Challenge: A song that your sibling listened to
Song: BlackPink – Playing with Fire
A/N: The timeline is taking place after they graduated from high school and entered university.
It was a common day for a common small family, who lived under the tyrant rule of the local emperor and his warriors. To all that lived in the village, to utter his name was equal to that of a demon. Yet for this family, they ignored the ruler and helped those in the village as best as they could. If they lacked food, then the family would share what they could. If they lacked clothing, then the wife stayed up late in the evenings sewing what they could. Fore even the basic of things were hard to come by, as they were looked after by a tyrant.
Yet, it was not enough. Nothing was ever enough for the tyrant. Even when they all but dug into the ground and overfished, so that he could eat. Even when their backs burned under the burning sun, so that he would have food and clothes. The villagers and the common family should have seen this coming. All they could do was watch in horror as his warriors came down from the palace. They took most of their food, little jewelry, weapons and best fabrics that they all owned. These warriors, who swore to live by honour, showed little sympathy. Once the attack ended, the villagers were once more forced to depend on the tyrant and his future heir.
In the end of that night, the small common family sat in silence around the fire. Their stomachs empty, as what little food that they had was passed to the youngest of them all, a mere baby. The head of the family sat outside. His head bowed in defeat, but his heart held anger for the tyrant. There was nothing that he could do. Yet, he prayed to the Gods that they were given a chance to fight back. In any way, even if it went against their morals. If they didn't, soon, they would all die of starvation and sickness.
What he did not expect was for his prayer to be answered, weeks later. Those few weeks have been harsh. The lack of food started to show its affects and some of the elders and children grew sick. The people grew thinner and weaker, though they tried not to show it. Today was as harsh of a day as any, as the head of the house helped with the harvest. His back ached from being hunched over for so long, no matter that he wasn't old. His lack of strength was felt and seen, but in his stubbornness he continued. Much to his disappointment, the food was not ready, so he and the others would return homes with nothing.
When he finished his work, he straightened up as best as he could. A loud crack was heard from his back, but it brought little comfort aside from a straighter spine. His eyes hovered over the harvest, and his eyes landed on a mongoose. Its golden eyes stared at him, which made the man suspicious. Those eyes stayed on his being, with a look of high intelligence. The small animal turned around, but it looked over its shoulder at him, as if it wished that he followed it. The man thought that he had gone mad, when he came to the conclusion. How could it be that a mere mongoose gave him such of an expression? But the more that he stared into its eyes, the more that he felt that he had to. With a quick look over his shoulder to look back at the village, he followed the animal. He only prayed that it wasn't a demon in disguise.
As he walked deeper into the forest, his gut told him that something was off. Few villagers went this deep into the forest, as they feared of what inhabited this place. The only times that they dared to do so, was to hunt for some food. But that was long ago, before the tyrant forbad them and turned the hunting into a game for him and the warriors. The man resisted the urge to gulp, as fear started to creep upon him at the thought of being caught.
Just as he was about to turn back, for that and fear of never seeing his family again, the mongoose stopped at last. It climbed upon a tall being, and the man's eyes followed it until he made eye contact with a yellow faced being. In one hand was held a staff, while his body was covered with armour. The man could not even gasp in shock, his awe outweighed it. His knees hit the ground as he muttered his name, Bishamon-ten.
The God acknowledged the name, and spoke in a deep voice.
"I have heard of your prayer, among the many. Your tyrant has gone far too long with his injustice actions, but I fear that he will not be the only one. Become my warrior, my champion, and fight in my name. To show your loyalty, you and your worthy descendants will be marked. I'll give you the skills to fight back, but you will have to put some of your morals aside. Become a thief, but only steal from those that have darkness in their hearts and have brought pain upon others."
He was questioned about how the common man could keep his family safe, if he accepted the job.
"They will know of you, make no doubt. But if you worry so much for your family's safety, I will give you a disguise. On day, you and your descendants will look normal. At night, when it is time to steal, your eyes will turn gold like that of my mongoose. I will leave for you and your descendants some weapons and a uniform, but be warned. Fore if you become greedy, and steal from the honest and innocent, karma will come back to haunt you for the rest of your existence."
The common man thought about it for a moment, before he agreed. On his arms appeared a spear. It circled all the way around from his wrists until they reached his forearms. The head of the spear pointed towards his hands. It looked nothing more than a birthmark. When he returned home, he discovered that the God kept his word. His wife appeared before him bewildered with his child in her arms, who gained the same mark. Meanwhile, his eldest children had none. And hidden in their room were weapons and a uniform. From that night on forward, the common family were known as Bishamon's Champions. They stayed loyal from that day forward.
It was a simple story, one that wasn't well known. At least, it wasn't known with this much detail. Yet, for one Hayashi family it was not a story nor did it contain little information. For them, it was the start of a long line of thievery. Long before the Europeans have found out about the Japanese. It was a story that the youngest child, Miyoko, has heard a million times. For her older siblings, it meant nothing to them. After all, they didn't gain the birthmark that the story spoke of. They weren't out there, fighting for justice. They could move on with their lives, while she was taught everything that she needed to know. She wasn't the only one with the marks. A good half of the family had people with the birthmark. Some of her family members hated their fate, but not her. She could never bring herself to hate it. This birthmark showed that she had a purpose.
What she could not stand about it, was that it blocked her from having many friends or love. Miyoko Hayashi was far too busy training and studying, as was expected of her. Unlike her, her peers had the opposite idea. They wanted to live, before they were tied down by society. They went out to karaoke, dates, parties and much more. Meanwhile, she was at her huge family home, with the rest of the birthmarked family members. It didn't help that her family was just… odd. The few friends that she did have would leave her when they took notice of her family members. They thought that her family was part of some criminal organization. Not that they were that far off, but still it wasn't like they were the yakuza or something. Though, it didn't help that all those that didn't have the birthmark moved out, as they weren't required to stay. Those that didn't move out were either too young or married into the family. Compare to those that did have the birthmark, their percentage was small. So it did make sense that they concluded that. But it still didn't make things any easier for Miyoko.
