What If Things Weren't the Same?

Chapter One: Discovery

Umi was just lounging. Her legs were spread along her bed in odd positions and her long blue hair fell like a fan beneath her and onto her pillow. She was looking at the ceiling and thinking to herself, 'What to do, what to do?'

Suddenly, she jumped up and a grin spread across her face, "I know! I'll go shopping!" With this in mind she bounded out of the room and called for a driver to the mall. She called a few of her friends beforehand, but they were busy so she opted to go alone. 'Better to go alone than not go at all,' she thought to herself cheerily as they drove toward a nearby shopping mall.

§§§~~~

Fuu was walking through the park and looking at all the beauty around her, thinking that she should probably start her chemistry project. It was due in two weeks. She was such a procrastinator. 'Just one more trip around and I'll go home and start it,' she assured herself and was satisfied.

§§§~~~

The wooden clangs made her teeth rattle, but she was winning all the same. "Got you Kakeru!" Hikaru shouted triumphantly as she threw her brother's sword to the ground. "I win!"

"Man Hikaru," Kakeru sighed, and she grinned and bounded out.

"Hey Hikaru?" Maseru grinned at her as she opened up the refrigerator looking for something to eat, that match had really worn her out.

"Hai?" she inquired absently.

"Check this out," he showed her a book of some sort, and she approached and looked at it.

§§§~~~

She walked through the mall with at least two bags on each arm and stopped when she saw a display in the comic book store. She stood there and stared at the image, blinking rapidly. She put a hand to her head and tried to guess why the person on that cover looked exactly like her.

"Umi!" some girls giggled behind her, and she turned and looked at them.

"Oh hey guys!" she called. "So you finally made it!"

"Yeah, my parents wanted me to clean my room first," one of them muttered and glared.

"I had to pick up my check from work," another answered, and Umi nodded and laughed. She wondered what it would be like to have to clean your room and work and…'oh well, not my problem,' she thought.

"Hello, earth to Umi?"

"Oh, gomen," she blushed, and they looked at her.

"Why are you standing in front of the comic book store?" the first girl looked disgusted.

"Oh, I uh…" Umi pointed to the display, but the book was gone. "What?"

"Please don't tell me you were thinking about going in there," the second girl scoffed.

"N-no," Umi protested and began to walk with them.

An hour later when they were gone she ran back to the store and asked the man at the front counter. "There was a comic out in the display about an hour ago, there was a girl on the cover that looked a lot like me."

"Oh yeah," he responded and nodded. "We just changed that, weekly rotation."

"Well, can I get the comic?" she demanded.

"Of course, it's called Magic Knight Rayearth, it's right over there," he pointed, and she walked over and looked at six books. She picked them up and flipped through the pages, the girl looked, and to her horror, acted just like her. "I don't understand."

"Umi…" a voice called, and her eyes widened. Did that book just call her?

She grabbed the six editions and paid with her father's credit card. The man thanked her, and she shoved the bag into another bag with a new sweater. She looked around to see if anyone had just seen her and sprinted quickly home.

§§§~~~

Fuu watched the people around her and smiled. One boy ran into her, and he glared and shouted at her then walked away. "Gomen," she mumbled and looked down. She saw that he had dropped something and picked it up, "Sir!" she called, but he was already in a car with one of his friends and driving away. "Oh dear," she mumbled and looked at the cover.

She almost dropped it when she saw what she held, the girl on the front looked exactly like her. "What?" she whispered and began to flip through the pages. She then realized that this was a series, and she had missed the first few books.

Intrigued and wanting to know more, she headed toward the local library.

"Hello Fuu," the librarian smiled warmly, and Fuu smiled back. She handed the comic to the librarian who frowned and shook her head.

"Fuu, these will rot your brain," she shook a finger at her and led her to the comic section of the library.

"I know," Fuu smiled back, "It's for a friend."

"Oh, okay then," she pointed out the ones she was looking for and sat on the floor and red through the first series, then checked out the last two books of the second series, along with the one she had found.

With the bag in her hand, she walked from the library and hoped that people didn't get an opinion about her that she was slacking or procrastinating on her chemistry project.

§§§~~~

"Doesn't she look like you?" Maseru asked Hikaru who nodded numbly. She did look exactly like Hikaru. "A friend brought them over, this is my last one, you can read them if you want. You'd like them; it's about three girls who get transported to another word and fight to save it. It's full of all kinds of action and adventure and even a little romance."

Hikaru nodded again and ran up to his room to fetch the other books.

For a long time she just stared at the girl on the book that looked just like her. It gave her shivers, and she opened the cover of the book and began to read. As she did it seemed as if the world was coming alive, as if she had actually been there. Why did this seem so familiar?

