A/N: When time comes and goes, I realised that I haven't been behaving. The characters are from Mai-Otome, placed in a alternate universe and twisted a bit out of character to suit this endless world.

Those that live in solitude do not live in solidarity.

Those that live in solidarity do not live in solitude.

I am stubborn.

I'm growing up in a house not far away from Sendai bay. I had no recollection of my past and I realised it was for the better of me, I need not to have people asking me who my parents were, where I was born or whether I had siblings. I could simply answer them as easy as they questioned me, come and go; I liked it simply. The place I am growing up in Sendai is a shared house. My 'sisters' and I live in the apartment that overlooked the sea, they all said that they love the view of the rising sun and setting sun over the ocean when they left the front door for work, I never saw that sun, because I always worked the night shift. My sisters are not really my sisters if one would like to cleared things up. They are the ones that found me in the junk of heap I was supposedly thrown into to be left to die; I did not know why they found me there, but they seemingly did. I was sure luck wasn't on their side that day. They are all not actual sisters too, their not blood related, they don't share a common DNA strand or gene; they seemingly just relate themselves in a strong bond called sisters. I didn't know how they came to know each other, which is for them to know and for me to find out, but I'm never that bothersome to get a shovel to dig. I am already happy that I had someone to call me by name.

I have four sisters, I'm supposedly to be the third youngest among them, and they do not know how old I was so they gave me an age and a birthday date, at least now I could somehow gauge my so called youth. I am the tallest of the lot; my two younger sisters are shorter than me by a hand and my two older sisters almost matching my height, however somehow, I feel that my oldest sister is the tallest. She holds this unusual demeanour that strikes everyone, alluring yet demure in a way, enticing yet foully disturbing. It varies like a chart, nothing linear but something like a canvas messed with myriad colours. It's striking but it has it flaws that sometimes I realise she does not openly let anyone see, I feel terribly privileged.

My oldest sister is like a locket, a rusty one; difficult to pick, tough to open, it makes me go insane. I had given up trying to open her forcibly; I would have stopped earlier if I had found out sooner that my other sisters had tried so, they could have said so. Her room was on the second level of our apartment, I live in the basement, I could always hear her voice echo in the stairwell that lead down to my room, it was spooky in a way that sometimes it held so much life and sometimes nothing but a spirit of the gloom, in good terms she was the only one that came to visit me. Her mood is like a swing, much to my dismay that I realised I could compare it equally as I could to a mood swing that my sisters always complained about in the apartment. However I realised that she only showed such things to me. My other sisters never complained how their oldest sister would show a change in weather; they never did, and all I would hear was high pitched laughter and giggles, sometimes screams of happiness whenever they were around her; I felt a tinge of jealousy in a way, good or bad, I did not pick a side.

I found things start to become weird when my youngest sister told me once when I left for my night shift, I did not know why she was up late a night but she apparently was, that our oldest sister had yet to come back, it was unusual. She looked worried, so I acted worried. It was unnatural for me to have such feelings yet, I still had yet to feel what my other sisters said what it felt to be loved. The feeling of being loved happened most with my second youngest sister, she had a dozen affairs that I realised now that it was more than a dozen, it was more exact if one would compare to how many contacts she had in her phone. Her flings would last for a night, I did not know how she could call that being loved, and I kept my mouth shut. I told my youngest sister not to worry, she went back to bed after I had walked out of the door promising her that once I was done with the job, I was sure that I would be able to locate our oldest sister.

Her mood swung like a pendulum when I found my oldest sister apparently waiting for me in front of the five-star hotel she had just finished her work in there. The time was just before light would break above the horizon, I was yet to start and end my shift, it was called a night shift for a reason; she was in the way and I was late. She became extremely stubborn with me when I grabbed her by the arm and tried to make my way to get her home before out youngest sister wailed like a newborn and get back to finish my job. She insisted that I take her into the hotel, I refused. She had finished her work in there, and she was to be home hours ago so I could finish my job with exact precision, if she was not done, I would be dug deep into my grave since everyone relied on me to finish it. I threw her into a cab and sent her home, never had I had her eyes pierce me like a claymore, then I saw it break into a unusual state of affection that I usually saw with those night couples, it was for me to feel and I shivered. I made a mess of my job because of that, my sisters scolded me when I arrived back too tired to even talk about it, but they drilled it in. I didn't hear her voice in that scolding though, all I would see was those eyes that read, 'Me.'

My other sister that almost matched my height spilled out everything one night when I did not have a shift to do, I realised without it, and it wouldn't have linked everything I was experiencing together. I thought she was sober but she was actually intoxicated with this dark coloured liquid I daren't put my mouth to. I didn't know why she drank that night, she was usually the ones that did not care, she was the oblivious type that only cared when it mattered to them, this and that did not count. She was propelled into a state that she spilled everything out all at one go that I was to piece the pieces together myself to get a proper puzzle, there was not a repeat button. After that, I seemed more aware of my older sister, her mood swings that were only thrown on me and her emotions that were splayed all over that it could form such a prefect mask. I was sure that my oldest sister knew nothing about being loved that she said that she had felt before…because she was never feeling loved.

It was her job, anyway.

