MBP: So, I got obsessed with "Hibiki's Magic" a while ago, and I wrote a few fanfics that aren't up here for it, but then I did this one, and I kinda liked it, so here it is… *happy face*

Rini: She just has a thing for cute manga… and she only got the manga because the artist did the series of .Hack that she owns…

MBP: SHUSH!

Kio: Um… MBP owns nothing!

MPB: And bold italics mean it's a direct quote from the book, and the ~~()~~()~~() indicate changes in perspective, time, ect... Hope you enjoy!


Save Me from the Dark

I'm a very bad girl. I'm too old to cry, but for some reason I just can't help it. That's why nobody likes me.

What is this? Why am I remembering this now?

I'm always alone.

No… I'm not alone! Master's with me, and Shii-chan, and Ahito-kun…

Everyone is friendly… except to me. And that just makes me cry even more. That's why… nobody needs me around anymore.

That's not… That's not true anymore! I… people do need me…

I don't want to be alone. It hurts. It hurts so much…

~~()~~()~~()~~

Hibiki sat up in her bed, panting slightly from the residing fear from her nightmare. The now fifteen-year old girl stared at her hands for a moment, trying unsuccessfully to stop them from shaking. "What was that?" She whispered. She hadn't had nightmares about her past since she first started living with Master Shirotsuki.

Still a gusk, Shirotsuki crawled onto Hibiki's shoulder, rubbing his head on her cheek in reassurance. Hibiki absently placed her hand on top of him, still slightly confused at her nightmare.

Oh well… I should make breakfast; Shii-chan'll be hungry when she wakes up. And I have to grade those papers after class today; I hope they all did okay… Hibiki hopped out of bed, thinking of everything she was going to need to do that day.

When Hibiki exited her rooms with Shii-chan following close behind her, she had completely forgotten her earlier fear.

"Mine!" Hibiki found herself dragged behind Shii-chan now, chasing after a butterfly that had the misfortune to fly in front of them. "Get back here!"

"Owwwwww!" Hibiki cried out, feeling as if her feet were about to be pulled off by the friction. "Shii-chan!"

Shii-chan wasn't still until she'd caught and found a place to put her new pet. Just another typical morning at Kamisaid Academy.

"G-good morning!" Hibiki stumbled into her class, just barely on time, tripping and falling as she approached her desk. Red-faced, she sat down to take attendance, hoping nothing else would go wrong. Of course, Hibiki was never that lucky.

The emergency signals began to go off, and the class stood up to run off. "W-wait! Please, get into an orderly… Aah!" Hibiki found herself pushed to the ground and getting stepped on as the students panicked and ran to get out of the school.

Just as Hibiki was about to give up and let herself get stomped half to death, she felt a hand on her arm pull her up. "Jeez Prof, lost your balance?"

"A-Ahito-kun! We need to get out of here…" Hibiki began pushing the now 18 year old student out of the classroom behind all the rest, her words failing. Ahito merely looked at his teacher and pulled her along with him, not bothering to explain why he did so.

"Ahito-kun, I need to go to the others… Shii-chan!" Suddenly, Hibiki realized that Shii-chan would be in their room, waiting for Hibiki to come, or wreaking havoc as she tried to get out on her own. With an uncharacteristic show of strength, Hibiki pulled away from Ahito and raced through the crowd towards her rooms.

"Shii-chan! Shii-chan!" Hibiki had almost lost Shii-chan once; she wasn't going to do it again! "Shii-chan, where are you?"

Shii-chan wasn't in their rooms. Hibiki looked around, panicking as she often did when things went differently than they were supposed to. She was so freaked out that she didn't even notice that her master wasn't on her shoulder where he normally was.

Hibiki turned to leave the rooms and continue her search elsewhere when she saw someone walking by, away from safety. "W-wait!"

She ran up to the cloaked figure, clutching at the long fabric desperately. "Y-you can't go that way! It's dangerous, you should…" Cold laughter stopped her worried actions in their tracks, freezing the young girl in place as a spell took hold.

T-this can't be happening! Someone, help me!

Painfully slow, darkness took over the girl's consciousness, blocking out everything… leaving her in a stifling emptiness…

~~()~~()~~()~~

"Hibiki!" Freezing water splashed onto the girl's face, startling her out of a deep sleep. Her eyes widened when she saw a face that she never believed she'd see again.

