Disclaimer: All the wonderful characters of Tenipuri belong to Konomi Takeshi. The silly plot, minor characters and lame hocus-pocus belong to me.
Bearhugs to my beta, Maria-chan. Hope things get better on her side by now.
- Chapter One -
It was a sunny Saturday morning.
The school was empty, save for a bunch of people gathering at the parking lot. Among them was Ryuuzaki-sensei, standing in her pink jersey next to a large white bus. She was watching over the tennis club members loading their luggage onto the bus while giving instructions here and there. Not far from the coach stood her vice-captain, Ooishi, busily checking on the food supply with the help from the ichinen trio.
Within an hour, the Seigaku regulars would be heading for a trip to the mountain. Intensive training was being held in a villa for the weekend. Considering that nature would do good to help the boys refresh their minds and lighten up their spirits, Ryuuzaki-sensei proposed the event to the school board. Upon receiving a positive reply, she told the regulars to prepare for the trip, and appointed the ever-faithful freshmen girls and boys to be responsible for the household.
In the tennis clubroom, Tezuka sat inspecting the necessary equipment with Inui by his side.
"Alright, Inui. I think we're done. Tell the guys to load them onto the bus," the captain rose from the bench, slinging his big Mizuno sports bag on his right shoulder.
"Right away, Buchou." Inui closed his notebook. The club manager gathered the papers in front of him.
Outside the clubroom, Tezuka found Momoshiro pacing back and forth with a cell phone on his ear.
"Echizen's not coming yet?" his distinctive deep voice made the second year student turn around.
"Buchou! Well, his cousin said Echizen's already out about half an hour ago," Momoshiro scratched his head. "But it only takes 20 minutes to get to school. Sheesh, I wonder where the brat is…"
"Go find him. The bus is leaving in 7 min-"
"Ohayou," a quiet, lazy voice interrupted from behind Tezuka. Dropping his backpack to the ground, Echizen bowed to both seniors. "Buchou, Momo-senpai. Sorry I was late, something caught me on the way," the small boy murmured apologetically, one hand tugging at his white cap.
Tezuka nodded back. "Echizen, you're 15 minutes late. You'll be running 20 laps once we get to the villa." The captain turned around and headed to the parking lot.
"Yees…" Echizen answered sedately.
Once Tezuka left, Momoshiro approached the freshman. "Mattaku! Echizen, where have you been? Did you wake up late again?"
"I was a bit late, but then Karupin was following me to the street so I had to send him back home," Echizen replied, yawning indifferently.
Momoshiro shook his head. He patted the boy's cap affectionately. Regardless his genius performance on the tennis court, Echizen was just another 12 year-old boy.
"Come on, let's join the others in the parking lot," he then ushered the youngest regular to leave the clubroom.
Ooishi closed his absence book. "I guess that covers it all, sensei. We're ready to go now," he turned his head towards Ryuuzaki-sensei's seat, baring his friendly smile.
"Thank you, Ooishi. Tezuka, please tell the driver we're set."
"And somebody please take the racket from Kawamura's hand before he does something harmful to the bus!" the old lady sighed at the commotion happening on the back seats, earning quiet giggles from Sakuno and Tomoka who sat on the front row at her opposite.
"Fujiko, you ready?" Kikumaru stood on his knees, facing the backrest.
"Yosha.. Nyahh! Look at that chick over there! Hey, Kawamura, I think she's looking at you! Waai, you're so lucky!"
"WHERE IS SHE? WHERE IS SHE? COME ON, BABY! RIDE WITH DADDY!"
While the victim was busily spotting outside the filmed window for the said chick, Fuji who stood behind the burning-mode Kawamura touched the right side of his ribs with a finger, causing the powerhouse player to jump in surprise so that he was left unguarded. Then Fuji smoothly snatched the racket from Kawamura's hand and tossed it at Kikumaru, who caught it in a firm grip while winking an eye and cheering, "Hoi hoi!"
"Nice method, Fuji," Inui commented.
The tensai's smile widened. "Thanks, Inui. But there was still a possibility he would go berserk and smack my face with the racket," the brown haired boy replied.
Inui smiled. "There was, indeed. If you hadn't been the one who did it."
"What are you saying, Inui-senpai?" asked Momoshiro who took the seat behind the manager with Echizen next to him.
"I'm saying that Fuji is the only one who's physically able to approach the burning-mode Kawamura without being detected," Inui replied calmly, a glint on the corner of his squared glasses.
