Please refer to Prologue for the STANDARD DISCLAIMER.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

Ohayo, minna-san! Thanks for the wonderful and inspiring reviews for the Prologue of this series. It was quite flattering to think that I was actually able to express Chocolate's emotion in a manner that would make you, my readers, feel it, too. Thanks a bunch really to all those who reviewed. Oh, and don't worry. I'm NOT suicidal. The thought never even crossed my mind. I just thought it was a great idea for a fic, that's all. I do hope none of YOU are, though… Nonetheless, I am in no way encouraging you to do so no matter how much your life sucks and things aren't going your way. A word of advice: committing seppuku is NOT the answer… Believe me, it isn't worth it, as I shall later prove in this fic. That being clarified, let's go on to Chapter One now, shall we?

SACRIFICE

By: Ryuuen

Chapter One

Waiting

            Oneesama… Doshite… Doshite, Oneesama…

I watched through a waterfall of tears as Marron peered over her limp body, concern for once marring his fragile countenance, repeating the healing spell that he had tried to administer before. A noticeable frown began to form upon his face as the spell progressed and I couldn't help but worry even more. Moments later, he stopped and stood up. I looked up at him expectantly and he sighed wearily, refusing to meet my gaze.

"Tira, sumimasen, demo… she had lost too much blood and is losing more even as we speak. There is nothing much I can do. We should bring her to a professional doctor immediately."

"Nani?" I stood up as well and grabbed the front of his tunic. "Tell me, Marron. Is she… is my sister…going to… going to…" I managed to croak the last word out. "… die?"

The mage further averted his gaze and, ignoring my question, faced the group's muscleman. "Gateau, please find us a medium of transport. I recall seeing a hospital in town." And with that, he bent down and gently scooped my sister's body into his arms and rushed off after our teammate. I felt a hand over my shoulder and when I looked up, I found two dark orbs looking down on me with a sympathetic expression.

"Ca…Carrot…"

He gathered me into his arms and replied soothingly, wiping off the tears trailing unheeded down my cheeks, "Shh… Tira-chan… don't cry. Everything's going to be okay... Chocolate is going to be alright… She was never one to give up without putting up a fight…She'll… she'll come back, you'll see…"

His voice shook as he told me this, as though he was trying to convince himself as well. I pushed him away. Shock as well as a pained expression registered upon his face. "Tira-chan…"

I did not reply.

He approached me slowly but I stepped back.

"I'm sorry, Carrot, but I can't do this…"

"Nani?" It seemed that he did not understand.

"I'm sorry, Carrot, but can't you see? You… I… this is the reason why… why oneesama did what she did. I can't… I just can't…"

My voice caught in my throat and I broke down sobbing. Clutching the doorknob for support, I forced myself to look back at him, his head bowed, his eyes shielded with stray wisps of hair. Eternity seemed to have past before he finally spoke, his voice, soft and low.

"Tira-chan…"

I blinked as black met scarlet and for that single moment, I almost wanted to forget everything, forget everything and flung myself into his arms and weep. Almost…

I turn around, breaking the eye contact and begin to leave. "Marron must be waiting for us downstairs. Oneesama isn't getting any better… There… There is no time to lose…"

* * *

            "Marron, what's wrong?" He had gone ahead with my sister to the hospital and left Gateau to wait for us as we packed our belongings. It was for the best, he had said.

            The mage shook his head. "Nothing… it's just that, Chocolate has suffered much blood loss that the doctor strongly recommends blood transfusion. However, the hospital seemed to have ran out of her type of blood so…"

            He trailed off but I understood. Heaving a sigh, I turned to face my companions, trying to ignore that queer flutter of my heart when my eyes landed on Carrot, and stated boldly. "If this is the only way… then take mine."

* * *

            Where… where am I?

            I look around and find myself surrounded by glaring light. Oneesama?

            Gomen, Tira-chan.

            Nani? Who… who are you?

            No one and everyone.

            What's that supposed to mean? Who are you? Where am I? Am I…

            Iie, Tira-chan.

            Then… where am I? Oneesama? Is she alright?

            Hai, Tira-chan… thanks to you…

            Really?

            Hai. You saved her, Tira-chan, though I am not sure if she is entirely grateful…

            Nani? But…why?

            Gomen, Tira-chan, but that is not for me to answer.

            But…

            Now let ME ask you a question…

            But…you still haven't answered all of mine…

            Who are you?

            Nani? You already know my name.

            Who are you?

            Why are you doing this?

            Who are you?

            I am Tira Misu.

            Who are you?

            I am Tira Misu, sister to Chocolate Misu, belonging to a secret group of Sorcerer Hunters working under Big Momma… there, happy now?

            Why?

            Why what?

            Why did you choose to be a Sorcerer Hunter?

            It is my destiny.

            Is it? Wasn't it you who said that people choose their own destiny?

            Nani? But… how did you know?

            Why did you choose to be a Sorcerer Hunter?