At the age of 18 and the daughter of the head of the family, Miyoko could only sigh as she walked down the halls of University of Tokyo. She has entered into the faculty of education, with two majors in chemistry and art with yet an undetermined minor. She wanted to become a teacher. It was an unusual job for her family, who were all either scholars or business owners. But she didn't mind, nor her parents on some extension. They agreed to her choice with one condition, that she gained a degree in business as well. She shrugged and went along with it.
She has only begun to study in the university for a few months, but things still haven't changed. Miyoko couldn't go past the acquaintance stage. She was either just too awkward or put herself out there too much.
Once again, the young woman sighed as she walked into the quiet library. She needed to get books for her upcoming essay. It was a good thing that she brought a bag to carry the books in, because this was going to be a pain. With a notepad and the bag in one hand, and a coin in the other, she walked around the library. The coin was flipped in the air with no problem. At times she did tricks with it, low level ones but still impressive for one that didn't concentrate on it. Ironic enough, it was a habit that allowed her mind from wandering away. The black headed young woman didn't notice the impressed looks that some of her peers sent her. She definitely did not notice a particular interested one. After grabbing 5 books, she came upon a bookcase that held two of her books. Lady luck frowned upon her, because both books were way at the top and she was a short girl of mere 4'11''. She blamed it on her mother side of the family. Miyoko stopped flipping the coin and glared at the bookcase with her brown eyes.
The things that she does for art. She dreaded history at times, though this time around she had to tolerate it as it was history of art.
A chuckle broke her concentration of imagining 50 different ways to destroy the bookcase.
"What did the bookcase ever do to you?"
Miyoko snapped her head towards the voice. To her shock, the voice belonged to a young man. She had to crank her neck a bit so to meet his eyes. The comment earned him a hoof.
"I'm trying to get some books, but they're way at the top." She looked for a small stool or a ladder, but found none. "And there's nothing that can help me get to them."
"And glaring at them will help you?" The guy teased, which got him a glare. She was about to make a snarky comment, something that was uncharacteristic about her, but she was cut off. "What are the codes for the books?"
The short young woman sighed and handed him the small notepad. She pointed out at the only two books that weren't crossed out. Within a minute, those books were in her hands.
"No problem, shorty."
Miyoko twitched at the nickname. Her calm persona that she was known for crippled away and was replaced with an angered beast.
"What… did… you… call… me…?"
The guy just smiled and laughed, his blue eyes twinkled. He waved off her temper with ease. He changed the topic:
"I saw you doing tricks with your coin. I'm impressed. You didn't even pay attention and did some pretty neat tricks."
The female of the two stopped as she stared at him in shock. How in the world did he go from making fun of her height to complimenting her coin tricks in seconds? She never knew a guy that did something like this. Not knowing what to say, she uttered unintelligently:
She ran her fingers through her hair in confusion and self-comfort. Was this guy making fun of her?
"Most people need to concentrate to do even half the stuff that you did. I'm a magician, so I can appreciate some talent when I see it. Do you know any other tricks?"
Magician? This was the first time that Miyoko ran into one. She was always interested in the idea of magic, no matter if it was magician or real magic. But the interest was always quashed by her siblings, who liked to make fun of it all the time. So it became something that she never had the time to develop fascination for, like other kids.
"Um… no, not really. It's just some stuff that I saw in books when I was bored." She gave him a one look over. "You… you don't look like a magician?"
But how would she know? Even though she could tell a person
with a one look over, like some famous detectives of this country, he didn't look like one. She could tell that he had an athletic body underneath those fitted clothes. From the size and the way that his muscles sat on him, she would have to guess that he did acrobat or gymnastics. That in itself was interesting, as most guys her age weren't into sports like these two. Yet, this guy looked like he did a lot of it. His fingers appeared strong and toned, a bit of scarring, if one looked super close. But there was something else about him. It was hard to sneak up on her, but this mysterious guy managed to do that. Her eyes narrowed just a fraction, but she kept the curious look on.
The guy smiled with cockiness. With a poof of smoke, in his right hand was an orange rose. Miyoko blinked in surprise.
"Now do you believe me?"
The young woman didn't bother to hide her grin. She took the rose with carefulness in case there were thrones. To her surprise, again, there weren't any.
"Maybe, but it takes more to impress me."
"Oh ho! Is that a challenge I hear?"
"Maybe" She tried not to smirk, but her eyes told a different story. "May I know the name of the cocky guy in front of me?"
Most would be appalled by the way that she made it sound like she insulted them. Instead, the guy smiled with brightness. He mocked a gentleman bow and responded:
"Kuroba Kaito, and may I know the name of this lovely lady?"
Miyoko couldn't help but laugh at his cheesiness.
"Hayashi Miyoko, and it takes more than simple charms to make me blush."
Where was she getting this energy from? Why was she getting so excited over the idea of the challenge? I shouldn't take this seriously. For all I know, he doesn't take this seriously and will make a fool out of me. She had to remind herself, but the feeling didn't go away. Was it because of her failed social life that made her hyper over the idea of a chance that this might be true? She didn't know. Maybe she needed to talk with her mother about this. She wasn't sure what to do.
This guy, Kaito, was about to say something when his phone dinged. He took it out and flipped it open. A look of panic replaced the playfulness.
"Oh no, I completely forgot. Aoko is so going to kill me!" Aoko? From the look on his face, she must be someone important. Miyoko noted at the tone of voice. Kaito flipped the phone closed and turned around to leave, but stopped. He turned on one heel and looked at the short female. "It was nice to meet you. What days are you here?"
Miyoko blinked a few times. Was he serious? She tried to joke a bit, so to get rid of the disappointments.