"M-Mother?"

"Get up you useless brat! The house needs cleaning before the guests come!" The woman looked almost exactly like her daughter, except her eyes were a resentful green, unlike Hibiki's warm brown. "And you're staring like a half-wit!"

"S-sorry Mother!" Hibiki glanced at her reflection in the water that splashed onto the cold floor. A ten-year old face gazed back at her, and Hibiki sighed a little on the inside, reluctant to let her irritable mother hear her.

I guess it was just a dream…

Hibiki raced towards the kitchen to start her morning routine of cleaning. As she reached into the closet to grab the broom, everything in the cupboard fell out, clattering all over the floor and creating a ruckus. As her mother came in, screaming at the top of her lungs about her lousy daughter, Hibiki knelt in the corner and started crying helplessly, wishing it would just go away.

"Stop crying you baby! You're too old to cry! Now get up and clean this up before I give you something to really cry about!" Unable to resist, weakened and disillusioned by her happy 'dream', Hibiki stood, sniffling as she continued trying to help in her clumsy way. Throughout the day, she broke seven dishes, left a whole room undusted, and forgot to fluff the pillows in her parent's bedrooms properly. Needless to say, her mother was not pleased with her work.

"Useless brat! Go make some tea; that's all you're good for!" Hibiki was more than happy to escape another lecture and raced towards the kitchen to perform what she considered her only real skill; tea making.

Out of her mother's hearing, Hibiki sighed as the water for the tea boiled, reflecting on her dream. Strange… she could almost feel the gusk that had been Master Shirotsuki on her shoulder, and almost hear that Ahito-kun teasing her. It had all seemed so real…

But in the end, this was reality… and like always, she was left alone in the darkness of loneliness…

~~()~~()~~()~~

Meanwhile…

"Hey Teach, you can't just go running off like… Prof?" Ahito found Hibiki curled up on the ground, looking as if she was just sleeping peacefully. "Prof? Hey, you can't sleep here, it's dangerous!"

Rolling Hibiki over, Ahito shook her shoulder to wake her. She didn't tend to be a deep sleeper, and it was normally easy to wake her up. When she didn't open her eyes at his shaking, Ahito knew something was wrong with his cheerful teacher.

"Hey Teach?" Ahito tried once more to wake up his teacher, growing more worried when her eyes remained closed, but tears began falling down her cheeks. Hibiki often cried, but he'd never even heard of her crying while she slept, or even for herself. She only cried for other people, and this was definitely not normal.

Ahito would have used his eyes to help her, even if Hibiki would have protested, but it did no good if she wasn't looking back at him. He growled to himself, wondering what could have happened to Hibiki, glaring around as if something was going to give him a clue.

The emergency sirens were dying down, symbolizing that the danger was passing. This was a good and bad thing: Good because now he could get help for Hibiki, but bad because everyone would know about what happened, and there would just be more trouble.

Ahito gritted his teeth and picked Hibiki up into his arms, ignoring the way that her sleeping form fit so well in his arms; this was definitely not the time to be thinking about that! He set out on his way to find Itsuko, their curse expert, to see if there was anything she could do.

He glared at the poor soul that dared to come and try to take Hibiki out of his arms, only relaxing slightly when Shii-chan found them and started pulling out guns bigger than she was. Shii-chan chased off the rest of the people trying to touch 'her' Hibiki, letting Ahito hold her out of necessity; she was too busy trying to figure out who had hurt Hibiki like this.

Itsuko took one look at the young professor and gestured for Ahito to come into her chambers, and pointed to an empty bed. One glance around showed Ahito that Hibiki wasn't the only victim, and everyone was looking to Itsuko for advice.

"What happened to her?" Ahito demanded as soon as Itsuko had a free moment. He bet it had something to do with that damned magic; it only hurt everyone involved in it!

Itsuko sighed and began to explain, rubbing her forehead wearily. "This is not an easy curse to deal with," she growled lightly, her use of magic wearing on her. "It's forcing all the victims to deal with their worst memories… and what would happen if someone hadn't helped them out of that situation."

Itsuko gestured to another bed, where the Headmaster Asuma was kneeling, his head bowed over the patient. "Some are easier to figure out… Misaki was rescued by Asuma as a child, so we can try to recreate rescuing her. But others…" She bent down to brush some hair out of Hibiki's face, sighing softly. "Others are harder. I don't suppose anyone knows what Hibiki-chan's worst memory was; she's always too busy helping others to talk about herself."

