Take What Is Yours

Ch 32

Two Hours Earlier...

Facing the door had been a challenge.

Moka had found her way back to her and Tsukune's apartment a week after her disastrous evening with Gin. Roaming the subways, she relived all of her wrongs committed one right after another in a nonstop cycle. She stopped every now and then at some of the local Fairy Tale safe houses that stored blood packets and any other needs for her vampire family. Eventually, her feet and her battered resolve built up enough courage to go back to the one place she had been the happiest in her life.

Her and Tsukune's apartment.

Opening the door to her home, she called out, just for the sake of saying something familiar, "I'm home."

No one responded.

It was the loneliest quiet she had ever heard.

Then it hit her, the smell of old trash, the lingering sweat and fluids on her bed sheets in her room across the hall.

The place where her joyful habitat she had felt the safest and most loved, now remained a derelict reminder of what her life with Tsukune was a month before his death.

She needed to clean...

...at once...

...in a hurry...

...now...

...but first...

Leaving the door open carelessly, she took off her own clothes, stripping to nothing to get rid of that scent, Gin's.

It was still all over her along with the smell of booze, smoke, and just...him. It had been with her wherever she went, a constant reminder of her failures. Now, even in her home, it had lingered just as strongly as any of the others.

This wasn't what she wanted to remember now, not ever.

Ever, ever, ever again...

She nearly seared her arm while turning on the bath, the water that was usually filtered with her herbs had run empty and it needed to be refilled. Replacing the pack, she waited for the slight greenish tint of the water to dilute the remaining water completely before sliding in and washing herself from head to toe.

Her bath lasted an hour or more. She wasn't sure and honestly didn't care.

Green eyes that once focused solely on her Tsukune dared not roam around the small room that held so many memories and mementoes of her departed husband. His toothbrush, stupid wintergreen mouthwash that he swore was better than her cinnamon, dental floss that he took too little of at a time, and even his comb that he insisted on keeping even though she told him over and over again that he needed to use a regular brush to keep that mop of hair of his in place.

If she looked at these things, she would break down again.

She couldn't do that. Even though she didn't know why she was so adamant of keeping herself together after everything that had happened. She didn't know why it even mattered to her to keep herself from falling apart again.

Was it her pride?

Her hand stopped in mid scrub, unable to see the pale limb she had just lathered with soap.

Even now, was she falling back to her old habits of putting personal appearances before anything else? If that was so, then what was she doing here?

She peeked.

There they were…all those little things she told herself she wouldn't see because she needed to keep herself together or else…

"…Tsukune…"

…she'd start crying again.

"…I…miss you…so much."

So she let her tears fall. What did appearances matter when what she had what was most precious to her was taken away?

Xxx

When that terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach had dulled, she dried herself off to reach for her brush. The movement was familiar, something more from habit and muscle memory than out of sheer need.

Right about now, Tsukune would be making some kind of noise outside the room. Either watching TV, talking to his mom over the phone, helping her prepare dinner, or getting the bed ready for them to go to enjoy their night together.

Silence welcomed her when she held her breath.

She felt like a stranger in her own home.

Or did she?

She took a slow, unsteady sniff of the air.

All of those annoying reminders still hovered in the air like a haze, but there was something…

…just…something…

…there.

It…reminded her of…what?

What other scent could make her stop like this? It was there, at the forefront of her mind but she couldn't remember. It hit her, like walking into a wall that was right in front of her.

It was his scent, Tsukune's. But where?

She scanned her and Tsukune's home...thinking there had to some something, somewhere...just anything to remind her that he had existed in this place that had once created out of love and hope, promises made of happiness and joy...

It was there, but it was slight...so, so slight.

"Tsukune?"

Tilting her head up, she took a long inhale.

There, she thought suddenly, nearly dashing into the laundry room.

It was so mild, but it was definitely his scent, her Tsukune's.

Curling up into a ball over the dirty laundry she had yet to wash back then, she smothered herself in their clothes, reminding her senses of a time when their scents intermingled, when this was as commonplace as breathing.

They were one.

"Tsukune..." She whined into his shirt, crying her heart out as she had so many times before.

This was all she had left of him. There wasn't any husband to go to, no pride to rely on, no family to seek out...wait, wasn't this shirt the one his mother gave him?

His mom...Aono Kasumi.

Moka blinked, realizing there was still something she had to do...

...needed to do.

Chewing her lip, she staggered away her precious scents to the bathroom to prepare a quick bath, but was stopped by a very familiar figure and scent closing the door behind her.

