MUST READ BISHLOV NOTES:
1. This is the last part of my MKR reincarnation trilogy; the others being "HIKARU'S STORY" (fin) and "FUU'S STORY" (fin). It would be better if you have read the first two, but I would try to make this story as self-sufficient as possible. All three stories are interrelated but have different circumstances.
2. HIKARU, FUU and UMI are 20-year-old college students at the same university and live together in one apartment. This particular part is set almost a year from the timeframe in Hikaru and Fuu's Stories. Those already part of the trilogy are LANTIS (reincarnate name is Tooya), ZAGATO (Saito), EMERAUDE (Esmeralda) and FERIO (still called Ferio). Oh and MIRA, you know, that girl whom Lantis saved in season two. Anyways, I probably won't even use their reincarnate names since Umi knows everything.
3. I've been sending out EMAIL NOTIFICATIONS whenever I update a story, so if you want to receive one, then please leave your email address. If you used to receive one but didn't get any for this first chapter then leave a message. If you've been receiving and want me to quit bugging you, then drop a note too.
4. Asmi's not my fave couple, never even gave them a glance (no offense to Asmi fans) so don't expect too much. I do, however, have a lifetime supply of sap in my blood, so it may not be too bad. HUGS AND KISSES TO ALL!!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own MKR or any of its characters. CLAMP does. This plot is just a product of my overactive imagination.
By bishounen lovah
A child's voice…
His singsong voice…
Umi-chan, come play with us.
A dirty dress.
She groggily went to the kitchen to relieve her parched throat with cold water. Her hair was a mess, her cerulean eyes were highlighted by dark rings, and her cheekbones stood out, not because of make-up but because her skin clung to them due to weight loss.
This was the real Ryuuzaki Umi.
This was what she had become.
After all, six years could be pretty much destructive for a person suffering from severe depression. No one knew the real her. She kept it a secret from the public, from her family, even from her best friends. She had an image to uphold. A Ryuuzaki should be perfect, if not in everything then even just in outer appearances.
That was the crappiest lie she had ever made up. The truth was she didn't want anyone to know she'd been going to a shrink for almost a year now because…well…she didn't really have anyone. Sure she was famous in and out of the campus and knew a lot of people, but they were more of acquaintances than friends.
Her parents were always out of the country, tending to their businesses. Sometimes she wondered if her mother and father even saw each other for she sure as hell didn't see them anymore. Not that she didn't love them. She did. Very dearly. They were good parents, but she needed more than 'good'. But even if they were the best parents in the whole of Japan, she doubted she'd be able to tell them her troubles, not without telling them about those unbelievable things that happened to her and her friends.
Hikaru and Fuu. She used to find comfort in the thought that she wasn't entirely alone. They had suffered the way she had…up until they found their lost loves.
At first they tried to contain their happiness for Umi's sake. They didn't want to rub it in that they had Lantis and Ferio while Ascot still hadn't shown up. That irritated her more. They pitied her even if they denied it several times. She hated pity coming from other people. Only she had the right to pity herself.
They tried to include her in their merry little group, but she was definitely the proverbial fifth wheel. Their company was nothing but a painful reminder that she had no one. Absolutely no one.
She started politely declining their invitations to go out, hang out or whatever. In fact, she declined one such offer just a few hours ago. Apparently, Ferio's parents came back from Madrid to visit their children. They were treating everyone to a fancy dinner. Of course, Ferio would bring Fuu, Emeraude would bring Zagato, and Lantis (who was technically part of the family) would bring Hikaru. Heck, even Zagato and Lantis' parents were invited. And since she was chummy with the two girls, her presence was also requested.
Like hell I'd go there, she had thought earlier. A stampede of African elephants won't be able to drag me in that restaurant!
So she faked a headache to get out of the invite. It was not the first time she used that excuse, but it did look plausible. She had looked peaky this morning from lack of sleep.
Ha! If she looked bad earlier, she was even worse now that she had four hours of restless sleep. Her dream was quite disturbing, although she couldn't remember what it was all about, and now that lousy excuse of a headache was starting to pound in her head with a vengeance.
"Itai!" She bumped her knee and stubbed her toe on the way out of the kitchen. It was then that she noticed that the sun had already set and the place was dimly lit by the moon and neon lights coming from the outside. She had slept the afternoon away.
She hobbled to the living room and all but collapsed on the couch. She massaged her leg and pretty soon the dull pain had died down. Now, if only her headache would go away too. She emptied her head of all thoughts and worries. It wasn't an easy feat, but she did it anyway. She was getting good at it too, that is, in ignoring her problems.
