Hi everyone! Actually I updated sooner than I thought. I was supposed to wirte my research paper, but oh well academics can wait ^^
Thank you all very much who reviewed! You have no idea what a boost it creates :) I'll definitely take time to reply every one of you from now on, gomen, I was extremely busy with midterms and all...
So this chapter focuses on Shizuru... Hope you enjoy!
CHAPTER 7 - Shizuru Fujino.
''Shiz are you okay?'' Anh literally fumbled inside her best friend's room.
''I promise you, you'll be dead by night time.'' ice cold rubies looked back to two figures, now sheepishly standing in front of her. ''Why in the name of logic and sense would you bring her here?'' Shizuru was now sitting with brows raised in inquire. Both Anh and Aly would much rather preferred Nazi interrogation at this moment.
When Shizuru was mad, it was bad.
But Alyssa kept her cool and looked directly back at those blood red eyes, Anh admiring the courage.
''Major asked for your presence princess. Therefore knowing you, we had to bring someone along.'' The word 'princess' had brought a faint smile to Anh's while Shizuru just contemplated with a sigh.
''I'm fine. I don't need to see her.'' the dirty blond shrugged and rose from her chair towards her wardrobe.
''Clearly you're not fine Shiz. Past minutes make a good alibi.'' now it was Anh speaking up. She was tense and dreaded the moment this conversation would take an illogical turn as it always happened in the past.
But this time something seemed to be different. Shizuru hadn't changed into a five year old stubborn like she usually did, and that surprised both Anh and Alyssa.
Another sigh escaped from faint pink lips, as the porcelain fingers reached for her uniform.
''How much does she know Anh?'' Shizuru twisted her neck towards her friend, her eyes a mix of worry and irritation.
''She knows something is not right but she is not the type you're worried her to be.'' was the reply.
''And where exactly does this trust in her comes? Did I miss the briefing where it was internationally acknowledged?'' she paused before speaking again, ''I don't trust her.''
''Well, you just have to.''
Both Anh and Shizuru turned back to Alyssa. It was short stoic reply none had expected. But the platinum blond didn't seem to be finished.
''I'm sick of you playing the oblivious Shizuru. This is you. And you can't hide it for eternity. I do understand your need to keep it secret, and I'd gladly put my life on the line for that very reason. Both of us want your safety, and you know it. But there are some facts you can't run away from.''
The platinum of the trio walked towards the girl holding a uniform in her hands, looking back with speechless rubies. Alyssa picked up the uniform from porcelain hands and started to unbutton the black shirt, her face now held an aura like of a mother talking to her child.
''First, it's getting worse. I know it is. Your actions in the battlefield are getting reckless by the day.'' she gestured for Shizuru to put on the shirt as her friend complied silently. '' Secondly, I know we can trust Kuga, because I see us in her. I'm even going far to say she'll be a better version of us.''
She held the pants and helped Shizuru put them on. '' The girl lacks secrets whereas the three of us are molded by them. Hence we are the Secret du Roi.'' she paused as she reached for the red beret.
''Thirdly, if you don't trust the girl, trust in Anh and me. This world can go down to abyss and turn to hell, but even then we'll be standing by your side with that goofy grin of ours that you love so much.'' the mentioned grin was apparent right at this moment as Alyssa handed the beret to it's owner and walked back to stand by Anh. Shizuru just stared back, easing her tensed muscles.
I love you two... impatient idiotic kids...
And a smile formed in return as the rubies shined back in comfort. Shizuru Fujino owned her sanity to these two, and she loved them with every cell in her body. She walked towards her friends, now fully dressed.
''Ara, then accompany me on the way to Major's office?''
''Yes we shall milady.'' Anh gave her right arm for Shizuru to take while Alyssa offered her left. Shizuru playfully slapped both of them on the shoulders before linking the three bodies with their arms.
''You know, one day they'll name a city after us.'' Anh said nonchalantly as every girl in the academy turned towards the approaching trio.
'' Ara, just to later say it was all our fault.'' Shizuru playfully replied as her mood was now back.
''Inevitably so...'' Alyssa confirmed with a nod.
The three let go of their arms as Shizuru smiled back at them and walked towards the Major's office.
''See you at lunch Shi-chan!'' Anh yelled after the girl and Shizuru nodded without turning her head and waved them back.
