I heard her screams through the nighttime air, yet it felt faint, on the verge of not existing. I looked out the window of my room and saw red. The Moon...
It was crimson.
This was destiny?..
What are you asking?..
Where are you?..
I heard the scream again, but this time it felt right behind me, piercing my ears and even my brain.
"Akiha?!" I screamed out as I turned and my consciousness faded to black...
I awoke slowly, my brain felt frozen, my movement was sluggish, I couldn't breathe well and my eyes fluttered when I tried to open them. I felt weak, like I was going to die at any moment... I panicked and sat up quickly, regaining myself. My mind felt hollow now, I realized I was sweating to a degree where it had soaked through my nightshirt and darkened the fabric.
I sat there for what felt like ages, panting and staring straight ahead. I saw the lines, I had forgotten my glasses and my brain paid the price: A headache came on.
Groggily, I grabbed my saviors of this vision and put them on, glancing at the clock.
"5:30..." I muttered to myself, it was a Sunday so I didn't have to worry about class but my thoughts turned to disgust that I had been so totally awakened at such an early time. The memories of the nightmare slowly faded as I heard a knock on the door.
"Shiki-sama?" I heard a quiet voice call out. "Are you alright?"
Hisui... I thanked the powers that be for her.
"Uhh.. I'm fine, Hisui... Why do you ask?"
There was an uncomfortable silence for a moment. Even if I had been here for a little over a year, Hisui was still very shy and introverted, a small smile crept along my face. Nostalgia, remembering that the world had not gone straight to Hell and that everything was fine... Such a small thing reassured my restless mind.
Hisui finally managed a barely audible answer. "I don't know... I just thought something..." She trailed off into silence.
Uncomfortable silence again...
This time, I would break it.
"... Um, Hisui, I'll get washed and be downstairs shortly."
Hisui quickly replied, her uneasiness replaced with her usual cool demeanor. "Of course Shiki-sama, sorry to bother you."
'and thank you...' I almost said it, but I realized that would have just made the situation more awkward so I stopped myself.
I made my way downstairs. Still groggy, I felt I could fall down the stairs if I even blinked too much, I made my way into the sitting room.
Akiha was already having her morning tea, watching the sunrise paint the room orange and red. She glanced out of the corner of her eye at me and stopped.
"Nii-san?" She said with some degree of disbelief in her voice.
"Hey..." I barely manage to say. Still not totally alive to the world yet.
I narrowly avoid toppling myself over an end table.
"I-I'm fine, I just bumped it." In truth, had I not moved at the last minute, there would be a broken end table and a broken Tohno Shiki on the floor right now.
Akiha's face returned to her normal cool look. "Please be more careful, walking about so recklessly will only end up with injuries to everybody."
Ouch, Akiha still knew how to barb me. I'd probably feel worse if I wasn't so tired.
I sat in my usually chair and closed my eyes...
I felt hot...
Something hot was near my face...
I felt my heart thumping into my throat...
My brain began to function in more instinctive sense...
I snapped my eyes open to what I hoped wasn't a nightmare image.
I expected the worst...
I expected to see all those I cared about slaughtered in front of me in a terrible manner...
... All I saw was blue
"I'm drowning!" I screamed. I began to thrash about wildly, attempting to escape my watery prison.
I forced my eyes closed, still thrashing, I felt something warm and solid strike my arm. Then I heard a scream. Akiha's scream?!
I opened my eyes again...
I was in the sitting room, but Akiha was gone.
"Akiha?.." I worthlessly asked, knowing she wasn't here.
"Nii-san...!" I jumped when I heard a reply. It was more of a growl than anything, I was scared.
I looked down toward the source. Akiha was sprawled on the floor, a large, solid red mark adorned part of her face, covering mainly the left side of her face. She looked both flustered and enraged.
"What happened?" I asked, quite stupidly, by now my mind had returned to me and I pieced together what happened.
I hit Akiha. Unintentionally, but I still hit her. I feared for my life...
Akiha stood up, still faintly blushing, and adjusted her skirt. Her eyes bore down on me like I was an enemy.
"Nii-san! Why on earth did you hit me!"
I just stared at her dumbfounded, I don't know why.. Well that's not true, I thought I was drowning... If I told her that, she would probably get even more upset with me sleeping in the sitting room. So I kept quiet.
"Nii-san!" She shouted. It woke me out of my daze.
"I didn't mean to! I'm sorry!" I kept apologizing, but the cold stare from her eyes never left me. My heart sank.
"Ahem.. I guess I can forgive for this..." She quietly blurted out. "But be more careful in the future, you're getting to be terribly reckless." She scolded me, I sat there, dejected.
Eventually, Kohaku served breakfast, the usual arrangement of Hisui standing behind me and Kohaku standing behind Akiha had not changed. After breakfast, a terrible silence ensued in the room. Occasionally with Kohaku and Akiha idly chatting over a cup of tea.
Neither me nor Hisui said anything, I mainly spaced out, staring out the window at the garden.
"The flowers are dying..." I said emotionlessly.
'The flowers are dying.' I thought to myself, what a stupid thing to say.
After an extremely awkward silence, I stood up.
"I'm going back to bed..." I quietly announce.
"Rest well, Nii-san" I heard Akiha say behind me as I went into the lobby and began climbing the stairs. Halfway up I was struck by a realization and stopped.
