Shit. That was the word rolling in Hamuko's head over and over. Of all things to forget how could they have forgotten the full moon? Worst of all they left Aigis, Koromaru, and ken…ALONE.
"It's too late," Mitsuru grunted in frustration as she closed her cell phone, "The Dark hour has started and all my electronics are useless. Yamagishi, use your persona so we can contact him."
"Yes ma'am," she closed her eyes as she summoned her persona, "He's moving, Lucia having a hard time getting a hold of him. I'm going to need some more time."
"Hurry Yamagishi, time is of the essence," Mitsuru's voice actually had a bit of panic in it and who could blame her? There is no doubt that the three of them are strong but it takes 4 to successfully take a shadow down on the full moon.
The tension in the air, with the SEES group, was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Then finally they heard his voice:
"Mitsuru…is that you?" the voice was being heard through layers of static, but it was still recognizable to the group.
"Yes Ikukuski. I regret to inform you but, we lost track of time and we won't be able to make it there. Can they handle it?"
"We'll have to and it's odd, we lost track too," He gave a nervous laugh, "Not exactly our brightest move."
"Wait we'll? …Ikukuski…don't tell me."
"We need four people to take it down, all I have is a gun, but I'm sure we'll find a way," there was no mistaken that his voice was a bit shaken with fear.
Then Aigis's monotone voice came in, "Do not fear Mitsuru we have been training tirelessly during the dark hour and I ….sure…," there was a loud thud and more static insuded, Aigi's voice was going in and out, "'s…. COMING!"
There was static and then it went completely silent.
"Ikuksuki," MItsuru yelled in vain, "IKUKSUKI!"
"I'm sorry Mitsuru I can't connect to him, there's a huge surge of energy in the way…"
Akihiko's eyes went wide, "The shadow there is that powerful?"
"Not the one from home…the one here…" Fuuka gasped and her persona dissipated, "I'm sure of it. There is a shadow here as well and it … it's coming this way."
The SEES group kept quiet and listened carefully, a low inhuman growl coming from the other side of the building.
"Well what are we waiting for?" Junpei clutched his katana, "Let's go over there to it."
Fuuka shook her head, "There's no need. It senses us and it's coming here."
"Ok everyone get ready!" Mitsuru shouted the command.
"I'm sorry but I can't allow that," a male voice called from behind her.
Hamuko turned around to see the Host Club, armed and ready to fight. Kyoya, who was naturally in front of the group was donning his school uniform and modified his evoker to have a blade welded to the top of it, Tamaki was beside with a wooden staff, Hamuko guessed that he wasn't allowed to have anything sharp, the twins had hook swords, Mori was silent in the back holding a katana, and Honey had nothing but tape around his knuckles, his karate outfit complete with a black belt and his pink rabbit, uso-chan, in his left hand.
"Sorry for the tardiness," Kyoya adjusted his glasses as he walked toward them, "But after your warning about the full moon I thought it would be best for us to be properly ready." He glanced over toward the Academy and glared, "It's a good thing I decided to do thus."
"Kyoya," Hamuko walked toward them, resisting the urge to bite her lip, "Are you sure you all can do it?"
Yukari followed behind and nodded, "She has a point. You have gone through only one night of using your persona's…this is much stronger than the shadows you fought before."
"That may be so but…" Tamaki slammed his wooden staff into the concrete, "This is our school and after a certain speech," he glanced over to Hamuko and gave a smile, "I gain a new objective on life."
Honey ran over to Yukari and gave an encouraging grin, "You all work hard to save your home but this is ours. We have to do everything we can to protect it."
Mori gave a grunt of confirmation that he felt the same way.
Hikaru and Karou gave a sly grin, "'It's gonna be sorry it messed with us."
The Host Club pushed past SEES and took their place of waiting in front of the gates. As they stood there a small black cloud formed over the top of the Ouran Academy and black rain fell down, forming a jet black puddle.
"It's never rained during the dark hour," whispered Junpei.
"That's because its not rain," Fuuka responded still watching as the rain slowly stopped, and saw a mask fall from the cloud with a thunk, "It's the shadow."
The black puddle slowly began to bubble more and more. As it it lifted it began to have the consistency of bubbling slime, its arms were forming and its huge mouth opened and let out a low growl with a very potent stench. It smelled like manure, someone who didn't take a shower for a month, and a dead skunk all rolled together. Hamuko almost puked as the smell increased, when the shadow slowly crawled toward them.
"Gross," groaned Karou as he waved his hand trying to fan the smell away from his nostrils.
"I think I'm gonna hurl," complained Hikaru.
