage some supplies, which she couldn't. No one would be expecting her to return with an entire group of people. And she hadn't even met everyone that was inside yet.


    ******

    "Hey, Iris! Wake up. We're gettin' out of here!" Onomichi almost shouted as she forced open the door to the master bedroom and spotted the young woman laying her head down on the bed, next to her sister.  To Onomichi's knowledge, Iris hadn't slept very well since her sister had arrived with Fuu. But that wasn't Onomichi's problem. No one told Iris she had to stay awake while she watched over Daisy.

    Onomichi stomped over to her and shook her furiously, "Hey! I said wake up!"

    "Ahh! What?! What the hell do you want?" Iris swatted her hand away and stood up to face her, "What's wrong with you?!" she rubbed her eyes and shook her head almost as if she were dizzy from standing up too quickly.

    "Well, that'll teach you to wake up faster. Look, we're leaving. We're finally getting out of this dump and going somewhere closer to the hospital. So let's get Daisy fixed up before we go."

    "We're leaving…we're going to the hospital?" Iris smiled at her and then turned to look at Daisy, "Then that means…but wait. How are we going to get there? What about those people who attacked the city?"

    "They're gone." Onomichi began to gather up the loose sheets that were scattered about on the bed and floor.

    "Gone? They just left?"

    "Yeah, that's what Savannah or whatever her name is said."

    Iris began to assist her and when they had piled the dirty sheets up, she set to work on replacing her sister's worn bandages.

    "Who's Savannah?" Iris finally questioned as Onomichi watched.

    "Tch…she said she came from the middle of the city where people who survived the attack are getting together. She seems pretty annoying to me, but her and Rai seem to get along just fine. I would've been up here sooner if they would have just shut up for two seconds Like they don't have anything better to do..."

    "Oh," Iris turned her head away from her friend and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear, "Where is Rai now?"

    "Hell if I know." Onomichi rested her head on her hand and sighed, "Either still talking to her or helping the others. She glanced at Daisy's bruised body and frowned deeply. "How's she?"

    "Well…she's still breathing. She hasn't woken up yet though. How's Tomo holding up?"

    "He'll be fine. His leg isn't bothering him anymore so he should be able to walk without a problem. He was really lucky…"

    "Well let's be thankful they're both still alive shall we?" Iris smiled and grabbed one of the cleaner sheets from the pile. She carefully wrapped Daisy back up and then watched as Onomichi stood to go look out of the window. "What are you doing?"

    "It looks like everyone is starting to wait outside," Onomichi pointed as Iris stood next to her, "That one is Savannah."

    Iris nodded almost dejectedly, "Huh…well, we better not keep them all waiting." She said as she gathered Daisy in her arms and headed out of the bedroom. Onomichi heaved a loud sigh and followed her.

    "Are you going to carry her the whole way there? You want some help or so-"

    "I've got it." Iris stepped carefully through the hall but then hesitated at the top of the stairs as she stared apprehensively at the front door below. She then muttered softly, "But thanks for offering to help. I appreciate it."

     
    ******

    As the group walked, no one said a word. The younger ones kept their eyes on their feet, wishing to stay focused on something other than the death and destruction that was being illuminated by the early light of the morning. While the others were simply ignoring it all as best they could, eyes forward. There was an occasional sniffle from someone or rustle of debris in the street, but they had been well on their way before someone finally spoke.

    "So, Savannah…or whatever your name is…how exactly did you survive and manage not to get killed again?" Souta adjusted his hat and glared at the back of the girl's head.

    "You can call me Savy for the last time, geez. And how 'bout I turn that argument back at you, pal? Wasn't this place hit first? How did you guys make it out alive?"

    "Well, not all of us live on Camomile. Only Onomichi, Fuu, and I do." Iris interjected, "And we're not all in the best of shape either." Her tone became sharp and annoyed, "I think what Souta was getting at is, yeah we were hit first but from what Reni has told me the center of town shouldn't be in the best of shape either."

    Savannah looked back at her confused but continued on forward, "I wasn't implying you guys were having a party here I just…well you're right. It's not really pretty but we're all managing. And I mean we came from different parts of town too, like you guys did. I don't live at the center of town and not all of you live on Camomile."

    "Is there food there, Savy?" Reicheru wiped her eyes and yawned heavily.

    "Sure is! There's plenty to go around believe it or not! And there are places to sleep too. We've fixed plenty of rooms in the hotels nearby and then also made makeshift beds in a few of the shops."