There was an elegant knock on the door. And Chikane Himemiya knew if even a simple gesture like a knock on the door could be defined as elegant, then her legionnaire Shizuru Fujino was on the other side of the sturdy metallic door.
''Come in Shizuru.''
The door opened to reveal the Major's most promising student.
''Major.'' The girl held a high posture and gave recognition to her higher rank and received a nod and a gesture for her to sit in return.
''I know how you share a great resemblance to myself Shizuru, therefore I don't intend to dance around the subject of our talk. Hence, I'm sure you already know why you're here.'' the ice clear blue eyes looked straight to the crimson.
''I have a faint idea, yes.'' The young legionnaire seated herself to the gestured arm chair right in front of her Major. The fact that the woman had sit not behind her desk but in a more comfortable area of her office always made Shizuru happy for some reason. Perhaps it reminded her of the special bond between her Major and her. They were not just a legionnaire and Major after all.
Himemiya closed her eyes and gave an inaudible sigh before saying;
''I want you to take some time off.''
This, Shizuru did not expect.
Sure she knew her Major was going to have a little talk with her about her recent behavior, but this?
Taking time.. off? Ara...
''I don't understand, that was not the nature of our agreement Majo-'' Shizuru was cut off right when she was about to object.
''Chikane.'' Her Major looked back up to her young protege, holding her right hand on her head level to silence the younger girl. '' You were never just a mere legionnaire for me, nor I hope I was never a Major of this Academy to you Shizuru.''
It was the shear truth. Chikane Himemiya was everything and much more to Shizuru Fujino. She was her savior, her sanity, her sensei, her warmth, her logic and the most importantly she was the only frame of that night's massacre that Shizuru chose to remember...
It was a silent night as the young Shizuru laid on her mattress, reading a book in mere secrecy. She dreaded to be scolded, like the previous 3 times she was caught not sleeping when it was her sleeping time. She carefully dimmed the little light by her side and continued in reading the mythological story of the Yukki Onna.
It told the story of a yokai, a spirit being associated with winter and snowstorms, who appeared and perished through the snow. Little Shizuru was captivated by the heart breaking story of the deity.
''The snow queen, you are beautiful and serene, yet ruthless in killing unsuspecting mortals. How intriguing... I'm glad I found you in the dusty section, although Okaasan might not share my enthusiasm.''
The little girl gave an evil smirk. However one accomplishes a smirk with such angelic face still stands unresolved.
In the pages she had read so far Yuki-onna had appeared to travelers trapped in snowstorms, and had used her icy breath to leave them as frost-coated corpses. Other pages of legends had written that she led them astray so they simply die of exposure. Other times, she had manifested holding a child. When a well-intentioned soul takes the "child" from her, they were frozen in place.
''Parents searching for lost children should be particularly susceptible to this tactic. '' the war general residing in the little girl's head observed.
Other legends had made Yuki-onna much more aggressive. In these stories, she often invaded homes, blowing in the door with a gust of wind to kill residents in their sleep. But Shizuru was sure with Yuki-onna's beauty, she was surely invited in first.
What turned a spark of interest into a burning fire of need was found in the later pages. Yuki-onna did indeed varied from tale to tale but Shizuru's favorite one was the deity's vampiric side that usually drained her victims' blood or ''lie force'', and especially acquiring that life force through preying on weak-willed men to drain or freeze them through sex or a kiss.
The little blond head slowly closed upon the book that showed a picture of the ''kiss of death'' given by the Yuki-onna. Crimson orbs flickered in excitement for she had never witnessed a kiss before. Being a child who possessed an intelligence of two times her age, Shizuru of course knew the interactions between the humans, but her knowledge had always been acquired through her night sessions spent reading, and for the most part the books did not held any visual supplementary for the child's imagination.
The little girl lied back on her mattress, letting go of the book in her hands. She imagined how her first kiss would be, whom it would be with. Somehow she imagined herself kissing the imaginary Snowqueen. She would have long dark hair, perhaps blue if it would be possible?
''Silly Shizuru. Nobody could have blue hair.''
But a voice inside of her told red orbs were an anomaly as well. So the girl went back to her imagination. A slim figure, athletic and ephemeral, holding a white kimono over her. Skin, white like the snow, soft like the snow. Lips, lush, captivating and deadly... Her eyes.
''Ara... What would be the color of her eyes?''
