The Exception's exception
We were walking up
To strawberry swing
I can't wait 'til the morning
Wouldn't wanna change a thing
-Strawberry Swing, by Coldplay
In the human world, one's presence was largely based on three things: appearance, wealth, and personality. The more beautiful, the more people admired you. The greater one's wealth, the more willing people were ready to kiss the ground you walked upon. The more confident you were the more obvious how you stood out in a sea of people.
People loved beautiful people.
If you had money, beauty, and personality, the masses fawned upon you. Your voice would become a spell and a simple request such as 'can you pass me the sugar please' would have some rich old men running off to their PDAs to purchase a sugar plantation for you. Of course, you'd have to be a woman (unless those rich old men were homosexual).
If you were a part of the lucky few, you could rule the world.
Unfortunately, these people- no, humans, were ultimately stupid. Their supposedly genius levels of IQ were scorned by a group of creatures that wore a human face but had a monster's soul.
In little children's textbooks, they were often taught that humans were on top of the food web of the entire ecosystem that the Earth was precariously balanced on.
They were wrong.
The scientists that made this claim were scoffed at by the above-mentioned group of creatures. They were the ones who stood on top of the ecosystem, fit to be rulers of the universe.
Unfortunately, these creatures, vampires as we have come to call them, wore a human face. As a result, all the contributions to human society they had made were incorrectly credited. For instance, vampires were the ones to first set foot on the moon, not humans. Humans could never survive in outer space even with the ridiculous space-suits they had invited.
But all this trivial nonsense meant nothing to the vampires. They were above the humans, and would never be bothered by such silly things.
Of course, in the vampire society, human things such as wealth and beauty mattered. The third, personality, was brushed aside and replace by something else completely.
In that world, it was blood purity that ranked above all in the three factors that decided one's presence. The purer the blood, the more powerful a vampire one would be. Not just power in terms of economically, but also physically. The power manifested itself within those who were blessed with a good blood lineage and they had powers such as controlling the physical elements, mind reading, and emotional manipulation.
Only purebloods had a plethora of powers, but if you were a Level B, namely a noble (which meant that you had a certain degree of pure vampire blood within you), you had at least one power.
In any case, only the purebloods (Level A) and nobles (Level B) had powers. The regular vampires (Level C) had just the additional benefits that came along with being a vampire like super strength, lightning speed and enhanced senses.
Almost all nobles only had one power, but there was one rare noble vampire that had two powers instead of one.
Rima's extreme importance in the vampire world had already been distinguished before she was born. Her mother, Reina Shirabuki (1) was an extremely beautiful vampire hailing from the Shirabuki line of vampires. Though Reina was not a pureblood, her father was, and that ultimately made her very important. This importance carried on to Rima.
Reina was renowned for her beauty above all. Her beauty was so great that many male vampires had killed each other over who should take Reina out for dinner. Reina was not flattered by these vampires. In fact, they annoyed her. She only had eyes for one other vampire, who was her close childhood friend.
And that would be Rima's father, Kohei Touya.
Kohei was a high ranking noble of the Touya clan. He was mild mannered but spoke with great presence. His philosophy in life was that the mouth was the greatest source of trouble; keep quiet and you would never find yourself in trouble for shooting off your mouth (2). People liked him a lot and female vampires kept pestering him, but he only had room for two women in his heart- Reina and Rima.
With two parents of such great stature, Rima was among the few roses that stood out in the field of daisies (i.e. the other noble vampires). The other roses were vampires such as Takuma Ichijou, Hanabusa Aidou, Ruka Souen. You get the drift- the roses were basically the other members of Kaname Kuran's inner circle at the Night Class of Cross Academy. These 'roses' had somehow banded together and they formed an elite group of vampire youths. Maybe it was true that birds of a feather flocked together.
But even within this group, Rima stood out due to her having two powers. The first was the power over electricity, which itself was already rare among vampires. The second power was intuition. She had a very powerful sixth sense and could figure out things from below the surface. This power was the reason why she always knew where Aidou had hidden his pocky and why she immediately knew Shiki was not himself.