'Blue?..' If I wasn't dreaming when I saw blue... Then... I rushed back down the stairs into the sitting room.
"Wait! What was the blue thing I saw?" I asked out of nowhere.
Akiha and Kohaku slowly turned to me. There was silence.
Akiha coughed and blushed slightly. "That was me, Nii-san."
'Blue?.. Oh.. Her eyes.'
Before I could ask, she answered my question. "I was checking to see if you were alright, I was about to open your eyes with my fingers to see if something was wrong since you seemed to have just slipped into unconsciousness." She states very matter-of-factly.
I nod slowly, understanding and then head back to the lobby, up the stairs and back into bed.
I heard tapping...
I awoke, rolling over to face my clock it said 11:00AM. Putting on my glasses, I stood and looked out the window. I was certain I heard those noises outside my window. Looking around outside, I just managed to catch the disappearing shadow of someone walking away from the gardens. On the desk I saw a pink envelope with my name written on it in an elegant calligraphy. I open the letter and pull out the sheet of paper.
It's been a long time, I'm hoping that we could meet back up at the park around 9:00PM, for old times sake. I've missed you.
"Arcueid?!" I unintentionally blurted out.
How? I saw her die in front of my eyes after Roa... I can't believe it.
I was shaking. I was both angry and happy. I sat down, panting, my whole body felt sick... I put the paper back in the envelope and tossed it back onto the desk.
I couldn't think...
The day passed by normally, I was already sitting in the sitting room when I looked at the clock: 8:30. Time for me to begin to leave.
As I stood up, Akiha spoke up, stopping herself from playing her violin. "Where are you going Nii-san?"
"I'm going out... I have to meet someone."
"Nii-san, I don't want you to go out at such a time."
I felt somewhat irritated. I thought we had already gone over this. I already knew all of the Tohno secrets, there was no need to keep me cooped up in this mansion anymore.
"I'm 18 now Akiha, I'll be fine! I won't be long."
"And if something happens to you, Nii-san. What am I going to do? It is my job to take care of you, I can't very well let you come and go as you please, especially not after what happened before-.."
Akiha cut herself off abruptly.
She hadn't spoken of the events of last year, at least, not that she ever spoke to me about. Then again, I'd probably be the last person she'd want to talk about such things with.
After moment more of awkward silence I announced. "I'll be back."
Akiha just shook her head as I went to leave the mansion.
I made it to the park, I felt nostalgic in this crisp air. Remembering the time with Arcueid...
I was nervous, no, nervous was an understatement. I was a wreck. I pulled out pack of cigarettes, pulling out a cigarette and raised it to my lips.
A loud 'whoosh' robbed me of a cigarette as whatever it was that caused it broke my cigarette in half and made a loud clang against the ground next to my legs.
I looked and stood up quickly. It was a Black Key...
"Ciel-senpai.." I muttered.
"Not anymore." I heard a familiar and soft voice call out from near me. Looking up at the lamp post I expected to see Ciel in her normal church garb but instead, she was sitting on the post, in her school uniform.
She smiled at me and waved. "Hello, Tohno-kun. It's been a while."
Ciel? But then, where is Arcueid? I was getting extremely confused and sat back down.
"Arcueid will not be coming." She spoke, as if reading my mind. "Because I gave you that letter."
"Why did you lie?"
"Because I had to make absolutely certain you came, Tohno-kun. I haven't seen you in nearly a year, so I wanted to see you when I had the chance."
"I would have came if you had addressed it as yourself too..." I sighed.
I was both disappointed and happy. I have missed Senpai but I felt bad...
Senpai stood on the lamppost and leapt off. Landing neatly in front of my bench and sitting next to me.
"But," She began, with a very solemn tone. "I wish I had come here just to see you again. But I do have business."
Business to Senpai usually involved vampires and other paranormal entities deemed evil by the Church so I felt my whole body tighten up. And a feeling of deja vu began to spring forth in my heart.
"Don't worry, Shiki!" She says with a bright smile on her face, reading my reaction. "You aren't going to get involved, I'm just telling you why our visit will be short."
"Senpai..." I managed to say.
Senpai put her index finger to my lips.
"Shiki, I'm not your Senpai anymore. You just call me Ciel, or Ciel-chan now." She said with another bright smile.
"Ciel-chan?.." I spoke just to say it. It didn't sound right at all.
I tilted my head back and sighed.
"Ciel, where is this business?"
She had piqued my curiosity and it couldn't hurt to ask.
"In a neighboring city, not to too far away."
Silence descended upon the park as I stared at the starry sky.
"I have to be going Shiki. I should be back in this city next week." She stood up and brushed off her skirt. She turned to me with a somewhat sad face as I lowered my head to look at her.
"I missed you Tohno Shiki..." She sounded terribly sad when she said those words. She walked up to me and leaned over, planting a soft kiss on my forehead.
Her lips were warm, my face felt hot when she did it. I, of course, smiled to try and hide my embarrassment.
Ciel was blushing slightly and gave out a small smile before she leapt onto the lamppost.
"Shiki," She said, her back turned to me. "I have to come back. I have to take care of you, since you're so silly and you always get in trouble... Think of me as your guardian angel."
I stood up, staring at her back. "Senpai..."
"Ciel! Not Senpai!" I could feel a warmth from her, like she was smiling as she said that.
And like that, she leapt away and was gone...