Hello one and all! The name is AgLingua42 back from the dead and returned from the brink of rapture to give you some new Claws and Kisses! I could give you plenty of excuses but I won't because I know you already came here for one reason and one reason only, to actually read this Fanfiction. I will not act like I'm innocent or anything though and I want to apologize for the long wait between chapters as well as missing my own self posted deadline for this chapter. I messed up with scheduling and because of that I disappointed all of you, I am sorry and I want to make sure it never happens again. Aside from this I would like to thank Sentinel28, Fullmetalcrusade, JHedge, as well as the other Fanfiction authors who were present at this years Acen for their advice and the panel which they gave Fanfiction writers such as myself inspiration to continue on with their works and stop being lazy bastards. Well, other than this I guess all I can say is let's get on with the show! Without further ado please read, review, and most of all enjoy the newest chapter of Claws and Kisses!

Disclaimer: I own nothing

Chapter 12: The Beginning


With bright pink hair fluttering in the chilling breeze of the night Benitsubasa stood with a stiff grimace on her face, scarlet stained teeth clenched shut as one of her arms wrapped tightly around her scrapped and scratched abdomen. Her once pristine silk kimono was but tatters of fabric, clinging to her body with the sweat, blood, and tears she had shed during the fight. Whatever skin was bared to the world was a myriad of lacerations and friction burns, her pale and pampered skin being torn and dirtied over the course of the frantic battle. With a burning and passionate hatred she stared into the deep orange eyes of her rival, her opponent. From the very pit of her stomach a vicious and animalistic snarl rose, rage melding with disgust filling the wordless voice.

Kneeling beside her was the orange scarf wearing Mutsu, his breath rough as he frantically gulped in whatever air he could during the short reprieve from fighting. Somewhere along the line he had lost his trademark sandals, the wooden geta long since reduced to millions of splinters leaving bare and bloodied feet to carry his wounded form. His black body suit had accumulated several cuts and tears, his wounds far less grievous than his partners but all just as real and just as potentially deadly. Thrust into the earth before him like a walking stick was his blade, the shimmering steel of the sword tarnished and fractured with several fissures running throughout the molded metal.

Fox like silted eyes stared down the three adversaries before her, a calm and calculated smile crossing her lips as she took a single step over the mess of cream and crimson at her feet. A simple flick of her wrist rid her silvery polished blade of the crimson liquid that covered it, her immaculate dull grey hair flowing on the light breeze as her untouched black uniform overcoat rested about her shoulders without a single slip of the fabric.

The leader slowly began her approach, her smile cracking slight to reveal the pearly white teeth of a ravenous predator...

