Ichigo was sitting at home after a stressful day at work, not to mention battling Kisshu, who had been unusually snappish, instead of teasing.
But why does that bug me? Ichigo wondered. Maybe it's just because I'm used to him one way, and him acting differently threw me off. Maybe he's just having a bad day. I'll just stop thinking about this.
And she did try, but finally gave it up. Kisshu's never serious or snappy around me; instead it's like he's trying to annoy me with all that teasing, Ichigo thought. This brought her to another line of thinking, and she wondered, What does Kisshu really think of me? He says I'm his toy, he teases me into oblivion, the next minute he's trying to kill me, and then he's kissing me. Maybe he's bipolar? But that's a human disorder, and he's not human…. AAARGH! Why does thinking about Kisshu always give me a headache?
She didn't realize she had been thinking out loud until a voice from her ceiling said, "Sexy overload, that's why you have a headache."
Ichigo looked up sharply to see Kisshu hanging upside down from her ceiling, smirking. "Oh, and by the way, I'm not bipolar," Kisshu said.
"Uh-huh," Ichigo said, unconvinced. "What's up with the mood swings, then? One minute you're joking, the next you're trying to kill me, and after that you're telling me I'm yours and kissing me. What is up with that?"
Kisshu floated down to sit on the bed, and started sulking. "Why are you sulking?" Ichigo asked wearily.
"I'm NOT bipolar, I'm manic depressive," Kisshu grumbled.
Ichigo sweatdropped. "Uh… Kisshu, that's the same thing," she said. "Manic depression is commonly referred to as bipolar disorder. Why are you not getting treatment for this?"
"Do you see any therapists on this planet who wouldn't report me to the police?" Kisshu asked grouchily. "And I didn't USE to have bipolar disorder; it started after I got here."
Ichigo sighed, but before she could respond, her cell phone rang. She picked up, and said, "What now, Ryou?"
"Explain what Kisshu's doing at your house," Ryou said.
"Getting therapy," Ichigo said. "He's bipolar."
"And you're his therapist now?" Ryou snickered.
Kisshu grabbed the phone and said, "You'd better quit laughing, or I'm coming over there to destroy you. Is there something WRONG with bipolar disorder?"
Ichigo's cat hearing came in handy as Ryou said, "No, but if it's not treated, it gets worse. Can you give Ichigo her cell phone back now?"
"Mmph," Kisshu said, and went back to sulking as he handed the phone back to Ichigo.
"So now that you know why Kisshu's here, was there anything else?" Ichigo asked.
"Yup," Ryou said. Ichigo could hear the smirk in his voice as he started singing, "Kisshu and Ichigo, sittin' in a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G! First comes love, then comes marriage, then come a kitten in a baby carriage!"
"I'm hanging up now," Ichigo said, and snapped the phone shut, steaming. Kisshu was rolling around on the bed laughing, and Ichigo asked, "So what was up with earlier?"
"What's that mean?" Kisshu snickered.
"You were kind of snappish in our battle today," Ichigo said.
"Oh, Pai went in the kitchen, and I wasn't really in the mood for a battle," Kisshu said. "I pranked him later, so I'm in a better mood now, even though he kicked me out. I'm apparently banished for a week. Can I stay here?"
"Wha- NO! Absolutely not!" Ichigo said.
"Why?" Kisshu asked. "Blondie seems to approve of our relationship."
"We don't HAVE a relationship," Ichigo growled. "And may I remind you I already have a boyfriend?"
"He's a cheater," Kisshu said.
"Where'd you get THAT idea?" Ichigo shrieked.
"I saw him kissing some girl at your school when I went by," Kisshu said. "She punched him in the gut, though, and then she and another girl started beating him to a bloody pulp. It was fun to watch- until they noticed me and told me if I interfered I'd be going down. I decided to get out of there, since there were a bunch of sirens headed that way."
"Well, I guess now I know why Moe and Miwa and Aoyama weren't in school today," Ichigo sighed.
Her cell phone rang again, and she looked at the caller ID, then picked up and said, "Hi Moe, what's up?"
"Aoyama tried to kiss Miwa, and we decided to come over for a sleepover," Moe said. "See you soon!" She hung up.
"Sleepover?" Kisshu asked. "Cool, can we play Truth or Dare?"
"Maybe," Ichigo said. "I think what we need to do is figure out what to do about your bipolar issues."
Kisshu suddenly pinned her to the bed, and said angrily, "I DON'T have bipolar disorder!"
Unfortunately, he chose the time Moe and Miwa decided to barge in, and suddenly found himself smashing into Ichigo's dresser. A framed photograph fell onto his lap, and he looked at it, then shuddered. As Moe and Miwa advanced on him, he snapped his fingers, and the photo and frame went up in smoke. Then he looked at Moe and Miwa, who asked at the same time, "Can you teach us to do that?"
