It's been far too long since I updated this story—and my other stories—but I'm glad I am still able to update this. All of you probably want to throw rocks and spears at me for not updating this in such a long time… I'm sorry. I've probably said this every chapter so far and I hate it. I hate that I can't update enough but I just don't have the time. Please understand that my life does not revolve around fanfiction and that I'm close to graduating high school and entering college. It's very stressful for me.

Thank you to all those who reviewed, favorited, and put this story on their alerts within the ten months of my hiatus. I really do appreciate them. I was actually surprised (but happy) that I still got a couple reviews just a month ago.

After these months, I went back to reread the latest chapter and I just…hated how some parts were written. It's lacking so much and I want to just delete the whole thing and rewrite it… I wish I had more time ;_;

Well, I hope you enjoy this chapter as well! It's not a happy chapter though…sorry guys…


Just A Little Too Late

Amu played with the bottle cap, twiddling it here and there around her palm. Her charas were eating their lunches, chatting excitedly about Miki's newest drawing. Amu looked at them and gave them a faint smile. They were so carefree; she wished she could be that way. It had been exactly six days since she found out about her family. It still pained her to remember the unfortunate fate they suffered due to her incompetence and dawdling.

She glanced up at the sky, perceiving the wisps of clouds streaming across the vast sea of sky blue with giant puffs of cotton candy-like clouds dotting the canopy. She observed these puffs, noticing the shape of a bird among them. She smiled. Another almost looked like a cute little bow tie.

Amu took a bite out of her sandwich, chewing on its contents before her eyes wandered over to another blob of cloud that caused her imagination to configure a cat-like cloud. She felt a familiar pang in her heart as she shifted her gaze downward, focusing on the city that lay before her instead. It had been a few days since she last saw Ikuto and she was growing more worried by the day. They practically saw each other every single day but all of a sudden, he stopped showing up at her balcony door. She thought she could see him at school but he was absent for these past few days.

Ikuto had been her pillar of support during her darkest hour. He rarely left her side, offering encouragement and comfort and even going so far as to making some of her meals. But most of all, she was glad that Ikuto was by her side.

But now, he had simply vanished.

"Ikuto…" Amu muttered in a dejected tone, too low for her charas to hear. She took another bite of her sandwich and remembered the countless times Ikuto used to pressure her into giving him her lunch. In the end, she gave in, albeit reluctantly. Now at lunchtime, she was eating her sandwich alone, just like she had wanted to in the beginning. Unknowingly, she had grown used to sharing her lunches with him (and felt obligated when they became an item) that her annoyance died out.

She munched on another part of the sandwich and frowned.

It just didn't taste good eating alone.

With her arms resting atop the railing, she buried her head and sighed.

I miss you, Ikuto.


Ikuto wandered aimlessly in the darkness, unable to pinpoint a certain destination. He couldn't stop the creeping feeling crawling up and down his spine, sending chills throughout his body. He had this uncanny feeling that he had been here before.

"I'm going to kill you!"

The scream echoed all around him, causing him to suddenly halt in his tracks. He recognized that voice anywhere.

"Amu?" he shouted. "Where are you?"

He began running to no particular place in mind as long as he manages to get closer to where Amu was. Several seconds later, a high-pitched scream pierced the silence and his heart.

"Amu!" Panicking, he charged in the direction of the voice and saw the speck of light. He sped up, racing for that spot. When he got closer, he noticed a figure lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Once he got closer, he was able to clearly identify the injured person on the floor.


She was sprawled on the ground with a gaping wound on her stomach. Her blood pooled beneath her as she lay there, lifeless and broken. Ikuto's knees buckled as he shakily grasped her deathly pale face with his hands. Her eyes gazed up at him but she wasn't really looking at him; her eyes were glazed over and it was obvious to him already.

She was dead.

"Amu," he whispered.

A cackle sounded behind him, making Ikuto whirl around. When he saw the man before him, he went absolutely livid.

Kazuomi roared in laughter with his hands behind his back. To his right, he said to the other figure, "I knew you couldn't break free. She was foolish for trying to save you."

Ikuto's blood boiled as he leapt back on his feet. He couldn't make out the figure beside Kazuomi; he was too dark and was shrouded by a black cloak. But that didn't matter. What did matter was Kazuomi—he'll regret killing Amu. But before Ikuto could make a move, the three disappeared and he was left in the darkness once again.

