"Mion-chan, if you don't want any of your little friends to get shot, then step forward!" Takano's voice was surprisingly level as she brandished the gun from face to surprised face. She watched with a strange satisfaction as Mion's face hardened and the emerald-haired girl walked slowly, almost proudly, to take her place in front of her comrades. Rena cried out in alarm, reaching for her as she walked away, but a single thrust of Mion's hand into the air silenced her, and Takano felt a strange spasm of pleasure in her stomach as the young Sonozaki stared right into the barrel of the gun she held.
She glared past the teen, into the eyes of the horned-imp that had told her so boldly that she, unlike her race, could forgive man, forgive her of her sins. Through the sheet of heavy rain that covered the entire forest, she spoke directly to the mauve-haired goddess, not even caring about the confused looks that passed along the club members and to the devil that stood so calmly in their midst. "Thanks to you, everything, everything is all messed up... but leaving this world like this, it's just too much to bear... I cannot be forgiven of my sins, so at least allow me to return the favour."
"Are you honestly that desperate!?" Keiichi shouted angrily, a surge of fury bringing him forward only to be stopped abruptly when Satoko's hand clasped down tightly on his arm. His mind throbbed with a pulse of fury that he knew only too well, but the trap-master's hand on his arm sent a calming dose of reality back to him. He stopped his advance as he stared at the back of his best friend, and despite his anger, he knew he could do nothing to ever put her in harm's way.
"Oh you're damn right I am!" Takano nearly shouted, her madness driving her to only further panic and sadism as she glared hatefully into the youthful faces. They had all destroyed her dreams, had pretty much set fire to the book she clutched so zealously to her chest even now. Her eyes widening with a manic amusement, she cocked the gun and pulled back the safety, almost cooing, "You see, there's just one bullet left in this gun... but as long as I have one, right? It makes all the difference..."
"Don't rush me... if I shoot too quickly, who knows who will get hit?"
Mion grit her teeth tightly, her mind almost immediately calculating the odds. The woman was too close and by the marks on her neck, she was completely deranged. If she fired at that distance, someone was going to die. Her blood ran cold at the thought, and instinctively her arms shot out protectively and she made herself a shield in front of her comrades. 'Dammit!' She didn't even look back at them, not wanting to see the fear or shock in their faces as she so willingly gave her body up for their lives. "Everybody, behind me!"
Rika jerked as though she'd been slapped across the face, and she saw similar reactions from those who stood beside her. Hanyuu had turned positively white, while Rena's jaw dropped in a grimace of horror. Satoko was clutching tightly to Keiichi's arm, the young man looked ready to lunge from where he stood to push Mion out of the way and get his hands around the blond's already bleeding neck. No one moved, too worried that even a sneeze would set off the already wound nurse and while one bullet was only one bullet, it would only take a single shot to snuff out a life of anyone that they stood shoulder to shoulder with.
Takano laughed at the show of bravery, her eyes dancing as her laugh rose to a near hysterical giggle that echoed in the rainy night. Part of her was truly astounded, and grudgingly impressed by Mion's easy acceptance, it left her wondering and annoyed at the same time. Shaking it off because she knew in the end that it would do her no good, she allowed herself to be filled with hatred once more. Adjusting her aim to settle between Mion's bright green eyes, she taunted her playfully, "Such courage... You'd sacrifice yourself and take the bullet so no one else will be harmed?"
"Hell yes! Go ahead and shoot!" Mion replied loudly, standing taller as pride suffused in her chest and limbs, giving her a courage she wasn't even sure she really had. She didn't look away from the barrel of the gun, almost challenging the bullet to fire and sink itself into her body, to spare her friends. She could practically feel the terror of the ones behind her, and it almost made her want to take a step forward, putting more room between them and the madwoman with the weapon. Her jaw tightened and her eyes glittered with deadly promise as she thought of each of the teens behind her, though of them taking the bullet instead of her. It terrified her in ways the gun she faced couldn't, the idea of Rena, Satoko, Rika, Hanyuu and especially Keiichi's eyes darkening and dulling over with death, never again to smile... Standing her ground, she all but spat in the face of what could've been her death, her threat loud and perfectly clear, "But you better damn well hit me! You just try hitting one of my friends! I'll make you wish you were dead!"
"Oh I'm so scared..."
"M-Mion-san!" Satoko began fearfully, almost forgetting that she had been holding back Keiichi from trying to take over her oldest friend's role. This time however it was Rena who took her hand, holding her backwards while Rika held on fearfully to Hanyuu, both girls attempting valiantly to hold their calm in the face of the threat. Keiichi growled low in his throat but Satoko held his arm firm this time, yanking it back to her chest as if she could keep him there simply by holding on and Rena's free hand clasped over Keiichi's wrist, also attempting to stop him.
