I - Geminis Fatalis
"Mamoru, time to get up."
Mamoru groaned and rolled over onto his stomach, pulling the bed sheets up over his head. A moment later, the sheets were yanked off all the way down to his waist, causing him to shiver and reach blindly for the edge, hoping to pull them up again. Hands pulled the pillow off his head and yanked open the shutters. Light spilled in, shining directly into his eyes.
"Awww, Mom, really," he grumbled, rubbing his eyes, "I was just getting comfortable."
Kairi tossed the pillow playfully at his head and rested her hands on her hips. "That's what you get for staying up to one in the morning playing video games. Now, up. Your sister is already in the kitchen." Giving him a light kiss on his forehead, she left, padding lightly down the hall.
Dressing sluggishly, he combed through his short auburn hair with his hand as he walked downstairs, stifling a yawn as he walked into the kitchen. Sora looked up over his paper before Hikari, Mamoru's twin sister, reached out and flipped the paper right side up.
Sora shrugged sheepishly. "That explains why I never understand it…"
Hikari sighed. "Check before you start next time, Dad."
Mamoru shrugged into his seat as Kairi set a plate of scrambled eggs and pancakes in front of him. "Knowing him, he'll do the exact same thing tomorrow."
"Of course he will," Kairi agreed, and the three of them burst out laughing.
Sora cleared his throat, eager to change the subject. "Anything happening at school today?"
"Math test and we've got a presentation in Biology," Hikari rattled off, trying her brown hair into a ponytail, "And Mamoru has an essay to finish for English after school, so we'll be coming home late."
Mamoru grumbled. "You didn't have to say that."
"It's better that you told us, Mamoru," Kairi sighed, sitting down at the table next to him, "You always seem more interested in anything other than your schoolwork."
Hikari snorted. "Be thankful he's not interested in the wrong things…"
Sora almost choked on his coffee. "What?"
"I'm not!" Mamoru snapped back, "Don't start giving them stupid ideas!"
"All I said was, 'it's a good thing you aren't'," she sighed. "You're just misinterpreting things."
"No one would misinterpret anything if you didn't say it!"
Kairi rolled her eyes. "Enough, you two. No one is misinterpreting anything," she gave Sora a dirty look, "So eat your breakfast. You'll be late if you don't leave soon."
Looking at the time, they realized she was right and hurried, eating and running to the door as quickly as they could. Kairi followed them, watching them as they rushed.
"Where's my bag?" Mamoru grumbled, pulling his shoes on.
Hikari glanced back at him in the mirror as she fixed her skirt. "It's where you left it yesterday: under the bench."
"Oh. Right." He grabbed his bag and slung it lazily over his shoulder.
Kairi stepped over and gave them both a quick hug. "Have a good day, you two. I'll see you when you get home."
"Thanks Mom," Hikari smiled. "Have a good day."
"Bye Dad," Mamoru called over his shoulder, but Sora's reply was slightly muffled by a piece of toast. Finished, they departed, stepping out into the morning sun. "Another day at the grind, huh?"
Hikari chuckled. "Only for you, and only because you never work at anything."
"Yeah, but why do work when I have you to do it for me?" he joked.
"Not funny. I'm not going to be around to do your work for you forever. You're going to have to learn to take care of things yourself."
"But… this isn't what I want to do. I want to go out and explore the world. I want to do something exciting, something bold and adventurous, you know?"
She sighed, rolling her eyes. "The dream of all men."
"Oh, yeah? Well, tell me, what do you want? To get married, settle down, and live out your life like Mom and Dad?" he mocked.
"Not like that!" she snarled, and then sighed. "I want something interesting to happen, too, but you make it sound like you want it at the expense of everyone else."
Mamoru shuffled his feet as they walked, staring at the dust clouds he kicked up. "They aren't happy, right? Mom and Dad. They always look like they're missing something."
"Yeah. I know what you mean. But maybe it's not just them. Maybe we're missing something."
"Remember, back in grade school, when we were little kids, and we were asked what our parents' jobs were? We didn't have a clue. When we asked them, they never told us. I still wonder why…"
"They don't have to tell us everything. You know that. We're just kids, remember?"
She shook her head. "We were kids. But we're fourteen now. We're almost adults. They could start treating us like them, at least by telling us the truth."
"Wishful thinking like that will always keep you from being an adult," he smirked. "Come on, or we'll be late!"