We want to leave the city...

~~~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~

The sky was clear and bright that morning, a crystalline sapphire blue that hung above the world with all the purity and freshness that could come from it. The sun drifted lazily into the sky as the morning slowly dawned, the soft chill of the evening winds gradually warming bit by bit into soft and seasonal comforting warmth. It was the kind of day that made one feel as if anything could happen, the pristine parchment of history laid out before the world and awaiting the first pen to touch its pale surface...

As he slowly began to rise into consciousness it was unlikely that Sahashi Minato would realize his place in this day until much later, the role he would play during this historical twenty four hours of existence on the planet earth...then again, not even the greatest of us all knew when they woke up that they would change the world in a single day.

Or how much the world could be changed for us…

Slowly, almost painstakingly so, Minato began to rouse from his nighttime slumber; a single errant beam of sunshine piercing the glass in his windowpane and covering his face with its golden glow. Bit by bit consciousness began to come to the young Sahashi, his voice grumbling slightly as he attempted to turn away from the single strand of sun. Yet, no matter how hard he tried he could not escape, the rising sun bringing with it a new day and a whole new existence for the world at large...how could he possibly ignore that?

With a quiet grunt Minato shoved the blankets from his body, his groggy and grumpy features rousing from his futon as a wild shock of 'bed-head' black hair stood on his scalp. For a moment he muttered a quiet thanks to the landlady Miya, her intervention and booby trapping of Minato's door stopping any late night sneaking visits from any of his seven Sekirei. However that was quickly forgotten as he gradually clambered to his feet, his body rising up before bending down to tend to his futon on the floor. A few minutes later and the portable bed as thrown into his closet, a low rumbling in his stomach announcing that it was time for breakfast to begin.

Lazily lurching his way to the door Minato could already tell who was behind the construct of paper and wood, the outline of the short haired, heavy chested ice maiden Akitsu clearly visible through the thin paper walling. Glancing up at the random bars of metal and wood that served as his door 'alarm' he racked his sleep addled brain for the solution to the complex puzzle, his hazy brain attempting to remember the eerily smiling Miya and a teary eyed Matsu showing him the mechanics of the device as Matsu installed it. Somewhere in the back of his mind Minato chuckled at the memory of Matsu grumbling and sniffling as she fool proofed what she dubbed her 'worst creation to date,' something that only gained more of her ire since Miya had somehow come up with a way to permanently block Matsu's 'super secret closet' entrance into Minato's room from her own hidden section of the Inn. Minato's eyes followed the devices almost Goldbergian design looking for the kill switch, from the bucket of white kabuki makeup and red food coloring perched on a shelf above the door to the siren like alarm beside the frame of the wood and paper construct Minato finally spotted a single loop of string, his mind shifting back into a conscious gear as he unhooked the string leaving the device in its unarmed state.

After running his fingers through his hair like some sort of makeshift comb Minato opened his door, the ever stoic faced Akitsu greeting him with a low and respectful bow, "Good morning Minato-sama. Breakfast will be ready shortly."

No matter how early it might have been Minato couldn't help the soft smile that crossed his face, a thankful expression touching his lips as he bowed his head in polite response. Akitsu had always been the one to rouse him in the morning, her calm and polite nature warming his heart while her beautiful features sent a silent trill through his entire body, "Thank you Akitsu-chan."

"It is not a problem Minato-sama," Akitsu said as she rose from her polite bow, an action that was quickly mirrored by the dark haired young Sahashi, "if I may inquire, how did you sleep?"

Chuckling a little bit Minato's hand rose up and gave a gentle rub at the corner of her dark iris eyes, the sandman's leftover dust being whisked away by the simple action before he spoke again, "Very well, thank you. And yourself Akitsu-chan?"

"I slept very well, thank you Minato-sama," Akitsu said with her normal monotonastic flare, "however I would have slept much more soundly had we been entwined within a naked embrace…as I had expressed last night."

After a bit of nervous chuckling and a few more courteous 'thank you's' Minato headed back into his room, preparing for the coming day with a hopeful heart and a stomach full of butterflies. Last night had been a harsh reminder of his task, of the responsibility that he now shouldered. Yet, while the burden grew larger and larger it also became substantially lighter, the strength of two others aiding in holding his dream aloft and giving a clearer view of the future ahead. Perhaps he was romanticizing the notion, after a brief chuckle Minato contemplated a bit on if the whole situation was a delusion...on if it ever really happened at all. It only took a single memory, one horrid thought of those billions of voices silenced in an instant and he felt it was right...

Shaking his head back and forth Minato thrust the thought out of his mind, it was far too early for that kind of mental load, especially if he was going to deal with the events of the past few days, especially the night he returned ...

~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~~

After their rather touching and heartfelt embrace the trio sluggishly marched their way to Izumo Inn, the late hour and their collective exhaustion finally hitting them with the force of a truck as they slowly approached the completely darkened home. Glancing up at the windows Minato saw each and every one was blanketed in darkness, the inky touch of night smothering the large home in a surprisingly warm and comforting embrace, "Wow, it's gotten...pretty late."

With a deep yawn the other two nodded in agreement, Haihane's bandaged hand patting away the sleep from her lips as she spoke, "Yeah...hope we don't wake them up...it'd be even more trouble...and I just wanna pass out..."

Musubi shook her head in agreement, her weary deep orange eyes drifting further and further closed as a sleepy smile spread across her lips, "Musubi agrees, Musubi feels like she could sleep for a week..."

Minato chuckled quietly as he walked up to the door, his hand reaching into his pocket as he fished around for his copy of the Inn's key, "Try not to okay Musubi-chan? We still have a lot to do before we can really take a break and rest."

The sound of Minato's voice calling her name with such an affectionate title sent a minor thrill through Musubi's body, a spark of warmth entering her form as she felt herself perk up just a little bit from the depths of her exhaustion, "Alright Minato-sama! Musubi will do her best!"

As Minato entered the key into the lock on the door her momentarily pondered where Musubi kept getting her energy, hell if she produced any more then he almost could swear that she was a real life perpetual motion machine. However, just as his key entered the lock with a resounding click it was roughly ripped from his hands, the smooth metal sliding from his grip as the door before him swung open with enough force to cause a whirlwind of air and dust. Minato was instantly awake as he peered into the darkness behind the door, his breath catching in his throat as he found himself on the end of five very distinctive and powerfully focused glares.

Without even being able to let a single squeak of surprise pass his lips Minato felt ten sets of hands, some large and some small, grab hold of his body at various different positions and pull as hard as they collectively could. This action served to lift Minato completely off his feet, his body sailing through the air and into what could be considered heaven and hell mixed all into one bubbling cauldron. On his left side he could feel one woman and one young girl, the voluptuous and rather obviously lightly dressed curves of Matsu holding his arm in a very possessive hold while Kusano latched onto his leg held on with all of her minute might. Minato's right arm was caught between Tsukiumi and Akitsu, the ice maiden and the water mistress fighting over his limb with every bit of force they could exert without breaking Minato's relatively frail human limb. Finally, Minato quickly found himself face to breast with Kazehana, the busty and voluptuous woman holding him tightly to her bust with either intent to suffocated him to death or cause him to have a permanent impression of her breasts on his face for the rest of his life.

"Minato-kun~" Kazehana whined, her voice wavering and carrying a hint of alcohol that even Minato could smell from between her fleshy mountains, "where have you been?"

Even if Minato could respond from the suffocating position between Kazehana's breasts he would quickly be outclassed by Tsukiumi's speed, her rough and sharp voice barking out with a tongue of violent fury, "Why are you so late husband?"

"I would also like to know your whereabouts Minato-sama," it was Akitsu's turn to speak out, her frosty voice for once breaking her eternal monotone and filling her tone with the same icy continence as her incredible powers, "Certainly...you were not doing something secretive with Musubi-san and the metal pussy cat."

Feeling a definitive sense of foreboding and impending doom creeping up his spine Minato quickly shook his head, a placating smile crossing his lips as her nervously spoke, "Ah, no, no, we weren't doing anything secretive." Turning his head slightly he faced his two sleepy companions, Musubi wearily rubbing her eyes while Haihane softly yawned, "Right Haihane-chan, Musubi-chan?"

He could distinctly feel Matsu, Tsukiumi and Akitsu tighten their hold on his body when he spoke Musubi's affectionate title but that was quickly erased from his working mind as Musubi gave him a sleepy smile, her previous boost of energy evaporating before his eyes as she tilted her head cutely to the side, "Hn? Yes, we were doing something secretive."

The blood in Minato's face instantly drained as three of his four major limbs were put into a crushing hold at Musubi's words, his nervous gaze turning from the orange eyed beauty to the silver haired reaper girl, "W-Wait! She's kidding right Haihane-chan?"

Yawning once more Haihane shook her head, her bandaged fingers idly scratching at the top of her skull as she muttered, "Nah, she's pretty right on the mark...left us pretty tired to..."

Turning back to the group of woman and one girl still holding him tight a single drop of sweat slipped down Minato's brow, the temperature in the room dropping drastically as Tsukiumi was the first to voice her obvious displeasure, "Minato! You...you...you philandering cretin! How dare you have relations with those other than I, your one and only legal wife!"

Before he could even think of speaking Kazehana's arms tightened their hold around his body, his face being driven into her breasts as she started to drunkenly wail, "Minato-kun~ I thought it was this Onee-san who was going to take your virginity~"

"That was cruel Minato," Matsu pouted, her breasts squishing around his arm as she spoke out, "experimenting with Musubi-tan and Haihane-tan but not this Matsu! This Matsu demands you experiment with her too!"

"I must protest once again Minato-sama," Akitsu's voice was firm and unshaken but with her unbending grip on Minato's arm as well as the certain chill in that seemed to surround her it was obvious she was far from happy, "Not only have you denied my request to attend a love motel with you but you take Musubi-san and the pussy cat instead? I am insulted and demand equal treatment before I can even consider forgiving you."

For her part Kusano settled not for words but rather a physical signal of her rage, her teeth clenching over and over into Minato's denim covered flesh in a rabid series of enraged bites. For several moments Minato 'suffered' in the situation, his body struggling for air and enough room to try to explain himself to the unhappy feminine populace around him. Thankfully enough though after a few moments Minato successfully pulled himself free from Kazehana's comforting suffocation, his head leaning back as he tried his best to remaining above Kazehana's death inducing chest, "N-No, you've got it wrong! Musubi-chan, Haihane-chan, tell them the truth!"

Tilting her head to the side Musubi placed a finger to her chin, her sleepy eyes squinted as she muttered, "Eh? But Minato-sama, it's a really long story and Musubi is sleepy."

Haihane nodded in agreement, her hands reaching up as she gave a slow and tried stretch of her lanky curved form, "Yeah, can this wait until morning?"