"I doubt it," Kisshu said, puzzled by their sudden change from 'doom Kisshu mode' to 'eager'. "By the way, can you convince Ichigo that I'm not bipolar?"
"No, because you ARE bipolar," Miwa said.
Kisshu went back to sulking as Ichigo said, "Good timing guys. What should we do now?"
"Figure out why Kisshu's here and what to do about his bipolar issues," Moe said.
"I'm here because Pai banished me for a week, and I decided to come stay here," Kisshu said.
"And did Ichigo agree to this?" Miwa asked.
"No…. but the other option is sleeping in her tree every night," Kisshu said. "I don't have anywhere else to go."
"What about staying with Ryou? He approved of our relationship," Ichigo smirked.
"Hell no, he'll still murder me in my sleep," Kisshu said. "I don't want to be murdered in my sleep."
"Fine…." Ichigo said. "You get the guest room."
Kisshu perked up and hugged Ichigo happily. "Thanks Koneko-chan!" he said happily.
Ichigo sighed and said, "Sure."
"Can we play Truth or Dare?" Kisshu asked hopefully.
"Sure," Miwa said before Ichigo could respond. "Let's do that after dinner, though."
"What's for dinner?" Kisshu asked.
"We ordered a pizza," Miwa said. "It should be here soon."
The doorbell rang, and Miwa added, "Or now." Then she ran downstairs to get the pizza.
The others waited, and finally heard Miwa call, "Come and get it!"
Kisshu got up and went downstairs, followed by Moe and Ichigo. They went to the kitchen, and found Miwa dishing out slices of chicken bacon pizza. "That smells GOOD," Kisshu commented.
"Good," Miwa said. "Come eat."
The four teens started eating, and soon the pizza was gone. "Now can we play Truth or Dare?" Kisshu asked.
"You've got a one-track mind," Ichigo said dryly. "Why do you want to play that so badly?"
"'Cause Pai and Taruto NEVER play games with me," Kisshu said.
"Alright, let's go back to my room," Ichigo said. Kisshu jumped up and teleported, leaving the girls to go back up on their own.
They got upstairs, and sat down in a circle. "Alright, who's going first?" Ichigo asked.
"I will!" Kisshu said excitedly. "Ichigo, Truth or Dare?"
"Dare," Ichigo said without thinking.
"Kiss me," Kisshu said, smirking.
Ichigo blanched and looked at Moe and Miwa- only to see them smirking evilly at her. She sighed and kissed Kisshu. She meant to make it brief, but then Kisshu kissed back, and she started to melt inside. It felt wonderful, and she noticed Kisshu tasted like cinnamon.
She lost track of time until she ran out of air, and broke it off, gasping. Kisshu smirked at her, and she blushed- which quickly turned to so red it wasn't healthy as she heard Moe say, "Nice; I didn't know you could hold your breath for thirteen minutes, Ichigo."
"Th-thirteen minutes?" Ichigo stammered, incredulous.
"Yup, I was timing you," Moe said. "So?"
Ichigo looked at her smirk, and sighed, then said, "Fine…. You were right…. I'm in love with Kisshu…."
"YAY!" Kisshu said, and promptly glomped her.
"Okay, bedtime," Miwa said. "Don't you have the Café in the morning, Ichigo?"
"Yup," Ichigo said gloomily. "Hey, I'll bring Kisshu, and we can drive Ryou nuts!"
"Sounds fun," Kisshu said. "Can we sleep together?"
"No," Ichigo said.
"Please?" Kisshu pleaded, giving her the dreaded puppy dog eyes and pout. Ichigo sighed, and said, "ONLY sleeping."
"YAY!" Kisshu shouted happily, and snapped his fingers. A pair of pajamas appeared in his hand, and he went off to change. Ichigo sighed, and asked Moe and Miwa, "Do you two want the guest room?"
"Sure," Moe said. "If you get up before us, we'll lock up the house after you leave."
"Thanks," Ichigo said, getting her pajamas out. Moe and Miwa left, and she got changed, then laid out clothes for the next day. Kisshu came in, and asked, "Are we going to bed?"
"Yes," Ichigo said. "Moe and Miwa are in the guest room."
"Okay!" Kisshu said cheerfully. Ichigo sighed and climbed into bed, followed by Kisshu, who cuddled her as she pulled the blankets up and turned out the light. Ichigo squeaked a bit when Kisshu snuggled against her, but put her arm over him and fell asleep nonetheless.
The next morning: Ichigo woke up to the sound of her alarm clock, and turned it off. "Koneko-chan, are you getting up?" Kisshu asked her.
"Oh, fine," Ichigo grumbled, and got up. "Stay here while I shower," she said sternly.
Kisshu pouted, but nodded and started making the bed as Ichigo left. Once he finished, he sat down to wait for Ichigo to be done.
Ichigo came in ten minutes later, and said, "Your turn. There are spare towels under the sink."