"Shut up, Peach. You're asking too much," Kaidoh hissed somewhere on the middle seats.
"Back away, Mamushi!" Momoshiro snapped back, before the genki boy turned back to his bespectacled senpai.
"Meaning, if someone was able to approach Kawamura in his burning mode, then that someone must be close in relationship to him. We, human, tend to welcome another human who's either no harm or bring comfort to us. In other words, someone whose presence is already familiar to us that our body automatically goes unalarmed," Inui explained.
"So, are you saying that Kawamura's body has grown familiar with Fujiko's presence that he feels nothing?" Kikumaru supplied.
"It's more like his body feels comfortable with Fuji's presence," Inui corrected.
"Is that so? Why, Taka-san, I'm flattered," Fuji smiled sweetly to the now crimsoned Kawamura who sat next to him.
"Fujiko-chan, stop teasing me. A-are you sure that's the cause, Inui?" Kawamura asked between blushes.
Except for Inui's observing thick glasses, and Fuji's demon-like aquamarine slits, no one noticed the brief flash of emotion showing on Tezuka's face, as the stoic teen moved from the front seat next to Ryuuzaki-sensei, to the empty row just the opposite of Kaidoh's.
"Ii data…" the manager mumbled to himself as he jotted down the small detail on his notebook.
"Yaaah! I'm dead tired…!" Momoshiro lied eagle-spread on the grass under a big tree. Next to him was Kikumaru, who was busy catching his breath. "Man… I've never thought it'd be this hard…!" the acrobatic player inhaled as deeply as he could, enjoying the freshness of the mountain air.
They had just finished the last phase of the training. The intensive course of the physical exercise was formulated based on Inui's data on each regular, with the purpose of improving their weak points and strengthening their good points. It was hard, but they were all aware of its benefits in the long run, so they complied with the whole menu without much complaint.
"Nyahh, I wonder what the ichinen-sei are cooking for dinner…" Kikumaru gazed at the clouds, his violet cat eyes glimmered at the prospect of filling his stomach. "Ne Momo, I remember seeing Katsuo fishing on the lake this afternoon. Do you think they'll serve grilled fish?"
Turning towards his senior, Momoshiro grinned. "I hope so. I haven't eaten grilled fish for two months," he patted his empty stomach. It growled in reply.
"Karupin likes grilled fish," Echizen supplied from under the tree above where Kikumaru was resting. The first year regular was leaning against the trunk as his white cap was pulled down to cover his face. "But stupid oyaji always snatches Karupin's grilled fish and hangs it high above so that Karupin has to jump up to get it back."
Fuji chuckled at the innocent display. "Ah, but I believe Karupin is a clever cat. I suppose he doesn't get much trouble in getting the fish back."
"Yeah, Karupin is a clever cat. He often beats oyaji in the game and bites his toe," Echizen replied proudly, suddenly missing his Himalayan cat.
The boys quickly responded to the call and formed a line in front of their captain. Holding the status report, Tezuka threw his gaze to each of his teammates, satisfied at the fact that they had done their best in the training.
"On this second day, we have completed the whole course of the intensive training. Now that you know all your weaknesses and strengths, you can use them to your advantage for the upcoming matches. Next month, we're going to enter the District Tournament. I expect all of you to not let your guards down. Understood?"
"Tomorrow, we're going back to Tokyo, so have a good rest tonight. You are dismissed!"
In their last night in the mountain, Ryuuzaki-sensei let the boys and girls have their free time. It was a beautiful night, when the moon was full and the stars were twinkling. Stomach full and content, the junior high kids were scattered around the villa. Some were busy with their videogames in the living room, while some others were raiding the kitchen to see if there was any grilled fish left. Two were gossiping in the bedroom, while a bunch was chatting on the porch outside the villa. The wooden porch was facing the beautiful view of the lake, where placid water reflected the velvet starry sky and the shining full moon.
"Did you know that accidents happen more often during full moon?" Momoshiro began, stuffing marshmallow into his mouth.
"Really? How do you know, Momo-chan-senpai?" Horio asked.
"I read in the newspaper," Momoshiro replied proudly. "The emergency department receives more calls during the full moon than the usual nights."
"What I heard was that people tend to get crazy during full moon, like they get more violent, or something like that," Kawamura added.