~~~~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~~~

Shaking his head at the memory Minato couldn't help but remember how the girls had grilled the three of them for hours, their unending questions seeming to come in wave after wave like some sort of full forced Spanish inquisition. Even Kazehana, despite her apparent drunkenness, was in on it all, her cute pouting features asking just as many questions as the deeply glaring and nearly snarling Tsukiumi.

It took a great deal of time but luckily enough the questions slowed to a trickle and the reason for the absence of the three was fully revealed, their meeting and subsequent friendship with Kuno and Haruka settling suspicions while raising even more questions. How would they solve this problem, what could they possibly do to help the Sekirei and Ashikabi escape the city from under the nose of the ever watchful eye of M.B.I. and the Disciplinary Squad?

The same question that had stumped the original escapee group did the same to the newly assembled members, so much so that even the plotting queen Matsu had difficulty in coming up with a satisfactory answer. Despite her hundreds of thousands of electronic eyes they still relied upon the technological scope of the M.B.I. and if the M.B.I. knew of it, any escape route found through Matsu's hacking was next to useless. It was with this in mind that the Sekirei and their beloved Ashikabi went to sleep, each of them with a heavy heart and plenty to think about.

For a moment the memories of that night seemed to weight down upon Minato, his breath coming out in a tired sight as he slipped on a t-shirt for the day ahead. That was until he remembered the following day…and the surprises it brought.

~~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Hey stupid Onii-chan!"

Minato could tell that voice anywhere, the same piercing and dominant tone of his little sister cutting through the air with the same skill and finesse of an amateur butcher. As if his morning hadn't already been a cacophony of regaining consciousness beneath the combined crushing weight of multiple women, being smacked about the head with a wooden spoon for things out of his control, being torn between several Sekirei who jockeyed for the majority of his attention at breakfast, now he had to attend to his little sister, her timing none the sweeter as she easily barged through his bedroom door and into a gathering that consisted of Musubi, Haihane, Akitsu, Kazehana, Kusano, Matsu, as well as Kuno and Haruka.

