Disclaimer: I do not own Sekirei.
A/N: Well, this is something I've been considering for a while. Though I haven't posted anything for a long time, I'm going to stick with this one. I've already written up a few later chapters just to solidify my resolve.
Well, I hope you enjoy. It's not much, but I hope you like it. Rate/review/ and the like.
The Hopes of Ascension
"Again, Takeshi-kun!" Karasuba barked, holding her practice sword over her shoulder.
I pushed myself up as quickly as I could, knowing full well the penalty for taking too long. Holding my bokken with both hands, I looked up to Karasuba with defiance. My left cheek throbbed painfully. "Whenever you're ready, Karasuba-sensei."
The sadistic Sekirei smiled appreciatively. "It's nice to see you're learning, Takeshi-kun. Charging forward will only get you killed in a real battle." She casually held her own bokken in front of her. Lunging forward, she slashed horizontally.
I grimaced losing her, but my body reacted on its own; jumping back, I slashed to the side, knocking her bokken to the side. My arm jarred painfully as the impact threw me off balance.
"Good! Don't try to block; you're nowhere near strong enough! Let your body remember the pain and try to react in order to prevent it in the future." Yume called from the sidelines as I successfully evaded Karasuba's attack.
"Not good enough." Vanishing from sight, Karasuba was suddenly directly in front of me, crouched and inside of my defenses. Bringing her bokken to my chest, she rapped me across the chest. The force of the blow was enough to force me back a few feet and knock me off my feet.
I pouted at her, "Mou, Karasuba-sensei! That wasn't in the form! Unfair!"
Karasuba laughed at my complaints. Standing, she walked slowly over to me and held out her hand, a strange gesture coming from the normally cruel alien. "A real battle doesn't have any set 'forms'. You have to adapt as the situation demands. Besides, you won't be the one fighting."
I grabbed her hand and gasped in surprise at her sudden strength as she effortlessly lifted me to my feet. "Then why are you teaching me to fight, if the Sekirei are the ones who are going to the fighting?"
Her familiar smile returned, "There will be few unwinged Sekirei that will react to you, but that will depend on your strength. If you show one of them that you won't be a useless, weak Ashikabi, then the stronger Sekirei will react to you."
Yume perked up, "Show them not only how strong of body you are, but also strong of heart! You must create as many strong bonds with the little birds as you can." Se walked to my side and smiled widely.
I looked down, confused, "Okay, but I still don't get why I'm being taught to fight."
"Because humans are weak and a hindrance to this planet." Karasuba said with old familiarity.
I scrunched my eyebrows, "Huh, I don't get it. I'm a human; does that mean you think I'm weak and a hindrance, Karasuba-sensei?" I looked to her with sad eyes.
Yume jumped in, "No! You're not weak, Takeshi. You may be small right now, but you have the biggest heart of anyone I know!"
I couldn't help but smile lightly at that. "Thanks, Yume-sensei." Though, I meant it; the person I really wanted to give me the truth was Karasuba.
The Black Sekirei looked down to me with cold eyes. "Right now, yes." My shoulders slumped in disappointment. "But that will change, Take-chan, I'm teaching you because I see something inside of you. Something strong; I'm going to help you grow as strong as you can, so that you will be the exception."
My eyes widened when I heard Karasuba say that. Meeting her eyes, I actually saw something else with the zeal for battle, the thirst for a challenge and the desire to match blades with a powerful opponent. I couldn't place it, but I know it's something positive. Also, I felt a warm feeling well up my chest when I heard her call me 'Take-chan'. "Thank you, Karasuba-sensei." I said with a smile.
"Karasuba. Yume. Did you have to be so rough with him? He's only nine years old." I looked away from Karasuba and saw Takami Sahashi, my mother. She approached me and crouched down, placing a hand on my chin. Examining my face, she pursed her lips. "Does it hurt, Takashi?" She asked me gently.