Tamaki's face was green and he was slowly swaying left and right, "Stay strong men!"
Hikaru and Karou turned their head to give their king an accusing glance, "Says the man who can puke at any minute."
"Hey shut it!"
"How about you morons move to the side so I can do a scan," Kyoya lifted his evoker to his head and summoned his persona.
Honey jumped enthusiastically pink flowers floating around his head as he suddenly ran toward the shadow, "I got it!" He giggled and then did a jump kick at the body of the shadow only to fall to the ground, grabbing his foot in pain.
"Mitskuni!" Mori yelled as he ran toward honey and tried to pick him up.
However the shadow was too close and spit something gooey and black into his face. Now Mori was the one screaming in pain and there was a distinct sound of sizzling skin.
"Damn it," Shinjiro took initiative and ran toward the shadow, "Can't you do anything right!"
He swung his ax into the creature only to have it sink into the shadow but no real damage was made. When he tried to pull it out… it wouldn't budge.
The twins took this chance to get their members out of harms way. Hikaru picked up honey and Karou was practically dragging Mori away from the slowly moving shadow. Shinjiro tried to pull his weapon out one last time but it still wouldn't budge. As the shadow raised its hand to attack he had no choice but to let it go in order to dodge out of the way. He ran back toward the group, his face even surlier than usual.
"Damn," he panted as he glanced back at the slowly approaching creature, "That is no ordinary shadow…even for the full moon."
Fuuka ran toward honey and summoned Lucia yet again, "Stay still and I'll heal it."
Even though she tried to comfort him he was still wailing in pain, then as Hamuko came toward him she saw why. The same foot he used to try and kick the creature...it was bleeding profusely and the skin looked like it was melting off so badly she could have sworn she saw bone.
Kyoya grunted and looked at the shadow, "That thing has the consistency of acid how are we supposed to defeat it."
"We don't have a choice. We have to figure out something fast!" Mitsuru stood her ground with her rapier pointed at the creature, "It's moving faster and coming straight for us!"
As they charged toward the shadow she merely stood there. It didn't matter what it was hit with…everything would just melt away. She never felt so hopeless in her life. She, the leader, was supposed to save them…save everyone, but they were all running to their death.
"I'm so sorry," she was on the break of tears and couldn't bring herself to watch, "I'm so sorry."
She covered her mouth expecting to hear scream, but nothing happened. She slowly turned back around to see that they weren't moving. It was if time had stopped for the Host Club and SEES, but the shadow was still inching slowly toward them.
"My, oh my, this defiantly went in the wrong direction," said a familiar voice forcing Hamuko to look around. It was Yuuko, the woman who was standing beside Igor in the velvet room. She was wearing the same flowing, red dress as before but this time she was holding a small black thing in her hand. Whatever the creature was it had long ears like a rabbit and a red jewel on its forehead, and its entire body was black as night.
"Please…you need to help them," Hamuko was on the verge of tears, practically begging, "They'll die if…if…"
Yuko walked over to Hamuko and put a finger on her lips to keep her silent, "I take it you have a wish, but in order for me to grant it…I will need something of equal value."
"I…don't have much of anything on me right now."
"I'll take what's in your left pocket," and she extended her hand.
Hamuko slipped a hand in her pocket and pulled out the pocket watch that Shinjiro had given to her. It was precious to her and held the memory of that night when she finally as him lose his hardened exterior and smile for once, "It…means a lot to me but if it saves their lives then…fine. " she placed the watch in Yuko's extended hand, "Just promise me that you'll take care of it."
She gave a nod in acknowledgement then let the black creature fall from her hand to the ground, "I hope you're hungry."
The creature bounced up and down and opened its eyes, "Mokina starving!" it opened its mouth and inhaled so deep the wind was the same as a tornado. She was sure if she was on the other side of this...Mokina…thing, would have been swallowed her too. When the shadow was completely gone it gave out a small burp, "Mmm, Mokina full!"
"I'm glad to hear it. Now I need you to come with me Hamuko," Yuko stepped to the side and behind a door lifted from the ground and slowly opened to reveal a blue glow, "We all need to sit down and figure out where this all started."
Hamuko wiped her eyes and entered into the velvet room. Igor sat in his usual spot while Theodore stood beside him holding tightly to his book.
"Ah welcome," Igor gave a nod and waved her in, "This is quite an interesting circumstance. Of all who have been in my velvet room, I have never had such…intriguing results."
She looked down unable to make eyes contact as she sat in her seat, "Well it's a good coincidence that Yuki happened to show up."