With a deep sigh he put on the best cheerful face he could, his head beginning to pound as he turned to face his sister with the strained and pained smile, "Eh heh, hello Yukari, how are you this morning?"

Minato was almost completely floored by Yukari's brilliant smile, the obvious cheer and happiness present in her features bringing his mind to a screeching halt, "I'm doing just fine worthless Onii-chan! Your landlady let me in, so how are you?"

Despite the barb sent his way Yukari's tone was far too joyous for him to take it seriously, her dazzling smile and upbeat attitude something Minato had never seen in all of his years of living with the black haired firecracker. "Wondering who you are and where my little sister is," Minato muttered to himself, a quiet tone which obviously wasn't nearly silent enough to escape Yukari's sharp ears.

Yet, despite hearing the sidelong insult Yukari simple laughed, a sound that send a disastrously demoralizing shock through Minato's entire body. With her laughter as an end those that knew Yukari watched in astonishment as she bent down slightly, her hand held out as she waggled a single finger at her older brother in playful admonishment, "Ah, ah, that's not very nice stupid Onii-chan! You could really hurt a girls feelings like that!"

"Yuka-chan," Kazehana spoke in wonder, Yukari turning to the wind mistress as she spoke with wide and confused eyes, "Are you feeling alright? I'm sorry I didn't come back like I promised but there was something I had to attend to…"

Instead of being angry Yukari merely smiled, her head nodding politely of all things as she spoke, "It's alright Kaze-chan, don't worry about it okay? Don't want to mess up those looks my Onii-chan loves so much with too many wrinkles!"

The second Yukari had entered the room Haihane had tried to be silent, her teeth gritting against one another as she refrained from making a comment. However, Yukari's sheer cheerfulness wore on the very last of Haihane's nerves, her arms tightening around Minato's one free arm as she snappily barked out, "What the hell is with you negative boobs? You take one too many breast growth drugs?"

Much to the astonishment of everyone around Yukari simply chuckled the insult off, her hand waving Haihane's poisonous strike as if it hadn't even effected her, "Ah, nice try pussy cat but you used that one already, maybe you should start thinking up new insults since all of your others are getting so stale." Haihane's single eye shot open in surprise, for once her sly wit and ability to get under peoples skin failing her which gave Yukari her first clean win against the razor tongued woman.

It was at this point that Minato found his voice again, his amazement at the situation breaking enough for him to voice his thoughts, "Yukari, what in the world happened to you? You've never been this…happy before."

Yukari's grin only grew larger as she nodded, one eye winking as she took a side step away from Minato's door, "Glad you asked stupid Onii-chan! Shiina!"

As Kusano had taken a seat on Minato's lap sometime during the 'strategy meeting' with Haruka and Kuno it was easy for Minato to feel the small blond haired child stiffen at Yukari's words, her entire body scooting to the very edge of her 'seat' as a young looking silver haired boy entered the doorway of his room, "G-Good morning, please excuse the intrusion. My name Shiina-"


Minato's voice rose out with a surprised grunt as Kusano leapt from his lap, the green eyed child rushing from Minato to Shiina with arms outstretched and a tear filled smile on her lips. It was the sudden voice of Kusano that caused Shiina's head to snap up, his eyes immediately widening as he caught sight of the long blond hair of Kusano rushing toward him, "Ku-chan!"

In seconds Kusano and Shiina were hugging tightly, their arms wrapped around one another with the sureness and security of two long lost siblings finding one another after years spent apart. "K-Ku was so worried about Shiina-onii-chan!" Kusano wept, her arms tightening around her 'older brother' as she sorrowfully spoke, "Ku is sorry about leaving Shiina-onii-chan behind, Ku shouldn't have gone outside without Shiina-onii-chan!"

Shiina offered the young child a calm smile, his hand gently stroking along the long blond mane of Kusano's hair as he softly spoke, "It's alright Ku-chan, it's alright. Onii-chan isn't mad, he's just happy he found you."

Sniffling a bit Kusano pulled away from Shiina, her emerald eyes brimming with tears as she whimpered, "Really Shiina-onii-chan?"

Shiina nodded, a happy smile pulling his cheeks up as he spoke, "I promise Ku-chan."

"Yay!" Kusano pounced on Shiina again, her arms wrapped around his thin waist as she buried her face into his bony chest, "Thank you Shiina-onii-chan!"

It was hard to find a dry eye in the room, even Haruka and Kuno who had yet to learn of the plight of Kusano and Shiina felt their eyes water just a bit at the heartfelt reunion. It was as if witnessing the ending of a great puzzle, the beginning and end of hardship and strife coming to close right before them in a tearful meeting and joyous culmination of searching and worry.

It took several moments but Shiina was gradually released from Kusano's grip, the young child holding her older 'siblings' hand tightly as she gave him a brilliant smile, "Shiina-onii-chan, Ku-chan wants you to meet someone." Receiving a bit of a confused look from Shiina Kusano simply pointed to Minato, the older boy discretely wiping away a few tears as Kusano and Shiina turned their attention to him, "This is Ku-chan's Onii-chan! He's been really nice and Ku loves Onii-chan a whole lot!"

