A Taste of Blood
Andrew Joshua Talon
Well, it's a sequel of sorts to "Hard Night", only with a bit of Harry Potter thrown in for flavor. It's from Keitaro's POV, so, in a sense, it's not really continuing the Peace of Mind series, but I'll leave that up to you.
"Keitaro! He's coming!" A young girl screamed, as high-pitched, maniacal laughter filled the air. Seventeen-year-old Keitaro Urashima narrowed his eyes, as he pulled his wand out from his completely black robes, and strode forward. He felt someone grab his wrist.
"Onii-san! What are you doing?! We've got to get out of here!"
"Run for it, Kanako! I'll hold him off!"
"NO! Keitaro, you idiot! You'll just get killed! We can escape together-!"
"Oh no, you can't," said an eerie, high-pitched voice. Keitaro grabbed his sister's wrist, threw her roughly toward the door, before turning and facing the monster behind.
"RUN, DAMNIT! RUN NOW!"
Kanako Urashima sat up in bed, covered in sweat, wide-eyed. She took deep breaths, instinctively using her ki to calm her raging nerves. She looked about her dark room warily, scrutinizing every shadow.
"Oh God... I've been reading too much British literature," she murmured disdainfully to herself. She turned over, intending to go back to sleep...
"Well, if it isn't Dumbledore's golden boy," sneered Voldemort, his serpent's eyes gleaming ruby red in the darkened room. Keitaro stood his ground, feeling like he wanted to throw up. Hundreds of wizards and witches had fought this monster-And how many had won? Zero, unless you counted Dumbledore.
"If it isn't the half-breed posing as a pureblood," Keitaro returned. Voldemort's eyes flashed, his eyes narrowing.
"Indeed. Two half-bloods. And only one who will survive this day.AVADA KEDAVRA!" The blast of green death shot for Keitaro. With all his willpower flowing into it, he raised his wand.
"EXPECTO PATRONUM!" At that same moment, Keitaro threw himself to the side of the Killing Curse while his Patronus charged into it. BOOM! The two spells collided, blowing both boy and dark lord to the floor.
"Damn!REDUCTO!" Keitaro blew apart the ground in front of Voldemort. The Dark Lord Apparated away before the shot hit, leaving Keitaro to scramble to his feet and twirl around. Just as he'd thought (and been told by Dumbledore to expect) the Dark Lord was behind him. They raised their wands at the same instant.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Red and green bolts of light met eachother between them, and as they did a colossal explosion shook the room again. Keitaro got blown off his feet, landing hard on his back. Voldemort appeared in an instant, his wand lowered at Keitaro with an evil smirk gracing his reptilian features.
"Well Keitaro... It seems you won't get to meet your father's fate, standing tall and strong, dying the heroic way," The snake hissed, the tip of his wand glowing green. Hatred like nothing Keitaro had ever felt before leapt into his heart, twisting his face into a snarl.
"Yes, indeed I am. Goodbye, Keitaro Urashima-"
"EXPECTO PATRONUM!" Voldemort whirled about, just in time to see Keitaro's Patronus form behind him and lunge for the Dark Lord.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Voldemort bellowed, as Keitaro scrambled to his feet and threw himself behind a pile of stones. He rose up, just in time to see Voldemort turn and face him. They lowered their wands.
"FULMENUS!" A blast of lightening screamed from Keitaro's wand, as a blast of green erupted from Voldemort's. Again the two curses met, bouncing off each other and impacting on the stone roof above. Keitaro threw another Lightening Curse, which Voldemort easily avoided by Apparating. Keitaro waved his wand at the stone pile before him, and focused.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" The stone pile leapt up, into the form of a rocky golem. It took the blast with a grunt, before lumbering towards Voldemort. The Dark lord sneered.
"Surely you can do better, Urashima."
"FULMENUS!" Another blast of lightening shot from Keitaro's wand, hitting the golem in the back. The stone warrior shot forward, super-charged. Voldemort waved his wand, causing the golem to stop in mid-run. The snake snorted.
"Shame, really, Urashima. But then, your family always was stupid enough to try and resist-"
"FUSIONUS NOVAE!" Keitaro screamed, and the golem glowed brightly. Voldemort's eyes shot wide open.
