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Author's starter notes:
My god, it's finally done. Sorry for the delay folks, but as I'm sure a lot of you are aware, Real Life is a bitch. I thank you all for being patient and hopefully Ch 7 won't be as long in coming. Even so, I should have some stuff to tide you over in the meanwhile and not seem so dead in-between chapters. Once again, I thank you for your support; it is both humbling and well appreciated.
Words from Wheeljack:
I can quite say I didn't think either of us expected things to take this long, however real life for both of us, particularly for Ghost was brutal. Let this be a lesson to all of you that retail work sucks. As for this chapter, we had assumed it would be quick due to that this is actually the second half of the last chapter. This chapter and the last one were originally one single chapter during our outline process that was split in half due to size. Un/Fortunately enough, this chapter ended up growing large as well due to more character interaction and setup, so for many please take this large chapter as an apology for taking so long to complete.
Also, for some of the reviewers who felt that the last chapter felt somewhat incomplete were correct as the climax and resolvement of Feather Five is in this chapter. We thank all of you again for continuing to read and hope you'll be with us in future chapter.
Bleach is created by Tite Kubo and distributed by Weekly Shonen Jump, Shueisha, Studio Pierrot, TV Tokyo, Adult Swim, & Viz Media LLC.
Seikirei is created by Sakurako Gokurakuin and distributed by Young Gangan, Square Enix, Seven Arcs & Funimation Entertainment
No permission has been obtained from any of the copyright holders for the use of the characters and situations from this series. This work of fiction is not for profit and not intended to infringe on copyrighted intellectual property in any significant or harmful way.
Should they, or any of their affiliates, request it this non-profit story will be taken off line as quickly as possible. Please support the official release.
Any original characters, however, are owned by me. If you steal them, I shall hunt you down and skewer your nuts. You want to use them? Just ask me first as I'll probably say yes.
Feedback is encouraged. That's why I write. Also for the cookies. And The Root Beer. The sweet, nectar-of-the-gods root beer.
Flames are pointless, as the author is a flaming retard.
...hold up, that's not what I meant. Uh, let's just start the story.
The room was dark.
This would be unusual if not for the fact that it was early morning. The sun was out and the sky was clear for a beautiful March morning as the early risers went about their day, enjoying the cool temperatures that the day promised. The room in question however hid all this with every window and link to the outside world closed shut, allowing no light to enter. Not unusual should the occupant be asleep and not wanting the sun to interfere however the occupant was not only awake but had been awake and out of bed for some time.
What saved the room from total darkness was the glow from the many, many computer screens which took up one entire wall and some of the two adjacent ones. A woman, hunched over with her blanket draped over her shoulders, her glasses reflecting the glow and masking her eyes should anyone been in there to see her. She was still, hands hovered over a keyboard as she took in the images she had brought up. The room was in total silence, save for her soft breathing and the hum of several computers. She drew in a long audible breath as her eyes flicked back and forth between the images in her screens.
On half of them held the image of a man with strawberry blonde hair, tall and strong in various modes of dress and several without. Most of the images were of him and a brunette that many would describe as jaw dropping in her beauty. On many of them they were talking with each other, holding each other, and some simply with the two in the same frame. The one's she kept flicking her eyes to though were somewhat fuzzed do to being taken in the bath in heavy steam.
She licked her lips as her eyes traveled to the other half.
These monitors held another man, not quite as tall as the other specimen she had been looking at and not quite as imposing. He in several of the pictures slouched a bit, and some others gave off a not so confident grin as he scratched his black hair. Like the other male, he was not alone in most of his images. Many of them held two other girls, one of which could also be described as jaw dropping beauty and the other a young child; cute as a button. In these pictures he could be seen talking or having fun or even give a semblance of playing. It was these that also made her heart pound, seeing his face without worry and the uncertainty that many of the images held.
And like the other, her eyes kept flickering to the ones where he was by himself, also in the bath.
Her lips smacked as she gazed at one of them and gasped as she had unconsciously brought a hand to her breast and cup it. Quickly she looked to the special door to her room and heard nothing. Staying that position for a few more minutes she once more brought her attention to her screens.
'What to do, what to do...?' was the mantra that kept playing on in her mind.
She took in a shuddering breath, feeling herself grow a little bit warm before pushing past it to put a hand forward and play her fingers over the keyboard. All the screens suddenly went dark before glowing anew just as fast, this time holding nothing but bathroom pictures of both of her specimens. Things had been gradually getting worse with both of them here and her being cooped up. A few more clicks brought the live cameras online, and quickly she took a head count of who was where and doing what.
Quickly she flicked her eyes towards the door again.
She had to make a decision, and soon. There may not be another chance. And all she could do for the moment was the only thing that seemed to help clear her mind as her other hand slipped lower.
'Decisions, decisions,' was the last thought on her mind as she began another session.
In Association With Wheeljack...
A Bleach - Sekirei Crossover
Feather Six: Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday [nujabes remix]
Consciousness returned slowly for Ichigo Kurosaki. His eyes opened slightly before closing, his foggy mind noting that his vision was blurred before closing them again, scowling slightly. Within his foggy mind were the retreating vestige of what he could ascertain was an odd dream.
But of what, exactly?
Despite not being able to recall anything visually there were still the echoes of what emotions he had felt. But even now they were retreating so he concentrated, his closed eyes shut harder as he tried to put those emotions to words. He had felt...
Loneliness? Fear? Determination?
No... No, it wasn't him that was feeling that but it had been...somebody else? A brief flash of a blurred face came to him with their arm outstretched as if to reach for him. And then it was gone.
He let out an irritated breath from his mouth as he brought his mind back to his current surroundings, pushing away the stray thought that if he went back to sleep with how comfortable he was he could probably continue that weird dream. He moved slightly and grunted softly and his mind fed him further information that he was warm under the blanket and very, very comfortable with the left side of his head on the warm pillow.
Opening his eyes again, he noted that now his vision was a bit clearer as he saw he had also slept on his left side. Other bits of information continued to flood his mind as his head continued to clear; such as a comfortable warmth right in front of him. Lowering his eyes slightly he caught sight of brown hair as Uzume continued to sleep on. Blinking, he lifted his head slightly to roll it a bit before lying it back down on the pillow and realized that he and Uzume were spooning together and held his right arm over her, holding her close under the blanket.
Ah... so that's what was so comfortable.
He continued to look at her, not minding that she was pressed to him and that his arm was wrapped under her own right arm, holding it close. He inhaled deeply, allowing her scent to envelop him as he found himself moving his head forward, allowing his chin to softly rub against her hair and closed his eyes again for a bit.
As he continued to inhale her scent, thoughts from last night began to return. He raised his head slightly to look downward at her, letting off a small sigh as he felt her warmth before looking to the side, which from his angle would be the ceiling before bringing them back to the girl. Despite those thoughts, he allowed himself a small smile as he also continued to hold her in his arms.
He really did feel better. It looked like a good night's rest did him a little bit of good. Oh... the doubts were still there, some big ones, but they didn't feel as daunting as they had been yesterday. What exactly those doubts were hadn't quite made it to his mind yet as more important thoughts came to fore.
Thoughts such as finding himself wanting to pull the girl a bit closer to him but realized exactly how snuggly she had held his arm. If he tried to pull her any closer from where his hand rested at the moment, the young man would be coping a decent feel of her breasts, especially as it was that now his forearm was pressed slightly against them. Not wanting to take advantage of her, he shoved away the tempting thoughts as he attempted to pull his arm back slowly.
He frowned slightly as he again pulled back but a little harder, feeling his arm beginning to slide away. And just as he was about to pull away she shifted a bit, her neck bending and her head pressing against the pillow a bit harder as she caught his forearm and pulled it back as her body relaxed once more. His lips tightened a bit while his eyes moved around at his conundrum. Her arm seemed to be holding his a little firmer now, and not only was his palm now close enough that he was sure he had felt it brush against an erect nipple despite the t-shirt she was still wearing.
Ignoring the more intimate problem, the other issue was that her grip was starting to cut off circulation to his arm. So no matter where his hand was it was going to get uncomfortable fast if he didn't get his arm free. Again not wanting to take unfair advantage he slowly moved his palm away to ball his hand into a fist, ensuring there was no way for an accidental grope. Pulling on his hand, he didn't pause as he did before, slowly changing the amount of strength necessary to pull away from her.
After a moment his arm slipped free and he raised it, slipping it out from under the blanket to stretch it to his side into the air. He opened his hands to stretch his fingers before closing them and opening again a few more times feeling the prickly feeling of his numb hand as blood rushed back into it. Satisfied that his circulation was back to normal he brought it down against the blanket to where her waist would be as her head was the only part of her that was not covered, not bothering to put it back under to hold her directly. He had just realized his misjudgment when she moaned quietly and turned her head slightly to her right to look at him as best she could from her position.
"Good mornin'," she said quietly with a yawn and started to roll her head a bit.
"Morning," he responded back with the same quiet voice, waiting for her to settle back down to put his arm back under the blanket to look at him, her eyes half lidded with sleep.
"Sleep well?" she asked, still quiet.
Before he could respond she pressed against him a bit, enjoying his warmth. At that action he took his cue to put his arm under the blanket, repositioning it to where it was and laid it against her waist in a hug. "Yeah," he told her. "Yeah... I slept well I guess."
"Mmm," she muttered in acknowledgement and smiled as she felt his arm at her waist and then frowned a bit. Turning her head again he half lidded eyes questioned him. He raised an eyebrow at her as she spoke it aloud. "You didn't have to move your arm away y'kno," she told him.
"Ah... yeah I did. It was starting to lose feeling, besides..." he trailed off, not wanting to voice it aloud.
Blinking away more sleep from her eyes she prodded him. "Besides...?"
"I didn't want... I didn't want to... y'kno..."
She gave her Ashikabi a flat look, "Didn't wanna... what?" she pressed.
He sighed, "I didn't wanna touch you... accidentally..."
"Oh... 's that all?" she asked with another yawn, not bothered in the slightest.
Ichigo blinked, "Wha?"
"Ichigo," she sighed as she turned her head a bit more. "I don't mind it at all. I told you before I want you to touch me, anyway you like anytime."
"Uzume," he grumbled as he looked away for a bit before turning back to her. "I don't want to take advantage of you..."
She giggled at his words, "You're not exactly taking advantage of me when I've told you a hundred times its ok hon."
He sighed and closed his eyes. "Whatever..."
She giggled, more awake now. "Come on, Mr. Prude. How 'bout right now?"
"Huh?" He responded smartly as he opened his eyes.
"C'mon... go 'head and cop a feel right now," she said and lifted her arm slightly to allow him easier access. "It's ok now, right? You've got my permission and everything. Touch me."
He sputtered at that, trying to find a way to change the subject before turning away. "It's way too early in the morning for this."
She giggled again, and he found that she started to press up against him again and bit back a gasp at the new sensation hitting him. As she was now, his hips were aligned with her rear, and her rear was positioned just right as she pressed it backwards and motioned it up and down slowly and repeatedly. He held a shuddering breath and shivered slightly.
She smiled at his reaction and to what she was feeling and bit back a laugh. "Oh, it's early alright."
"U...Uzume..." he managed to get out, trying to ignore just how good it felt and the desire to let her continue. To his relief and disappointment she did stop, but kept herself pressed to him. With an embarrassed groan, he turned his head and buried his face into his pillow, knowing how red it must be and felt her shoulders near his chest shaking slightly and knew she was holding back another giggle.
When he felt that he was ready he turned his head back to her and laid against the pillow normally again. With a tight mouthed sigh he pushed himself up, ready to get out of bed when she held onto his right arm again.
"A lil' bit longer," she asked.
He looked at her.
She smiled softly at him, "Please?"
He looked away at his clock and considered it. It was still early, a little bit earlier than when he normally got out of bed. And for once listening to the other side of his conscious lowered himself back down with her, a large part of him satisfied with the decision. As he repositioned himself, she got his arm under hers again, but rather than bring it to her bosom she kept it at her waist and pressed against him again. Not as hard as it was a moment ago, but to the same as when they woke up. He snorted at that, and did his best to ignore her sigh of contentment or his own warm feelings building up.
Several minutes would pass in silence as both enjoyed the others company in silence, and it would be several minutes later when Uzume would be the first to move, turning herself so that she laid on her back and looked at Ichigo. With that he found himself repositioning himself so that he was using his left arm for support as he lifted himself to get a better look at her, the blanket pulling away now that he could see her neck and the top of her t-shirt and shoulders.
He stayed at that position for a few moments, taking her in as she looked at him and she smiled, her hand now covering his at her waist and squeezed it. Ichigo found something within him tighten at that as he continued to gaze at her, finding himself struck again at how beautiful she was, some of her chocolate colored hair spilled out behind her and her awake eyes shining at him.
Without any bidding his head started to lower to her when he caught himself. Outwardly he hadn't moved or done anything to show that he was thinking, but inwardly his mind was awhirl with what he was about to do. With a good night's rest and the playful banter that had happened a bit ago he had found his mind clear, as if whatever happened yesterday hadn't happened at all. All that he saw was the girl he was with and that he had enjoyed himself with each others' company, and that he was now...
He blinked, pausing at what he was feeling right now and looked at the girl below and came to a realization that shook him.
I want this.
This was more than admitting that she was worming her way into his heart. This was more than admitting that it was working. In this brief clarifying moment, he knew what he wanted and wanted to act on it. Lips parting slightly, he lowered his head.
She blinked, noticing his movements and with startled realization what he was doing. Outside the other night, she had initiated all of their kisses, and now... Heart fluttering, she lifted herself to meet him, her lips parting as she found herself feeling as if she were floating upward.
Eyes on each others, they slowly approached one another, his falling bangs first touching her forehead as they turned their heads slightly to allow their lips to-
An unfamiliar yawn that came from neither of them. Both blinked at each other. A slight movement came from Ichigo's left side, and his eyes narrowed slightly. "The hell is that?" he growled.
He was answered shortly as he felt a slight weight that he had not noticed previously lift off behind him. A smaller yawn graced his ears along with a slight smacking of the lips. Turning to look behind him, his eyes widened at the figure rising behind him.
Scratching her head slightly, Ikki very groggily made her presence known to her Ashikabi and his first Sekirei. Lying atop Uzume's neighboring futon, she was still dressed in the yukata she had received after being brought to Izumo. Her left arm dangled idly at her side, and the yukata was loose enough to give Ichigo a flash of skin that revealed a hint of muscle and the much more noticeable swell of her left breast.
"Mornin'," she groggily greeted as she turned her head to them. "Izzit breakfast time yet?"
"What..." Ichigo paused at the disheveled sight of this girl before him and continued. "What are you doing here?!"
Under him, Uzume lifted her head up to get a better view at the developing scene in front of her with a look of mixed irritation and acceptance. She should have expected this from her new 'sister' Sekirei, but the fact was that she just got robbed of a kiss from her Ashikabi. A kiss he was initiating no less left her with very little sympathy to start with.
Ikki remained blissfully unaware as she smiled at her Ashikabi, "What am I doing? I'm sleeping with you of course."
"Yeah, I kinda figured that..." Ichigo gruffly replied. "Why though?"
"To spend time with you, silly!" Ikki chirped before turning almost serious. "Not that it was easy lemmie tell ya. I mean first I had to find your room and that wasn't easy y'kno'? I mean the first room I went into was Musubi-chan's room and we had a nice long talk about our future fight. It's gonna be so. Flippin'. Awesome," she proclaimed as she clenched both her hands in a guts pose. "I'll win of course, but that's beside the point," she said as she waived it off complete with a wave gesture as she closed her eyes and looked away.
She then turned back to Ichigo with a hand and finger pointed up. "But y'know, it's kinda cute the way Musubi-chan's actin' like she'll win! Just the thought of fightin' a Sekirei like her gets my blood pumpin' y'kno?" Ikki giggled slightly in anticipation, her hands clenching once more into fists. "She's strong, Ashikabi-sama. I know it. Fightin' someone like her will get me strong enough ta win this game fer ya!"
Ikki then frowned, unclenching a fist and putting a finger to her lips in thought, "But it kinda sucks too... I mean she's real nice and all. Real fun ta talk to-"
"Hey," Ichigo interrupted, cutting off his Sekirei.
"Ah," Ikki blushed, "I-I-I-I-I'm sorry A-a-a-ashikabi-sama. I... I kinda went off there." She gave a nervous chuckle and gave herself a bop on her head as Ichigo then gave her his default look and she inwardly panicked. 'OhcrapohcrapohcrapI'mblowingit!Ohcrapohcrap!'
The former shinigami then sighed, rubbing his forehead slightly in irritation.
She gulped and took a breath before she could stutter. "I-I mean I wanted to just talk with you and try to get ta know you a bit, I mean you saved me and my lil' sis and all and now you're my Ashikabi-sama! I knocked and everything but the door opened an' you weren't there and I was about to go back ta my room but that's when I got ta smellin' your scent and it was sooo strong and comforting and nice and I just kinda fell asleep."
"Is that right?" Ichigo grunted as he recalled the other night with her over her sister Sekirei and his promise to himself last night. At Ikki's nod he tried to say something and stopped and felt like groaning in frustration. He had to talk to her. He WAS going to talk to her but he wasn't ready yet! Today yeah but not the first thing in the morning! He turned his head to think and saw Uzume come into his vision and winced.
The whole mood between them was ruined, and he had forgotten about in this short time span with Ikki explaining herself.
"Uzume, I'm gonna get up now and go see about breakfast," he said, using it as an excuse to get out and think.
"Ok," she muttered disappointment clear in her voice while she laid there and Ichigo got up. Ichigo simply grunted, ignoring the still dazed Ikki for the moment as he put on a t-shirt over his undershirt and walked off to see Miya. When he left, Uzume's head flopped back upon the futon, groaning irritably as she turned around and buried her face into her pillow.
The light in the room was diluted, but the day was still bright enough to wake him. The young man opened his deep brown eyes languidly and brushed his bedmate's long red hair from his face. Aoshi Yagami was laid on his side with one arm around Rias, the other reaching out and gently touching her face. The heat he had felt from his touch was still there, subdued but never extinguished. His fingers softly traced to her mouth as he remembered the tenderness of her lips.
Reaching up, he stroked her fiery red hair, feeling each strand under his fingertips. Rias stirred slightly in her dream, and a low murmur escaped her lips. "Hmmmm... Yagami-sama..."
Her voice saying his name all but humbled him at the sheer devotion her tone carried even in her sleep. It was a tone that could make his heart start to beat again, after being stopped for almost two days. Aoshi let off a slight chuckle and kissed her cheek. Even now, Yagami still didn't understand the effect this young woman had on him. Before he was a simple lay about, content to go along with whatever Tanigawa had going, finding some trouble to get into, or just loafing around and being a worthless cog in the turning machine that is life. But ever since that snowy day in December, something in him had changed.
And it was changing him for the better, he felt.
After all, it would be safe to say that it would be grossly out of character for a guy like him to be in such an intimate position with a woman. Or to do what they had done for oh, so many nights in a row as tenderly as they had, who he had previously used for one purpose only. And no one would fathom that he would be willing to go to the lengths he was going to for Junichi simply to ensure that the woman in his arms and the woman out in the streets hunting for him would have a better, more secure place to call home.
The only explanation he could think of was that he truly did love them, both Rias and Maiko with all of his being. And while that scared the hell out of him he would not, could not, turn away from it. All he could do was keep moving forward, and eagerly look forward to see how far their love would deepen. Yagami leaned slowly and kissed her cheek, causing the crimson-haired beauty to further snuggle in his embrace.
Aoshi smiled at her reaction, only to frown slightly as his thoughts drifted to his missing other bedmate, and the reason for her absence. Even if it was all to see his girls had a place to even think about raising a family it didn't make hunting this girl down all the easier. Quite frankly, it was getting all the more disturbing going to see Junichi these days. He had no idea why but the guy was growing all the more obsessed with this girl. Even with his bias, he didn't think the girl was all that cute. So why was Junichi still tripping over the chick when there were still plenty others to go around?
Was it just because she said "no" to him?
Was he really that sad?
He snorted, ending that line of superficial thinking as he pulled Rias deeper into his embrace. It was all irrelevant anyway. Once Maiko caught the girl Junichi's stalking ass would give him what he wanted and he'd be done with it for now anyway. That was all that mattered. With that he closed his eyes and simply enjoyed the feel of having the nude buxom girl beside him when his cell began to buzz and he groaned.
'Junichi...' he figured, ire unexpectedly getting the better of him.
As he was about to turn to grab the phone the bed lurched a bit as Rias pushed herself up and reached over him, given him a quick unexpected view of her bare breasts swaying over his face before she moved herself over him and snatched the phone.
"If it's…," she growled out before stopping herself. Junichi strained to hear but all he caught was that it wasn't Junichi. He didn't have to wait long as Rias suddenly relaxed from her tense posture.
Ah, good. That meant-
"Maiko-chan!" she chirped. With that, Rias sat up and stretched, not bothering to use the sheets to cover herself as she held the cell to her ear with her right hand and her left was swaying back and forth as she turned her upper body side to side.
Yagami just stayed where he was and enjoyed the show.
"You're pretty lucky it was you," she said as she grinned as a pop could be heard. "I was thinking it was you-know-who and was about to lay into him."
And at that Yagami winced. Neither of his girls liked Junichi, and lately he couldn't say he did not see why.
-Is it wrong that I hoped he'd called earlier and say he's done with this crap so I can come home?- Maiko asked.
"Hell no," Rias replied. "At this point it'll be a miracle if he does so."
-He's getting worse ain't he?-
"Che," she spat out and closed her eyes as she frowned, leaning back against the wall. "Do you even need to ask?"
-Of course he is. - Maiko sighed on her end.
"I feel kinda bad for this girl. I'd rather just take her outta the game than let that psycho brat have his way with her, y'know?"
-And that's why I love ya Rias. But for whatever reason Aoshi-chan would stop me. I just wish he'd tell us what this is all for all ready, y'know?-
"Yeah, I know," she said as she looked at her Ashikabi, who gave her a sort of half smile/grimace. She stuck her tongue out at him playfully. "But, in any case; any news?" she asked, getting back on track.
-It's cold, I'm hungry, I don't see some schoolgirl carrying a big ass hammer, and all this rooftop posing is not as cool as it looks on TV. I don't mean to be rude Rias, but I can't wait until it's your turn next week.-
"Ah," she acknowledged and grimaced. It was something she was definitely not looking forward to. 'Not only that...,' she thought as she looked at Yagami, not liking that she would be separated from her Ashikabi for a time.
-Oy... I know you don't like it sis, but I've been without our dear Aoshi-chan for over a week here myself. I'd rather find the chick and put her outta her misery... So you best hope I find her soon.-
"I know," she said and winced, knowing it was because she'd rather have all this done with without her going out once more.
-Speaking of Aoshi-chan... Can I... Can I speak to him?-
Rias blinked out of her momentary funk, now unhappy with herself for thinking about herself when her sister Sekirei had been gone all this time. "Sure," she said and held out her hand and cell to Yagami. She then motioned it to him. "It's Maiko," she explained.
"I figured," Yagami replied as he took the phone from his first Sekirei. "Hey Maiko-chan. How ya hangin'?"
-I'm fine Aoshi-chan all things considered.-
"That's good... that's good," Yagami sighed as he ran a hand through his hair. "Just... just hang in there for now ok? I swear it'll be over soon."
-It better be, 'cuz I'm gonna ravage the crap outta you when I get ya alone next time. I got some pent up desire here.-
"Ah hahaha... I guess so," Yagami chuckled. "Just hurry back in one piece ok?"
-Of course Aoshi-chan. I... I'll talk to ya soon ok? I love you.-
"I love you too, Maiko... Ok... ok bye." Yagami then hung up the phone and sighed. "Gaah this sucks..."
Yagami snorted, looking up at Rias as she cradled his head gently. "Please tell me this gets easier, Rias."
"What gets easier?" she asked for clarification.
"This game... sending you girls out there... worrying about you... tell me it gets better later on."
Her visage drooped a bit. "I'm sorry, Yagami-sama. In many ways it's a lot worse for us, and things haven't really gotten started yet."
"I figured," Yagami sighed and looked at her from under his bangs. "Thanks for not lying to me."
"I'm sorry, Yagami-sama," she said as she lowered her head to his and kissed him, turning her head a bit so she wasn't completely facing him upside-down. She blinked at that and sat back up to see him grinning at her. "Yagami-samaaaa~," she pouted at him.
He grinned at her from his position, the sides of her face slightly obscured from his point of view as her breasts hid them. "Rias," he then said mock-reprovingly.
"Hmm," she said as she turned her head to face away but kept an eye looking at him.
"You're up against the wall," he stated.
She blinked. She blinked again before realization dawned on her. "Ah!"