Shiina laughed a little as he looked at Minato, his head bowing as a relieved smile crossed his face immediately, "Hello Minato-san, thank you for looking after Kusano for so long."

Shaking his head Minato returned the smile, his head shaking slightly as he spoke, "No, don't thank me Shiina-san. Ku-chan has been very worried about you and I'm just happy that you have finally found one another."

Shiina was slightly stunned by Minato's answer, Minato's selfless attitude and gentle nature sharply contrasting Yukari's harder and slightly more self absorbed personality, "Th-Thank you but I still must insist on giving you my thanks. When Yukari-chan told me Kusano had been winged I was very worried but after what she told me about you and after meeting you…I am very happy that you were the one to become Ku-chan's Ashikabi."

Minato felt a bit of warmth entering his chest as he turned from Shiina to Yukari, his normally brash and obtrusive younger sister having yet to move from her spot near the door. However, it was the fact that he could clearly see Yukari wiping away a few tears before giving him another kind smile that caused his own grin to grow, a brilliant smile sending his cheeks skyward before turning to Shiina, "It is no problem Shiina-san-"

"Shiina-onii-chan," Kusano suddenly interrupted, her one free hand gently tugging at Shiina's shirt so as to catch his attention.

Hearing the curiosity in Kusano's voice both Shiina and Minato turned to Kusano, the innocent child looking up into their eyes as Shiina calmly asked, "What is it Ku-chan?"

"When are you going to kiss Onii-chan?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Minato chuckled at that memory, Shiina's incredulous expression mirroring his own as they looked from the innocently curious child to one another, both of them recoiling at the thought with an outward expression of disgust to top the whole thing off. It only got worse as Yukari hopped into the mix, her forward and boisterous personality reasserting itself over her calmer and happier visage as she quickly laid claim to what she termed as 'her bishonen' Sekirei. This only grew into a bigger bubble of chaos as Shiina blushed at the blunt nickname, Minato gave Yukari a confused stare, and Yukari started having a verbal fist fight with the child Kusano over who had the right to the silver haired boy.

Seeing her favorite tormentee back in 'normal' spirits Haihane was more than ready to hop into the fray, her sharp barbs egging on Yukari while backing up Kusano, something that nearly had Yukari foaming at the mouth by the time the argument was settled by three very loud raps with the handle of the infamous Miya wooden spoon; one for Yukari, one for Minato, and one for Haihane. After a round of apologies from the three, and a bit of muttering at why he kept getting punished from Minato, Miya inquired what the commotion was about in the first place.

As Minato slowly shut his door behind him and began to walk down the hall he couldn't help his smile from growing wider as he thought of his wonderful Landlady and the help she gave…

~~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oh? So that's what everyone has been up to," Miya said with her ever present genteel smile, her classy and sophisticated grin setting minds at ease while nearly causing others to forget her violent and frightening second nature.

Minato nodded sullenly, a hand reaching up to scratch the back of his neck as he spoke with a slightly despondent tone, "Yes, we've spent a lot of time looking for a route for Haruka-san and Kuno-san but…we haven't had any luck."

Matsu sighed as she placed a delicate finger on the bridge of her glasses, a single finger pushing the lenses further up her face before she spoke, "So far my calculations show that the M.B.I. has a blockade or some sort of security measure set up on every readily visible exit from the city. The airports have been commandeered and only run with approval from the M.B.I. and the train lines have been restricted to city usage only. Essentially, when the M.B.I. said the city would be cut off from the rest of the world, they really meant it."

"Hm," Miya nodded, a single finger touching her finely tapered chin as she turned to face Haruka and Kuno, "Even in the face of this you still plan on leaving the city?"

Haruka nodded, "Y-Yes…Kuno isn't any good in a fight and…we really don't want anything to do with it. It looks really difficult I know but we'd rather just live alone and in peace like anyone else has the right to…"

"That may be true but I feel that you do not truly see how large of an endeavor this is," Miya said with surprising calm given the rather negative connotations of her statement, "Not only does the M.B.I. have enough money to take control of an entire city on a whim with their own privatized military force but they also have reserved three of their strongest Sekirei to make sure things of this caliber do not occur. I do not wish to sound negative but with the state of the city at the moment what you are planning would nearly be impossible."

As Miya's words sunk into the consciousness of all those around her each and every spirit in attendance felt the sheer weight of what they had taken upon themselves finally come down upon them, the monumental task brought into light and glaring back with the same vicious stillness of a coiled snake. For many this could be seen as a declaration of war, of a battle with one of the greatest superpowers present on the planet earth, a fight that was on a steep slope to the painful fires of hell. For others however…

"That doesn't matter," Minato's voice rose out from the fringes of Miya's vision, her head turning to face the dark haired Sahashi who sat between Musubi and Haihane. Whenever Miya had seen Minato he always seemed to carry a sense of worry, true he was calm and gentle for the most part but there had always been an undertone of lacking, of a dangerous deficiency of confidence. It was with this in mind that Miya found herself locked eye to eye with a surprisingly resolute gaze, lingering twinges of doubt and fear nearly smothered by the fires of determination burning behind those dark orbs of Sahashi Minato, "I'm sorry landlady-sama but I cannot agree with that. In the past few months I have seen what I used to think of as impossible become as common as the air we all breathe. Yes…what Haruka-san and Kuno-san wish to do is very difficult and nearly impossible but if all of those impossible things have become common then why can't helping them escape be possible as well?"