"So that you can 'impress' me?"
She quoted with one hand in the air. The guy laughed but nodded.
"I don't back down from a challenge."
The giddiness came back. Maybe there could be something from this, like a friendship? She really hoped so.
"I'm here every day, except for the weekend. The days vary due to my classes, but I'm always at the university in the afternoon."
"Great, then I'll see you tomorrow?"
With a mischevious grin, he added in:
"I put my number in your phone."
"Wait- what?!" Miyoko took out her phone and looked at her contact list. Just as he said, his number was in there. "What? How-?"
When she looked up, she saw that he was gone. Startled, she walked out from the corridor of bookcases and looked around, but didn't see him. She stood at her spot in complete silence.
"What just happened?"
She hasn't thought much about the rose. It was beautiful, she admitted, but she never thought about the colour and the meaning. That was stupid of her, since she loves art and should know and identify this stuff right off the bat. It was odd for her. The whole situation was so random. It reminded her of all those weird cliché love stories that her older sister loved to read and tried to hide. But she doubted that this was a romantic gesture. She has never been given anything loving or friendly before outside of her family.
With all the newfound homework, it was of no surprise that she researched later in the evening. So there she sat in her room, with the rose in a small vase filled with water on her desk. Miyoko pondered in her mind as she sat down with a book on her table about flower languages. She started to go through the rose section, when her bedroom door was opened. In walked her mother.
"Miyoko-chan, what are you doing hiding in your room?" She began, "Did you forget that your siblings are coming over for dinner? They're even bringing their spouses."
The startled daughter jumped, turned around and stared at her mother with wide eyes. Miyoko has forgotten, or more so didn't want to remember. She tried to keep the whining tone out of her voice:
"Do I have to go? Can't I eat in my room?"
Her mother strolled over to her. Her long pale fingers rested on her daughter's shoulders, in a comforting manner. Her brown eyes narrowed a bit, but were filled with understanding.
"Sweetheart, I know things have been… tensed since they moved out and got married. But I'm not asking much. We don't eat together as a family as much as we used to. I'm only asking for an hour of your time."
The young woman bit her tongue before any curses came out of it, though none were towards her beloved mother. She was right. Her older siblings and their spouses never came over. The times that they did come over could be counted on one hand in 6 years in total. So it wasn't much to ask of her. But she hated it when they did come over. She longed for the days when they got along great, with no worries in the world. Where they smiled and laughed as they played or pranked each other. Yet, ever since her older siblings hit adolescence, everything changed. They grew cold towards their family and moved out as soon as they turned 18. They called only when they were forced or out of spite. They married people without their father's approval so to not put the family in danger. When they did come over, Miyoko just wanted to curl up into a small ball and escape their judgemental and cold eyes. It was a big mess. Even their relationship with their father was bad. No, not even that. It was hard to explain the relationship between the three of them. If one asked her, Miyoko would say that one of these days, one of them would snap and things would get ugly, fast.
But her love and respect for her mother outweighed the urge to hide in her room.
"Alright, I'll go. When is it again?"
"They're coming in half an hour, so dress nice and wash up."
Miyoko agreed. With a soft smile, her mother leaned over and kissed her forward then left. The smile disappeared from the young woman as soon as the door closed. She looked back at the rose, surprised that the older woman didn't notice it. But with them coming over, I'm not surprised. The brown eyed female humoured with sadness. She thought that she would tell her mother of what happened today and ask for advice, but not today. There was always another time.
Miyoko turned her eyes to the window, and saw that it was a full moon. It was beautiful. It was something that she would take out her art supplies and sketch out. But when she looked over at the clock on the wall in front of her, she sighed in defeat.
"Might as well get ready now. Maybe then I won't think too much about it." She groaned and rubbed her face. "I hope that dinner won't turn into a disaster."
She paused after she said the last part. I jinxed myself. Dear Bishamon-ten, I hope that it won't come true. With another groan, Miyoko got up to get ready. Next to the vase sat a small picture of her immediate family, from when she was younger. It reflected the moon's light before it deemed.
It was half passed dinner, but the atmosphere was thick. Miyoko sat next to her father in a simple but elegant blue kimono, knowing how traditional the man was at times. It was worth the soft smile that he gave her earlier when he saw her. Now, it was all but gone in the face of the visitors. Her eyes were on her food at the low table. In front of her sat her mother. Thanking the Gods, her sister-in-law was the one that sat beside her rather than one of her siblings. At least she didn't talk to her or looked at her in any way. Okay, that was a lie. There was a sniff or two sent her direction, but that was as bad as it would get. Maybe it had to do with her lack of Japanese knowledge, as she was foreign. Who knew? As far as she knew, her sister-in-law was from somewhere in North America, but that was about it.
Miyoko listened as her siblings have small talk with their mother. The spouses muttered under their breaths every now and then. Once in a while the youngest in the room felt eyes on her, cold and indifferent. In respond, she hunched her shoulders forward and curled up a bit. She wished that the floor would swallow her up and let her disappear. If it was any other situation, she wouldn't allow it to affect her. But… what could she do when it was them?
Her father wasn't doing much better. Being one of the biggest in the room, he kept his eyes on their guests with blank eyes. His back was straight, as he used his height for an advantage to appear intimidating. He looked every bit of the head of the family that he was. Like her, he made no comments except for grunts to acknowledge that he was spoken to. The only people that got more out of that from him were his wife and youngest daughter.
"So how's your health oto-sama?"
The eldest, Kyoya, asked of their father. His dark eyes looked at the older man in the corner of his eyes. Their father's jaw tightened. For the first time that evening, he answered to his guests in words, though they were heavy.
"It is fine"
"It is bad for your health to be the head of a family of thieves that follow a ridiculous story." Her sister, Emi, spoke up next. She looked at Miyoko. "It must be especially hard to have a daughter that's interested in nothing but art and teaching. How… disgraceful."