He grinned again, loving how cute she looked like that as she turned back to him. Rias' powers were flame-based, and he learned quickly when they had first started being intimate was not to be near anything flammable when they first kissed. Those wings that the Sekirei had? They were beautiful but they were so god dammed annoying when wanting 'fun' time.
The good thing was that after that first kiss they did not reactivate until sometime afterwards, and that time is seemingly reset with each kiss afterward. He had become so lost in his thoughts at that first kiss-and-run due to getting "on-the-job-training" that he missed Rias' devious smile.
With his head comfortable in her lap he gasped in shock as Rias' legs suddenly split-wide, causing his head to fall into the bed. While not a large fall by any means, it was enough for him to reflexively close his eyes as she moved around and felt her quickly reposition herself. He opened his eyes to see her over him, her hands placed just above his shoulders to keep her up as her hips were now repositioned over his. Her long red hair spilled over his sides like a bed curtain, cutting off the view of everything except her and her body over his. He looked up to see her smile had grown more mischievous.
She licked her lips and giggled at him. "Is this position safer now, Yagami-sama?" she teased and crashed her lips into his before he could respond.
His eyes widened in response at the sensation of her lips and the brief heat emanating from behind her but soon settled for returning her kiss, his brain now beginning to shut off further thought. There was one last thing he would think coherently as Rias brought her right hand back between them and downwards.
'I love my life.'
"Maaan, this sucks..."
The early morning sun beat down overhead, and only a light breeze stirred the hair of the lone Sekirei sitting on the rooftop overlooking the busy streets of Teito below. Looking at her cell phone dejectedly, she pocketed the device and sighed, running a hand through her long dark green hair done up into a tight braid that lay atop her back. Her face was home to wide, sharply angled ebon black eyes, and lips striking an attractive midpoint between the small bow shape common to Oriental women, and full sensuousness of the west.
Dressed in a plain, navel exposing, white t-shirt that would have been loose on virtually every other woman on the planet, yet her somehow it was very tight in the chest, showing a pair of breasts that defied reason in their combination of perkiness, bounce, and size. Especially since the plunging neckline of the shirt showed that the woman wore no bra. Atop of that she wore a dark blue jean jacket, both to protect some of her modesty as well as to keep her warm from the early spring chill. She wore a matching pair of dark blue jeans that did little to hide her long curvaceous legs that terminated in a round, full, and well toned rear end.
"I bet Rias-neesama is getting her early morning 'breakfast' in already," Maiko sighed as she leaned over and picked up the backpack beside her and pulled out a pair of binoculars. "Ahhh... I miss Aoshi-chan." 'Whatever that asshole Junichi promised him better be worth it.'
She quickly shoved down whatever thoughts that man brought up in her aside for the moment and put the binoculars to her eyes. She had a job to do after all. Even if it would be easier for their stakes in the game... even if it would be more merciful to take her out here then let Junichi get his filthy hands on her... her Ashikabi had given her a job to do. And she was going to do it.
It was not more than half an hour later that she smiled.
"At least she's not exactly a master of disguise," she muttered as she spotted the girl with the oversized hammer walk out of a diner.
-A little bit earlier-
Yashima put the fork and knife down and chewed on her waffle before swallowing and took a swig of her orange juice before putting it down and smiling.
She felt good today.
Taking a breath she looked around and began to slow in her view taking.
Many of the patrons were looking at her. And many of those eyes were switching between her and her giant hammer that was just behind her at the counter. She blushed red and tried to shrink in her small seat as she turned back to her food, hoping to forget that the seating at the counter was in plain view of pretty much most of the patrons there.
Still, that hadn't happened before.
Normally the self-conscious girl was always very aware of the looks she had gotten due to her bestowed weapon and her outfit but today was a bit different.
She had seen him again last night. No not him, but rather the one who would be her Ashikabi. It hadn't been in that weird place and she had cried and called out to him, and it seemed like something was happening as he at least was turning to see who was calling to him!
She woke up with not with tears of despair, but tears of progress. Actual progress! She had to keep moving. And something within her felt like she had been wasting time in this general area. It was time to move on.
And so feeling better than she had in a long time she was out and about eating a nice hearty western breakfast of waffles, eggs, bacon, toast and juice. It was a good follow up to the pancakes, sausages and bagels. The stares might not have been completely on the hammer if she thought about it long enough.
But still, it was time to get moving and find her Ashikabi. Smiling and paying her receipt she got up and with one hand grabbed her hammer, idly twirling it in her hand before moving out, unaware of the dropped jaws that simple movement had caused. Standing outside the diner she closed her eyes and felt the crisp weather upon her and took a deep breath and held it. 'Where…?' She thought.
Ever so slowly she turned her head and opened her eyes. 'That way,' she determined and paused and quickly looked around, suppressing a shudder. There it was again. Not wanting to see if it was just her imagination she was off taking to the rooftops to her motel to grab her meager items and clothing and take off in the direction she felt like going.
Maiko frowned as she spotted Yashima take to the rooftops with near unimaginable speed, nearly mindlessly considering what she was carrying. A grim frown crossed her lovely face as she took off after her target. "Oh no… no you don't…," she muttered. "You're not getting away from me today, honey."
And with that, the hunt continued.
The door to Ichigo's room opened and he sighed, stretching his right arm out before bringing it to scratch his head and smooth his hair out. Behind him he left his left hand let go of the doorknob to take hold of the edge of the door with his index and middle fingers and pulled on it just enough to close and shut the door behind him. As he took another step he heard the sound of the door being stopped with a soft thud instead of a soft bang and click. He turned to see Uzume walk in with a hand on the door and giving him a mock annoyed look.
"Uzume…?" She closed the door behind her and walked in continuing to give Ichigo a mock glare before the edges to her mouth turned upwards. "What're you smilin' 'bout?" Ichigo asked as his brow turned upwards in curiosity.
"Nuttin'," she said as she walked a bit past him and put her fists to her waist and stretched her neck and shoulders a few times.
Ichigo looked at her and raised an eyebrow. Breakfast had only finished a bit ago, and today Minato and Musubi had helped Miya take the dishes into the kitchen before she shooed them out and Minato rushed off to work. Breakfast had been good, and the tension that had been there for the last two days had been gone. Miya had been cheerful, sensing the lighter mood and Ikki had been once again conversing with Musubi and throwing him a few looks and looking like she had wanted to say something but then shut her mouth. Kuu's new tactic had been set to ignore him, crossing her little arms and turning her head away from him, giving a cute little hump before doing it again louder when she noticed that he hadn't noticed her anger.
"What's up?" he asked her.
"Just wanna see how you're hangin' after all that's gone down so far."
"Ah," he nodded. "I'm good I guess." He then frowned a bit. "And you?"
"About as well as can be expected," she shrugged. "I know it's been a bit rough so far and all."
"Eh, I've had worse."
"Really now?" she said as she turned around with a bright smile on her face before dropping it as she saw the look on his face. "What's wrong Ichigo?" she asked before a wry smile appeared on her face. "It's not that you don't want me around, is it?"
Ichigo rolled his eyes and she giggled a bit and he caught himself watching her, noting how she looked in comparison to the last two hectic days before smiling a bit himself, happy that that issue was past. He then grimaced as it again brought the main reason why to fore once more. He really needed to speak with Ikki, and soon.
"So what's on the agenda today?" she asked, looking around the room and not catching his contemplative look.
He blinked and thought a bit before his eyes widened slightly more. "Oh yeah, my stuff's supposed to be arriving today."
He nodded, "Yeah… from home." He frowned a bit and gave his first Sekirei a frosty look, "Including all your souvenirs."
She looked at him with wide eyes. "Oh that's right," she said and smacked the bottom of her right fist into her left palm.
"You mean you forgot?"
She looked at him a bit bashfully. "Ehhehehe," she laughed nervously. "To be fair though, I had other things on my mind recently" she said in her defense.
He shrugged, "I suppose so. Still... it'll be nice to get more of my stuff in here."
She latched onto the different topic immediately. "Yeah, it will be." She then blinked and took a more thoughtful look at his room. Sweeping her eyes around she stretched a bit again, bringing her right arm to her left side and holding it and twisting her waist a bit. "Yeah, I can see that this place needs to lighten up a bit. Been a bit too spartan for my tastes, y'know".
"Um hmm," she said and repeated her stretching with the other arm.
"You're one to talk," he snorted, shaking his head slightly.
She stopped and paused before her lips pursed together and she pouted a bit before turning to him and stuck her tongue out at him before falling into a fit of giggles. Finally ending with a sigh she then looked downward. "So is papa also sending your bed?"
"Nope," he frowned. "Why ya askin'?"
"Eh, no reason" she said as she continued to look at the floor before her eyes flickered to the closet and then back to where she was looking at. She then placed her hands at waist again, arms akimbo and sighed. "So close..." she lamented softly. Or not softly enough as Ichigo blinked as he continued to watch her as she had her back to him and was still facing the floor.
And then it hit him.
This morning. The both of them together. The quiet morning building a nice mood between them. His thoughts. What he wanted.
What he wanted.
Cast off your fear.
He took in a breath and looked Uzume over, noticing what she was wearing. Her hair was still in its side-ponytail do with her long hair still spilling and twisting down her back. She was wearing a long sleeved white t-shirt that exposed her stomach and waist. The sleeves were trimmed with pink stars, the largest being at her shoulders and running down the length of the sleeve gradually growing smaller. She was wearing light blue jeans, these different than the one she normally wore that ended above her knees. These ended at her ankle over white socks. She wasn't wearing a belt, her pants tight enough around her slim waist.
He had caught himself looking and realizing again the beauty she possessed and his thoughts again turned towards this morning and what had been broken up due to bad timing. Swallowing some saliva he made a decision.
Uzume had been staring at the floor so lost in her thoughts about what could have happened that she froze and nearly jumped as she felt two hands at her waist. "Oh jeeze Ichigo!" She said in a rush as she turned around. "Warn a girl next time! For a sec I thought my heart was gonna burst outta my chest there!" That was no lie. Even now her heartbeat was still running hard overtime. She took in deep breath and was about to respond before catching the look on Ichigo's face.
"Ichigo?" she asked, a bit of concern creeping into her voice. She was turned towards him but not fully and his hands were still at her waist. He was looking at her, but the look he was giving her was that of him appearing as if he was making a decision to do something but not sure about if he could do it. What, she didn't know. "Ichigo," she said again as his hands slightly moved her at her waist to turn her fully to him.
Ichigo looked down at her, resisting the urge to gulp and feeling his own heart trying to beat its way out of his own chest. He pursed and licked his lips as he looked down at her and remembered his hands were still at her exposed waist. He marveled at how 'normal' she felt and looked, or as normal as she could be. Her waist, while slim was powerful and lean, reminding him of the girl's non-human status and resisted another urge to shake his head ruefully at the word 'normal'.
As if his life was anything but...
"So that's why I say you're thinking on it a bit too hard."
Ichigo's mind suddenly recalled what Seo had said last night.
"Just enjoy what time you, Uzume, and Ikki got. While you still got the time to."
Uzume was still looking up at him in concern, her hands now resting on his arms close to his biceps.
"While you still got the time to."
And with that he lowered his head, barely noting Uzume's eyes widening in realization.
The world around him faded the second the feel of her lips graced his and he closed his eyes, reveling in the sensations it gave him as they opened their mouths a little wider so their tongues could dance with each other. An electric thrill raced through him as his hands left her waist to encircle her and draw her closer and the last thing he felt were her arms reaching around his shoulders and her breasts pressing against his chest. So lost were they in the moment that her wings went by completely unnoticed as did their fading as they continued, the sounds of lips smacking against each other and pleased moans filling his room.
They parted a few times very briefly to catch their breaths before resuming, their barely open eyes clouded, not seeing anything as they soon resumed with her pressing herself more against him and his hands behind her falling a bit. Whether it had been a few hours or a few minutes both finally came out of the moment, slowly moving away from each other but never averting their gaze as they continued to keep eye contact for another several minutes. Finally Uzume sighed happily and laid her head on Ichigo's chest as he drew her in close. She nearly sighed again as she felt his cheek lay atop her head as she continued to hold him, hearing his heartbeat.
Another few moments passed before she broke the silence with a muffled content sigh and, "So you can make progress after all".
She then felt his chest heave slightly as he then chortled at her words. When they parted she was still flushed a bit but giving off a smile that would have lit the room had it not been almost noontime. He was also smiling, albeit more with an upturned mouth than showing any teeth. "I'm not gonna complain or anything, but wow…" she murmured.
He lips turned slightly higher.
"Can I hope that," she started before licking her tongue against her lips a few times, the soft smacks barely audible. "Can I hope that you'll take the initiative more often?"
He let out a small laugh and shook his head a bit. "We'll see."
"'We'll see?'" she quoted, tilting her head a bit.
"Yup," he answered as he turned around.
"Hey now!" she said as she moved up to him. "Where are you headed off to? And you didn't give me a good enough answer!" she said playfully.
"I need to talk ta Ikki, remember?"
She blinked. "I mean, yeah, you did, but d'you gotta do it now? Can we have a do-over?"
And now he was fighting off a grin and the urge to do just that. "I'll admit I'm not against it, but I've been putting this off long enough," he stated and she went quiet, nodding her head.
She then sighed. "Ah well, but you get high marks for leveling up!"
"Leveling up?" he asked with a raised eyebrow as they both then heard a doorbell and he began to turn towards the door.
"Uh huh," she nodded as she moved up to him with both of them now beginning to walk towards the door. "So, how was it?" she then asked suddenly.
"Huh?" He paused in mid-stride, caught off guard. "It was great... I liked it," he said as if it weren't obvious.
"No, no not that; that was perfect. I meant my butt."
"My butt. How was it?"
"Uh... uh, hah?" was all he got out.
She made a fist and tapped his shoulder. "Don't tell me you didn't notice!" She softly chided him. "I all but melted with the way you copped a feel there. Didn't you like it?"
"Uzume..." he began.
"C'mon Ichigo, don't leave a girl hanging~"
"Uzume," he said as he reached for the doorknob.
"If you need a refresher course we can start now! Here, give me your hands," she said as her own hands reached for his.
"Uzume!" he cried out.
In a dark room whose sole means of light were the many monitors that ran along the walls, a quick series of clicks accompanied the low hum the monitors gave off. A few more clicks and the screens flickered to show the normal camera views once more.
A quick shuffling and the voyeur rested herself against the floor and sighed.
"That was soooooo~ hot..."
Ichigo's eye twitched as he took overview of what he had been waiting for had arrived.
Well, most of it.
He was currently in his room with his arms crossed and halfway inspecting and the other half glaring at the various boxes that now littered his room. After making the decision to have his talk with Ikki the doorbell had rang and he answered, at that moment the closest to the door and to his surprise, though it had been expected, a delivery man had been at the door. It was a short time after that his pleasant mood had turned sour and leaving him cross armed and in his room.
Sour as finding out that only two thirds of what his father had shipped for him had been delivered which was only half of his ire. "Ichigo, I'm gonna put this here, okay?" Uzume called out as she put one of the last boxes down.
"Should this go here... or maybe there...?" Ikki said to herself though loud enough to be overheard as she rolled his now opened chair from one corner to the next.
No, the other reason for his ire wasn't his Sekirei.
But it did involve them.
While he had been outside the delivery man had been offloading the truck with his stuff in sections, and during the time that the second pile was being brought to the door Uzume had finally arrived as Ichigo asked the guy what the issue was when he noticed that what was being delivered was a bit short from what had been originally packed. Or most of it according to the driver who couldn't explain what was wrong when Ichigo had noticed that everything wasn't there after three back and forth trips from the truck. That had been bad enough. But then Uzume had stepped outside and into view to help.
Ichigo immediately after caught himself from caving in the delivery guy's sternum when he noticed her and then began to hit on Uzume and only backed off as she, while not being curt, deftly deflected the guy's attention as she gathered some boxes and sauntered pass him back into the house but making sure brushed against Ichigo, exaggerating her hip contact with her Ashikabi.
The resulting laughter from the driver at that display had him rethinking about his earlier decision to allow him to walk away as he pushed down his embarrassment. But then Ikki had come out as well, eager to help her Ashikabi.
Still in her yukata...
Still with nothing underneath it...
And loose at the top...
So when she bent over at a ninety degree angle to pick up a box her breasts, slightly hanging from gravity before being cupped by the loose fabric, were visible enough for both him and the driver to see and when Ichigo had turned away he noticed that the driver behind him had a shit-eating-grin and realized he too had seen had grabbed the poor guy by the lapel and the back of his pants (and pulling hard enough that the pants' crotch section strangled the groin area) and hauled the guy out and threw him into the cab of his truck. Making sure to grab the delivery confirmation sheet and sign it he tossed it back in the truck and bid the driver a goodbye before semi stomping his way back into the Izumo gates to help take his stuff in.
And so now he stood in his room to catalogue what had arrived and what hadn't with his two Sekirei doing what they could to make sense of all the boxes now in his room. Uzume was opening a few of the boxes while Ikki was... was...
"Here... there..." the girl mumbled to herself, sitting in his chair and wheeling it back and forth to her at that moment desired location, using her feet to move with her legs open stanched and the yukata still too loose.
And with her still bare underneath...
"Ikki," Ichigo suddenly called out and quickly looking elsewhere. "Just leave it for now."
Ikki rolled to a stop in one corner and blinked a few times before smiling and chirping a cheerful 'ok' before stopping to frown as she noticed her Ashikabi looking elsewhere before turning his gaze back to the stuff on the floor and wondered if she did something wrong.
"Ichigo," Uzume then said and Ikki turned to her. "Are you sure this isn't everything?"
She quickly turned her head to her Ashikabi who in turn gave his first Sekirei a flat look. "You were there, remember? Most of this stuff is yours, actually," he told her and Ikki had to fight a crushing sense of envy that filled her as she had heard that her new sister Sekirei had actually went to go over to her Ashikabi's home for a little bit.
"Really?" Uzume chirped, blinking in surprise before quickly bending down to pick up one of the packages to inspect it. "Oh wow," she said, eyes wide. "You're right," she confirmed before beginning to inspect a few other nearby boxes.
Ichigo sighed as he rubbed his head and closed his eyes. "I'm gonna have to call ol' goat-chin to see what happened," he grunted and then grimaced at the thought.
"Goat-chin?" Ikki wondered aloud as she tilted her head in confusion.
Uzume paused in her inspections, giving her Ashikabi a mild look of exasperation that he pointedly ignored before resuming her inspection, setting aside her boxes from his. "You shouldn't call papa that," she said.
"Papa?" Ikki asked aloud.
"My old man," Ichigo grunted out as walked to the wall were his bag was before lowering himself to open and search inside it. Pulling out a box opener he quickly grabbed the closest box and began opening it.
'Uzume called Ichigo's father 'papa'...,' she thought in amazement. She looked at them, now close together as Uzume moved a few boxes closer to him as they both worked to open them. Both began to converse with each other and Ikki's mind began to work overtime as she watched the both of them. 'If she calls his dad 'papa', does that mean...' She blinked as Ichigo rolled his eyes and shook his head at something Uzume told him before she stuck her tongue out at him before standing up and moving off to the side to grab another box. Seeing the both of them and how they were Ikki arrived at the obvious conclusion. 'Does that mean they've had their wedding night!?'
An obvious conclusion for a Sekirei. Well... most Sekirei...
Ikki blushed a bright beet red that went from her head to her toes. 'Will... will that mean that I...' She blushed even harder at the thought before forcefully shaking her head. 'Get a grip, Ikki!' She heard an imaginary voice that sounded just like Nanaha chiding her. 'Your Ashikabi needs you and you're playing the lay about!' Her imaginary friend cried out while pumping her fist in the air angrily.
"Gah!" Ikki cried as she stood ramrod straight with both hands coming to her face.
Both Ichigo and Uzume stopped what they were doing and turned to her concerned, however before either could ask what was wrong Ikki quickly bounded towards them and dropped herself in a crouching stance in front of Ichigo, her hands on the box he had been handling to help.
"I-I'm sorry!" she quickly apologized. For what, a wide eyed Ichigo was to ask as she then continued. "I should- I should..." she trailed off and paused before looking downward and Ichigo followed her gaze. Both blushed crimson.
On the box Ikki had both her hands laid atop of Ichigo's and she felt the warmth of her Ashikabi spread through her and with the scandalous thoughts of a few seconds ago began to heat up at a perilous pace. Her eyes kept moving back up from her hands to Ichigo's face and down again before bringing them back up to note Ichigo's own rosy wide eyed blush and attempted to stammer out an apology that ended up getting stuck in her throat.
For Ichigo he would think if it could be something as easy as to what Ikki was thinking if his brain would just reboot. Holding hands probably would have been a massive stride several months ago however after Uzume such things had become normal. No. The problem he was facing and trying to pry his eyes away was something a little bit beyond her hands upon his on the box. Ikki was crouched in front of him, not kneeling with her legs and knees in a slightly open stance.
In her yukata.
In her yukata that had nothing underneath...
Which was now opened as far as her legs and knees were, completely unnoticed by the girl...
Ichigo blinked as he swallowed audibly and looked up to Ikki's face and that small part of his mind which hadn't committed the image to memory thought she had realized the problem as well. The blushing girl then stood up so fast she nearly lifted off the floor and Ichigo then tried not to notice how her unbound but still covered breasts bounced a few times from that motion. "I-I-I'm sorry!" Ikki shouted, quickly bowing sharply a few times with her hands clasped at her thighs keeping her yukata shut.
Ichigo blinked again and turned his head and opened his mouth before closing it. He repeated that motion twice before turning back to look up at the flushed girl. "It's... its okay, really." Smacking his lips he then looked at some of the other boxes and replied in an even voice. "Why don't you help Uzume there begin opening those?"
"R-right! Yes!" Ikki chirped before turning to quickly make her way to Uzume, who was looking at both in concern.
Quickly handing Ikki the box cutter Uzume got up and quickly kneeled next to Ichigo placing her hands on his shoulders, her left arm around his back to reach that side. "Are you okay?" she mouthed.
Ichigo stared at her before a part of his mind realized that from her viewpoint she hadn't seen what he had seen. "I'm... I'm fine," he said, not wanting to say why he had acted like that and he could see in Uzume's eyes she was curious to know what happened. He then looked downward, not wanting to say. It wasn't so much he was afraid of how she'd react- Scratch that. It was exactly that. Uzume had been downright scandalous in some of his visits, be it showing off racy lingerie or strutting about happily nude but nothing quite like what he had just seen. No, a large part of him was worried that she wouldn't be angry but rather competitive and wanting to happily up the ante.
He mentally shoved down a recently growing part of him that wanted that.
He smacked his lips again before thinning them into a line as his pants which had grown tight had now become increasingly uncomfortable. "Just fine, Uzume" he clipped. "Let's get the boxes open, okay?"
"S-sure" she responded, not quite convinced.
Ikki, off to the side was bemoaning and chastising herself. 'Iblewit!Iblewit!Iblewit!Iblewit!Iblewit!' She slowly turned her head back to Ichigo as Uzume reluctantly stood up as he remained huddled in his spot, legs seemingly drawn closer together now and stayed still. 'Was I too forward? I was too forward, wasn't I?!' She mentally wailed as the imaginary Nanaha just shook her head and palmed her face before disappearing completely. 'But...' She thought as she tried to calm herself. She didn't notice the other concerned look from Uzume as she then kneeled next to her to grab another box. 'But he was just as surprised as I was...' she thought as the image of Ichigo's blushing face came to her mind as he stared at their hands.
Her mental wail had now subdued as another thought came to fore.
'He... he was as flummoxed as I was!' She realized as she turned to Uzume who was just staring at her. 'Maybe... maybe they haven't…' she thought as she brought her hands to her cheeks and then giggling girlishly at the thought of how innocent her Ashikabi must be if a simple hand grab caused him to blush.
Uzume continued to stare in bewildered confusion at the complete one eighty the girl did in just a few seconds before blowing out a breath that pushed a long bang out of her eyes and resumed work.
Time soon began to go by quickly as things settled down. Uzume's boxes that she had found were now against the wall near the door and the rest of the boxes had been opened and flattened and were laid on the other side of the door. Most of what had arrived where Ichigo's clothes and in one bit of happy surprise his stereo, head phones and several of his CDs that he owned. The clothes that had come were now folded and awaiting the dresser that was supposed to have arrived with everything else and the only bizarre part was catching Ikki holding his clothes close and sniffing a few, causing him to face palm at the sight.
Now with everything done he had taken a breath and decided to once more try to talk to his new Sekirei. Motioning to Uzume he had quickly whispered his intentions and she nodded and used the excuse of taking her boxes to her room to open them to leave them be, Ichigo ushering her out the door.