Then he heard a faint whisper.


Startled, he turned toward the direction of the sound but no one was there. His name was called again but in a different direction.


Soon, her voice became louder and his name was being called more frequently. His name was being called from all around and he began turning in circles frantically.

"Amu, where are you?" he shouted desperately.

Then he heard a quiet whisper among the shouts.

"Ikuto, I'm sorry."

Ikuto woke up with a jolt, his back drenched with sweat. He brushed back his hair before sitting up, trying to piece together what he saw in his dream. Flashes of Amu's lifeless body left Ikuto worried and unnerved. Was the dream possibly a premonition?

No, she can't die.

But the way Kazuomi, that fucking bastard, laughed at Amu's fallen form perturbed the nervous blue-haired teenager. It almost seemed as if he knew all along that she would be killed. But who was the other person? But in any case, he really hoped that his dream was just a dream and nothing more.

The door to his room creaked open.

Ikuto glanced up and his eyes widened.

Speak of the devil.

"Today's the day, Ikuto," Kazuomi announced, laughing darkly.

Ikuto shivered. His laugh mirrored the heartless laughter in his dream.


Amu lay in her bed, curled up in a fetal position under the covers. Her forehead glistened with sweat and her hands were shaking violently. She just had a horrific nightmare about her family. They were all dead on the floor of the cellar underneath Easter and the worst part of it was the blood. There was blood everywhere. But the detail that stunned her most was that her hands were caked in their blood.

"It's all your fault."

As if her night couldn't get any worse, it was thundering outside and the pitter-patter of the downpour didn't calm Amu one bit.


Shocked, Amu leapt up from her bed. "Ami?"

The faint giggling she heard next definitely belonged to her younger sister. As if she was possessed, she exited her room to find the source of that sound. When she came in front of Ami's room, she threw open the door, hoping from the bottom of her heart that maybe her nightmare was simply just a nightmare—a dream, not reality.

But of course, it wasn't just a dream.

Ami wasn't here anymore.

Dejected, Amu dragged her way to Ami's bed, grabbing a hold of the teddy bear she gave Ami. She embraced the bear tightly, imagining that it was Ami in its place.

"Ami," she sobbed, "I miss you. So, so much. Come back to me…"

A loud clap of thunder sounded the room, making Amu let out a scream. She collapsed to the ground, clutching her ears in a feeble attempt to block out the frightening sounds of lighting. With tears in her eyes, she helplessly gazed at the stuffed animal.

"Help me," she whimpered. Ami, Dad, Mom… "Please come back."

Another crack of thunder echoed through the room, causing Amu to yelp. At that moment, images of her boyfriend popped up in her thoughts. Whenever it was there was a thunderstorm, Ikuto would, without fail, rush to Amu's side and comfort her until the storm stopped.

Amu wrapped her arms around herself and huddled against Ami's bed. Tears streaming down her face, she whispered Ikuto's name over and over again, praying that he would magically materialize in front of her like he always did. He would always hug her when they were in bed, humming calming tunes in her ear. But now, he wasn't there to offer comfort to his girlfriend.

An hour passed and the storm thankfully ended, much to Amu's relief. She trudged back to her room and to her dismay, the balcony door was slightly ajar. Hopeful, she dashed to the balcony, threw the door open, and peered outside.

"Ikuto?" she said, but no answer came.

Even though she knew it was stupid of her to keep looking, she ended up searching her whole house, in the hopes that Ikuto had indeed visited her. Ten minutes later with no companion by her side, Amu collapsed in her bed, exhausted for the night.

Tears dripped down her face as she refrained from screaming out loud in anguish. Throughout the night, she was hopelessly waiting for something that she knew wouldn't happen.

He really didn't come.

"Ikuto," she sobbed, "where are you?"


Amu wandered the hallways with such a somber expression upon her face. It had been a week since she last saw Ikuto and she was worried sick about her boyfriend. She initially wasn't going to attend school because she saw no point but she was still holding on to the hope that he would suddenly appear in school one day. (Of course, logically, she knew that wouldn't happen; Ikuto had quite a record of absences himself because he always skipped school when he felt like it.)


She whipped her head around. Ikuto?

When she perceived who it was, her hopes were shot down. Of course it wasn't Ikuto. "What do you want, Hotori?"