"Hello, mother."

Bloodriver Akasha acknowledged her daughter's greeting with one of her own.

"Moka, You shouldn't leave the door open. There are those out there who would take advantage of your vulnerability."

It wasn't hard for Moka to figure out that her mother would be seeking out her. After visiting the safe houses, all Akasha had to do was follow the breadcrumbs that would eventually lead her back to her and Tsukune's home.

Moka couldn't help but notice that she was also barring her from leaving the laundry room. Saying nothing, she continued to stare wordlessly at her Oka-sama.

"Do you know why I'm here, Moka?" Akasha inquired politely, gently.

It was all she could do to ask in a tender voice to her daughter.

Moka looked away guiltily. She was hoping it had nothing to do with what had happened those many days ago. Keeping quiet, Moka decided not to incriminate herself if she didn't have to.

"The council meeting is tonight, and your presence, as well as my own, are required."

Moka didn't move the long stray lock that fell between her eyes. As much as she tried to prepare herself for more consequences to her unending trail of stupid decisions, she was not looking forward to one where her disgrace would be made public in front of the people she had been brought up with.

Had her shame know no end?

"Just so you are made aware, there is going to be a viewing of what you and that boy, Gin, in front of all the vampire Clan heads."

Apparently not.

Strange, choking sounds escaped Moka's lips, making her fall to the floor when her knees buckled. Stricken green eyes looked up to her matron for guidance, for answers, for comfort, for...anything to make it all stop...just for it to stop...

Only one word escaped her lips.

"How?"

"Your 'friend' has been posting videos of all the women he has been with on the web, including you, little Moka. Ria found out about this and showed it to me. I was there, outside your door when he attacked you, and I was about to stop it in my own way."

A tremble in Moka's lips parted just enough to start to plead for her mother not do anything to Gin, but Akasha spoke, stopping her from needing to say anything more. "You, my little Moka, stopped it on your own."

Akasha closed the distance between her and her daughter, sliding thin, small fingers through Moka's unkempt locks. "For whatever its worth, I'm proud of you."

Moka reflected to that night, how she had allowed herself to try and come to terms with talking to Gin, just trying to keep whatever bond she had with him for the sake of the child inside of her...yet, he was rude to her, boorishly mean and demanding. Then, when he grabbed her, forced himself on her, and almost raped her, she called out, saying how she was pregnant, and he got off of her as if she was diseased.

Looking back, if there was any pride to be had at those moments back then, in the lowest part of her shame, she felt there was one part where she could hold her head up high.

She admitted her faults and praised Tsukune all the while mocking Gin.

If they were going to show this to everyone, then she was going to let them all know that she was going to fail defending his name.

It was the least she could do...

Turning her head back towards the pile of clothes still in front of the laundry room, Moka came to a conclusion that there was more than letting events have their way with her.

...or was there?

"Mother, what's going to happen to me?" Moka's small voice seem to barely make it past her lips.

Akasha stroked her daughter's crown, over and over again, eventually pulling her into an embrace that was as heart felt as it was condemning. "At best, they are going to probably demand I banish you from all vampire society, revoke your rights to my name or to my Clan. You and your child will be exiled."

Exhaling nervously, she couldn't deny the punishment sounded very light considering what it would mean to a Clan's honor, especially one that held the title of Bloodriver.

Continuing her list of punishments, Akasha's voice lowered dutifully, devoid of emotion or affection, "At worst, there is also a possibility you will be killed to be cleansed of your dishonor."

The first thoughts that went through Moka's head were of the baby.

Her baby.

Was this fair to raise a child in these unfair conditions? Was this the life she had predetermined to introduce her and Tsukune's children into when she boldly and foolishly made her claim to seclude it to the violence of her family's and her vampire pride's ways?

The again, thoughts of his mother, Kasumi, and his dopey, though loveable, father Koji came to the front of her mind.

Had the life she lived, enduring the harshness of humanities bigotry and humiliation of trying too hard compare to the life and death struggles of the rigidness of vampire society?

Faced with the reality that she could potentially have ended her baby's life before it had even breathed itself into this world, she had set herself on a path to inevitably commit another vile act she could not steer away from.

There really was no bigger fool than she.

"Do you understand, Moka?"

While most of the things she said seemed very plausible, she had known that these consequences very well could happen when she first went down this road. She had not expected everything to collectively fall into place against her so well.

It didn't scare her as it should have. If she was to receive the worst punishment, it made her feel light. If she was going to have her greatest shame revealed, at least, after all was said and done, she would get to be with Tsukune again in death.

