A/N: I know, I'm late by a few months but hopefully I'll be able to get the plunnies to come out of their long hibernation sometime soon and actually get this story moving along. In the mean time, go ahead and enjoy the update.
Freya knew it was foolish of her to place so much faith in a girl she had only met a few short hours ago, but… something inside her told her to trust the redhead. And so, Freya found herself sitting on the floor in the middle of Eva's living room, letters and journals from the man she had once called her father strewn everywhere. Gingerly reaching out with her right hand, she plucked up what had to be the last letter he had written to her before meeting his demise at the hand of the metas that worked for her current boss.
Like every other letter I have written to you up until this day, I know it will never reach you as long as I live. Even so, I hope you are safe and healthy and happy wherever you are. I don't even know why I'm writing it all down when I've already written this confession so many times before. Maybe… I feel like I need to properly apologize for breaking your heart, even if that was never my intention. I still don't think this is good enough to begin making up for the hurt I have caused you, but… I don't think it will ever be good enough. I just know that I need to tell you this somehow. Maybe one day, when I have worked up the courage to face you again, I might be able to-
She dropped the letter with a small sob, picking up the one she had read in the beginning.
My beloved Freya,
I don't know how I can say this to you. I know my reasons for creating you were never quite as pure as I liked to think, but the undeniable truth of the matter is, I never did quite manage to see you as a reflection of my dead sister, Chii. You were a person in your own right and I learnt that very early on. Whatever you heard that night, I want to say that you should give me a chance to-
Her vision grew too blurry for her to be able to read any further. Fat, warm droplets splashed against her skin and she dropped this letter as well, wiping the tears from her cheeks as she picked up a journal.
It has been three weeks since Freya ran away. I know where she is but she refuses to let me speak to her. It hurts to see my own daughter push me away so harshly but I suppose I really have no right to call her my daughter. She is merely a clone…and yet, she feels every bit like the daughter I never had. It breaks my heart to see her willing to work for a man like Fei Wang. If only I can somehow show her how wrong she is… then maybe I can convince her to come back home. To come back to me…
She flipped through a few pages, not even bothering to read until she paused at a random page.
I grow more and more concerned for Fai. He has moved out to live on his own, but… Fei Wang still has his sights set on my nephew. It seems as though my own flesh and blood will keep on trying to push me out of their lives. First Freya, and now Fai. All I have left in my life now is Eva, but how long will it be before she too decides a man like me is not worthy of her time?
Her reading was interrupted by the slight woosh of the door as it was pushed inwards. Eva pretended not to notice the tears on her face as Freya hastily tried to rub them away. The redhead merely smiled at her, holding a tray carrying two mugs of something steaming and a plate of slightly-burnt cookies as she came over and set it on the floor next to the blond.
"I figured some warm milk and semi-edible cookies might cheer you up." She chirped brightly, offering her a wink at the end as she began collecting the journals and letters and stacked them on the floor neatly next to the coffee table. "You're free to take those with you if you want, by the way." Eva said as she flopped onto her backside, reaching out for a mug. Freya said nothing in response, silently picking up the mug left for her, taking a delicate sip to assess whether something had been added to the milk apart from chocolate. She picked up nothing more than a slight trace of cinnamon powder, deeming it an acceptable drink.
"So…" her redheaded host drawled slowly, "what's your favorite color?"
Freya nearly spat out a mouthful of chocolate milk at that unexpectedly random question, making the other girl grin widely as the blond looked at her in shocked disbelief.
"What?" Eva shrugged innocently, "It seemed like as a good question as any other to get to know my adopted sister."
When Freya kept on staring at her with incredulity plastered on her face, the redhead shrugged again, reaching out for a chocolate chip cookie that was slightly burnt on one side. "Mine's blue." She informed her.
After staring at the relaxed redhead for a few moments more, she shook her head, taking another sip of her chocolate with a tiny smile, suddenly reminded of the way Fai sometimes used to act around her in her childhood.
"Pink." She finally said when she was nearly done with her chocolate milk.
"Really? I would have pegged you for a black type."
Sakura struggled to contain her giggles as she followed behind Fai, the blond chattering rather excitedly as he pulled her along. It was a nice day, but ass evening drew closer, the sun steadily descended across the sky and dark storm clouds hovered just beyond the horizon, unbeknownst to the couple walking down the sidewalk on what the blond had dubbed as their "official" first date.
Telling her they'd get dinner after they had managed to work up a proper appetite for it, the blond proceeded to pull her to an indoor skating rink. Pulling on the skates, he then led her on the ice, chuckling at the way she fell flat on her butt the moment he had let go of her hand. When she narrowed her eyes up at him in annoyance, he hastily apologized, helping her back to her feet while still silently laughing.