Closing the door with an audible click Ichigo lowered his head and found himself blowing out a breath as he again found himself wondering what to say. Snorting he lifted his head and took his hand off the doorknob and turned around to find her standing and looking back at him with a faint reddening of her cheeks. Looking her over, really looking her over for the first time aside from the quick encounters from the days before, their work together in this room and the state he first found her in he had to admit to himself that she was pretty cute. She had light olive skin with blue eyes with black hair with blue highlights that framed her face and fell into unconnected locks above her shoulders. She was, he figured, just a little bit smaller than Uzume height-wise as she stood barefoot in her yukata.
He blinked and blushed, a near perfect image of what he had seen not too long ago coming back with a vengeance.
He shook his head to clear it, now was not the time for this. He'd ask Uzume if she could pick up something for her later. It was past time to get started. He looked at her and said the first word that came to mind.
For Ikki, the world she had known it had ceased the moment Uzume had stepped out leaving her and her Ashikabi together in his room.
Was he locking the door?
'B-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-but it's to sudden for that isn't it?! I mean... I mean I know that he was just blushing at holding hands and now we're jumping to... and we're supposed to do this... and straight to that... but... but...'
For Ichigo, he found himself now stretching his neck and looking at her, unknowingly giving her his de facto soft glare. "Uh, I realized," he started. "I realized that with everything going on we were never properly introduced after... after... after that," he got out, grimacing a bit at the memory of being caught off guard as she had been right up to him after he had caught her from falling and for her to kiss him right then and there. "I'm Ichigo. Kurosaki Ichigo," he stated before wincing at how stupid that must have sounded.
Ikki blinked, shocked out her daydream by her Ashikabi's voice. "Eh?"
"My name," he said, his brows narrowing in confusion. "Kurosaki Ichigo. And you said your name was... Ikki, right?"
"Y-yes... yes I know that A-ashikabi-sama."
"Ichigo's fine," he said suddenly, finding himself uncomfortable with that title.
"Ah... ah right I... I'm sorry..."
"Uh..." And again he found himself lost. Was talking to girls always this hard? He never had this problem with Tatsuki, Honshou, Inoue and the others. Never mind that Uzume always made it seem to be easy to talk with. His eyes flicked back and forth as internally fought for something to say before remembering something. "How've you been?"
"Um... f-fine all things considered Ichigo-sama..." Ikki replied. "I just... I just hope my sister wakes up soon," she said before a bit of sadness entered her eyes.
He sucked in a bit of breath. Damn, did he screw up? He'd forgotten about that bit just now and for him to remind her of it... "I'm sorry," he got out, upset at himself. "I hope she gets better soon, too."
Ikki felt her face flush suddenly at his words of concern. What a gentle soul she had managed to be winged by! He was growing to be more and more what she dreamed her beloved Ashikabi to be. She smiled brightly, "Y-yeah! So do I, Ichigo-sama!"
He blinked, surprised at her cheerful demeanor. Did he misunderstand or something? He brought his right hand to his head and scratched, looking around the room as topics for discussion dropped to zero again.
Ikki for her part continued to stare at Ichigo with pure admiration in her eyes. 'My god... he's so beautiful. And such a tender soul... I can tell. I'm so happy I finally got to meet him.' Even now it seemed a golden haze had encircled Ichigo, to the point that his very aura around him seemed to shine in recognized brilliance. Ikki's smile grew as her Ashikabi turned to her, a warm smile on his lips and his warm brown eyes shining with affection and her imagination began to take over.
Ichigo blinked as the girl went quiet. Too quiet for what little he knew of her and noticed that the red coloring on her cheeks had increased a bit and her eyes looked a little glazed. "Hey, are you okay?"
"Ikki?" he said now more than a little concerned.
"Ichigo-sama... you're so bad..." Ikki whispered in a delirious tone.
Concern moved to full blown worry as she giggled again and the top of her yukata slid off her a bit, exposing her right shoulder before she began to sway a bit.
"Hey!" he called out and rushed to her.
"Ehehehe... Ichigo-sama... you're so tender..."
And then she listed a bit too far.
Ichigo lunged at that last moment and caught her at her exposed shoulder before the other caught her at her waist before she suddenly blinked and looked at him, shocked out of her imagination before she realized how close he was and the electric thrill at him touching her before she suddenly bucked and went rigid, trembling for a few seconds as he held onto her now almost in panic at what had happened.
And just as soon as it happened it ended, her eyes rolling into the back of her head as she slumped further into his arms limply.
"Ikki!" He cried, looking her over to see if anything visible was on her, seeing nothing except an odd content smile on her face. Not giving it much thought he turned his head to the door. "Uzume!"
Even as he was in the middle of calling out he heard the thumping footstep of his first Sekirei came flying through the door, just barely twisting the knob in time lest she remove the door from its hinges.
"Ichigo!" she called out to him before pulling back and pausing as she saw the scene in front of her. "What the heck happened?!"
Ichigo's face twisted as he struggled to comprehend what the hell had happened within the last few minutes before his mind snapped back to the present and reminded himself of who else was here and told her to go get Miya before readjusting his hold on the girl in his arms. He barely heard Uzume begin asking for more details as he looked down at the Sekirei in his arms in concern and for the life of him could not understand the smile that still graced her face.
"Ugh, Onii-chan…," muttered a young girl as she looked at her notes and up at what looked to be an old fashioned Japanese Inn.
"This is it," she said to herself. 'The place called 'Maison Izumo'. Now... how to approach this...
Quickly making her way along the fence she found the opening and saw someone there sweeping away at the grounds. "Um, excuse me!" she called out.
"Yes," the woman with wondrous and beautiful lavender hair turned to greet her. "Hello, welcome to Maison Izumo. May I help you with anything?"
"Yes, um, would there by any chance be a Sahashi Minato living here?"
The woman blinked. "Why yes, he's one of my tenants."
Ah, so this was the Landlady. 'Not bad Onii-chan.' She then snapped out of her thoughts as the woman spoke again.
"Ah, that's good. I wanted to make sure my notes were correct" she said and held up said paper.
"Ah, you've come to visit him, I guess. And you would be...?"
"I'm his sister!"
She hadn't waited long, removing her shoes and staying at the genkan as the Landlady went up to find her brother. And within several minutes she heard the light thumping of footsteps as her target came down the stairs and into view.
"Yu-Yukari!" Minato gasped, clearly surprised to see her. He lifted his hand up towards her slightly as he continued to gain his bearings. "Why are you so suddenly...?
She puffed her cheeks at him and frowned, dismayed at his response. "That's so mean. I asked mom and she said you moved". It was then that she stretched and a sly smirk then graced her face as she leaned forward a bit and clasped her hands behind her.
"Well, I also moved her recently so I came to say hi."
Minato blinked and processed what she had said and gasped in realization. "Re-really? You said you were going to college here this year, right?"
She puffed her cheeks out again. "What do you mean, 'really'?" Stupid Onii-chan...
Before she could berate him some more another voice interjected itself.
"Sahashi-san," the Landlady said, smiling at both of them. "The tea is ready, why don't we come inside" she said and motioned for them to leave the genkan and further into the Inn.
Both looked surprise at having been caught as they had about to go into a small argument that they didn't hear the door open behind them.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Asama-san" Minato responded, bowing and scratching his head.
His sister recovered faster and smiled as she bowed as well. "Thank you".
It was then that Minato turned his head and his eyes widened. Seeing this Yukari began to turn to see what got her brother's attention.
"I'm back," and unfamiliar voice said as she was in mid-turn. "A guest?"
Yukari found herself unable to speak as she saw who had walked in and blood rushed to her face. "Ah... ah..."
"Yes," Minato told this handsome man. "This is my younger sister".
The man turned to look at her in more detail and his eyes widened a bit. "You...?"
"YES?! ME?!" she stammered, heart pounding against her chest. Did he know her?! How could she forget someone this awe-
Her thoughts had been cut off from a cell phone going off and everyone stopped to watch him pull it out. The man moved back as she smiled at them and her. "Ah, nothing. I'm sorry, it was nothing."
Sighing, Yukari clasped her hands under her chin with hearts in her eyes. "Wait," she said in a tiny voice and sighed. "Onii-chan~" she said, voice now dripping with sugar. "Who is that? He's sooo cool."
Minato just looked at her and her rather uncharacteristic state. At least to him. Drawing a breath he responded as his sister continued to watch him walk away. "That's Kagari-san. He lives here."
"No-no way! You live with such a cool guy?!"
"Say what?" Minato said as much as soon Kagari came walking back towards him and he noticed his sister shrink and push at her clothes to straighten them out and attempted to look demure and gave her a flat look. 'You're not fooling anyone, Yukari.'
"Sorry," Kagari apologized as he made his way past them and picked up his coat from the coat rack and put it on. "I gotta go back out again."
And with that he was off and Minato heard another sigh and rolled his eyes. He was about to turn and motion Yukari in so they could enjoy the tea the Landlady had made when another voice came to fore. "Waaah, Yukari-san!" Musubi had said as she came down the stairs. "It's been a long time!"
"Kyaa! Musubi-oneechan!" Yukari cried as she hopped towards the other girl before twirling suddenly lowering her head to the Sekirei as she closed in.
"Ah!" Musubi gasped as two hands cupped both of her breasts to fondle and the girl snuggled her face in them.
"Mmm~" Yukari mewled as she rubbed her face back and forth a few times as her hands continued to feel the other girl up.
"YUKARI! STOP IT!" Minato cried before he realized what he did and lowered his voice. "That's so embarrassing." He muttered as he blushed at his sister's antics.
Musubi simply tilted her head as she watched both of them, not reacting to the younger girl feeling her up. Said girl widened both her hands as she took slower bigger grasps as she turned her head to face her brother with a very sly expression. "Oh? Jealous?" she teased.
"W-w-w-wha?" Minato cried out as his face flushed red in embarrassment.
Before she could reply yet another voice interjected itself. "What the hell is with all the noise?" an exasperated voice asked.
A male voice.
Several heavy steps could be heard as the owner of said voice came down the stairs. Yukari stepped away to take a look at this person who lived with her brother as he came into view holding a hand to his head and rubbing it.. Reaching the bottom of the stairs he took his hand away and Yukari got her first look at his face unobstructed.
"Ah..." Yukari got out.
"A visitor?" this man, this man with the fetching bright strawberry blonde hair asked her brother.
"Y-yeah, I'm sorry about this," she heard her brother say as she tried to take in this... this...
'OHMYGODHE'SAHOTTIE!' her mind screamed at her as her legs weakened as she wordlessly fell to her knees.
"Yukari!" she heard her brother cry as she hoped the drool from her mouth didn't make her look bad. Ichigo just looked on with a flat look.
Two girls down for some reason he couldn't explain.
"You sure you're ok?" Ichigo asked he looked over Yukari.
"Ah! Y-yes! AhHahahahahahahaha!" Yukari squeaked out, a hand at her head as she tried to laugh off her embarrassing reaction.
They were all sitting at the chabudai table in the dining room. Yukari was sitting between her brother to her left and Ichigo to her right. Across from them sat Musubi who sat center with Kuu to her right at the edge paying no attention to anyone as she was glued to the TV.
"Waaaaahhh~" Yukari mewled as cutely as she could. "Onii-chan," she said in a sugary voice, "You've moved into such a nice place. The landlady is so pretty and Musubi is with you and you have such hunk- nice guys living her as well," she said as she turned to the orange haired man next to her. Oh lord, a little closer and she'd feel his body heat. "Uh, ah, sorry for that back there," she said to him and fluttered her eyelashes and blushed.
"Uhhh... no problem," Ichigo shrugged. "So she's yer lil' sis Sahashi?"
"Ye-yes!" she said before her brother could say anything to ruin this. "I'm-I'm Yukari. Sahashi Yukari. P-pleased to meet you!" she squeaked and bowed to him from her sitting position, her cheeks still very rosy.
"Kurosaki Ichigo," the strawberry-blonde grunted. "So what brings you by here?"
"Ah, ah, I came to see my Onii-chan," she said before her eyes lit up. "Ah! Onii-chan!" she then turned to see her brother giving her a flat look.
"I got into college! Aren't you happy for me, Onii-chan?"
Minato blinked in surprise before giving his sister a large grin, "You did? That's great!"
"Kyaa! Thank you, Onii-chan!" she cried as she suddenly leaned to him and Minato's happy face turned to gawk at her unexpected maneuver before swinging back to Ichigo.
Ichigo gave her a nod. "Congrats."
"Thank you, thank you very much for your kind words Kurosaki-san!"
"So where ya goin't to school?" Ichigo asked. Yukari happily told them both and Ichigo whistled. "That's that all girls college?" Ichigo asked, recalling Tatsuki and Inoue mentioning it once.
"Umhmm, umhmm," she nodded eagerly at him. "I was soo happy to get in; my Onii-chan's been trying so hard himself so I was worried about how hard they would be."
"Oh?" Ichigo leaned over to look at Minato. "So you're a ronin?"
Minato was giving his sister a flat look at the info at what she spilled when he realized what Ichigo said and felt his shoulders slump. "Y-yeah" he confirmed. "Twice now," he added just to get out of the way now.
Ichigo grimaced at seeing the other boy's state. "Sorry."
"Thanks," Minato replied, shoulders still slumped.
"But it's not so bad right? So long as you don't quit you'll get in soon."
Minato looked up, a bit surprised that he wasn't being made fun of. But before he could say anything-
"That's right, Onii-chan!" Yukari said as she whipped her head to him with her hands clasped under her chin. "All you have to do is work hard Onii-chan and you can do anything!" she proclaimed to the point where Minato thought he could see sparkles surrounding her as she turned to Ichigo to nod at him.
"That's right, Minato-san!" Musubi agreed, also seeming to sparkle as well. "Minato-san can do anything!"
As Minato blushed at the encouragement Ichigo turned back to Yukari. "So you're looking for a place too?"
"Uh, I, uh..." Caught completely off guard, Yukari found herself unsure of what to say, seeing that she already had a place and was now seriously considering moving in here.
"So you did find a place?" Ichigo asked.
Yukari found herself struggling with what to say when deliverance came.
"You sure you're fine?" an unfamiliar female voice came forth.
"I am," replied a second unfamiliar voice chirped happily.
Yukari looked to see two women come into the dining area. One had short shoulder length hair and olive-colored skin. What had caught Yukari's attention was that she was wearing a yukata that was slightly open and contained a nice sized rack, but nowhere close to Musubi-oneechan's. The next one though could measure up with her nicely. Wearing jeans with a white long sleeved t-shirt and pink hearts riding down the sleeves was a girl that had her hair in a side-ponytail and the rest curling down her back.
"Oh," Ikki blinked. "We got us a guest?"
"Uzume," Ichigo acknowledged and turned to Ikki. "Ikki," he then nodded to her.
"Heya," Uzume chirped at Yukari. "Nice ta meet ya!"
"Ni-nice to meet you too," Yukari responded as her thoughts began to whirl. Both these girls were beautiful. Beautiful like Musubi. Did they live here? If so, what was their relation to Ichigo? He did greet them, after all. Oh no… could her hunk already be taken?
Ikki's eyes suddenly narrowed as she zeroed in on Yukari's sitting position. The expression was brief as she smiled sunnily down at the younger Sahashi sibling, "Hey!"
Ikki walked at a speed that didn't seem possible for someone in her condition, and was all but hovering over Yukari, "Excuse me..."
Yukari blinked. "Yes?"
And it was all Yukari could do to keep from letting out a cry of surprise as Ikki gently nudged her way in-between her and her Ashikabi, "...But I think I called dibs on this seat."
'Wha-what the hell?!' Yukari thought, her eyes widening. She looked as the other girl made herself comfortable, causing Yukari to shift a bit away into her brother to make room. 'What's with this girl?!' Seeing how the other girl turned to greet the other guy brought instant realization and her eyes narrowed. Seeing how her target reacted to her seemingly uncomfortable brought other confirmations to light. 'Th-that bitch!' Clearly, this one didn't know where she wasn't wanted.
Ikki turned to Yukari, a devious smirk on her features, "I hope I wasn't interrupting anything, was I?"
Minato suddenly backed off a few feet, recognizing the signs of not wanting to be close to this event.
"No, no you weren't," she grit out, her eyes narrowing as much as possible without looking bad and trying to angle it where he couldn't see her properly when she gave this bitch her best glare. "Ikki, your name was?"
"That's right lil' girl," she taunted as her Ashikabi blinked in confusion over the display before him. "How may I be of assistance to you?"
Ichigo turned to Uzume, "Uhhh... what's going on here?" he whispered.
"Stuff," Uzume supplied as she sat next to Musubi opposite Ichigo and she waved it off and then clasped her hands under her chin to rest it on them. She then winked at him and lowered her voice to a whisper. "Just enjoy the show." Ichigo gave her a flat stare in response.
"Well, speak up," Ikki taunted. "I can't exactly hear you over your kiddy voice y'kno."
'You can assist your ass out the door you skank.' "No, you don't need to help me at all," Yukari grunted out, her left eyebrow twitching.
"I just want to be sure," Ikki continued. "After all, as an adult woman," she taunted as her breast seemed to instinctively jiggle for emphasis, "It's my solemn duty to make sure the youth respect their elders."
A sickly red aura began to form around the younger girl. "And it's the duty of the youth to help the elderly. Shall I help you back to your bed?" she said, looking at Ikki's garments over once more.
A vein twitched on Ikki's head. "Oh how cute. The little girl wants to be helpful. If I may offer some advise... watch who you call elderly LITTLE GIRL. After all, you don't want to be mistaken for something you're not when you become a grown woman. Understand?"
Yukari flexed her hands and made a fist a few times with audible cracking filling the room. "I should hope I would be in better condition than you are, obasan."
Ikki's own knuckles cracked as a dark green aura began to well around the weapon user, "Oh hoh? And just what do you mean by that LITTLE GIRL?!"
Yukari moved her head closer to Ikki and out of Ichigo's range of vision and her eyes narrowed dangerously. "Being as old as you are you probably hurt yourself by tripping over something. Allow me to help you back to your room to rest" she grit out.
"Well aren't you a cheeky one little girl?" Ikki gritted out.
"Says the old woman who started it," Yukari ground back.
"Now now," Miya mildly chided as she patted her ladle. "That's enough of that."
"S-sorry, Miya!" Ikki quickly mentioned as she rubbed her head.
"Hey!" Yukari cried. "What was that..." she tapered off as the hair on her neck began to rise as she watched the smiling Landlady's eyes crinkle and just felt a wave of dread trample down her spine and shut up before gasping at realizing her actions and quickly glancing at Ichigo lowering her head and softly apologized.
Ichigo sighed, rubbing his forehead slightly and turned to his landlady. "Thanks Asama-san."
"No problem at all, Kurosaki-san" Miya replied. With that both girls lips pursed as they at the same time turned towards the table with their heads down and hands clasped at their laps. Neither of the two girls realized they had perfectly mimicked the other as Miya began to set the cups she had brought down and began to pour the tea she had brewed with them. Ichigo and others gave their thanks as each took a few sips at their cups and enjoying the taste in silence.
All save one.
Kuu was currently in her own little world, ignoring the near argument that had erupted and the small cup that had been down for her as well. Her eyes were glued to the TV, never having it out of her sight for a few seconds as she continued to watch the local news that had been playing.
-In other news tonight, the plants that have been overgrowing at the botanical garden since last month have been removed by MBI overnight. The corporation declined to comment the method of removal as well as the cause for the overgrowth, but they do confirm that no pesticides were used in the clean-up. As it stands, it is yet another mystery to the enigmatic business and it's practices. In other news...-
Musubi blinked in confusion as the young Sekirei balled up her fists close to her face, her eyes refusing to leave the television screen. "Kuu-chan?"
Ichigo on the other hand had heard it too, as the TV was now the loudest thing in the dining area once the tea had been set. His eyes narrowed a bit when he recalled where he had heard about the botanical gardens, or the Arboretum before. He looked to his left over the heads of Ikki and Yukari to see Minato had been looking at the TV too before turning and seeing Ichigo looking at him.
"Hey," Ichigo said, "isn't that...?"
"Y-yeah," Minato mumbled. "That's the place..."
Uzume then frowned herself. "But... how could it have been removed that quickly?"
Minato blinked as he heard his young Seikirei's whispered response, "Kuu-chan?"
"That's really weird," Yukari said as she put her cup down to look at the TV, remembering the news reports she had seen about it herself. She then saw her brother trying to calm the spritely young girl down. "And who's the kid?"
"Uh..." Minato paused for a second as he tried to come up with a response. "She's... she's a tenant's daughter."
"Ah." Yukari nodded in understanding. A light blush flashed across her cheeks as she looked back to Ichigo for a moment and then spoke to Kuu, "Hey there... uh... what's the matter? You miss your mom? You wanna play?"
"Well would you look at that," Ikki cut in, a sneer on her face that she hid behind her hand like she were a noblewoman. "Did you wanna set up a play date?"
Yukari's eyes narrowed as her head quickly turned towards Ikki. "Are you volunteering to watch over us grandma?"
Ikki twitched, "Well I suppose I have to little girl. After all you might trip and squash poor Kuu-chan with that big body of yours."
Ichigo grumbled a bit as he looked at the two out from the corner of his eye as Musubi and Minato continued to comfort Kuu. "Oy," he grunted as the girls were about to start another round. Uzume, who had alternating her concentration on the TV, Kuu and Yukari and Ikki had been snickering at the latter as the two butted heads but then quickly noted Ichigo's irritable tone and quickly glanced to see if Miya was close by.
A sudden beeping sound brought Yukari's attention to her phone. Grumbling she pulled it out to see the time and sighed. "Dang it, I gotta go."
"Eh?" Minato looked up as Kuu continued to sob softly in his arms, "You're leaving already?"
Yukari sighed, taking a quick longing look at Ichigo who had been looking down at Ikki and when she lowered her head to the girl they again locked eyes before she sharply turned her head away and hmphed. "Sorry, 'Niichan, but I have some other things I need to do today and I wanted to drop by your new place."
"Well just take care of yourself ok? The city's a dangerous place y'know, so-"
"Don't worry 'niichan, I'll be fine," Yukari smiled at her elder brother. "You don't have to worry so much."
"Yea I do. It's you after all..."
Yukari giggled, "A worry wart 'till the end." She slapped her fist into her palm as she remembered something. "Ah that's right... Mom's in the city for work."
Minato blinked in surprise, "Eh? She is?"
"Yeah," Yukari affirmed as she stood up and looked at everyone except Ikki and smiled as brightly as she could. "It was very nice to meet all of you," she chirped before turning to Ichigo with light rosy cheeks. "And you as well. Please take care of my Onii-chan, okay?" Ichigo nodded absently towards her as his attention came back down on Ikki noting the girl continuing to watch Yukari like a hawk.
Minato looked up at his sister as she smiled mischievously, "You better do your best... if ya don't wanna get dumped by Musubi-neechan!"
"Y-Y-Yukari!" Minato sputtered.
The younger sibling giggled at his response before turning on her heels and waving one last time to the people behind her and a fond look at the orange haired man before walking off with Minato escorting her.
"I'll be sure to be back to check up on you again, 'Niichan," were the last words they heard from her as both she and Minato disappeared from view.
"Well... that was interesting," Ichigo sighed as he glanced at Ikki who continued to watch Yukari's re-treating path to make sure the younger Sahashi sibling was really gone. This was going to be a problem, he just knew it.
'Haaaah...' Yukari sighed internally as she skipped back to her new place. 'I gotta make it a point to visit Minato more often I think...' She almost salivated at the thought of seeing that God of all Bishonens once again that lived with her brother. What was his name? Kagari? He was just so... so... gorgeous. It was almost a crime for such a man to be living in such a pedestrian place. You'd never see someone so... perfect as he in anyplace other than a mansion or as a model or... anywhere but rooming with her big brother.
And then there was his other flat-mate... Ichigo Kurosaki. Handsome failed to describe him. Rugged failed to describe him. There probably weren't any words to describe the... vision of godliness she had the rare opportunity to meet today. His eyes... his face... his voice... just the very thought of him almost made the younger Sahashi crumble to her knees in worship. It was impossible to believe that he was living with her big brother or that pretty bishonen.
Just as impossible to believe that he was living with that clingy jealous top heavy bimbo of an old hag.
She let off soft growl as the cocky grin of Ikka... Icha.. whatever the skank's name was. It wasn't important, what was important was figuring out how to ditch the bitch and spend some time getting to know Ichigo a bit better.
And hope that the old hag really wasn't his girlfriend or something.
At that thought she stopped, closed her eyes, and inhaled the scents of the world around her. Letting the crisp air calm her, and the scents of the nearby bakery bring her back into good spirits. Given the way Ichigo acted around the hag, if she had to guess he was either oblivious or ignoring how she acted. At least she hoped that was the case. And what about that other girl?