"I can accept that, Mother," Moka leaned into her mother's breasts, holding her tight.

Akasha said nothing, simply offering what little condolences and comfort where she could.

"I do have a request, though."

"I'm listening," Akasha's words hummed at Moka's brow.

"I want to tell Tsukune's mom, Aono Kasumi, what I did to her son. She needs to know that he's dead."

Akasha was already shaking her head. "No, I won't allow that."

"If I'm going to die, then why can't I at least try to make peace with his parents? Let me at least confess my sins to his mother? She, above anyone else, deserves to know! Wouldn't you want the same thing, Mother?"

Akasha gave her daughter a very hard, long look. Denying her was right at the tip of her tongue, however her words rang true in every part of her that was a woman and a mother.

"Alright, Moka, but on one condition."

Moka listened with her full focus.

"I am going with you."

xxx

Just as they approached Tsukune's family home, Akasha held Moka back by her arm, raising one finger to remind her, "Now, what have we agreed upon, Moka?"

Fidgeting her fingers, she shuffled her feet nervously, as her swollen green eyes stared at the entrance to her husband's home like the very gate to hell. "I can't mention anything about his death, about monsters, or that we're vampires."

"These are very basic rules, with the exception of Tsukune's demise. Now, what will happen if you tell them any of these things?"

Moka's lip quivered, "You'll have to...kill...them."

Akasha's visage was purposely stoic, unfeeling like marble. "I don't want to, my daughter, but this isn't a game. I think you know that more than anyone, don't you?"

"But...even Tsukune's death?"

"If you were to mention it, then she will want to know how, when, where, and why. Do you have answers for her that would appease her enough to not go snooping around by her own power? What is to keep her from asking his friends, possibly putting them in danger of discovery?"

Moka chewed her lip, unhappy that she wouldn't be able to, at a minimum, give his mother some proper closure.

"Then what can I tell her?"

"Whatever you want," Akasha nudged her daughter towards the Aono threshold, "Just within those boundaries. We can't stay long. We have to leave in less than an hour. We're already going to be late."

Tears falling anew, a sharp and intense swell of trepidation faltered her steps. This was it, something she had dreaded beyond coming back to her home, Tsukune's family's home where he grew up with loving parents who doted on him, cherished him, loved him...

...like she was supposed to have.

They kept him safe all his life, yet she had his death on her hands.

Now...now...now...

One slender finger reached up, trembling before the small white button of the door bell.

Flinching back, the very thought of the little electronic noise heralding her presence seemed too crass, yet she couldn't feel like she had the right to knock...she forced herself forward, breaking past that line of no return.

A pattering of small quick feet sounded like a small stampede past the thin layer of wood, making Moka nearly tumble over herself. In a moment...

...just like now...

...she would face the woman who loved Tsukune more than any other woman in the world.

The door flew open and there she was, the woman who Moka had first met and gained the approval to be allowed into Tsukune's heart. There she was, Aono Kasumi, the woman Tsukune fought against his and Moka's own love in his own befuddled way. Driving Moka crazy enough to do what she had foolishly done out of pride and fear to maintain his humanity, this was the woman he had wanted to bring his future children to, to be loved upon.

This was, after all was said and done, the woman Tsukune had fought and died for: His mother.

Neither had moved. They stared at each other, Kasumi's normally soft brown eyes dagger sharp and seeking. Moka could hear her mother talking, trying to be polite and cordial, as was someone that was used to niceties, but Moka knew Kasumi didn't need the gradual transition of small talk to business to express the real reason why they were here.

"Where's my son?" Kasumi demanded, standing across her home's threshold like a guardian to a kingdom.

The words were simple, forthright, and voiced barely above a normal tone, but they were laced with desperate need, with hope, with a mother's pain of not knowing where her only child was in the world so that she could comfort him and, likewise, herself at his safety.

"May we come in? I think this is a matter that needs to be discussed in private." Akasha requested gently, motioning regally with her free hand towards the Aono abode.

Kasumi examined Moka and then Akasha, her mother. While they were certainly cut from the same cloth, Akasha had a fulfilling brilliance about her, a glowing eminence of effervescent radiance that made the light seem to fall away from the night.

She looked powerfully youthful.

Moka, on the other hand, looked cadaverous, thin, and, yet, sickly bruised around her lips and eyes. Kasumi could see the way Moka's hands hovered around her middle, vainly trying to ease an upset stomach that was probably stirring with more than emotional turmoil.