"Thanks," Kisshu said, and grabbed his clothes, then left as Ichigo started doing her hair. Moe and Miwa came in soon after he left, and Moe asked, "Kisshu's in the shower?"
"Yup," Ichigo said. "We'll probably head out after breakfast. Don't feel you need to rush; you can even stay if you want."
"That's not a bad idea," Moe said thoughtfully. "Our parents aren't very happy with our behavior yesterday morning."
"Well, you're always welcome here," Ichigo said.
"Thanks," Miwa said, as Kisshu came back. The girls noticed something different, though, and Ichigo asked, "Kisshu, what happened to your ears?"
"Oh, I changed them to human ears so I could go to the Café with you," Kisshu said. "Can we have breakfast?"
"Sure," Ichigo said. They went downstairs, and Ichigo got some cereal while Kisshu picked out an apple. "That's all you're having?" Ichigo asked.
"There's food at the pink place, right?" Kisshu asked.
"Yes, but it's for the customers," Ichigo sighed. "Why don't you have some cereal?"
"Fine," Kisshu said sulkily. "I LIKE cakes…."
Ichigo just smiled and handed him a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats.
They finished breakfast, and Ichigo got her purse and shoes. "Do you want me to teleport you?" Kisshu asked.
"That'd be great, thanks," Ichigo said. Kisshu took her hand and teleported to the Café.
The other Mews were there already, and they looked up, startled, as Kisshu and Ichigo landed. Ryou came out of the kitchen, asked wearily, "Why is Kisshu here?"
"It's Bring Your Alien to Work Day," Ichigo said, snickering. "AKA, payback for last night."
Ryou sighed and said, "Fine, but he has to earn his keep."
"I don't want to wait tables….." Kisshu moaned.
"You can help Keiichiro in the kitchen," Mint said. "But you need different clothes; you'll get recognized in that get-up."
Kisshu sighed and snapped his fingers. He was suddenly wearing a pair of black pants and a green t-shirt with a black vest over it. "Better?" he asked.
"Much better," Mint said. "Your other clothes are kind of girly, if you ask me."
"Mmph," Kisshu said grouchily, as Keiichiro came in. "Did I hear something about Kisshu helping in the kitchen?" he asked.
"Yes, he's your new assistant for a while," Ryou said.
"Kisshu, do you know anything about cooking?" Keiichiro asked.
"Yes," Kisshu said. "I had to teach myself because Pai and Taruto can't cook."
"Good," Keiichiro said. "Alright, come into the kitchen while the girls start cleanup."
Kisshu followed Keiichiro into the kitchen, and Ichigo went to change into her uniform.
When she came out, she got a cleaning cloth and started cleaning the tables while Lettuce, Zakuro, and Pudding did other tasks, Ryou watched, and Mint drank tea.
As they were finishing, they heard Keiichiro ask, "Are you SURE you didn't go to some kind of culinary school?"
Curious, the Mews and Ryou looked into the kitchen as Kisshu asked, "What's a culinary school?"
"It's a school that teaches people who want to be chefs cooking and presentation," Ryou said. "What's going on?"
"The level of skill Kisshu has simply CAN'T be self-taught," Keiichiro said.
"All I did was borrow your cookbooks," Kisshu said. "That's how I learned to cook and bake. But I've never even heard of culinary schools, so how could I have gone to one?"
"You're saying you've NEVER had any previous experience cooking before you came to Earth?" Keiichiro asked.
"No…." Kisshu said. "Aunt Yuki did all the cooking at home. She was kind of overprotective of her kitchen. She'd chase us out with frying pans every time we tried to do anything in there. So I'd never even been in a kitchen before I came here and realized I'd need to learn to cook. What's the big deal, anyways?"
"You're better than I am after less than a year," Keiichiro said dryly. "I sincerely hope you're not planning on starting a café around here, because Café Mew Mew would go out of business."
"I'm not planning on cooking for a living," Kisshu said. "Though if I have to live on Earth at some point, maybe I'll work here."
"So how'd you figure out that Kisshu was better than you, Keiichiro?" Mint asked.
"He said he would make the brownies I needed, and I just told him to be careful," Keiichiro said. "And I tried one, and they're way better than anything I've ever been able to make using that recipe."
"That's because I didn't exactly follow the recipe," Kisshu said. "It said just cocoa for the chocolate part of the brownies, but when I first started baking desserts, I didn't get why just cocoa, so I started adding melted chocolate as well as cocoa. It makes the brownies and cakes way richer in flavor. Sometimes I mix the cocoa and melted chocolate together, and do it that way, but today I just threw everything in the bowl and mixed it together. The only problem is that this way of doing it makes the brownies pretty addictive- Taruto won't stop eating once he's had one. And Pai is worse, which is saying something, because he doesn't even LIKE dessert."
"What kind of chocolate did you use?" Keiichiro asked.
"Whatever it was you were using on the éclairs," Kisshu replied. "I used some of the leftovers for the brownies. Don't you need to open this place?"