I blinked, caught off guard by the question. I hadn't really noticed the bruises, pushing them back as I tried to push myself in Yume's hand-to-hand and Karasuba's sword training. Since Takami pointed them out to me, I finally felt the full brunt of the throbbing on my side, arms, left cheek, and legs. I nodded, regretfully. "Yeah, Takami, it hurts a lot." I grimaced, coming to the conclusion that speaking hurt.
Takami stood, taking my hand and gently ushered me to her side. "You should really go easy on him; Takeshi's much too young to take part in such rigorous training sessions."
Yume looked distraught, "It hurt that much, Takeshi-kun? I'm sorry!" She looked down to him with sad eyes.
Karasuba simply crossed her arms, smirking lightly. Meeting my eyes, she arched an eyebrow.
I beamed up to her. "It's okay, Takami. The pain is part of the training too! It helps me learn that dodging and evading is more important, since I can catch the opponent off guard." I said exactly what Karasuba had told me that I needed to do, since I'm human.
Smug, Karasuba looked to Takami with a smirk.
Sighing, Takami shook her head. "I'll let it slide, but don't do anything too drastic." Turning, she squeezed my hand. "C'mon, Takeshi-kun, let's you to bed, it's late."
"Okay!" As we started walking away, I turned around and waved at Karasuba and Yume, "See you tomorrow!"
Yume waved enthusiastically back to me, beaming.
Karasuba simply smiled as I walked away, her eyes closed.
10 years later….
"Once more, Take-chan! Try to keep up with me." Karasuba called out to me.
I nodded brusquely, lifting my feet into the air. Kicking myself up from my prone position, I lifted my bokken and lunged, taking charge in the spar. Stabbing forward, I turned the bokken to the side and slashed.
Karasuba slapped my sword aside and stabbed at my shoulder.
Acting faster than my brain could register, I turned and dodged it. Stepping in close, I tightened my grip on the bokken and pulled it inward, spinning as I slashed at her midsection.
She quickly stepped back and jumped up, evading my slash. Descending, Karasuba lifted her sword and slashed downwards, aimed at my skull.
Once again, I acted before my brain could register what was going on. Allowing her slash to continue its arc, I watched as the sword impacted with the ground. Stomping the back of the bokken, I forced it to tear into the training mats. Following that, I jumped up and kicked at her hands.
Karasuba immediately released the sword and stepped back.
I stepped forward and slashed, forcing Karasuba to leap back. As she did, I allowed a small smirk to escape me as I leapt towards Karasuba, catching her mid-air with a slash of the bokken.
Karasuba caught the bokken and cleared her throat. "It seems that this spar is yours, Take-chan."
I released a pent up breath, falling back onto the mat. Breathing heavily, I looked up to the Black Sekirei. "How did I do?" I asked in between breaths.
She smirked, "Okay, but don't expect that to work every time in a fight. But, other than that, your overall performance was…" She paused, placing a finger on her chin, contemplating.
I pushed myself to a sitting position, waiting for her rating.
Karasuba looked down to me with a sly smirk, "Satisfactory. I was going on easy on you after all." Pausing again, she asked, "I'm curious, what's the ratio of your wins and losses."
I shook my head and chuckled, "It's one win to around three thousand losses." Pushing myself to my feet, I groaned, "You don't have to worry about me getting cocky, Karasuba; I already know that my place is to let the Sekirei fight on their own."
She smiled as she shook her head. "It's good that your skills aren't going to your head." Turning, she waved her hand over her, "Go clean yourself off; I have something I need to talk to you about something later."
I paused, then lifted my arm, smelling myself. Grimacing, I nodded, "I'll do that." Turning around, I headed to the locker room. Once I got there, I removed my sweaty training clothes and folded them, placing the onto the seat. Grabbing my towel, I threw it over my shoulder and headed to the showers.