"Don't move anyone." Mion warned them, hearing the rustle of their wet clothing even above the frantic drumming of her heart. She was surprised by how violent the urge was to look over her shoulder, to see the faces of the ones she was so happily giving her life to protect. She wondered absently what Keiichi's face looked like, wondered if he was angry with her sudden bold move, the thought almost made her smile. 'Sorry...' Keeping her voice light, as if it was nothing more than a regular game, she continued cheekily, "I'm the club leader, nothing on Earth would make me happier than to shield every single one of you."
Keiichi growled again, knowing that she meant it and for some odd reason it only annoyed him more than soothed his nerves. She had always taken her leadership rather seriously, and the reason flashed in front of his face like neon lighting. She really did love each and every one of them, as she had demonstrated time and time again. They weren't just friends to her, they had become family, and she meant to stake her life on that bond, almost cheerfully if it meant sparing even one of their lives. He called out to her now, wanting to see her face, wanting to know if she was truly as scared as he was right now. "Mion, don't be stupid! Don't do this!"
Mion didn't turn to look at him, and he nearly stepped forward, hands outstretched to shake some sense into her but Rena and Satoko kept their grip on his forearms. His mind was spinning in crazy arcs, flashes of disjointed memories that made no sense as they rolled together into one cohesive thought. He saw her smiling face, heard her teasing voice and it echoed in his head as his mind processed coldly that he would never hear or see them again if she really did go through with it. The sight of her back scared him almost as much as not being able to see her face, to read those deceptively calm emerald eyes that in the right light, seemed to hold the world in them.
The way he yelled her name, the way the panic rose in his voice when she didn't respond, she filed it all away somewhere in the corner of her mind. She wanted to remember this moment for the rest of her life, no matter how short it would be. She felt no confusion, it all seemed so right to be standing there, blocking off Takano's aim, keeping them from harm, but somewhere in her heart she was crying out. She was scared to die, to never again feel warmth or cold, or to see the faces of those she loved... Her resolve hardened, this was the fate that they all were facing. Her teeth clenched down tightly and she held her ground even while she wanted to weep. 'I can't... I can't let you die! I can't!'
"Mion-chan, why won't you listen to your little friend? You play so many games, don't you? I'm sure you hate to lose." Takano teased, her laugh arcing higher as her own joke sent her into a frenzy of even deeper madness. She could see the true fury and worry in Keiichi's violet eyes, contrasting so violently with the deadly calm and violence in Mion's. Her gun was steady as she aimed it for each major area, almost lazily trying to decide where she would allow the bullet to hit. She continued on very softly, her gaze drifting from face to face, savouring their fear and hatred, knowing that once her bullet was fired, her own sentence would be played out before her. "Ever play Old Maid? This is so similar... It's exactly like man's sin, passing it off to each player, not to win, but sacrifice someone, to make them the loser... and I drew the Old Maid. So I will vent my anger on you!"
"We don't play Old Maid, we only play Old Geezer." Mion scoffed very softly, the dread slowly leaking from her veins as she watched Takano's pupils dilate her fury reaching a peak so high that there was nowhere to go but down. Yet even in that moment, she was filled with a calm that contrasted heavily with the adrenalin pounding in her head, in her heart. Her eyes narrowing she took that one step forward to further shield her friends and her heart cried out in pain. She didn't turn her head even though she yearned to, not to see how they would take this final act, but to look into the eyes of the one who mattered more to her than all else. The one she truly wanted to defend. "Keiichi..."
Rika gasped as she felt Hanyuu's thin arm sliding from her hand, but the goddess didn't make it a step before the gunshot went off, screaming its fury into the air before sinking itself through skin and bone. Everyone jerked, afraid to see where the bullet had gone, who it had hit, even though deep in their young souls, they already knew. Time froze and a soft gasp left the lips of their beloved leader, and the shrine-maiden swore she heard a final triumphant laugh before Mion's form crumpled lifelessly to the ground.
Bah. It's crap. XD Oh well, I'm writing it for me so it doesn't matter. This'll be a threeshot, in a "what-if" scenario, and I'm sure you should already see the "what-if" option XD. I always wondered how everyone would've reacted if Takono actually nailed Mion, I personally think all hell would've broken loose. Hanyuu did a brave thing in that episode and I was perversely proud of her, but at the same time it kinda took poor Mion's thunder XD She wasn't suicidal, but she sure as hell loved her team. Anyway, I've rambled, and there's two more parts to this so... Heheh. I'll be continuing this throughout the month when I'm not too busy with ANW... So... Meh. Click the green button... Y'know you wanna. XD