Call it fortune telling if you must, but it was a power that only other two vampires had before in the vampire world. They had both long died, so Rima was the only known vampire with the power of intuition.
One would think that a child like her would be largely targeted by rogue vampires, but with the Shirabuki family backing her, she would be eternally safe from harm.
Rima was an exception in a special world.
In Rima's special world, it was tradition for vampires to celebrate the fifth birthday of each child with a large celebration. For pureblood vampires, they held the party in the company of a select few. It would be a grand but less attended event, for the purebloods were usually afraid that someone would target their precious children. Nevertheless, it was still a much talked about event.
For the regular Level C vampires, a normal, small party would be held and if they were lucky, one or two noble vampires would attend.
But it was different in the case of the nobles. A large event filled with grandeur and lavishness would be held in a large ballroom (mansion) and those belonging to the pinnacle of society would be there. It would be an event of pomp and magnificence.
In Rima's situation, this was even more so.
At her fifth birthday celebration, many rich and important vampires came to attend the ceremony. Rima's parents spared no expense on the décor and the catering. Even the chandeliers were made out of real diamonds rather than the cheap, human extracted Swarovski crystals. The guest-list was extremely exclusive and the security force itself was headed by the Seiren family (3), famous for being bodyguards to the Kuran clan for over twenty generations.
But there was much confusion there. Where was the famous little beauty called Rima that they were all waiting for? Rima's beauty was, like her mother, much talked about.
"Announcing the arrival of the young mistress, Miss Rima Touya," a voice boomed over the sound system.
Immediately, all eyes turned to the grand staircase. Even Hanabusa Aidou stopped arguing with Ruka Souen, both who had turned five two years ago. Aidou's cousin, Akatsuki Kain just sighed at them and watched the petite (even for a five year old) Rima glide gracefully down the stairs.
Everyone was enchanted- no, bewitched by her. Her hair was a colour never seen on a head but more commonly seen at twilight. The golden strands seemed metallic and many were sure that it could glow even without the light. Many of the teenage vampire girls were immediately calling their hairstylists, inquiring if they had a hair dye that colour.
Her eyes were of a blue that was bluer than blue itself. Rima's delicate features were enhanced by the blue dress she wore, but no one took notice of what she wore. Everyone was too busy taking in her beauty. Of course, except the children, such as Senri Shiki, who didn't even know Rima had come down. The dear boy, who like Rima, was special, had fallen asleep in his chair. He was only jolted awake by his mother, giving him a stern glare. That did nothing to divert his attention, and he began staring at the patterns on the marble floor. He didn't even register Rima's presence, the dense kid that he was.
"Come here, Rima," Reina whispered, carrying her daughter to the middle of the room. The more important vampires followed and were at the centre of the circle that formed around Kohei, Reina, and Rima.
"Thank you all for coming here to celebrate my daughter's birthday," Kohei said to the crowd. "It is my pleasure to introduce to everyone here my daughter, Rima."
Applause followed his short statement. Then, Reina looked up to the crowd and spoke.
"As per vampire tradition, we will be placing a number of items in a circle with Rima in the middle. She will choose her birthday present from one of the items," (4) Reina said, while passing Rima to her husband. She made a motion with her hand and a group of servants came forward carrying all sorts of things. "Of course, as you know, Rima holds the power of intuition, as well as electricity. Therefore, we consulted the shrine-lady about what this traditional ceremony for children would mean for one as special as Rima."
"At first, we were wondering if we should follow through with tradition, since this situation would be rather delicate," Kohei continued, placing Rima in the centre of all the objects that were laid out by the servants. "But, considering that the power is intuition, we think that whatever she chooses will give us a glimpse of the person she will be in the future." (5) "All the more the importance of this ceremony."
"So let the ceremony begin."
The couple moved back and stood next to Reina's friend, Serena Shiki and her son, Senri Shiki. Serena gave Reina one nod, indicating that she approved of what her friend was doing. In response, Reina smiled at her and held on to Kohei's hand.