"I've heard about that, too," Inui joined in. "There has been a great controversy about full moon affecting human's behaviour. I think more research must be conducted in order to get closer to the truth, although I don't deny the fact that there is a correlation between the moon and human emotions."
"From what I know, full moon affects the growth of plants," Kaidoh stated quietly from the far corner of the porch.
"That's correct, Kaidoh. Farmers found that the maximum spring plant growth occurs after full moon. Plants are a much simpler organism if compares to human. Full moon is proven to affect them on a great deal," Inui explained, not missing the faint beam showing on the sophomore's face at his praise, and wrote it down in a special section on the back page of his notebook.
"Ne, I heard that werewolf comes out during full moon," suspense mode turned on, Kikumaru chirped in excitedly.
Echizen rolled his eyes. "Kikumaru-senpai, werewolf doesn't exist."
"Oh yeah? I read in the magazine that a couple of months ago, police found the trace of a werewolf in a forest in England!"
"Is that true, Inui-senpai?"
"Uh… there is no werewolf in Japan, right?"
"…I hope not."
…And the conversation kept dragging on…
Meanwhile, a distance away from the old villa, a certain brown haired teen was seen walking up the many stairs of a Buddhist temple. The temple was located in a small bamboo forest behind the villa. It was secluded from the street, with no significant gateway.
Upon reaching the top, the said teen huffed, and started scanning the view to spot a certain bespectacled teen standing close to the gate.
"Tezuka, what are you doing here?"
Turning around, Tezuka saw Fuji sauntering quietly towards him.
"Fuji," he acknowledged, face looking unreadable as usual. "Since when did you start following me around?"
"Mou, don't be so mean, Tezuka," Fuji pouted a little at the cold reply. "I just wanna know where you're going, alone in the full moon… who knows if you turn into a werewolf or something."
"Fuji, there is no such thing as werewolf."
"Saa, you'll never know," Fuji chuckled. "Maybe I'll turn into one by midnight. Look, my veins are turning red already," the smiley regular was looking at his hands with fake interest.
Tezuka snorted, but dismissed the thought of Fuji turning into a werewolf immediately. Truth be told, it was kinda disturbing.
"Ne, Tezuka. How do you know there's a Buddhist temple up here?" Fuji peered into the courtyard of the building. It looked empty.
"I saw its signage on the way to the villa." Walking past the opened gate, Tezuka started exploring the site, with the tensai trailing behind him.
Just like any other temple scattered all over Japan, this temple was old, probably dated back to several hundred years. It was surrounded with brick walls, with a reasonably vast courtyard at the front side. Torches were placed all over the walls, replacing the light bulbs. Tezuka had noticed earlier that the same torches stood in line down from the front gate by the street up along the stone stairs that led to the temple, giving impression that he was walking his path back to some Tokugawa Period.
The temple itself was small, constructed from strong wooden panels. The upper part of the panels were full of ornamental carvings with rows of ancient kanji letters, supposedly consisted of rhymes of prayers. The entrance was locked, probably due to nighttime.
"These carvings are beautiful."
Glancing to the side, Tezuka saw Fuji standing a few meters away, admiring one of the panels.
"They are," he replied, looking up at the ancient letters.
"What's the name of this temple?"
"I think it's Amamiya-tou."
Absorbed by the beauty of the carvings, Fuji moved further into the area. Walking past a surprisingly opened door, he found another courtyard behind the temple, which led to another building at the far end. This building was much smaller, and it looked like a livestock house.
"Hey, look… I think there's someone in there," Fuji pointed at the light coming from the said building.
As the boys went closer, they could hear a faint humming. It sounded like the priests were praying. Although it was bright inside, the doors and windows were closed, so the boys couldn't see what was happening.
"Fuji, I think we shouldn't disturb them," Tezuka whispered, "Let's go back."
But the brown haired boy remained on his spot, until Tezuka grabbed his arm and led their way out as quiet as possible.
So the temple wasn't empty after all.
As they were descending the stairs, Tezuka fished out his cell phone. There wasn't any miscall or message. Good. It meant that Ooishi and the others hadn't started worrying about them yet, as it was getting late.
"Tezuka, what do you think those priests are praying for?" Fuji asked in the midst of silence.
Walking faster down the stairs, the captain replied, "I don't know, Fuji."
Tezuka admitted that he was never a religious person. However, he had an inkling feeling that there was something off about the chants they had heard just now. Besides, wasn't a collective prayer supposed to be held in the main building and not in a livestock house?