Ahito frowned, sitting himself next to his professor, thinking back. "Maybe her Master…" The idea didn't sit too well with him. Hibiki spoke too well of him as it was; Ahito didn't want to see Hibiki with that kind of hero-worship.

Itsuko shook her head. "Hibiki-chan only came to us because his workshop detonated, and his body was never found. Shirotsuki won't be able to help."

Yet again, Ahito was surprised Hibiki was even able to smile and laugh anymore. She didn't seem to have the brightest of pasts, and yet she was the brightest person he knew.

"Itsuko!" The curse expert turned to yet another newcomer holding another victim in his arms. She sighed and cursed to herself under her breath.

"Whoever did this will pay…" The side that came out whenever she thought of a particular bad curse was in full swing, and Ahito was relieved when she left to deal with the newcomer.

Shii-chan had decided to storm around and interrogate the people who'd woken up, trying to get answers that might help Hibiki. Ahito watched for a moment and sighed, taking Hibiki's hands in his own.

"Come on Teach… it's not like you to think about all the bad stuff," Ahito muttered under his breath. "Wake up; we're all gonna need your special brand of magic after this…"

~~()~~()~~()~~

Hibiki huddled in her small room that also served as the storage area. Her mother's guests were being served, and she had been sent out of sight, so as not to be an embarrassment.

Her mother shouldn't have bothered… her father had come home, drunk out of his mind, embarrassing her far more than Hibiki ever could. In fact, most of her guests had already made their excuses and left.

It was only a few minutes later that the last of the guests made some convenient excuse and left, leaving her mother alone to rage at her drunkard husband.

Hibiki knew it was useless to go out and try to stop it. Jumping into her parent's arguments only led to more trouble for her; ultimately leading to the most feared punishment: being completely and utterly ignored.

She understood that being happy that someone was being mean to her wasn't the way she should live her life, but she'd rather have someone scream at her than pretend she didn't exist.

Hey Teach! Hibiki smiled sadly, thinking on her dream. If only someone like Ahito-kun was here in real life…

She frowned suddenly. No, that wasn't right… it was Master Shirotsuki that eventually led her to Ahito-kun… and they don't exist! Hibiki shook her head furiously, biting back disappointed tears.

If only they did exist... if only magic could save her from where she was. If only she wasn't such a failure… maybe she could run and make her own future.

The screams came even louder, and she could understand the screeching coming from her mother's mouth.

"You go out and drink away what little money you earn, and leave me to take care of the pathetic brat and clean up her messes! I am sick and tired of you, sick and tired of that brat, and I refuse to do it anymore!"

Hibiki winced at the volume her mother managed to reach at such a high pitch. This argument was nothing new; they went through the same thing at least once a week. What was new was her door opening, and the painful dragging of her arm.

"I can't get rid of my drunkard husband, but I can get rid of you!" Hibiki's mother snarled, tossing her daughter out the door, watching coldly as Hibiki fell down. "I don't want to see your face here again!"

"Mother?" Hibiki watched as the door slammed and locked in front of her. Hibiki stood up and attempted to get inside, wailing as she realized what was happening. "Mother, please, I'll be better! Please, don't send me away! Mother!"

Hibiki spent an hour outside, waiting for any sign that she would be allowed inside and everything would go back to normal. When nothing came, Hibiki allowed her feet to carry her wherever they wanted to go. It didn't matter anymore anyway. No one would take her in; they all hated her because of everything her mother had said about her.

The tears kept coming, blinding her from her path, and when the tears finally dried up, Hibiki found herself lost in the forest. Hibiki jumped at the sounds, looking around fearfully for any sign of safety. With all the trouble, she'd forgotten completely about her dream, and the idea that there might have been a cottage just a little ways away from her where she'd find hope again.

~~()~~()~~()~~

She wouldn't stop crying. Ahito didn't know what to do, and cursed magic all the more for the pain it was making Hibiki go through. Itsuko was still busy trying to get the other victims up and running, but Misaki had woken up and headed straight to work trying to figure out what Hibiki might be reliving.

Asuma hadn't been too pleased at Misaki's decision, but he'd gone with her to help and make sure that she didn't overwork herself.

