Lord Cynic: "At last, I am about to step into new territory! I will dowhat other fanfiction writers have only dreamed of!" (blinks) "Okay, ego trip is over. This has actually been sitting in my documents for over a month, and I've just managed to have the new category added. If you don't know what this anime is... well, not much I can do. There's limited info on this. Meh."


Lord Cynic:"I do not own Kono Minikuku Mo Utsukushii Sekai. 'nuff said."

Hikari

The massive monster, crashing its gigantic tail against the ocean, sending shockwaves along the waters...

His futile struggle to remain above water... his attempts to locate Hikari...

Hikari discovered floating on the surface of the ocean, agonisingly too far away, her eyes closed...

His panic-driven and desperate race against time (and supernatural obstacles) to rush over to her...

Another violent shockwave, propelling him backwards and painstakingly out of reach...

Hikari sinking beneath the depths of the waters, her body showing no signs of regaining consciousness...

His distressed cries and renewed scrambling to try and rescue her...

The monster catapulting into the air, clutching the still, immobile alien girl in its mouth...

His eyes widening in horror as the monster crushes Hikari between its teeth...

His ear-splitting scream, eventually ceased by another savage wave that knocks him unconscious...



Takeru bolted to a sitting position on the floor, his covers tossed aside from his sudden, panic-stricken awakening. Anxious beads of sweat dripped down his face and plastered his hair to his forehead. However, his bare chest soaked in a different kind of transparent liquid: tears, that flourished during his sleep, and when he forced himself to recall his night terror, fresh, angst tears protruded from his eyes.

It was... horrible, and the fact that it almost really happened made the pain excruciatingly worse. The thought of that hideous creature (whatever the hell it was) capturing and... killing Hikari was too unbearable, especially when his true feelings were beginning to arise. Feelings that might jeopardise the relationship between the teenage boy and the alien girl.

The very first time they met, he told her that he could protect her, no matter what. It became his goal, his mission in life, to look out for the girl who first entered his life naked in a tree. Back then, he was shocked (and mortifyingly embarrassed) when he discovered her, but even then she was on some freak's hit list. He still didn't know why, either, even though Mari (his critical cousin but childhood friend) had pointed out that if he didn't understand her, no one else would. It was as if he was destined to be the key that would unlock the enigma that was Hikari. He, Takeru Takemoto, who for a long time thought he was no real purpose in life, was now the human (well, mostly) guardian of the mysterious alien girl named (ironically by him) Hikari. He, who many people thought was useless (including his friends), now realised that when Hikari was in distress, he would transform into a monster-fighting freak of nature. It seemed like too much to handle for a school student and part-time worker.

Ryou Ninomiya's situation couldn't be more different if it tried, and yet more similar. Although Takeru's long-time friend also discovered an alien girl - named Akari and deemed the 'sister' of Hikari - his calm disposition allowed him to handle it rationally and graciously. He was lucky, Takeru thought with a touch of friendly envy. He could take things slowly, even if eating a grain of rice off Akari's cheek seemed to go too far (at least in Ryou's sister's mind). Ryou was always a ladies man because of how friendly and affable he was, so it sort of surprised Takeru that he'd find him discreetly smitten for the more philosophical sister of the pair. Also, Ryou was so cool and collected that it was practically impossible to pierce through his smiling poker face. It was difficult to tell what he was thinking at the best of times, unlike Takeru. Not even if he was thinking about his alien visitor...

Takeru sweated again, but it was a different stress causing his anxiety. Whenever he thought of Hikari, he couldn't shake the feeling that there were definitely sparks lighting in their relationship. He could no longer claim ignorance or innocence for the rapid, missed beats of his heart when he saw her scamper about. However, he didn't think it was a wise idea to let his emotions get in the way of his duty to protect Hikari, especially when her naivety was prone to accidents and good-natured but disastrous enthusiasm.

Takeru heaved a heavy sigh and dragged himself from his room to the bathroom. He needed to clear his mind, in case the nightmare flashed before his eyes again. Despite himself, it reminded him of how much potential danger Hikari was in. Regardless of her cheerful and energetic nature (not to mention her beauty... wait, what was he thinking?) she was, she was apparently being hunted, and Takeru still didn't know why. It was as if a dark secret resisted in the innocent-looking alien girl and it would be too devastating for him to discover it. The thought angered him immensely, and he scowled as he let the water run in the basin. He found her, he named her, he took it upon himself to protect her and bring her home (to the surprise of his uncle and aunt, Itcho and Sumie Noshima, and disapproval of Mari), so why was he still being left in the dark?