The boys were caught up deep in their thoughts, when suddenly the torches went out, causing them to halt abruptly. Instinctively, they glanced around, looking for the smallest source of light in the middle of the forest. The moon had disappeared, leaving the world almost in complete darkness.
"Great…" Fuji sighed. Eyes wide opened, he was trying to locate where exactly Tezuka was standing. "I suppose you brought a flashlight?"
"Yeah, hold on." Tezuka reached blindly into his jacket pocket. He could hear the bamboo trees rustling as the wind was blowing, and looked up. "The sky hasn't turned red, I hope it's not gonna rain anytime soon."
"I don't think so… but the wind is blowing harder." Shivering, Fuji pulled the zipper up to the collar of his Seigaku jersey. He was trying to keep track on Tezuka's movements.
Switching on the flashlight, Tezuka continued walking down the stairs with Fuji by his side. It was really cold now, what with the wind growing stronger and fiercer. The captain mused at the climate. It was May. However weird the climate in the mountain was, the weather should've had gotten warmer. When another course of strong wind blew towards them, Tezuka accidentally dropped the flashlight several stairs below. He cursed slightly at his own carelessness, and moved to get it back.
Suddenly, all went quiet. No more wind, no more rustling sound of bamboo trees. Tezuka and Fuji exchanged looks. However, before either of them said anything, Fuji felt a strong gush of wind coming from the higher ground behind them. This time it was really strong, causing him to almost lose his balance. Hunching up a little bit in order to steady himself, Fuji cast a look on his back.
He felt his feet going numb.
Shielding his face from the wind, Tezuka's ears caught the foreign tone of fear he had never heard before in Fuji's voice. The captain looked up, and his pupils widened in horror.
Far from the temple's direction, a strong and fierce whirlwind was seen as if descending the stone stairs, causing the bamboo trees to rustle violently on its way. The whirlwind, which looked like a twister at this point – only a lot smaller and not as lethal – was sending soil flying on the air, along with bushes and broken trunks. Amidst the darkness, it looked eerily white, giving impression of a ghost dancing.
The strange phenomenon almost rendered the boys numbed, if not for a lone bamboo trunk flying past Fuji's ear with the speed of Momoshiro's dunk smash towards Tezuka. Ducking just in time, the captain ran to grab the tensai's arm.
"Run, Fuji! NOW!" he shouted, dragging his friend down the stairs as fast as he could.
The twister was moving fast, catching up with the two boys who kept running down the seemingly endless stairs. Unfortunately, Fuji tripped over a stone. But instead of meeting the solid ground like he had anticipated, the tensai felt his body began floating. Panic stricken, Fuji grabbed Tezuka by the arm, but he was slipping away so quickly that he was now holding on to his friend by the fingers.
"Fuji! Stay calm! I won't let go!" Tezuka was trying to grab a hold of Fuji's arm, while struggling to keep his balance so that the wind wouldn't drag him up. But it wasn't long before Tezuka himself started to lose his balance.
"Tezuka!" Fuji was literally floating now. His body was lining almost horizontally with Tezuka's head, what with the twister approaching fast. In the midst of panic, Fuji could see that without his body as a hindrance, there was still a chance for his friend to survive the peril. So, bracing himself, the tensai released what little grab he had on Tezuka's fingers, and tried to yank his own fingers away from the other's grip.
"Fuji! What the hell are you doing?"
"Tezuka! Let go off me!"
"Are you out of your mind?"
Seeing that Tezuka himself was starting to lose control over his body, he jumped forward to catch Fuji. The method worked miraculously. His body managed to add more weight to Fuji's body, and they both fell down the stairs. Bodies tumbling down, they tried to shield each other from the hard concrete that greeted them continuously.
Then all was pitch black.
Tezuka woke up first.
Hands on his spinning head, he could feel his body aching all over. Forcing himself to sit up, the captain felt disoriented for a while, until his mind registered what had happened. Looking at his surroundings, he found himself sitting on the humid ground, next to the bamboo trees. All was quiet and the full moon was back. Apart from the dead torches, there was no sign of a twister wreak havoc the place. As if it had never been there in the first place.
Checking up his body, Tezuka felt relieved that there was nothing broken or injured, although it pissed him off when he realized his glasses went missing. He didn't remember how far he had fallen from the stairs. All he could remember was that he managed to grab Fuji's body before they both fell.