She stared into space with blank eyes. She didn't know how long she was sitting there, didn't really care how long. It could have just been minutes or maybe hours. What brought her out of the trance was the irritating ringing sound of their phone. She automatically reached for the wireless on the coffee table and pushed the large button.
"Moshi moshi," she said through the phone. Perhaps she was still hazy because she thought she missed the caller's voice. "Excuse me, who's the call for?" But there was only silence. She didn't miss anything. "Moshi moshi. Who's on the line please?"
This time she was answered by a dial tone.
Of all the—! Goddamned prank callers! She went to check the caller ID, but the number was blocked. A few more cuss words colored her line of thoughts. At least, she seemed back to her feisty self.
A loud growl from her stomach reminded her that she hadn't had anything since…well, she couldn't really recall the details of her last decent meal. She tried to ignore the hunger for a while. When the grumbling insisted, she gave up trying to go back to that uncomplicated zone she was in during the trance.
Looks like reality caught up with me again, went her rueful acceptance. She went to the kitchen only to find the fridge and the cupboards bare of edible foods. She could have a pizza delivered, but it wasn't what she was craving for. There were two choices: Ignore the stomach cramps or go out and buy some food. She found neither of the two appealing.
Twenty minutes later she lost the battle against her own digestive organ. She dressed as shabbily as possible in some big shirt, faded jeans and worn sneakers. She was in no mood to dress up. Then again, she also didn't want anybody to see her looking like the mess that she really was. She tried shoving her impossibly long blue hair that could give her identity away in a baseball cap with no success.
Ah, to heck with it! I'm entitled to look miserable once in a while. It's my goddamned right!
She yanked her hair in a loose ponytail, shoved the cap on and completed her disguise with a pair of lightly tinted glasses. Umi smirked as she thought how appalled her mother would be if she saw her like this. She hurried out of the building and down several blocks to the minimart.
As she filled her basket with chips, chocolates, ice cream and every kind of junk food available, her thoughts reverted back to its dreary state.
Why did I have to fall in love?
Why did it have to be with him?
Why can't I forget him?
Why hadn't he come for me yet?
Damn it, Ascot, where are you?!
And equally dreary thoughts answered back.
He doesn't love you.
He has stopped loving you.
You brushed him off and now he doesn't love you.
You deserve this.
You don't deserve him.
She was a shallow person. People thought that way and she tried to prove them wrong. In the long run, all she managed to do was find out how right their judgment of her was. Aside from stupidity, that fault was the reason why she lost Ascot.
He was perfect. Granted that he was a decade younger than her by earth's standards; nevertheless, he was perfect. Not because of his looks, not because he worshipped the ground she walked on, but because he truly loved her even though she did not love him back. Time and absence had made her realize her true feelings, but by then, it was already too late.
She had already hurt him. He had professed his love for her, and her stupidity made her blind and deaf. She had thought he was only infatuated with her…a simple case of full-blown crush.
Oh, why couldn't she have seen it sooner? Why couldn't she have seen that it was real…that he was more than just a brother or a friend? Why had she been so stupid?
By the time she reached the counter, she had thoroughly berated herself plus called herself a thousand fool.
There was no use living in the past, but that was what she was doing. She was reliving it in her mind while her heart fervently wished that it did not go the way it did. If given half the chance, she would have at least been nicer to Ascot, or maybe she could have been less full of self-importance. Surely that would have made her return much easier and less disturbing.
Yeah right, she snorted. Dream on, Umi. Nothing could make your life better again. Only one person has the power to do that and he's missing in action. Probably forever. If he hasn't shown up by now, chances are he'll never will.
As she stepped out into that dark night, she found it ironic that the isolated alley she was walking in pretty much symbolized her bleak life from now on.
He'd been following her ever since she left her building. She looked different with her hair tied back like that. She shouldn't hide her hair. He loved her hair. It was her best feature, not that she wouldn't be perfect even without it.
It was his turn to pay, but he just shoved the empty basket to the cashier and followed Umi out the store. This could be his chance. He could finally introduce himself and talk to her…and maybe have her.
For many months, he hid in the shadows to get to know her…the real her. It was in moments like these when one catches a person unawares that he truly knows the person…her habits, likes, dislikes, even her secrets.
And secrets Umi had, he was sure of it. Big ones. Dark ones. Secrets he'd give anything to know. But he was patient. He could wait.
His senses tingled. They always did when he got excited or when something was not right. He didn't know what triggered them this time, but it seemed she noticed something out of the ordinary too. He merged with the shadows with ease as he watched her look back to the general area where he was. He dared not breathe lest she noticed the puff of air in the cold night. Thankfully, she just shrugged and walked away.
Yes, he was a patient man, and no, the time had not come yet.
She will be his soon.
And no one can stop him from having her.