"Come with me."

Without missing a beat, Tadase snatched Amu's hand from her side, firmly guiding her to the rooftop. Despite Amu's rough protests, he held on.

"What are you doing?" she demanded. He didn't answer. She'd never seen this side of Tadase before; he was so…serious and cold.

When they finally arrived at the rooftop, Amu yanked her hand away from his grasp. "What was that for?!"

"When was the last time you saw Ikuto?"

Well, this certainly wasn't what she was expecting. Her eyes narrowed. "Why does it matter to you?"

"Just tell me, Amu-chan."

She crossed her arms at her chest. "I refuse. When I saw him last is certainly not any of your business. And I don't even know why you're asking about him in the first place. You hate him. So why?"

Tadase looked her straight in the eye, making Amu also cower back from his intense gaze. "Because I saw him two nights ago."

Her arms loosened and fell to her side as she stared at him, stunned. "What did you just say?"

"Amu-chan, you must have noticed, too. Ikuto's been missing for a week now. This isn't totally abnormal but when I saw him two nights ago and he still hadn't returned to school afterwards, I began to wonder."

He saw Ikuto two nights ago?

Without thinking, she lunged at Tadase, gripping his shoulders, much to his shock. She practically shouted, "Where is he? Where did you find Ikuto?!"

With wide eyes, Tadase glanced at the girl in front of him. Amu was the type of person who always kept her cool, no matter what the circumstance. If Tadase were to describe her in one word, it would be elegant. However, the girl in front of him was someone entirely different and far from elegant. Her hair was disheveled, her face was pale, and her eyes screamed such desperation that it tugged at his heart. She had completely broken out of her composed façade.

Lightly placing his palms atop her shaking hands, he said, "Calm down, Amu-chan."

"How can I be calm when I don't know where he is?" she whispered, mostly to herself.

Tadase felt as if daggers were speared into his heart and pulled out. For a long time, he had liked Amu-chan. It was painful to see the two become a couple but he honestly thought he still stood a chance. He believed Amu hadn't been completely ensnared in Ikuto's heart; he believed that she would be his if he kept trying.

But seeing this frazzled and panicked Amu disheartened him. It seemed like Ikuto had completely captured her heart.

Taking a deep breath and ignoring the pain in his heart, Tadase asked again, "Amu-chan, when was the last time you saw him?"

"A week ago," she meekly responded. "Please tell me where you saw him."

"It was only for a moment. But I sensed X-eggs so I tracked down their presence. I came upon the stage-like structure at the park. There must've been about a hundred X-eggs, just floating in place around this dark figure. When he turned around, it was Ikuto."

Amu's hands, which were previously clutching Tadase's shoulders, fell limply at her side. "What?"

"But he was…different. He didn't transform with Yoru this time. His character transformation was much more sinister and unnerving. He was like a completely different person."

"I…don't get it. Ikuto doesn't have another chara and I don't think he's ever done anything like this before."

"Amu-chan, I'm almost positive about this—Ikuto is being controlled against his will."


He nodded in affirmation. "It was as if he was possessed. Before I could say or do anything, he disappeared."

Amu didn't know what to do. One part of her wanted to just fall to the ground in relief because she thought he had gotten into an accident. Another part of her wanted to just leave the school and rush to find Ikuto but she had no clue where he was now.

The sound of the bell reached their ears. Tadase turned around and began walking away. "If I see him again, I'll be sure to tell you. I'll be going to class now, Amu-chan."

When he reached the doorknob, Amu yelled out, "Wait!"

He faced her, raising an eyebrow. "What is it?"

She nervously twiddled her fingers. "Um, that is, thank you. For telling me all this. I really appreciate it. Thank you, Tadase-kun." She sent him a shy smile.

Upon seeing her angelic expression, he blushed. This was much more like the Amu-chan he fell in love with. But after seeing her dazzling smile, he knew that Ikuto should be credited for bringing her carefree personality back. Part of the reason she was smiling at him was because of another man. As much as it pained to say it, he lost to Ikuto.

"I'll see you later, Amu-chan." Tadase gave her his usual charming smile to mask the wrenching defeat he was currently experiencing.