In her son's wife's green eyes, she could feel the mountainous regret, guilt, and punishing self loathing that only a woman who had reflected on her actions and sought forgiveness could muster.

It was enough to allow Aono Kasumi to step backwards and motion for her two guests to enter.

"Please come in."

xxx

Sitting with her daughter on a small couch, Akasha's took note of simple trinkets here and there along the simple yet clean house. On the walls were photos of Kasumi and Koji, husband and wife through out their life from their young dating era, to their marriage, and the many years as mother and father with their son Tsukune.

This was their home.

In each picture was a reminder of how they created this environment of love, of happiness, of what had drawn Moka into this constant cycle of warmth. The Queen of Vampire's was reminded of a simple time of peace and serenity before titles, battles, and prestige took the reigns of her life and now made it the quagmire of duty and obligation it had become.

She didn't have to look over to Moka to see her eyes were glued to large picture of her and Tsukune on their wedding day, looking into each others eyes with such heartfelt love and bliss that their world was complete as long as they had each other.

Now her world was gone.

Kasumi was in the kitchen preparing tea. The sound of ceramic cups clattered onto a tray, along with a small kettle with small bowls of sugar and milk. She brought them clumsily and gracelessly compared to most of Akasha's servants, obviously not used to serving for the sake of poise but purpose.

Placing it on the coffee table in front of them, she gestured towards Akasha, "Sugar? Milk?"

"No, thank you."

"Moka," Kasumi offered a different colored tea with a small, spicy scent. "This will help your stomach."

Moka stiffened in her seat, unable to understand why Kasumi had been able to pick up anything when she had yet to say anything.

She was afraid to pick up the cup.

"I made it just how you like it, one spoonful of sugar with a dash of honey. I also put in a little bit of ginger and mint to help."

Her tears fell again, so easily, so simply at such a motherly gesture. This was who Tsukune wanted their children to be around when they were just infants, babies, just moments to years out of her womb. How could she be so adamantly stubborn to keep such devotion and simple kindness away from her own children when the woman had so much to give so freely, so easily?

Her sobs twisted her face, the wounds that had been festering again opened.

Akasha was there, rubbing Moka's shoulder in an attempt to assuage her that everything will be alright.

"I didn't see you at their wedding."

Akasha glanced up, meeting Kasumi's inquiring gaze with a polite smile.

"I couldn't come. The timing was...not right."

Kasumi shook her head, disapproval in her small voice, "Is that why I only saw Issa and Moka's sisters there?"

Akasha couldn't help but feeling judged by Tsukune's mom, being weighed not so much as a creature of power or of royalty trying to usurp the other from a throne. She was determining the beautiful, elegant woman as a mother to her daughter.

"I believe so," Akasha answered, still rubbing Moka's shoulder.

"He's married, isn't he?" Kasumi inquired again, politely prying into Akasha's own history.

"Yes," Akasha settled herself towards Kasumi, taking her questions into a cushioning defensiveness. "Shuzen Gyuoko, Kahlua's and Kokoa's mother."

"She wasn't there either," Kasumi called out thinly, looking back at the memory. Brown eyes that normally were soft and warm, glanced at the picture on the wall with the friends and family of Tsukune and Moka's wedding day. The only women around Issa were his daughters.

"We are a busy family," Akasha attempted to glaze over the answer to Kasumi's questions, but Tsukune's mother would have none of it.

"I knew only of Moka's father and sisters when I met them for the first time at their wedding," Kasumi took a sip of her tea, tasting it for no other reason to let Moka's mother try to gather answers for her next question. "I found it odd that we had over a year to prepare for their wedding. I got to meet all of Moka's and Tsukune's friends and their mothers. Kurumu's disapproving mom was there, so was Mizore's gentle oka-san...what's her name? Tsurara, I believe. They were all there. Did you know she owns a ski resort?"

Akasha had not ventured to find out about anything of Moka's friendships while in the Academy. The only thing really mentioned was of Tsukune and how his little flock of friends seemed to gravitate towards him.

If he was as caring and doting as his mother was, Akasha found it no small feat to have women want to be cherished by him so selfishly.

"No, I did not."

"Did you know that Kurono Ageha invited her aunt, Caro Shade, to the wedding?"

Akasha shook her head. Knowing where this was going, Akasha prepared to answer the question Kasumi was building herself up to.