That halted her calming down as another anxiety welled up in her. What if she was the real girlfriend? Unlike the hag, she could see there was something going on between them, and she was hot enough to be his girlfriend and believe it. God, how did her big brother get himself surrounded with such beautiful people? It made no sense!
Now that she thought on it some more, just who the heck was that little girl that seemed stuck to Minato like a little plushie? Was she related to the landlady? Was she Minato's new girlfriend? Was her brother a lolicon?! Was she going to have to break Musubi's heart and bring her brother to the cops for sexing up a kid?!
"Oh man, my head hurts..." Yukari muttered as she clutched her head in pain at the mental image of her brother locked in chains and the little girl telling him that she'd wait for him. The thought was so distracting that she never noticed the figure running across her path.
"Ooooww..." Yukari moaned as she fell on her rump unceremoniously. "Why don't you watch where you're going?"
"Ah... s-sorry," came the unfamiliar voice. Yukari looked toward the voice's direction...
And suddenly her vision became draped in roses again.
He had a slim frame combined with very delicate features, almost androgynous. The figure wore khaki shorts that cuffed at the end, a small and rather feminine backpack and long-sleeved white shirt. The person's gray hair had a rather androgynous style of cut, but it highlighted its matching gray eyes. As Yukari stared at this person, only one thought entered her head.
The androgynous person eyed Yukari warily, noting the stars twinkling in the young woman's eyes and around her face. "Um... are... are you ok ma'am?"
"Eh?" Yukari blinked as she noted the new bishonen was talking to her. "Y-yes I'm fine! Just fine!" She paused, noticing a scrape on the person's knee. "What about you? Aren't you hurt?"
"Hmm?" the person looked down at their skinned knee, as if noticing the scrape for the first time. "Ah... it's-"
"Found you~!" came a sing song voice from above.
Yukari and the stranger both looked up to the sky to see a young woman with her blonde hair tied into twin ponytails. She wore a high collared turtleneck dress with one yellow vertical stripe in the middle. On her feet rested black under-the-calf socks and black shoes as well as white gloves on her hands that feathered out on the wrists.
She was also apparently shamelessly showing off her panties to all below who could see her.
'Slut,' Thought Yukari as the blonde leered at the androgynous stranger.
"You're not an easy one to find number One Hundred and Seven," the blond continued. "Won't you be a good boy and come with me? I rather not get scolded by my master y'know."
"As if I'd go with someone who tried to hurt Kuu-chan!" the androgynous boy spat back.
"Excuse me," Yukari interrupted, patting the young boy on his shoulder. He turned to look at her cautiously but allowed Yukari to give him a reassuring nudge. "I don't know what your beef is with this slut, but why don't you leave this little girl to me ok? I'll take care of it."
The boy paused, a light blush crossing the bridge of his nose as he numbly nodded. At that, Yukari gave the boy a reassuring smile as she stood in front of him protectively. She turned to the blonde exhibitionst and gave her a harsh glare. The blonde blinked in surprise as it seemes a fiery aura appeared behind her. "HEY YOU DANM SLUT!" she shouted out to the blonde while popping her knuckles. "HOW DARE YOU THREATEN A BISHONEN ON MY WATCH! IF YOU DON'T KICK ROCKS RIGHT NOW, I'LL BREAK YOUR STUPID FACE!"
The blonde gave Yukari a flat look, her eye twitching slightly. "...Wat."
-Later that evening-
Yashima thanked the bell hop for showing her to her room and bowed to him in thanks when he opened the door for her, which opened inwards and entered.
"AH!" she yelped as she fell on her rump.
She then winced as the Gravity Hammer fell to the floor.
Slowly opening her eyes she looked up and winced at the new cracks that appeared over and to the side of the door frame and tried not to think of the few that were now under the rug. The bell hop was looking at her in astonishment settling into weariness. Needless to say, it was a far cry from the leer and slight curiosity at her weapon from earlier. No doubt he thought it to be a prop.
Which he did. And that she was some kind of cosplayer.
After making sure the Hammer was facing the lean way she entered and the bell hop hastily shut the door behind him. Setting the Hammer down she sighed and removed her shoes and waited until she was sure her face had cooled down a bit. When she felt it to be so she looked up to survey her new temporary housing.
"Wow..." she murmured in wonder.
And it wasn't even close to the most expensive rooms here, to which the manager had attempted to push on her, only to relent when he noticed how far she was retreating from him as he moved around the desk to come close to her. Funny how MBI Cards could make people act...
She made her way to the bed and sat in the center so she could pull her feet in. This was waaay too much. She shook her head, trying not to think about it now as other thoughts made her way to her as weariness began to set in. Six hours. Six hours she had spent on foot heading in this direction.
On just a feeling.
She sighed and hoped that what she had felt was true. What she had felt had been unlike anything she had ever experienced but the intensity...
Something about it made her think of him...
The man in her dreams.
Blowing a breath out of her mouth she made her way to the balcony and stepped out and viewed the dusky skies and the stars that were beginning to twinkle. Stepping out further she placed her hands on the stylized stone and wood rail and a soft wind began to blow. Being on the sixth floor gave her a good view of the ward she was in now, and the balcony was large enough for her to jump in and out when she went about her search. Looking down into the streets she saw a train pull up to the railway station that was a little more than a mile away and sighed, placing her head down on the rail and hoped.
-Back at Izumo-
Uzume inhaled deeply through her nostrils and tensed more, arching herself further forward as her shoulders scrunched up more and the fists she held to her breasts now rose a bit to nearly meet her chin. Through her glare she continued to study her opponents and slowly let her breath out.
The blistering heat was not helping though.
To her right of her vision was Musubi, who returned her glare with an expression that was pure determination, her shoulders slowly rising and falling with her breathing. Musubi was also holding her fists up in a ready position; the steady rhythm of her breathing the only sound coming from her as her eyes flicked back and forth at the two who opposed her.
If the heat were bothering her she was doing a remarkable job of not letting it show.
Ikki glared at both of the girls as she wavered back and forth, her eyes half lidded in a slight glare in a cute fashion. Her own determination to win clear as she held her fists high, waiting to see who would be the first Sekirei to fall.
Of the three, it looked like she was trying to fight off the effects of the temperature the most.
Uzume's eyes fell for an instant, and idly noticed that Ikki's pose put her considerable chest out. Far more than she would have imagined at that. She then blinked and shook her head, damn it now was not the time to be distracted as her eyes quickly flicked back to Musubi, who was smiling a bit and...
Was she humming?
She blinked as she now heard more humming coming from the other side and slightly turned to see Ikki now scrunching up more and completely glaring at Musubi and also humming.
"MMmmmmmm~~~" Ikki hummed out.
"Mmmhhhmmmmmmmmmm~~~" Musubi returned, her attention now completely on Ikki.
Uzume looked back and forth between the two, now seemingly forgotten in this battle of wills before she too began wavering.
'How did I get myself into this...?' Uzume thought before finally... "Ppaaahhhhh~" she let out finally. "Oh, whatever..." she mumbled out as she suddenly stood, water splashing everywhere and off her body as she rose from the furo. She bent low and held an arm out, nearly stumbling as the heat from the water and the bath area finally getting to her as she slowly sat down at the edge of the furo.
Her sudden action shattered the mood between the other two Sekirei, who also collapsed and then slid slightly further in the furo.
It was then as Ikki was receding into the water that she blinked and sat up, rippling the water around her and specks of water flying off her hair and body before she suddenly found herself leaning forward too much. Blinking heavily she quickly scooted herself back to sit at the edge and blinked a few times before looking up at her sister Sekirei who sat on the edge, her feet still in the water. "Siiiiissssss~" she whined.
Uzume stretched her neck as the excess heat from the water continued to leave her body. "Hmmm?"
"D-don't get me wrong Uzume-neesan but... you gotta be tougher than that right?" Ikki pouted while putting her right hand down to steady herself as she continued to feel light headed. "I mean, you just up and gave a victory ta Musubi-chan! We gotta stick together and get as many victories as we can before her Ashikabi gets stronger y'know?"
Uzume sighed and tilted her head at Ikki. "I'm not stoppin' you from keepin' at it. You girls're the ones who're gonna duke it out eventually."
"She's right Ikki-san!" Musubi nodded in agreement, clenching a fist as best she could as her eyes swirled. "We- we have to decide a winner between us!"
Ikki gave off a weak giggle, "I-If you wanna lose so badly Musubi-chan..." She inhaled deeply before clenching a fist herself, her limit seemingly reset back to zero. "Then bring it on my eternal rival!" Musubi, in an unexpected and sudden return to form with fire in her eyes, nodded several times enthusiastically.
"Hah?" Uzume blinked at the sudden revival between the two.
"Right!" Musubi agreed with Ikki.
And with that, the battle restarted anew.
Four minutes later…
"How... how 'bout we call this a draw... Musubi?" Ikki weakly put forth, her arms up high to wrap around the furo top as best she could to keep her afloat.
"Y...yeah..." Musubi agreed as she bobbed with the water, her face, breasts and a bit of her stomach the only things above the waterline. Uzume suddenly laughed at the two as she slid into the furo to help Musubi sit on the edge before turning to help Ikki the same way.
"Th-thanks sis...~" Ikki got out airily.
"Tha-thank you Uzume-san...~" Musubi added in the same fashion.
A couple minutes passed, both girls slowly regaining their bearings. Each sat on different areas on the edge of the furo, their feet still in the water. Ikki was slightly slumped forward, her lips pursed as several droplets of water fell from her bands. Musubi was at the edge that was opposite of Ikki, slightly slumped as well. Her long hair fell behind her, stuck to her body and wrapped around her stomach down between her legs into the water. Uzume herself sat on the edge between them, to Ikki's right and Musubi's left. Of the three she was the most at ease now, her arms held out on the edge to help support her. Her hair was tied into a makeshift bun and ponytail, not wanting to get her long hair too wet. Her pony tail puffed out nicely behind her, the lowermost parts that hung ending at her hairline behind her head where her neck began.
Another few minutes passed and Ikki raised her head and leaned back, looking at the ceiling and pleasantly sighed. "That was fun."
Across from her Musubi nodded in agreement. "It was fun, wasn't it Uzume?"
Uzume blinked, realizing she only got into it due to her own competitiveness. "It was alright." Competitiveness though had its limits in the warm, almost too warm, bath water. Hearing a soft splash and plop she turned to see Ikki get back in and raised an eyebrow at the big smile the Sekirei gave.
Sighing happily Ikki looked at her two companions and leaned back against the edge of the furo to look at the ceiling again. "Y'know... I always had my dreams, my thoughts... But I never even thought It'd be as nice as this..."
"Ikki-san?" Musubi asked.
Ikki heard her and clarified. "This..." she waved her arm to everything and sighed again, blushing. "And being married to such a wonderful man." She then looked up at Uzume and lifted her right hand with her index finger pointed in the air. "And I get a new sister to boot!"
Uzume looked at the happy Sekirei and felt a rush of unease, remembering Ichigo's reaction just after Ikki winged herself to him. Musubi blinked as she saw Uzume's slightly pained face. "Uzume-san? Are you okay?"
"Huh?" Uzume responded, knocked out of her thoughts and saw both girls looking at her. "Oh, it's nothing, nothing," she waved at them.
Ikki's concerned face turned suddenly to a smile before blushing and two hands broke the surface of the water to poke each index finger to each other and push back and forth between them. "I... I understand, sis," she said and continued as she saw Uzume's confusion. "That- that you'd wish Ichigo-sama was here," she quickly clarified.
Uzume's eyebrows rose at that. 'If only it were that simple... But still...' she trailed off as she imagined Ichigo's arms encircling her from behind.
"Ah hah!" Ikki cried as splashed the water a bit. "I knew it!" She crowed seeing Uzume's blush and how the Sekirei's eyes unfocused, knowing that she was dreaming before she began to blush herself as her own thoughts took hold to the point where she blushed harder and sunk herself into the water. With her mouth underwater she began to blow bubbles as her own thoughts made more twists and turns.
Musubi's head turned back and forth between them. "Ah... Ikki-san? Uzume-san?"
"Huh? Hah?" Both girls blinked and said at the same time before Ikki began a coughing fit at swallowing some water.
When Ikki calmed down she looked at Uzume and smiled. "So how was it?"
"Hm? How was what?"
"Your... your wedding night? I-I mean! You couldn't have been here in the furo together and not had it, right! So how... how was it..." Ikki trailed off, her voice growing ever softer after her outburst to explain what she meant.
Uzume though sighed at the question, remembering how close she had been. The intimacy, their kiss-
Uzume and Ikki both turned back to see Musubi looking at them puzzled, her pointer finger resting on her lips.
"Yea silly," Ikki said slowly. "Y'know... the most important night in a Sekirei's life?"
Musubi blinked, "It is?"
"Yeah..." Uzume drawled out, giving Musubi a curious look as well. "It's that first time when as Ashikabi and their Sekirei join together. Y'know..."
Musubi blinked at that, not understanding and Ikki sighed.
It's when they have their first time together as husband and wife?"
"As husband and wife?"
Uzume and Ikki boggled at that statement. Musubi noticed the look and cocked her lovely face to the side.
"You know...," Uzume continued on, hoping Musubi would understand. "When they 'sleep' together?" To the side, Ikki blushed.
Musubi tilted her head, thinking furiously.
"You... you don't know what a husband and wife are? Or... or sleeping..." Ikki said disbelieving and trying to hide her embarrassment.
Musubi though was no longer listening. "Husband... and wife..." She murmured it again.
"Hello, Musubiiii~?" Ikki called out before moving closer to the quietly murmuring Sekirei and stood up and leaned towards the other Sekirei and waved a hand in front of Musubi's face. "Helloooooooo-"
"MUSUBI IS A WIFE!" Musubi suddenly cried as she shot to her feet, her actions catching Ikki completely off guard as her breasts slapped up to smack the other Sekirei upside the chin, causing her to fall back into the bath.
Ikki got up with her eyes swirling. "Owww..." she muttered and began to rub her now sore chin. "Such... such an awesome sneak attack Musubi-chan," she admired dazedly.
"Musubi is a wife!" Musubi cried happily, bouncing up and down with her hands clenched and held to each other at her chest. "Musubi is a wife!"
Uzume blinked before taking the cloth that had been resting on her head to slowly dab away the water that had been kicked up from Ikki's fall. "Yeah... yeah, Musubi. What did you think we meant?"
"Considerin' that reaction," Ikki said as she got back to a proper sitting position as she continued to rub her chin. "She probably ain't had her wedding night yet either." Ikki then sighed before she then blinked in realization and suddenly got up and sat down next to Uzume and softly elbowed the girl and gave her a sweet smile, "Ne... Uzume-sensei?"
"Ehehehe..." Ikki giggled as her eyes got intense and she leaned into Uzume. "Y'know... I... I could really use your guidance Uzume-sensei. We got a big chance to beat Musubi here. We can't blow this!"
Uzume then gave her a flat look. "Ikki... Somehow... I don't think you have anything to worry about."
"Musubi DID sleep with Minato-san!" Musubi cried suddenly, startling both Sekirei.
"Gah!" Uzume cried at the proclamation and fell forward into the water with another splash.
"Mu-Musubi!" Ikki cried before looking down at Uzume who now was getting back up. "Uzume-senseiiiiiii~~~!"
"Wait, wait, wait," Uzume said, shaking her head to get the water out before looking at Musubi. "Are you sure you know what that means?"
Musubi puffed her cheeks, resembling Kuu when she was angry. "Yes, Musubi knows what that means, and she and Minato-sama sleep together a lot!"
Both Sekirei then gave her a flat look before looking at each other.
"Haaah~" Ikki then sighed with her hands up, palms upturned. "You're right, sis, I don't think I have much to worry about."
Musubi puffed her cheeks more, knowing she was being made fun of. "Don't be mean! Musubi and Minato-sama have slept together many times!"
"Musubi," Uzume said, herself calming now as she shook her head at how airheaded the Sekirei was. "I'm talking more than just being in the same bed. I mean-"
"Yeah!" Ikki then interjected. "You have to be naked! And... and..." She trailed off as images of Ichigo and herself came to for.
"Musubi and Minato-san WERE naked!" She cried out indignantly.
"Hah?" Both Sekirei froze and woodenly turned their heads to look at her.
"Musubi and Minato-san were both naked!" Musubi said, remembering how Minato had collapsed in the bath in his apartment before moving to Maison Izumo. Musubi had heard Minato talking in his sleep at how cold it was, due to Musubi putting him to bed without dressing him at all. Remembering what she heard about a human's warmth being best, she stripped naked and slept together with him, pressing herself up to him to keep him warm.
Musubi nodded strongly several times before remembering something else just at the edge of her memory before it came to light. "And Minato-san was grabbing Musubi's breasts!" And he had, in his sleep before waking up in shock and backing away as quickly as possible.
"So Musubi did have her wedding night! And Musubi is Minato-san's wife!" She cried happily with her hands in the air.
Uzume blankly stared at Musubi as a strand of her hair suddenly decided to stand straight up with a ping sound. Not that she heard it, but as she continued to look at Musubi the more and more she began to feel light headed. And neither the warm bath water nor the steam of the bathing room was responsible this time. "This... this girl had her wedding night... before me...?" She softly mumbled out, her image of Minato completely shattered.
To the side, in her own world Ikki swayed to-and-fro with a stream of tears running down her cheeks. "I... I lost completely..."
"Musubi is a wife! Musubi is a wife!" Musubi continued to cry happily with her hands in the air, bouncing up and down, her breasts also doing the same, almost appearing to cheer with the girl herself and oblivious to the Kurosaki girls' despair.
"Sensei!" Ikki suddenly blurted and in a burst of motion moved towards Uzume to grab her by her shoulders. "Please...please teach me! Please help me catch up!" She wailed.
"Catch up... catch up..." Uzume repeated, still in shock that kind, timid and wishy-washy Minato had had his way with Musubi before Ichigo could claim herself.
"Yes! Catch up! Musubi!" Ikki suddenly cried and released Uzume, who nearly toppled backward onto the tiled floor, and pointed to the other Sekirei. "Another match! Another match! I will defeat you!"
"Musubi will win!" Musubi responded with renewed eagerness as she quickly got back into the water with Ikki.
"C'mon Sis, we gotta win this!" Ikki cried as she then yanked Uzume in with her.
Uzume rose out of the water in a daze.
"Catch up... catch up..."
Uzume stumbled a bit leaving the bath area, towel still wrapped around her.
"Stupid Musubi," she mumbled as her head still felt light. "Stupid Ikki," she also murmured and shivered as her body was now being covered by goose bumps at the sudden change of temperature. "Stupid Musubi..." She mumbled again as she walked somewhat listlessly to her room.
Ikki and Musubi were still in the bath, determined to win but for Uzume it was time to go, no matter how much Ikki had wailed and tried to cajole her into tag-teaming and defeating their opponent. She sighed. By that point any sense of competitiveness she did have was blown away by Musubi's proclamation and evidence. And just thinking of Minato, shy, timid, little-but-still-a-good boy Minato and comparing him with her Ichigo... Not to mention the hot air and hot bath taking its toll on her she felt a lot more light headed than she ever wanted to be.
Or at least she told herself.
Now to get to her room and sleep this off like a bad hangover she thought as she softly swayed back and forth with each step. "Ah," she murmured, not quite feeling good enough to yell as she started to fall.
"Uzume!" A voice shouted as she felt herself caught and held onto by strong arms.
She blinked, her vision blurring a bit and coming back into focus as she saw the face of her concerned Ashikabi. "Ichigo," she murmured as she blinked owlishly a few more times and felt herself be lifted up.
"Hey," She heard Ichigo as he supported her.
"I'm okay, I'm okay," she told him and gave him a wan smile.
"You don't look like it," he berated her and picked her up and led her to her room, not noticing her blush.
Turning the light on he closed the door behind him and he let Uzume down so she could stand up as best she could while supporting her. "You wanna tell me why you're out in only a towel?"
She shrugged. "C'mon Ichigo, you know my room is nearby."
"What happened?" He asked, knowing that but something was different.
She sighed "Nothin', just a contest that got out of hand." When he didn't reply she looked up at him and saw him giving her a flat stare and she pursed her lips in annoyance. "We had a game of who could stand the heat the longest..."
Ichigo sighed, now knowing why she was so light headed. "You should have put your stuff on and stayed near the door while you readjusted to the temperature."
She grimaced as she felt a bit of a headache come on. "I'll remember that next time, believe me." She then stood a bit straighter but held onto his arms at his biceps for support as he readjusted his hands to just above her waist. "Help me put my clothes on?" She said with just a bit of wan smile. With the headache it didn't come out as quite the teasing she would have like to have made it.
Ichigo blushed and hemmed and hawed a bit before relenting, listening to where she kept her panties and that she wanted a t-shirt. Uzume watched him as he came to her and helped her and she sighed, remembering what Musubi said and knowing about pushing Ichigo too much. Still though... this afternoon had been major step forward for him in her mind and she smiled. 'In any case... this is nice,' she thought as Ichigo helped put her panties on and leaned into him as he bent over and she put a leg through each hole.
And it was very intimate she realized.
If he had heard her Ichigo would have agreed completely as he tried his best to not look like he had been looking or thinking about what happened earlier with Ikki. Trust Uzume to top things she didn't even know about...
He was about to rise to help her with her t-shirt when she suddenly hugged his head to her breasts and sighed.
"U-Uzume..." Ichigo gulped out, noticing how warm and soft she was but before he could say anything she let go and he rose completely with her t-shirt in hand. She smiled at him as she took the shirt from him and put it on.
"Uzume... you alright?" He asked, noticing his Sekirei's odd behavior.
"Yeah, I'm okay," she said, knowing she'd prod and gently push until he was ready. She then leaned up to him and kissed him on his cheek. "Thank you," she told him.
He looked at her in concern but nodded. "Still have a bit of a headache?"
"A lil' bit," she admitted.
"I'll get some aspirin," he said and moved to the door but felt her take hold of his arm.
"Ichigo, I mean it... thank you," she said as he saw her smile at him with a hand at her forehead.
"Sit down, I'll be back in a sec," he told her before he paused.
"That...," Ichigo got out before pausing and shook his head and smiled. "That looks good like that."
"Your hair," he clarified and shut the door behind him.
"My hair?" She repeated and turned to her mirror. Her hair was still done up in a bun and ponytail, done quickly for when she got into the bath with the girls as she didn't want it to soak in the water this time. She looked at herself in the mirror and turned a bit to see more it and brought a hand to her face and saw she was blushing. Heart pounding, she smiled red faced and closed her eyes as she felt herself shiver in delight at his compliment.
Maiko finally caught up with her target and whistled. Very posh place. She'd have to bring Yagami-sama and Rias here when she was done.
Finding out where she was wasn't a problem, as she after giving the girl a half hour or so made her way to the front desk to ask about her 'friend' that checked in a bit ago. Mentioning the hammer she carried caught the attention and memory of the agent behind the desk. Bending low to accentuate her cleavage she sweetly asked what room she was in so they could meet up later. She had the room number within the minute.
After that she went up to the floor she was on and walked by the Sekirei's room and made her way for the closest window to check where this side was facing and took note of the next closest building to make her way to. Now that she was here she had her binoculars up and within moments she saw her target on the balcony and smiled, pulling out her cell phone.
Water dripped incessantly from the steam pipe, adding its sweltering dampness to the already dank alley. The moon hung low and full overhead, partially obscured by wisps of silvery clouds. The night was surprisingly still for that part of Teito; but it was comforting in its oddity.
The bright light of the city was reflected into this secluded place, diluting it and casting long, dark shadows across its walls. Homura paid no mind to this as he slumped forward silently; ignoring the water seeping into his gloves and his heart slammed a jackhammer beat against his chest.
God he was hot.
"Damn it...," he whispered as he looked up toward the silver light of the moon. "I released just a bit of my power and I lit up like a freakin' firework. Damn this body... it's become so unstable all ready..."
The Sekirei protector gave an exhausted sigh as his body continued to rise in temperature. A stark reminder that time was running short. "No choice..." he whispered. "I gotta call Takami-san for help..." Having said that, he dug into his pocket to pull out his cell phone...
Only to let out a gasp of shock as the piece of technology turned to melted slag on contact.
He cursed as he tossed the worthless phone to the ground. "So this is it?" he asked himself. "This is how it all ends... self cremation? How... uncool."
Homura sputtered a bit as he was drenched by the sudden downpour. "Wha-?"
"You look so pitiful, sitting there, Homura."
Homura became aware of his surroundings and looked up to see the blonde haired Sekirei who was his self-proclaimed rival. Her prideful gaze locked onto his eyes as she continued, "And to think you are the one who I deemed my rival!"