No matter how much the little girl thought of it she could not come with a solution. Gray seemed so ghostly, blue seemed so cliché and brown seemed so... ordinary.
''Green?'' the girl thought it over for a few second. ''Perhaps. But not of the light color... Green like of the emera-''
The little girl was cut off by the loud sound of explosion that seemed to come from the mansion's front gates. The little earthquake and the loudness of the sound had forced the little girl to run out of her room, only to be grabbed onto the shoulders of her father.
From that point everything was slow motion. Sound of screams coming from the help of the house. Never ending symphony of gunshots, sound coming closer and closer to Shizuru and her parents. His father had threw the little girl to one of the master servants of the house and reached for his gun and katana. The man was old fashioned when it came to the art of war, yes, but he could still conduct symphony with a gun as well.
''Nobu! Take Shizuru and Mizu to safety! And call the men to arms! And call Kaya! Now!''
Shizuru watched her father get ready holding onto the deadliest weapons of man kind. She also saw her mother shaking her head in disapprovement to her husband.
''No Shin! My place has always been next to you! Don't you ever lessen my worth like that! I felt alive for the first time when I stood next to you, and I do not chose to end it elsewhere!''
Mizu Fujino was a woman of integrity, beauty, and serenity. She was a woman like her name, Mizu; water. She was for the most part serene, and calming but water is powerful. It can wash away earth, put out fire, and even destroy iron.
She was respected by both genders and her husband Shin Fujino had always been admired to have such a woman as her wife.
Shin knew there was no chance of arguing with her wife. A faint smile appeared on his face as he turned to his wife and his daughter as if there wasn't a war going on in their house.
''Shizuru, Mizu. The two women of my life. It was the greatest honor to be your father and husband, a man could not wish for more, for more is not possible. I only hope I at least did half a good job like you, then I'd be the happiest man.''
The the strikingly huge man walked towards her daughter cupping her now tear flowing face.
''Never be afraid Shizuru. Never be anything but you. May you be always strong and... '' the man stopped before continuing when he felt the warm hand of his wife's.''... I can only hope you don't forget what kaasan and I educated you to be. Be the best Shizuru. The best. But most importantly be human. Smile, cry, shout, scream, and love. Find a love that will always protect you, no matter what.''
And then the little Shizuru felt a kiss planted on her forehead, then to the two sides of her cheek. She felt her father inhaling her scent with all his might, always smiling as he did so.
''I am proud of you Shizuru. And will always be.''
''Sir I'm afraid we have to go.'' Nobu broke the scene unwantingly. He had to take his little ojou-sama out as fast as possible.
''Run faster than the wind Nobu. Take my daughter to the base, there you should be able to find a vehicle. We'll find you when we make out of this mess. Hopefully Kaya already nows the intrusion and the legions shall come any minute.''
''Yes sir.'' The man bowed, he was ready to leave when the lady of the house jumped on the man for a hug, hugging her daughter in the process.
The little girl unable to talk, looked at her split image of 28 years older. Her mother had tears in her eyes as she kissed her daughter continuously.
''I'll find you dear. We'll find you. Leave the fear out of your life, never let it in. I love you with all my body and soul for you're the reason of my existence. Whether from the ground or high up from the clouds, know that mom is always looking at you, for you... Now go!''
With that the woman threw the servant out of the room and the man picked up to running. Shizuru looked back once more from the shoulders carrying her.
Not knowing it was the last time she would see her parents breathing life.
And for the second time that night, she witnessed kissing.
This time not from the pages but in live.
It was her mother and father holding each other, and sharing a kiss Shizuru Fujino never forgot in her entire life.
The rest all had happened too fast. One minute Nobu was running, the next minute he was shot from his leg and arm, and had fallen on the ground. There were armed men running in the house killing without hesitance, but the household of the Fujino's had passed the shock and was now replying with their own guns.
Man of the Fujino slayed dark figures one by one with the swift motions of their katanas, blood painted all through the house. But the number of the firearms were low and the Fujino household couldn't make it to their armory as the second explosion came from there.
Shizuru cupped the almost dead face of Nobu, and she pulled the man with all her force under the table she hid. When dark figures were heard close by, Shizuru couldn't move. The man on the verge of death turned to his angelic ojou-sama and smiled,
''Now listen ojou-sama. The – re is nothnghg- nothing to woryy.'' The handsome man had an affectionate smile on his face in order to calm the little girl. ''We are go-gurh gonna play hide and seek.'' He could barely talk from the blood coming up from his throat. But he used every force left in his body not to drip a single drop from his mouth and coughed it back in. He needed his ojou-sama calm and collected as possible.
