A/N: Another long wait for what I suspect will be a less than satisfactory update but… ah, well, we plow on…

Disclaimer: I may have gone awhile, but that doesn't I suddenly picked up any new rights. I only own what is mine to own.

Pt. 7

"…and then she, haha, you'll never believe this, she-" Hayate smiled as Reina stopped abruptly and turned away from the monitor, yelling at someone offscreen before turning back to Hayate. "Oh my god, Hayate, I really hate to do this to you, but I gotta go."

"I understand. You're at work, so go off and do what they pay you to do."

Reina snorted. "With the amount of work I put in I should have a nice fat bonus in my hand right about now, but nooo, all the money's stuck up the boss' a-"


Reina broke into a smile and waved at the screen. "Okay, I really gotta go now. Love you as much as ever, still can't wait 'til I can see you again in person. Take care and all that good jazz. Later, Hayate!"

Hayate smiled and wave, "The same back to you. Take care, Reina."

Reina nodded and the call disconnected. Hayate sighed and stood up, walking over to the door. There must be something that required her attention. She only just barely managed to stop herself from running into Tomoyo.

"Ah, Tomoyo, what is it?"

Tomoyo smiled, tilting her head to the side ever so slightly. "How is Reina? Well, I hope?"

Hayate smiled back, "As well as can be hoped for." As an afterthought, Hayate returned, "Is there something wrong? Tomoyo, you know if anything is ever bothering you, I'm-"

"I know." Tomoyo raised a hand between them to stop Hayate's insistence. "I'm fine, don't worry. Can I come in? I have something I'd like to talk to you about."

Hayate frowned, stepping aside to let Tomoyo in, checking the hall for any other visitors before closing the door. Tomoyo had stopped in the middle of the room, her back to Hayate, a sign the latter had come to know as an indication that she was about to hear something she didn't want to hear.

Hayate moved across the room to sit down, waiting for Tomoyo to begin. If she had been expecting what would follow, she didn't show it.

"The preliminary medical check-ups were faked."

"What do you mean? Omeda?" Hayate blanched at the way her tongue pronounced the name, but Tomoyo was too preoccupied to comment on it. "What, like she isn't human? That'd be unlikely, since she comes from beyond our known borders-"

"No. I mean, yes, she's clearly not human, but it's more than that. It's… odd. I've never seen anything like it." Tomoyo turned then, her eyes never leaving Hayate's as she swooped down to sit beside her best friend. "Her insides… her organs… her blood… there's nothing solid in there."

"Like a tin man?" Hayate was having trouble taking Tomoyo's tone seriously now.

Tomoyo shook her head. "It's more like… like a water balloon, but with various heats. In the center, there's her linker core, but around it is… I'm not even sure if its water or what. It might be-"

"Manufactured?" Hayate shifted in her seat when Tomoyo didn't deny this. "You think Omeda is not only not human, but made by a humanoid?"

"I'm… I'm not sure. All I know is that what we thought was her heartbeat count, was her linker core pulsating. What we thought was her blood pressure, was the speed of this liquid churning inside her. What we thought was her brain…"

Tomoyo didn't continue, and Hayate had a feeling she didn't want her to. Hayate looked away, eyeing a bright yellow strand of string lying alone on the floor. "…Maybe she's a living ghost."

Tomoyo looked at Hayate, as the latter looked up. "Have you ever asked her about where she came from? Perhaps… an accident…"

"An accident that reduced her to what she is today?"

"The universe is vast. What we don't understand, someone else out there might."

The two sat in silence for a while longer before Hayate stood up.

Tomoyo instantly asked, though she had already guessed, "Where are you going?"

"To ask her to talk about herself, to tell her story."

"And if she doesn't want to talk?"

Hayate paused at the doorway. "Then we're no farther than we would be if I hadn't asked. The very least I can figure out is whether she is a danger to the people aboard the Claudia."

When Hayate left, Tomoyo sat stock still for some time before quietly getting up and leaving the room as well.

A/N: Urghhh... I feel queasy... I think I may scrap this story and redo it when I've not only finished the classes (thus having a more well-rounded bgd on the things I'm putting into it) but I also don't have midterms and finals that need studying for. =_= Yes, I have a two week reprieve, in theory, but that's followed by two weeks of midterms right before finals. Urg. If I can restart this during my Christmas break, I will but... ugh... I'm just not up to it at the moment. Sorry. I'll leave this story up until I've had a chance to go back to it tho, so it'll still be here, wallowing...

P.S. I hope you enjoy Feito No Hana and Quack!Fate in the meantime tho. It seems shorts are all I have the ability to concentrate enough on atm... my head hurts...