    "Are they warm?" Mimi rubbed her arms feverishly. It was easy to forget it was winter to some. They had been cramped in Savannah's house for so long and others had coats or light sweaters to wear. For others though the cool weather was a constant and harsh reminder that their situation was still pretty bad despite the recent positive turn of events.

    "As warm as we could make them. Electricity and heat are pretty iffy. Everyone's doing their best." Savannah glanced back at them again, "Don't worry, I'm sure it's better than what you had at my place." She paused for a second before looking back at Iris again, "How is she holding up?" she smiled but the woman only turned to look out at the street.

    "She's fine." Iris mumbled.

    "Right…forget I asked." Savannah turned to focus on the road ahead of them once more, but the silence soon began to get awkward again and she couldn't help but speak to try and keep the group awake, "So…Rai. Where do you live?"

    Rai held his hands in his pockets and looked up the street, past Savannah, "I actually live on the other side of town."

    "Then how the heck did you get all the way over here?"

    "I was walking Iris home. We were almost there when the attack started…well what about you, Savy? Where do you live?"

    "I live on the northeast side of Lancaster Falls, near the amusement parks and stuff. When the attacks started I was actually-"

    "Can we not talk about it, please?" Iris held her sister a little tighter and the group fell silent once more until the buildings of the town's center rose into view.

    "There it is!" Luna exclaimed happily.

    "And there's the hospital." Rai smiled over at Iris, "We're almost there."

    "Yep." She kept her focus forward and continued to walk with the others. By the time the group had finally made it, the sun was just beginning to peek over the horizon, as if it were regretting having to reveal the ruin that had befallen the town days before once more.

    "It's morning…time for bed…" Reicheru rubbed at her eyes again. A few chuckled at her joke but the mood was still heavy and serious. The sight of the makeshift town center was rough and bleak. It was livelier than the emptiness of Camomile but far from uplifting. The people had clearly been battered and bruised and hadn't escaped the attack unscathed and the buildings were just as ruined as everything else. The hospital especially seemed to be very worse for wear. Plenty of its windows had been blown out and the front entrance was even blocked by a mountain of rubble.

    "Lovely." Kaisho rolled her eyes.

    "I don't know what you guys were expecting." Savannah gave a small laugh as she turned to face them but suddenly stopped when she met Iris's glare.

    "Are you sure Daisy will be okay there?" Rai glanced over at the small child worriedly, "It doesn't look very inviting. Nothing here does."

    "I know," Savannah coughed nervously and rubbed her arms in the morning wind, "But really. Everything will be just fine. It's not much to look at but we're striving for practicality here not beauty right? We can worry about making it look pretty later."

    She smiled at the group but was only met with tired, dull stares and one strange unreadable look from Iris.

    "Hey, are you alright? You've been acting weird since we left my house." Savannah couldn't resist asking. Iris looked away from her and shrugged. Or maybe she was simply adjusting the hold she had on her sister. Savannah couldn't tell.

    "I'm fine. And how would you know how I should or shouldn't act if we just met? I really don't think…who are they?"

    Savannah turned and then waved at two young girls as they hurried towards the group. One was a small blonde that easily trailed behind the other who had soft orange hair and seemed to have an easier time moving up the path.

    "Savy! You're back! Did you get the…oh. You met some new friends I see." She smiled brightly and motioned for the other girl to hurry up.

    "Hey, Mona. I couldn't find any more supplies but I found these guys! One of them is really hurt though. You think you can take these two to the hospital for me?" Savannah gestured back to Iris.

    Mona stood on her toes to get a better look and nodded, "Of course…oh my. What…what happened?" she stepped closer and gently touched the sheet Daisy was wrapped in. Iris didn't answer though and Mona quickly took the hint.

    "That's okay…I'm sure there's someone who can help.  Come on, Sakura." Mona turned and held onto her friend's hand just as she arrived.

    "W-what?! I just got here…first you wake me up early and then-" the girl panted heavily and wiped her forehead.

    "Yeah, but that little girl needs help pronto!"

    Sakura looked and cringed at the blood on the sheet. Nodding slowly she turned and quickly hurried back down the pathway as if the sight was making her sick, which it probably was.

    "Great. Iris, you go with them. The rest of you can follow me to the hotel where everyone is sleeping." Savannah stretched, "I think it's time we all got some rest. And then later we can go get some food."