Miyoko flinched but didn't look up. Her heart ached and her eyes stunk at the words that came from someone that she once looked up to. All eyes of the visitors were on her. This time they didn't hold back the look of distaste. Something snapped in her father when he saw those looks.
"Watch your tongue and stop looking at Miyoko like that! The ones that are disgraceful here are the lot of you. To have abandoned this family. You turned your backs on our traditions and marry outsiders without my approval."
The head of the family barked. His grey eyes stared at them with anger and looked at the spouses with distrust. Miyoko paled when she realized where this argument was heading. Oh no, don't tell me- Kyoya snorted.
"I don't know why you're so keen on believing that ridiculous story, and allow Miyoko to do what she wants too. She should have escaped while she had the chance. But I see that it's useless. Not when you tattooed those marks on her." Miyoko hid her birthmarks with her sleeves. She felt sick at the accusation that he threw at their parents. "Not only that, but to have picked such a low-paid job and in art of all things. I'm sorry for you oto-sama, okaa-sama, to be stuck with her."
"Kyoya!" Their mother cried out in horror. Her brown, kind eyes looked in disbelief at her eldest. "Apologize to your father and sister at once. You too Emi."
But the words only got a couple of dark chuckles.
"Why should we when what we say is the truth?"
Miyoko looked up and saw how her father's hand turned into a fist. She threw herself back a bit, as her father slammed his fist against the table. All the plates and drinks shook, which startled everyone else. Kyoya's wife shrieked when a bit of tea fell onto her expensive looking dress. The 18 year old winced, wondering if her ears started to bleed for a moment there. She lifted her eyes to look at her father's aging face. A shiver went down her spine when she saw how angry he looked. The wrinkles became more pronounced. Fire danced in his eyes. His jaw clenched in such a way, she became worried that he was about to break his teeth. This… he never reacted this way before. I can't believe this. It's happening. They have pushed each other- but her thoughts weren't allowed to finish.
"That is it! I have had enough of you two and your useless spouses. You have done nothing but dishonor our family. Get out of the manor and never return. Consider yourselves disowned."
Everyone looked at him in surprise, especially the guests. The two oldest children fought against the last statement.
"What do you mean we're disowned? You can't do that!"
Emi shrieked in outrage. Her fingers twitched, as if she was about to use her long painted pointy nails and claw at the man's face.
"What about the inheritance? What about our businesses? We're tied to your big company! I'm your heir."
Kyoya cried out in panic.
"You are no heir of mine. The only heir I have ever acknowledged for the last few years have been Miyoko."
The head of the family replied with coldness and authority. The room turned into silence, as the atmosphere grew cold. Miyoko could only stare in shock at the revelation. He had thought of her as his heir for a few years? Her mind worked fast as she tried to make sense of everything. She knew that in the last few years, her father has been tougher on her than usual. She hasn't thought much about it, until now. This would also explain why they pushed her to take a business degree. There was always an undertone there, from the start. How has she not noticed it?
It seemed that the message has finally sunk in. Kyoya snapped his body towards her. His voice trembled with unspoken outrage and loath:
He pushed his wife aside and attacked his youngest sister. After all those years of training, she had spent countless hours learning many fighting techniques. She had shed blood, sweat and tears, but fought tooth and nail to prove her worth and get stronger. The result had finally made itself shown. Without a thought, she stood up and uppercut him straight into his jaw. The force knocked him off his feet and there was blood.
There was stunt silent.
The head of the family raised his voice and called out to some of the family members. They stood outside the room as guards.
"Take them away. I don't want to see them again."
There was only silence as the guests were escorted out. But Miyoko didn't miss the looks that her former siblings gave her. Their eyes filled up with nothing but anger, loath and promise of pain. Her lips drew into a line, and watched them with a head held high. She knew what those looks meant. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was going on. But deep in her heart, it pained her. Her eyes once more stunk but she resisted crying in front of everyone.
Miyoko's mother spoke with a hint of shakiness. Her eyes clenched shut in pain for the loss of her children. He looked at her with sad eyes and spoke with softness.
"Kimiko, I have gave them more chances than I should have. They have failed each and every one of them. Kyoya even attacked Miyoko when I revealed the truth. I will not have them act this way to us and our ancestors any longer."
"Papa… may I be excused?"
Miyoko asked, her voice was strained from holding back her tears. This stopped her parents' conversation for a moment. Finally, she was answered.
"Yes, you may."
She bowed to her parents and left as fast as she could. Her heart was all but in her throat, which made it hard for her to breath. It felt like her whole world was shattered all around her. After she slammed her bedroom closed and locked it, she grabbed her family photo. With her un-bloody hand, she raised a long pale finger. It shook as it stroked the faces of her former siblings, who smiled up at her as if nothing was the matter. Tears landed upon the picture and at last she broke down. One of her only dreams was destroyed. She would never have her whole family back.
The shock didn't go away by the next day. Throughout the morning and in her only spare slot, Miyoko was quiet. She tried her best to read through one of the art history books that she brought back from home, but it was of no use. Not even drawing has brought her out of her dark mood. If anything, it made things worse. By the time that lunch arrived, she tried to hide from the rest of the population. Where she hid, she wasn't sure. It was high, she knew that. It was most likely close to the roof, if she had to guess. Aside from being in the main building, any other clue has flown out of the window. Not that she cared.
Today was not her day. If it wasn't for her insane schedule, Miyoko would have stayed home.
Sitting in a quiet, abandoned room, Miyoko stared at the outdoors. The rare weather reflected her mood. There were a lot of clouds, which blocked the sun most of the time. They looked dark and heavy, which she knew meant there would be rain. Late June warmth almost felt like it was September. For a moment there, she wondered if the Gods were angry or something to destroy a summer day.