She was raped by one of the personal in the job she was doing that day, it was something she was not expecting since everyone and she, herself, knew that such a thing would unlikely to happen, because she was a professional…however it did. I was yet to become one of them so I did not know anything, yet by my sister remembered that every one of her siblings had warned her of the job that day, yet her sudden ignorance robbed her of her innocence. My older sister awoke naked in a the man's arms, bloodied and sore, her body was marred with bites, legs weak and a throbbing pain running through the core of her body. Pain shot through her as she realised what had happened to her, then did she realised how heavily drugged her drink was to be totally unconscious through the assault. The man that had forced himself on her was already long dead, his head had a hole, and the sheets were crumpled dry with the colour of the dark crimson. The job was unclean and messy, and she was in deep trouble if anyone walked into the room at the moment. My other sister said my oldest sister was in distress when she realised that everything had to be cleared to get rid of all evidence, so she called her other siblings to come in to help. The shock of being raped had not reached her head yet, but it did when she saw the positive sign that read off the test. My other sister slurred in this portion so things were tough for me to hear, however I visibly shook when I caught the part when my oldest sister went for abortion. My other sister said she had to, she had to end it clean and quick or she was not able to carry on with her job, her reputation would be spoilt, she could not have that, unfortunately had to keep her status as a professional.

After that, shock raked my older sister and she went into a state of utter insanity that it almost could not sustain her other sisters that time. When she was out of action, the rest was out of action too. My other sister said it was a period of chaos for them, my older sister would turn into a person so frightening that no one would know whether it was for the money or just out of pure hatred towards men, their jobs ended so messily during that period. What made it worse was that the smile that she had on her face then was deathly eerie in a way that it could seduce practically anyone into her death lair. Her true emotions were not there anymore, or what my other simply thought that she was no more the sister that knew once for she was an empty shell. Everything was red then, until I came. My other sister burped when she told me sluggishly that I am the sole reason why my older sister was her former self they knew back then when everything was so beautiful, because…maybe she felt love again. Then I slowly pieced everything from when I was found to till now, I thought I would solve what I had now, yet I found myself questioning.

Yet what did I feel?

Those that live in solitude do not live in solidarity.

Those that live in solidarity do not live in solitude.

I am stubborn because I gave her a simple ring with the unseen message that implies, 'you're valuable no matter what someone did to you.'. Therefore she needn't need to say,

'Why the rescue?'

Natsuki knew that chrysanthemums were flowers of dead men, those who are dead reap them and those who alive avoid them. They were after all a symbol of death, like how the white rose symbolised death, here in Asia, that was so and there was nothing to argue. They were her favourite flowers, they brought death, as much as she brought death to whoever came in her way.

Her ears could pick up the laughter that surrounded her, it wasn't out of happiness but out of anger. It was weird in a way as she thought it through, she was hearing mockery, why was that something to be laughing about. There were sneers and leers, swearing and jeering, scorning and something she couldn't put her mouth to… fear? Natsuki felt her eye twitch when she felt the sharp thin wire slice near her eye, she closed them briefly before opening them again to stare blankly at the door of her basement room. She was seated on a simple wooden chair, her back straight against the spine of the chair and her legs neatly folded at a ninety angle at allowed her feet to touch the floor perfectly. She had been sitting for an hour or so, the mockery came in later, going around her for about five minutes ago. She was use to the mockery, but she was waiting too long that she no longer felt the pain and all she felt a nothing, it was as if her nerves had lost their sense and her brain could not longer tell apart pain from pleasure. She grunted when she thought about it, then she regretted slightly so for the noise, for her younger sister shot out at her,

'What's the matter Kruger? Feeling the pain now?'

She kept silently, her mouth neither pursed or in a frown. Her green eyes caught a thin flash and the she heard a small whip lashing back behind her and she knew she had been struck. Natsuki cracked her neck to release a few knots in behind her sore neck and her eyes caught harshly on equal green eyes that belonged to her younger sister. Then the laughter erupted again, and Natsuki heard the beans of the maracas and she knew what she had coming next. When it turned noisy with those percussion instruments, she simply knew she would be expecting a solid blow on her head, lethal or not, she just knew the knock would come.

And came it did. She should have known to have kept her mouth shut.

This time Natsuki felt the pain, her head spun and her vision blurred for a bit before her eyes caught sight again on the closed door she had been waiting to open to her expected guest. Her ears picked up a rhythm that the maracas made and all she could do was to wait when the next strike would come. Her sisters were in fear tonight, which was why they were mocking her in such a way, Natsuki knew it, it was normal for them to come down to her basement room and strike her till her guest arrived. However this assault only lasted for a few minutes before the door opened. Natsuki furrowed her brows, the door was not yet opening and she had been waiting for so long. Her hands that were placed on her lap was folded neatly on top of her tattered dark pants, her shoulder bare as her work shirt was ripped here and there with the thin thread she knew very well. Everywhere was numb and she silently knew she was bleeding like a whipped prisoner, still able to survive, still far from death. She knew she was important to them, they couldn't kill her unless her guest agreed so, and she was after all not their real sister. There were no ties between them, yet why was she still alive?

It was simply the fact that they feared… Feared who?

