Do you want to 'wing' number 97?
The girl eyed the girl on the street she passed. She clicked Decline. The girl didn't catch her interest much...though she wished that thing would quit randomly popping up.
Do you want to 'wing' number 04?
She paused. Number four? That was the lowest number she'd come across yet! Looking around she found an imposing looking woman with gray hair and bloodthirsty eyes.
If that was number four, she had no interest in 'winging' her. At least not unless she had to.
By the time night fell, she was cold, starving and wet. An ill-timed pass under a building had ended with her suddenly being soaked from above. She couldn't believe her luck was so bad as to walk right below a water main break!
She didn't notice until it was too late when the usual pop up appeared asking Do you want to 'wing' 06?
She accidentally hit 'Confirm'...and the result was immediately five feet from her the gray haired male from a rather popular host club had a knee jerk reaction to her. The air around him grew hot. So hot that it was like the very oxygen was about to burst into flame for no reason.
Instead of sticking around, she ducked into the alley before the guy got a good look at her.
Unfortunately it looked like the gray haired guy was a persistent one.
"You have got to be kidding... a kid?"
She glared at him. She might not have hit puberty just yet, but that did not make her a kid. Her irritation was so great she could feel her magic rising to the surface. Without warning the guy grabbed his chest like he was in great pain.
"If you're having a heart attack, I'll just find a pay phone and call the hospital before leaving your ass," she informed him...in perfect English. Even after a year of living in Japan, she still had some trouble with the language. But at least she could understand people now.
The gray haired man stared at her for a second before he muttered "And a foreigner to boot..."
"I can understand you," she informed him, "Japanese is something I have a little trouble speaking."
The man sighed.
"How old are you?" he asked in accented English.
"Miya is going to kill me..."
Tired of being out of the loop, she mentally commanded Observe.
Power type: Fire manipulation
Great. At least she had a name for these things that kept causing those pop-ups.
"Look, I'm cold, I'm wet, and I've had a crappy day. What do you want? And what the hell is a Sekirei?"
He stared at her.
"What do you know about Sekirei?"
"Outside of the fact I kept running into them and they cause these annoying pop ups asking if I want to 'wing' them? Nothing."
"'Do you want to 'wing' insert number here.' I keep getting messages like that," she told him.
"Okay, I'm confused. What pop ups?"
"Like quest pop-ups. About a week after I got here, I got hit with some weird bolt. Next morning, my life turned into some demented video game from hell."
"Okay. Not the weirdest thing I've heard. Still up there," he admitted.
"Ever since then, I keep getting these damn pop ups asking me if I want to wing random numbers. It's driving me nuts!"
"Do you know what 'winging' means?" he asked carefully.
"Not a bloody clue," she told him.
"Look. I can take you to an inn where you can get warmed up, fed and get some answers."
"If you try anything, I'll stab your ass and scream," she informed him.
Miya opened the door to reveal a tired Homura and what appeared to be a prepubescent girl. Before she could get the wrong idea, the girl sneezed rather loudly.
"Kagari-san, what is this about?"
"I think she's my Ashikabi, and from what she told me she must have gotten on the wrong end of Tsukiumi's water attack on someone else," he said flatly.
The loud rumbling of the girl's stomach combined with her oncoming head cold was all Miya needed to know. She also squinted quite a bit, as if she couldn't see properly.
"My, my...it's unusual for you to drag in a street urchin Kagari-san. You aren't going to do anything...prohibited...are you?" she asked, eyes slitted like a fox.
"Miya, she's not even twelve. The last thing I want to be labeled is a pedophile, even if she is my Ashikabi," said Homura irritated.
"Good. I would hate to have to discipline you," said Miya far too cheerfully.
"Wow... did not know your landlady was in to Slave and Master games," said the girl.
Miya's mouth open and closed for a good two seconds before the sound of someone guffawing behind her could be heard. Uzume, in the dinner room, was laughing her ass off having heard the cheeky comment.
"Young lady, speaking about such activities like that is...prohibited," said Miya, hannya mask appearing behind her.
"Nice trick, but I've seen worse," said the girl grinning outright while 'Kagari' flinched openly.
Miya blinked...as did everyone else. So Miya turned up the 'scare' factor of her infamous mask. The girl outright yawned.
Not even a full manifestation of the Hannya did more than make the child bored. Then the rumbling of her stomach grew even louder.
"How long has it been since you last ate?" asked Miya finally, silently admitting defeat.
"What's today's date?" she asked in return. Miya felt herself turn slightly homicidal.
"It's Thursday," Homura supplied. Though it was clear he was just as angry about the flippant question as Miya was.
"So Monday then. For some reason my skills as a pick pocket aren't as good as my ability to run like hell through crowds," said the girl without a hint of shame.