The day passed in a blurry haze as the twins progressed through their usual schedule: First period was Math and, as expected, Mamoru proceeded to fail, leaving almost the entire test blank. Second period was History, where work on their term project began. After lunch, Geography presented the class with a boring documentary on the shifting of tectonic plates, and almost everyone fell asleep. Finally, fourth period was Biology, and the twin gave a presentation on the respiratory system, for which they received top marks. Hikari hug around after school as Mamoru worked on his English essay and, an hour after the final bell, they made their way home.
"Another long day, huh?" Mamoru yawned, stretching his arms. "I could use a nap."
"Got to sleep earlier if you're always so tired," she snapped back. "Let's just get home quickly. I want to start working on that History project, especially if you're not going to help me."
Hikari started picking up speed, and he jogged to catch up with her. "That reminds me: if you think I'm such a pain and you want me to get work done, why do you always do my share of the work? We always work together, too. Why is that?"
"Because, no matter how much of a jerk you are, you're still my brother, and as family, I hate to admit, I love you. Just like I love Mom and Dad. So deal with it."
When they reached the house, Hikari pulled off her bag to search for the house key, but Mamoru reached over her head and grabbed the door handle. The door opened when he pushed on it.
"Odd," he mumbled, "It's open, not to mention unlocked. They never do that."
Hikari picked up her bag and walked in. "Well, maybe they decided to wait for us. Mom, Dad, we're home!" There was no reply, even after she tried a couple times. "Maybe they went out."
Mamoru walked past her. "They went out and they left the door unlocked? Doesn't sound like somethi-" He paused, staring into the living room. "I think we have a problem."
Confused, Hikari ran to her brother's side and gasped, following his gaze. The living room was a mess, everything from furniture to paper littering every bare inch of the floor. Mamoru took a few steps into the room, surveying the damage, and then dashed up the stairs, finding all the rooms in the house, even the bathroom, in similar conditions. He then ran back down to join his sister.
"We're in trouble," he breathed. "Big trouble."
Hikari was on the verge of tears. "You don't think… maybe they were… kidnapped or… worse, do you?"
"Kidnapped, maybe," he whispered, rubbing his shoulders in a comforting gesture, "but other than the mess, there wasn't any blood or anything. The bathroom sink was torn from the wall, though, so someone fought back."
Sobbing, she buried her face in his shoulder. "Why? How could something like this happen to us!? Who would want to kidnap Mom and Dad?"
"I'm not-" Mamoru began, but he was cut off suddenly. Outside, something exploded, breaking the windows. Glass and dust blasted in from all directions, and he managed to push them both to the floor to avoid the worst. "What was that?"
"Should we go outside to see?" Hikari asked, almost hoarse with worry and fear.
He coughed, trying to clear the dust from his throat. "You have any better ideas?"
Pulling her up by her arm, they stumbled outside to a scene of pure horror. A house down the street had been blown to bits, and all around them, houses and trees were on fire, filling the air with smoke, blacking out the late afternoon sun. There were indiscriminant screams off in the distance, but none was close enough for them to make out what was happening.
"Should we be panicking now?" Hikari asked, staring wide eyed at their surroundings.
Suddenly, out of nowhere, a large black puddle appeared on the ground in front of them. With a sickening sucking sound, the edges of the puddle drew in and a black humanoid figure rose up out of the ground. The black being had long, lanky arms and legs, its fingers forming pointed claws. Its head was adorned with two antenna-like ears, and blue markings ran down the length of its body. It stared straight at them with its lifeless yellow eyes, standing a few inches shorter than they did.
Mamoru grabbed his sister's arm tightly. "Start panicking!"
The strange creature dived at them, pulling its arms back in preparation of a slash, but something collided with it from above, impaling it right through. Stunned, it collapsed to the ground, lay there for a moment before it dissolved into a puddle and vanished. The weapon that had killed in stuck in the ground, and they admired it for a moment: a large, key-shaped blade with a broad yellow guard, the light from the surrounding fires glinting off its shiny surface.
Gulping back his fear, Mamoru took a step forward to grab the strange weapon, but before he could, a black blur jumped in front of his, grabbed the weapon, and slashed through another black creature that was jumping at them from the side. Their savior stood, running a black armored hand through his silvery white hair before he turned to them. He met their confused blue eyes with his pale green ones, and they stared at each other, trying to divine answers from the other's gazes. The man, realizing he was getting nowhere, cringed and turned around, preparing to leave, carrying his weapon loosely in one hand.
"Wait!" Mamoru shouted, and the man looked back over his shoulder. "You know what's going on here, don't you? So, tell us! What happened to our parents? What's going on!?"