Allowing the hot, steaming water fall over my body, I couldn't but think back to how I used to be: small, scrawny and weak. I won't sugarcoat it, I know I was. Ten years ago, I was smaller compare other kids that age; however, my mother was an important person in MBI, so when she took me here on a slow day, I was immediately enraptured in everything going on. Unfortunately, I got lost during mom's break while I was wandering around. It was Karasuba who found me, of all people; for some reason, the infamous Sekirei seemed to have taken a liking to me, and I her.
It was through that connection we had that I was able to make a shift from that weak, scrawny nine-year-old to the strong, proud nineteen-year-old that I am now. I'm proficient in the use of the sword and martial arts. Thanks to Karasuba's rigorous, painful, merciless training I don't have a shred of fat on my body, only toned muscle built for speed and power.
After the shower, I walked out of the locker room and shrugged on my jacket. Walking through the training, I couldn't help but wince at the history I had in the room. All the blood, sweat, and tears I shed. (Boy did Karasuba hate tears. Weakness was not something you showed in front of that woman, mind-numbing pain or not.)
When I made it to the meeting area, I was greeted by the Disciplinary Squad for the upcoming Sekirei Plan, the Game that CEO Minaka was tripping over himself to get moving. Natsuo, Takami, and Karasuba were all around a table, muttering lightly to each other.
Clearing my throat, I caught their attention. "I'm here like you asked."
Natsuo looked over to me with an easy smile. "Ah, Takeshi-chan! How have you been?" He's…friendly, to say the least.
I thought for a moment, then said, "Sore. Training with Karasuba is no joke." I grabbed my shoulder and rolled it lightly, feeling the strain.
Natsuo laughed lightly, "Well, she can be a bit overzealous." He said as he gave her a sideways glance. Sighing, he cleared his throat and looked over to Takami.
Nodding, my mom spoke next. "Look, Takeshi, we have something we want to ask you. Before we ask you, I need to say that you're free to decline. This is purely your choice." Clearing her throat, mom adjusted her tie; more of a nervous gesture than anything else. Looking up to me, she asked, "Would you like to be a part of the Disciplinary Squad?"
I blinked caught completely off guard by the question. "The Disciplinary Squad? I thought Natsuo was the Ashikabi of them?"
Takami nodded, "He is, but we thought it would it be a great help if you were here to deal with any unruly Ashikabi, then we can send a message that not even Ashikabi are exempt from the rules of the Game."
I blinked, surprised slightly. "Uh, okay, so you want me to go out there and wing a Sekirei right? To also be on the squad
"That's what we wanted to ask you about, Takeshi. The three of us were wondering if you would mind locating a suitable Sekirei to help you." My mom grimaced, obviously against me participating since I heard about it when I was twelve.
I scratched my head. "You want me to go out a find a Sekirei? What if I don't get one to react to me? Doesn't the Sekirei react to their chosen Ashikabi?"
Karasuba snorted, "You don't have to worry about that. I'm the one who brought this up." I blinked, surprised. She simply smiled, "I've helped you grow stronger for a reason, Take-chan. I've reacted to you since ten years ago, that alone told me that you were meant to be strong. During the Game, there will no doubt be upstart Ashikabi and Sekirei who'd try to skirt the rules to get their own way. The Disciplinary Squad is meant to deal with them. Obviously, Natsuo's team will deal with it first, but if there are really a problem, then the you would be sent to deal with it. As it stands, a Sekirei is not permitted to harm an Ashikabi, but there is no rule stating that an Ashikabi cannot harm another Ashikabi."
I smirked, "And you want me to teach the other Ashikabi that simply being an Ashikabi doesn't keep you safe by virtue of their Sekirei."
Karasuba simply smiled her signature smirk.
Takami massaged her temple. "That would be the case, but if you don't want to-"
"I'll do it." I said without hesitation.
A few hours later, I stepped out of the grocery store. I was absolutely starving and needed sustenance as soon as possible. I'd headed there right after leaving MBI headquarters, feeling the unending gnaw of hunger deep in my belly.