Wait a minute…
Jumping across a bunch of short bamboo trunks, Tezuka ran back to the stairs, totally forgot about his spinning head. Despite the full moon, it was still too dark to spot the tensai, and he had lost the flashlight.
"Fuji! Where are you?"
"…I'm here," a soft whimper was heard from below.
"Fuji! Are you okay?" Tezuka moved blindly towards the voice's direction.
It turned out that Fuji had landed several stairs down Tezuka's spot. Tezuka helped him get up, feeling relieved when the other boy said he only got minor scratches on his arms, apart from the nasty bump on his head.
"What has happened?"
"I don't know, let's just get out of here."
The lake was calm.
There was no sign of a freaky natural disaster attacking the area. The water remained placid as usual, reflecting the glittery sky above. Glancing at such peaceful surrounding, Tezuka and Fuji couldn't help but wonder if the whole twister incident hadn't really happened.
When they reached the villa, it was dark inside, but there were dim lights in several places. The boys rushed into the house through the kitchen door.
"Tezuka! Fuji! Where have you been?" Ooishi greeted them.
"I'm sorry, Ooishi. Is everything alright, here?"
"Sure! Don't worry, it's just a temporary black out. There's a problem with one of the cables on the electricity poles. They're fixing it now," replied Ooishi with a smile. However, the moment he registered the awful sights of his friends, his eyes nearly bulged out. "Oh my gods! What has happened to you two? You look like survivors of the typhoon!"
Fuji frowned at the comment. "You mean, there's nothing happened here at all?"
"No, why are you asking? Is there something wrong? And why aren't you wearing your glasses, Tezuka?"
Ignoring the vice-captain's enquiries, Tezuka walked towards the door that led to the living room, followed by the tensai. They saw their schoolmates laughing and fooling around, as if no life-altering situation had befallen on them.
"So everyone is alright, then," Tezuka mused, feeling relieved but weird since it didn't stand well with the thing they'd experienced near the temple.
"Ooishi, did you hear anything on the radio?" Fuji cast his eyes on a small portable radio on the kitchen table.
"No… nothing strange on the news."
"How long has the black out been happening?"
"Well, the lights went out about half an hour ago. Tezuka, I'd been trying to reach you while you were out on the street, since we're running out of candles. But it seemed that we got a bad connection here," Ooishi explained. He began to feel strange at the response his friends were showing.
Tezuka fished out his cell phone. He remembered checking on it before the white twister attacked them in the mountain. There was still no miscall nor message on the screen, but the signal charts were full.
"And when was the last time you contacted us?"
"Umm, about 10 minutes ago?"
Staring at the vice-captain, both Tezuka and Fuji seemed at a loss for word.
"Guys, what's wrong?" Ooishi's worried expression was now clear on his face.
"N-no… ah… I think we'd better go get changed," Fuji said, one hand sweeping out a candle as the other hand grabbing Tezuka's arm to drag him upstairs.
"Anou… Tezuka, I remember you have a flashlight. Can you bring it down?"
Feeling his hand being squeezed, Tezuka turned his head and opened his mouth. "Ah… sorry, I forgot my flashlight." Then he went upstairs.
"Ah… that's okay then…" Ooishi replied, thinking if it was actually Fuji's flashlight that he had seen in Tezuka's bag.
"Ne, Ooishi-senpai… don't you think Tezuka-buchou and Fuji-senpai are acting weird?" Tomoka stood next to him, watching her upper-classmen walking up the stairs.
"Yeah… I think so too," Ooishi replied, frowning.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Fuji asked quietly as he led Tezuka to the bathroom. After all what had happened tonight, he really felt the need to splash cold water onto his face to get his senses back.
"I'm afraid so," Tezuka replied, careful with his steps since the tiny flame kept dancing. "Did you know that we'd been gone for only half an hour?"
"I thought we'd gone for at least one and a half hours," Fuji mumbled. All the weirdness that had happened to them was making his head throb worse.
"Exactly my thought, the temple's quite far from here. But anyway, I'm glad everyone's okay."
"Yeah… though I hate to think we were the only ones who suffered the twister."
"Me, too… That just doesn't make sense."
"You tell me."
The bathroom was located on the second floor, next to the bedrooms. It was huge, with 2 toilet cubicles, 2 shower stalls, 2 sinks with mirrors and a washing machine. Separated by a wooden sliding door was a large ofuro, enough to fit in 10 adults.