    "I'm going with Iris. I'll catch up with you guys later." Rai waved to the others as they began to walk away.

    "Are you sure about that?" Savannah stopped but Rai didn't look at her and kept going.

    "Yeah, I'm sure. They might need my help."

    "We'll go too! Come on, Onomichi!" Reni raised her hand and attached herself to Rai's arm as Onomichi dragged her feet, eventually making it to Iris's side.

    "But…fine suit yourselves. See ya." Savannah shrugged and motioned for the others to follow her to the hotel once more.

    As Mona lead the way to the hospital, Sakura having pulled far ahead of them to avoid staring at Daisy, she waved to the other people who had amassed in the small area as they woke up and went about another day of trying to bring their town back to its previous state. Some were doing their best to clear the junk out of the street while others simply waited in long lines for breakfast.

    "We have to go around the back to get inside." Mona lead them up to and around the hospital building and finally through the back entrance. It was warmer on the inside, and clearly being run on a back-up power source as a few machines were still functioning but not much else. Mona lead them to the old ruined waiting room and smiled.

    "You guys just wait here. I'll go find someone who can help." She grabbed a hold of Sakura and sprinted off down the hallway calling out random names as she went until her voice faded into the upper levels of the building.

    "I think I've been hanging around Kaisho for too long." Onomichi finally spoke with an unsettled tone.

    "What do you mean? What's the matter?" Iris looked over at her and smiled, "We're finally out of that house. Daisy is going to get the help she needs. So what's the problem? Is it that Savannah girl?" She glanced back at Rai who raised an eyebrow in confusion.

    "What's wrong with Savannah?"

    "Don't you mean 'Savy'?"

    "No it's not her!" Onomichi folded her arms in detest, "I just don't think we're all really safe out here. You know that stupid saying about the calm before the storm...I don't think we've heard the last of those guys who attacked the city."

    "I think you're worrying too much. Why would they come back? You're just used to hiding out in that house and now that we're out here where other people can see us you're just a little anxious." Iris brought the smile back to her face, "I'm sure everything will be alright, just give it awhile."

    Onomichi shrugged and continued to focus on the ground, "Yeah…I hope you're right."
     
  18. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Chapter 9 desu~

    "I give them one job…one simple task and they can't even get that right." Taizo cracked his knuckles as he paced back in forth inside the large room where Bekkah and Hayao had left him, "It shouldn't take this long."

    "They've only been gone for a few hours. I think you're just bored." Another male figure, older and taller, sat in the shadows, in a far corner of the room. He smiled, revealing an almost endless ray of teeth and then laughed as if he found the young boy's agitation to be comedy gold, "Which if that is the case…if you are bored….maybe we should have gone out there ourselves and made sure the job was done."

    Taizo stopped and rubbed at his eye patch. The man's laughter irritated him, or maybe it was the thought that he might have to get his own hands dirty that bothered him…Taizo couldn't tell.

    "Don't be ridiculous…we're not supposed to worry about things like that. We're the leaders! We tell them what to do and they're supposed to do it no questions asked!" Taizo relaxed himself and sat back behind his desk. He adjusted his eye patch and stared up at the ceiling, "Dad never had to do anything like run errands…" he sighed, "When he told people to do something they did it and with perfect results!"

    "Your father was a very persuasive guy." The man smiled again and turned to tap his fingers on a nearby window, "Of course they did what he said."

    "I'm persuasive too!" Taizo snapped.

    "Hmph…you're a child. Without me you're anything but persuasive, terrifying, or strong for that matter. Did you forget who got you this far?" he continued to tap his fingers in a rhythmic manner.

    Taizo rested his elbows on the desk and laid his head in his hands. He was tired of waiting around for Hayao and Bekkah to return but he was by no means just 'bored'. If anything he was incredibly anxious that the two would try to escape and he'd have to get rid of them for their treason. But he wasn't 'bored'.

    He glanced over at the man he had been conversing with. Maybe the real reason he was so agitated was because he hated being alone with someone like that. The man stopped tapping for a second and looked over his shoulder signaling to Taizo that he had read his thoughts but went back to tapping none-the less.

    For approximately ten minutes they didn't speak again and the room was quiet save for the consistent tapping and occasional aggravated sighs from Taizo. But eventually the tapping ceased and the man spoke again.

    "You know where I'm from…servants don't really serve you. They're just there to make sure you don't break any rules. Rather annoying really. You can't have any fun or else they'll 'tell on you'."