"You fool! You'll kill us both!" Keitaro laughed insanely, keeping his wand on the golem as he rushed forward, the stones that made up his granite groundpounder now shaking violently.
"Well, isn't that a shame?! SEE YOU IN HELL!" Voldemort waved his wand over the golem, green light rushing over it to try and subdue the blue light of Keitaro's spell. Keitaro screamed, throwing all of his energy into the statue. The combination of the two forms of magic allowed the atoms in the rocks to reach critical mass early.
The golem shuddered one last time, bellowing in agony, before detonating. KA-BOOM!
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" Keitaro shot up to a sitting position, breathing hard. He looked down at his shaking hands, as sweat decorated his arms. He took deep, calming breaths, counting them out silently. In, out, in, out, in, out...
It was only a dream. Really, that was all, he'd just watched the Harry Potter movie too many times. Yeah, yeah, that was it...
Keitaro turned over, reaching his arm out to wrap it around-- He sighed. It had been four months, and he still couldn't shake the habit of wrapping Naru with his arm and pulling her close, breathing in her sweet fragrance as she slept soundly next to him.
Why did we have to divorce? Why'd it... Why did it get so bad?Keitaro sighed deeply, not wanting to tell himself the truth (again), but...
She was herself only around me. Only my wife when no one else was around. Well, shewas my wife, during those times. She was my wife, all too well... Keitaro couldn't help but look up at the hole in the ceiling mournfully, tears coming to his eyes.
Damnit, I loved her! I loved her so much... I thought... I thought we would be together...Keitaro sniffed, and before he could stop, began to sob. His memories went over it all--The first time he realized he loved Naru, the day she said she loved him too, their wedding day, their honeymoon.
The weeks following their return to the Hinata Sou, how everyone was happy. Naru was content to just talk freely with him, kiss with him, tease him, maybe hit him once or twice, but it was all right, really.
The months after that. How Naru began to shoot looks at Mutsumi, Shinobu, Motoko, Kanako, and even Kitsune, whenever Keitaro talked with them, or laughed, joked around, helped out. How she began to hit him, slightly more violently, when he tripped (which he still did) or fell into another girl. He'd shrugged it off, they'd laughed over it, nothing more...
A few more months later. Naru started looking at the other girls more intently, taking her breaks from school to watch them, talk to them, casually inquire about what they were doing around Keitaro. Naru hit him more often, even at Toudai, when he got too close to Mutsumi or Kanako. She acted warm, loving, maybe a bit rough, at night, when they were alone, but whenever someone came around, she started to eye them. In her pupils appeared a glint Keitaro had never seen before.
The hits became much more frequent, more violent, more painful. Keitaro remembered, all too well, the day he'd begun to fear his spouse when they were out in public.
Then... Then came the day his invincibility couldn't save him. The day Shinobu had asked to speak with him, alone. He remembered her words all too clearly.
"Sempai? I've noticed, that... That you've been having a lot more fights with Naru-sempai. Er... Well... Not quite fights. I've noticed that you, you get... Hit a lot more." Keitaro shrugged, slightly nervously, as he smiled at the young, beautiful girl.
"Er, so? I mean, we've only been married, you know... A few months. It takes time, to learn how to figure this out... I'm not sure you understand, Shinobu-chan, I mean-"Shinobu waved to someone behind Keitaro.
"Hello, Naru-sempai!" Shinobu said cheerfully. Keitaro spun around, eyes wide.
"Naru-chan, really, we're only talk-" Keitaro blinked, at the emptiness. He turned around, visibly shaken. Shinobu looked at him intently.
"Er... You know, how she is! Eh heh heh heh..." Keitaro trailed off, at the sadness glaring out of Shinobu's cornflower blue eyes. She stepped toward him, looking him in the eye. One of her recent growth spurts had permitted her to do this.
"Sempai... Keitaro. I care... I care for you, I really do. And... And I've had to watch you, with Naru-sempai. I've had to watch the fear in your eyes. With Motoko's training, I've felt your fear. And it... It hurts, Keitaro!" Shinobu's eyes filled with tears, shaking slightly. Keitaro, not knowing what else to do, wrapped his arms around her and held her, as she began to cry into his shoulder.