The lunch that sat on the long table beside her was ignored. With her arms crossed, she buried her face into them. Her body shook a bit, whether from the weather or an aftermath from yesterday, she wasn't sure. She bit her bottom lip hard and dug her nails into her exposed arms. Will they do it? Will they try… to kill me? She wondered as flashes of her former siblings' faces were pushed to the front of her mind.
Something with weight was placed on her head. Her head snapped up. Her body on its own was about to get up, ready to fight. Before she could so much as move her chair back, her brown eyes met with familiar blue eyes. They looked worried, but the smile didn't weaver. In the person's hand was a can that was purple and had the word Fanta at the front. She concluded on the spot that it was the drink that was the culprit behind the weight.
Miyoko breathed out in relief and confusion. How did he find her?
"Yo Hayashi-san" He greeted her with a bright smile. "Here, I got you this."
He put the can of drink in front of her. While he grabbed a chair to sit in front of her, she took the time to study the can before accepting it. She didn't like soft drinks, but didn't want to appear unappreciative and so opened it. It sizzled for a bit before the sound died down. It wouldn't hurt her to drink it this one time. She murmured:
"Thanks" Miyoko shifted in her spot in awkwardness. Her left index finger grabbed a stray of hair and started to play with it. What else was she supposed to say? Come on, pick something! "Um… how did you find me?"
Kaito hummed as he opened his Dr. Pepper and answered before he drank it.
"I saw you going this direction a while ago. There's only a few classrooms, so it didn't take me long to find you." He took a few big gulps from the can and sighed in appreciation when he stopped. "Ah, that's good stuff."
Miyoko couldn't help but chuckle a bit at how childish he sounded. She let go of her hair in favor to cradle her drink in her hand, as she stared at it. After a moment, she decided to drink it a bit. The taste made her want to grimace, but she held back. It was somehow… sweeter, this time around, but not by much. As she concentrated on her drink, she didn't notice that the man stared at her with worrisome. The smile was gone, but his face took on a look of wonder. Kaito wanted to ask her what was wrong, as she gave off this aura of depression. But he decided that it would be best to cheer her up instead. They have met only yesterday. If anything, it would be too imposing of him to ask her anything that personal.
"Hey, wanna see some magic tricks?"
That was right, there was this challenge. Both of them forgot about it for a moment there. Miyoko grinned a bit in amusements. Her cheek rested on her right fist. She teased him:
"I don't know if they'll impress me."
"Tch, tch, tch." Kaito waved his index finger at her. "Don't ever underestimate a magician shorty."
Miyoko's face froze and her body twitched.
"What did you call me?"
"Shorty, because you are so short."
"Do you have a death wish?"
Kaito felt like anyone else would whimper at the tone of her voice, but to him he ignored it with a visible shrug.
"No, but I do wonder. What's the world like down there?"
"Why I outta-!"
Miyoko pushed her drink away and jumped over the table to get him. A poof of smoke appeared right where he was. She got up in a flash and looked around the room and saw that he was at the small stadium right up front. His smile was big and wide. He waved his finger at her again.
"Can't catch me, now can you?"
Adrenaline started to pump through her blood. In return she grew excited and for once, since yesterday, laughed.
"I thought that you wanted to show off your magic tricks, oh great magician."
She called out to him while she made her way down in a slow manner. Her body poster leaned forward a bit, as if she was a predator ready to catch her pray. Kaito's blue eyes twinkled in laughter, but he made no move to try to escape. Instead, he leaned his back against the desk. He answered back:
"But I am showing you magic."
"I didn't know a smoke bomb was part of magic."
She taunted him. At last, she was only a few feet away from him. Her body poster lowered down ever so, to not appear that she was ready to strike. He pouted at the comment.
"It is so part of the magic."
"Then I'm not impressed."
Miyoko shrugged a bit, the smirk never left her face. In an almost childish manner, he stood straight and declared:
"I can do much more than that!"
She commented and jumped to capture him. Once again, smoke appeared in his spot. The difference this time was that she had a few white birds on her. There was one on each of her shoulders and the third was on her head. Wait, what? How did he get the birds inside and on me? She wondered in shock. Her mind raced a mile per minute for an explanation, but she could not come up with anything. It couldn't be that he stuffed them into his shirt, which had no sleeves. Pants were a no-no for sure. He didn't have a hat. So how did Kaito manage to do this?
In her peripheral vision, she noticed something pink and white. She turned her head to look at the birds on her shoulders, and saw that they held azaleas. She could only guess that the third did so too. The three birds flew and landed on the table in front of her, where they placed the flowers. The 18 years old student stared in shock, but soon a soft smile appeared on her lips. She got up and picked up the flowers, one by one. Miyoko took a few moments to admire the way that they looked. On the inside there was dark pink, but as it spread outwards the hue turned lighter and spread in its own unique way. One of the flowers' buds got grabbed and stroked with great gentleness.
So caught up in her own mind, Miyoko didn't hear Kaito walk up to her with a satisfied look. He was quite happy that he accomplished his goal. He stated:
"A smile looks better on you."
Miyoko snapped out of her trance and turned to him. She tried to hide her laughter, but it escaped her.
"You are so cheesy!"
"I am not!"
"Yes you are. 'A smile looks better on you' is one of the most cliché lines a person can come up with." Kaito tried to protest, but he wasn't heard. The young woman was too busy laughing. "You are interesting, Kuroba-san. Thank you."
Kaito stopped his protests and looked at her. He smiled a bit and turned around to head back to their table. It didn't offend the black headed young woman. Rather than that, she followed him and took her previous seat. This time when she drank her Fanta, the bitterness was almost gone. For the rest of lunch, the two got to know each other. Miyoko had a feeling that this newfound friendship was going to be different. Maybe it could be better even, compared to her past relationships. She could always hope.