Natsuki knew her sisters by the weapons they used, she didn't need to hear their voices or their footsteps of their scent or so and so, she knew them personally…through their weapons. Just by looking at which weapon snuck into her room, she knew who was coming. Her younger sister that embodied desire had the same green eyes that she had, except that those eyes were filled with trickery and deception that one could tell apart by the volumes those orbs spoke from hers. Her frame was small and petite, her voice sweet and conversations laced, with that, she was able to get those affairs she had all planned in the small phone she carried with her everywhere. Natsuki knew those affairs only lasted for a night and next, there would be nothing left as that small and convenient weapon of hers would clean up everything. It was like a spider web, get caught and the victim would never be able to escape, it was as simply as that.

Those thin threads that she depended on to tear and slice, to choke and decapitate, were made of fine material as sharp as a blade that it could cut through simply anything. However when things didn't turn out fine for her younger sister, she would then depend on a garrotte that she carried in a pouch when she went on a job. Yet she only used it when she personally knew that her fine threads called not handle the task they were to fulfil. She was arrogant, and sadly as stubborn as me and her tongue was sharp, that was what made this mockery sting, because she swears too much at times that it reaches over the point of saturation that it makes it unbearable to just her hear. So Natsuki knew that all she knew was to plug out when she knew the roll would come, but there was always the bad side of plugging out because she was then unable to hear the percussion beats of her older sister.

Her older sister used the maracas, percussion instruments she knew they were once made of leather, until Natsuki realised one day that it was changed to be made of solid metal. The inside still had the cover of the dried gourd, but the layer between the leather covering and the dried gourd was the one centimetre thick metal that made skulls crunch on a heavy impact. Her older sister could not leave the cover of the dried gourd out or there wouldn't be a enchanting rhythm about her. There was the usual three beat and the four, either one would lure her victim in her rhythm and her captivating dance before she struck hard that left nothing but broken bones and a lifeless body that would have no chance of trying to stand up once again. It was her older sister, no doubt, however Natsuki still could not believe that a person around her size could wield such a strength to crack bones with maracas, two nonetheless. It was terrifying in a way, but it was how her sister went with her job.

She still didn't know why they were in the morning shift.

Little did she know that she had a fresh stream of blood trailing down her temple to stain her collar that she had just sewn to protect her neck, Natsuki knew nothing at the moment for could feel nothing, all she could was to see the closed door she awaited to open to present her guest. The laughter and the mockery rang around her like a death toll, they were more violent with her, that she knew for her younger sister lashed out at her more and her older sister was giving out a weird rhythm that didn't suit her style. Natsuki knew something wrong was going to take place. Suddenly another blow came out from the right and her head was slammed hard with a maraca, she was sure she heard those beans shudder within the enclosed space of metal. Natsuki let herself fall off the chair lifelessly and her body get thinly cut by those deadly threads of her younger sister.

With her hair pin dropping out of place and onto the ground, her dark hair draped messily over her face as Natsuki picked herself up slowly to get back onto the chair. Her sisters danced around her in somewhat annoying glee that she felt like a caged animal waiting for a circus act. She fumbled back onto the chair, but she managed to get back into the same upright posture she held before she was knocked down. Her hair pin was stepped upon that there was a crunch and her green eyes took away from the door briefly to stare coldly at whoever had done that. That was not something to be stepped on. This time round, she met the same green orbs of her younger sister.

'What's wrong?'

Natsuki bit on her tongue to prevent herself from doing the unnecessary, she knew her words would be a waste. Her younger sister danced in front of her, scrapping the pin slowly against the hard floor,

'Can't speak? Why has the cat bitten off your tongue?

'That's enough.'

The rhythm stopped and the throbbing sound was not a deafening as before.

Natsuki snapped her head to look at the door reveal her youngest sister, her emotions dropped when she realised that it was not her guest and she turned back instantly to glare fiercely at her other younger sister. Then a blow struck her cheek and she fumbled forward, this time she coughed and splattered blood over the floor of her room. Everywhere was numb, so nothing could be felt, that was nothing to her, because Natsuki felt zilch. Pushing herself back up, she saw another pair of green eyes looking impassively at her through thin spectacles.

Her youngest sister had light yellow hair that grew into a odd tail that she refused to shorten unless necessary. Her attire was always black, and Natsuki always wondered why it didn't affect the way she manage to catch her victims totally unaware of her presence, especially when she on the morning shift. Throw a series of punches and with the ending blow by a boomerang, her youngest sister could put the victim unconscious so silently that Natsuki herself thought her youngest sister could be harbinger death itself. She came when required and left when required. She never stayed too long or too short, she was the epitome of precision that it scared Natsuki to find that a girl could do so much. However, Natsuki knew that her younger sister had spilled no blood, she was only called to do the knocks. Natsuki was sure that her other sisters didn't want another young girl to be ruined be the fires of hell just because she was their 'sister'; then oddly, Natsuki herself didn't know why she had spilled more than a gallon when she was too a sister.

Those green eyes behind the glass gazed at her before it turned away to stare coldly at the other pair of green eyes in the room, her youngest sister was someone Natsuki would thank, because she helped her even when she wasn't too. Natsuki was oddly certain that her youngest sister was not as young as she seemed.

'Don't try to stop me. You have no say in this, you weren't there.'

Her youngest sister, poised and calm spoke volumes,

'So were you.'