Amu was presently sitting on the ground of her bedroom, thinking back to what Tadase said. If Ikuto was truly possessed and controlled, that would explain his sudden absence. He wouldn't leave without saying anything to her. But another thing that bothered her was the X-eggs. It was no surprise that he had captured X-eggs but it wasn't his main job. He was always supporting Utau and her. They were the ones who focused on capturing X-eggs.

Amu furrowed her brows. That's right, Utau and I usually capture X-eggs. Why is Ikuto suddenly doing that now?

Her charas nervously watched their master analyze the situation silently. They were worried about Ikuto too but more importantly, they were concerned about Amu's well-being.

Amu sighed, resting her cheek upon her palm, which was perched upon her thigh. Her eyes suddenly caught sight of the cell phone tossed aside on the floor a few feet away from her. She narrowed her eyes at it. It had been sitting there for days because she had no need for it.

But that's not true. The main reason for having her cell phone was because it was the only way of contacting Kazuomi.

She gasped and grabbed the cell phone from its spot.

"What is it, Amu-chan?" they questioned.

"Ran, Miki, did I receive any calls this past week?"

They shook their heads. Ran said, "I don't think so. Check the call records in the phone to be sure."

Nodding, Amu scrolled through calls. As they surmised, she had 0 missed calls. The last time she used the phone was to call Kazuomi and to tell him that they were through. She wouldn't help him ever again. She hadn't really expected him to listen. After a couple days, she pushed the call to the back of her brain. But Kazuomi was not one to back down. He definitely would've taken some kind of action.

"What should we do, Amu-chan?"

"I'm not sure, Ran. It's not like I can just storm into Easter. That won't do any good."

"But I feel as if this is directly related to Ikuto," Miki said, frowning. "He disappeared around the next day you made the phone call."

"You're right, he did." Amu couldn't shake the eerie chill crawling up her back. She suddenly thought of an awful but possible scenario. "You don't think that bastard forced Ikuto to take my job, do you?"

"That would be horrible!" Ran exclaimed.

"But judging on Kazuomi's character, it would definitely be something he would do."

Ran growled. "First Amu-chan, and now Ikuto-kun. He is such a cruel person! Oh, I wish I can just kick him in the head and knock some sense in him!"

"You'll probably just go right through him since we're invisible to him," Miki snickered.


Amu laughed and patted her charas' heads. "Thank you, Miki, Ran. I appreciate your support. As of now, we don't have much concrete evidence. Shall we investigate around Easter later tonight or tomorrow?"

They nodded, happy that Amu laughed.

"Okay, then, let's get some dinner. It's getting a bit late."

Her charas cheered.

Amu got up but not before glancing at her cell one last time. Ikuto, I hope you're okay.

Not a few seconds later, Amu and her charas felt a huge wave of darkness wash through their bodies. They swiveled around and faced each other.

"Did you feel that?"

Her charas nodded. Miki said, "It's the presence of X-eggs."

"Only there are a lot of them!" Ran said, shocked.

"Do you think Ikuto did this?"

"I really hope not, Miki. But we should check this out. Ran, chara-change!"

The familiar accessories appeared on Amu's body. She quickly rushed out of her house, heading toward the source of the X-egg energy. The only thing in her mind right now was Ikuto. She really hoped he wasn't the one behind this.

When she neared the source, she was already in the park. She was nearing the same place Tadase found Ikuto two nights ago. When she focused her vision, she could discern whole shroud of subdued X-eggs and a dark, tall figure. She stopped right in front of the man with wide eyes.

"Ikuto?" she hesitantly called out, afraid to find out if the man was indeed Ikuto.

The man paused and slowly turned on his heel. His dark cloak billowed in the wind, adding to his ominous and mysterious aura. His slender hands, which held a dangerously sharp scythe, were covered by white gloves that contrasted his entire outfit. A long, thin chain crossed his torso. His black combat boots completed that dark look of his. When Amu saw his face, she had to force herself to stand or else she would've crumpled into a heap on the floor, crying.

It really was Ikuto, but not at the same time. His once loving eyes with deep amethyst pools were now hollow, dark orbs that pierced her entire soul with their frigidity. He had become so much paler that it scared her. His gaze was stone hard, unlike the usual gentle face he showed her.

"Ikuto," she called. Slowly, she wobbled her way over to him. "That's you, isn't it?"

He didn't respond.

He would've said, "Of course it's me, you idiot," and rolled his eyes.