"I keep seeing you cower before her! I keep seeing you suffer, and it hurts so much! Because... because I love you, Keitaro! I love you, and I can't stop loving you!" Shinobu sobbed, burying her face into his chest. Keitaro felt a warning sign in the back of his head, a feeling he got when Naru was angry... But he ignored it, rubbing Shinobu's back in a steady rhythym, hugging her and holding her close.
"Shh, shh... It's all right, it's going to be all right..." Shinobu pulled her head up, sniffling, looking Keitaro in the eyes again. Keitaro stared back, feeling some of his own tears running down his cheeks.
"I love you... And I don't want to see you hurt like this! Kanako, Motoko, Mutsumi--We've all held our tongues, because we...We only wanted for your happiness! But I'm not strong, Keitaro! I'm so weak! I broke, watching you, watching Naru..." Keitaro shook his head slowly, more tears coming from his eyes.
"You're not weak, Shinobu, you're not. You... You told the truth, told what you felt, what you saw... That's courage, not cowardice... I don't... I just don't know... I mean... I love her, I do. But, I also can't help fearing her! She lashes out, when she should know bynow I'd never cheat on her... Why does she do this?" Keitaro asked, his voice thick, as he choked on a sob. Shinobu took off his glasses, gently setting them down on the stone tile of the ground they stood upon, and pulled Keitaro into her bosom. His sobs broke loose, pressing his face against her warm, steady heartbeat as she held him, sobbing herself.
CRACK. Keitaro lifted his head, turned around. Naru stood there, wide-eyed, her glasses broken in her hands. Keitaro exchanged looks with Shinobu, who looked as frightened as he felt. He turned to Naru, and took a deep breath.
"Naru, I-" POW. Keitaro went sailing into a tree trunk, smacking against it, hard. He saw stars before his eyes, and agony in the back of his head. He struggled to fight out of the daze, inch up the trunk to his feet-
POW. He felt a fist connect with his jaw, sending him into the tree again. And another... And another... And another...
"YOU CHEATING BASTARD! YOU PERVERTED, LOW-DOWN, SCUMMY, TWO-FACED IDIOT!" Shrieked Naru, sobbing in rage, as she punched Keitaro, again and again and again. Shinobu screamed at her, trying to grab her arm next to her, but Naru ignored the blue tressed 'tramp'. Her fears goaded her on, sending a flurry of punches into Keitaro's face-
"SHIMEI RYU--HIKEN ZANKUSSEN!" BOOM! Naru was sent flying into another tree trunk, colliding with it, hard. Stars appeared in her vision momentarily, before she shook her head and cleared her vision, though wincing from the pain. She saw Motoko, Kanako, Mutsumi, Haruka, Sarah, Suu, and Seta surround the tree Keitaro was at. She couldn't see him, but she could hear the people around him.
"Oh God, Keitaro! Motoko, is he-?"
"He's not! He's still alive... Call 9-1-1, now! Right now!" Haruka ran for the Hinata far faster than Naru had ever seen her run, with Sarah and Suu hot on her heels. Seta had bent down, was doing something to Keitaro, maybe propping him up... Naru unsteadily got to her feet, still wincing. She looked up, and caught sight of the others, for the first time.
Shinobu, on the ground next to Keitaro, glaring at her with tear-soaked eyes. Motoko, with a cold gaze in Naru's direction. Kitsune and Mutsumi, with looks of disbelief, before they turned back to try and help Seta with Keitaro.
And Kanako... Her cold stare...
Keitaro sighed, his last tear spent. The other girls had filled him in, that while he was unconcious... That his face was covered in blood, his breathing labored (they'd later find out that his right lung had collapsed), a number of his bones were broken. They told him how the paramedics had spirited him away, Shinobu sobbing hysterically, being helped into Seta's van as everyone piled in and followed the ambulance, and how Naru had just stood there, silent.
And that, as far as Keitaro was concerned, wasn't even the worst part. It came while he was in surgery, hanging by a thread, when everyone else got home, and Naru was just sitting there on the front steps...
A fist connected with Naru's jaw, sending the red head to the ground with a thud. She winced, clenching her teeth together, and holding her mouth as a fine trickle of blood seeped out. She turned, and looked up.
"Youbitch," Kanako snarled, a horrible fury in her eyes. Naru whimpered, backing away from the intense glare. Kanako rose her fist again, but Motoko had reached out, restraining Urashima's adopted sister, though Motoko looked extremely angry as well.