    "What?" Taizo leaned back again, "But…Hachi and Luna follow your every order! I don't see them telling your higher ups anything anytime soon."

    "Haha, my servants are different. Unlike you I can be very persuasive…that and they both are very power hungry for lower class ladies."

    Taizo smirked and folded his arms in a familiar manner, "If this plan of ours works you three will have a lot of power. Won't you have to share it?"

    The man threw his head back and his laughter rang throughout the entire room, almost as if it had no means of escape and could only bounce back and forth off of the walls, and with each bounce the laughter only seemed to get louder.

    Taizo clasped his hands over his patched eye and screamed, "Stop! Geez, are you crazy?! You know what that does to me!"

    "Share it?" the man stepped closer but managed to remain in the shadows, "No…there will be no sharing, boy. Trust me. People like us don't share."

    Taizo raised an eyebrow, "Yeah, but-"

    "Do you have any idea why I was tapping my fingers, Taizo?" The man took another step forward, so that he was standing just on the edge of the darkness.

    "To piss me off? Cause it worked."

    "No, I had a reason." The man grinned.

    "Is this a good reason or a bad reason? Cause if it's a bad reason I don't want to hear it. I've already had enough of your crap today."

    "There are others out there." He held the grin on his face but the message didn't seem to register with Taizo, so the man shook his head, clearly annoyed, "Others like you, I mean. Special people with some helpful friends I bet…and where they are, if I'm sensing the right ones, there are bound to be plenty of live humans. Or I guess how you'd put it…missed targets."

    "What?!" Taizo stood so abruptly that his chair fell to the ground, almost as if it were afraid of what he might do to it.

    "Are you deaf, child?"

    "How? You didn't say anything about others like us out there!"

    "You honestly think you're the only one? Or for that matter that I'm the only one? What sense would that make?"

    "Who are they? And where are they?!"

    "I can't be one hundred percent sure as their signals are too far away. But I suggest you take your attitude down a notch before I do it for you, boy."

    Taizo took a step back. Everything he had worked for was slowly beginning to fall apart around him. Bekkah and Hayao had yet to return. For all Taizo knew they could have been long gone. And now his own army couldn't even complete a simple mission without leaving behind strays.

    "Those idiots…kill everyone! How hard is that to understand?!"

    "Well, you could sit here and continue shouting, or, as the leader, you could do something about it."

    Taizo slammed his hands onto the desk, digging his fingernails deeper into the wood the more he rolled the situation over in his thoughts. His father never had to go through something like this.

    "Your father never tried to eradicate the earth of all human life." The man chuckled to himself.

    "I hate it when you do that…" Taizo rubbed his eye, "It hurts."

    "You're just not used to it. Well? What's the plan?"

    Taizo ran his fingers through his hair and sighed again, "I…guess we don't have a choice. You're right…if we want to get this done the right way we'll have to go there and take care of the problem ourselves. You think you could find out where we're supposed to go?"

    "If we get out of this stuffy building I could…"

    "Then let's go. Hachi and Luna-"

    "I'll have them bring your friends don't worry."

    "They're not my friends!" Taizo began to crack his knuckles once more, "They're not…no more wasting time. I wanna finish this as soon as possible and get things back on track. Let's go, Vikotoro."

    "Fair enough." The man laughed one last time and grabbed Taizo by his arm, "This should be quite an interesting turn of events indeed."

    *****

    Rai knocked as lightly as possible but when no one answered he pushed open the door to the room where Daisy was being treated and frowned when he saw Iris laying her head on the bed, fast asleep again. Not that he was upset about her sleeping. She had to have been exhausted from everything that had happened so far.

    However, he wished she would have gone to the hotel with the others after Daisy had been settled in. He tried to convince her but she wouldn't listen to him and the more he pushed her, the more upset and adamant she got about staying. He had no choice but to leave her there while a few of the surviving nurses took him into another room and gave him new bandages for his injuries.

    He closed the door behind him and looked across the room. It was pretty clean given the circumstances, but it wasn't perfect. A few monitors that had been toppled over had been straightened up and pushed into a corner, but thankfully Daisy didn't need them. Medical posters that had been plastered on the wall had been torn down or burned and the nearby sink, Rai had found out earlier, was not working.

    He walked over and grabbed a few extra blankets from underneath it. Even though it was warmer inside the building than out, it was still pretty cold. He picked up two, because they were thin, and after carefully placing them over Iris, walked over to the window without waking her.

