"Shut up," he hissed at me, running his hand through his sweaty navy locks. I closed my mouth obediently, growing more and more wary as time progressed.
We were crouched behind a large crate, his arm around my back, almost to keep me close to the ground, and hidden from the men in the warehouse. Why were we here again? I struggled to think back, fear erasing all thought.
Ikuto had told us about an Easter meeting, a group of men meeting in a warehouse to discuss the thought of getting rid of the Guardians. Ikuto had told us he could only take one of us, and it would have to be me. Hinamori Amu, perhaps the least brave of them all.
Though my life, or at least a pain-free existence, was at stake, I could not help but feel a slight happiness. Here I was, alone with Ikuto, crouched behind a crate. And he had his ARM around me!! What girl would kill to be with him?
Ikuto glanced down at me. "Why are you smirking?"
I hurriedly wiped off my expression. "Err… just…"
"Well stop. We're in hiding, in case you've forgotten."
The sharp words cut like a knife. What was going on? Why was he being so… so mean? He had never been like this before… I decided it was stress. We WERE hiding from his stepfather's own men. The men were suddenly talking. I listened in.
"So first we get HOTORI TADASE. Right? Then YUIKI YAYA. And MASHIRO RIMA. OKABE KAIRAN. And FUJISAKI NAGEHIKO."
Odd… Why are they talking so loudly? Shouldn't they be, I don't know, more quiet? Wasn't this private?
Ikuto grabbed my shoulder, roughly. A cold chill spread through me. Something… something was floating far away. Something I know I should understand. It was like a thick fog was spread over my eyes. Something… something I KNEW I should know, and fast, was there. Something that described what was going on right now.
Ikuto stood up.
He pulled me with him.
"I have her." He said, loudly, and shoved me forward into the arms of the waiting men.
Ugh…the moan brought pain to my aching head. I slowly sat up, I was lying on some cold surface.
My eyes blearily adjusted to my surroundings. I was in a cold stone cell, and I was completely and utterly alone. What…. What happened?
Cruel hands, quick kicks and Ikuto… my Ikuto smirking at my pain in the sidelines, while a man in the shadows laid his hand on his shoulder.
I could kick myself. How could I have been so trusting? Ikuto walked me right into a terrible trap… and I held his hand! I was happy!
I cursed. How could I have trusted him?
I had done it. Exactly as he asked. I had obliged to my stepfather, and now I was truly accepted at Easter.
But was it worth it? Endlessly I saw Amu- my Strawberry- 's face in pain, twisted as they hurt her, which they promised they wouldn't. Worst of all were her eyes. Her eyes. The ones that had driven a pure shock of hurt and sadness right into my own.
This was easier, he had told me. This is the best way to ensure your dear Amu's safety.
"You cannot call her that," I had said, through gritted teeth and he laughed.
"If you truly love her, you must let me keep her away from the Guardians. They are lost without her. They, and she, cannot get hurt. And, you will gain the respect you deserve here at Easter."
And I had done it. I had done as he asked. I had taken her from her friends and family and thrown her in the Easter cell… and… and…
"Goddamnit." I hissed and leapt to Easter.
Now, you Tadamu readers are probably befuzzled. Why wasn't Tadase coming to the rescue? Isn't it the perfect image to think of a blonde prince rescuing the princess?
Well, you see, dear reader, in this story the bad guy is not a complete disgrace. And he had gone to the glass gardens and told the Guardians that Amu had told him to tell them that she had gone for a little trip with her parents. And though Tadase had been suspicious, Kuukai assured him that Ikuto had no reason to lie. And the Guardians were, at this moment, drinking tea and talking about how much they missed Amu's chatter and laugh.
"Truly," Okabe Kairan, a new and presumably temporary Guardian said, and sighed. She looked at Souma Kuukai, who was trying to balance a cookie on his nose. She twisted her lips.
"I miss Hinamori-San, too," Hotori Tadase mused, and glanced at the table. "Are you sure-"
"YES, Tadase. I am SURE Ikuto wasn't lying." Kuukai stopped with the cookie and was now trying to smile. He was only being himself, optimistic, and pushed all doubts in his own mind now aside.
Mashiro Rima flicked her blonde hair back. "I think we should double check," she said, in her soft, polite voice.
Kuukai sighed. "If you're sure… perhaps it's best to check." He stood up and went behind Kairan's chair. "Let's go, you guys. If she is in trouble, we might as well save her."
And the Guardians walked to the glass door.
To find it locked.
The Guardians, and perhaps Amu's only saviour, were locked in the Garden. With only each other. And a plateful of cookies with Kuukai's nose germs on them.
"Damnit." Tadase said, and a crash sounded above them.