            Maybe… Maybe it had been because of Oneesama and my friends, Marron, Gateau and… and Carrot…

            Tell me about them.

            Who? My friends?

            Tell me about Marron.

            Marron… well, he isn't expressive but he has always been a great friend and adviser.  He may not look it but he is, in fact, the strongest of us all. He treats Oneesama and me with respect. He's kinda sweet to us, and THAT's saying something. He's really patient and understanding, being able to tolerate Gateau's flirting though I am not entirely sure whether he doesn't reciprocate Gateau's emotions.

            You seem rather fond of Marron…

            I am… I am fond of all of them…

            Alright, how about Gateau?  Tell me about him.

            Well, to be honest with you, I don't know Gateau as much as I know the others. He seldom talks to me, you know. But he is really dependable in times of crisis. Like I mentioned to you, he is in love with Marron, though he would flirt with anything beautiful, be it male or female…

            How about your sister, Chocolate? Tell me about her.

            Oneesama… well, she is the very best sister I could ever ask for. Though she tends to be immature sometimes, I love her dearly. She loves Carrot and tends to be extremely showy with her affections. Demo, she is very noble and would give up everything for the ones she loves… she would give up everything, even her life and happiness… she almost did…

            And lastly, Carrot…

            Carrot… he has always been a good and caring friend, though he tends to be rather air- headed sometimes.  His life's mission seems to be to chase girls of all shapes and sizes. He has a carefree nature but I have seen how serious he can get… He…

            What does he mean to you?

            Carrot… he… he was… he is someone very special to me…

            Then why?

            What do you mean?

            I'm sorry, Carrot, but I can't do this…

            Oh…

            Why, Tira-chan?

            I… I don't know… It's just that… Can't you see? Oneesama almost died because of… It would be best if…

            Would it?

            Who are you? Why are you doing this? What right have you to intrude into my personal thoughts?

            Really, Tira-chan. Would shunning away from Carrot really be for the best?

            Hai… I think so.

            Or are you just feeling guilty?

            Nani? But Oneesama…

            Would she have wanted this?

            I… I don't know.

            What was it that she did before losing consciousness?

            She… she placed Carrot's hand upon mine and told him to love me as much as she had loved him? Then…she… she must have thought that she was the only thing that prevented me from being with Carrot so she… Oh Oneesama!

            Hai…

            But…now that she lives…I just can't…

            Would she have wanted that?

            But…

            Would she have wanted you to give up both your and Carrot's happiness just for her?

           

            Iie… Oneesama… Oneesama isn't like that…but… what shall happen to her if…

            Your sister shall find happiness in due time, Tira-chan…

            Nani? How do you know these things? Just… just… who are you?

            It is time to wake up now, Tira-chan…

            Another blinding flash of light and I felt myself falling…

* * *

            The first sensation I felt when I regained consciousness was that of a soft, even breath whispering across my face, fanning the wisps of pinkish hair tickling my cheeks. I strain to open my eyes and am surprised to find someone's head resting next to mine, my hands clasped in his. Carrot…

            "It's good to see you're awake. Carrot didn't know who to worry over more… you or your sister…"

            My eyes drift across what I had presumed was one of the hospital rooms and land on the only other person in the room. "Ga…Gateau…"

            "Hai. Expecting someone else?" He chuckled as he approached. "Marron's in the other room tending to your sister. Chocolate is fine and, though she is still unconscious, I expect that she'll live."

            "Nani? Marron?"

            "Hai. I haven't seen him this worked up ever. I'm beginning to wonder if…"

            "Ne, Gateau? Is that jealousy I sense?"

            He smirked. "I'll have you know that I have nothing to be jealous of. Now just get some rest. I'm going to go check on those two just to be sure, though…"

            I managed a weak smile. "Thank you, Gateau. I'd appreciate that."

            The muscleman nodded and padded softly towards the door. "But you know what?" he asked, stopping before turning the doorknob and looking back with a conspiratory grin. "Don't tell your sister I told you this but I think you and Carrot make a pretty cute couple." And with that, he closed the door.

            I blinked momentarily before remembering to blush at the comment. Now that was something you didn't hear from him everyday. Weakly, I turn my gaze to Carrot and touch his cheek. After what I've said… I sigh, leaning back against the pillows, reclining my head against his… I really would need to talk to him after everything's over. But for now… I yawn sleepily before entirely closing my eyes… Oyasumi nasai, koibito…

* * *

            Just so you'd know, I got the idea for the dream sequence from the last few episodes of Shin Seiki Evangelion. Just thought it would fit in well. Gomen if this chap seems a little bit rushed. Sadly, I am once again experiencing writer's block and it's a miracle that I had made it this far. Anyway, if you have any guess as to who the mysterious voice is…

            Oh and please write me more reviews… They are the only things that keep me writing this fic… I hope I didn't disappoint you with this chapter… I'll try to revise it if need be but for now, please bear with me… Oh, and by the way, for those who liked my one-shot, Memories, watch out coz I plan to transform that into a series, as what I have done for Irony… Ja!