Positioning herself back onto the chair, Natsuki adjusted her very tattered shirt and pants and kept eye on both her hair pin that was currently underneath her younger sister's foot and the door. She wanted her guest to come soon for her sisters were getting more rowdy than usual. It was unusual to have such trepidation to have been built in just a single job that had gone wrong. Did it mean so much to them? Natsuki heard the commotion around suddenly stop and she looked up to find her guest at the door of her basement room.

Lifting her head high, Natsuki breathed to calm her nerves as her guest took a step in her room, then a honeyed voice echoed in the room,

'I was sure did not call for a reunion.'

Her sisters all around froze but her younger sister was stubborn as a donkey that she barked back,

'This involves us too! You can't take this into your own hands!'

Natsuki closed her eyes and breathed again to soak in the atmosphere of tension. Her ears were suddenly clear and she picked up the sweet voice of her guest, this time it carried a firmer tone that it too shook her momentarily,

'It has nothing to do with you. Please leave us alone.'

'No! We…'

Natsuki exhaled and kept her eyes closed as she felt her sisters walk from around her to the front to be cut short by her guest,

'There is no 'we' in this case. I do not wish to repeat myself.'

She breathed again and she heard no response in her sisters and then her guest raised her voice a tad bit louder than usual,

'Please leave.'

I was told to do an early shift last night. My sisters said that the job did not need me to follow any time limit because the time on this job could stretch forever. I was confused at first, but I found out later from my youngest sister that my oldest sister would be doing the night shift with me, that was why time could stretch. I had never done a shift with any of my sisters, so I kept quiet about how it was to be done. I packed my things into my long case and changed swiftly into my dark loose attire when I heard my three other sisters come back from their morning shift, my oldest sister was still in her room upstairs, so I waited for her quietly as my sisters yawned and bid no one in particular a good day. I had thought my oldest sister forgot that she was doing the night shift with me today for as more than quarter of an hour passed, and she had yet to come down from her room. I was ready to leave, I already knew who my target was for tonight; since there no time limit set for me, I could get over and be done with it. However I was abruptly stopped by my oldest sister voice that came from the top of the stairs. I did not turn back to face her so I heard her sultry voice ring from behind me. She said so nonchalantly,

'Oh my, aren't you going to escort me down?'

I half-heartedly turned around to face her and I let my eyes widen at the sight and I quickly averted my eyes away to the floor. Then I felt my cheeks swell and I coughed awkwardly, I had not expected my oldest sister to be dress as such.

'You're so ungentlemanly.'

I snorted at her comment and hastily rushed to the bottom of the steps to hold a hand out; she looked like she was going to trip on that long dress of hers. I kept my head down, my eyes at my feet and soon I felt her hand rest on my outstretched one. Then and there, she lingered on mine for more than required and I immediately pulled back when I felt a soft caress run down my face, her hands were so much softer compared to mine. I avoided her gaze but she held me back with a firm hold on my shirt I had sewn earlier to look presentable. I looked at the door with impatience and her patient words made me even more agitated,

'Aren't you forgetting that you're my escort until we reach the hotel?'

I had never agreed such, but I realised that this was how a joint job was suppose to work, so I reluctantly allowed to comply with her wish. If it was someone else, I would have stubbornly said no and stormed out of the door. I pulled out her coat from the side closet as she slipped into her heels, then she held onto my arm when I bent down to adjust a thing or two on her feet, she thank me earnestly and I realised her mood was fluctuating again…just for me to see. I guided her into her coat and I pulled mine over quickly, then both of us headed out arm and arm, and I felt nothing like this before…

I hailed a cab and we arrived at the hotel earlier than required. I had a tough time getting used to the eyes that eyed me from the corner when I entered the lobby with my oldest sister walking beside me, my long case slung at my back was seen to be out of place; I looked suspicious to start. She guided me to a lone corner when she swiftly leaned into me and seemingly looked like there was something to adjust on my shirt. I looked at the surroundings when she did so and I heard her soft words tell me the instructions to follow. Her voice carried a steady beat but I knew she was faltering; there was something that was bothering her,

'You're time only starts when I lead him to the second floor. Then can you finish the job cleanly with no hindrance.'

I unconsciously growled lowly when I spotted a man leering at us and I instantly felt her coil into my body, I tensed but relaxed when her fingers traced my exposed neck, I had yet to tie my tie neatly. She whispered into my ears when I let out another rumble at the man who was bravely enough to linger his gaze at my sister's exposed back, I should had insisted that she kept her jacket on when she came into the hotel.

'Oh, and please don't use your laser range-finder. It blinds me.'

I was somehow able to release a chuckle at her comment, and she stroked my jaw line before she placed her hands onto my tie to neaten it for me. I had to resist not looking at her body, but the way she was dressed made temptation worse. I knew she had to leave a huge cleavage for a purpose, but I did not know why she needed a dress that exposed her back and practically half of her midriff; that was why I insisted on her leaving her coat on. Her hair was left in a messy yet attractive way, and her face clear of any make-up that it showed her true colours to everyone who had yet to lay eyes on her. My face coloured before I knew it when she leaned in to place a kiss below my lips as she finished with the tie. I thanked her as she pulled back to look at her handiwork. I kept an eye on the men that streamed into the lobby with their ladies, some with more than one, or seemingly looking for one. Yet I realised whenever they had entered through the golden coloured door held open by the bell boy, their eyes scanned at once and would land permanently on my sister. I felt angry in a way and a primitive feel of protectiveness would rise in my gut every time I made ground breaking glares at whoever tried to approach us…more of her actually. Her voice broke my stare and she tickled my face with her breath, I resisted the urge to push her away,

'I think you'll scare everyone away before the party even starts. You look like a monster with that glare.'