    Out and below, there were people wandering around and picking up the remnants of the attack three days earlier, or maybe they were looking for what they had lost. Personal items, family members…it made Rai realize that even though she was hurt, he was glad that Iris was with Daisy in the first place.

    He rubbed his arms and leaned his freshly bandaged forehead against the window. The sun was still rising, although it made no difference. Even in the morning the skies were still dark with thick clouds and smoke. He yawned and continued to stare below. He was starting to get pretty tired himself, but something was keeping him awake, he just couldn't figure out what.

    Almost as if giving him an answer, the door creaked open and Reni slid herself inside.

    "Hey there." She smiled. Rai smiled back and when he didn't say anything she continued, "Think I could talk to you in the hallway or something…somewhere private?"

    Rai glanced over at the sisters and then back at Reni, "I don't think they'll be waking up anytime-"

    "It's for the best really. I mean it's not that I don't trust them…just…what I have to say is really important. I guess that does mean I don't trust them but…" Reni scratched the back of her head and groaned, "Just the hallway I swear, please?"

    Rai shrugged, "Yeah, okay I guess."

    Reni nodded and pulled the door open, motioning for him to hurry up. Once they were back out in the hall she placed herself in a nearby chair and began to swing her feet anxiously.

    "So…" she rubbed at her eyes.

    "So?" Rai leaned against the wall, "What did you want to talk about that was so important you couldn't risk Iris or Daisy hearing?"

    Reni hesitated but eventually touched the back of her left hand, "It's just…it's been bothering me for a while now. It kinda hurts…but then it kinda doesn't and…I was wondering how you were doing?"

    Rai looked away from her and down the hallway, "I don't know what I was expecting you to say but that definitely wasn't it."

    Reni slid down in her chair and shrugged, "I don't know what you were expecting me to say either but I had to ask you. I think there's more to this situation than I had anticipated. I thought at first it was just a bunch of terrorists or something. Something where we could pretend to be just as victimized as everyone else like we're supposed to…but ever since we got here I've had this odd feeling. And then what Ono said downstairs and now my hand is starting to burn…I think-"

    "I haven't felt anything. Can you tell who it is?" Rai looked back at her worriedly but Reni shook her head.

    "No…I mean I think I know but I can't be one hundred percent sure. Either way we should be careful don't you think?" Reni had finally managed to slide so far down that she had to stand up and readjust herself, "This is way more serious than I guess any of us could have guessed…which reminds me. We can't let the others know."

    "They'll find out eventually…one way or another." Rai stepped toward the room and rested his hand on the door handle, "Think about what's happened so far. Whoever is out there is obviously out to kill and I doubt they'll be content with hiding for long and when they do show up what are we supposed to tell everyone?"

    "We'll figure that out when we get there…" Reni folded her arms tightly. "But…remember what I told you a few days ago…"

    Rai looked at her and sighed, "That depends on what you're talking about."

    "About only being able to watch the people you care about get hurt…and only wishing you could do something to change it. It was the day Fuu showed up with Tomo and Daisy."

    Rai couldn't remember right off the bat…all he remembered about that day was how distraught Iris was. But eventually, Reni's words came back to him and he nodded, "Yeah I remember."

    "Well…I think I want to take that back. If whoever is out there, if it's who I think it is…we're going to have to jump in. That doesn't mean we go blabbing to everyone it just means well...we'll figure it out. I'm going to go tell Souta." Reni scooted backwards, nearly tripping over a toppled chair, but quickly regaining her balance, "He'll need to know."

    "Wait, I'll go with you…Souta can be a bit…difficult when it comes to this."

    Reni raised her hand and smiled at him, "No you won't! Stay here with them, "She nodded towards the door, "You might hurt Iris's feelings if you leave. We wouldn't want that now would we?"

    "I…guess you're right."

    Reni nodded, "Of course I am." She turned on her heels and waved as she began to head towards the stairwell, "See you later."

    Rai rolled his eyes and watched as she almost disappeared down the hallway. If what she told him was true, maybe it was best he stay here with the sisters. Still, even though he knew she didn't need his protection, he wanted to make sure Reni would be okay too.

    "Reni." he called after her. Reni turned around, barely visible but he could still make out her general shape, "Just…be careful okay?"

    He could hear her laugh and continue on about her way, "Don't worry about me! I'm always careful."
     