'' Remember ojou-sama? Gugghd.'' The little girl shook her head in disobedience. She didn't want to leave Nobu behind.
''Run ojou-sama! For me! For your parents! For the sake of Fujino name! Run ojou-sama, and hide like you always did! Run!''
With the mention of her parents and her family name, the girl collected herself and ran out of the table she hid.
She could feel her muscles burning. Her heart ready to jump out of her chest, as the sounds of fight were all around her. She ran to the left wing of the house, had yet to be disturbed by the dark figures. She ran inside the little dojo where she and her dad spent most of their time. Her hands quickly reached for the naginata especially molded for her and she didn't stop a second as she redirected herself to the gardens.
Meanwhile the loyal help of the Fujino family picked up his cellphone and dialed a short number. Not more then five seconds he heard a woman shout on the other line.
''Where are you Nobu? Where are the Fujinos?! We are right there! Hold on!''
''Loo-k ... at .. the.. garden-''
was Nobu Kazumi's final words.
It all seemed unreal. What was happening? Who were these men?
The little girl hid behind a bush, her crimson orbs alert to every sound coming from the place she once called home. It was a cold night. Snow made contrast with the red coming from the house. It was on fire. Little crimson orbs reflected the fire coming from the right wing of her home.
Right at that moment she saw Ayame, Nobu's young wife. Thrown out to the garden by two figures dressed in black from head to toe, hovering on the scared yet dignified woman. Ayame knew her husband was dead and she did not wish to live when the family she dearly loved and husband she cherished had already waited for her in the afterlife.
''Know that you the scum of this world. Never in your pathetic lives will you witness a house more noble than the one you destroyed.''
Her voice was calm, her eyes were closed waiting for the death. At that moment something Ayame didn't expect happened, and a little figure holding a black naginata jumped on the two men from the side. How it had happened both Shizuru and Ayame didn't know but soon two men dropped like stones to the snow.
''Ojou-sama!'' the woman jumped on the girl and tried to cover her. Shizuru hadn't expect the third man appearing from the other side of the garden. Two bullet shots and Shizuru looked up to the smiling woman laying dead on top of her.
This was too much. All was too much. The girl could do nothing but cry, crushing under the dead weight of her help.
The weight on top of her was lifted and the little girl came face to face with the reaper directing his gun towards a teary blond. She closed her eyes and waited.
Soon the expected gunshot came.
If this was death, little Shizuru was shocked to find it painless. She felt no distress, on the contrary after couple of seconds, she felt warmth.
''Death... is warm.'' she uttered.
''Iie, you are not dead little one.''
It was the most peaceful voice Shizuru had ever heard, she opened her eyes in surprise to find arms around her body. The figure let go of the girl and jumped back taking two other men coming towards them. Then another party of three came and fell dead. And another of four followed the same path.
The pure white garden was now painted red by the twelve dead bodies. Little Shizuru watched in awe as the girl who looked so young, probably only five or six years older than her, took out the men one by one in elegant swift motions. When all was done the girl walked back to Shizuru and picked her up, holding on firmly.
One of the last things Shizuru remember was walking out of her home, while it burnt down to pieces. There were women running, in black, but these black women were different. They had killed the bad men as Shizuru observed.
After all was done Shizuru watched women carry out the dead of the Fujino house, at least the ones not caught in the fire. And among the many bodies, she saw two particular carried out more seriously and respectfully. Her crimson orbs widened.
It was her mother and father.
The young elite watched the only alive person of the household ran towards her parents screaming their name. It was the most heartbreaking sight she had witnessed. She ran after the girl and tried to embrace the little body. She pulled her on top of her parents' dead bodies and took her out of sight. The girl kicked, and screamed, raw anger pouring from her body. But soon she broke into cries, as she clutched onto the latter's arms and cried her guts out at her shoulders.
The latter could do nothing but throw her self on the snow to a sitting position, cradling and stroking the girl to ease.
''Ssshh, it's going to be alright.'' she repeated these words over and over as the house collapsed completely a little far away.