"Tsukiumi..." Homura muttered, looking dazedly at the beautiful blonde Sekirei.
"STAND UP!" she commanded sharply as she folded her arms under her impressive breasts, creating a nice cavern of cleavage that her top did nothing to conceal. "I will not tolerate my rival being beaten by something he can control!" Homura's eyes widened before a soft chuckle escaped his lips. He stood up slowly, if a bit unsteadily as Tsukiumi shot him a sharp gaze. "What is so funny?"
"It's just..." he paused to pull his mask back across his face, and smirked beneath it at the blonde bombshell. "It's funny that you'd say something like that while flashing your panties to everyone who can see you."
A vein on Tsukiumi's head became visible and pulsed at Homura's comment, "H-h-h-h-how dare you look you filthy pervert!"
"Sorry, but you do bring it on yourself with that outfit," Homura replied with no ounce of humility in his tone.
Tsukiumi growled and pivoted on her heel and turned away from her rival, "Well now I feel ever the fool for worrying about you," she growled out.
The Sekirei Guardian's smirk turned into a smile. "Thank you though. Really. You act weird after you damn near melt like that. Trust me I know." The blonde beauty snorted at him and began to leave when Homura spoke up again, "Hey... Did you find him?"
Tsukiumi paused, her frame straightening sharply. "Find who!?" she asked sharply
"You know who... Your Ashikabi."
"No... No I have not," Tsukiumi replied as she resumed walking away. "And for his sake... he better hope I never do."
Homura's eyes narrowed slightly as he watched Tsukiumi fade into the night, leaving him all alone in that dark alleyway once again. "My my my... I pity the poor sap that marries that spitfire." He chuckled, "Still... that fool girl will never gain the power she seeks with that attitude." With a soft shake of his head, the Sekirei Guardian stood gingerly before he began to make his way slowly out of the alley.
"At least you still have a chance to find that one for you...," he whispered as his face scrunched in anger before slowly turning melancholic. "You fool..."
"So that's where she is?" Junichi asked as he wrote down the address.
"That's what Maiko tells me," Yagami replied, his eyes flicking over to Rias who stood near the window, leaning on the wall with her head turned to look outside. He was sitting on his bed and hunched over on his cell phone.
"So she's staying at this hotel?" Junichi muttered to himself.
"That a problem?" Yagami asked as he heard a muffled huff over the phone.
"It ain't like any of the usual places she's stayed in before. It's a bit more ritzy," he said, remembering having been there with his father in the past. 'They're more likely to ask questions...'
Not that he really cared. Sekirei didn't really seem to matter to the cops or other authorities thanks to MBI. Problem was that the staff wouldn't know that and any questions before the cops let him go would let her escape. He'd have to catch her while she was away. "I'll leave tomorrow."
"Not tonight?" Yagami snorted, his own frustrations with his friend making itself known as he made a face. He shook his head at Rias when she turned to him in concern.
Yagami grit his teeth and his cell. "Let me know how it goes," he said and turned off his cell before Junichi could reply.
"Bastard," Rias snorted from the window. Yagami simply grunted and leaned back to lie on the bed. A few minutes passed in silence.
"Rias?" Yagami muttered when she didn't come join him and lifted his head to look at her. She was still at the window.
"Sorry," she said with an odd look on her face.
"Everything okay?" he asked, noting how she kept staring out.
Her voice was soft and subdued as she replied, "I wish Maiko was back with us."
Yagami sighed, running his free hand through his hair. "I do too. An' hopefully after tomorrow she will be."
"I hope so too. Just... it's just a bad feeling, Yagami-sama. Don't worry about it."
Yagami blinked, not having seen Rias like this before. She soon crawled into bed with him but a feeling of foreboding came over him.
Despite his Sekirei next to him, he would not have a good night's sleep.
For the young Kuu, the words above would ring true as she stepped out of Miya's room in the middle of the night to use the restroom...
The birds outside sang to greet the warm sun as its rays streamed down through the window above the futon. But even as the dawn shed a friendly glow, a darker, more perverse scene had played out in the room that the beams of light now shown into. The sounds of pleasure could easily been heard by any eavesdropper as they had reverberated through the old home. And now those sounds had given to the happy sighs of the afterglow.
This was the feeling she had long been searching for. The sweet euphoria and unyielding pleasure that had rocketed through her body as she clung to the young male body she lay atop of. She had always been curious, even obsessed with what it felt like to be filled with a man's hunger. She opened her mouth and sighed again as she lazily drew circles over his stomach, causing him to twitch and she smiled, remembering the raw animal scream both shared as they climaxed together.
The warm bliss of completion; she lay atop her Ashikabi, spent and satisfied as she kissed him. "Good Morning, Ichigo-sama."
"G'mornin yourself, Matsu," he answered, holding her. With his free hand, he wiped the sweat from his brow. "I think I could get used to waking up like that."
Matsu grinned lecherously as she gently scratched his chest with her nails. "You're going to have to," she promised, closing her eyes and snuggling closer to... to...
"'S that a promise?" he asked, brushing her hair with his fingers. The voice was now different, but she had not recognized the change yet.
"I wouldn't lie to you," She smiled and stretched, letting out a contented sigh and opened her eyes and looked into Minato's blue ones. "I can't believe I'm finally here."
"With you, I mean." she clarified to Minato.
"I'm glad you are, Matsu," he replied as he kissed her forehead. Again the voice changed.
"I don't know what I'd be without you," Ichigo's voice said.
She clasped his hand and closed her eyes. "You don't know how much I've wanted to hear you say that," she said softly. It was then that a cold, clammy hand reached from behind her to clasp her under her chin and she jumped at the touch.
"Oh ho ho...," the newcomer laughed. "What do we have here~?"
Shivering, Matsu woodenly turned her head to see Uzume laying with them, nude and now rubbing Matsu's cheek.
"I congratulate you on your guts. Even I never imagined you'd pull this off. Fu fu fu~," Uzume laughed as she smiled before suddenly it disappeared from her face, now stone cold as she gazed down at a piece of dead meat.
"Wai-wai- wait Uzume, don't you see Minato here?" she screamed and turned to see Minato smile back and them. "See?" She screamed and turned back to Uzume.
"See who, Matsu?" Ichigo's voice asked behind her.
"I told you to stay away while I worked, didn't I?" Uzume's replied as her eyes began to glow blood red.
"Is-Is it too late to ask for leniency?" Matsu asked in a timid voice.
"Far. Far too late," her voice echoed as her hair began to flutter up.
"U-Uzume! Ichigo!?" She turned to find herself in pitch blackness, alone with Uzume. "NNNOOOOOO!"
"GAAAAAAAAH!" Matsu screamed as she bolted awake in her bed. She clutched her chest and breathed in and out deeply while looking around her room frantically, calming when she noticed the comforting light of her numerous monitors surrounding her. She let out a sigh of relief and idly wiped the sweat from her brow. "Oh man... what... what the hell...?!" She whispered as she continued heave.
She turned and looked at the monitors that had Ichigo sleeping soundly with Uzume in his arms and let off a slight shudder, "If that ain't a sign, I don't wanna know what is," she muttered and shut the monitor off.
'But waitaminit...' she thought as memories of her dream turned nightmare entailed.
Moving to her keyboard she clicked a few commands and another monitor changed feed. There onscreen were Minato and Musubi, the latter now in his futon clutching him mightily with her arms and legs.
"...is a wife..." her microphones picked up Musubi mumbling.
She continued to think again, remembering both were there. Not at the same time, no, that would have been too much fun. The thought seemed to pick her spirits up as she thought a bit more. 'It's not a reaction, I don't think. If it was it would have only been one Ashikabi, not two...' she thought as more lecherous thoughts took over before shaking her head.
No. If anything, waiting to make a decision was making things worse. She needed to choose. Soon. And...
She paused as she wiggled. Ah well, might as well use the bathroom while I'm up...
The Next Morning...
'I really don't wanna be here,' Maiko thought irritably as she strolled towards the waiting line of the train station. 'I really don't wanna be here and I really don't wanna deal with this asshole.'
But she had to for her Aoshi-chan. So for him, she'd suck it up and bear it.
Didn't mean she'd make it easy on the prick.
With that thought in mind, she sat down at a bench and waited. A half hour later, a train entered the station and moments later Maiko spotted Junichi amongst the gathered masses. He was dressed in a jean jacket, blue jeans, a black t-shirt, black sunglasses, and for a change a red and white striped bandanna. He smirked as he caught sight of Maiko.
"Well, if it ain't my favorite trackin' bitch," Junichi greeted cheerfully. "How ya doin'?"
"I'll be better when this is all over," Maiko replied curtly.
"Yes, yes it will," Junichi agreed as he walked up to her before all pleasantries dropped from his expression. "Where?"
"The hotel up about a mile or so ahead," Maiko replied.
Junichi's eyes closed as a wide grin split his face. "Then let's go get her."
Maiko repressed a shudder as Junichi charged forward. She glared at his back and followed, vowing to take a long shower when this was all done.
The journey back took about a half hour longer due to Junichi's reluctance to go to the roofs until they got near the hotel, not bothering to listen to what she had to say and only saying to bring him to where she had been spying from. Before long both stood atop the building that Maiko was atop last night, facing the hotel, Junichi fiddling with the binoculars that Maiko had left there with the sun still rising the side they were looking at was still shaded. Junichi had arrived on the roof a few minutes ago and only spoke now that he caught his breath. He hadn't wasted time, despite the longer time to arrive. The young punk had ran from the train station to the building they were on now.
"So she's holing up here," Junichi said rhetorically, searching the hotel's balconies with the binoculars as if to find the one she would be using.
"Yup," Maiko said rather disinterestedly and ignored the glare he gave her. After a couple minutes she spoke up. "What next?"
The young punk's eyes narrowed as he focused on the pristine building. "Wait for her to leave then follow her. Then you can kick rocks."
She sneered and sucked up her breath through her nose as she made a face. This fucker right here...
"So you can show everyone how well you did like last time?" She spat. She was tired of this. Tired of his attitude. Tired of his childish anger. Tired of his hold over her Aoshi-chan.
Junichi quickly glared at her, looking a bit unhinged.
"What? You mad?" Maiko asked. He took a step toward her. "Oh, please do try," she said with a pleasant smile. "You've seen to forgotten the difference between us. Her too; considering all your failures."
"You bitch..." he said as he took another step.
"It's amazing she just hasn't stepped on you yet..."
"Keep talking and I'll cut Yagami."
Her cheer stopped and she glared as he continued to stomp towards her and he grabbed her by the collar.
"You know I will, bitch," he spat getting in her face. "Ear ta fuckin' ear. So you just do what you need to do and fuck off if ya want yer boy toy ta still be breathin'. You fuckin' understand me?!"
She stayed still as they stood nose-to-nose and she brought a hand up to grab a hold of the one at her collar. Junichi's rage faded as he took in a deep breath, holding back a grunt of pain as he loosened his grip on her collar. Once freed she let him go in kind. Nursing his hand they glared at each other for a couple minutes. Finally...
"How long do you think she'll be holed up?"
At this she tilted her head at him, "Truth be told, she left an hour ago that way," she said and nodded in the direction Yashima went off to as he then gagged at her.
"AND YOU ONLY-!"
"You were catching your breath!" She bit back at him. Prick.
"THEN LETS GO!" he screamed as he turned to rush to the door.
She held a breath as she glared at his retreating form. The dumbass psycho should've asked for a lift if he was in that much of a hurry. As much as she hated it she was at a point where she wanted this over so she'd never have to talk to him again. It was always like this when either she or Rias caught up with Yashima only for Junichi to arrive and bumble his way out of things, several times with him in front of the damn Sekirei.
And always wanting to do it himself.
She then hopped off the building, triangle hopping with the adjacent building to slow her ascent and wait at the entrance for him. Right now, if he caught up to her and didn't end up winging her by night, she'd step in.
And damn whatever he felt.
Ichigo left for his room, his mind awhirl with what he had heard from the youngest resident of Maison Izumo during breakfast. Breakfast was now over, and Miya along with Uzume and Musubi were helping with the clean up as he reached the stairs. As he climbed them the topic of discussion kept echoing through his head. The day had started simple enough, Uzume oddly out of his bed before he woke up while Ikki was entwined in her blanket. As Ichigo came down for breakfast Uzume had passed by him on her way to the stairs and pirouetted in front him, pausing and making a pose, crossing her legs and bending to the side slightly with her arms out but bent to her face, each index finger extended and pressing into her cheeks as she smiled.
She was wearing her hair in the ponytailed style that he had complimented her on the night before.
Wiping his face to cover his blush he greeted her and said he needed to go to the restroom real quick before going to the table where Musubi and Kuu had looked like they were childishly arguing over Minato, who looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there. Something the kid had said about being a wife too had Ichigo give Minato a flat look who had then started to shake his head vigorously at him.
"A ghost?" Uzume had repeated incredulously after swallowing a bit of food at the table, Ichigo now intently focused on what the girl had said as before he had been taking a few glances at his Sekirei as they had eaten.
Blinking a few times Ikki swiftly looked around and over her should before taking a large breath and had hopped back on her butt and had scooted over to the kid as much as possible and leaned behind Musubi to place the palm of her hand on the child's head and rubbed it with a smile. "Hehehe... D-Don't be s-silly kid, ain't no such thing as g-g-ghosts... hehehe."
That had been the last bit Ichigo had heard as his mind began to race with ideas on what Kuu had seen the night prior, missing the byplay of Miya jokingly suggesting that it was a valid reason for Kuu to have been in Minato and Musubi's room. He had been snapped back into the conversation when he had been bumped by Uzume when she had suddenly jerked closer to him and he blinked, hearing her say something along the lines of that something or other didn't sound like someone she had ever heard.
As to what that had meant he hadn't a clue.
He had turned to look at the kid again, absentmindedly hearing Miya scoff at the thought of a spirit in her Inn while the others for some reason stiffened once more. He would have turned to see why but the look on Kuu's face had reminded him of Yuzu from years back whenever she had been scared of something and felt something in him wrench. "Hey, kid" he had prompted, getting her attention and the others, who seemed surprised at him for some reason. "Did this ghost say anything or try to do anything?"
At the mention of the cause of her fear, Kuu, who was ready to do battle with her nemesis squeaked and then scooted behind Minato to hide behind him.
"Kurosaki-san," Miya had said, "It isn't nice to scare young children" she admonished.
Just as it seemed that the atmosphere behind her was about to change Kagari quickly spoke up, holding both bandaged hands up. "She simply said that she saw someone with long hair and glasses," he blurted out while seemingly eyeing Miya with worry.
Ichigo frowned at how they were deflecting this however at the back of his mind he was reminded he had not been too happy to hear Kagari waive off questions on why his hands were bandaged.
"And that she laughed," Ikki then mentioned before blinking. "I-Ichigo-sama! Y-you mean you believe in g-ghosts?!"
And at that Uzume suddenly leaned into him, giggling nervously, also casting nervous glances at Miya. What the hell was going on?
"D-don't let it bother you Ichigo. Okay?"
He sighed and shook his head as he reached the top of the stairs at the oddball antics earlier. As he was midway in the hall he came to a halt. Hands in his pocket he closed his eyes and tilted his head up as if he were looking at the ceiling. After a moment he took a deep breath and let it out and opened his eyes, a frown now gracing his face. 'Goddammit.'
He hated this.
He hated being reminded of this.
Damn it. If the kid were spiritually aware that meant there was a Plus somewhere nearby and if it wasn't purified in time...
He grit his teeth and glared at the ceiling. 'Damn it all! Just who the hell is the Rep for this district anyway!?' He thought, real anger beginning to build up. If the shinigami rep didn't make it in time...
A flash of memory to when his family was attacked by that Hollow. When he met Rukia...
When that hollow held his sister in its clutches.
His brow furled more and his frown became a snarl as his lips parted; revealing clenched teeth as he growled and shook with growing rage allowing his imagination to take over and the image of his sister was replaced with the younger Kuu.
"-go!" A voice called out, snapping him out of his thoughts.
He brought his head down and saw Uzume looking up at him fearfully, her hands on his shoulders. He grimaced and looked away, shoving his anger away as best he could and thoughts of him not noticing her or that she grabbed hold of her.
"I'm alright," he blurted. "Just thinkin'."
He felt one of her hands reach for his face. Her hand was trembling. He grumbled in anger at himself as he felt her other hand touch the other part of his face and allowed her to turn his head to her. "A-are you okay?"
He looked at her and saw the deep concern she had as she tried to calm herself. "Just... bad memories," he said as he shook his head as she let go of his face and circled her arms around him.
Matsu looked at her monitors, a rare serious frown on her face as she leaned forward and rested her chin on her steepled fingers, her index fingers pressed against her lower lip.
That had been odd.
Odd and frickin' scary there for a sec. A face that would have given the Black Sekirei pause was paused on her monitor and she shivered. Just what could have made the man react that way? Not something so simple as the silly ghost story going around? Was it?
She had watched as Uzume climbed the stairs after him just after he had paused in the hallway, the look on her face mischievous. Knowing Uzume, she was likely going to do the same thing she would have done in that situation and tease the poor boy about believing in ghosts 'n goblins and other made up scary stuff. Calling out to him didn't get a reaction and when she got to his front she could see her face visibly pale before she started to shake him when he didn't react to her trying to snap him out of it.
She breathed in audibly as she continued to watch, the microphones picking up Uzume trying to get Ichigo to open up to her as she followed him to his room. At this Matsu smirked. Who knew Uzume would turn out to be the perfect little wife?
Which of course brought her back to her current predicament.
Turning to another monitor she looked at another scene that was taking place on the engawa. Minato was sitting on it with Musubi sitting to his left, an eager look on her face. A little further out in the garden area Kuu was singing to herself and looking at the flowers, now far calmer than she was at the breakfast table.
"A ghost is...," the microphones picked up Minato starting off before looking up as to gather his thoughts and Matsu fell back comically with a thud.
"Don't tell me Eighty-Eight doesn't know what ghosts are...?" She mumbled in disbelief on the floor before getting back up to hear Minato explain it to her as best he could. She shook her head but stared at the boy and thought again on what to do as she wiggled her hips. 'What to do, what to do?' She thought, the conundrum of the last few days now reaching greater heights.
On one hand was Ichigo and she palmed a cheek as she thought back on some of the things she had seen within the last three months and sucked up a bit of drool as she cackled a bit. And here was Minato, still doing his best to explain to his Sekirei about this morning. Cute. Really cute...
"AAAAAAaaaahhhhhh!" she wailed in frustration as she shook her head, both hands palmed to the sides of her forehead.
As good as Ichigo was Uzume had been pretty clear on how she wanted to handle him...
Handle...ku ku ku...
As good as he was and looked Uzume was adamant that she take her time to break him in, and she had been doing a good job at it. However there had been a few quirks to him that she was seeing in him now that he had another Sekirei. Just what was wrong with that boy?
She turned her attention to what was going on in his room and snickered. Looks like Uzume cracked his mood with some humor as a red faced Ichigo was telling her no as best he could as she had her pink and purple star shirt scrunched up to her neck as if she were taking it off with her bra dislodged upwards, her breasts and nipples now bared as much as they could be.
She wiped an eye with a finger before shaking her head again as on the monitor Uzume pouted playfully while Ichigo grabbed the shirt and pulled down, doing his best not to look like he had been staring at the girl's goods the whole time while Uzume had a bit of knowing wicked grin on her face. 'What was wrong with him?' Most other guys his age would have buried their heads happily in that bosom and nuzzle and suckle those puppies to their heart's content.
Hell, she'd happily suckle them too if it'd get him up for some good...
She wiped the drool from her mouth at the image.
Like Uzume, Matsu had no gender preference, and like Uzume had wanted an Ashikabi to love amongst other things. However, Matsu had deduced that she'd more likely get some action, potentially with both genders if her Ashikabi were male. After all, what man wouldn't like watching his girls get it on before rising himself to the occasion and then take them both in full-
She stopped as she turned her head again to see Ichigo on the monitor and sighed.
Probably that poor boy.
She sighed as she turned her head to watch Minato and Eighty-Eight again. Kuu had brought up some flowers to show off. "Kuu is also a wife!" The monitors picked up and she cackled.
It was like a soap opera!
She continued to watch as Musubi got in on it before tackling Minato with Kuu joining. She watched his face as he looked comically horrified before calming down and gently looking at both of them, who were now intently having a staring contest with each other. With a smile, a real one she realized, he had put two hands atop both of their heads and said something that her monitors didn't pick up but caused both of his Sekirei to smile and she sighed again.
He really was a cutie himself, looking the same as when she had first met him.
Her thoughts turned from the almost family-esque image on the monitor and remembered bumping into him on one of the few rare outdoor forays that she took for some books that she couldn't get online around a week ago or so. While on the street he had accidently bumped into her, knocking the books out of her arms and he quickly helped picked them up for her, apologizing as best he could while she got a good look at him before he walked off. Seeing him and Eighty-Eight literally drop in a day later made her wonder if it wasn't fate at play.
Her consciousness returned to the present as she looked at him, his face softer than Ichigo's and not nearly as harsh. He was almost a bit wishy-washy but he seemed okay with multiple Sekirei. And Eighty-Eight had seemed rather overjoyed at him winging the young girl.
Speaking of multiple Sekirei...
She turned her head to see Izumo's newest residents in their room. Numbers Nineteen Ikki and Seventy-Eight Nanaha. Number Nineteen was once more in her room looking over Seventy-Eight, changing the wet cloth that was at Seventy-Eight's forehead. Inexplicitly, Nineteen would pause every so often to seemingly look over her shoulder before resuming her vigil, looking nervous every so often.
She shook her head in sympathy for Seventy-Eight, hearing she had a run-in with Karasuba which explained her current comatose state but was amazed that both Sekirei managed to survive. Having overheard Nineteen it seemed Ichigo had a hand in play there, which likely explained Nineteen's reaction to him and the winging that happened shortly afterwards.
Or more likely self-winging herself to him, as Ichigo did not seem to take it very well.
She crossed her arms and her mouth scrunched up a bit. That was not good. Ashikabi could use multiple Sekirei to help give them a better chance at protection and winning the Game. And from what she overheard he hadn't known about it. And worse, it sounded like if he had overheard he would have done something to avoid it.
Not good at all.
Even more puzzling was how Uzume had acted too. The Uzume she had escaped with from MBI would have easily mentioned and welcomed more Sekirei for her Ashikabi. And while she was cordial, it wasn't how Matsu thought it'd be as Uzume seemed to be tip-toeing around nineteen. Very strange indeed.
Then again, maybe it wasn't. She turned to look at the monitor that had Ichigo and Uzume on it and noted Uzume's change in hairstyle. Instead of her side ponytail, Uzume had her long hair in a high tied ponytail, her excess hair tied into a bun before the rest flared out to fall behind it, puffing out a bit with thick locks standing up like a pineapple before the rest fell to either spike out and curve away down to end just as her bottom hairline ended at the top of her neck at her back. Her bangs were unchanged, as were the two locks of hair that fell from the sides of her forehead to frame her face, ending nearly at the bottom of her neck at the front.
On the monitor Ichigo and Uzume now sat, side by side with Uzume's legs brought up to her chin as her arms encircled her knees as she tilted her head to talk to Ichigo, who was sitting cross legged and talking to her, whatever anger and embarrassment he had felt now a memory as they chatted. The side ponytail had been a clear indicator of her playful and tomboyish personality, but the new look ponytail made her look far more girlish than before and she felt an intense cold stab of envy at Uzume.
The girl was in love.
Head over heels in love with that boy.
Matsu mumbled unhappily as she shoved all the metaphors away as she could easily see the stars in the other Sekirei's eyes as she suddenly said something and giggled and Ichigo just shook his head at her joke. The husband and wife on one end, and a little family on the other. Who to choose?
Whoever it was, Matsu knew she wanted to be a part of it.
Ikki walked out of her room, rubbing her arms up and down and repressed a cold shiver as she looked to and fro around the hallway as she walked past the kitchen. She saw Musubi and Minato at the engawa, talking to each other and thought about maybe seeing if Musubi-chan was up for a spar. Yeah, that's it! A good ole spar to get the mind off problems and-
She blinked as another figure came down into the hallway.
Uzume saw her and widened her eyes briefly at her in acknowledgment and went into the kitchen. Remembering that she went up to follow Ichigo after today's... interesting topic she thought biting her bottom lip... She decided to follow her into the kitchen. Seeing Uzume close the fridge with a canned soda the other Sekirei popped it open and took a swig before realizing she wasn't alone and turned around.
"Pah!" she squawked as she took the can away from her lips. "What's up?"
Ikki hemmed and hawed a moment, looking around. As Uzume tilted her head to look at her with a raised eyebrow she spoke. "I-Ichigo-sama seemed really bothered by that ghost story, huh sis?"