"Kanako, no! Don't let your-"
"HOW MANY TIMES?! HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU HIT HIM?! HOW MANY TIMES WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO BE SATISFIED?!" Kanako screamed, a slightly mad tone to her voice. She struggled with Motoko, the kendo mistress wrapping her arms around Kanako and desperately trying to drag her away from Naru.
"SHIMEI RYU--HIKEN ZANKUS-"
"SHINOBU, NO!" Motoko struck Kanako in the back of the neck, knocking her out, before whipping out her sword and deflecting Shinobu's attack just in time. Shinobu stood before Motoko, looking very white, breathing heavily. Motoko was livid.
"Shinobu! If you just throw your teachings away for anger, what good-"
"I DON'T CARE! SHE TRIED TO KILL KEITARO-I'LL KILL HER!" Shinobu roared, knocking Motoko's blade aside and lunging for Naru, who stared at the oncoming blade numbly. Motoko struck Shinobu with her fist, knocking her out like Kanako, her face completely colorless.
"I'm sorry, but Urashima wouldn't want you to become a murderer," Motoko murmured, shaking. She looked at Naru in a kind of disgusted disbelief. Naru gulped, her throat dry, as she trembled.
"Mo-Motoko, I... I didn't... I lost my head! I just, he just... I mean, he was with Shinobu, and I-"
CRACK! Naru cried out, holding her cheek. Motoko had slapped her, and was breathing heavily.
"Urashima's lying in the hospital thanks to you," she snarled, her fist clenched, "for holding a conversation with Maehara. And he may very well die. There is no excuse for what you did." Still shaking, Motoko bent down, eyes level with Naru's, as her voice dropped to a whisper.
"And I swear... If he doesn't live, I swear, I will make you suffer. I will make you beg for death, before the end. Because I know more about manipulating ki energy than simply making wind blow," the samurai woman hissed, her eyes blazing. Motoko stood up, still eyeing Naru in revulsion, before stooping and picking up Shinobu's limp form. She turned to get Kanako, but saw that Kitsune had silently gotten Kanako to her feet. Motoko nodded at Kitsune, and together, they headed inside. Naru stared in disbelief.
"Kitsune? Kitsune, aren't you-?" Kitsune ignored Naru, going inside. Naru turned, desperate, finally noticing Mutsumi glumly walking up the path. Naru got to her feet, and slowly walk to meet her.
"Mutsumi, please, believe me, I didn't mean to! I just-" Naru stopped short when Mutsumi raised her head. The turtle princess looked at Naru as if she was refuse, disgust written in her every curve.
"Don't talk to me, Narusegawa-san," Mutsumi said coldly, the formality with which she addressed Naru stinging like a wasp.
"Mu… Mutsumi, I-" Something knocked Naru back, something invisible. Naru stared in horror at Mutsumi's eyes, which seemed to have an inner glow. The air around the turtle girl seemed to buzz, vibrate, like radiating heat from a car's hood in the summertime. A surge in the air drove Naru back another step.
"I… I didn't want to believe it. I wanted to pretend it wasn't there," Mutsumi said in a soft, sad yet deadly voice, "but I was a fool. So, Narusegawa, here's the deal. You touch Keitaro, at all, when he comes back… And he'd better… I'll tell your brain to forget how to breathe." Naru felt a choking sensation, her eyes bulging at the realization she couldn't draw breath. She fell to her knees, gagging, staring at Mutsumi's cold face. Naru shook, reaching out her hand to Mutsumi desperately.
"In other words… I'll kill you, and no one will be the wiser," Mutsumi said, soft malice dripping from her voice as Naru finally was able to breathe. She fell to the ground, gasping, as Mutsumi walked on to the doors. Slamming them behind her.
Naru, lying on her stomach, stared, shaking miserably, before she finally abandoned any pretense and wept bitterly.
And back in the present, Keitaro cried as well. Because now... Because now, he'd finally realized the terrible truth.
He no longer loved Naru, at least to the degree he'd want to marry her again. Because, even after the divorce, he could not help but feel a knife of fear wedged between his ribs when he saw her. And never again would Keitaro be alone with her. The other girls had made sure of that.
And with this grim thought, Keitaro sank back into the covers of his futon, his eyes still wet as he fell asleep, oblivious to the sounds of the night.
Just a burst of something. R&R, please!