She began climbing the first step to the stage, ignoring the horde of X-eggs. "Please talk, Ikuto." Another step. "This isn't like you. What happened? Why did you leave without saying anything?" Her voice trembled as she continued her way up the stairs.

Ikuto's grip on his weapon tightened, as he slightly moved into a fighting stance.

Her charas looked on, nervously watching Ikuto's hostile look.

When she had reached the final step, she cried out, "Ikuto, don't you remember me? It's me, Amu." Tears streaming down her face, she tearfully ended, "Your girlfriend."

He moved a step closer to her, crouching down.

Images of the times she spent with him rushed through her mind. His warm smile and teasing remarks sent pangs of disbelief to her chest.

This can't be Ikuto.

She sobbed and yelled, "Ikuto, please wake up!"

He charged toward her, raising his weapon in one smooth motion. Her charas yelled their master's name as Amu's eyes widened. Before she had time to react, she was already whisked away, safe from Ikuto's lethal attack. She felt someone's firm chest against her back. Hot breath fanned her ear as her rescuer sighed in relief.

"Thank goodness I made it. Are you okay, Amu-chan?"

When the two landed on the ground, Amu turned around and gasped. "Tadase-kun, why are you here?"

Tadase, already transformed, explained, "I sensed the X-eggs and rushed over here. Then I saw Ikuto about to attack you. Thankfully, I wasn't too late."

"Thank you for saving me," she said, looking away with a faint blush upon her cheeks. "Ran, Miki, are you two okay?"

"Of course we're okay! What about you, Amu-chan? You didn't get hurt, did you?! I can't believe Ikuto-kun would do something like that! I mean, what's gotten into him?!" Ran vented, angry that her boyfriend would do something like this. Possessed or not, it was still Amu that he almost hurt.

Amu smiled. She knew her chara was trying to cheer her up but what she said held some truth to it. Ikuto would never hurt Amu.

She looked over at Ikuto, who was already positioned in a battle stance, as if he was beckoning them to attack him. She wiped her tears away and clenched her fists.

Facing Miki, Amu said, "Let's transform, Miki."

After they transformed, Amu's usual enormous paintbrush appeared in her hands. Taking a deep breath, Amu closed her eyes. It pained her to even think about using violence against Ikuto but if it'll save him, then she'll do it.

She opened her eyes, a new determination blazing in her eyes.

Ikuto, just wait. You'll be back to normal real soon.

"Tadase-kun," she said, turning toward him, "support me, please." And she charged toward Ikuto.

Off to the side, Ran, who was previously watching her master apprehensively, felt something warm wash through her soul. She clamped her hand over her heart and faced the direction of Amu's house. Bewildered, she whispered, "Su?"

Twirling her weapon in her hand, Amu planted herself firmly on the ground and shouted, "Sapphire Canvas!"

A tsunami of different shades of blue watercolor drenched Ikuto, which momentarily immobilized his actions. Shaking off the attack, he gripped his weapon and faced Amu.

"Holy Crown!"

A beam of light darted toward Ikuto from behind. He quickly leapt into the air, barely avoiding the oncoming attack. He spun around, already preparing his next attack. The blade of the scythe glowed before numerous dark magic blades materialized and were propelled from the weapon. Like boomerangs, the blades circled around Tadase before they stopped and darted toward him simultaneously.

Tadase used his Golden Staff to project a golden barrier around him before the attacks made an impact. The force of the blades, however, was enough to bring Tadase to his knees.

"What power," Tadase said incredulously, before regaining his stance.

"Tadase-kun, behind you!"

Alarmed, Tadase swung around, his scepter already in front of him. One of the blades from Ikuto's attack must've strayed from the pack but now it was back to targeting Tadase. The blade collided with his scepter and the impact of the attack sent Tadase flying to the ground.

Amu rushed over to him but then she heard Ran yell, "Amu-chan, look out!"

Gasping, Amu spun the other way. Ikuto had wasted no time and had already launched his next attack. Unlike the previous attack with numerous blades, this attack consisted of one single large blade that could most likely penetrate a barrier.

And it was heading straight for Amu.

Instinctively, she used her paintbrush as a shield, bracing for the impact.

"Golden Victory Shoot!"

A golden ball of condensed energy suddenly crashed into the blade, knocking it off its course.