  19. Pianodream

    Pianodream Momo's Minion

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    God I love this fic series ♥

    (Though I'm still wondering when Ciel will appear, along with new characters XD)
     
  20. IrisFlower

    IrisFlower Precious Flower with Thorns Supporter Defender of Defoko

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    Thanks~

    (And they're coming I promise~ It's going to be a pretty long series;:wink:

    Chapter 10

    "Will you two hurry up?" Kaisho tapped her foot impatiently as Suika and Reicheru rushed out of the hotel room, "They won't be serving food for long. We have to hurry up before they put it all away or we'll have to wait until dinner." She adjusted her hat and closed the door forcefully behind them, "And I'm not waiting until dinner."

    She turned to face everyone and nodded towards the stairwell.

    "That was barely a nap! Why can't we sleep longer?" Luna yawned and rubbed her eyes.

    "What did I just say?" Kaisho slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand, "Sometimes I think you ignore me just to piss me off and it works."

    Luna stuck her tongue out and then quickly ducked behind Mimi when Kaisho took a swing at her.

    "Will you two knock it off, geez! This isn't the time for us to be fighting. Let's just go. Once we get something to eat, we can all come back and get some rest, okay?" Mimi pulled Luna from behind her and shook her head.

    The hotel the group had been placed in was pretty comfortable compared to the cramped conditions of Savannah's house, but it was far from perfect. There were rooms that had been barricaded from the inside and were inaccessible, raising the question of what was on the other side. On one floor there was even a wall missing making it impossible to properly heat the building.

    Kaisho and the others were placed on the fourth floor in five separate rooms, but they had all only been resting for a few hours when she had woken them up again. She figured they should go get something to eat. However, because of rations food could only be served at certain times a day and if they were late they'd have to wait and Kaisho knew everyone was hungry. They hadn't eaten any proper meals since they had held themselves up in Savannah's home.

    There were no restrictions on sleeping so it was easy for them to get some rest, but she wasn't about to deal with the complaints of hungry children.

    "So is everyone ready?" Mimi placed her hands on her hips as the group nodded, "Alright, let's get this-"

    "Mimi!" Reni rounded the corner excitedly and wrapped her arms around her friend, "I thought I heard your voice! I'm glad I ran into you. Where are you guys going?"

    "Reni…where are Rai and Iris? Why didn't you guys come back when Onomichi, did?" Kaisho questioned.

    "Rai and Iris are with Daisy, duh. And I think Ono has had enough of me. Which…she isn't with you guys either sooo…" Reni grinned brightly.

    "I saw her earlier." Mimi nodded, "Onomichi picked Tomo up and took him over to the hospital. I guess when she went with you guys earlier she was just scoping the place out. I'm surprised you didn't run into her first."

    "Oh. Hmm…"

    "Are they still giving out breakfast, Reni?"

    Reni nodded and pushed her way up to Souta, "Yep. Gotta hurry though. Looks like they're getting ready to start packing up."

    "Dammit…I told you guys to pick up the pace! Let's go." Kaisho hurried down the stairs, followed in rapid succession by the others.

    "Uhh…wait. Reni?" Mimi turned to look at the young girl as she blocked Souta's path.

    "We'll catch up. I just gotta talk to him for a second. That is kinda why I'm here." Reni gave a small laugh. Mimi shrugged and followed after the others, shouting for them to wait for her as she left. Reni turned her focus up and glared into Souta's eyes. However, he only adjusted his hat and avoided her glare.

    "You know why I'm here, don't you?" She frowned.

    "Yeah, so? I don't care. It's not my problem."

    "You, Rai, and I are all this town has left, Souta!" Reni stomped her foot, "It's totally our problem! In fact I'm surprised you didn't tell me sooner. Your radius is way bigger than mine."

    "Why should I have to tell you anything?" Souta kicked at a nearby bag and then crouched on the floor, "I knew you'd figure it out eventually. It's not that much bigger."

    Reni clenched her teeth, "But you knew who it was didn't you! They're getting closer so now I know for sure but you…you knew it was Vikotoro the moment-"

    "Look, Squirt," Souta stood up and touched Reni's forehead, pushing her back, "What has this place ever done for me except piss me off, huh? I say let him come! I can't wait to watch this place burn in hell like it deserves." He turned away from her and tried to make his way over to the stairs but Reni had heard enough.

    She grabbed the back of his shirt and proceeded to deliver a swift kick to his achilles heel, causing him to immediately fall to his knees.