"Oh right," Ryou said. "Lettuce, you're the hostess today, Mint, go work the cash register, and the rest of you go wait tables. Oh, and Mint, no teatime; if these brownies are as good as Keiichiro says, we could be swamped soon."
Mint started sulking as she went to the cash register. Lettuce and Ichigo opened the doors, and found a line of people already waiting. The two girls started seating people, and soon the place was full.
Kisshu looked out the kitchen door, and then asked, "Hey Cupcake Man, is it always like this?"
"My name is NOT 'Cupcake Man', and yes, it's usually this busy," Keiichiro sighed. He looked at the latest order, and said, "Well, someone wants one of your brownies; let's see how this turns out."
Kisshu handed him a plate with one of the brownies, which had an artistic drizzle of chocolate syrup and a raspberry on top of the brownie, and Keiichiro handed it out to Ichigo, who took it to Table 7, which was actually close to the kitchen. The customer was a woman who didn't look very happy, and didn't look at Ichigo as she thanked her. Kisshu watched curiously as the woman took a bite of the brownie- and started looking like she was in heaven.
Keiichiro, curious about Kisshu's lack of activity, came over to see what he was looking at, and said, "Odd…. That woman looks familiar to me."
"Do you know her?" Kisshu asked.
"No, but I think I've seen her before," Keiichiro said. "Maybe on TV, but I can't imagine why someone famous enough to be on TV would be here."
"Uh… maybe because it's the most popular Café in Tokyo?" Kisshu suggested. "Ask Zakuro, maybe she'd know. Isn't she in the TV business?"
"Modeling, but she does know a lot of famous people," Keiichiro said. He went back to work as Ichigo called, "Keiichiro, we've got five more people wanting Kisshu's brownies!"
Kisshu kept watching the woman, and noticed that while she was still eating, she seemed to be aware of everything around her- including Ichigo's statement. He went to Keiichiro and said quietly, "That woman looks like she's really perceptive; can I mind-search her to make sure she's not here because of Ryou's 'project'?"
"Can you do it without alerting anyone?" Keiichiro asked.
"Yep," Kisshu said. He closed his eyes, concentrating on the woman, and started going through her mind. He didn't find anything about the Mew Project or even anything remotely related to it. Instead he found a bunch of thoughts and memories of different restaurants and cafés, and finally what she thought of Café Mew Mew. It sounded to Kisshu almost like she was critiquing the place, and puzzled, he went to Keiichiro. "It seems like she's trying to critique this place," Kisshu said quietly. "She's been to a lot of different restaurants and cafés, too- more so than I would think of someone who doesn't look like a rich person. Do you have any thoughts on that?"
Keiichiro thought, then said, "I've got it. Himaru Yoko; she's a famous restaurant critic who apparently likes going to restaurants in disguise to see how they treat people of different classes. She's shot down some pretty high-class places for their treatment of people who look out-of-place, and she's been on TV, which is probably why I think I've seen her."
Kisshu looked back out at the woman as she waved down Ichigo and asked, "May I ask who Kisshu is? You mentioned these brownies as 'Kisshu's brownies'."
"He's my boyfriend," Ichigo said. "My boss said as long as he was staying here, he might as well lend a hand, and it turns out he's a really great baker. He's the assistant chef today, and Keiichiro told him he could make the brownies."
"Do you know where Kisshu went to school?" the woman asked.
"He's homeschooled, and apparently he taught himself how to cook and bake," Ichigo said.
Before the woman could respond, Lettuce called, "Ichigo-san, we could use some help!"
"I'll be there in a minute!" Ichigo called back. She turned back to the woman and said, "Would you excuse me?"
"Of course, but I would like to meet your boyfriend at some point," the woman said. "Talent like that is hard to come by."
"I'll see if he's free," Ichigo said, and bowed, then went to the kitchen door and asked, "Kisshu, are you free?"
Kisshu looked at Keiichiro, who said, "Go ahead, I'll manage."
Kisshu nodded and followed Ichigo to the table. "I'll leave you two to talk, I think the others need help," Ichigo said. "Sorry."
"That's fine," the woman said. Ichigo bowed and left, and the woman said, "Have a seat."
Kisshu obeyed, and the woman smiled. "I would like to commend you on your brownie recipe," she said. "I've never had such good brownies."
"Thanks," Kisshu said. "So why did you really want to talk to me?"
"Perceptive, aren't you?" the woman asked, smiling. "My name is Himaru Yoko; I'm a restaurant critic. I'm guessing you haven't heard of me?"
"No, I haven't," Kisshu said. "Did you come here to critique this café?"
"Yes, I've heard enough people raving about it to figure out that it's supposedly a good place to come," Yoko said. "So I decided this would be my next project; I'm kind of in between jobs right now, but this is one place I haven't been."
"What do you think?" Kisshu asked. "I haven't really been here before today; I don't always have the time, but since my brother booted me out to Ichigo's place, I figured I'd come with her until he lets me back in the house."