Recognizing the attack, she whipped around and discovered her old group of friends all five of them (excluding Tadase) running toward her. Sure enough, it was Kukai who fired that ball, saving Amu from a deadly assault. While Kukai, Yaya, and Rima headed for Amu, Nagihiko and Kairi rushed over to Tadase to check on his condition.

"You okay, Hinamori?!"

"Why are you all here?" Amu asked in disbelief.

"Don't get the wrong idea," Rima said, her sharp tone cutting in to Amu's heart, shattering her hopes. "We came here because we sensed the X-eggs. Not to save you."

Yaya, all huffy and annoyed, slapped Rima's back, earning an extremely evil glare from the blonde devil. "Lighten up, Rima-tan, it's still Amu-chan!" Bouncing her way over to Amu, she examined her face and body. "Are you hurt anywhere, Amu-chi?"

Pleasantly stunned at Yaya's kindness, she said, "I'm fine, Yaya."

Rima remained to the side, crossing her arms over her chest.

A huge wind suddenly blew past them, almost knocking them to the ground. The gust of wind rounded up the X-eggs, waking them up from their short slumber. The one who seemed to be controlling this was Ikuto. With his scythe, he directed the X-eggs toward Amu's group.

"Well, shall we get this party started?" Kukai said, grinning. His signature skateboard appeared and he was flying in the air. As soon as he went airborne, the X-eggs caught his presence and began following him.

"Rima-tan, Amu-chi, Yaya will handle the other section of X-eggs with Yaya's duckies," Yaya said, already racing away to do her job. Amu couldn't help but notice that Yaya had matured a great deal since middle school. She wouldn't fight unless ordered to and would often cry when anything scared her. But watching her straight back made Amu proud of her.

"I guess I'll fight Ikuto," Amu told Rima, and walked off.

But she felt something grab her arm, pulling her back. Looking over her shoulder, her eyes went wide as she noticed Rima's hand upon her arm. Rima was looking away, a slight blush on her cheek.

"I'll fight him."

Astonished, Amu turned around, giving Rima her undivided attention. "What?"

"You're about to cry," she bluntly pointed out.

Amu blinked a few times, noticing her blurry vision. "Oh, I just got something in my eye."

Rima glared at her. "Don't think I'm stupid. Just let me fight the damn cat and spare yourself the pain."

Amu knew Rima was right. She liked Ikuto so how could she hurt someone she liked? But as much as it still hurt Amu to battle her boyfriend, she knew she needed to do this.

Amu smiled. "I can't let you. This is something only I can do. I'm sorry, Rima."

Rima sighed. "I knew you would say that." Looking at her former best friend in the eye, she ordered, "Just don't get hurt."

Amu nodded, smiling all the while. Her previous tears were filled with such pain but now, these tears transformed into beautiful tears of happiness—happiness that Rima was still on her side. With these tears cascading down her cheeks, she lithely meandered her way around the arena and toward Ikuto. Nagihiko, Kairi, and Tadase had already started helping out the others. She found Ikuto in the back of this whole battle scene, as if he was waiting for her to come and battle him.

When she neared him, Amu halted and raised her paintbrush at him. "Wait for me, Ikuto." Her paintbrush began glowing, reshaping into something smaller. When the glow dissipated, her new weapon was something similar to a rapier with a handle studded with sapphire gems.

"Sapphire Blade!" Twirling her thin weapon in her hand, she sprinted toward Ikuto, who had also begun spinning the weapon in fancy maneuvers. When she came near him, she leapt into the air and attempted to attack from above.

Ikuto swiftly put his weapon in front of him, using the staff to block the sharp blade. Grimacing, Amu applied more pressure but he wouldn't budge at all. Soon after, Ikuto threw his weapon up, causing Amu to soar into the air with her sword still in her grasp. Quickly regaining her composure, Amu did a mini back flip in the air and landed gracefully. Though as soon as she was on the ground, Ikuto had already advanced in front of her, his blade dangerously close to her face. Using her sword, she guarded herself from the blade. As the blades clashed and they continued to fight, Amu continued to stare at Ikuto's face, hoping that some recognition would cross his face.

Ikuto, do you really not remember me?

Their spar continued as Amu was only able to barely parry his strong and precise attacks. All of a sudden, one of his attacks landed on Amu's blade in a weird angle, dislodging Amu's Sapphire Blade from her hands. Without a moment to react, the blunt end of his Death Scythe rammed into Amu's side, sending her flying toward the ground.