Shii-chan had started a group that quickly grew into a small army whose only duty was find the one who had attacked them… or more specifically, Hibiki. It actually did include the army when Nazuna found out that Hibiki was one of the victims. No one could say that the attackers didn't need to be worried… with the royal army and Shii-chan on their trail, Ahito almost felt sorry for the people.

Almost.

Ahito was still holding Hibiki's hands, bowing his head over them as he tried to see what could be hurting her so badly. She needed someone to help her, and he was the only one here to do it. But he didn't know what to do!

Itsuko had long ago made the announcement that if they didn't get help before their memories ran out, then they weren't ever coming back, and would be as good as dead. Ahito had refused to panic then, but it had been hours, and Hibiki didn't seem to be any closer to getting better.

"Come on Teach, we need you here," Ahito whispered to her, clenching her small hands tighter. "Come back to us."

He closed his eyes as he brought their joined hands to his forehead, praying as he hadn't since Mizuki's death. "Come back… Hibiki…"

~~()~~()~~()~~

Hibiki jolted in fear as a bright light shone out of nowhere in front of her. "Eeek!" She started crying all over again, sobbing as she hid her face with her hands. "H-help me!"

"Prof?" The voice was vaguely familiar, but the feeling of safety that accompanied it was not. Hibiki peeked out through her fingers to see a tall boy with sunglasses kneeling in front of her. "That you?"

"W-who are you?" Hibiki examined the boy shyly, unused to someone being worried about her. Except in that dream… The dream!

Hibiki gasped, pointing at Ahito disbelievingly. "Ahito-kun?"

"So I'm told," Ahito drawled, metallic eyes showing from over his sunglasses. This forest looked like the one outside of Kamigusk… the one where Shirotsuki was supposed to be living in. So it only made sense that Shirotsuki was supposed to be the one helping Hibiki right now…

Well that was too bad. Ahito was here, and he was making it his job to help Hibiki now.

Hibiki stared at him shyly. "B-but… wasn't that a dream?"

Ahito smirked, deciding not to answer her question and looking over his shoulder at the gate of light behind him. Even if neither of them understood how he got there, he knew how to get them back to normal.

He shrugged, reaching out a hand. Hibiki stared at it in utter confusion for a moment.

"Come with me," Ahito offered, gesturing for her to take his hand.

"H-huh?" Hibiki blushed and looked down at the ground. "B-but, why would you want me to? I… I'm not good at anything... not really… the only thing I can do is make a cup of tea…"

I'm not really skilled or anything… but I've been told I make a good cup of tea. The words came unbidden to her head, flowing back like a long forgotten memory. Like she'd said the words before, but she couldn't quite remember who… something about a gusk?

Ahito watched Hibiki freak out in her own endearing way, and berate herself like no one else could. He'd known that she'd always been that way, but she at least was able to seem resigned, if not happy, about her abilities. It hurt, and made him slightly angry, to see her so hard on herself.

"So?" Ahito interrupted her rant with a shrug. "That doesn't matter to me. Or anyone else who cares."

Hibiki blinked, her eyes overflowing with tears again. Ahito jumped when she suddenly leapt at him and started weeping into his shoulder.

"H-hey Teach!" Ahito felt the blush rising on his face and tried to fight it down. "Come on, you're supposed to be the strong one Teacher. This is pathetic!"

Shockingly, Hibiki was able to laugh, knowing instinctively that he wasn't being cruel. "B-but…"

Ahito sighed and took her hands himself, pulling her up next to him. Shocked, he realized exactly how tiny she'd been when they first met. For a moment he just stared at her, wondering what had happened to bring her here.

"A-Ahito-kun… are you alright?" Hibiki looked worried, leaning her head back to see the much taller boy clearly. It was such a Hibiki-like thing to say and do, that Ahito had to laugh.

"Yeah… I'm fine." Now that you're here. Ahito gave her a genuine smile and gestured to the gate. "Come on. There are people waiting for you."

Before going through the gate, Ahito looked back and saw a man with two gusks on his shoulders watching them silently. Ahito's eyes narrowed when the man pulled out an old pocket-watch… a very familiar pocket-watch. Right before entering the gate to return to their world, the man met Ahito's eyes and words flowed into his head.

Take care of her.

Ahito nodded, and walked with Hibiki back to where they belonged…

~~()~~()~~()~~

"Hibiki-chan!" Itsuko was leaning over Hibiki when her eyes opened, and Hibiki sat up quickly, nearly hitting Itsuko as she did so.