"Tsk Tsk, there is no such thing as coincidence," she pulled out a small hour glass from her sleeve and set it on the table between Hamuko and Igor, "Only inevitability."
"So…we were bound to meet?"
"Well think of it like this," Yuko didn't look Hamuko in the eyes as she popped off the top of the hourglass, "Of all the dimensions that you could have connected to… you just happened to connect to mine. And I just happen to be a dimensional witch."
Igor gave a chuckle and nodded, "I am not faint of heart to the known and unknown. However I appreciate the help. "
"Good then lets get started," She reached her fingers in and pinched out a few grains of sand then tossed at the clock behind Igor. The golden clock was still before, but now it started to move backward first slowly then pick up pace, until it was moving so fast that sparks were flying. "Oh my," Yuko chuckled, "I guess I put a little too much sands of time on that."
"Wait…what's going on?" Hamuko perked her head up and asked, thoroughly confused.
Theodore gave a bow, "I can answer that one Master hamuko," he stood upright and gave a knowing grin, "My Master's power is in the Fusion of persona's, however time travel is a bit out of his limit."
"We're going back in time…if we are, then why did Mokina swallow that shadow?"
"Easy," the little black creature bounce beside Yuko and rubbed its round stomach, "Mokina was hungry."
"More of peace of mind for you ," Yuko picked up Mokina and gave him a pat on the head, "and he was indeed hungry, but that is beside the point." Everyone looked up when there was a loud CLUCK! The elevator stopped moving, as did the hands of the clock behind him, "Ah good, its time."
Yuko pointed her index finger to the clock and slowly came out a clear bubble. It floated over and hovered over the table, "Now first let's talk about a habit of yours."
Hamuko was barely listening to her, she was too intrigued by this bubble and she leaned closer she saw figures moving….backwards.
"You are a slave to routine," Yuko continued, "but that's not a bad thing. You are the type of person who has a routine and can easily adjust it on a day to day basis."
"Oh…uh yeah," she finally looked up and thought deeply, "Well usually I wake up, go to school, hang out with one of my friends and almost every night I go to Tartarus."
"Ah yea," she gave a knowing grin to Igor, who merely nodded back, "I have been informed about this Tartarus but I can tell even there you also have a routine don't you."
She blushed and gave a nod, "Yeah we fight shadow and when we get tired we leave…"
Theodore walked toward her and cleared his throat, "Master Hamuko, If you wish for this to be done correctly we need you complete honesty and trust. No one will judge you here." He kneeled down and held her hand, "I give you my word."
She held tightly to his hand and gave a deep breath, "Each night on our way home, I ask Fuuka to do a scan outside of Tartarus before the dark hour is over. Just to make sure some didn't escape on our way out," Hamuko looked down at the floor and her cheeks turned pink, " I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want them to think I was being over cautious or anything."
"And you did this each time?" Yuko asked, she already knew the answer but she wanted Hamuko to figure this all out herself.
"Yeah I do it each night, except…" her head snapped up in realization, "Except one night when we had exams. We only did a few levels and we rushed to go home. I was going to ask Fuuka…but nothing happened the other times so I thought it would be fine. D-do you think that night may be it? Maybe we weren't supposed to go to Ouran Academy at all."
Yuko clapped her hands and gave out a giggle of delight, "By George I think she's got it!" the images in the bubble rewound themselves back even further and she saw the figures in there was SEES. It was rewinding back from their fight with the shadow at Ouran all the way from the plane trip and even her packing her bags. This wasn't supposed to happen, she thought to herself, none of this was ever supposed to happen. Slowly the images slowed down and came to a stop as the SEES group was about to leave Tartarus.
"So now you know what you must do correct?" Igor asked, "And remember you must hold yourself responsible for your actions. Thus are the terms of the contract."
She gave a nod, "Yes I know," without having to be asked she gave Theodore's hand one last squeeze of encouragement before she walked toward the door to exit the velvet room.
Yuko held up her palm, "Before you go, I have a 'gift' for you. The item you gave me holds many fond memories for not only you but the person it belonged to. In exchange I can erase your memories."
Hamuko turned around eyes wide with shock, "Erase…my memory?"
"Correct. You would never remember meeting the host club or any events that occured. Surely it would make it easier for you, especially since no one else will remember."
"No," she didn't hesitate to answer, "I want to keep these memories simply because…they are mine. I want to remember everything I went through so I can grow and learn…even if I am the only one that remembers. I know I can't tell the others but I …I don't mind."
Yuko merely smiled, "As you wish. When you leave this place you will be back to that night. However it will be up to you to make sure that everything falls into place…no matter what the circumstances."