"And where were your parents in all this?" Yoko asked.
"They're out of town, but my brother's eighteen, so they thought they could trust him to take care of me and my younger brother," Kisshu said. "They didn't factor in what would happen when I painted his room bubblegum pink. He hates the color, so I got booted out to Ichigo's until I 'reform' myself. Oh well, at least I get to spend more time with Ichigo."
"Okay then," Yoko said. "In answer to your question, I'm very impressed with the food, but the service leaves something to be desired. With a place this popular, five waitresses isn't exactly adequate for properly serving people- especially since, from what I've seen, Ichigo does basically everything, and if she wasn't here, this place would fall to pieces."
"You're right," Kisshu said. "If Ichigo wasn't here to hold the others together, this place would go down the tubes in a matter of days. The others simply can't handle the workload, because Ichigo does basically everything. And while her friends are nice enough, Mint does nothing besides drink tea unless she's specifically ordered to, Zakuro scares people away with her attitude, Lettuce breaks everything she lays a hand on, and Pudding, while her tricks are entertaining and earn more money for this place, also breaks a lot of stuff in the process, which makes more work for Ichigo. It's clear to me that Ichigo is the sole reason this place is even running, but I don't think the others besides Ichigo and maybe Keiichiro realize that."
"What happens when Ichigo has a day off?" Yoko asked.
"That's what puzzles me," Kisshu said. "I've never heard Ichigo talk about having days off. She gets off early sometimes, but I don't think she gets days off unless she's sick. The owner of this place really isn't a very nice guy when it comes to her."
"Do you know why he hasn't hired anyone else?" Yoko asked. "It seems like a logical move."
"I have no clue, but it's almost like he's hiding something," Kisshu said. "Though for all I know, he could just be hiding a library of hentai manga. That would explain why he doesn't let anyone in the basement; he doesn't want people to know his dirty secret." Kisshu realized he was doing a horrible job of keeping the Mew Project out of this conversation, but also realized he had dug himself in too deep to get back out.
"He doesn't let anyone in the basement?" Yoko asked.
"Not to my knowledge, but then again, I'm not a regular here," Kisshu said. "I personally think it's a nice Café, but I agree with you; it needs more workers. I'm not planning on staying long-term, but you never know."
"That was actually another thing I wanted to talk to you about," Yoko said. "Your talent for baking is simply amazing, especially given you trained yourself. Have you ever considered a career in that area?"
"Not really; I only learned to cook and bake because my older brother is a kitchen disaster," Kisshu said. "I don't really know if I'll continue baking, but I do have some time to think about it; I'm only fourteen. Why do you ask?"
"Because you could easily find a job with that type of talent, and I'd like to see what you could accomplish," Yoko said. She fished something out of her purse, and said, "Here's my card; if you want to talk more, you can call me. What's your family name, by the way?"
"Ikisatashi," Kisshu said.
"That name sounds familiar…." Yoko said. "Oh, I remember. I have a friend named Ikisatashi Anzu, but I haven't seen her in a while. She actually looks kind of like you; are you related?"
"That's my mom's name," Kisshu said, sounding stunned. "Just one thing- she's been dead for eight years, according to everyone I know. Does your friend have a husband?"
"Yes, his name is Higashi," Yoko said. Then in a softer voice she asked, "Does Ichigo know what you are?"
"Yes," Kisshu said, his voice equally quiet.
"It looks like this place is closing up; go get her and I'll take you to your parents," Yoko said.
Kisshu immediately got up, and went to Ichigo. "Kisshu, is something wrong?" Ichigo asked worriedly when she saw his face.
"Go get changed, we're going somewhere," Kisshu said. Ichigo ran off, and returned five minutes later in her street clothes, purse in hand. Yoko had joined Kisshu, and she said, "Let's go get in my car."
"Ichigo, you can't just-" Ryou started, but Yoko cut him off, saying, "If this place is what I think it is, you'd be better off not crossing me." Then she dragged Ichigo and Kisshu off.
When they got outside, Yoko led them to a car, and said, "Why don't you two sit in back; the front seat is a mess."
"Okay," Ichigo said. She got in on one side, and Kisshu got in on the other as Yoko got in the driver's seat and started up the car. She drove off, and said, "Ichigo, in case you're wondering, I'm Yoko, and I'm taking the two of you to Kisshu's parents. I don't exactly know what happened eight years ago when they came to Earth, but I'm assuming it isn't good. Judging by the fact Kisshu says you know about him, am I correct in assuming you're Mew Ichigo?"
"Yes," Ichigo replied. "Where do Kisshu's parents live?"
"At the end of Renge Avenue," Yoko said.
"That's my friend Moe's street," Ichigo commented. "But she lives three houses from the beginning of the street. And I live two streets over. Small world, apparently."
"Very," Yoko said.