Walking quickly, I hefted my three bags as I was about to make a turn. Only to have a rain of lightning strike directly at where I would've been; it was only thanks to my reflexive dodge enforced by Karasuba's Spartan-like training. Looking up, I saw two women, a pair of twins, shooting lightning from their fingertips, and a lone woman fighting a losing battle. The twins both had long black hair and a pair of leather outfits that could only be described as S&M, anything else and the description would be lost. The third woman was jumping after either of them, spinning around a long, red staff; she wore a pair of black boots strapped to a belt over a pair of blue bottoms, a pair of long gloves and a sleeveless blue top with a white stripe the cleavage window; her hair was long and so dark a green it nearly looked black from a distance.
A part of me wanted to just walk away, I mean if I wanted to find a Sekirei, I'd prefer it if I didn't have to rush into the fray of Sekirei fighting. I wanted to make sure this Game was fair; I mean it wouldn't be right for the people who are trying to keep the peace to have over twenty percent of Sekirei, right?
As I turned to go my own way, the woman with the staff obviously recognized that I was standing there, so she looked in my direction. In the barest of moments, a few seconds at most, we locked gazes. Her cold light green eyes, met my dark grey eyes; I felt my entire body freeze as I heard my own heartbeat. The two of us remained locked in gazes for the longest of seconds; I could see from here, her face was flushed red.
Lightning struck her flank, the force of the blast sending her crashing to the ground, her staff falling out of her hands.
I released a breath; I recognized the signs from what I was informed. I just made a Sekirei react. "Okay, I can't just leave her there." Putting the bags down, I reached into my jacket and pulled out my glasses. As I put them on, I stuck my hand into my grocery bag and pulled out a bag of flour. Rushing forward, I whistled loud enough to catch one of the lightning user's attention. Throwing the flour towards her as hard as I could, I jumped upwards.
The lightning Sekirei yelped as the bag of flour exploded in her face. Blinded by the powder, she fired random bolts of lightning in my direction.
My jump had vaulted me well above the bolts and took me right in front of her. Falling in a roll, I went between her legs and threw my hands out, grabbing her on the ankles, pulling as I rolled.
The lightning user fell flat on her face, which genuinely surprised me. I figured that they would know enough to not completely let their guard down. As I quickly pushed myself to my feet, I heard the second enemy Sekirei pointing angrily at me.
"Argh, why'd you do that to Hibiki?" Lightning fired from her finger, aimed directly at me.
Acting on its own, my body dodged the bolt by bending backwards so that my back was completely parallel to the ground while only a foot from the ground. When the bolt passed, I stood up straight and paled, all while smiling at my fortune.
The lightning user glared at me and fired off bolt.
The staff user tackled me out of the way, knocking the wind out of me. We fell back and I managed to roll us away from another bolt. When we stopped rolling, she was on top of me. Pushing herself up, she stared down at me with her surprisingly cold eyes. "Who are you?" She asked even as she was leaning closer to me, her tongue slowly tracing her lips.
I couldn't help but be drawn in by the girl hovering over top of me; however, I couldn't focus on her completely, simply because the lightning twins were closing in. Grabbing the staff user's shoulders, I pulled her in close; she obviously blushed heavily, but her eyes said things I think would be in bad taste if verbally repeated. Making us fall onto our sides, I pushed her away as quickly as I could, so that several bolts struck the ground between us. "After the fight, then we can talk." I said to the staff user as I rolled onto my back and kicked myself back up.
There must some god or goddess smiling on my luck, because as soon as I kicked myself up, I felt, more than saw, several bolts of lightning pass harmlessly by my body. As soon as I regained my balance, I propelled myself forward, flipping away from the lightning twins. Several more bolts were fired at me. I seriously think the lightning twins have it in for me now, considering more than several dozen bolts of electricity were being fired with a passion towards my flipping form.