"Yeah... you could say that," Uzume answered, giving a soft sigh at what happened when she went up the stairs.
"He... he's just so silly, isn't he?" She got out before giggling loudly. And obnoxiously.
"Silly?" Uzume asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Y-yeah!" she nodded, looking around inconspicuously as she puffed out her chest slightly. "Be-believing in ghosts and all that, how childish... Ah ha... Ahahahahahahaha..."
"You don't believe in ghosts, huh?"
"N-no! Of course I wouldn't... Doyou?" she then blurted out in a low, deep voice, suddenly looking serious.
"I believe in things that can't be mentioned," she said, shuddering while unconsciously turning her head to look for a certain landlady. "I hope you never see them Ikki," she said solemnly.
"Thing...things that can't be mentioned...?" Ikki asked, the portion of her face above nose-line turning blue.
"Oh yes..." she then whispered, idly looking once more around to confirm no hannyas or masks were nearby. "Make sure you're always a good girl Ikki. Never know what spirits might be around to punish the bad ones."
Ikki then squawked. "Y-yes! Uh-I-I-mean, really Uzume-san?" She said as she rapidly made her way to Uzume, almost looking to Uzume herself like someone had put Ikki on fast-forward as she came and put an arm around her shoulder. "R-really, you're such a kidder, HAHAHAHAHA!"
Uzume gave her sister Sekirei an odd look, "Are... are you ok Ikki?"
"Jus-just fine, sis! Why do you ask? Haha haa~"
"Are... are you scared of ghosts maybe?"
"Me? Scared? Don't be silly... It's like I told th' kid, ghosts don't exist..." And with that she leaned back to look around, her head whipping left and right a few times before looking back at Uzume.
"Uh huh," Uzume sighed.
Ikki coffed into her hand before suddenly leaning into Uzume, a shy grin on her lips. "So... so... didja go up and give our Ashikabi a pep talk and cheer him up?"
"All I'll say is we had a nice talk and that's that," Uzume replied, a faint blush on her cheeks. Seeing Uzume blush Ikki stared at her, before her eyes narrowed and she mumbled and peered into Uzume's face well into the other Sekirei's comfort zone. "W-what?"
Ikki's half lidded stare then turned... sad? As Ikki's bottom lip puffed out and she said, "Did... did you do... something special to cheer him up?"
"N-no, we just talked is all."
"Yes, that's all," Uzume sighed. "Being married isn't all about making love y'know," she answered and took another swig.
Ikki's bottom lip began to tremble and her eyes watered. "You... you're such a good liar... Senseiiiiii~!" She then wailed and grabbed onto Uzume. "Teach meeee, pleeaasseee~"
Uzume spit out her drink and coughed. "Gaaah, gedoffmeh!" Uzume coughed out. "You're gonna wreck my shirt!" She shrieked when she realized what was wet likely wasn't from Ikki's tears.
"Teach mee, pleeeeassee siissss~" Ikki pleaded as she pressed herself into Uzume further.
"Respect my personal space!"
Several hours later...
The first sensation she registered was the pain that felt like it was centered right between her eyes. A throbbing pain would have made her want to close her eyes if they weren't already closed, and from the way she was now feeling whatever rest she wanted was slowly slipping away as full consciousness regained a hold on her. Groaning softly, her eyes opened and quickly closed, the light of wherever she was still too much for her.
"Tsss-!" she hissed as she tried to raise an arm to bring to her face only for a sharp pain to stab her in her back. Or at least, that's how it felt.
'O...okay... what happened?' She wondered.
After a moment she slowly raised her arm again and brought it to her face, ignoring the pain that she again felt travel up her body, albeit a bit less this time.
Suddenly, she froze.
'Karasuba,' she realized as her eyes snapped open and her heart begin to race and panic began to set in.
Slowly the white light in her vision abated and was quickly replaced by her current surroundings, her quick breathing the loudest sound in what was a room of some sort.
Slowly her breathing began to calm as she again closed her eyes to try and cut off the pain that built up between them.
'I'm alive...' she realized before her eyes shot open again. 'Ikki-neechan!'
Without moving her head her eyes darted around the room, looking for her sister Sekirei. Not seeing her she brought her arms out and pushed before pausing, hissing. After a few more seconds she pressed against the ground and pushed herself up to a sitting position. Reaching the position her head dropped and her hair fell forward, covering much of her face as her palms rested on the floor while she squinted her eyes shut and grit her teeth.
Finally lifting her head she took a few deep breaths as she looked around the room in more detail. No, this wasn't the motel room that she and Ikki had been staying at for the last several days. For one thing that motel was as western flavored as you could get and this seemed much more... Japanese... she wondered, feeling slightly light headed as she looked around before blinking as her forearm caught her eye. No, forearms.
They had been bandaged. Blinking again she looked down and noticed her yukata. Brining her arms to her chest area she pulled the yukata open a bit, hissing slightly at the movement and from her back now completely supporting her. She had been bandaged pretty tightly, not really noticing that outside the bandages the yukata was the only thing she was wearing.
"Wha...what happened?" she whispered aloud before trying to backtrack. 'I remember the roof...' she then squinted her eyes. 'I... I was teasing Ikki-neechan, and then... Karasuba...' she trailed off, feeling the chill of her near death experience. "But what happened after... after that? And where am I?" 'And where's Ikki-neechan?'
She sat in silence for a few more minutes, contemplating her situation. The more she thought about it, the calmer she became. She was alive. And obviously, whoever rescued her wanted her healed. She didn't think she was winged, so whoever rescued her didn't take advantage of her, or so she thought. Spying the tall vanity mirror near the corner she made a mental memo to check later.
She grunted, twisting to try to get to a crouching position to stand. 'Time to get some answers.'
After a few moments of hissing and pausing every so often she finally got to her feet. Looking forward she hesitantly took a step. Feeling only mind pain she took another. 'Okay. Walking seems to be a bit easier.' After a few more steps and the door within reaching distance it opened, causing her to pause. As the person who opened it turned to look in there was a gasp.
"Na-na-Nanaha-chan?" Ikki whispered.
"Ikki-neechan? You... you're alive?" Nanaha whispered in relief.
"Na-Nanaha-chan," Ikki said again with her eyes beginning to brim with tears.
"Uh... I..Ikki-neechan," Nanaha said again, this time with a sick feeling in her stomach.
"Nanaha-chan! You're awake!" Ikki cried and launched herself at her friend.
"Ikki-neechan. Please. Please do not do that again..." Nanaha said as she looked at the ceiling with her hand at her forehead. She was currently sprawled on the floor not quite spread eagle.
"I'm sorry Nanaha-chan," Ikki said again while wiping tears from her eyes. "I... It's just that... I just saw you up, and didn't think..." she said as she brought her other hand up to join the other and hiccupped. She was sitting next to her friend, not quite seiza, with her legs somewhat opened and her hind legs spread slightly outwards.
"Yeah, I noticed," Nanaha responded. After a couple minutes Ikki began to calm, and when Nanaha thought that she was done she asked. "Ikki-chan, what happened? Where are we?"
Ikki blinked. "You don't remember?"
"I remember Karasuba. Fighting her," she said and then sighed, the emotion of what was going to happen welling up in her again. "And nearly getting killed. After that... after that waking up here." When she saw Ikki nodded she continued. "Ikki, are you okay? Are we going to be alright?" She then looked at her hand and the bandages again. "Where you the one-"
"No, no," Ikki said, and to Nanaha's bewilderment broke out into a huge smile that almost lit up the room.
Nanaha blinked at her sister Sekirei's expression, "Ikki-neechan?"
"We were saved by... by a wonderful man," Ikki began as her eyes closed. She placed a hand on her chest to steady her rapidly beating heart. "He... he saved us somehow. I don't know how, but he saved us and brought us here to heal our wounds. We... we owe him our lives."
"I... I see," Nanaha muttered. "Well that's good at least... but I'm guessing there's more to this story right?"
Ikki nodded, a faint blush growing on her cheeks. "While he was saving us I... I reacted to him."
Nanaha's eyes widened. "You mean?"
Ikki nodded and quickly turned around, bending her neck and lowering her dress straps low enough for Nanaha to see the familiar Sekirei winging brand on the nape of her neck. "I... I don't believe it," Nanaha whispered in an awed tone. "What are the odds the man who saves up is your destined one?"
"Pretty good I'd say," Ikki replied as she brought the dress back up. She turned back to Nanaha and clasped her hands, "He's smart, brave, shy, and oh so handsome! It's been three days since I winged him, but it's been incredible so far!"
"Three days?" Nanaha gasped. "I was out for three days?!"
Ikki nodded, "Yeah. Karasuba... Karasuba really did a number on you." Ikki let out a small sniffle before she bowed deeply, "I'm so sorry Nanaha-chan!"
"Ikki-neechan?" Nanaha gasped.
"If only..." she paused to let out a small sob. "If only I was stronger you... -hick- you wouldn't have suffered as much as you had! The worst part about that whole damned ordeal was that she was toying with us! She almost killed us and she was just toying with us the whole time!"
"Ikki-neechan..." Nanaha whispered in a stunned tone.
"I promise you!" Ikki nearly shouted. "I promise you right here and right now that I... I'll get stronger! Much, much, much, much stronger! Strong enough to protect you! Strong enough to defeat Karasuba! Strong enough to be Ichigo-sama's wife! I swear it on my name and number... That Sekirei Number Nineteen, Ikki, will become strong enough to protect you all! So please..." Ikki looked up at Nanaha with tears streaming down her face. "Will you please forgive me for failing you?"
Nanaha put her hands up. "Yes, Ikki-neechan, I forgive you."
The tears continued to stream down Ikki's face. "Th-thank you Nanaha-chan!" And with that, pounced on the girl with a hug, completely missing Nanaha's wide eyes, pained face and twitching outstretched arms.
Slowly, those arms stilled and were brought around to loosely hug Ikki back and pat her as the girl hiccupped a few more times.
"Really Ikki-neechan," Nanaha whispered before gathering her sister in a hug. "There's nothing to forgive."
"Nanaha-chan?" Ikki whispered.
"So long as you're alive, I'm happy." Nanaha continued. "And so long as you get stronger, this won't be an issue again will it?"
"Good." Nanaha nodded. "Now then... tell me more about your... Ichigo-sama."
It was well past midday and almost early evening when Ichigo stopped paused in the book he was reading and stared at the wall.
"Goddammit," he bit out and stood up, angered at remembering something he needed to do but slipped in the commotion that happened yesterday and what he had heard earlier. Ikki had come in a couple hours ago to try to talk to him, apparently asking about the ghost that Kuu saw and what he felt about.
Apparently she thought he was being somewhat of a big kid and attempted to try to assuage his fears by trying to be calm and tell him why such things did not exist. That she was stuttering through it didn't really seem to help her case, and while he knew what she was trying to do it had reminded him of what Uzume in that stunt of hers earlier helped him set aside for the moment. Being reminded of it frustrated, and he stewed a bit more when he realized how he must have looked like to Ikki who began stuttering more. So, he had tried to calm down and be truthful with her.
He had never seen someone go so pale as she did when he told her ghosts were real.
"D-d-doyoudoyou mean l-like, Poltergeist?!" she had questioned.
Ichigo had closed his eyes and mumbled something intelligible about it and said, "Yeah, but worse."
Poor girl look liked she had wanted to faint on the spot.
He had grumbled, upset that he had made her upset, and being reminded at a possible time bomb over their heads. He had of course, told himself that perhaps the spirit was wondering around town, after all a few did that (or followed him home, god that was something he didn't miss...) so with some luck hopefully the spirit moved on. And no way to tell was beginning to frustrate him the more. He had looked up to see Ikki breathing a bit deeply and looking around and tried to help saying maybe it had moved on, as Kuu hadn't said she'd seen it before. That seemed to calm her down.
So he had asked about her friend to see get her mind off it. That did seem to help as her jittery mood seemed to settle a bit more as she replied that she was still sleeping, and that she and Miya had been taking turns watching over her. But until the girl actually woke up, all they could do was wait.
Ichigo sighed again as he remembered when she left she seemed a bit more melancholic, and that was only mildly better than the frightened looks she had. Closing the door behind her he had attempted to clear his mind about it all by grabbing some of the books he had brought with him and began reviewing things for when University started. And it was then that he had remembered that he had books that he was waiting on due to it not arriving. Because he forgot to call yesterday like he wanted before things 'happened'.
Snorting ruefully he quickly made his way down the stairs, his feet making quick pounding noises with each step, he made his way through the hallway to the phone.
"Asama-san?" He called out. Hearing nothing he called out to Miya again. Not getting any response he shrugged, picked up the phone and dialed.
"Hello?" A voice prodded.
-I-Ichi-nii?- He heard Karin gasp in surprise. -Ichi-nii, how are you? Are you ok?--
Ichigo pulled the phone away as he heard his sister go into a coughing fit.
"Karin?" He asked when it stopped.
-Yo, Ichi-ni,- Karin replied nonchalantly as if nothing had happened. -Everything okay?-
Ichigo blinked and shook his head deeming whatever that was unimportant. "Yeah. Hey, is goat-chin there?"
-He's busy with something,- she said before snickering.
-Not really, but dad's been walking funny for the past few days.-
Ichigo stared, thinking why before it suddenly hit him and he caught himself from guffawing but it wasn't as quick as he'd like.
-Ichi-nii, you wouldn't know anything--
"Don't worry, its unimportant," he deflected with a smirk on his face. "Hey, were you there when pops shipped my stuff?"
He gave her the short version and she stared at the phone before mumbling something about idiots when she excused herself. After a few moments she got back on the phone and gave him the proper number to call.
"Now that I think of it, Ichi-nii, they did come by twice."
"Something about the truck being almost full and your stuff being more than they could take so they sent another truck afterwards."
Ichigo grumbled when he noticed the address. They were local. Taking a quick look outside he thought about getting some air when he asked his sister if there were any other authorization numbers given. She had two that were from both pickups and he quickly wrote and double checked with her the correct numbers and he proceeded to say goodbye.
-Ichi-nii,- Karin said and Ichigo paused at how different again she sounded, softer and somewhat unlike her. "How are things?"
"Busier than I thought right now," he said in all honesty. He then saw Ikki striding through the hallways. "A lot more complicated too," he sighed.
-Nothing,- he quickly said, cursing as he didn't want her to hear. Oh shit, Ikki's in the hallway while he's on the phone with family... The last thing he wanted was for them to find out about this! "Hey Karin, gotta go now, okay?"
"I'll call later, promise."
-O-okay. I... We mis... Take care!- She blurted out before the phone line went dead.
"Ichigo-sama!" Ikki cried out and he quickly hung up the phone. "There you are! Ichigo-sama, you need to see this!"
Ichigo blinked. "See what?"
"It's my sister!" Ikki cried out. "You gotta see this!"
"Did something happen?!" He suddenly exclaimed, concerned now.
"Did something happen?" Ikki repeated. "You bet something happened! Anyways just come with me!" And with that, he followed her to her room, heart beating rapidly and in thought of what could have happened. "Here we are! Go look," Ikki cried as they made it to the room.
Ichigo blinked as he all but ran in, ready for a possibly convulsing girl. Instead, he saw that the girl was sitting upright, in seiza position while rubbing her back as she turned to look at him and he paused mid-step, nearly falling over before he straightened out and stood tall.
And felt as if his stomach had dropped out under him.
"So," Nanaha began as she gave an appreciative look over of the former shinigami. "This is the one, eh?"
Ikki's smile just grew at Nanaha's question, "Ichigo-sama, this is my little sister Nanaha-chan! Nanaha-chan, this is Ichigo-sama!"
With his mouth a thin line, he nodded his head before slowly edging back to leave the room. "So!" Ikki cried out as she clasped Ichigo's hand again, halting his retreat. "Now that we're all together, we should get acquainted like a family should!" Saying that, she pulled Ichigo near her.
Pulling him down beside Nanaha on the unwinged Sekirei's left and Ikki on Ichigo's other side. The second of Ichigo's Sekirei released her Ashikabi's hand and pillowed them in her lap as she sat indian style. "So... let's get to knowing eh?"
Ichigo looked at Nanaha and repressed a gulp, knowing what could potentially happen and knowing he really didn't need another Sekirei. He nodded his head at her to acknowledge her and briefly looked her over. Much like Uzume and Ikki, she was beautiful, even in her current state. Her yukata was somewhat open, why he didn't know but he knew that it presented a rather erotic picture along with her tousled waist length hair. Her eyes, brown, showed a bit of discomfort as she started back at him but were still warm and caring.
And through it, he waited as his heart pounded and his stomach protested.
Nanaha smiled gently at Ichigo, "He he, Ikki-neechan said you were handsome but... she really didn't do the description justice."
A slight blush crossed his cheeks as he pulled back slightly as if to brace himself.
"I also hear that it was you and your first Sekirei that saved our lives, yes?" Nanaha gave a slight bow to Ichigo from her position. "I thank you Kurosaki-san. I owe you so much I don't know if I'll ever be able to repay it."
He blinked, not the reaction he had been bracing for but he recovered quickly, slightly bowing back. "Please, don't mention it." To his side, Ikki blinked as well. Her eyes now quickly darting back and forth between her sister and her Ashikabi.
"I just..." Nanaha paused as she caught Ikki's eyes darting back and forth between her and Ichigo but ignored it for the moment. "I just hope that Ikki-neechan hasn't been too much trouble for you."
"Uh," Ichigo mumbled, trying to come up with something to say that didn't align with his current concerns to allay the girl. "Uh, no... problem at all," he said with his head slightly shaking.
"Good," Nanaha nodded. "I know she can be a bit... impulsive. But she's my big sister, and I just want her to be happy."
And with that he felt his stomach tighten, another concern coming to fore.
Her smile grew, "It's good to know she's in trustworthy hands, Kurosaki-san."
He blinked a few times and his brow slightly furrowed and relaxed a few times before responding. "Thank you."
"You're welcome Kurosaki-san," she let out a soft giggle. "Or perhaps I should be calling you Kurosaki-niisan?"
"Um, whatever you want," he mentioned. "Uh, it's good to see you awake. Ikki here has been worried about ya," he said as he thumbed towards the girl. "And if you'll excuse me..." he trailed off as he started to stand.
"W-wait a second!" Ikki cried out suddenly.
"Ikki-neechan?" Nanaha asked in a curious tone.
"It... it's just that..." Ikki gave a nervous chuckle before turning back to Nanaha, "Ne, Nanaha-chan. Do you feel anything?"
Nanaha blinked, "Feel anything?"
Ichigo watched as he paused when he stood, unsure of what they were talking about but felt that undercurrent of unease again. Ikki nodded, placing a hand over Nanaha's forehead. "Yeah! Y'know... do you feel... funny?"
"Do I feel fu-" Nanaha paused as her eyes widened in understanding and repressed a sigh and gave Ikki a half-lidded stare before easing it and turning to Ichigo. "Kurosaki-san. Could you leave us for a moment please?"
"S-sure," he said and made his way to the door, doing his best to make it look like he didn't want to rush out.
"Wait!" Ikki cried out clasping his hand once more. The pair paused, Ichigo giving Ikki a slightly nervous glance while Ikki... Ikki looked down at where their hands intertwined and looked up at her Ashikabi's face. "Ah," she muttered as her face flushed beet red. She quickly released her Ashikabi's hand as her blush extended from her face down the rest of her body and she collapsed to her knees.
"Ikki-neechan?" Nanaha asked in sudden concern. This was a new reaction for her big sister, and an odd one to say the least.
"Um..." Ichigo paused as his second Sekirei collapsed to her knees. "Is... is she ok?"
"I... I don't know," Nanaha hesitantly answered. "I've never seen her react this way."
"Should... should I go or...?" Ichigo trailed off.
"Go ahead Kurosaki-san," Nanaha replied as she eased her way over to Ikki who had a glazed look in her eyes. "But... but stay close please. Just in case."
"R-right," Ichigo muttered as he bravely made a quick escape out of the room.
Nanaha let out a small sigh as Ichigo left, turning to look at her sister Sekirei, who now seemed to have steam pouring out of her ears as her skin continued to redden. "Well... this is a new reaction."
After a minute, Ikki seemed to slowly come out of her embarrassed trance. "I... I..." She muttered as she regained her bearings. "Ichigo... -sama?"
"He's gone," Nanaha answered as Ikki turned to face her sister. "He stepped out to get some water for you," she lied. "After all, you've never reacted like that to someone before."
"I know," Ikki muttered. "But he's so... so... amazing..."
"Uh huh," Nanaha muttered. "So amazing that you wanted to share the love with me right?"
Ikki flinched slightly, "But... but Nanaha-chan..."
Nanaha sighed, "I know what you planned Ikki-neechan. I was there when you made that promise remember? But..."
"But nothing," Ikki interrupted. "Ichigo-sama is our destined Ashikabi. I know it. What I don't know is... is why you didn't react to him?"
Nanaha frowned, "I don't know Ikki-neechan, I don't know." Left unsaid was the possibility that Ichigo was not her destined Ashikabi as Ikki feared.
"Maybe," Ikki said suddenly. "Maybe it's just because you're still injured?"
Nanaha shrugged uncertainly, "Maybe..."
Ikki nodded, "Yeah... yeah that's it probably." She turned to Nanaha, placing her hands on her shoulders. "We'll just wait until you're better and then we can try it again, ok?"
"O-ok Ikki-neechan," Nanaha muttered.
"Good," Ikki nodded as she gave Nanaha a quick hug. "Now you get some rest ok? The sooner you're better, the sooner Ichigo-sama can make you his. And the sooner we can win this game one and for good! Get it?"
"Got it," Nanaha replied as she smiled softly at Ikki.
"Good," Ikki nodded as she stood up and helped Nanaha back to her futon. Tucking her sister in, she gave Nanaha a quick peck on her forehead and left the room, a notable bounce in her step.
Nanaha sighed as she heard the door close, her eyes drawn up towards the ceiling. "If only it could be so easy Ikki-neechan..."
Ichigo sighed, wondering once again when his life had become so difficult. He was once again answerless as he walked out of the sister Sekireis' room, and closed the door behind him. The former Shinigami made his way to his room and grabbed a jacket and looked for a shirt to change into. He quickly looked through his things the girls went through yesterday and then reached for his duffle bag. Opening it he found the shirt it wanted and pulled.
He paused at the sound and turned and his eyes widened. Bending down he picked it up and examined it.
It was his Soul Reaper badge.
'I forgot Kon put this in here,' he idly chided himself. It would be a minute later when he realized he had been staring at it. Mouth a thin line he gripped it a bit harder and brought it to his chest.
'What the hell I am doing?' he thought shaking his head with a frown and a sigh before putting it down and began to change his shirt. Yeah, a walk sounds like great right now. As he pulled off his current shirt his door opened.
Ichigo blinked and turned to find Uzume leaning on the door frame with a concerned look on her face. "Oh hey Uzume. 'Sup?"
"Just seein' if you're ok," she replied as she stepped into the room.
"If I'm ok?"
She nodded, "Yeah. You were lookin' a bit distracted commin' up here again. Kinda spaced out."
"Ah." His mind wondered back to what Ikki reminded him off... her friend in their room finally waking up and what Ikki seemed to have in mind... Not to mention going out to ask about his stuff and he sighed. "I jus' got alot of stuff on my mind is all."
"I figured," she replied as she walked up to him while he was still turned away from her before pausing. "Want me to help again?" She grinned at him and grabbed the bottom of her shirt. He gave her a flat stare and she shook her head, sighed and walked up to him; her arms embracing his waist and she leaned into his back, "Talk to me...?"
He paused and brought his own hand resting atop Uzume's closed hands. "I... I think Ikki just tried to get me to wing her sister."
She blinked, her head rising from her Ashikabi's slightly. "She did?"
"Yeah...," he groaned as he rubbed his forehead tiredly. "Good thing she didn't act like you and Ikki did otherwise..." he shrugged with a frown on his face.
"Yeah, I know. I was there," she sighed. "So what do you want to do?"
"Well since she didn't get all hot and glowy, I think we're cool." Ichigo replied as he then turned to face Uzume who let him go and took a step back. "I'm just gonna pretend that never happened. I think it'll be the best in the long term."
Uzume gave a slight chuckle, 'If only it could be that easy...' she thought. She then saw Ichigo reach for his jacket and put it on. "Going somewhere?"
He nodded absently scratching his chin, "Yeah, I called home a little while ago and got the info about my stuff. There's a local place nearby where I can ask."
"Couldn't you just give them a call?"
He shrugged, "Yeah but..." he trailed off as he shook his head, the business with this spirit, dealing with Ikki and almost dealing with another Sekirei coming to him. "I think I could use a good walk."
"Yeah," he said and began to walk to the door.