Back in her room, the dark atmosphere that Miyoko walked out with was gone when she returned. Her smile caught everyone off guard, and for good reasons. They found it weird that she was all cheerful compared to what she was from yesterday evening. This caused suspicions, which in turn had her family members spy on her in their own ways. Either they walked into the 'wrong' room. Or they tried to find something that someone else has 'hid' away from them. They would peak into the room in either an obvious way or they used their thievery skills for good measure. After all the work that they put into figuring out what changed her mood, they have came to one conclusion. It had something to do with those flowers on her desk.
But Miyoko was oblivious to their intentions. The only thing that was on her mind was her time spent with Kaito and the flowers that he gave her. Those three flowers joined the orange rose. This time, she sat down and made sure to research them.
Taking from where she left off yesterday, she found the orange rose at last. Its meaning was 'fascination', which made her blink quite a few times. Why would he be 'fascinated' in her? That made no sense. At first, she brushed it off as something that he had on hand way before he met her. But she should have known better. Her mother always told her that there was no such thing as coincidence. Coincidence was for someone that accepted things and moved on with their lives. It was different for people like them, thieves. When something happened, it was for a reason.
Miyoko froze when she researched the azalea and found it. It had a few different meanings, but the one that made the most sense was this:
Take care of yourself for me
She re-read the sentence a few more times. Her brown eyes blinked once as she tried to comprehend what she read. Did he notice how depressed she was? Was that why he called her 'shorty', so to get a different reaction out of her aside from sadness? This… made a lot of sense, actually, when she thought about it. The idea caused her to smile. This guy was odd, but in a good way.
The next few months passed by in a breeze. Soon summer turned into autumn. It became clear when the cool air came out of nowhere in mid-September. Those few months have been blissful to Miyoko, compared to the first few. She had made not only one new friend, but a couple of more. They were Kaito's friends, but she didn't dwell on the fact too much. It was better for her to accept it rather than sulk over nothing. What she found rather funny, was how diverse these people were. The first person that she met through Kaito was Aoko Nakamori. She was the same one that he panicked over when they first met. She was his childhood best friend. She was also the daughter of an inspector in the police, who haunted Kaito Kid like nobody's business.
After her came Saguru Hakuba, who, Miyoko admitted, never knew existed until they met. This made Kaito fall over in laughter, when she expressed confusion to knowing about him. After an internet search, she finally understood. The last person that she met was the most interesting one, Akako Koizumi. The minute that Miyoko laid her eyes on that young woman, she knew right then and there that she was a witch. It was hard not to notice, when she had runes on her clothes that she would have missed if she wasn't a thief. Akako seemed to realize who she met as well, because she made a point in not pissing her off in any way. Even though the witch worshiped Christian demons, she knew of the existence of other powerful beings. To piss off one of the Bishamonten's Champions was a big no-no in her book.
There was one thing that caught Miyoko's attention. She kept on hearing from Akako and Saguru was when they continued to call Kaito, Kaito Kid. Kaito in return always denied it in annoyance. She never asked anything about it, but made sure to keep the information filed somewhere in her mind. Yet again, she never met the famous thief, so she had no idea what he looked like and couldn't make the connection. Still, if he was Kaito Kid, then he was surrounded by an interesting group of friends.
Now that she thought about Kaito, she couldn't help but wonder about the fluttering in her chest. She talked with her mother about it, only to get a knowing look and a warning to not let that feeling get to her head. This made Miyoko confused, before she realized what her mother meant. Ever since then, she tried to deny the emotions, but every time she was with Kaito, she grew to accept them a bit at a time. It was hard not to like him. Kaito was a cheerful, mischievous, genius and a genuine guy. Before she met his friends, they have spent a lot of time together to get to know each other. She felt like she could be herself around the guy. It was especially great when he wasn't offendd by either her comments or her silence. It was nice, Miyoko decided. She was happy that if she fell for anybody, it was Kaito out of all people.
But the bliss could never last. Miyoko still remembered her former siblings' threats. This was why she grew more fidgety the longer the months went by in silence. The others have taken notice, which was of no surprise. Even though she tried to hide it, she did a poor job at it. She kept on jumping over the smallest of things, like sounds. Her drawings that were infamous for being too realistic became unrecognizable. Her schooling was still above average, but it was obvious that she started to fall behind. It made the group worried, and when they asked she refused to answer them. The group backed off, for the most part. But Kaito was the most worried and didn't bother to hide it. He did his best to cheer her up all the time, no matter that they all failed.
Miyoko's father didn't forget the threat either. He thought about getting her guards, but decided against it. He told her that it would become obvious to what was going on. That was one of the last thing that he needed, as the police force still kept a close eye on the Bishamonten's Champions. It was far more complicated than that, but it was the simplest way that he could explain to his now only daughter. All he could do was having the few other family members that went to the university keep an eye on her. He put trust in her ability to detect something was wrong, as her training proved that it wasn't all for nothing.
Today was different, though. There she set with the group, outside in one of the last warm days before autumn would start to settle in. The group talked over lunch. Miyoko joined the conversation now and then, but focused on her drawing for the most part. She hoped that it would ease her increase uneasiness. It was a bad idea to go outside, where she was wide open. Yet she couldn't deny her group of friends of it. They were stuck in the stuffy university building since early in the morning. This was why she kept her back to a tree. At least her back was protected.
Miyoko focused on drawing the scenery in front of her. She debated on whether to put people in it, as it was what she saw. Until finally she decided with a nod that she would. So she started to draw the figures with a lighter shade pencil over the existing drawing. This was when she had to concentrate, but her mind still half listened to her friends.
"Hey, Hayashi-chan, are you going to see Kaito Kid's heist tonight?"
Kaito brought her out of her mind. She took a moment to finish a line before looking up in confusion.
"He's going to steal-"
"The Angel Tear."
Saguru cut Kaito off with ease, as he sent the said young man a look. This made the dark headed male huff. He tried to continue like he wasn't cut off.