Within moments, I had reached the thing I'd been aiming for: the staff. Landing on my hands, I transferred all of my weight to one hand as I grabbed the staff from the ground.
The staff user obviously realized what I was doing, since she was up and charging the flour-covered twin. I whistled to catch her attention and threw the staff as hard as I could. Pushing off my hand, I got back onto my feet and yelled, "Take the floury one, I'll hold the other!"
Obviously, these Sekirei had never heard of an Ashikabi who can take care of himself. The twin closest to me, the one not covered in flour let out a condescending laugh. The one with flour chuckled to herself. The staff user was shifting focus from me to her incoming staff to the lightning user in flour.
I take it back; they've obviously never met anyone who's survived ten years of merciless training at the hands of the Black Sekirei herself. Leaning forward, I charged headlong towards the lightning user, while she was busy laughing. Upon seeing me, she flinched. She should have: one second, I was at least a yard and a half from her; the next, I was virtually in front of her. Throwing out my open palm, I crashed it into her solar plexus; she doubled over and nearly lost her balance. I grabbed her by her wrist and turned around, tossing her over my shoulder.
Throwing her over my shoulder, I tried to keep her hitting the ground too hard; hard enough to know that I'm not to be trifled with, but easy enough so that she wouldn't get too hurt. Karasuba said that's my 'flaw', I'm 'too nice'.
Glancing over my shoulder, I saw that the staff user had dealt with her opponent, who was lying on the ground. Stepping away from the Sekirei I threw, I beckoned the staff user to follow. "Now that they have an idea of what I'm capable of, I won't be too much help if they decide to keep fighting." I said that as the both of them were getting back up, slower and more wary.
"Hikari, are you okay?" She floured Sekirei said to the one I'd flipped.
She nodded, "I'm fine, Hibiki." Upon standing, the two of them looked over to me and the staff user. The Sekirei, Hikari, I'm, guessing, took a few steps back. "We're done, she's going to be emerged anyway; we don't mess with emerged Sekirei." She turned and leapt away.
The second one quickly followed her.
The tension left my shoulders, this fight was over. Now, to face my next challenge. Turning to face the staff user, I said, "Now tha-"
I was thoroughly and pleasantly interrupted by her pressing her lips onto mine. Soft, supple lips slowly moved against mine as she deepened the kiss; a light exploded behind her as she obtained her wings.
Slowly she broke the kiss, and looked into my eyes. "Sekirei Number 16, Toyotama is yours. Forever and ever and all that…" Her cold, green eyes met mine once again. We were still for a moment, before Toyotama crossed her arms and gave me an amused smirk. "Well, are you going to give me your name or just sit there like a gaping idiot?"
I flinched, shaking my head. "Oh, sorry about that. It's not everyday something like this happens…." She arched an eyebrow. Oh, right, the Sekirei Plan. "…to me, specifically." I cleared my throat and continued. "I'm Takeshi Hitomi; it's great to meet you, Toyotama."
She purred lightly, giving me the up-down look. "It's great to meet you, Takeshi-kun. Just where did you learn how to fight like that? And against a Sekirei, no less?"
I chuckled, feeling really good about myself. "I've been training for little over ten years. I'm nineteen. It also helps that I was trained by a Sekirei, so I'm familiar with the gap in ability." I turned and saw that one of my bags was lying across the curb. "Oy, I need to get my stuff." I walked quickly to the bag and started picking up the various groceries. Out of my periphery, I saw Toyotama helping out, but she seemed more interested in me that anything else. "Once we get this altogether, we can head back to my place."
At that, Toyotama perked up, "Your place? Where do you live?" She absently licked her lips.
I couldn't help but release a shuddering breath; her subtle signals were driving me crazy. "Uh, just around the corner; it's one of the two story complexes." Within a few moments, the two of us had put everything back into the bag and I was carrying all three of them again. I'd insisted, plus it's what the guy's supposed to do; chivalry and all that.