Uzume caught the look on his face and then realized that it was the same one he made when he had been talking about Ikki the other day and repressed a sigh. Aloud she then said, "So you don't wanna talk to Ikki about this?"
Ichigo slowed on the way to the door, a part of him now just wanting to rush out the door before Ikki could come up and try again. "Nope," He got out and stepped through as Uzume followed him, closing the door to his room behind her. Outside in the hallway Ichigo looked around before continuing in a bit of a hushed voice. "She didn't react so ain't no point in tryin' now is there? What I'm gonna do is go out for a bit and let off some steam at these guys who lost my stuff."
"Sounds like a plan," Uzume nodded as she leaned up and kissed his cheek. "Be careful now, 'kay?"
Ichigo paused, a look of surprise on his face. "You're not coming? I- I mean..."
Uzume's face brightened. Her Ashikabi had expected her to go with him and actually looked sad that she wasn't! The urge to join him began to pull at her greatly but she resisted as much as she could. There were other things she needed to take care of. And it involved her Ashikabi and his peace of mind. That was enough to give her the strength.
"Next time," she stated and then quickly stood on her toes to kiss him, her eyes opening when he quickly returned it before they pulled apart, both their hearts beating rapidly.
"Uh... I'll be back," he said softly as he turned to then go down the stairs.
If Uzume hadn't been so dazed as her wings disappeared she would have noted that he practically ran them down and was snapped out of her stupor when she heard a muffled sound of the front door shutting. She hugged herself tightly, the top of her hands brushing against her breasts. "Soon... soon," she promised to herself and smiled. After a moment she calmed down and glanced at Ichigo's room and what he had said. Nodding to herself she made her way downstairs with a strong look in her eyes.
It was time to have a little talk.
Uzume came down the stairs and caught sight of Ikki near the dining area watching TV. Walking up to and stopping short near the table Uzume made sure she was in Ikki's line of vision and the girl blinked as she turned her head away from the TV and towards her.
"Hey," she called out.
"Mmn?" Ikki muttered as she turned to Uzume, "Hey, 'sup sis?"
Uzume looked at the girl and her lips briefly became a thin line before going back to normal. "We need to talk."
Ikki blinked at her in response.
"I-It's okay," Yashima said to the man again as she began to quickly finish up her plate.
Said man was in a grey suit. Nothing too fancy but enough to look important as he kept flashing her a toothy smile. She had been having dinner and was just about finished when this person sat down uninvited in the booth she had been eating at across from her. From there he had begun to compliment her, asked if she was enjoying dinner or if she wanted anything more.
At first she thought he had been the manager of the restaurant or something and said as much. He laughed and waived it off and reaching into his jacket and pulled out a card and handed it to her and called the staff for two drinks. It was then he looked at her weapon and asked about it. She answered him honestly, calling it by name.
"Gravity Hammer? Man, I've been outta the loop for awhile but I'm sorry to say I don't know that series," he laughed and she realized she was once again thought to be cosplaying with a home-made prop and nearly sighed at how it must have looked with the non-orthodox Sailor fuku she was wearing when the waiter came up to ask what they'd like. She attempted to waive off the waiter but was drowned out by his voice and laughter when he made his order and finally read what was on the card and blushed hard.
Even she knew of this particular AV Studio.
She then attempted to leave, taking hold of her Hammer but before she could lift it she felt his hand gently grab her other wrist and gently hold onto her. "Hear me out?"
She gave a wan smile and pulled away out of his surprisingly soft grip and picked up her Hammer. "I'm sorry," she finally got out. "I'm not that interested." And with that she quickly left the restaurant and tried to blend into the crowd, grimacing as the agent quickly followed after her, ignoring the waiter as he brought the drinks. The crowd that she had been hoping to disappear into parted to allow her and her oversized weapon through and she let out a defeated sigh.
"Are you sure?" he pressed again as he walked up behind her, finding her easily. "A cutie like you could go real far." he tried to entice when he made it abreast of her...
When she increased her speed he rushed up to catch up to her and again attempted to bargain once more. "Trust me, I promise you'll be well taken care of," he reassured. "A girl as pretty as you will be well taken care of in the business." She turned to and walked backwards, ready to reject him again and take to the air when a voice called out behind her.
"She ain't interested."
She slowed down and came to a stop.
"Ain't your business pal. Me and the lovely lady are talking shop."
"You shouldn't try to take what doesn't belong to you."
Please God. Please no...
"Hello Yashima," she heard and the agent began to sputter at the interloper.
She slowly turned.
'No... not again. Please, please not again!' She mentally cried and nearly sobbed as he stood several feet away from her. The crowd she had been walking along with kept going, oblivious to what was happening as they passed by.
"Doesn't this shit get old? Me finding you, you running off?"
The agent walked up close to lean into her and whispered. "And this is what the business can protect you from." Louder and straightening out his suit and tie he walked up to Tanigawa. "Hey buddy, me and woman are busy," Reaching Tanigawa he leaned into his private space and ignored the glare. "And if you know what's good for you then take the hint," he whispered dangerously and grinned when Tanigawa's eyes twinkled in barely constrained rage.
"No... NO!" Yashima cried and jumped away to the nearest rooftop.
The agent and the bystanders turned in shock. Taking advantage Junichi pulled his foot back and swung it up as hard as he could between the other man's legs and ran off in the direction Yashima jumped away to, ignoring the shouts and shriek of pain behind him.
Ikki walked into Uzume's room and stopped in the center, turning around and seeing Uzume close the door behind her, still facing her so it looked like Uzume's hands were behind her as she heard the door click. "Nice room ya got sis," Ikki muttered distractedly as she sat down on a chair. "Wooow, the cushioning is so soft..."
Uzume blinked at her sister Sekirei's antics before taking a breath and crossing her arms. "Hey."
"Man, where'd you get this?" Ikki continued as she grew all the more enamored with Uzume's chair. "It's so comfy..."
Ikki blinked at Uzume's raised tone and rose from her seat. "Eh?"
The first Kurosaki Sekirei sighed and folded her arms under her breasts, "I have a good idea already but I wanted to ask you; what're you planning?"
"Plannin'?" Ikki blinked, tilting her head to the side at Uzume's question. "What'cha mean sis?"
Uzume fought off the urge to allow her eyebrow to twitch and took a deep breath, giving a resigned sigh and replying. "What you tried to do with your friend and Ichigo."
"My friend?" Ikki blinked for a moment when her eyes lit up in recognition, "Oh, you mean my lil' sis Nanaha-chan?"
"Ehhehehe..." Ikki sheepishly rubbed the back of her head. "So ya heard how I tried to rush things a bit, huh? Yeah… hehe, it was my bad 'n all…"
Uzume blinked at the wording. "Rushing isn't close to what I'd begin to say with how you're moving... But I want to ask you; why?"
Ikki frowned slightly in confusion at the question, "Eh, what'cha mean why sis?"
"Why are you pushing her on Ichigo? He doesn't want anymore Sekirei."
"Huh?" Ikki blinked before she waived at her sister Sekirei dismissively. "Aw, c'mon sis don't be silly. 'Course Ichigo-sama wants more Sekirei. He's jus' shy is all. Besides he's the perfect choice for Nanaha-chan's Ashikabi. Trust me."
Uzume winced at the simple conclusion the girl had and a part of her didn't disagree with her. More Sekirei were considered a good thing and meant more protection for Ichigo. But seeing him yesterday and earlier...
She shook her head and sighed, "Look, I know what you're thinking, but I've known Ichigo a lot longer. He doesn't want anymore. Please. Drop this and let it go."
Ikki raised an eyebrow at that, "Let it... go?"
Uzume nodded, hoping that the girl would get the idea. "Yes. Please let it go. He doesn't need or want anymore," she informed.
Ikki stared blankly at her sister for a moment before shaking her head, her hand trembling slightly. "Ehhehe... l-look I... I know it... it kinda sucks to share an Ashikabi but... but ya can't be so selfish sis."
She gave Uzume a sympathetic look as she continued, "I mean... this is the Sekirei Game, right? You can't be so closed minded about Ichigo-sama. He needs us to protect him. To win! And even if he didn't he's the perfect choice for Nanaha-chan's Ashikabi. So... so just get over it and let's forget about it, 'kay sis?"
"Never a good time?" He repeated. "When was there a 'never a good time'? I only visited every weekend for three months…" He stated, some anger finally coming through.
"You could have warned me," he stated as both his fists tightened. "At least that way I could have been more careful. At least that way... Damn it, Uzume, I..." He trailed off as he looked away and found himself unsure of what he wanted to say.
Uzume's eyebrow did twitch this time as she remembered Ichigo's reaction the other day. "It's not about being close minded!" she snapped before grimacing. 'Dammit, got too fed up there...' she thought but continued. "Ichigo doesn't need anymore," she tried to press, not wanting to know what would happen with Ichigo and what his reaction would be to another Sekirei wanting him. "Trust me, I know him. He doesn't want her."
Ikki's eye twitched at that, "O...Ok I... I think this is goin' on long enough sis. Y-ya can't be so selfish anymore ok? Remember? This is for Ichigo-sama's sake... B-besides," Ikki continued as her twitching increased. "S-s-s-s-saying things li...l-l-l-like Ichigo-sama d...doesn't wan't Nanaha-chan... th-th-that's just silly!"
"It's not about being selfish," Uzume repeated a little harder, hoping to impress upon Ikki how bad an idea it was. "And it's not about how she is, it's just that he doesn't want anymore Sekirei, okay?"
"NO IT'S NOT OK!" Ikki shouted back, unable to contain her own shock and anger at what she was hearing. "I'm sitting here tryin' to protect the two people on this planet the most precious to me and you can't seem ta get it through that thick skull of yours that you can't be hogging all of Ichigo-sama's affections anymore! The honeymoon's over Uzume-san! We gotta make sure Ichigo-sama's the best Ashikabi in this Game or he... or he might..."
Uzume backed up, surprised by Ikki's outburst before calming herself. "It's not about honeymoons or anything like that," she bit out, a reminder that she still hadn't had one. "It's about what Ichigo thinks, and I'm telling you. He doesn't want another one. Nothing against your friend or anything, but that's just how it is."
"Do you even wanna win this Game?!" Ikki cried, not believing what the other Sekirei was saying. "Listen to you! You're so far in denial about what Ichigo-sama wants and needs you can't even separate yourself from him!"
Uzume's eye twitched. "It's not about separating me from him it's about knowing him and his wants and needs! That I do know! And what I told you earlier still stands!"
"BULLSHIT!" Ikki cried out. "It's bullshit and you know it Uzume-san!"
"Have you spent three months with him?" Uzume's eyes narrowed and her voice went cold. "Have you watched and tried to form a relationship with him?" And Ikki paused for a moment. Seeing an opening Uzume pressed. "And not to mention your friend. She just woke up for crying out loud didn't she? And the first thing you do is try to throw her at Ichigo?"
"Don't you dare try to make me out to be the bad guy here!" Ikki growled at Uzume. "I said I was wrong to try so soon, but damn it it's the right thing to do! You'd know that if ya weren't so damn busy tryin' ta keep as few Sekirei from Ichigo-sama as possible you selfish bitch!"
Uzume's eyes flew open at Ikki's words. "Wha- what did you say?"
Ikki's eyes hardened and she slowly stood up from the chair and made a fist a few times, not taking her eyes off the other Sekirei. She folded her arms under her breasts and answered with a growl, "Did... I... stutter?!"
Uzume's lips formed a thin line as she briefly trembled at the girl. "I strongly suggest you take that back."
"Or you're goin' to do... what?" Ikki asked, her voice rolling out with aggression. 'How dare she belittle Nanaha-chan!'
"I think it's time to teach you some manners," Uzume responded evenly as veils of cloth began to appear and hovered over her shoulder.
Ikki's smile broadened slightly. "Heh, I eat manners for breakfast!" She reached at her side for her kodachi blades...
Only to blink in confusion as she grabbed at air, realizing that her weapons were back in her and Nanaha's room. "Oooh crapberries," Ikki muttered.
Uzume smiled as she saw she had the advantage and took a step forward...
"That's an appropriate word, I agree." A third voice came.
And Uzume stopped cold.
"My, my," Miya said as the door slowly opened, revealing the smiling Landlady with crinkled eyes as she brought a hand to cover her smiling mouth. "It would seem two of my tenants are about to break one of my rules..."
"M-Miya..." Uzume gulped weakly.
"L-landlady?" Ikki breathed, surprised at seeing her.
"Ladies," Miya said as a thick fog of darkness began to form around her. "What have I said about my rules?"
"Mi-Miya, WAIT!" Uzume cried, already going pale.
Matsu leaned back, using her arms to prop her up as she watched the aftermath as Miya began to lay into both Uzume and Ikki. "Hoo, boy," she murmered, looking away lest she see Miya use 'IT' and shivered unconsciously. What happened between the two Sekirei caused Matsu to sigh and she licked her lips. Sitting back up she switched her monitor feed and saw Minato in his room hitting his books, Musubi nearby picking at one and Kuu also looking through a few.
Seeing Kuu and Musubi share a look and smile she grinned and made her decision.
She then sighed theatrically, holding her hands out palm upwards as if she were giving something up. "Ah, it would have been so good," she lamented as she thought of all the trysts they could have had had Uzume not gone super-girlfriend and her Ashikabi just a bit less prudish. "All things considered..." she mumbled to herself, watching Miya take her leave of the two girls who suddenly made their way out to and down the stairs while Miya came to halt in front of Minato's room and knocked.
"Miya-san?" the microphones picked up Minato saying in surprise.
"Ara, don't mind me," Miya said and turned to Musubi and waved at her to come to her. "Musubi, can you come over here for a moment?"
Musubi smiled and stood up. "Yes, Landlady-sama?"
Matsu listened in and grinned as she then furiously began typing.
Yashima had reached the second rooftop and began to sprint.
Or would have if she hadn't seen the flying foot heading her way.
She weaved and dodged as best she could and twirled her Gravity Hammer, knocking the follow up spear thrust away and hopped back to put space between them. 'Another Sekirei. He has another Sekirei!' Her terrified mind screamed at her.
"I'm giving you one chance. Be a nice Sekirei, come down and get winged by the asshole."
Yashima took a step back, confused.
Maiko paused and noticed the girl's confusion and snorted. "He ain't my Ashikabi, but he's unfortunately important to mine's plans." Looking at the frightened girl she sighed. "I can't say I blame you, I'd sooner die that be winged from him but..." she trailed off with a shrug of her shoulders. She then twirled her spear and took a low stance, her right hand holding the area near the end with her left hand holding the part near where the blade began. "Now. Come along quietly?"
Yashima shook her head and took off again. "Figures," Maiko huffed and took off after her, mildly upset that Yashima turned to run rather than face her.
Then again, with Prince Charming down below...
The chase went on for several minutes over eight roofs before Maiko finally caught up with her to take aim and hurl her spear in mid jump. Yashima out of the corner of her eye saw the incoming weapon and dug her heels into the rooftop in an attempt to pivot and change direction. The spear itself imbedded into the floor ahead of her as her momentum brought her up a few feet short, her heel causing a good 10 feet in damage when she turned right and lowered herself to get into a sprinting position when she felt a weight on her back slam into her and she went face first into the rooftop floor, cracking and sinking into it.
"Idiot," the other Sekirei spat as she jumped off Yashima and flipped midair to land near her spear. Quickly rising Yashima brought up her Gravity Hammer to parry the quick jabs from her opponents spear. "I'll give it to you -GRUNT- you're a lot faster -SUCK- with that thing than youuuu-GRUNT- have any right to be!"
Yashima didn't disagree. The speed that she handled the Gravity Hammer was insane. But that was only due to her power and what it allowed her to do with it. Too bad that barely made up the difference in skill that the two possessed. Yashima grunted and caught her breath as a few of the jabs broke through her defenses, one cut on her upper left thigh and the other at her right waist against her ribcage. Both attacks cut open her clothing and cut her skin but not enough for any lasting damage.
If she stayed still.
Blinking back tears Yashima suddenly brought her Hammer in front to twirl it and turn sideways, causing Maiko to hop back at feeling the gust of wind that pick up near the giant head of the hammer that she suddenly did not want to get too close too and lowered her spear.
A dumb move on her part.
Yashima saw and in a brief second an idea flashed to her as she suddenly stepped forward. Maiko's eyes flashed as she moved back before she was pulled back by her spear and her eyes widened when she saw that Yashima's foot hand landed on the flat edge of the spear tip, digging it into the floor and saw something big and dark head her way. Gasping at seeing her Aoshi-chan's face flash before her eyes she let go of the spear and tilted back, losing her balance and falling.
Immediately Yashima was upon her.
She gasped at the quick turn-around in fortune. Spinning the hammer Yashima brought it to an abrupt halt and raised it, the hammer head high over her and plunged downward. "GAH!" Maiko spat out in pain as the butt of the hammer, blunt though with the small counterweight above it drove into her stomach, smashing her into the roof to the point where she nearly went though the floor.
Yashima brought the weapon away and saw her opponent on the floor and grimaced. "S-sorry," she apologized and took off.
Maiko as quickly as she could get up and tumbled forward on her knees, coughing and gagging before vomiting slightly. "Da-damn her..." She got out as she breathed in deeply, fighting to ignore the pain. "Damn that prick for..." Pushing the pain away she pushed herself off to see Yashima a little ways away and rushed to her as best she could. Yashima gingerly landed on the next rooftop, several away from her scuttle before she kneeled and held her wounds and breathed deeply.
Looking around she noted that the buildings were getting smaller and smaller as they neared the residential areas. Briefly glancing down she could see what was likely a marketplace before, by chance, turning her head in the direction she came in and saw the other Sekirei in pursuit. Eyes widening she pushed herself and ignoring the pain decided to take to the streets. Maiko's eyes widened at her actions and resolving herself followed her down below, quickly jumping between the sides of the buildings to ease her landing. Grimacing as she hit the ground she immediately put a hand to the nearest building wall to support herself as she nearly hurled again.
Hearing the traffic horns and breaks screech immediately after new where she had to be and pushed off, following. Yashima wasn't that far away, and her own wounds kept her from going faster than she wanted but she continued on, correctly guessing that the other girl was hurt too, as that attack on her thigh was slowing her down. Seeing her turn a corner into the alleyways she stopped before something came at her out of the corner of her eye and ducked. Standing up and taking a few steps back lest she stumble to the ground she looked up and her eyes widened.
"YOU?! But why?!"
"I told ya you dumb bitch, SHE'S MINE!" Junichi screamed at her before shoving her and moving to the alleyways and turned back. "I said it before, I got this! I don't want your fuckin' help!"
"You stupid son of a bitch..." Maiko grunted out. "You can't even-"
"Look at yourself in the mirror, you dumb bitch, you look like shit! I'll handle her!"
"You... you..." Maiko sighed, and turned away from the fool before her, "Go fuck yourself, you dumb bastard." Junichi's eyes raged for a moment, the urge to slap her rising within him before remembering he was wasting time and turned and ran off. Maiko looked at him run off and leaned back against the wall. "Fine," she more or less whispered to herself. "Go screw up again."
With that, she took a few more breaths before leaping into the air. Landing on a rooftop she took a bit more time to gather herself before leaving him.
Yashima slowed in the alley, taking a few breaths as she came to a stop, her Gravity Hammer held in both her hands as she tried to calm herself and the pain she felt from the cuts she received on her waist and leg. Though they weren't deep, they hurt a lot. And her movements weren't helping. With every other second that passed she looked over her shoulders and up in the air, waiting for the other Sekirei to arrive. Furiously she thought about what to do. She could turn back...
But she might end up facing... him.
Why? Her mind screamed at her. Why was she running? Every time this had happened she had ran. Why? It would be so easy to...
Because you hate violence...
Because you're not a fighter...
And because you got lucky earlier...
It was then that her head shot up at the sound of footsteps. She stayed quiet, the sound of her heart pounding the only other thing she could hear but the footsteps were growing louder, getting closer. She took a few breaths to calm her nerves as she tried to steel herself.
Her body locked up and she winced, the sound of his voice cutting through her. She gripped her hammer tightly, her mind frantically wondering about the right thing to do as the footsteps got closer and slowed.
"Yashima!" Junichi cried out again in-between several deep pants as he slowed, watching her hungrily. Her back was turned to him and she was slouched, however she still held that stupidly massive hammer in her hands. With his breath now caught he called out to her. "Finally... ya finally ready to accept yer place?!"
For Yashima, her walking nightmare of the last two months was behind her and her face scrunched in fear and uncertainty. What should she do? What-
The image of the strawberry blonde man came to her; his face stern and looking ahead. Waiting. For her? If she didn't do something now he would be forever lost to her.
Despite being a Sekirei and knowing all that came with hit; knowing she was stronger, knowing she could snuff this man's life away in an instant she couldn't bring herself to do or think it. But such actions weren't part of her nature. And the power of her weapon was one thrust upon her.
She looked upwards. Was that other Sekirei there now, waiting? If that was the case then...
Slowly. Slowly she turned around and faced him and tried to put on a brave face and slowly brought her hammer to bear against him.
"Oy oy," Junichi said dully, beginning to walk towards her with his hands in his pockets. "What'cha think you're doing, huh?" He questioned, smirking at what he saw. Her hammer was visibly trembling. "Come on now honey," he said, almost soothingly. "It won't be that bad, I promise-"
He stopped in mid-stride, blinking as if he misheard her. "I... I'm sorry... did you say no?"
She shook her head. "No. You're not my Ashikabi," she said as she motioned with her hammer towards him.
He tilted his head to the left and gazed at her with an oddly calm expression. "Well now... if'n I ain't your Ashikabi... you best stop me 'fore I make a liar outta you," he goaded. A dark grin traced his features as she made no motion other than to hunch a bit more. No problem at all. He began to walk towards her again, deciding that when she was within range he'd grab her by her hair and force her down when-
Both stopped to look around at the sound, momentarily forgetting about each other in the alleyway. Again there was a rumble and explosion, muffled still but sounding a bit stronger. By chance both looked up to see a figure seemingly jump the space between buildings and with that a flash of light. Both cried out as something impacted the roof of one of the buildings, sending debris chunks of the roof down upon them.
Junichi's eyes widened as he found himself rooted to his spot as a large section of what was the roof coming down upon him, and without getting a chance to think about the unfairness of it all felt himself tackled away and slammed into the ground, rolling a few times due to the force from what he was hit with.
His head came up in time to see Yashima disappear beneath the falling debris.
Ichigo scowled as he made his way back to Izumo, hands stuffed in his pockets. His things were stuck in the next ward north of here and wouldn't be arriving for another few days. He had argued with the agent about what had happened and the agent calmly stated that his father made one numerical mistake on the district address when the truck came by the second time. When Ichigo argued that everything was supposed to be taken in one shipment to begin with the agent stated that his father had signed off on it and authorized a second delivery and signed the address accordingly, mistake and all. Ichigo's anger swelled and argued why the hell the driver didn't see the entire address and stop to ask about this problem before it ended up in the wrong district and got the answer of the district is where each shipment arrives first before being placed on the right local carrier for shipment.
Ichigo wanted nothing more to deck the agent as the man looked smugly at needling his way out of this mess and Ichigo argued about getting his things quickly and got the spiel on how the company was doing everything it could to bring his shipment in a timely manner. And if he wanted it quicker he could pay for a quicker option. Ichigo left before he did something he'd regret and stomped out in a huff. Shaking his head he tried to take his mind off it and vaguely brought up his earlier thoughts of what happened with Ikki and her friend.
He scoffed at the thought and that this walk would have helped him but made things all the worse when he got to the carrier company outlet. He sighed and moved his mind to now the lesser of three headaches. Uzume the girl was not and he sighed again, feeling at a loss in a different way than it had been with his first Sekirei. At least her friend didn't seem to be acting weird around him, like Ikki had or when Uzume had winged herself to him. He mumbled in irritation and decided that he'd bring both of them into his room and find out what the hell happened when-
A flash of light.
He blinked, no, not quite a flash he realized when the sounds of an explosion reached his ears. His eyes narrowed as another flash, which he saw was a beam of light came down with another explosion. Wait... was that a laser? Many bystanders and pedestrians that were around him were also taking notice and pausing in their business to all look in the same direction. Thoughts about science fiction and what he thought wasn't possible yet with real life tech were interrupted as several more came down in quick succession and he realized that the explosions seemed to be getting louder as if they were heading into his direction.
'What the hell?!' he thought as another quick 'rain' came down and caused a lot of dust and debris to pick up as the bystanders began to move away, the crowd beginning to realize that whatever it was it was heading in their direction. Mindful of the screams and people now actively rushing away he was about to join them when he spotted an odd shaped shadow within the smoke that could just barely be seen, the dust obscuring its features. Several more laser beams came down and the shadow moved around, bouncing madly to-and-fro and the retired warrior realized that, amazingly enough, this mysterious figure was not only the target of these attacks but avoiding them as well.