Placing the candle on top of the washing machine, Fuji opened the tap on one of the sinks. He took off his Regular jacket, followed by the t-shirt and his track pants, leaving only his boxers. The dancing flame lit the room dimly, and Fuji thought that the shadow had made his body look bigger. Checking on the scratches and bruises he earned from the freaky incident in the forest, the tensai let a scowl spread on his face.
From one of the toilet cubicles, Tezuka went out, face looking extremely relieved. He proceeded with stripping off the same articles of his clothing, leaving only his boxers. Idly thinking that he must have had lost some weight, Tezuka opened the tap on the other sink. He ignored the screaming pain on his muscles as he bent forwards, and splashed his face with cold water.
The two boys went on with their bathroom rituals quietly, absorbed in their own thoughts. Finished with the cleaning, they dried themselves with the towels, and reached for their clothes.
Suddenly, the lights turned on.
"Thank god…" Fuji mumbled to himself, while Tezuka sighed in relief.
Blowing off the candle, Tezuka put on his black t-shirt and indigo track pants, again thinking that he must have had lost some weight because his track pants were now hanging loosely on his hips. He fastened the white rope at the front part of his pants. Then, with a frown, he bent down to fold up the bottom edges of his pants so that he wouldn't trip over them.
Feeling better now that he had tended the scratches and bruises with washcloth and cold water, and the fact that the lights had turned back on, Fuji let out a long sigh. But the frown marred his exquisite features once again as he was putting on his white t-shirt. It looked like he had gained weight, since the loose t-shirt now almost fitted in his body, showing his triceps and chest muscles. His frown got deeper when he had to wriggle in order to fit in his favourite knee-length worn out jeans, and made a mental note to consult later with Inui about his eating menu.
Having finished the bathroom ritual earlier, Tezuka folded his dirty clothes neatly and stacked them into the laundry bag, then washed his hands at the sink. Drying them with the towel, he looked up into the mirror to see if he got any bruise on the face. However, the instant he met his own reflection in the mirror, Tezuka froze.
He closed his eyes.
He opened them and looked into the mirror.
He squeezed his eyes shut.
He opened them again and looked into the mirror.
…How was it possible that he couldn't see his own reflection?
Instead, he saw Fuji's face.
Tezuka had no idea how unnerving the tensai could be with his aquamarine eyes glaring at him like that.
Wait a minute… Wasn't Fuji now standing by the washing machine?
His body hairs standing up, Tezuka knew he would live to regret the moment he dared to whip his head. Face blanched in utter shock, the normally composed teen instinctively jumped backwards until his lower back hit the sink hard.
Finished fumbling with his 'suddenly shrinking' clothes, Fuji let out another long sigh and closed his eyes in relief. However, the moment he opened them again, the genius teen was greeted with the sight never would he forget in his life.
Fuji saw his own ghost leaning by the sink, glaring at him with such a horrifying expression.
Thinking that he was left all alone with no trace of Tezuka –since when did he leave anyway? What a friend- in a large, empty bathroom on the second floor of an old villa near a freaky temple up in the mountain, Fuji could only feel how fast his blood was leaving him.
So when panic had finally taken its toll on our dear boys, it was only a matter of time before they lost what little left of their presence of minds and surrendered to the urge to scream.
- TBC -
Ichinen (-sei) : literally means freshman, now quite affectionate nick for Horio, Katsuo and Kachiro in Tenipuri. Sometimes Sakuno and Tomoka are included.
Mattaku : literally means 'really' (hontou ni), used to express desperations over someone's negative attitude.
Oyaji : father, old man
Ofuro : Japanese style bathtub
An old story of mine that's developed into another multi-chapter, I hope you enjoyed it as much as you did my other works. Saa, what's really going on? Why can't Tezuka find his own reflection in the mirror? See you in the next chapter.
Oh, one more thing.
Might not be fully related to the fic but it's been two years and my layouts always managed to look the ugliest here in ffDOTnet compares to other hosts. It's frustrating; I can't seem to create the spacing in between some of the paragraphs. It always disappears and thus affects the building of tension am creating for readers. As am not that smart either with formatting –be it word/html- I hope someone out there is willing to give me some tips. I hate to think to give up this site cuz I luv my dear reviewers.
Alrite, enough rambling. Thanks for reading, and as usual, feedbacks are very much loved. ;D