Upon reaching my home, I placed one of the bags down and reached into my jacket's inner pocket, pulling out a key. Unlocking and opening the door, I motioned for Toyotama to enter first and I went in after her, closing the door behind me. The first floor was essentially in thirds: one third was basically a small living room; another held the dining table and the last part had a small kitchen. All it had was a small fridge, small oven, and a counter. As I placed everything on the counter, I said, "The shower's upstairs on the left, feel free to use it if you want; I have to put all of this away." I smiled lightly at her.
Toyotama placed her staff on the corner of the stairs, where she can easily get to if she had to run down them. Looking over to me for a few moments, she nodded with a small, suggestive smile. "Of course, I'm not feeling the cleanest right now."
As she walked up the steps, I called up to her. "While you're in there, I'll set out some pj's for you."
"Okay…" She called back from the top of the steps.
Normally, when an Ashikabi wings a Sekirei, they get a call from Minaka about the game, but I was already informed of it long before I winged Toyotama, so I didn't need to be called; I guess the plan to make me a Disciplinary Squad member was already being considered. Needless to say, I wasn't all surprised when there was a knock at my door after I put all the groceries away. Walking to the door, I opened it to see an MBI employee holding a box. Holding out my arms, I waited as he placed the box in my hands and close my door for me. Shifting the box to one arm, I reached into my pocket and pulled out my key, locking the door.
Heading up the steps, I reached the bedroom and placed the box to the side, then went to my dresser. Sliding it open, I looked through and found just what she could wear, an oversized T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Taking them, I opened the door and placed them next to the clothes she took off. Taking those, I placed them into a hamper for dirty clothes.
After I got back to the bedroom, I removed my jacket and threw it onto the hangar; then took off my shirt, tossing it into a stray hamper in the room. After trading out my blue jeans for a set of loose shorts, I walked to the corner of my bedroom where a bar was drilled securely into the wall. Jumping up, I grabbed on and began a few pull-ups.
Within a few minutes, the shower was shut off and Toyotama stepped out of my bathroom dressed in the clothes I left her. Upon seeing me, however, she paused.
Looking over my shoulder, I saw her just standing there. "Oh, hey. You're out." I dropped down and grabbed a towel, wiping myself off. "MBI just sent you some more clothes." I pointed out the box to her.
Toyotama either didn't really notice or care, because she simply approached me. That's when it really hit me: her, a very attractive, well-proportion female was dressed in nothing but the shirt and shorts I gave her. Nothing else. Also, she was still a bit wet; the shirt was white... Upon coming close enough to me, she placed a hand on my chest. "You're reckless, fighting a pair of Sekirei like that. I saw the look of surprise on your face when you dodged, but regardless I saw you leap in the fight without hesitation. You sent shivers down my spine; that look on your face when you took the initiative and attacked, that cold look, it showed me how ruthless you can become." She placed her lips on my cheek, teasing the corner of my mouth. "I know that you have more up your sleeve and I can't wait to see it."
Toyotama dragged her hand down my stomach. I placed my hand onto her shoulder, "I felt you react to me; I wouldn't leave anyone in that position."
Toyotama slowly pulled away from me and got into my futon. Getting under the covers, she turned away from me. "Get some sleep, I want to find those girls tomorrow and get a little revenge for jumping me like that." She paused, "Though, I obviously can't do it alone."
I smirked, "I don't think I can do a lot to help, since they have an idea of what I can do. But, I can find you some help." I opened my closet and pulled out a spare futon.
I heard her laugh, "You probably can." As I finished rolling out my futon, I gave Toyotama one last glance. I can't get Karasuba and the others to help with this, so I'll need to find another Sekirei. I'm going to actively look for another, though; if another reacts to me, then I'll make her emerge. I'm not forcing a winging.
With that thought, I tried to fall asleep. Keyword 'tried'.