She let out a small laugh for my ears to hear and she played with my loose strands of hair that fell out of place. Tucking the ones that stood out into the hair clip she gave me recently, she passed me a warm smile. I forced myself to look impassively at her, I knew this mood of hers wasn't going to last long once we entered the ball room, it always was on an influx, either on or off, and she decided. However I found it very difficult not to return a grin that I knew she deserved. Then the next thing I knew, my nose picked up the strong smell of cigars and I knew my target had arrived before us to take my sister away, if I allowed, particularly tonight when I was feeling awkwardly very protective. I knew my sister's past and I'm sure she knew it too, but somehow tonight I felt like I needed to interfere and get into her life. Her hands left my collar and lingered at the hand I offered before I knew she allowed herself to be whisked away.

I scrutinized the man that stood before us, his blazer dusted and topped with a red rose that made me feel sick, it looked cheesy on him. His pants were tailored to fit him and I thought it still looked a bit too long for him as the back touch the floor, it looked like it was a rushed one indeed. His hair was smoothed back and his brown eyes gleaming at interest, a toothy smile making its way to his handsome face. He did not have a cigar in his mouth, but I could smell the previous of his last smoke linger around him. I felt my oldest sister's hand give me a small squeeze before she let go of my offered hand to turn to face the man before us. She stood with her back facing me and I looked over her shoulder watchfully, I felt wrong to be leaving her now, so I stood as the escort she wanted and waited until she wanted me to leave to my awaited post. Her normal sweet voice suddenly changed into a seductive tone that raised my hair on my neck, I controlled a shiver when she greeted the man,

'It looks that you were daring enough to approach me even under such dangerous circumstances.'

I felt lifted in a way that she had praised me in a subtle way, but I knew no one knew what she meant. The man's eyes glowed and the smile finally preened over his features, he gestured towards me, and then to my sister, his voice was hoarse but I knew it could catch a girl in a second,

'When there's a princess, there always must be a dragon and there must certainly have a knight…in shining armour.'

I wanted to add on by saying: brandishing a sword that he knew could not match the fire. I almost sniggered, but kept it under control when I returned a glare I knew he was expecting. He carried on swiftly by returning his focus on my sister,

'Therefore tonight, I'm that daring knight in shining armour, to slay the dragon.'

My sister let out crystalline laughter and I moved forward so she backed into me. Reaching back to touch me gently on the arm, she cut right through the man's façade and spoke childishly,

'A dragon? My, you are daring to try to scare my escort away.'

At the mention of the word escort, I immediately saw him perk up. He gave a small bow and from the breast pocket of his blazer, he took out the rose and handed it to my sister. Cheesy. My sister took it without words and her arm left me. I saw a grin smear over his face when he looked back up to eye me, I gave my an equally awful look to my sister's dislike and gave a small word to acknowledge my leave,

'I would then take my leave, until you need me, then.'

I saw my sister turn her head back, and through her eyes, I saw a longing hand for me to reach out to hold. I quickly averted my eyes with a bow and picked up my case and walked away from the corner I once stood with my sister. The party was starting in a minute and the dragon I am to be would breathe fire when necessary, tonight, I would be the one slaying. I felt her gaze on my back when I walked through the doors with her coat in my arms, and I felt…

Natsuki felt soft hands touch her face, this time she could feel something, now there was now neither pain nor pleasure, it was just a simple feeling of being touched. She enjoyed it silently, but she did not show it, she did not want it to be seen just yet, not now…maybe she thought never. Those hands that stroked her face and smoothed her hair was filled with tender that she realised now how she could simply let herself fall victim into her guest. After all, she was ready to lose herself, if necessary, because she knew what she felt for this guest of hers. She no longer considered this person that cared for her so much her oldest sister, she no longer did because she knew that they were not blood related, because she knew that this person adored her in so many different ways…it was simply because she knew that she felt…

However Natsuki knew that it was not always a happy ending, she did not have a happy beginning to start with.

The soft hands on her face stopped when she felt the fresh stream of blood get gently wiped away. Her eyes opened and she met with those eyes that cared for the every inch of her. She closed them again when she saw the worry spread across her oldest sister's features and the next she heard was the honeyed voice that whispered into her ears when she remember her tie getting adjusted. Natsuki exhaled and took in her scent, now had she notice how refreshing it was,

'You're bleeding badly.'

Natsuki leaned backwards to finally allow herself to slump in the wooden chair, she felt tired and exhausted. She flinched slightly when she felt something press against her temple, and she was smothered by a soft embrace that robbed her of the light that somehow she could still see with her eyes closed. Then she cringed when she smelt the lingering air of smoke. Her guest's voice resonated in her ears and she breathed loudly at the words,

'Can you stand? I need you to move.'

She felt herself get motioned to move from the chair and Natsuki willed herself to get onto her weak legs, those cuts done by her younger sister was it now starting to take its deathly attack. It throbbed in pain and she faltered slightly into the arms of her oldest sister, she wanted more than this, because Natsuki felt that she deserved more than this. It was because she was stubborn.