"What happened? Is everyone okay? Where's Shii-chan; did she get hurt? I…" Hibiki stopped her concerned rant when she noticed Ahito chuckling next to her. "W-what?"

Ahito merely shook his head and looked around. Asuma and Misaki had returned unsuccessful, but they came over as soon as Hibiki woke up. Nazuna had forced Shii-chan to return, and Shii-chan was currently in the process of getting ready to scold Hibiki for making her so worried. Everyone whose life Hibiki had touched was waiting to hear news of her well-being, and here she was, trying to figure out if everyone else was okay.

It was just so typical Hibiki.

"Master!" Hibiki held a gusk in her hands; Ahito's eyebrows raised as he noticed the pocket-watch wrapped around it. Surprisingly, the gusk left Hibiki's grasp and jumped onto Ahito's shoulder.

Hibiki giggled at the shock Ahito couldn't quite disguise. "I think he's taken a liking to you Ahito-kun!"

"I guess…" Ahito put Shirotsuki back on Hibiki, watching as she laughed and assured everyone that she was fine. The only sign that she actually knew what happened to her were the worried looks she sent at Ahito when she thought no one was watching.

Soon enough, Ahito and Hibiki were the only ones left, seeing as everyone else had other things to deal with. "So…" Ahito started.

Surprisingly, Hibiki interrupted him. "Thank you!"

Both of them stared at each other, blushes evident on their faces until they looked away. "I… I don't… That part of my…"

"It hurts?" Ahito finished the sentence when it looked like Hibiki wasn't going to be able to finish it off herself. Hibiki nodded, shamefaced.

"You know…" Ahito said, leaning back and avoiding her eyes. "Mizuki wasn't the easiest thing to let someone know about either…"

"Y-yeah… it's just… I forgot how bad Mother and Father got…" Hibiki's voice grew weaker with each word, but Ahito caught what she said.

"Your parents?"

"Yes… they… they weren't the best of people," Hibiki was trying to find words that wouldn't make her parents seem like horrible people, but wasn't having an easy time of it. "Father was often stressed out and at the bar, and Mother had her hands full entertaining guests and taking care of me… I didn't make things easy on them…"

"They're missing out." The words were out before Ahito could figure out that they were coming. Hibiki looked at her feet, biting her lip shyly as she blushed even more.

"Uh...Um… t-thank you!"

Ahito didn't say anything in response, sitting there in silence until Hibiki yawned.

"I'm surprised I'm tired, considering I was sleeping for hours already!" Hibiki said lightly, right before yawning and leaning back sleepily.

Hibiki shifted under the blankets until she got comfortable and looked at Ahito as her eyes drooped wearily. "Ahito… thank you again."

"For what?"

"For saving me…" Hibiki smiled and touched his hand gently. Ahito took her hand in his, wrapping his fingers softly around hers.

"It was nothing," Ahito muttered, feeling the warmth from her hand.

"I-it was to me!" Hibiki stammered, trying to get something out. "A-Ahito… um…"

"What?" Whatever she wanted to say was keeping her awake when she needed to rest, so Ahito wanted her to say it and go to sleep.

"I, um… I love you!" Hibiki's cheeks grew very red after she said it, and she ducked her head under the covers with a muffled, "Good night!"

Ahito pulled the covers off her head and sighed when he realized she had already fallen asleep. He smiled and brushed a kiss to her forehead, wrapping her back up so she wouldn't get cold.

"I love you too Hibiki," he murmured, even though he knew she wouldn't hear him. Ahito watched her for a moment, until a gusk climbed next to Hibiki and looked expectantly at Ahito.

Take care of her.

The words came back, and Ahito knew they came from Master Shirotsuki. He smirked at the little gusk in his usual way, but spoke with all sincerity.

"I'll always take care of her."

At his words, the gusk bowed its head in approval and curled up to go to sleep, sure that all was well with his little assistant… and the boy who'd claimed her heart.


MBP: Not quite sure how well that turned out… review please?

Rini: And be honest… Its MBP's first real time writing for them!

Kio: Uh… um… hope you like it!

Rini: And remember, reviews are life!

MBP: Also, a quick note… I have no idea what Hibiki's parents are like, so if my version is completely wrong, I apologize! I just figured this might work for this fanfic…

Kio: Um… Jaa nee everyone!