The latter didn't mind the cold as they both stood there holding to each other for some time. The little girl soon was on the verge of collapsing. Exhaustion, and trauma of the night lead Shizuru to slowly loose conscious in between her tears.
She lifted her head up on more time to look at the clear blue eyes of her savior and muttered,
''You are Yuki-onna... aren't you?'' little hand raised up to latter's shock and cupped her face.
''Iie, I'm Chikane.'' the woman answered with affectionate smile.
''Chikane...'' the girl repeated and her eyes were soon closed into a slumber which she would only wake up four days later, to find her savior still at her side.
The calling of her name with the same voice from her memories caused the woman snap back to reality.
''Chikane?'' she turned back in question to her Major who had left her couch and now knelled beside her with a worried expression. ''Kannin na Chikane, I was taken back to the ghosts of the past for a second.''
Clear blue eyes let go of their tension and eased, the woman stood up once again, ''Let me remind you, you're still alive and well. Leave the reminiscence of the past, and live the retribution without the ghosts.'' and the woman seated herself back to her couch with an understanding smile on her face.
''Hai. But since you so eagerly inform me of my good health, may I object to your ask of absence?''
Chikane was glad to see Shizuru come back to reality with her wits.
''I'm serious Shizuru. I know your condition is worsening while it's supposed to better in time.''
''Ara, but my condition is not worsening Chikane.''
'' Shizuru. Please. Let's leave games. I am serious this time. Talk to me.''
Shizuru let go of a sigh. She noticed she had been sighing a lot today, a lot had happened and it was not even lunch time. Whoever knew what the rest of the day would bring.
In any case she did wanted to talk with Chikane. If there was anyone she could talk to it was the woman looking back at her with affection.
''Yes it is worsening Chikane. After all I have eaten the food of the underworld. And now I feel myself drifting to the land of the dead, unable to no longer return to the living. The time lessened in between what I feel and loose.''
''It was not supposed to be that way Shizuru. The doctors were sure you would regain your peripheral nervous system in no time.''
'' I can't feel the cold after three minutes Chikane, and I used to feel it at first. I feel like it evolved. I talked with a doctor who informed me of mononeuropathy multiplex, even he is not so sure what it is changing into. It's not just the cold now, I don't even feel the warmth of a lover, nor the pain. The only pain I feel is the deep, aching one that accompanies me at night. It pours from where once that bullet stood, and it feels like my spine is about to split my body into two. ''
''That is why I wish for you to take some time away. You are pushing yourself to feel in all the wrong places. It's not the gun aimed at you that will make you feel, nor the subjects in your bed lying for those purposes. And the mental toll to keep it secrecy is unbearable-''
''You are wrong. If you're to take me away from all this and throw me in to a place of security and peace, I would loose my mind Chikane. You have to understand without all this, you, Alyssa, Anh... I'm not able to keep my sanity. And it's the last healthy part of me keeping up a resistance. Trust me, please...''
The latter couldn't argue anymore for she could not understand what the other was going through. All she wished was Shizuru's health and if the girl didn't want to get away, who was she to force her to.
''Just promise me something Shizuru?'' worried blue eyes looked up to the crimson.
''Just keep up a fight. And whenever or where ever you feel life even in the slightest form, follow it.''
''I did not get rescued by you, leaving behind countless sacrifices, only to suffer death while living ne Chikane?'' The honey colored hair moved a little as Shizuru tilted her head with a faint smile.
''No you did not. '' The latter smiled back.
''Well then, I should go and struggle myself back to the delights of the world.''
The legionnaire stood up elegantly and gave her Major a wink, receiving a warm smile in return.
''Ara, by the way Chikane,''
''Yes Shizuru?'' a brow was raised in anticipation.
''You do know Alyssa harbors amorous feelings towards yourself I presume? For one who wishes for me to feel life, I re-quote her sentences. And I'm delighted to say, she will definitely make you feel. It was the best ten minutes of what I felt on top of me...''
With that Shizuru left a blushing woman behind her and couldn't help but give out a genuine laughter.
''Ara.. it's snowing?'' Porcelain hands reached up to feel tiny snow flakes melting in her hand one by one. She smiled, content, walking back to her friends.
Now all she had to do was to have a talk with a certain blue haired girl.
Ara, the pet can wait till night. I'm rather hungry. It's a blessing I haven't loose my appetite as well.