"It's a necklace-"
"With a moonstone shaped into a tear. It is said that depending on the phases of the moon, it changes colours."
It was Akako next who cut him off while looking at her nails in boredom. The magician looked annoyed and was about to say something, but Aoko wouldn't let him. She stated with her own annoyance:
"Of course Kaito would go. He's Kaito Kid's biggest fanboy." She eyed her childhood best friend. "Now that I think about it, I find it weird that you never show up even when you're his 'biggest' fanboy."
The detective and witch both smirked at the statement. They watched in amusements as he tried to get himself out of this one. It was especially amusing scene, when they saw that he started to sweat in nervousness. Miyoko chuckled at the situation as a whole. These three were really out to make Kaito either pout like a puppy or whine that they're being cruel. Looking down at one of her wrists, she noticed something. Her birthmark peaked from underneath the long sleeve and it appeared a shade or two darker than usual. This meant that her time to become a thief was closing in. This reminded her that her father told her that tonight she would be the one to steal the Angel Tear. The stone was stolen from its previous owners under 'mysterious circumstances'. It found its way to its new owner, who sold and bought things in the black market.
Miyoko looked back up as the arguments continued between the group members. At one point Aoko started to ignore Kaito's existence, to which he tried to cheer her up in his usual antics. Those usual antics only made things a bit worse, when she sent him a glare of death. That was when the quiet female thief noticed something out of place. She rubbed her eyes, thinking that she saw things. The second time she looked, to her horror she realized what she was seeing. There was a red dot pointed to Kaito's head, but the angle made it impossible to be seen by the other people of the group. From what she learnt about guns as part of her training, she knew that dot from anywhere. There was only one explanation.
No… they wouldn't! Miyoko thought in deep shock that her former siblings would target the man that she liked. Without a thought, she shouted:
"Kaito, get down!"
She got up and pushed him out of the way.
The whole group watched in horror as the quietest person in the group was shot in the chest. Aoko screamed on top of her lungs, which snapped the rest of the group out of their shock. Kaito caught the injured body before she hit the ground. Akako went to his side to help him stop the bleeding. Saguru went to track down the shooter and Aoko called the ambulance and the police. After she called them, she ran to the front of the university to wait for them to arrive and show them the way.
While chaos went on, Miyoko started to cough up blood. She was blinded from the pain, but held onto reality as best as she could.
"Miyoko stay with us. Don't die on us, do you hear me?"
Kaito pleaded from her, not knowing what to do other than convince her to stay awake. He could not believe what happened. His mind raced to figure out what was the reason behind the attack. Yet, he couldn't think straight with the shock and panic still clouding his mind. Akako muttered a spell under her breath, but the bleeding didn't slow down. She cursed.
"I can't heal the wound until the bullet is out. But it's too dangerous, since it's in her chest. I could damage her heart or lungs or make her bleed even more."
The witch pressed on the wound with her handkerchief, but it was of no used. Kaito had her let go and put his own handkerchief on top of hers and pressed harder, as he was stronger. He asked:
"Do you know anything that can keep her awake?"
The witch shook her head. Her bloody hands were shaking.
"No, the spells that I know aren't meant to be used for this. If I use any of them, I could break her mind."
It was Kaito's turn to curse. Once more the injured figure coughed up blood and inhaled in pain. Miyoko's hand lifted up with weakness and rested it on top of his hands. This brought the attention of the duo to look into her pained eyes. She grunted out:
"I… won't… die… so… easily…"
"Miyoko" Kaito murmured in sadness. While one hand continued to press, the other wrapped around her hand. "I'm holding you to that. Rest. Don't talk."
The small young woman nodded with a wince, but spoke no more. Her hand was transferred to Akako. This made Kaito free to continue pressing onto her wound. Miyoko in return squeezed the witch's hand to show that she was still awake. At some point, she wasn't sure when, she passed out.
Miyoko went in and out of consciousness. She remembered a bit being in the ambulance. Then there was when her parents showed up and there was yelling. The last thing she remembered was being transferred to the operational table before she was knocked out by the doctors. The only time that she stayed awake for more than a few seconds, was in her hospital room. There were voices around her, along with beeping. She wasn't sure what gave her a bigger headache, the voices or that irritating beeping. She rested her eyes for a bit longer, because she knew that she had little strength to keep them open. So she settled with listening to the conversation.
"Damnit all. Those rats escaped before the police got them."
Her father seethed. She could imagine how his eyes would turn gold if he was angry enough. It was then that she noticed that a hand held hers, because its grip tightened.
"Dear, we can't do anything other than hope that the police will find them."
Her mother exclaimed with a tight voice. Either it was from crying or trying to hold back her rare anger, Miyoko wasn't sure. But she knew one thing. It wasn't her mother who held her hand, as she was on her left side while it was her right hand that was gripped. She tried to concentrate through her tired mind on who it was. The hand's warmth soothed her cold skin. Without moving as best as she could, she tried to conclude its other characteristics. The grip was strong, but not death-like. It was almost the same size as hers, but a tad bigger. The person's thumb stroked the back of her hand, but there was a hint of tremble. Miyoko felt like she knew who it was. Yet, the tiresome and whatever drugs they put her under made it hard for her to make a decision.
"Hayashi-san, Hayashi-sama, I have gotten into contact with as many people as I know that can help track them down. I can give you their contact information so that you can be kept updated."
That was Saguru who spoke. She would recognize his calm voice anywhere, even when it had a hint of anger. Her father huffed, but agreed.
"We're so sorry that this happened. If we knew, we could have stopped this."
Aoko spoke up in a weak voice, with an undertone of sadness and what sounded like she cried recently. Miyoko's mother jumped to sooth the girl.
"It is alright, Nakamori-san. None of you knew about this for a reason. It is nobody's fault except for… them."