Little Rima sat in the middle of the items uninterestedly. One glance at them and she mentally sighed. Almost half the items were too… fancy for her liking. Rima already knew from intuition that this was going to happen.
The crowd watched with bated breath. Many wondered what she was going to pick- the handcrafted fountain pen? The ballet shoes?
Rima looked around at the crowd. They stared at her keenly, like she was an artefact from Atlantis. They were getting restless, and Rima sighed mentally, knowing that she'd have to pick her present soon.
She gave the crowd another once over and saw a head of reddish brown hair. Her blue eyes connected with his silver ones and the two of them stayed that way. Who was that little…doll, Senri wondered. Not to mention that he couldn't stop looking into her eyes!
Then finally, Rima decided what she wanted for her birthday.
To everyone's surprise, she lifted her slim hand and pointed to the boy with silver eyes and chestnut hair.
"I want him for my birthday," she declared.
(Three hours later)
"Well, that was certainly an interesting party," Kohei murmured, sinking into the soft cushy armchair in the Touya living room.
"Definitely," Reina agreed, seating herself next to him. "I'm exhausted, but we still have to discuss the matter of Rima's strange choice of…present. We're very sorry for all this, Serena," she apologized.
Serena smiled. "Don't be," she reassured Reina. "I'm just so confused now. What does all this mean? What are we going to do?"
"Well for one, those two haven't stopped looking into each other's eyes since Rima declared your son as her present," Kohei chuckled, watching the two children seated together, holding hands. It was like some sort of bond had formed between them, even without taking each other's blood.
"They look like…" Serena struggled with the words.
"Like mates." Reina finished.
Kohei looked at the two women. "You think we should let them be? After all, this could very well mean that Rima and Senri here will become mates in the future. Rima's intuition has never been wrong."
"You mean like the time she came over to me and said 'Papa will be drunk. Wait and see' and you came home two hours dead drunk." Reina muttered.
Serena intervened smoothly before the couple started their teasing match. "The point is, if Rima's intuition is so accurate, then the two…"
"This is your decision, Serena." Kohei said firmly. "Little Senri got involved due to Rima. We'll let you decide."
Serena smiled. "But this involves your daughter too."
Then the adults started their childish bickering about who should make the decisions. Clearly, none of them wanted to take responsibility. They didn't even notice that Rima was now sitting on Senri's lap, his arms hugging her protectively.
Senri sighed. This is so stupid, he thought, looking at Rima.
I know. Really! She frowned. Sometimes I wonder who the adult around here is.
Senri gave another bored sigh and spoke to the silly adults.
The three stopped in their nonsense, staring at the normally quiet Senri who never spoke unless spoken to.
"Yes dear?" Serena asked.
Senri looked at the three of them seriously.
"I want her too."
(Ten years later)
A field of roses spread out amongst the other flowers in the field. They stood out, tall, blocking out the light the other unnamed flowers yearned for.
It was like the roses were vampires that sucked not blood but the sunlight.
But it was night time, and the roses hardly added on to the prevailing darkness that surround all.
The scene was the perfect setting for a school trip.
And so, the slightly mentally challenged Kaien Cross decided that he should send the Night Class there for an all-expenses paid school trip for a week. He had visited the place often as a youth and after finding the place just as it was from many years ago, he wanted the young vampires to see what he had seen as a child.
After all, the whole school needed a break after the incidents involving Rido Kuran. Heck, he felt that he deserved a break too! Even with his workaholic behaviour, he was dead tired after altering the memories of everyone in the Day Class, save for Yori, Yuuki and Zero. Well, he thought, at least the matter with the senior council and hunter's association had been settled diplomatically.
He made plans for a school trip, and for some reason, had decided to come along with the Night Class rather than going to the beach with the Day Class.
But the trip was far from relaxing for Rima.
Deep inside, she knew what was going on. Ever since Senri had finished with his family matters, he had come back to the academy even more withdrawn than before. While he maintained his daily routines such as staying with Rima at all times, he wouldn't look at her. Like somehow he was afraid that Rima would see one of his eyes turning a blood red that didn't symbolise blood thirst.