It was then that the figure burst through the cloud of dust in mid-air, twisting in its flight to avoid another laser and Ichigo stared as he realized he knew who it was, the feminine figure landing not more than fifty feet away and running towards his direction, her face lighting up in recognition.
"Hi Ichigo-san!" Musubi yelled out to him with a wave as she ran towards him.
"..." Was all Ichigo could say as his hair and clothes flapped a bit in Musubi's wake as she rushed past him faster that he could blink.
"Bye Ichigo-san!" He heard her say behind him before he blinked and finally turned around. As Musubi gained some distance from him the laser attacks began anew and as soon Minato's first Sekirei turned out of sight, the beams of light from above giving him a clue as to where she turned and double backed only to turn again out of sight. Smoke and debris could be seen rising up slowly as the lasers clipped streets and buildings wherever Musubi had run to. Ichigo rubbed his head in exasperation as people nearby panicked at what occurred while a few gaped at the strawberry-blonde haired man who seemed to take this terrifying event in stride before they ran off.
Ichigo looked around and noted the people and damage around him and blinked as he realized that where he was standing at was relatively undamaged; that the laser attacks had stopped as Musubi came near and picked back up as she-
Ichigo grit his teeth and sucked in a breath as a sudden sensation of a heavy weight came upon his chest and he brought a hand up to it. He tried to push the strange feeling down as he quickly turned back and forth to see where that voice came from. Taking a few deep breaths he concentrated as another odd sensation in his chest built up. Odd but... familiar somehow. It didn't hurt but he tried to ignore it to again see where that voice came from and-
He turned to the direction where Musubi had originally come from and squinted. Why he felt that way he wasn't sure but something... Something...
Ah hell, he didn't know how he knew but he had to get moving as he grunted and sprinted off to where he knew he was needed.
Junichi smiled, seeing the girl half buried on the floor, pieces of concrete, wood and plaster surrounding as she laid on her stomach arms spread. He stood slowly as he calmed his thundering heart and his heavy breathing. Everything had happened in an instant, he had just cornered the girl and was about to make his move and she finally had no place to go, and the next thing he saw was her pushing him away. From the looks of it some parts of the building had come loose and nearly hit them, and she had saved him. Whatever it was didn't matter and in the end it just delivered the Sekirei to him on a platter.
It was just too perfect.
And to think she actually rescued him! And in her rescue she had taken much of the slab that would've likely killed him. His smile turned into a sneer. The gods were looking out for him. They had all but decreed that this wisp of a girl would be his. And they had just provided him the opening he was looking for.
He couldn't help chuckling at it all. It was just the perfect end to an annoying chase that was finally come to a close. He could hear her moan as she twisted a bit, trying to sit up but still a bit dazed at what happened. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. 'Nothing. But mine.'
Finally he reached her and knelt close to her grabbing her wrist. "Come 'ere," he ordered.
That seemed to snap her out of her daze. She sucked in a horrified breath at what was about to happen. Her legs hurt, her hammer was out of sight, and she just couldn't provide the necessary strength to get out of there just yet. "N-NO!" she screamed.
His eye twitched. She was his, and now was the time to start showing her. "Shut up! I said C'MERE!" He screamed and pulled and she came out of the rubble easier than he thought. So much so that the strength that he used to pull her out caused both to stumble, he stumbling back a few feet while she managed to get to her feet to take a step or two before falling on her knees.
Cursing Junichi stomped to her again and grabbed her arm by the bicep. She began to twist, moving her head. "NO!" she screeched, pulling back with what little strength she had.
He growled and his hand let go of her arm and opened his palm, snapping it sideways. "SHADDUP!" he yelled at her and her head snapped to her right and she cried out, her cheek turning red from where he slapped her and she fell to her knees. She brought a hand to her cheek but his hand shot forward and snatched her face. He smirked and gripped her face, turning it towards him. "You're all mine. Pucker up."
Yashima's eyes widened as he lowered-
"THE HELL ARE YOU DOIN'!?"
Junichi's eyes came dangerously close to being cross-eyed and his lips pursed as he sucked in a breath through clenched teeth and reigned in his frustration at being interrupted again. Without bothering to move from his crouching position his head turned and with what he could see stood an orange haired man a good few dozen feet away watching them. Before he could retort to the dye haired punk he heard a sharp gasp from the girl in his grip. He turned to see her silver eyes wide as she noticed the interloper.
Turning back he addressed the stranger curtly. "Ya gotta problem?! Get the fuck outta here! We're busy!"
For Yashima, she continued to look on in a mix of horror and hope. It was him! The one she had seen in her dreams! Her breathing began getting deeper, as if trying to pull in enough air to cool her suddenly enflaming body. Her heart thundered in both seeing her true Ashikabi and the fear that it would be too late. At the thought her eyes began to moisten at the unfairness at it all, the appearance of her Ashikabi had all but frozen her body as it began to react.
It would be too late.
Ichigo looked on as his brows furrowed as much as they could and his teeth began to clench harder than they already were. The two he had thought needed help from the raining debris ended up playing out much more differently than he thought. Instead of two people hurt it was one looking to take advantage of another. His eyes flashed as he took note of the man's grip on the girls jaw.
He began to walk forward.
"Oh I gotta problem, asshat," he said, his voice dipping dangerously low.
Junichi eye twitched a bit more violently as his body shook in rage briefly, ignoring the cry from the girl as his grip tightened in his anger. No. No more distractions. "I'd stop and turn around if I were you," he said, his own voice falling and not taking his eyes off the stranger.
Ichigo continued his slow walk, thinking of what to lead in with. "Is that a fact now? And why should I do that?"
Junichi snarled his warning, "You'll get hurt, and I can't promise you if you'll live or not."
"Howd'ya figure?" He spat back, unconsciously flexing his fingers.
Junichi took a step back, before a dark smirk crossed his face. "Ever hear of a Sekirei?"
At that, Ichigo did stop. "Sekirei?" With that, his eyes darted to the girl and focused on her.
Although he didn't' care for where the stranger was looking at, Junichi took the man's pause as an opening to let him know just how much trouble he was in. "Yeah, Sekirei. Lotta of cute girls who're lookin' for a master and will do anything for 'em. Supposed ta be in some kind of game by MBI with a big ass prize at the end. I'm gonna make this one mine, and if you don't turn away now I'll have her decorate the walls with your blood."
Noting the look in the girls terrified eyes the former shinigami began his walk again. "She doesn't want to."
Angered by the idiot's lack of common sense and losing precious time Junichi snapped at him. "It doesn't fucking matter what they want! When she's mine she'll do as I damn well tell her like a good little doll should!"
The girl managed a sob and a tear slid down her face.
And with that, Ichigo's eyes flashed and he moved.
Junichi wasn't sure what happened next, as one second was contemplating how Yashima's hammer would smear the man's blood all over the place in a short few seconds when he realized he was straining not to screech in sheer agony as his face and nose prickled him with icy shards of torture. Small gasps of wheezed air were audible as he gripped his own face to quell the pain as best he could, his body arched face first in the concrete with one knee on the ground and the other foot planted as best it could before he fell over mewling in pain.
Ichigo continued to kneel in his landing position, watching the mewling 'man' from under his bangs, the Sekirei behind him now. With that he stood, not taking his eyes off the man. So focused he nearly whipped around when he felt a tug on his pants just above the back of his knee. He turned to find the girl breathing hard, her hand still gripping his pants as she looked like she was trying to right herself.
"Hold on," he told her as he turned and kneeled and spared a quick glance at the man, now lying on the ground trying to rub the pain away from his face as he continued to moan in agony. Ichigo was sure that he ended up breaking the guys nose as his knee collided with his face. Turning his attention back on the girl he saw her looking at him, small sobs escaping her as tears continued to fall. She released her grip on his pants when he turned to kneel in front of her and now clutched his arm as she tried to stand.
"Easy," he told her as he helped her as best he could. She rose unsteadily, still feeling the pain from her wounds along with what happened a few minutes earlier and she felt him hold on to one shoulder with one hand and held her arm with the other hand to keep her as steady as she could.
Junichi blinked away tear as his vision slowly returned to him. Again he blinked, his eyes stinging from the amassed tears that had formed. They fell down his cheeks and mixed with the dripping blood that gathered under his chin to drip on the floor. 'That sunnavabith, that sunnavabitchTHATSUNNAVABITCH !' His head turned to find the orange haired punk almost face to face with the strawberry blond girl.
Ichigo sighed as he looked the girl over. Silver eyes met his brown ones with gratitude and... something else that if he were calmer would have put him unease but at the moment was unimportant as he continued to take in her state. She was bruised and dirtied, with some cuts on her waist and thigh with some blood, both dried and fresh smattering those areas. Her hair was mussed and her sailor fuku was torn and cut in several places, aside from whatever cut her the most notable part was near her neck wear her the fuku flapped down to give a near indecent showing of her dirtied chest.
"How're you?" he asked as he let her go but kept his arms out in case she collapsed. She continued to hold onto him in turn, both hands holding onto his sleeves as she looked at him in gratitude and longing. From his vantage point an overriding sense of rage was beginning to overtake Junichi as he watched the two interact, his gut telling him that this bastard was going to take that which was rightfully his.
"I'm..." she sniffed, "I'm fine," she said, pulling an arm back to wipe her eyes a few times. "Th-thank you."
"We gotta get you outta here," Ichigo said, motioning the girl with his head for her to start going. "You aren't lookin' so hot and your clothes are-
"You... f-fuckin'... bastard," a weak voice called out. Both Ichigo and Yashima turned. "You...fucking bastard," Junichi got out, managing to get to a sitting position, one arm still holding his face and the other stabilizing himself as best he could.
Ichigo's eyes narrowed as he felt the girl hands tense. He tried to turn but her grip kept him there. He was about to gently take her hands off when Junichi spoke again. "You bastard! You get your fuckin' hands off my property! You hear me cock sucker!?"
I am yours. Body, mind, soul. I belong to you, forever.
Ichigo grimly looked at man spouting at him, remembering Uzume's words and the unsettling effect it had had on him. "They're not property, dick." he growled out.
"Are... are you fucking retarded?!" Junichi shot back incredulously before he bit back a yelp of pain. He sucked in a breath and swallowed some saliva audibly before spitting out, "Have you actually seen them? They'll all but slave away happy as shit for their masters! They're just fuckin' tools to be used!"
Let our blades sing forevermore...
"Fuck you, asshole," Ichigo growled out, remembering the adoring look that Ikki had given him.
"No," Junichi wheezed. "FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE!" His hand wiped away some more blood and he winced as fresh tears fell; his hand brushing against his reddened nose. "She's fuckin' mine ya fag dipshit! One lucky shot don't change nuthin'!"
"Let's get you out of here," Ichigo then said to Yashima, placing his hands on her shoulders to turn her around. He did not notice her shiver as his left hand brushed against bare skin as he began to push at her to get her moving.
"You can't run!" Junichi screamed.
Ichigo continued to push the girl away, his anger building.
"SHE'S MINE! MINE, YOU FUCKING SHITHEAD! I'LL FIND YOU!"
Ichigo paused mid-step, his face hardening as his temperature began to rise more. In front of him the girl paused as well, turning to look back at him. 'Ash-ashikabi', her mind whirled as her body still blazed with heat.
"I'LL MAKE HER MINE! THEN I'LL FIND YOU AND I'LL FUCKING KILL YOU!"
Ichigo turned his head back, his scowl and hardened pinpoint eyes digging into the raving man. "I'll bet the cops'll just love to hear this," he said, his voice really low.
The problems of the day were quickly meshing together within him. A goddamn ghost in the Inn that may or may not become a Hollow that he couldn't do anything about! The issues with the stupid agent! Coming upon this moron forcing himself on this helpless girl! And now this same dipshit was not only continuing some stalker agenda but issuing fucking deaththreats!?
The last vestiges of rational thought on where he had last seen a police box to turn this guy to had running his mind was quickly receding.
"And do what, fucktard!?" Junichi shot back, cackling despite his voice beginning to hurt. "They're not even people, you shithead! You ever seen them fight?! Cops ain't doin' shit! MBI got them too fuckin' scared or something and they turn away every single fucking time! They ain't nothing but a goddamn tool to be used for anything!"
You know I'll do anything I can to help you.
Now that you know about this, you now have a responsibility to keep it secret. Should you by any chance leak this information, then I am unhappy to say that you will feel the full force of MBI's retaliation.
Ichigo began to visibly quiver.
"She's mine!" he shouted again. "No matter where you go! No matter where you hide! I'll find her!"
"Really?" Ichigo hissed.
"AND I'LL MAKE HER MINE!" he screeched again.
How to protect? How to act? Those were the things Ichigo had been processing on a subconscious level. The desire to do so was raging at how to keep this Sekirei from his clutches with what he had been informed with.
With that, combined with his rage one option about Sekirei came forth that caused Ichigo to act-
Yashima found herself quickly turned around and then staring into his brown orbs as he locked on her silver ones and went weak in the knees as her arms clenched over her breasts.
Ichigo held her shoulders and gently pulled her forward as he lowered his head.
-without thinking things through fast enough to nix it.
Yashima lifted her head, instinct driving her movements.
Junichi watched, mouth agape as his hopes, lusts and ambitions fell into his stomach and through the street as the punk briefly pressed his lips onto her.
"Ah," Yashima softly yelped as she pulled away.
Ichigo eyes snapped open as his mind finally caught up with him and he watched in stunned silence.
The winging of his third Sekirei.
Unlike Uzume and Ikki, the lights that had gathered around her and amassed at a point on her back just below her neck were sky blue in color. Suddenly and without warning the gathered light exploded out behind her, forming the many wing shapes he had seen in both Uzume and Ikki. Finally dying down the girl opened her eyes, fresh tears falling as the world finally set itself upright for her. Her hands were clasped to her heart as she gazed at Ichigo lovingly, the warmth of her winging permeating her and bathing her in a state of completeness that her heart had longed for.
She smiled at him and spoke. "Number Eighty-Four, Yashima. My heart and soul are united with yours, forever and ever."
And with that, reality decided to slap Ichigo upside the head. He didn't respond to her. He just stared and visibly paled, all rage and anger evaporated in an instant at what he just did. "Uzume...," he whispered, his unfocused gaze on Yashima, not registering that she was there.
A scream caught Yashima's attention as Ichigo continued to stare off in Yashima's direction. There, standing unsteadily was Junichi, his eyes wide as he was gasping for breath as he quivered with absolute rage. Reaching into his pocket he pulled out a switchblade, the blade making a snapping sound as it whipped into place. He then took a few steps forward, shaking as he held out the weapon as best he could.
"Master!" Yashima cried, turning see her Ashikabi and froze. He was still staring at her unmoving. She quickly turned to see Junichi stumbling towards them as quickly as he could. Her eyes then began darting around the alleyway to see where her hammer-
Not too far away it lay on its side. With new life her legs pumped as she quickly dashed towards her weapon. "Wha-?" Junichi yelped as the girl darted to the side with incredible speed. Grasping her hammer she jumped back to quickly place herself between Junichi and her Ashikabi . Bracing her feet she brought her hammer to bear, snapping into place so quickly the hammer head caused a gust of wind to burst forth with enough power to cause Junichi's hair and clothing to flap backward and he took a step back in shock.
"Wha... what the fuck...?" Junichi replied weakly as the business end of the hammer was being held at his chest, ready to act as a shield or battering ram. Wordlessly he brought his eyes up to Yashima's, whose fear was now replaced with determination.
A determination that was free of fear.
"Y-yo...you..." was all a gaping Junichi could get out, rage settling into shock as the timid girl he had bullied and chased for the last several months now threatened him in return. 'This can't be happening,' his mind wondered. 'This can't be fuckin' happening!' Eyes flicking back and forth from Ichigo to Yashima he began to quake again as he stared back at Ichigo, memorizing the son of a bitch's frozen face. With that he screamed and ran as far from them as well as he could, hoping they would not follow him.
It was that scream that Ichigo finally snapped out of his daze and caught Junichi running past him. As Junichi passed him he turned to him and made eye contact and time seemed to slow between them before Junichi turned away fully to the direction he was running. Once out of sight Ichigo sighed and turned back to the girl. She was watching him, her hammer held to the side, almost ready if needed and appearing ridiculously weightless in her hands.
He stared at her for several moments and she back at him. Yashima stared back at him, her shoulders rising and falling as she continued to watch his face. Confusion began to reign within her as she noticed his almost emotionless gaze; far, FAR different than the terrifying one he had a few moments ago. It was then the adrenaline of being winged finally left her and her hammer fell from her grasp and she collapsed to her knees.
"H-hey!" Ichigo then cried as he rushed to her and kneeled next to her.
She looked up at him and blushed. "H-hi," she greeted weakly.
Another moment passed in silence as they stared at each other.
"Um...," Ichigo got out, completely at a loss at what to do next. Yashima continued to blush, waiting for her Ashikabi. He sighed deeply before giving her a softer look, "We... we need to get... we need to get going."
"A-ah," she agreed. Ichigo's mouth open and closed, unable to deny the reality that faced him and he nearly started when he felt a hand on his cheek. "Are... are you okay?" The girl asked quietly in concern.
Ichigo's eyes widened slightly as Uzume's image briefly superimposed itself over this Sekirei's, her question the same one Uzume asked earlier and he let out an audible breath that sounded like a self depreciating laugh. What the hell to say? "I'm... I'm fine. Don't worry about me. You... We gotta get you looked at."
"O-oh," she replied as she looked down, taking her hand away. He was so warm.
A moment passed in silence. "That's... that's a damn big hammer there," he then said, almost sounding as if he were trying to lift the mood. His mood. With little success.
"Y-yeah, it is, isn't it?" She replied, her cheeks beginning to burn.
She then put a hand on his shoulder and slowly stood; hissing a bit at the pain as Ichigo did what he could to help support her. When she got to her feet she took a few hesitant steps before walking a bit, trying to work it off. After a moment she turned to him. "I'll... I'll be okay."
He nodded, lips thinned. Licking them he looked down to the giant hammer she had. "I dunno about this, we'll have to leave-"
"It's okay," she said and then turned away red-faced when he looked at her. Gulping, she turned to him and reaffirmed it.
"How?" He asked.
"My, my power," she answered. And with that she began to take a few deep breaths as she calmed herself and concentrated. Finally, she bent down and lifted the hammer slowly but steadily and Ichigo found himself gaping a bit. She saw his reaction and looked away, extremely embarrassed.
"My... my ability can alter the weight of an object, ch-changing the effects of what gravity has over it," she said, reciting as best she could what her tuners had told her. "I'm... I'm actually not really good with it but... but I can channel it easy with this..." she said, motioning the hammer in her hands to him slightly to emphasize it.
"A.. ah...," Ichigo replied. "That... that's pretty convenient."
"Y-yeah," Yashima replied, laughing before pausing, seeing if he was too and turned away when it looked like he wasn't.
"C-c'mon," Ichigo said, once more beckoning for the woman to follow. "Let's go."
"O-okay," Yashima replied, gingerly taking a few steps before Ichigo sighed and held up a hand and she paused. "Y-yes?" She asked, wondering if she did anything wrong.
"You... you can't go out looking like that," he said while looking at her torn sailor fuku.
She looked down and noted her torn uniform for the first time after the adrenline faded. "Oh... oh... Then what do I-"
"Here," Ichigo said as he took off his jacket and setting it down before removing his shirt and handed it to her. "What was your name again?" Ichigo asked, not remembering that she told him as he put his jacket back on.
"Yashima," she replied as she gingerly put on the shirt. "Sekirei number Eighty-Four, Yashima." Ichigo nodded, wanting to say something nicer to her but the words kept getting caught in his throat.
After all, what could he say to this?
It was then that he led Yashima out of the alley, helping her steady herself as they walked.
Ikki morosely swept the pathway near the gate, her heart not really in it. Not even Musubi coming back with her uniform in tatters raised her curiosity or spirits much. Her Ashikabi was not there and she had to deal with the very scary landlady and that... that...
She paused and shivered, not liking her mind conjuring up the imagery and reliving those moments (hours?) of horror. The sound of another broom sweeping caught her ear and she turned and frowned. Uzume was at the other side near the inn, sweeping up her area and she paused mid-sweep to look up to the heavens and sigh. Seeing her brought up her frustration at her argument so she returned to her 'task' that Miya gave them both as punishment with as much gusto as she could, while at the same time not trying to spread the dirt with how hard and fast she was now sweeping.
Honestly, what was in that girl's head? Her Ichigo-sama, not interested in the Sekirei Game? Hah! Who wouldn't be with the prize that the Professor had offered. Not that she knew what it was, but it had to be something really grand and she wanted to make sure that it was her Ashikabi that won. Ikki, who had been at that moment frustrated twirled in place with a giggle, using the broom to keep her in place as she imagined the joy of her Ashikabi at being the victor.
With that, she returned to her duties sweeping like a normal person and hummed. All unnoticed by her sister Sekirei, who, having pissed off Miya before in the past was doing her chores quietly and as efficiently as she had learned before. It was at this time, about sunset that Ikki's sweeping brought her outside the gate. Taking the time to pause as look at the gorgeous sky something caught her eye. Blinking, she looked again to confirm and her eyes widened with joy. "I-Ichigo-sama!"
Two heartbeats later and her side was now occupied by her sister Sekirei, who slid a bit as she came to a stop, her short pony tail snapping to the side. "Ichigo?" Uzume said softly, her eyes looking for him. Ikki frowned, once again reminded of their current predicament before letting out a soft sigh, raising her arms in a 'give up' position and muttered something akin to 'can't be helped' under her breath. Yeah, she was mad earlier but thinking about it she really couldn't blame Uzume. 'Ah well...' she sighed, figuring with both of them calmer they'd talk it over again. 'Besides... Uzume seems to have a good head on her…' she trailed off in her thoughts when she noticed something and did a double take. Uzume noticed too as both peered at the ever drawing closer Ichigo.
He wasn't alone.
Next to him was another figure, a girl, and from where she came up to Ichigo's chest in height they knew she was smaller than they. What immediately caught their attention next was the giant thing she was holding onto.
Uzume hissed in realization.
Ikki on the other gasped softly in delight.
The girl appeared to be slightly limping, with Ichigo close enough to her to help if need be. How though would have been the question both would have asked as the girl's giant...hammer? The girl was holding a giant hammer that was slung over her left shoulder. How Ichigo would have helped was the question if she tipped over, its size probably why he hadn't taken it from her to begin with.
It was then that Uzume noticed that Ichigo wasn't wearing the shirt he went out with and was in his t-shirt with his jacket over it. The limping girl in question now wearing it, his shirt big enough on her that it almost completely obscured the mini skirt she was wearing, almost making it seem that once his shirt ended long legs began. Ichigo was finally close enough to take his eyes off the girl and look upwards at them. His eyes widened and he cast them away before closing them and bringing them back up.
Across the distance his eyes met Uzume's.
'Ichigo,' she thought. 'What happened?' As if hearing her his mouth tightened in a grimace and she once more took in the Sekirei's current looks. "Oh Ichigo...," she whispered softly, having a good idea of what happened.
Ikki blinked and turned to Uzume, having heard her (but missed her silent exchange with Ichigo) and turned to Ichigo and his new Sekirei and smiled in realization.
'I knew my Ichigo-sama wanted to win this game. I knew that Uzume was just bein' selfish. If he didn't want to win why would he go an' wing another Sekirei?' She logically concluded. She turned her head slightly to look at Uzume in the corner of her eye and noted the almost... (sad?) look on her face before her own eyebrows furrowed and she suddenly felt sorry for her sister Sekirei. 'I get you wanted Ichigo-sama to yourself, I really do,' she honestly sympathized. 'But we gotta game to win and an Ashikabi to protect... and if you can't get your head in the Game then it looks like Imma have ta step up to the plate and lead this group!'
Ikki then crossed her arms and nodded to herself.
Yes. She'll lead her group of Sekirei Sisters. And with Nanaha only being a matter of time they'll look for more members and become the strongest Sekirei Team in the Game! She looked approvingly at her new sister Sekirei's weapon and turned loving eyes towards her Ashikabi and blushed anew.
'Just watch, Ichigo-sama!' She thought as her face only grew hotter. She sharply shook her head, not wanting to spaz out now as her Ashikabi came ever closer. 'I'll give you the greatest team the Game will ever see!'
End Ch. 6
So, Ichigo's got three now. Fun times. Who's got the Ibuprofen?
More words from Wheeljack:
As a reminder to readers, please check out Veiled Moon Extras, as it is for omakes, stats, side stories and what-ifs. Yashima's bio will be up soon, along with another what-if tale a bit later on that we hope you'll all enjoy.