Miyoko almost smiled at her mother's actions. She was such a mother-hen when it came to people. But the smile didn't appear. She could only imagine the pain that her mother was going through. To know that her former children tried to kill her youngest, must have shocked her to the core. Near her, she heard a tired sigh.
"It's getting late, and we have classes tomorrow. We should get home. We'll come back with any work from the professors if need be, but we'll need her schedule."
The usual taunting voice of Akako sounded tired. This surprised Miyoko, as that she never acted like this with any of them. She was a narcissistic witch that liked to manipulate people. So this was out of character of her, and made the female thief wonder with wistfulness. Her father grunted with agreement. Her mother told them their address so that one of them could come and be given the schedule. With quiet murmurs of get well to her and a few kisses on the forehead from her parents, she was left alone. The one that lingered back the most was the person that held her hand, who she now knew could be no one other than Kaito. The grip on her hand tightened one last time. A second later, something soft was felt on her forehead. From the almost silent smacking sound, she realized that it was a kiss. If not for the blood loss that she felt, Miyoko knew that she would have blushed hard. The lips on her forehead murmured:
"I'm sorry. It's because of me that you're laying here, injured. I'll protect you better from now on. I'll come back tonight, after the heist, to check up on you." He chuckled with dryness. "I can't believe that even with the secret, people that I care for are getting hurt."
In stunt silence, the naïve young man left. In that moment, Miyoko opened her eyes that were filled with shock. Is it possible… that he's Kaito Kid…? It can't be, but when I think about it, everything makes sense. It makes even more sense from what he said. She almost laughed at the irony. How ridiculous is this? Kaito Kid and Bishamonten's Champions' heir being friends and not knowing it. Fate must be laughing at us. With those final thoughts, she fell back to sleep.
The next time Miyoko woke up, it was midnight. Her brown eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room. It took her a moment to realize that she didn't have her golden eyes, which helped her see through the dark. She wasn't sure what this meant. She could only guess that the God decided to give her a break considering her situation. She muttered a 'thanks' and relaxed in her hospital bed. For a moment, all was silent, except for the machine next to her. There was nobody walking down the hallways to her left. The TV was off. The window did not let in even the sound of the streets. If not for the comforting silence, Miyoko would have found it unnerving. The only nice thing was that there was a bit of light from the full moon let in through the thick curtains.
Miyoko would have gone back to sleep, but remembered Kaito's promise from earlier. Has he arrived already and left, while she slept? She hoped not. It would be nice to talk to him a bit and see him, now that she had a bit of her strength back. If he hasn't come yet, she wondered when he would.
The silence was interrupted by the window sliding open. There was a soft thud, with footsteps that followed them and headed her way. Miyoko gave out a soft hum and turned her tired eyes towards the figure. The darkness almost engulfed the figure, but she could make out the familiar blue eyes. They looked at her with softness and happiness. The figure breathed out in relief:
Miyoko greeted him with a grin. Kaito moved closer to get a better look at her due to the darkness. Due to the closeness, she could make out a bit of the outfit. She wanted to make a comment about him being Kaito Kid, but was interrupted.
"How are you feeling?"
"Tired," she admitted, "and I don't feel much pain."
He laughed breathlessly before commenting:
"Good, that means that the drugs are working."
"A little too well. I woke up before, but I couldn't think straight."
"You… you all were here." Miyoko started and blushed a bit at the next part. "I remember you being the last one out, what you did and… said."
The male thief didn't say or do anything. He froze like a statue. His eyes searched hers for quite a while. He asked:
"Then… you know?"
"That you're Kaito Kid?" She would have laughed, but the talking has already taken too much of her energy. "I… I pieced everything together." Miyoko lifted a hand to touch his cheek. He leaned into her touch as she spoke again. "Thank you, for coming to visit me."
Kaito shook his head. He apologized to her again.
"I'm sorry, Miyoko. It's my fault that you're here."
"I should be saying sorry." Miyoko objected, her hand was grabbed by his and she squeezed it a bit. "I think that I know why they targeted you. If it's true, then it's nobody's but my fault."
Kaito looked at her in confusion. He couldn't understand what she meant by that it was her fault.
"What do you mean?"
The injured female didn't speak at first. Her body fidgeted a bit under his stare, and her eyes wandered around the room for a bit before they looked at him again. She mentally embraced herself for the rejection. With a gulp, she answered:
"It's because I like you Kaito, more than a friend."
Once again, he froze. He looked at her carefully, knowing that deep down, she said the truth. She liked him, like that? Like that of a romantic partner? If so, then it meant that a lot of things were going to change now that it was up in the air. For better or for worse, he wasn't too sure. At last, he answered to the relief of the patient.
"Miyoko… I like you as well." He admitted, he tightened his grip on her hand to which she returned. He sent her way a small smile. "But let's take things slow, okay? First things first, is for you to stay here like a good little patient and heal."
The last part made her groan. She couldn't help but whine:
"Do I have to stay here? It's boring and the doctors will do nothing but poke me with needles."
Kaito barked into laughter. He brought her hand and kissed the back of it.
"Then I'll make sure to make your stay here enjoyable. Now sleep. I'll come visit you again tomorrow."
Miyoko held his hand in a tight, vase like grip to prevent him from leaving. The two looked into each other's eyes again. She asked of him one last request, with a hopeful, yet embarrassed, voice:
"Will… will you stay with me until I fall asleep?" She added in the end, "I wouldn't mind hearing about your latest heist."
The young man smiled and nodded. So for the next half hour, he told her of what happened in his heist. He told her about this little guy by the name of Conan, and how he once again managed to find him. She almost laughed at the part of where he outsmarted the police force again with another look-a-like life-size doll of himself. She asked him a few questions, to which he answered happily. In the end, his soothing voice has lulled her to sleep. The bangs on her forehead were brushed aside and a kiss once more was placed there. Kaito whispered:
"Good night, my shorty princess."
Without another word, he disappeared into the night.