The thought made her skin tingle, "Hikaru…" the book seemed to call, and she dropped it like hot fire.

§§§~~~

When Umi got home she crept up to her room only to be greeted by her boyfriend. She let out a small squeak then demanded furiously, "How did you get up here?"

"Your parents let me up," he answered plainly. "What good did you get?"

"A new sweater and a few new shirts, usual," Umi smiled.

He grinned and caught her hands, wrapping one hand around her waist. He pulled the bag from her hand and was about to kiss her, but was stopped by the weight of it.

"This doesn't feel like a few shirts and stuff," he informed her and opened the bag.

She snatched it out of his hands as he pulled out one of the comics. He began to laugh, and she glared. "What?" she demanded.

"No wonder you're being so secretive!" he laughed and fell onto her bed, laughing hysterically.

"It's not funny!" Umi whined.

"Oh but it is!"

"Out!" Umi ordered and pushed him from the room, grabbing the book from his hands as she did. "Out!"

"I'll leave you with your reading then," he wiped tears from his eyes and walked from the room, "and call you later."

She slammed the door behind her and threw the book on the ground, "Stupid book," she muttered, but couldn't help opening it and feeling drawn to it.

§§§~~~

Fuu went home and said hello to her parents and then walked upstairs to her room and opened the books. She sat down on her bed and stared at the picture on the last cover, then turned to the first book and opened it.

She soon found herself blushing at the man who seemed to be hopelessly in love with the character that looked like her and had her name. She found it odd but somehow mysterious and compelling, and it wasn't long until she was completely lost in the series. She felt as if she was the character, and she had lived all these things and done this and that and saved the world. She felt as if she had done it all, and it made her proud and strong. When she finished the last page and set the book down she did it with a wistful movement and a heavy sigh.

She thought to herself how amazing it would be to be that girl and smiled impishly. In her dreams she dreamt of the other realm and a Prince and a Rune-God and how she was the Magic Knight of Wind. In her dreams she heard his voice.

'Fuu-chan…'

'Ferio!' she called back as if she knew him from long ago.

'You're coming back to me,' a smile spread across his face, and she laughed and ran to him. Before she could reach him though a dark hole came from beneath her and she fell into the pit, screaming and trying to reach him. 'Fuu-chan!'

§§§~~~

Hikaru walked and swung her sword while she read the comic. This girl looked like her and acted like her and had her name. That couldn't be a coincidence could it?

No, no definitely not.

Then what? She shook her head and finished reading. When she did she put it on her bed and stared at it as she did a kendo warm-up, never taking her eyes off the book.

"Hikaru…" it called and she picked it up and flipped through the pages, as if looking for something.

"What am I doing?" she put a hand to her head and sat down. She curled up under the blankets and stared at her wall for a long time until she drifted into sleep. She was met with a deep pair of brown eyes.

'Hikaru, I'm up, you can come now,' he called to her, and she laughed and ran to him. 'Lantis misses you terribly.'

'Lantis,' her heart stopped. 'Eagle, is that you?'

He smiled and offered a hand. She ran to take it but a pit opened up in the floor beneath her, and she tumbled in.

'Hikaru!'

§§§~~~

"So maybe I'm crazy, I'm still the same right?" Umi asked as she paced. Finally, she could take it no longer and picked up the book. She read through them all and just stared in wonder because it felt somehow oddly familiar.

She remembered feeling that gentle caress and the heat on his cheeks. She remembered laughing and playing with her best friends, somehow, deep down she remembered it all. When she finished, she lay down and shed a few tears because she wished that that could be her.

'Umi,' someone called in her sleep. 'Umi, come home to us.'

'Clef?' Umi asked softly, 'Clef is that you?'

'I'm here Umi, it's time for you to come home and remember,' he called out.

She ran toward him, 'I'm ready to come home,' she laughed, but she never made it. She fell into that darkness.

'Umi,' he whispered.

*Closing notes on the first chapter:

Umi-I just really didn't think she would be one to go into a comic book store. Didn't seem ritzy enough somehow, dunno just an impression of mine.

I am currently working on four stories, this one I'm posting makes three on fanfiction, but I'm also currently writing a sequel to "The Ocean's Rose" because it was requested a long time ago, and I just had a good idea for it. Plus my manuscript that I just started working on again. I'm going to try and be a dilligent poster though, but I was also just selected for this district competition to represent my school in some science thing too, yey for me. Through all that I'll still be writing and posting, I'd go crazy if I couldn't! Other than that ja ne and much love! Oh P.S. I'm posting another chapter of Rubies and Gold along with this!*