"Let's get you cleaned up and dressed first. Uzume-san? Can you show..."
"Call me whatever you want so long as it's not a variant of the word 'freak'," supplied the girl.
Miya's mouth thinned even further.
"Honoka-chan, then. Can you lead Honoka-chan to the bathroom?" asked Miya.
"Sure Miya!" said Uzume.
The ponytailed woman lead the tired and cold girl upstairs where the bathroom was.
Miya looked at Homura.
"She came by the host club and I started to react without any warning whatsoever. She has some weird power that makes her life like a game, according to her, and she had limited knowledge of Sekirei. All she knows is that there are several out there that could potentially react, but she accidentally chose me. I had no idea about the fact she was homeless or nameless until now," said Homura.
"A mysterious power?"
"She said she was hit with a bolt of something and woke up with the power. She has no idea what caused it or why it happened. My guess it was some experiment that went wrong at MBI that reacted oddly to her potential as an Ashikabi."
"Odd...but not impossible," admitted Miya.
"That's pretty much how I reacted. If it's any consolation Miya, I haven't tried to wing myself yet. I'd rather get more information before I attach myself to a girl who hasn't even hit puberty," said Homura, hoping to avoid Miya's wrath.
Miya eyed him. She knew how much Homura wanted to be winged, if only so he wouldn't have to worry about turning himself into cinders through his own power. But the fact he was reacting to a child... It was a good thing he was such a gentleman or Miya would be having words with him.
From the sounds upstairs, Miya guessed she had fifteen minutes before the girls were done in the baths. She got to work on dinner while Homura changed out of his work clothes.
By the time the newly named Honoka was done getting clean (and now looked quite like a prune) and dressed thanks to Uzume's help and large cosplay collection, the girl displayed more manners than Miya or Homura would have expected from a street kid.
She ate neatly, if fast, and didn't even put her elbows on the table and kept her mouth closed while chewing. The only awkwardness came from using chopsticks, which could easily be fixed with practice.
And to add to the oddity that was Homura's potential Ashikabi, the girl even did the dishes neatly and efficiently. Like she was used to doing them as quickly as possible.
When it came time for bed, the girl was at a loss however. Miya didn't know if it was because she was so used to the streets or something more sinister, but the girl was completely shocked that she was allowed to sleep inside in a proper bed. Well, futon anyway.
Once she realized, yes, she was allowed to sleep in a proper room with blanket and pillow, the girl was out like a light in minutes. Miya could see the lines of exhaustion fade away as the girl lightly snored.
Ashikabi or not, there was no way she was letting this child stay on the streets another night.
'Something smells good,' thought Uzume. She had awoken to the delicious smell of what could only be Western style dishes, instead of the traditional Japanese ones Miya favored. Don't get her wrong, she loved Miya's cooking, but some days she would kill for a pizza or hamburger instead of lightly seared fish and rice.
So imagine the Sekirei's shock to learn it was the girl Homura dragged home the night before in the kitchen.
An entire assortment of Western style dishes like eggs, bacon and a few that she couldn't identify were on the table. Complete with chopsticks which looked sorely out of place.
Miya had been in the process of waking up when she realized that her new tenant had woken up before her and had already started cooking. She had watched the girl like a hawk for the first ten minutes before concluding it wasn't the first time she had cooked on a stove and decided to get her exercises out of the way before tasting the girl's food.
Needless to say she was quite surprised to find the girl was an excellent cook and that everything was done so well she couldn't find a single fault in it.
Miya gave the girl a strange smile.
"Honoka-chan, how would you like to help me in the kitchen from now on?" asked Miya. She seriously doubted the girl would have a steady job, if her comments about not eating regularly and the state of her clothes had been anything to go by.
"What do you mean, help out?"
"I mean help prepare the dishes and with the eventual clean up in lieu of paying for rent. You'd also have to help around the house and attend school, at least online."
Honoka seemed to relax a bit.
"Sure, why not. Never had a hot bath before, and I hate sleeping in the rain..." she said, before she thought of something.
"I have a friend who is a little weird, but could really use some help. She's older than me, but she had no idea how the real world works. At all..." said Honoka.
"Does this friend of yours have a name?"
"Akitsu. Found her on a park bench and everyone was practically ignoring her, despite the fact she only had this old lab coat on that had lots of blood on it and this weird symbol on her head. I was supposed to meet her last night until pyro over there brought me here and I fell asleep," admitted Honoka.
"Why don't we go find this...Akitsu...and bring her here. So long as she observes the rules of the inn and helps out, she can stay here too. You can even share a room if you like," said Miya. Mentally she made a note to see if this Akitsu was in fact a homeless teen like Honoka.
Honoka actually smiled in relief.