Fifteen minutes of driving later, they reached Renge Avenue, and Yoko drove down the street, pulling into a house at the end. It was about the same size as Ichigo's house, and had a very nice garden. "We're here," Yoko said.
They all got out, and Kisshu and Ichigo followed Yoko as she went up to the door and rang the bell.
The door was opened two minutes later by a small girl with black hair and golden eyes, who said, "Hi Aunt Yoko! Did you want Mommy?"
"Yes, is she here?" Yoko asked.
"Yup, come on in, and your friends too!" the little girl said.
"Thanks Ai," Yoko said. She followed Ai in, and Kisshu and Ichigo followed her, closing the door behind them. They took their shoes off, and Ai led them to the living room. "Mommy, Aunt Yoko brought her friends here!" Ai said happily, skipping in.
A woman with long green hair who was sitting on a sofa looked up from a book she was reading, and looked shocked. "Kisshu?" she whispered. "But- they told us you died!"
"Aunt Yuki told me you and Dad died in the rockslide; what's going on?" Kisshu asked.
Anzu looked at Ichigo warily, and Kisshu said, "This is Ichigo, my girlfriend. She's safe."
"Maybe we should all sit down," Yoko suggested gently. Anzu nodded, and Yoko sat down on the sofa with her, pulling Ai onto her lap. Ai snuggled against her as Kisshu and Ichigo sat down on the loveseat.
"Kish, what happened after the rockslide?" Anzu asked.
"I woke up in the hospital, and Aunt Yuki told me you and Dad were dead," Kisshu said. "She was crying about it for months, too, and I learned that that's something the Council told her; she didn't see it first-hand. I spent six months refusing to leave my room or eat after that, and up until I met Ichigo seven months ago, my life was utter hell. What happened on your end?"
"We didn't realize you were caught in the rockslide, but your dad had a Council meeting later that day, and they told him you had been killed," Anzu said. "He left the meeting, told me, and we decided that we had nothing left on Cyniclonia, and stole a ship, then went to Earth. We originally intended to live in the ship, but then we discovered a way to make ourselves appear human, and decided we'd live as humans. It wasn't easy at first, and we were still really torn up about you, but things got a little better a year later, because I got pregnant with Ai here. Your dad started working full-time as a doctor at a small private clinic, since he became friends with the man who runs it. It's actually run by Yoko's husband Kenji, and that's how I met Yoko. I sometimes help her with her restaurant critiquing business, but mainly I'm a stay-at-home mom, so I get to spend lots of time with Ai. I homeschool her too. I can't figure out what happened, though. Why did the Council tell us you were dead?"
"The Council told everyone you two were dead, and attempted to get me on the Council in Dad's place," Kisshu said. "Aunt Yuki and Uncle Hayako put me in the military academy because that's the one place the Council couldn't get me. And I passed the entrance exams two years after starting with the highest score in history, so the stupid geezers couldn't get to me. Then when I turned fourteen, some weirdo calling himself Deep Blue appeared to the Council, told them he was a god, and said he'd help them reclaim Earth. The conditions on Cyniclonia just keep getting worse, and I guess the Council was desperate enough to accept his proposal, which was to send me to Earth to take it over. Pai and Taruto are here too, and the only reason I found out about you being alive is because Pai booted me out of the ship for painting his room pink. I'm currently staying at Ichigo's, and she took me to her work today, so I decided to help out. I made some brownies for the Café, and that's what led to me talking with Yoko; she wanted to meet the person who made the brownies."
Anzu looked at Yoko, who said, "I've never had brownies that delicious. Kisshu's quite an accomplished baker."
Anzu looked at Kisshu, and said, "I'm sorry, sweetie. If we hadn't believed the Council, this wouldn't have happened."
"Can I live with you again?" Kisshu asked.
"Of course, but what about Ichigo?" Anzu asked.
"She lives two streets away," Kisshu said, puzzled.
"No, I meant the fact that her parents abandoned her," Anzu said.
"How did you know about that?" Ichigo asked, startled.
"The look on your face when Kisshu saw me was kind of sad, and I wondered why, so I mind-searched you," Anzu said. "You just got the call yesterday, right?"
"Please don't do that," Ichigo said. "But you're right, my parents abandoned me. Otherwise I wouldn't have let Kisshu stay; I don't think they'd like that very much. They claim they'll send me ¥20308 a month, but I'm not even sure they'll do that. They promised they'd always be there for me when I was little; I wouldn't be surprised if they 'forgot' to send me money too." (A/N: ¥20308 is $200).
"I'm really sorry," Anzu said. "If you want to live with us, though, you and Kish will be sharing a room."
"Yay! More cuddling!" Kisshu said happily.
"I'm fine with that; Kisshu is very cuddly," Ichigo said. Kisshu turned red.
Anzu giggled, and said, "That's fine. I'd suggest you pack what you need, and then you can move in, okay?"