To say that the rest of the people in the room were stunned would be a gross understatement, from sharp as a razor and intelligent Kazehana and Matsu to the immature and naïve Kusano and Musubi they all gave looks ranging from admiration and awe to flat out surprise and worry for his mental health. The most surprised of all had to be Yukari though, her eyes spread wide as she looked over the oddly matured man before her. Was this really the indecisive, chicken-hearted, and weak Onii-chan that she knew?

Yet, the longer Miya looked into Minato's eyes the more her smile gradually widened, her head nodding happily as she continued to look directly into those determined dark orbs, "Hm, I see…very well, I too feel inspired Sahashi-san and I would like to help with your plan."

"R-Really?" Minato said with evident surprise and hope, his previous mature and stern expression breaking into one of calm excitement and trepidation. His deep set stare melted like ice in the sun as it transformed to one of gentle fluidity, his normal even attitude resurfacing as he offered Miya a thankful smile, "Th-thank you landlady-sama, it would be much appreciated if you could."

Miya offered the collected group of people and Sekirei a lyrical and sophisticated giggle, her deep indigo eyes looking over the interesting black haired young man before her, "Now I won't be much help myself but I can point you to someone who just might be. He is a horrible piece of trash but his assistance could prove to be very invaluable Sahashi-san."

Despite Miya's 'flattering' depiction of her help Minato's smile only seemed to grow, his happiness at the news apparent despite his, "Thank you landlady-sama, any help we could get would definitely be appreciated."

For a moment Miya stared at Minato with a sense of curiosity, a hint of inquisitiveness tinting her gaze as she looked at the odd emotional states of Minato. She remembered when she had first met Minato, the terrified and worried young man that walked into her home with one half naked Sekirei and his two others following close behind. Looking to the Minato present before her she could still see the similarities, the worry, the nervousness, and most certainly the indecision on certain…private matters. However there was something else, something that she hadn't noticed until just a few moments ago. That little spark of heat, of drive flickering throughout his spirit with every beat of his strong and gentle heart.

Laughing softly Miya bowed her head and left the room, promising to return with the 'scum's' home address and phone number…

~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~

As Minato quietly closed his bedroom door and descended the staircase for breakfast he remembered how sometime during Miya's absence every single one of them felt a sharp chill run down her spine, a powerful ice like sensation jolting along each and every nerve like the Lance of Longinus. Miya came back rather quickly following that sharp spike of power, her permanent smile in place as she told the group that the 'piece of trash' offered to help them free of charge when he talked to Miya, something that sent a drop of sweat down the brow of each person in attendance.