"You ok, Rima?" Kain asked her quietly.
She glanced at the tall boy who sat next to her on one of steps that led to the enormous mansion that the Night class was currently staying at for the trip. Everyone else was off relaxing, enjoying the peace that they had fought so hard for.
Rima nodded, and Kain gave her a thumb's up. The orange haired boy joined Rima in her pointless staring, watching Aidou being chased across the flower field because he wet her dress.
"You're jealous." Rima said to Kain.
Rima turned to face him. "She's just waiting for you to ask her out. Go on, go do it now," she encouraged. "You guys deserve each other."
Kain stood up and smiled at her. "Thanks."
And as he left her, Rima puffed her cheeks and yelled to the night sky.
"Shiki, you idiot!"
(At the same time)
Why was he avoiding her?
Senri didn't know.
Why are you being so mean to the girl who loves you? And she's the only one you love too… what a shame.
Because you are annoying! He shot back to the creepy voice in his head that thankfully wasn't Rido.
Yes yes. I'm annoying, I agree. That's really nice of you, Senri. Ooh, you're so handsome, Shiki! You've got such a nice body! Doesn't it bother you that Rima's the only female that hasn't said anything like that to you? Does it hurt? Aww. I wonder if she really loves you. Maybe I can ask her out on a da-
Shut up! Senri growled to the voice. Shut up! I don't need to hear those words to know that she loves me! He retorted sarcastically.
So why are you here, sitting in the river, instead of spending every minute with her? You're taking this trip as an excuse to distance yourself from her, aren't you?
Senri didn't bother to reply the annoying voice in his head (and it sounded so much like his own. How disgusting). In truth, he didn't know why he was in the river, or why he was avoiding Rima.
"Help me!" he yelled into the dark night. But he was sure no one would come.
(An hour later)
"Hey, has anybody seen Shiki around?" Ichijou asked the members of class who were mostly gathered in the field. The young vampires looked up at Ichijou, whose green eyes were slowing regaining its former sparkle.
"Nope. We haven't seen him in almost three hours," one of the newer members whose name Ichijou did not know replied.
"Yeah, I last saw him over at the large dead oak tree."
"Ah…" Ichijou frowned. "I just bought a new flavour of Pocky from the nearby store. You can only get it in this region! Look everyone!" he fished out a rectangular box from his back pocket. "Strawberry-durian flavoured Pocky! (6) I'm not sure what it is though, but I wanted to share some with him and it seems like he's disappeared. I'm getting worried."
Rima stood up from the steps and walked down towards Ichijou. "Takuma," she said shortly.
"Hey there!" he smiled. "Have you seen Shiki? We're all getting pretty anxious."
She ignored him and pointed to one of the vampires on the floor with his bag. "You there!" she said. "Give me the towel in your bag."
"Huh? Oh, sure. Hang on," he dug through his bag and gave Rima the blue towel. "How did she know I had a towel in my bag?" he whispered to his companion.
She shrugged and said simply, "Intuition."
Rima turned to Ichijou. "Don't worry so much about Shiki. I know where he is."
"You want me to come along? I mean, this isn't like Shiki at all." Ichijou said, still not assured by her words.
"Don't worry," Rima repeated. "He's fine. Thanks for the Pocky."
And Rima went off to find Shiki.
"Good luck!" the class called out to her. Ichijou smiled to himself before he realized that Rima had stolen his strawberry-durian Pocky.
"Huh? My Pocky! It was the last box on sale!!!" he cried out.
(Five minutes later)
The chestnut haired boy was still in the water, this time though, he was facing the moon, his back against the river's bottom.
"I'm sorry, Rima," he whispered to the night.
"What for?" a musical voice that could only belong to Rima said sharply.
In his shock, Senri submerged himself in the water by accident. When he resurfaced, he found himself staring into eyes that were bluer than the sky. She was squatting next to him at the riverbank, watching him as though he was a second moon of the Earth.
Rima sighed and threw the towel over his head.
"Dry up. You'll get sick."