"Thanks," Ichigo said. "My friend Moe lives just down the street, too, and she and my friend Miwa know about Kisshu. It'll be nice to be closer to her."
"Alright," Anzu said. "Why don't you go pack up, and I'll start dinner? Higashi should be home soon."
"Sure," Ichigo said. "Kisshu, will you come too?"
"I'll help you pack," Yoko said. "Kisshu should stay with his family. Besides, I'm fairly certain you don't want him going through your dresser."
Ichigo winced. "You're right, thanks," she said. "Kisshu, I'll see you later, 'kay?"
Kisshu smiled. "Okay, Koneko-chan," he said.
Ichigo smiled back and then left with Yoko.
When they reached her house, Ichigo went in, and found Moe and Miwa watching TV in the living room. "Guys, I've got news," she said.
Moe turned the TV off, and she and Miwa looked at Ichigo expectantly.
"I'm moving," Ichigo said.
"WHAT!?" Moe and Miwa shouted together. "Where are you going?"
Ichigo smirked, and they calmed down a bit as she said, "1129 Renge Avenue."
"Who lives there?" Moe asked, puzzled. "I thought it was a couple with a daughter."
"Apparently they're Kisshu's parents," Ichigo said. "And since you know what happened with my parents, they're going to take me in. And you can't tell anyone, okay?"
"Got it," Moe and Miwa said together. "Need help packing?"
"Yoko said she'll help; don't you two need to get home before your parents have nervous breakdowns?" Ichigo asked.
"Good point," Miwa said. "See you soon!" She and Moe hugged Ichigo and skipped off.
"Where's your room?" Yoko asked when they were gone.
"Upstairs," Ichigo said, and led the way. When they got there, she and Yoko started packing.
As they finished, they heard teleportation, and Pai appeared. "Where is Kisshu?" he asked.
"Why do you want to know?" Ichigo asked warily.
"Taruto informed me that if I didn't bring him back, he'd call our mom and tell her in minute detail every single thing I've done that warrants scolding," Pai said gloomily. "And then he hit me over the head with a cast-iron frying pan!"
"Did you also realize that Deep Blue was just using you?" Ichigo asked.
"Apparently someone did, because his human host is dead," Pai said. "Are you going to tell me where Kisshu is?"
"He's with his parents and his little sister," Yoko said as she shut Ichigo's suitcase.
"What?" Pai asked. "Kisshu doesn't have a little sister, and his parents died eight years ago."
"A word of advice, Pai," Ichigo said. "Don't listen to a word the Council tells you."
"What happened?" Pai asked.
"Eight years ago, Anzu and Higashi came to Earth and destroyed the ship they used after the Council told them Kisshu was dead," Ichigo said. "They had Kisshu's little sister Ai a year later. Meanwhile, the Council decided that they'd try to get Kisshu to be a member, and told everyone, including your parents, that Anzu and Higashi were dead. And if it wasn't for Yoko here, none of this would be known. Also, I'm moving in with them, because my parents abandoned me and Kisshu and I are together."
"My parents need to know this," Pai said, and teleported out. Ichigo looked at Yoko, who asked, "Should we go back to Anzu's?"
"Yeah, Pai can always find us later," Ichigo said. She picked up her suitcase and backpack, and followed Yoko back to her car.
They drove back to Anzu's house, and parked. Yoko got the suitcase, and Ichigo got her backpack and purse. They went in, and Kisshu came to the door. "Koneko-chan, I can show you where our room is," he said. "Oh, and Mom says you can call her and Dad Aunt and Uncle."
"Okay," Ichigo said. Kisshu smiled and took her suitcase from Yoko, then led the way to the stairs, and then to a semi-large room. He put Ichigo's suitcase down by the window, and Ichigo put her backpack and purse down with it. "Pai came by, and I told him what happened," she told Kisshu. "He said he's contacting his parents; I'm guessing they'll be very unhappy. Oh, and apparently Taruto hit him over the head with a frying pan, and told him he had to get you back. And Deep Blue's human host is dead."
Kisshu snickered. "Good news all around then," he said. "Should I show you around?"
"Sure," Ichigo said. "Moe and Miwa know, and they also know not to tell, so that's good. And I reminded them that staying at my house all day wasn't a good idea; their parents are probably having nervous breakdowns."
"Well, at least they'll calm down now that Moe and Miwa are going home," Kisshu said. He started showing her around the house, and ended with the kitchen, where Anzu was cooking dinner.
The front door opened, and Ai hopped off a chair in the kitchen, yelling, "Daddy's home!"
They heard a man laugh and say, "Hi sweetheart, how was your day?"
"Great!" Ai said. "Oniichan's here, and so are Aunt Yoko and Ichigo-oneechan!"
There was dead silence for a minute, and then Higashi called, "Anzu?"
"We're in the kitchen," Anzu called back.
Higashi ran in, and stopped dead. "Kish?" he whispered. "What's going on?"