"She was there. Flew all the way from America to join her niece's friends wedding. Her and Kurumu's mother were fun and a little noisy, but they were there for their daughter when she was obviously having a hard time seeing Moka and Tsukune walk down the isle. As outrageous and completely improper their manners and dress for the occasion, I have to admit they stood by Kurumu's side every step of the way."

Kasumi dabbed at her lips with a napkin. "She was such a nice girl. I wonder what happened to her."

Moka's shoulders slumped further, making herself small to such a simple rhetorical statement.

"Is this how you raised your daughter, Bloodriver Akasha?" Kasumi finally asked, narrowing her brown eyes at the vampire queen. "You let your husband go about his ways, making children with different women while you do whatever, whenever you want to leave your daughter defenseless without guidance?"

Akasha had rarely been on the receiving end of a scolding for her many thousands of years of living. To be scolded like such, by a powerless human no less, was a remarkable moment that left her speechless for a moment.

"I will not deny that I left Moka to the teachings of Issa at a young age to do my duty to my company, Fairy Tale, but there are things in this world that can't be ignored. I had full faith in Moka and her ability to see reason. Even you must have seen if if you allowed her to marry your son."

Kasumi was slightly taken aback by Akasha's remark, agreeing there were so many wonderful things about the pure hearted girl that seemed to make the room glow by just her presence. While Moka had everything any would could ask for, there was just one thing that Kasumi had always worried about her. While talking with her while she visited with Tsukune, there was this unquiet need to always have Tsukune close by. At first, Kasumi didn't think of it any more than a girl just helplessly in love with her son, but, later, it almost seemed...unhealthy.

Moka had never done anything to make her question her love for her son, but there were just times when she worried about things that made Tsukune seem overly protective of her.

Like when she was near water, when she ate her food and still seemed weak, or when Kasumi caught Moka kissing Tsukune's neck...well...it looked almost like biting!

What a bold girl!

Tsukune made it clear that Moka was just a bit...off.

Kasumi wondered about that, but as long as Tsukune and Moka were happy, that's all that mattered.

Now, however, things were different and Kasumi had had enough of this small talk.

It was time for business.

"You're right, I did." Kasumi caught Moka's attention now. Standing up with her hands on her hips, she asked what had been on her mind since their last conversation on the phone. "I made a mistake I have been kicking myself for a long time now, Aono Moka. I don't know who or what is to blame for what is going on, but I would really appreciate it if you can explain it to me."

"Oka-san," Moka's scratchy response was barely more than a whisper. "I did something…horrible."

"What did you do, Aono Moka?"

Standing up unsteadily, Moka moved around the small coffee table, lowered herself to press her forehead against the floor.

"I cheated on Tsukune, Oka-san," Moka's broken voice cracked, her snuffles coming out loud through her nose. "We were fighting about how our children would be raised and...and...I told him if he didn't listen to me I would find someone else to give me children."

Tsukune's mother's hand flew to her chest, hoping to calm her thrumming heart.

"That morning with Gin, when I called," Kasumi's low murmur could barely be heard over her confirmed disappointment. "What fight could you possibly have that would make you do such a thing?"

Hiccuping her bottomless despair, Moka hyperventilated her breath out into sobs, "I told him...that I didn't...want our children...raised around...people of his standing...of...people of...your and your husband's...social standing...I only wanted them...to be raised around...wealthy...and elite social statuses."

While what Moka admitted was off, there was enough hurtful truth to get the point of her argument's core.

Kasumi looked as if she had been slapped.

"When he refused, I...c-called Gin...and...he came to our home...I...gave Tsukune one last chance to change his mind. He didn't. I...I...-"

"You did what, Aono Moka," Kasumi's demand was so troubled she could barely stand it.

"I...took Gin into the bedroom," Moka's long fingers gripped into her hair, her heart breaking all over again, "and made good on my promise."

Kasumi's legs went out from under her, falling back into the seat of her chair.

"This is my fault, isn't it?" Kasumi's trembling fingers rubbed her own brow. "All those times I scolded Tsukune about needing to be more proper around young ladies, about how you two needed to show some restraint and take things slowly. That's it, isn't it? You are angry at me because I would get in the way between you and him while in my house."

Moka shook her head, trying to deny Kasumi's assessment of the situation, when Moka's eyes bulged, an ugly gurgling sound escaped her lips, making the unhealthy looking woman scramble to her feet and run towards the bathroom.

Kasumi rushed over with her, grabbing a towel along the way, making it just in time to help move Moka's hair out of the commode's bowl.

Moka heaved for a few minutes, emptying her stomach of any and all remnants of food she had.