"How will I know I made the right choice?"
"Trust me," the waved a hand and the door the velvet room creaked open, "you'll know."
Hamuko walked out the velvet room door and as soon as she heard the door slam shut time resumed as normal.
"Alright," Junpei yelled in triumph, "an early night. I wonder what I should do first…video games…or hell I could even go to bed early."
Mitsuru gave him a glare and walked close behind, "Or perhaps you can get some of your lessons done so you don't have to take summer courses."
He instantly lost his enthusiasm and his shoulder slumped, "yeah…there's that too."
Hamuko was a little taken back, after all that happened earlier, it took her a moment to remember what happened next, and then Fuuka poked her on the shoulder.
"Hey did you still want me to do a scan?" she asked.
"What?" Yukari asked, "what about a scan?"
The SEES group stopped and surrounded her. It was just like last time, she was intimidated with everyone staring at her that she changed her mind about asking Fuuka to summon her persona, but this time….she didn't have a choice.
"Well after we leave Tartarus," she spoke softly, "I ask Fuuka to make sure no shadows have escaped when we leave."
"Really?" Akihiko rubbed his chin, "I never thought about doing that."
Mitsuru swung a stray strand of red hair from over her eyes, "Come to think of it, that would help to make sure that none of the lost get attacked. Good thinking."
"Why the hell didn't you tell tell us about this before," Shinjiro's voice was stern, "You may be the leader but you don't have to do this all by yourself."
Junpei ran over and smacked her on the back, "Yeah, We are a team. Fuuka go ahead and do a scan."
"Of course," Fuuka gave a smile as she summoned Lucia. While she scanned Hamuko felt herself become a bit closer to her friends. She was so afraid of what they might think but in the end… they supported her.
"Thanks guys," she whispered softly, it was more to herself than to them.
"Hey I picked up something!" Fuuka called, "It's a low level shadow…two of them. They just escaped out of Tartarus."
Hamuko glanced down the street and there they were, one was flying and the other was crawling on the ground.
"Leave it to me!" Yukari pulled her arrow tightly against the string of her bow and released it. It struck the shadow in the sky and it disappeared before even hitting the ground.
"I can't let you have all the fun!" Akihiko pulled the trigger of his evoker and summoned it, "Come Persona!"
The metallic persona raised its hand and a streak of lightening struck down on the shadow. As soon as the attack was over the shadow was annihilated, the persona disappeared, and the dark hour was officially over.
Hamuko enjoyed the walk home. She was finally able to stroll back and give a genuine smile over small talk. It was as if a weight on her shoulders was finally over. When they finally got to the dorm everyone went their separate ways. However she had already finished her work so she decided to go to her secret spot.
She walked all the way to the top of the stairs and paused at the door that was always locked. She took a hair pin from her hair taking her time to Jimmy the lock open. She took off her shoes to keep the door cracked. She could open it from the inside but she never had the courage to close the door behind her. Just as she set her shoes on the ground her hand was licked my Koromaru.
"You wanna join me outside boy?" She giggled as the white hair dogged wagged his tail, hopping form left to right, "Alright, you can …just as long as you're quiet." She opened the door wide enough for him to walk through, then gently rested her shoes between the door way and the door.
At first Koromaru was running around the roof, smelling each corner getting himself acquainted with his surroundings. However when he saw Hamuko sit down and rest against the wall by the door way he instantly ran over so he could comfortably rest his head in her lap.
She absently rubbed his head and scratched him behind the ears as she gazed up at the half moon. She nearly fell asleep when she heard a tapping on the door.
"Hey…Mind if I join you?"
"Sure Yukari, have a seat but make sure the shoes keep the door open."
"Hey good idea," she praised as she carefully walked over the shoe, took a seat by Hamuko and offered her a red apple, "here I figured you might get a little hungry."
"Thanks," She happily accepted the apple and rubbed it against her black shirt in an attempt to wipe it clean.
"So how long have you been doing that?" Yukari ask before eating her apple.
"You know," she rolled her finger giving Hamuko the clue to keep going, "Asking Fuuka to scan."
"Oh," she shrugged, "I've been doing it for a while. I guess I was just cautious."
"Well it really is a good idea. Who knows what would have happened if you didn't."
Hamuko took a bite of the apple and smiled as a black butterfly flew a mere inches past her face and disappeared into thin air, "Yeah," she gave a knowing grin, "I can only imagine."
Well that's all she wrote folks. Technically this story is complete but it will remain incomplete until I do spell checking for all the chapters. Thank you all for reading and your comments have helped a lot. Next story I work on will be 'Halloween night wish'.