Amu tumbled on the ground before she weakly sat up, clutching her bruised side. She wearily heard her chara call her name in the distance but that didn't matter since Ikuto was already heading for her in a slow saunter. Amu looked up at him, tears pouring down her face.

"Ikuto, what happened?"

Ikuto stopped in front of her. His expression blank and eyes void of any emotions, he raised his weapon.

Screaming and sobbing, Amu desperately yelled, "Ikuto, it's me, Amu! Why are you doing this? You said you would protect me!"

This struck a chord in Ikuto's heart because he paused. Hopeful, Amu glanced up. "Ikuto?"

Ikuto lowered his weapon and clutched his head with his other hand. He went down on one knee, groaning in pain.

Disregarding the agony she felt when she erected her posture, Amu rushed over to him. "Ikuto, are you all right?" Grabbing a hold of his face, she forced him to look straight at her. When his eyes opened, she saw the familiar dark indigo eyes she had been longing to see.

"A…mu?" he muttered, wheezing.

"Ikuto, it's you!" She brought his head to her chest, hugging him. "I missed you so much."

But her bliss was short-lived. He began groaning again before he screamed in pain, all the while gripping his head.

"Ikuto, what's wrong?" She moved away so she could see his face. His face was distorted in pain, causing Amu's heart to ache as well. But then he suddenly calmed down and his eyes opened.

They were dark and empty.

"Amu-chan, look out!"

Ikuto had raised his weapon, already swinging it around to crash into Amu's side. Amu turned and crossed her arms in an X-shape to guard herself but it was useless for she was so close to him. The staff collided with her body, sending her toward the ground several yards away. She could hear the rest of the group call her name and footsteps hitting the pavement.

But then she heard laughter—an evil cackle that knocked her breathless because it was all too familiar.

Amu looked past the stage-like structure and saw the man she hated the most in this entire world. For months, she had been imagining a brutal and painful death for this sickening man. This detested man who had came crashing into her life a year ago, causing Amu and her loved ones such torment. Yes, he was the one who killed her parents without a second thought.

Hoshina Kazuomi.

"We meet again, Hinamori Amu."

Amu, enveloping her arm around her wounded torso, poised herself somewhat unsteadily. "I never wanted to see your face again, you bastard."

Ignoring her rude remark, he continued. "Did you like the surprise I arranged for you?" He gestured toward Ikuto, who was standing off to the side and staring at Amu.

Clenching her fists, she yelled, "What did you do to Ikuto?"

"Whatever do you mean?" he said innocently, which sickened Amu to the bone.

"Hey, you!"

Amu turned around and saw that her group of friends was right behind her. Yaya continued to shout, "Who do you think you are? Why are you making Amu-chi so sad?!"

"Yaya," Amu said, both happy and surprised at her outburst.

"Who am I? Well, you insolent brat, I am the head of Easter. And your little friend, Hinamori Amu, has been working under me for the past year."

Amu spun on her heel, eyes blazing with fury. "You're the dirtiest scumbag on the Earth! You forced me!"

"No, you chose to in order to save your family, who, unfortunately, died such a miserable death for foolishly attempting to flee."

Shrieking, Amu completely lost her mind and charged toward the hateful bastard who murdered her loving parents. She continued screaming at him, spouting incoherent, spiteful insults at him. His smug grin didn't fade away from his ugly face, causing her to feel more resentment as bitter tears streamed down her twisted face. With her blade poised in the air, she let out a battle cry before going in to strike him down.


In her blind rage, she didn't register various warnings from her friends and continued her attack.

Only to be stopped by the man she held deep in her heart.

As if snapping out of her trance, her vision focused on the figure blocking her path with his trusted weapon.

Once it registered in her mind that the figure was Ikuto, she whispered his name in disbelief.

Her attack, of course, failed and she fell to the ground. Looking up, she glimpsed at Ikuto's blade, which was glowing a deep purple. He swiped the blade toward her and Amu could only watch in horror and shock.

"Tightrope Dancer!"

Streams of ropes darted toward Amu at the same time Ikuto swung his blade down. The ropes wrapped around Amu's stomach, pulling her back and toward safety. Unfortunately, they weren't fast enough because the blade made contact with Amu's stomach, causing one of the ropes to break and a huge gash across her stomach. To top it off, his blade sent out a force of dark energy concurrently, knocking Amu backward.