I checked the wind strength before it fixed my sniper onto its stand then through my scope, it positioned my barrel point to the third window of the first floor, it was convenient of her to stand at the window, but it was not simply so with so many people around her. She had told me not to use my laser range-finder so I took it off and use the mil dot reticle on my scope to accurately find my range. I did so with ease, and took down the markings, and then I moved to position my blank onto the second level on the fifth window from the left and determined my range again. I knew my sister liked dark places so things could happen quickly, quietly and unseen, so I guess the fifth window. I backed down from my sniper and sat comfortably on my bottom on the roof of a building that hid quietly opposite the hotel. I held her coat in my arms and eased into silence as I trained my eye on my sister. I chucked my binoculars aside for a while as the still atmosphere of the growing night engulfed me. There were a few honks here and there from the roads, laughter from the rooms below me and screeches from the crows that rummaged for leftover in the bins of the alley.

I looked across the road again, to find my eye searching solely for my sister and I spotted her as easily as a chrysanthemum in the forest. I propped my head up with my hands and I looked at the supposed knight that had apparently slain me. I fidgeted for a while when I saw those wandering hands over my sister's body and I shook vehemently when I could not look any longer. I buried my head into her coat and hummed a tune she sang when she came walking down to my basement room. I calmed me as it did to her and I looked up again. I saw white fine champagne in a tall glass, pressed to her lips and I gulped as she passed it eagerly to him, was that how it was to go?

I did not know what my oldest sister held as a weapon, but I guessed as much that her body was it. She flaunted it like nobody's business; she did not care unless it did not pick up her target's eye. Then would she slowly go in for the kill. It looked like she was a prostitute, a whore, a slut; anything that she could be labelled filthy, but I silently guessed that she did not enjoy what she had to do, for a professional. My other sisters worked with her more often, as I mentioned that this was the first that I worked in a duo, and all I could do was wait. However my patience was wearing out faster than I had expected. There was no time limit, but the time that I saw her flirt and receive those touches…I felt no more patience, there was no more virtue.

The night was stretching and now I knew what my sisters meant that time could literally stretch with her. The sudden agony that tore within me was something I could not bare any longer. I looked at my sister through the window again and I saw her gaze meet mine briefly. She knew I was there waiting and I saw a gleam in her eyes before she moved away to seduce that man ever further into her lair. I felt a chill rise within me and suddenly I realised that my hand were moving to my heart's accord that was seemingly working against my mind. I knew I had to wait until she brought the man to the second floor when everyone had either long gone home or was too lazy to move up to the second level to enjoy a time of peace and quietness; however, this time, the fire within my primal beast had been unleashed. I readjusted my sniper to the third window where she was standing with the man and I checked the wind strength again for last time tonight. I looked through my scope and aimed accordingly…and damned the other people that were standing close by, I hated anyone who touch my oldest sister, especially when she belonged to me.

When did I become so possessive?

I grunted when I realised that my sister was too close to the man for me to take aim, I couldn't wait much longer for her to bring him to the second floor, I wanted him slain right then, now. I hastily placed my laser back on and aimed again, and I made sure it caught my sister's eye and it did. I saw her turn immediately in my direction and I saw anger which was followed hate, then fear and I pulled that bloody trigger. Then did I hear a scream...

'There, you're good as new.'

Natsuki hummed a low note before she felt lips kiss below her lips again, and she willingly let a blush seep onto her face. The hands that worked on cleaning her wounds made their way to her collar and there she felting the same stroking as she did earlier. She knew the mood was fluctuating again. Her bruised lip from earlier had swollen up and she cringed when the soft lips kissed down with a little more pressure. Pulling back slightly, her eyes darted to the floor in search of her hair pin, nonetheless her attention zoomed back to her guest when she had her hair tucked back behind her ear and her ears picking up the short click of her pin. Then those soft hands traced down her face once again and stopped when Natsuki brought her eyes back to face her oldest sister.

'Feeling better?'

She felt fingers ghost over her swollen cheek and down to her bruised lip that was starting to throb with immense pain, Natsuki knew it was spilt in a way. The cuts that were over her body were clean and swabbed with alcohol, clean and away from infection. The swell and the damage done on her head was patched up and bounded tightly with white bandages. Natsuki had changed into a fresh pair of clothes, her tattered shirt now replaced with a clean indigo shirt with matching pants that fell long below her ankles. Her hair was still stained with her own blood, the floor of her room sketched with marks of her smeared blood and dents of her younger sister's threads; she had to remember to clean up her mess later. Natsuki gave into a curt nod and moved back to rest against the wall of her room, her legs hanging off her small bed. She heard a breath from beside her and she suddenly felt immense fear rise within her.

Was she to fear her oldest sister like how her other sisters do?

Natsuki felt a hand trace a cut that ran down her forearm to her finger and she turned, lazily opened an eye to look at her sister's action. Then she met with a solid gaze and she shrugged her arm away and folded her sleeves down. Her room was silent, her other sisters had long left her basement room at the orders of her oldest sister, their eyes giving off a message that something terrible was to happen. Natsuki felt her gut sink down and she wondered this anything in the aftermath of her job was related to what was happening now? She knew her oldest sister came down from time to time to check on her, but this request she was given was forcefully and totally out of the blue, that Natsuki now felt trepidation build within her. She wanted more than this, but was it really what she was expecting? This clean service by her guest was unusual, but she followed for Natsuki knew that that mood of hers was something that swung in no certain pattern.