Yet, despite this Minato remembered how the entire group save for Matsu, Tsukiumi, Yukari, Shiina and Kusano headed for this 'correspondents' house, their hearts not completely prepared for the shock they would receive and the ally they would gain…

~~~~~~~~~~Zah World ~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Oi, you sure this is the place Minato," Haihane muttered as she looked the shabby apartment building up and down, "I wouldn't have thought Miya-sama would…you know, deal with people who live in places like this."

"I think I'm going to agree with her Sahashi-san," Haruka muttered, one hand holding Kuno's while the other gently scratched at the back of his neck, "you think maybe your Landlady has sent us on one giant goose chase?"

"No, this is the place," Minato muttered, looking up at the apartments with his own share of confusion and doubt, "Landlady-sama is always truthful and brutally honest, I don't think she would do something this cruel."

With that answer accepted the group ascended the stairs and carefully knocked on the door, a low grumbling and annoyed grunt sounded in response which was quickly followed by a quick and irritated shout, "Hold on a minute!" It took a few moments but eventually the door swung open to a very familiar and nostalgic face, "Yeah what do you…WHAT THE HELL!"

Standing before Minato and the group at his back was one of the rather infamous 'thunder twin' Sekirei, one half of an equation that had rained damnation and hellfire upon many an unwinged Sekirei, including Minato's own lovely duo of Haihane and Musubi. Haihane quickly caught on with her recognition of the twin, her face splitting into a manic grin as she spoke, "Ah, hey there thunder tits…long time no see."

"Hikari, what are you yelling about this time," as if by magic a nearly exact copy of the woman in the door appeared behind the original, the second of the thunder twins rubbing a sleepy eye as she looked to the new 'guests', "Who is at the…oh no…oh no…"

Musubi blinked a few times before she smiled brightly, her hands clapping over her chest as she spoke, "Oh! Musubi remembers you two, you chased Musubi after she left M.B.I.! That wasn't very nice you know, Musubi was really hungry!"

"S-Stay back you fucking insane bitch!" Hikari howled as she quickly thrust the door forward, preparing to slam it with no interruption and running like the wind. However, instead of closing with a satisfying slam the door simply stopped in its tracks, Musubi holding up one hand and bringing the wooden rectangle to a screeching halt.

"Musubi thinks that you are being very rude," Musubi said with an innocent voice, her head tilting to the side in confusion at the hostility, "even after Landlady-sama called before and told us that you'd be very welcoming."

"L-Landlady," That word seemed to shake the twins to the core, each of them looking at one another before the calmer and more sensible twin one turned to the group and spoke, "You…you wouldn't be speaking of Asama Miya, would you?"

The moment the twins had shown up Minato had been deeply confused and worried about who this 'contact' was, perhaps Miya had sent them on a wild chase after all…yet, despite this Minato held his ground, despite his worries and insecurities he nodded his head and spoke with a surprisingly level voice, "Yes, that is the name of our Landlady-sama. Is there a problem?"

Minato and the rest of the group were instantly pulled inside, each of the twins trying their damndest to make them at home and comfortable while at the same time sneaking into the bedroom and trying their hardest to wake up someone they called 'Seo.' It was only roughly ten minutes into the 'gathering' that a man, bleary eyed and unshaven, stumbled from the bedroom with a wide mouthed yawn and a rather rude scratching of his stomach, "Oi, I'm up, I'm up already...what's with the party?"

The less busty twin, now known to the group as Hibiki, turned to the man sharply and spoke, "Seo, these are the people Miya said were coming over…you know, for help with their plan?"

Turning from Hibiki to the group he gave the entirety of the gathered humans and Sekirei a once over, his face eventually splitting into a relaxed grin as he spoke, "So they are…hey there, my name is Kaoru Seo but you can just call me Seo if you want."

"Thank you Kaoru-san," Minato spoke with calm politeness in the face of Miya's supposed help, his head bowing in respect to the grimy and sleepy man, "my name is Sahashi Minato, it is nice to meet you."

At Minato's announcement Seo seemed to freeze, his narrow almost sanpaku eyes looking at the black haired Sahashi for a good long while before moving onto the next person in the room. After a round of introductions Seo turned from the final Sekirei to Minato, his smirk more than a little perverted as he gleefully chuckled, "Not bad kid, you've winged yourself some pretty good Sekirei, and Kazehana to boot…almost makes me wish I could've gotten to them first~"

In seconds Seo was thrown into the midst of a powerful and violent seizure as hundreds of volts of electricity jolted through his entire body, the thunder twins standing behind him shocking him with the equivalent of three tazers at once for his rather off color comment. Yet, despite the potential lethality of the electrical strike Seo recovered in an unordinary amount of time, his sizzling and smoking body hopping to his feet as he muttered something about bitchy women beneath his breath. Minato's group could only stare at what should have been a very dead man and wonder how he had come to build up such a unique tolerance to being electrocuted.

"I feel this is why Miya-sama said he was 'a rotten piece of scum,'" Akitsu spoke, her dead on impression of Miya's voice causing a slight shiver from the group and a definite tremor from Seo and the thunder twins.

"Fuck kid," Seo quivered, his body shaking like a leaf in the wind before he turned to face Minato, "I take it back…anyone who has a Sekirei that can do that has to be cursed by hell…"

Despite being sent an icy stare from the aforementioned ice mistress and a slightly irritated look from Minato Seo effortlessly ignored both in favor of sitting down on a chair opposite the group, a small table separating them as he laid out a large map and began to speak himself, "So, if what Miya told me is right you and you are the ones that want to get out of here right?"

After pointing to Haruka and Kuno and getting a nod in response Seo continued, his once relaxed face tensed with annoyance and irritation as he spoke, "Good, now I'm not too happy about the idea of the M.B.I. controlling the city among other things so I'll help you out…and because of Miya I'm going to have to do it for free but I guess the chance to hit back at the M.B.I. is enough…for now."

While his finishing statement was cryptic and rather foreboding to most Seo continued unabated, his eyes turning from Haruka to Minato, "Kid, are all the Sekirei that you have here or are there some still back at the Inn?"

"I still have three more," Minato confessed, his voice dipping slightly as he remembered Tsukiumi's adamant refusal to aid in the escape, "but I think only one will be helpful…"

Seo suddenly chuckled, his head turning from side to side as he spoke, "if that one is Matsu then I hate to break it to you kid but she's going to be useless in anywhere but planning…and maybe the bedroom."

Minato's eyes snapped open in surprise and for once it was not from Seo's off color humor and perverted mindset, "Y-You know about Matsu-san?"

One of Seo's eyebrows snapped up in curiosity, his head tilting to the side as he spoke, "What? Does Miya ever tell you anything? I was the one who built Matsu's little room; of course I know she's there."

For a moment Minato found himself entertaining the idea of what Miya really was keeping from him, despite being a major presence in his life she was a very deep enigma which he couldn't even begin to understand. What were her motivations in helping him, why did she seem so adamantly against his actions at times while deeply helpful at others…and now that he thought about it…didn't the voice say something about her?

Minato was snapped out of his thoughts as Seo returned to talking, his loud voice commanding the room's attention as he continued to speak, "So we've got about seven combat ready Sekirei on our side right now, right?"

"Wait a minute," Haruka spoke up, his gaze leveled directly at Minato as he spoke, "Didn't your sister say she wanted to help out?" Minato's face quickly drained in color as Seo's interest peaked, Haruka turning from the now pale Sahashi to a curious Kaoru as he finished his thoughts, "She's got a pretty powerful Sekirei too, I think he said he was number 108 or something like that."

"Number 108?" Seo said with more than a little surprise, his eyebrows jumping up into his hairline as he stroked his stubble covered chin, "If my sources are right then he's the Death Sekirei…well damn, I thought with Kazehana and Akitsu here we had a pretty good shot but with him on our side we could make a real mess of the M.B.I. on the way out-"

"Shiina and Yukari will not be participating," Just as it had when Miya had spoken earlier in the day Minato's voice rose out with a firm and uncompromising tone, "They may want to help but I cannot allow my little sister or Kusano to be endangered by something like this."

The moment Minato stopped for breath Seo let loose with a harsh and vicious chuckle, his head shaking side to side as he closed his eyes in disbelief, "Oi, kid I don't think you really get what you're saying here. If your sister is in this plan it's a little too late to try and protect her don't you think? She's going to have to fight at some point and if you try to coddle her it'll just fuck up her chances later on. It's the same thing for this other Sekirei of yours…Kusano right? She's going to have to fight at some point so why not start it now and get it over with…"

Subconsciously Minato's left arm began to tense, the tri-scarred limb flexing and curling into a tight fist as he remembered his own naiveté, his lack of knowledge and the deep price he paid because of it. He had heard of when he was lost in the realm of unconsciousness, how Yukari had shown up by his bedside and wept for him in hopes that she could awaken her older brother. Minato could only imagine those roles reversed, sitting beside Yukari's bed, praying for her safety, watching helplessly as she recovered or even worse, slipped from his grasp…

"No," Minato's voice rose again as his left fist trembled with the might of his grip, "What we are talking about isn't a normal Sekirei fight Kaoru-san, this is a direct strike against the M.B.I. and it will be many times more dangerous than the fights that are already part of the Sekirei Plan. If it were up to me I would keep Yukari as far away from this as possible but since I can't, I will protect her from what I can and if that means stopping her from being involved in something even more dangerous then I will do it."

In the back of his head Minato could imagine Kusano in the midst of battle, the innocent blond haired child watching blood being shed around her, watching lives being lost, of friends falling and of enemies coming closer. This only caused his gaze to deepen which led Seo's eyes to widen in surprise, "As for my other Sekirei, she is only a child and if I were any kind of responsible older brother or human then I wouldn't let that happen…from now until the very end of the Sekirei Plan."

Seo froze at Minato's tone, his mention at the end of the plan causing an odd pang to flow through the older man's body. Perhaps it was the way Minato said it, a vaguely cryptic undertone in his voice that spoke of something larger, of something grander than what he had led on. Maybe it was the way the two Sekirei at his side glanced at him, the large busted Musubi gazing at him with hopeful devotion and the grey haired reaper Haihane giving him a strong and confident smirk, like an inside joke that none but them knew. Whatever it was, Seo's face nearly became unhinged with the width of his smile and with a deep chuckle her spoke, "Alright kid, I understand…"

