The stars shone brightly, creating the silhouette of two girls walking along a moonlit beach. Their hands clasped tightly together, and they spoke in hushed, dreamy tones, blending in with the soothing sound of the waves lapping the shore. "Secchan...May I ask you something??" Konoka spoke as though she were finding it hard to breathe; her normally happy-go-lucky personality lost, replaced by that of a nervous little girl. Setsuna turned to Konoka, her so-often-stern mouth turned up at the corner just a tad. She nodded, indicating for the other girl to ask away. "Well...we've been through so much together, haven't we Secchan??" A slight redness spread across her cheeks, telling Setsuna that this wasn't the question Konoka was nervous about, but asked anyway for nothing else to say. "Is that all?? Yes, we have. It's been a very eventful time of late. But at least we're back together." The Konoe uttered her friend's last word in a voice which was barely a whisper, and her blush began to grow. "I wonder...would you ever consider me as anything more than a friend...or your 'Ojou-Sama'??" Setsuna stopped dead in her tracks. Whatever she had been expecting it hadn't been this-not that she wasn't completely thrilled-and now, the smile was replaced by a look of complete and utter astonishment. "M-m-more than a friend??! Y-you mean like a..." Setsuna didn't even need to say the last word and Konoka nodded ever so slightly. Konoka didn't have a chance to move before she found herself in a tight embrace, strong arms thrown around her neck, and lips pressed hard against her own. She reveled in the feel of soft flesh pressing on her mouth, the taste of hot breath, and the scent of apple shampoo. When the other girl peeled her body away, Konoka barely managed to mumble "Does that mean yes??"
Setsuna's eyes stayed shut, trying to fall back into the dream she had been so content living in. She could hear voices, familiar, worried voices talking in almost whispers, about her no less. Lying still, she let the dream slip into the back of her mind (she would save it for later) and listened intently. "So there's no sign of Konoka then??" A worried orange headed girl asked a younger, yet much more mature boy. The boys' auburn head shook wearily (not that Setsuna could see this mind) and he looked exhausted. Takamichi and I were up all night searching for her…But there was no sign anywhere. I just don't understand where she could be." Setsuna, still lying shut eyed on the soft bed in the nurse's office, could practically feel the bad vibes and awkward glances being passed around the room. Negi and Asuna knew something that she didn't, and she really didn't like not being in the know; especially when the subject was Konoka. She wanted answers, and she wanted them now.
Opening her eyes slowly, the young swordswoman spoke "Konoka was taken." Although Setsuna's tough exterior was perfectly intact, her insides were twisting, shredding at the mere thought of Konoka in trouble. The other two were surprised at the sudden interruption of the girl they thought was still sleeping soundly and they exchanged shifty looks between one another. "We know…" Negi began shakily "we found you at the base of a tree late yesterday. It took most of the class to find you, but it was Mana who eventually spotted you and brought you back." Setsuna ignored Negi, thinking about her beloved and what she might be feeling and going through. "It's all my fault…" Setsuna muttered glumly. It was said as a statement of fact, and left the other two speechless; after all, what would you say to someone who had just watched the one they loved be snatched away to God knows where and God knows how long for?? All Setsuna wanted was Konoka; or at least to know she was safe.
"We think it may have been Fate who took her. But we're not sure why. We also believe that it wasn't actually Konoka he was after, but-"
"Me." Asuna cut Negi off mid-sentence, and stared at the hands she was wringing nervously. "I'm sorry Setsuna. Konoka was taken because of me. But we'll get her back."
Setsuna waved her hand passively, as though waving off what Asuna had said. "No, Asuna. The only person at fault here is me. I put Ojou-sama in danger. But you're right about one thing-we will get her back."
Konoka lay with her head against the floor. A spell placed on her to prevent her escape restricted her movement to such an extent that she couldn't even raise her head to take in her surroundings. She could smell something much like rotting flesh wafting from a direction behind her and she tried to distract herself from thinking about the smell's origin and being perfectly honest to herself, she didn't want to take in her surroundings. All Konoka could do was think. She thought about everything. From her favourite meal, to methods to improve her skills as a healer, she thought for a good long while to pass the time. No matter what crossed her mind, it always came back to Setsuna. She hoped with all her heart that Setsuna was well and ok. She would feel terrible if something had happened to her and couldn't bear the thought of her in trouble. On the contrary to Setsuna's thoughts, Konoka didn't blame her for anything that had happened. Even all those years ago when she was swept away in the river current and Setsuna had claimed it was her fault for not protecting her, she had insisted otherwise. Nothing could possibly be Setsuna's fault; not now, not ever.
Konoka wiped away a stray tear, and only after which did she realize that she could move again. Her limbs ached and she sat up slowly and just as painfully as the hard thumping in her chest. The rhythmic beating of her heart made her feel quite sick, coupled with the horrid smell which still hung from her cell, clinging to her nostrils. Somewhere in the distance, footsteps could be heard, muffled, but moving with purpose. Konoka listened as the steps grew closer and clearer. Little did she know that the purpose was her.
A familiar face rounded a corner in the corridor leading away from the cells. He smiled at the increased roundness in Konoka's bright, brown eyes and a certain smugness clouded his features. The words he uttered, although not in the least threatening, sent chills through her body and caused goosebumps to erupt all over: "Hello, Konoka."
Totally and completely sorry for the absolute crap which sprouts forth from my rather tired brain. I have lots of exams this week y'see, which is also the reason for my taking so long uploading this chapter. I'll try to get the next one up ASAP, but I can't make any promises. Oh, and also I wanna say thanks for the couple of reviews I've received; They're a major boost of confidence and put a smile on my face :) Anyways, I hope this wasn't too disappointing.
Shannen. (That's me :D)