Tiredly lifting her head forward to let her neck stretch, Natsuki heard a shuffle beside her and she had arms in the next second wrapping around her neck and she felt her body twist to welcome the inviting body of her sister. She felt wet lips press against her neck and lazily shifted her head to lean into her sister's shoulder, then her ear tickled at the warm breath that her guest gave out,

'I hate you.'

I jumped over to land on a roof of the other building before speeding down the stairs, hoping that no one saw me for my post previously. I stopped for a moment to catch my breath before I walked out of the alley and adjusted my long case before merging into the crowd of on-lookers that had saw the window glass shatter at the impact of the bullet. I saw flashing lights in the distance and I moved towards the hotel doors quickly. People were already rushing out, so the bell boy barely noticed me as I walked past him into the lobby. No one could remember the dragon that had entered with the princess, because everyone was in a state of panic that no one seemed to care. I heard the sirens and I cursed silently as I walked through the heavy doors against the flood of people. I caught sight of my oldest sister drenched in blood. Her front was dirtied with crimson and her eyes look lifelessly as she stood motionless in front of the knight I had slain messily. There were a few other men around her, trying in vain to move her but she looked so shocked. My eyes moved over to the man that lay on the floor, I had forgotten to change the bullets I was to use so the end was terribly messy. A large bullet was rare for a sniper, but to me, I liked it custom made, especially for this case.

I arrived before them and I saw a flash of annoyance within my sister's eyes. The men that saw my approach cleared around her and I draped her coat over her shoulders before I tried to put my acting skills into good use. I knew it could not match the quality of my sister, like how she was faking now, but I knew I had to do to get out of the mess I had created due to my impatience. The job was done, yet this time it wasn't clean and precise, it was a horrible mess. It was to be done discreetly as the client had informed my sisters, I knew I was into a scolding, I just didn't know how much mockery she would facing this time. I managed to move my sister out of the front doors of the hotel and I cursed the police as they surrounded us. The police with fine corn-coloured eyes motioned me to follow him to the car for they needed the both of us for a report, he came slowly, and then suddenly she fainted. I panicked and I threw myself into the frenzy that was swarming around us. I heard the sirens of the ambulance and the yells of the policemen as I struggled through the crowd of partygoers and the on-lookers. I managed to get out and escape into the alley I had walked out from. I dashed quickly up the fire escape stairs and held my breathing as the police ran past the alley. Was I now under the wanted posters?

Damn it.

The next thing I felt was a sharp sting that ran through my cheek. I grunted as my oldest sister regained her stand on the steps. Her eyes flashed anger at me and her hand came again at my face and I felt the pain start to build at my swollen cheek. I keep my eyes at my feet and I watched her mood swing again, she hissed through her teeth,

'Didn't I tell your time limit starts only when I have led him to second floor!?'

She pointed a daring finger at my face,

'You have now more than a hundred witnesses with you using that laser of yours! You know clearly that anyone could have seen your position with that!'

I had never heard such venom in her voice,

'It was to be done cleanly, a bullet through his head and the end. Why was there a splat?!'

I had no voice to protest and she continued harshly,

'Our client will not be happy, because everything was not according to plan. You shouldn't have come to get me; you should have left me until the police had gotten what they want. Now the police are involved!'

She stepped forward to lift my chin and she stared hardly into my eyes,

'What in the world made you do all that?'

I gave her gulp and I threw my long case down with a clatter and pushed her away. I stomped hard onto the metal below me and bellowed for the very first time,


My sister's eyes widened briefly before she narrowed them again and raised her hand to slap me for the third time. I was stumbled and suddenly I was pulled into an embrace and she cried into my ear,

'I hate you.'

Then I knew it swung again because I felt…

She dragged her shirt off her shoulders and before Natsuki could do anything about it, she felt those soft hands back again stroking her neck. Her guest pulled herself onto Natsuki and hugged her tightly, kissing the messy dark hair. Looking at her hands, Natsuki struggled to resist the urge to place her palms on those inviting legs that straddled her. Without much thought, Natsuki moved her body closer to the one pressed comfortably against her and she breathed in the intoxicating scent that her oldest sister carried; she hummed. Feeling the smooth skin of her sister rub against her half exposed chest, Natsuki shuddered slightly and she skimmed her hands over the lithesome thighs of her guest, she needed a distraction. Her ears picked up a murmur and she stopped her actions and pulled her hands back; she wanted this, but she knew there was a limit. Yet when she tried to pull away from the tight embrace, Natsuki was flushed even harder against her sister and she heard a word of protest and she stayed quietly, relishing in the sole feeling of comfort. Her sister's words echoed in her room and it made her tremble for an unknown reason,

'Thank you.'