"You don't have to be so mean about it." She pouted, crossing her arms across her chest and promptly losing her balance once more. Lucky for her, her boyfriend seemed to have suspected it, for he caught her before she could fall gracelessly on the ice for the second time. "Quit laughing!" she whined, beating against his chest with curled fists as her cheeks flamed. "I don't know how to skate, okay?"
"Well, you should have just said so," he replied innocently, setting her straight on her feet but keeping a firm hold on her back this time, "you wouldn't have bruised your cute little butt that way."
Sakura merely blushed harder at the compliment, refusing to reply as she huffed to conceal her embarrassment.
"Tell you what, though," he added with a softer smile, holding her close to him, "I won't let go of you again, hmm?"
And as they spent the next hour and a half going slowly in circles around the rink, Sakura couldn't help but make note of his gentle but firm hold on her, tightening his grip on her every time she even so much as wobbled a little. By the end of their little session, Sakura had proudly managed to go an entire lap around the rink without needing his help, though she had stuck very, very close to the railings and gone slow as a turtle but she had skated on her own all the same. She happily laced her fingers through her boyfriend's as they exited the rink, identical grins on both their faces as darkness settled all around them.
It was nearly sundown by the time Freya was ready to leave Eva's comfortable and somewhat-cluttered apartment, leaving everything Ashura had left for her with her pseudo-sister for the time being. Waving goodbye to the redhead, Freya tried not to let dread sink its claws into her gut. After all had been said and done, she now knew the complete truth about who she was, what her purpose was and what she might have to do. But was she ready to do what was needed of her? Despite all assurances to the contrary, she knew her purpose of existence was merely to be a replacement. Could she, against all odds, still manage to carve out a place for herself?
The sky shifted from tones of darkened blue to lighter shades in the west, streaked with purple and pink, reflecting the brilliant gold of the setting sun in places as she stepped into the relatively cool, spring air. Life carried on at its normal pace as per usual all around her, yet Freya's mind raced. She had found so much. She knew for a fact that Syaoron would never tell her all that he had earlier that day merely out of the goodness of his heart. All that, coupled with his questions and his behavior those past few weeks, hinted at some sort of agenda, but… would it coincide with what she had in mind? Would they be able to help each other out, or… would one of them be mysteriously vanishing sometime soon in the future?
It could not be denied that they would have to have a talk soon. She would have to wait and see if he would lay down his cards on the table to decide if working with him would go in her favor, but she could only hope that they both had the same thing in mind. She would much rather work with him than against both him and the others. Making her way over to the bus stop, she fished out her cellphone, trepidation heavy in her heart as she tried to find a suitable way to compose a message. She really hoped they could work together in the end.
Kurogane couldn't quite seem to figure out where time had vanished to that evening, but soon enough he was getting calls from Souma to haul his ass back home to look after the three demons from hell as she would be heading out to town with his mother for a much-needed shopping session. Grunting an irritated response and mentally cursing his cousin in a hundred creative ways, he bid his girlfriend goodnight before climbing behind the wheel of his car and turning on the ignition.
Souma and his mother were all dressed and ready to go by the time he arrived home and thankfully, the demon brats had already been put to bed. His job was merely to watch over the house and be there in case they should wake up. Kurogane resigned himself to spending his evening watching the news on the television as he stomped his way inside, still grumbling at his far-too-cheery cousin. It was as he leaned against the counter, waiting for his dinner to heat up ten minutes later that his gaze landed on the package sitting neatly in the middle of the island table. Feeling his curiosity aroused, the red-eyed teen approached the box, taking note of the fact that it was addressed to him. Souma really should have mentioned that earlier. Grabbing a knife, he pulled the package closer, taking note of its weight. It wasn't too heavy, despite its large size. If he had to hazard a guess, Kurogane thought, he would say the box was filled with books. Possibly around ten to twelve of them.
His guess was proven correct when he sliced through the tape on top of the box and pulled it open. Inside was a neatly stacked stash of roughly eleven books and a…it looked like a rolled up magazine. Who'd be sending him books?
He plucked out a folded note wedged into one corner and smoothed it out to see a message written out in neat cursive script.
As promised, they are yours.
Heh. So the old hag did keep her promise about the journals on G.E.D.
A/N: What do you think of Freya and Eva's interaction? And the letters for her left by Ashura. And Sakura and Fai's date? The next chapter should hopefully be longer than this one so keep an eye out for updates and don't forget to review. Remember, its your reviews that revive the plunnies enough for me to churn out new chapters in the first place so the more you review, the faster I get to update. ;)