Akasha waited underneath the bathroom's threshold, monitoring Kasumi's protectiveness over her daughter in law even though she had just admitted to being unfaithful to her son and was not willing to share her children's future under Tsukune's mother and father's presence.

"How far along are you?"

Moka gripped the sides of the toilet, trying to brace herself, but not for another case of sickness.

Kasumi's eyes were hopeful, pleadingly hopeful.

"Almost eight weeks."

Tsukune's mother had already done the math, her hope almost dashed, but there was still a chance…

"It's…not Tsukune's."

Kasumi's small fingers folded her apron's front into a knot. "So…that's it then."

Turning to Akasha, then to Moka, she spoke quietly, her voice and posture defeated, "I don't think there is anything left to say."

"Oka-san Aono-" Moka began, reaching for Tsukune's mother, but Kasumi only offered her a towel.

"Clean yourself up, Moka," Mrs Aono turned to look Akasha in the eyes. "I don't know what you both know where my son is, but, if you had any decency or cared about him at all, please…tell me where he is."

"He's…gone…"

Maybe it was the way her voice quivered or the finality in Moka's eyes that caught Kasumi off guard, but she could not deny the way Moka had said her son was 'gone' that made her start . Everything Tsukune's wife had admitted to were horrible, horrible things, so it gave Kasumi no reason to believe that something equally terrible had befallen her son.

Gone…

It took her breath away at how much those two words affected Moka just to say them, to let more tears fall at that simple admission without detail.

Gone…

Where was her baby? Why hasn't he called her yet? Why was his wife here, in her bathroom, throwing up with a sickness of another man's child in her womb and she announcing that their lives were forever altered because of a fight on this magnitude?

"What she means is-" Akasha tried to break Kasumi out of her trance, that fearful, petrified beyond description look that seemed to take her very soul.

It was too late for words.

"I need to call my husband," Kasumi was already walking out of the room towards the kitchen, "I should have listened to my instincts a while ago. We're calling the police."

"Mrs Aono, please, lets talk about this," Akasha bodily blocked Kasumi's path, lowering her head respectfully, "I'm sure Tsukune is fine. After Moka and him fought, he simply left Moka, and I've been consoling her ever since. There is no need to call the authorities."

"Then tell me where he is!" Kasumi demanded, "If you can, at a minimum, get him on the phone to tell me he's okay, I take his word for it. Right now, I've been told that his wife can't be trusted with him and you certainly haven't been there to help either of them, so why should I listen to either of you now?"

Akasha was quiet.

"So far, the only truths coming out of his wife's mouth is all I have to go by. Now, if there is nothing else, I want to call my husband."

"Please, Kasumi-san-"

"Now!"

Akasha glance at Moka's crumpled form over the toilet, both of their green eyes conversing on what couldn't be said with words.

Moka was already shaking her head no, begging her not to.

"Then, excuse me," Akasha gracefully, stepped back, giving Kasumi room to patter over to her phone.

The Queen of Vampires gave Kasumi's back a long, hard look that Moka knew all too well.

It brought up another bout of vomit.

"I hope you'll forgive me, my daughter," Akasha's hand closed into a spear head shape. "I will make it painless."

Shaking her head, Moka tried to get up, but her stomach heaved violently, taking her balance away as well as her legs.

Moka helplessly watched as her mother slipped out of her sight like some vengeful spirit.

No…

She couldn't do this to Tsukune! There were already too many things that were her fault to cause him pain! She did it to him again! She didn't want this to happen! Moka didn't think her mother would have responded this way, but…but…

No…

Moka struggled to get to her feet, but she did. Holding her stomach, she swayed and stumbled, rushing out of the bathroom as fast as her numb legs would let her.

"No, mother-" Moka started, but was surprised to see Akasha and Kasumi staring at each other, both of their eyes wide.

Kasumi had a phone to her ear and Akasha was only watching her, confusion etched onto her timeless face.

"Who is this again?" Kasumi's small voice asked, watching Akasha approach her with some kind of steel resolve that wavered, hovering near Tsukune's mother as if waiting to determine if her next words would be her last.

Whoever it was on the other line, it brought an enormous amount of relief to her.

That was very strange, she didn't even hear it ring.

"Tsukune, where have you been!" Kasumi cried in motherly exasperation, cradling the phone to her cheek as if it could bring her that much closer to her son.

Those words, that name, that very profound sense of motherly love coming from her mother in law was enough to make Moka's sense of disbelief shook her to her very core.

How could it be?

Her Tsukune was…alive?