Natsuki felt the arm that was caressing her arm stop and she saw a glint from the corner of her eye. She gave a grin to no one in particular and leaned further into her sister as she hummed a lower note. Then her nose suddenly picked up a familiar scent of flowers and she became alert. Why or how this particular smell floated into the room, she did not really care, but why it was present at the very moment was unnerving. The flowers of the dead, dead who reap and those alive avoid. Natsuki narrowed her eyes as she scanned her room for the flower but she saw nothing but her dull walls. Her favourite flowers were here to greet her. Her sister's voice diverted her attention and Natsuki tensed when she felt something sharp touch the front of her abodomen. She keep her eyes forward and she looked at the door again, then she saw a girl that looked so much like her standing there and she frowned, and then came along another girl with light brown hair and deep crimson eyes. She heard her sister hold a breath and she felt a trickle run down her front. Her eyes then followed the girl that walked bravely to the girl with the flaxen hair, and the girl opened her mouth to whisper something that she couldn't really hear.

Then she felt the plunge and she grunted.

Feeling a turgid pain run from her abdomen she continued to look at the small girl that placed a light kiss onto her…sister. Then Natsuki coughed blood and she felt her muscle contract rigorously and she felt herself plunge even deeper into the blade that went straight through her gut. Her vision hazed for a while and she felt those soft hands cup her face and she felt lips press softly onto her bruised one. It was light and there was the trace of the tongue and she was able to catch sight onto those beautiful eyes that her oldest sister had. Her head felt light, her body weak and finally she felt her pants get soaked with her blood that rolled down her stomach. This was not what she expected, but was it something she wanted. Maybe Natsuki could agree so, it wasn't so bad. Then she reconsidered, what had that girl at the door say to the flaxen haired girl? Wasn't it something that she could say too? The strong smell of chrysanthemums flooded her nostrils and she head moved back to be tilted upwards to see the bright light that shone overhead. Was that the sun?

Natsuki coughed again, this time with much pain. The blade was still inside and her sister hugging tightly, how she felt it move further into her. What a fitting way to receive love? Or was it simply the feeling of being loved? That this feeling had to be experienced with so much pain, or pleasure perhaps. Natsuki felt those hands move away from her face and she moved along with it in hope to fall deeper; however she was halted but a caress on her neck and her hands moved slowly to hold her sister. This time she knew what she felt, maybe it was the same feeling that her sister felt. She was bleeding badly and it seemed that there was no end to it, this everlasting flow of blood… or so. Time seemed to have stopped, but Natsuki knew it was soon before she saw no more. She brought her head back down and her eyes to the two girls that stood hand in hand at her door way. Her sister that hugged her seemed so transparent for the moment. Then her ears picked up her own hoarse voice from the girl that mirrored her,

'Now you know how great it has been.'

A jolt of pain made its way, and Natsuki grunted when she felt the blade get ripped out of her stomach and collapsed backwards. Had she not seen the sun until now, how lifeless it looked. Then she closed her eyes to erase those dark impassive eyes of hers and felt those hands caress her face again, but she felt a rough edge against her temple. Her sister's voice was so clear this time round, which she knew that the pendulum swung no more. Crimson was seen under her eye lids and the last she felt was a kiss below her lips and there was no more because…

Natsuki felt love.


I stood with a girl that was older than me by a year in a field of chrysanthemums. Her light hair was dancing with the breeze and the remorseful look on the flowers' faces seemed to disappear suddenly. I caught a smile on her face when she turned to head back to the temple, she took the path less taken and I followed her quietly with a stalk of my favourite flower twirling within my grasp. She hummed a melodious tune and her long skirt swayed as she walked, I stayed closed behind her and took in her tune, watching her feet whenever they stepped forward. The sun shone on my back through the leaves and she guided me back to the temple courtyard. At the veranda, she motioned me to sit beside her as she took the flower from my hand. I sat down quietly as I watched her twirl the stalk in her lean fingers, she passed me another smile, she said something that I passed and I looked up to the blue sky and I breathed in deeply. I heard her laughter from beside me as I felt her tuck the flower into my hair, I gave her lopsided grin and I continue to watch the other end of the courtyard. Across the beautifully patterned floor design, I spotted the girl that looked much like me. She was with someone else around the same age. I caught her gaze and she smiled back at me as she lifted the hand of the girl she was standing next to and I caught a flash of gold.

I smiled.

I felt a hand brush my hair out my face, I turned back and caught sight onto the crimson that loved me enough to pain me. She gave me a questioning look and I returned her a toothy grin and shrugged my shoulders,

'Nothing really.'

She moved over to kiss me on the lips, and I held her hand that wound round my neck.

Those that live in solitude do not live in solidarity.

Those that live in solidarity do not live in solitude.

However who said that was limitations?

It was simply as I have told everyone before; because to begin with…

I am simply, irresistibly stubborn.

A/N: This story goes in explaination to my different roomates that have boarded with me in hostel. This is reason why I can live in solitude, because I'm terribly stubborn, but I can also accpet the solidarity when there is no limitations. Tad sorry again if there was any grammar or spelling mistakes, I didn't edit it again due the rush. Pardon that. Well, if there's any questions to be raised then just throw a messsage to my account and I'll try my best to answer them accordingly. It seems that sometimes the reviewers explain the whole thing for me. If anyone want to know what is coming out for the last chapter of ' Photos of only you' please refer to Kinky-Tanuki's review for it pratically answers most of the questions asked and the things that are going to be brought up in the next chapter.

Then again,