Water suddenly splashed his face, and he realised that in his frustration he had involuntarily slammed his hand on the rapidly rising pool of water before him. He hurriedly turned the tap off, then heaved another sigh. It wasn't fair to accuse Hikari was deceit, and he knew that. She was almost all alone on Earth, and she couldn't even remember anything. However, Takeru knew that underneath that bright and friendly exterior lay a lonely, abandoned girl whom no one really understood.

He was staring down at the small pool of water in the basin now, his eyes somewhat distant like his thoughts. He wasn't sure why he was having these thoughts late at night. Actually, he wasn't even sure what time it was, but after turning in at nine, it would be at least about midnight or so. He could tell by the tranquil chirping of the crickets outside. The nature's symphony, some might say, and rightfully so. A symphony, which its finale would only some when...

In the rippling basin water, an image of Hikari holding a silent cricket cage, her eyes shining with curiosity materialised. Suddenly, those same eyes glistened with tears as she realised the caught for "Cricket-chan"'s silence. They weren't only tears of sadness, but horror as the realisation of the death concept hit her. The Takeru in the image approached her and embraced her warmly, whispering comforting and letting her cry on his shoulder.

A sudden, mysterious shock snapped the real Takeru out of his trance, and he realised that his face was precariously close to the water. With a start, he withdrew his head from the basin and yanked its plug out to let the water gurgle down the hole. With it went the images of fireworks, the same as the previous memories... as well as the resurging tears of the distraught Hikari and the renewed but seemingly fruitless words of reassurance and comfort from the materialised Takeru.

A barely audible groan escaped Takeru's lips as he pulled himself out of the bathroom. He peered along the passageway for noises or signs of life, since it was still too dark to see. He briefly wondered how he'd managed to navigate his way to the bathroom in the first place, but there were better things to think about. Besides, he still needed sleep for an exhausting day of school the next morning. Great, more of his so-called friends, Shinichi and Daijirou, preaching to him about how to treat a girl right. They didn't even have a good reputation among the female population, let alone girlfriends to feel sympathy for.

Suddenly, Takeru's ears detected a foreign but soft noise coming from the direction of his bedroom. He knew it couldn't be Aionis (Hikari's original and robotic guardian), since he would still be downright smashed after his alcohol-drinking contest with Jennifer (a blonde woman with hidden motives) earlier in the night (their seventh straight). No, there was nothing mechanical about the sound at all. In fact, it seemed desperate, and... did his ears deceive him? It sounded... feminine.

Takeru tensed, thinking it was indeed Jennifer after a bout of misguided sleepwalking. Although she didn't seem the type, she did have strange habits (mostly due to being drunk). Obsessive alcohol consumption didn't help matters either. However, Takeru knew he had to meet the dilemma head-on or there'd be trouble the next morning for sure (as well as a severe lack of sleep for the brown-haired boy). All he had to do was drag the blonde, older woman back to her own quarters, and avoid getting a face full of her amply proportioned breasts. As if he wanted and needed something else to be teased about at school afterwards.

However, when Takeru finally reached the doorway to his room, he found a significantly smaller figure tucked in the covers of his futon. Furthermore, even through pitch black, he could see the luscious red hair protruding out of a corner of the sheets. There was no mistaking it - Hikari had found a way to sleepwalk to his room, and suspiciously as if on purpose. But when Takeru edged closer to her, he realised the source of the sounds he was hearing, and a stabbing pain of guilt to accompany it: Hikari was whimpering in her sleep. But why?

Then, a barely audible whisper:

"Takeru-san..."

As if sparked by her words, he dropped to his knees beside her and wrapped his arms around her, her body still wrapped in the covers. To his surprise, the whimpering ceased instantly, as did last moments of trembling that he failed to pick up a moment earlier. Most surprising of all, Hikari felt so... right, in his arms. It was as if she was the missing piece of his jigsaw, and he basked in the moment for as long as he could. However, when he made to release her, the whimpering and trembling resumed.

"Daijoubu..." he whispered consolingly. "Daijoubu, Hikari..."

The words seemed to calm the crimson-haired girl, although she unconsciously rolled over to return to Takeru's warmth. If that didn't take him by surprise, her next words would.

"Daisuki... Takeru-san..."

Takeru paused, wondering if she was really asleep or awake when she said those words. However, his reply portrayed no hesitation whatsoever.

"Daisuki, Hikari."

They remained by each other's side for the remainder of the night, unaware of the prospect of all hell breaking loose when dawn would finally rear its ugly head.

The End