~~~~~~~~~~~Zah World~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As Minato reached the bottom of the long wooden staircase he remembered how Seo had been the one to finally solve their escape route problem, an old and nearly abandoned bridge being Haruka and Kuno's solution for their final ditch escape effort. In a few short hours the newly focused group came up with assignments, positions, everything from beginning to end they planned it all…a plan solidified to take place in a scant twenty four hours time. Minato was almost adamant about having a long time to enact the plan but Seo convinced him that the longer they waited the less chance they would have to use it and the less chance Haruka and Kuno would have to finally have their wish and live freely.

Minato chuckled as he walked down the hall towards the dining room and remembered last night and the impromptu 'party' Kazehana as well as the others put on for Kuno and Haruka. After meeting with Seo and finally having their long awaited answer the 'escape group' felt it was only right to celebrate the occasion with food, music, and of course Sake. There was laughing of all kinds, there was fun to be had with unabashed measure, there was…

Shaking his head Minato remembered the party, how it had gone, the people that were there, and most of all what had happened in such a short time. With a sigh Minato entered the dining room, his mind already preparing to roll through the night and the 'farewell party' in its entirety…

"Minato-sama, Good morning!"

"Oi, Minato, get your ass in here…I need someone to fuc- I mean feed."

"Oh Minato-kun~ how about your Kaze-chan gives you a nice big Sekirei breakfast with some tasty 'dessert'?"

"Sh-Shameless woman! D-Do not flirt so readily with my husband! Minato! I demand you sit beside me and allow your one true wife to feed you!"

"Onii-chan! Ku wants to feed you too!"

"Mina-tan, I'd like to talk to you about some experiments of mine~"

"Minato-sama, open wide please."

"Gah!...h-hold on a s-second!A-Akitsu-chan! K-Ku-chan!...I-I'm choking!"

Twenty four hours may bring great change to the world, a planet altering collection of seconds ticking away bit by bit until the end of it all. But, no matter how historic they may be they always begin the same…