    "The people you want to watch burn have been keeping you alive! The same people you're going to follow out the door." She rested her hand on top of his hat and shook her head, "If I let you leave that is…I've been watching you and even though I don't trust you, everyone else does so I've been keeping quiet." She brought herself around so that she was standing in front of him and tilted his head up to face her, "But things won't be quiet for long and you will remember who's in charge."

    "Not you." Souta smacked her hand away and forced himself to stand up, "I don't care who's out there. I'm not doing anything for you or that royal ass you work for."

    "If you think Vikotoro will let you join him, if that's what you're planning, you're wrong. And if you don't help us you're officially our enemy."

    Souta pushed her aside and continued towards the stairs. He didn't say anything. He only limped slightly until the pain eventually wore off and he could step comfortably. Reni tightened her fists.

    "You're making a mistake." She murmured.

    "Am I?" Souta shrugged, "You never liked me. I never liked you. I say I'm doing us both a favor here." He glared back at her before finally making his way down the steps, leaving Reni standing in the hallway by herself.

    She let her hands drop to her side. She knew Souta wouldn't do anything. She knew that nothing she or Rai said would change his mind but she wanted to try. She wanted to give him a chance to prove her wrong for once. She sat down on the ground, legs crossed, and sighed.

    "Consider your chance missed. "

    *****

    Rai didn't immediately return to the room once Reni had left. He lingered in the hallway for a bit and soon found himself walking away from Daisy's room, all the way down to the other end where there was a broken window that allowed a chilling breeze to flow through.

    Outside was a side alley leading out into the streets where everyone had gathered. Rai could hear them talking and the loud clatter of various chunks of debris being moved around.

    "This wasn't supposed to happen…" he whispered to himself as he kicked bits and shards of glass out of his way. He leaned a little ways out the window and sighed as he attempted to picture the town before it was destroyed. He smiled at a nearby bus stop sign that had been thrown onto the ground. It reminded him of when he had met up with Iris three days prior.

    The way she had yelled at him for missing the bus and how cold she looked. But she was still in a good mood as far as he could tell. She was always in a good mood since the day he met her. Even though back then he found her to be a bit troublesome, always wanting to hang out with him even if he wanted to be by himself, which was often.

    However, now that she wasn't smiling or laughing or even teasing him, he realized how much of a difference she had made in his life back then. He couldn't even imagine himself staying in Lancaster Falls if it hadn't been for her. He never wanted to hurt Iris or see her cry and knew if he had moved away that's exactly what would had happened.

    He always felt compelled to make her happy and he could never understand it. He had never done that for anyone else. Not even his own parents. He pulled himself back inside and found himself staring at the ground now. He wanted the old Iris back. He wanted to close his eyes and open them and there she would be teasing him for daydreaming or dosing off.

    But after what Reni had told him he knew good and well that wasn't going to happen. He felt an immense anger begin to swell inside him and he made a promise that when he finally confronted whoever was responsible for this, he'd make sure they paid for everything they had destroyed. The town, all of the innocent lives, and especially for destroying everything that made Iris who she was.

    "Rai."

    He was pulled out of his thoughts and turned to see her staring at him with a dull, cold expression. She hung her head slightly as if still waking up and her hands shook, Rai hoped, from the cold air.

    "I uhh…I thought you were asleep." He smiled.

    Iris shook her head, "I was but then I woke up." She brought her full attention to the ground, "I couldn't sleep anymore." She shook again.

    "What's the matter?" He stepped closer to her and touched her shoulder, "You haven't been getting any sleep lately. Let's go back to the room." He found himself almost pleading. She didn't answer him and she didn't look like she was feeling well. "Iris? You shouldn't be out here. It's cold. Come on, I'll-"

    "I'm really scared, Rai." Iris pulled away and stepped passed him. She made her way over to the window and leaned against the sill, "I'm really…I'm terrified right now."

    "Iris…" Rai brought his focus back to the ground as she spoke.

    "I don't know if Daisy is going to make it. And I don't want to watch her die." Iris ran her hands across the edge of the window, paying no mind to the broken glass, almost as if she were playing with the idea of it hurting her, "I don't want to be alone…I'm terrified of being by myself no matter what I've said in the past."

    Rai swallowed hard and began to feel nervous. He didn't like what he was hearing and he didn't like the way she almost seemed to be talking at him, rather than to him. But he didn't know how to answer her.

    She wiped at her eyes and continued talking, "I…I've always tried to be brave for Daisy's sake but if she doesn't pull through…what's left for me?"

    He felt his heart sink. It had never dawned on him before. Iris was always taking care of Daisy and making sure she was alright. When the child was frightened or worried Iris was always there to comfort her. But when Iris was afraid…who did she have but herself? There were no parents in the Libra household. Only the two sisters.

    How many years had Iris been forced to put on a brave face? How many times had she been forced to bottle any negative emotion she felt up and hide them away so that Daisy wouldn't see them? And what had the recent events of watching her sister lay there, helpless, done to those retained feelings?

    He looked up at her hunched over the windowsill now, her arms tightly pulled in, "Iris…that's okay. You don't have to be brave anymore. It's alright to be afraid because you have friends who are here for you, now. You don't have to go through this by yourself. You shouldn't try to go through it by yourself."

    "Rai, " Iris turned to face him, a large shard of glass clutched in her hand, "I don't want to be here anymore. I don't deserve it." She raised it to her neck as tears began to fall down her cheeks, "I should have died back there. I should've been killed. But since I wasn't…"

    "Iris!" Rai made an attempt to step towards her but as he did she stepped back and pressed the shard against her skin, causing it to draw blood. Rai stopped himself and backed up.

    "Stay away from me!" Iris sobbed, "You don't understand! I've messed up…I've lied to everyone. I'm not okay and…Daisy isn't going to be okay either…I can't watch her die, Rai. I can't! I promised Mom I'd take care of her and look what's happened! I've failed…don't…don't try to stop me."

    "Iris, please. I know you're afraid. I'm afraid too! But this isn't the answer!"

    "What could you possibly be afraid of?!" the tears seemed to be never-ending, but even as Iris stood there shaking from her sobs and emotions, she still held on tightly to her make-shift weapon.

    "I…I don't want to lose you, Iris. You have no idea how important you are to me."

    "You're lying!"

    "Iris…" Rai took a step forward even if it meant her digging the shard in deeper.

    "I don't believe you."

    "Iris, listen to me." Rai stretched his hand out towards her, "I promised that I'd be there for you and I promised I wouldn't watch you destroy yourself. I won't break that promise!" he took another step forward and grimaced as the blood from her neck flowed faster and down her shirt, signaling he didn't have much longer to convince her, "Iris please…you can't do this…this isn't the answer and you know it."

    Iris went to take another step back but Rai wasn't going to give her the chance to distance herself anymore. Even if it meant she'd drive the shard all the way in and slit her throat, he had to do something. He lunged forward, and reached for the shard, gaining a firm grip on her wrist and arm.

    "Let me go!" She screamed and pulled but with her blurred vision and weakened state she was in no position to push him away and eventually dropped the glass to the ground. She sobbed even harder and buried face into his chest, "Why won't you…why are you doing this to me?"

    Rai sighed with relief and clasped his hand over her cut, "Because…I love you way too much. I don't think I could stand losing you." He admitted, "You're not the only one who can't bear to watch someone they love die."

    Iris continued to cry, managing to speak in between quiet gasps and sobs, but Rai couldn't make out the words. Between her crying and him yelling at her to regain her senses he hadn't noticed how much quieter it had gotten on the outside.

    ****

    No one moved. Some, Reni could have sworn, even stopped breathing out fear that they would probably be shot. She rubbed at the back of her hand as the burning had finally begun to get to her. She was too late. She swallowed hard as everyone focused their attention on the surrounding rooftops.

    The same army that had ravaged their town days ago now stood, weapons aimed and at the ready, on top of the various buildings that made up the town center. And in the middle, on top of the hospital, stood a young boy with blonde hair, an eye patch covering his right eye. He smiled brightly down at them, in his hands he clasped a megaphone. He stepped forward and clicking it on smiled as he spoke to the people below.

    "I see everyone's been having a nice time here, huh? What's the name of this town again…Lancaster Falls. I think that's what the sign said." he chuckled slightly and sat down on the edge of the building, swinging his feet back and forth in a playful manner.

    Reni balled her fists at her sides. He was just a child. Their lives were in the hands of some kid. The boy scanned the crowd for a while before standing up again.

    "Well, it's a nice town. Cool name, I guess, too. But unfortunately for all of you, I can't have riffraff like yourselves living like this. That wasn't part of the plan." He grinned and raised his hands. The army around them glared down the sights of their weapons. He smiled and then shrugged nonchalantly, "You were all lucky to survive once before. But you won't be so lucky this time."
     

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