Obediently, Senri dried as much of himself as he could and climbed out of the river, sitting next to Rima.
The two sat in silence like they normally did. They never found a need to break that silence but tonight, Rima chose to do something different.
"Senri, you idiot," she whispered, lying down on the ground with her head in his lap.
They rarely showed any form of affection for each other. Senri knew that they didn't need to say how they felt about each other; they knew from the heart.
"You'll get wet," he muttered.
But the boy had just been through too much in his very long life, so much that he wished to be a human being just so as to have a shorter life.
"You forgot, didn't you," Rima frowned. "I knew that this would happen one day."
Senri looked down into her eyes. "What did I forget?"
She avoided the question. "You can't run away forever. Plus, you don't even know why you're avoiding me."
Upon receiving no reply, she continued. "You think I can find better someone than yourself, don't you?"
Senri flinched at her accusing tone, but he knew that she had hit the nail on the head. She was right. He'd been too scared of hurting anyone ever since the incident with his father and took what he deemed the best approach- avoid everyone.
"Senri…" Rima sighed. "Don't you remember?"
He shook his head.
"Then you really did forget that party?" she lifted her hand to his cheek. "You're my exception. I let you see all these emotions that others hardly get to see. I chose you as my birthday present. And you chose me after that. So don't feel bad."
Senri looked at her with an expression of guilt. "But what about the time when you were seven and got into the hospital after falling down the stairs? That was my fault! And you just recovered from your injuries and-" (7)
"Stop it," Rima interrupted. "You've already said sorry once." (8)
And she sat up to plant a kiss on his cheek.
"So that's why," she whispered. "You should never, ever worry about hurting me. You can't hurt me at all. And always remember-"
"-That I chose you," they whispered together.
So after a long time, they walked back to the mansion hand in hand. Because they had chosen each other, they would stick together forever.
They always kept their promises to each other.
"Hey Rima? What's that in your hand?" Senri asked.
She smiled, opening the box. "A new flavour of Pocky, courtesy of Takuma. Want some?"
Senri took three sticks from her and chomped on the snack. Almost immediately, he spat out the Strawberry-durian flavoured Pocky.
"Ichijou has strange taste," he muttered, and they laughed while walking back to the peaceful life they knew they would get.
Rima's intuition told her so.
(1). I randomly decided to make Rima's mother part of the Shirabuki family. It was on an impulse, so…
(2). That's one of my own little philosophies =) I just thought I'd share it with everyone. Oh! And I got Rima's otou-san's name from a 19 year old Japanese Olympian, Kohei Uchimura! He got a silver medal in the Beijing Olympics for the All-round Gymnastics event. Did anyone see his performance? I thought it was really good! Plus, he's very cute. OKAY will stop fangirling and act like an author.
(3). Another one of my randomness. I was thinking about Seiren for a while and then the idea of her family being bodyguards came to me. Seems appropriate, ne?
(4). This is apparently an actual practice that still exists till today in Chinese tradition. I edited it a little for the vampires ^^. Traditionally, when kids reach their first birthday, their parents will put them in a circle of random items to see the kind of personality/ profession their child will turn out to have. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Anyway, I picked a pen when I had to do that ceremony! Cool eh?
(5). Read note number 4.
(6). Durian is a tropical fruit. It's really an acquired taste; some people love it, others aren't too crazy about it. Go google it or something. Oh, and it is not a real flavour of Pocky (thank god). I made it up randomly.
(7). A tribute to Twilight, when Bella 'trips and falls down the stairs while visiting Edward'.
(8). A reference to chapter 41 of the manga. To those who haven't read it yet, I'm sorry for the spoilers!
A/N: Does anyone remember my previous Shiki-Rima story, Kissing Booth? I was thinking, what if Senri was the one that felt guilty this time? And so, this story happened. I hope you enjoyed it and REVIEW, cause seriously, they can make a person very happy and I need some happiness right now. And I need a hug =( and some Starbucks.
Oh and the lyrics above having NOTHING to do with the story, except that I felt that they were really appropriate. Go listen to that song!
See you all next time!