"To make a long story short, the Council lied to us, and they lied to everyone else, telling everyone we were dead," Anzu said. "Yoko found Kisshu while he was helping out at his girlfriend's workplace, and took them both here. And Ichigo's parents abandoned her, so I said she could live here."
"But why did the Council do that?" Higashi asked.
"They wanted me to take your place," Kisshu replied.
"THAT was their only reason for destroying our family!?" Higashi shouted.
"Apparently," Anzu said gloomily. "Ichigo told Pai, so he'll tell Yuki and Hayako."
"They are SO going to pay for this," Higashi snarled.
"Are we making them pay before or after dinner?" Anzu asked.
"After," Higashi said. "We just have to figure out how to get there."
"I have a portal machine," Ichigo said. "It's still at my old house, but I can get it."
"That'll work," Higashi said. He looked at Yoko, and asked, "Yoko, can you look after Ai while we're gone?"
"Of course," Yoko said.
"Dinner's ready," Anzu commented. "Come eat."
They all sat down at the table, and started eating. Dinner was a bit tense that night, as Higashi was still fuming. When they finished, he asked, "Ichigo, where's the portal machine?"
"Under my bed," Ichigo said.
"I'll get it," Kisshu offered, and teleported out. He returned with the machine, and Ichigo set it up. "Where should I set it to take us?" she asked.
"The Council Room," Kisshu said. Ichigo nodded, and set the machine, then transformed and said, "I'm ready."
"So are we," Higashi said. "Let's go."
Ichigo opened up a portal, and the others went in. She grabbed the machine on the way, and stepped into the portal.
They all landed in a large stone room filled with people a minute later, and found Pai and Taruto's parents Yuki and Hayako in there as well. They all looked up at the sound of teleportation, and the members of the Council looked nervous. "We're screwed, aren't we?" a woman in the front row asked nervously.
"Do you really need to ask that?" Higashi snarled. "You jerks DESTROYED my family, and thought you'd get off scot-free? You're all idiots. Whose idea was it to do this?"
"Koni's," another woman said. "He said we should get Kisshu on the Council by lying to you and everyone else. No one listened to me when I told them this was going to come back to bite them someday."
"And the reason you didn't tell us is…." Hayako said.
"I would have gotten kicked off the Council, and therefore I would be unable to stop their insane plans," the woman said. "When they decided to make Kisshu Hideki-sama's successor, I went to him and told him about the vow Kisshu made to Higashi. Hideki-sama is an honorable man; he agreed to override the Council. And he didn't know about Koni's lies until today, when Yuki and Hayako came barging in here and told us we were going down. I sent Kia to get him, he should be here soon."
This was made blindingly clear when a man about Higashi's age stormed in, looking furious. "Mikan, leave," he snapped. The woman who had been talking got up and teleported out. Hideki-sama looked at Higashi and said, "You have my permission to kill Koni for this. The rest of them I'd like at least semi-alive; I'm going to make their lives hell for this."
"Fine," Higashi said, and stormed over to an older man, then started beating him to a pulp. The others chose their own targets, and started beating them up as well.
Soon enough the entire Council was severely beat up, and Higashi came over, saying, "Koni's dead. Good riddance."
"I agree," Hideki-sama said. "What will you do now?"
"We're going back to Earth," Higashi said. "We have a house and a life there; I see no reason to give it up."
"Very well," Hideki-sama said. "Pai mentioned that he was going to try to form a truce with the creator of Tokyo Mew Mew; you might want to look into that."
"Okay," Anzu said. "I think we'll head back; we left our daughter with a friend."
"Alright, and it was good to see you again," Hideki-sama said.
"Thank you," Higashi said. He turned to Ichigo and asked, "Where's the portal machine?"
"Over here," Ichigo said, picking it up and setting it to get them home. "Ready?"
"Yes," Kisshu said. He and his parents went through the portal Ichigo opened, and she followed with the machine.
They landed in the living room, and found Yoko and Ai playing some game. "Oh, you're back," Yoko said. "How'd it go?"
"Very well; we made them pay for what they did, and we decided to continue living here," Higashi said.
"Oh good," Yoko said. "I should probably get home; hopefully I'll see you soon."
"I hope so too, and thank you for finding Kish," Anzu said.
"Of course," Yoko said. "Kisshu, Ichigo, it was nice to meet you."
"You too," Ichigo and Kisshu said together. Yoko smiled and left, and then Kisshu yawned.
Anzu giggled and asked, "Bedtime, Kish?"
"Apparently," Kisshu said a bit sheepishly. "I think I'll go get ready for bed; today was a busy day."
"I'll say," Ichigo said. "I think I'll join you."
"Goodnight, kids," Higashi said.
"Night," Ichigo and Kisshu said, and hugged him and Anzu, said goodnight to Ai, and went to get ready for bed.
Well, it started with Kisshu having bipolar disorder…. Sorry I got carried away, but I hope you all liked this, and please review!