The group rushed in Amu's direction. Amu, who was still quite injured despite Rima's help, feebly got back up on her feet. Coughing, she directed a hateful glare toward Kazuomi, who was holding something in his hands but she couldn't make out what it was.

"It's futile. He's completely under my control."

"I can't believe you would force Ikuto to do this. Were you scared of me to the point that you had to switch our places? You coward!" she screamed.

"You're the one who's a coward."

Amu was about to scream another string of profanities at him before he resumed his elaboration.

Pointing toward Ikuto, he divulged, "This would've been you if you had obeyed me."

"What did you say?"

"Since I had nothing to hold over your head, I was going to forcibly control you so you wouldn't even think about disobeying me. But little did I know, Ikuto had somehow found out about your family when he marched into my office about a week ago."

Amu's eyes widened as her eyes watered. She murmured painfully, "Stop it."

"Once he found out about my plan, he practically begged me to make him my puppet instead of you. I didn't know he loved such a disgusting girl like you."

Tadase took a step forward, his Golden Staff already raised for an attack. Nagihiko clamped his hand on his shoulder, shaking his head. He growled and slowly lowered his scepter.

"No, it can't…" Amu sobbed, choking on her tears.

"If you had listened to me, Ikuto wouldn't have had to suffer."

She shook her head back and forth in denial. Ikuto couldn't have done such a thing but at the same time, she knew Ikuto would. With tears flowing down her face, she thought about how much Ikuto cared deeply for her. "Stop talking, bastard!"

"It's all your fault." And he let out an evil cackle, befitting a person of his malevolent nature.

Amu released a tormented shriek. "You're lying! You're lying!"

"Oh, but it's the truth. You were the one who caused him to be like this."

She screamed and thrust her blade in his direction but Kazuomi had already escaped, along with Ikuto. Her knees buckled and she crumpled into a broken heap on the floor. Unable to forgive herself, Amu began bawling her eyes out at her stupidity and for not being able to save the person she wanted to save the most.

Her friends could only watch in pain. Yaya rubbed her back as comfort but Amu was wholly inconsolable.

It's all my fault, it's all my fault, it's all my fault! If only I hadn't disobeyed him…

She resumed her screams, praying from the bottom of her heart that this was just all a terrible nightmare. When she woke up, Ikuto would be right in front of her with his stupid smirk and stupid antics. But his tender gaze would be there. He would embrace her, whispering perverted comments in her ear, causing her to blush like a bright tomato. But despite all this, he would hold her hand, gaze into her eyes, and say her name in the most beautiful way that made her heart beat faster.

She loved him. Amu loved Ikuto. She finally realized just how much she cared for him.

I love you, Ikuto. I love you so much that it hurts.

But it was too late. He had already been taken away from her grasp.

And it was all her fault.

Amu's heart wrenching cries continued. "Come back, Ikuto!"


Anddd we're done. For this chapter. :P I couldn't really find the right time to end the chapter… I was going to add more but it's already like 18 pages so I stopped. Because the next part would take like another four.

So yeah, very sad chapter. I hope it was satisfying though :)

As for the part with Kazuomi (the bastard) blaming Amu, I used some of the same sentences from the last chapter when Kazuomi was blaming Ikuto. I just switched the names. So Kazuomi is blaming both of them, making them both feel guilty and horrible. So he's a terrible person. And I'm a terrible author for making this happen ._.

Here's a sneak peek to the next chapter! It may be revised but here's the gist:

#1: She suddenly heard someone gasp but paid no heed. That is, until she felt something furry rest upon her hand. Slowly, she removed her hands from her tearstained face and she felt her heart stop.

"Amu, please help me nya!"

#2: "He told me to protect you in his place. As much as I hate to say this, he loves you a lot, Amu."

#3: She heard the familiar pop of an egg. Turning on her heel, she watched the scene unfold in utter shock. Not able to believe her eyes, she whispered, "Su? And…Dia?"

#4: "For months, I tried to hate you because you suddenly betrayed us. But how could I come to hate my best friend?"

So yeah, more drama next chapter and more exciting adventures! (:

Please review! I would appreciate any constructive criticism or comments about your favorite part of the chapter. (: