RE-write of Chapter 1 for FI. This one's longer and goes into more detail. If you want to skip the segment with Charles, then please do so. It's just an explanation as to what he was doing with his mom before getting sent back.
In an unknown lab in a far off place, a lone figure stood chuckling at her greatest idea yet.
The lab was peculiar to say the least. Various pieces of machinery cackled with life and many of them didn't look like they were exactly user friendly. The entire area was circular in nature, and the machinery circled around her like some kind of arena.
The oddest thing about the place, however, was the fact that the entire room was currently dyed in a purple light. How she could stay in there without getting a headache was a mystery.
At the center if it all, however, was her latest experiment and her current pride and joy (disregarding the IS, of course): A large portal at least 3 times her size swirling with (oddly enough) purple energy.
"Kukukukuku~ this is gonna be so much fun!" She clapped to herself in excitement, "Houki-chan will forgive me after this for sure!" She said hopefully. It had taken her so long to plan all this and make the machine. It took her 3 days. 3 days! She never spent so long actually doing something before moving on to the next.
But if she succeeded, then all of that wasted time would be worth it.
"...Tabane-sama, are you sure this is a good idea?" A soft voice interrupted her mumblings.
From the only entrance to the room, a small figure entered. Her silver hair was tied into three ponytails that went to her waist and she was dressed in a simple white dress that looked out of place in all the machinery. Her aura and demeanor didn't match her 12 year old appearance.
"Ku-chan? What's wrong" Tabane looked back at her curiously. Ku usually never doubted her on anything she did and always wholeheartedly supported her. Why was she hesitating now?
"Tabane-sama, I am not sure messing with the fabric of time is really safe. What if something goes wrong and time itself collapses?" Though she didn't realize it, she was giving Tabane the puppy dog eyes as she continued to talk and blather on about time and its consequences.
"Uh...well- Oh look, the machine's going to start! Let's talk about it later, okay!" She turned back to the portal and made a few more adjustments. If she stared at her any longer, then she wasn't sure she could go through with this.
"Haaaaa~, as Tabane-sama wishes, then." She sighed softly before going to one of the consoles off the side. If she couldn't stop her, then she could at least try to minimize any possible problems.
"Ku-chan, make sure the power output is stable." Tabane called over her shoulder as she typed into the console. All she had to do was find the one person she needed to convince Houki they were meant to be together.
All she needed to do was find their kid.
How was she so sure Houki and Ichika would get together and have a kid? She was just that confident in her sister.
The device in front of her could be accurately described as a Time machine. By definition, it was a machine that allowed one to go to either the past or the present. Whether the machine in front of her could go to the past was a mystery, but she could use it to bring something – or someone - back from the future into the present timeline. Any other person would've used this chance for something like finding lottery numbers or make them richer, but she didn't care about any of this.
There was only one thing she wanted: To gain her sister's forgiveness.
If she could find their child from the future and show it to them now, then that would convince them to get together. In doing so, Houki would gain the love of the person she loved the most and she would forgive Tabane for making it so. It was killing two birds with one stone!
The entire area lit up with electricity as the machine powered up.
The color of the portal changed from a deep purple to a translucent blue.
Blurry images suddenly appeared on the surface of the portal.
Time seemed to stop. All the machinery around them ceased to function and the electricity stopped cackling. However, the image on the portal changed. Rather than the previous deep purple, she saw a young boy no older than 7 or 8 with dark brown hair with a bokken next to him sleeping on a bed.
Despite herself, Tabane couldn't help but smile in happiness, "This is my nephew, huh? Ku-chan, take a look at your cousin!" She called out to the silent 12 year old.
Ku nodded and walked over next to where Tabane stood, "Step-brother, Tabane-sama?" She asked curiously.
"Yup, yup! Just look at him! He has Houki's expression." Now that Ku looked closer, he did look like her Aunt Houki when she frowned. It looks like he inherited some things from her mother.
"Then again, he looks a bit girly. If he had longer hair, I would've thought he was Houki's daughter instead." Tabane crossed her arms together and tilted her head to the side, apparently disappointed.
"Does he not hear us? We aren't being very quiet." Ku asked, worried.
"Nope, think of the machine as a one-way mirror. We can see and hear him, but he can't see or hear us." Tabane clarified before going back to the console, "Alright, we should be able to teleport him here once I-"
Before she could finish what she was about to say, the entire area suddenly burst to life once again.
"What's happening?" Yuki asked her.
"I think it's a malfunction." She mumbled worriedly.
The image on the portal changed. Where there was once a brown haired boy, a blond child with his somewhat long hair tied in a ponytail stood in his place.
"Mom, where are we going after this?" He asked excitedly.
The village around them was small and not like the technology advanced main cities were in France. But it was comfortable, and Charles wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
Right now, they were the only people walking on the small road since it was late afternoon.
The woman he asked was a French woman holding onto his hand who looked to be in her 20's with long blond hair tied into a ponytail. She wore a sky blue summer dress and white sandals. Common wear for the hot summers on the French countryside and fashionable to boot.
"We're just going to go to Mr. Bernard's bakery for some bread. You like his fresh baked bread, don't you?" She didn't need to ask. Whenever she mentioned going to see him, he immediately asked her to buy him some of his bread every time. There was just something about how he made his dough that made his bread so irresistible. There were rumors that he even had the legendary Solar hands passed down from his family.
Based on the slight drool coming from his lips, he did indeed like the bread.
"Will we see dad after we go there?" He asked, nearly bouncing at the thought. The last time the three of them spent time together had been a few weeks from now.
"Yeah, he should be coming back from his trip soon and we can spend some time together, just the three of us." She ruffled his hair affectionately, eliciting a cheerful bout of laughter from the small blond boy.
"Do you think Anna's going to be there?" He asked suddenly.
"Mr. and Mrs. Bernards daughter? I think so, why?"
"N-No reason, I just wanted to know if she was." For some reason, he faced down and started mumbling to himself incoherently. His face took on a slight reddish tinge.
"Oh, I get it!" She smiled widely after she realized what was happening. Honestly, she expected this to happen, but not so soon. She at least hoped he would be 10 before he started getting crushes, "You have a crush on little Anna, don't you?" She teased him.
"N-N-No I don't! Sh-She just hangs out with me whenever you and dad are busy, that's all!" He denied. He was just happy to see her since they always did things together whenever he was bored, that's all! Yup, no other reason whatseoever.
"Oh? Well, I guess I can believe you. After all, you'd never lie, right?" She remarked off-handedly. 'Yeah right, I can recognize a crush when I see one. I guess you can never be too young to start' All the same, it made her feel old. Soon he'd be getting a girlfriend and spend less and less time with them.
If only she realized how idiotic she looked worrying about her 7 year old son getting into a relationship.
A gentle tug on her hand knocked her out of her worries, "Mom, we're here." He pointed to the building in front of them.
The two of them stood in front of a small building. To the left was a clear window that displayed breads, cakes , and pastries of all sizes while the smell of freshly baked bread wafted out the windows. If one could describe it, it would be the perfect old style house like something out of a fairy tale.
"Okay Charles, you stay here and wait for me to finish. I'll be quick." She let go of his hand and made way for the door before he stopped her.
This didn't seem to be what he wanted to hear since he pouted and puffed up his cheeks, "Why can't I go in with you? I wanna see Mr. Bernard." He begged her.
"You sure you don't want to see Anna instead?" She asked teasingly.
"N-Not really, I just didn't want to be out here alone." He denied.
"Are you sure I can even trust you to go in there? Remember what happened last time I didn't keep an eye on you?" She crossed her arms. That was the sign she was going to what he and his father called "Lecture mode". They always hated whenever she got that way.
"I...went with Anna and we tried to make bread on our own in the storeroom since you two were talking so long." He put his hands behind his back and started to top one foot repeatedly. A sure sign that he was nervous.
"And what happened to you and little Anna afterwards?"
"We got covered in flour and the entire backroom got covered in a big mess?" He answered unsurely. Okay, maybe trying to bake bread just because they were bored wasn't the best idea, but Anna told him it was easy and that she did it all the time. Evidently, maybe she should've realized the difference between 'doing it all the time' and 'watching dad do it all the time'.
"Exactly." She ruffled his hair affectionately again, causing another fit of laugher from him, "Just stay here and don't go anywhere. I'll be back soon and then we can see your dad again."
"But mom! I promise I'll be good, please~"
She was about to say no before she realized he was giving her the stare. The puppy dog eyes that everyone in her family possessed was potent enough to melt even the stoniest of hearts and the coldest of souls. This wasn't an exaggeration. In fact, it was the main reason she never had to show an angry face. Her smile was enough.
"...Fine." She sighed to herself as she heard Charles cheer. She was going to have to find some way to get over that. It would get dangerous if he actually knew how to use it in when he turned into a teen.
The sounds of the entrance bell were followed by the loud and cheerful of voice of Mr. Roberts, "Good afterno- Hey, if it isn't you two! Didn't expect you to be back so soon." He left the counter and clapped Charles on the shoulder, causing him to stumble a bit from the force.
Mr. Roberts was a well-built man in his late 20's with short blond hair who looked more like he would be an athlete or soldier than a professional baker. Don't let his size fool you, he was probably one of the most nimble and agile people the two of them knew.
Since it was still the work hours, he wore a standard combination of casuals and an apron for easy movement.
"Nice to see you again, Mr. Roberts." She replied politely, "Sorry we're back so soon, Charles and my husband decided to finish the bread in one go when I bought it a few days ago."
"Ah, don't apologize. You're my best customer right now." He replied jovially. "Well, what'll it be? The usual order again?"
"Actually, I wanted to buy some other things. Is it okay if we talk privately? It might be a big order, and I don't want Charles finding out." She pointed to the blonde child looking around the shop, ignoring their conversation. "It's supposed to be a surprise."
He nodded before calling out to Charles, "Hey Charles, why don't you go to the backroom? Anna's waiting there for her mom to come back and she's a bit lonely" Seeing Charles worried look, he added, "Don't worry. Her mom's teaching her how to bake, so there won't be a repeat of last time. We'll just talk for a bit, we won't be long"
He nodded and made his way to the backroom. Spending time with Anna was always fun. With a smile, he opened the door to the backroom and stepped inside.
The first thing Charles noticed when he entered the backroom was how clean it was without the flour covering it everywhere.
The second thing he noticed was girls running and jumping at him at full speed were heavy. Such was the case with Anna who was currently choking the air out of him in a tight bear hug.
"It's good to see you again! I didn't think you'd be back so soon. Let me guess: You and your dad ate all the bread in one go again?" She giggled as he blushed. She'd have to take that as a yes.
Anna was an 8 year old energetic girl who was never afraid to express her thoughts. Because of this, she naturally befriended the naturally quiet Charles.
He couldn't help but notice how similar her attire was to her dad's. Only instead of casuals, she wore a long yellow dress with a white apron on top of it. Her mid back length brown hair was also in a ponytail. All in all, she looked like she was ready for baking.
"My mom and your dad are talking about something, so they told me to go here first."
"Ohh~, are they planning some kind of surprise?" She wondered.
"I'm not sure, but they told me they won't be long." He answered her as he made his way to the burning oven.
The backroom was where most of the baking was done. Last time they went here, they had gotten into a bit of an accident. Thankfully, nothing was damaged.
"Ah, don't touch that! It's still not done!" She smacked his hand away as he was about to reach for oven, "You're going to spoil it if you open it too soon!" She scolded.
"S-Sorry..." He mumbled softly. His parents always told him he had a problem with wandering off.
"It's alright. I'm just worried since that's the first batch I did on my own."
"O-Okay, sorry." He apologized again.
"Mmmmm~ I'll forgive you...on one condition!" She raised her hand and pointed at him with her pointer finger, "You have to taste it and tell me how it is?"
Charles paused for a few seconds before answering, "H-Huh? Why do I have to do it? Can't you just taste it yourself?"
She stopped pointing her finger at him and started twiddling her fingers together, "W-Well, daddy always said that bread tastes better when you make it for a friend, so I was wondering if you could taste it and tell me."
"Oh...okay, that makes sense." Truth be told he didn't get it, but he wasn't going to question it. Plus, he got free food!
It was a few more minutes before the oven sounded out, signaling that the bread was done. As quick as she could, Anna grabbed a pair of oven mitts and raised them took out the loaves of bread from the oven.
"Here, take one." She placed the tray of golden brown wheat on the table and waited for his response.
With some hesitation, he grabbed one of the loaves and quickly shoved it into his mouth, "...Yummy!" He immediately grabbed another one and ate it as well.
"H-Hey, don't take too many!" She grabbed the tray before he could get a third one out of it, "I have to show this to mommy, so don't eat too much."
"S-Sorry..." He bowed his head in regret.
"You don't have to apologize." She tapped him on the head lightly, "I asked you taste it, remember?"
"Oh yeah." He laughed slightly, "You'd make a good wife like mom someday." He added.
"W-Wife!" Her face blushed and she nearly dropped the tray she was holding.
The door to the backroom suddenly opened and his mom carrying a bag of purchases and Mr. Roberts suddenly entered the room, "Charles, we're going back~" She called out to him.
"C-Coming mom!" He stood up from the seat and quickly held onto her hand again, leaving the blushing girl and laughing man behind.
"What were you two doing there?" She asked him as they made their way out of the bakery.
Oh, she just made me taste some bread she made. It was really good!"
"She's cooking food for you already? Mn, you're already growing up so fast."
"...Eh?" He tilted his head to the side in confusion.
"It's nothing- Wait!" She let go of his hand and quickly searched the inside of the bag, "I forgot something at the bakery. Just stay here, I'll be back as quick as I can."
Charles nodded and watched as she frantically ran back to the store. Suddenly, he could hear the sound of electricity surging behind him and he turned around.
There, right in front of him, was some kind of bluish portal. He didn't know what it was, and he didn't want to find out.
"What's happening?" He heard a voice from the circle ask.
"I think it's a malfunction." Another answered.
As he was about to turn back and run, he felt himself get lifted off the ground before being pulled forward. The last thing he saw before he blacked out was his mother's worried face and her shout as she saw him disappear.
Ichika yawned as another wave of sleepiness hit him. Studyng for the IS practical's was tough, but he managed to endure it thanks to the help of his friends. If only they stopped fighting over who was supposed to teach him, then life would've been perfect.
"Fuaaaah~ I'm tired." He yawned. Class had just ended and he was about to go to the lunchroom to meet his friends. The lack of breakfast he'd been forced to take due to his training was really starting to kill him.
"Uuuuuu~ Mom, where are you?"
"Please don't cry."
There stood two boys looking no older than 7. The one crying had somewhat long blond hair tied in a ponytail was dressed in a black shirt, blue shorts and black sneakers and the one trying to calm him down had somewhat short hair and dressed in a white long sleeved shirt with black jeans and black shoes.
Ichika stopped and stared at them in shock, what were kids doing in IS academy? Were their parents here on business? If so, why were they alone by themselves?
"Mister, could you please help us?" The dark brown haired boy ran up to him while dragging along the blond haired one, Ichika noticed that the boy had Japanese features along with dark blue eyes.
"Um...sure, what's wrong?" Ichika didn't know what was going on but he couldn't just leave these two kids alone. Who knows what would happened to them if he didn't
"My friend's looking for his mom, but this place is so big we can't find her anywhere." He pointed at the blond haired kid who looked like he was going to cry any minute.
She kneeled down to his level to get a better look at him before asking, "What does she look like?" Ichika asked the blond haired child.
The other child, in comparison, had features that marked him as a foreigner. The blond hair complimented his violet eyes and pale skin well, giving him the appearance of some kind of "White Prince".
"Sh-She has yellow hair and she was wearing a blue dress. We were going to the bakery, b-ut then I suddenly ended up here." He stuttered out nervously before taking another deep breath.
"Bakery? Then why are you here?" Ichika was getting more and more confused. There wasn't a bakery for miles around, unless you counted the school cafeteria.
"Mister, where is "here"? I was asleep at home before I woke up here with him." The brown haired boy asked.
"It's a little complicated." Ichika wasn't the best person to look to, to explain to them that they were in an all-girls school. "Come on, I'm sure your mother is around here somewhere."
"R-Really?" The blonde asked him, his eyes shining with hope.
"Yeah, I'm sure she's around here somewhere. Come on, let's go to the registration office."
The three of them made their way to the registration office. Any visitors would have to go there to enter the academy. Thankfully, the halls were devoid of any people since it was lunch break.
"Excuse me, may I please see the visitors log?" He asked the secretary behind the glass window. She nodded absently before pulling up the visitors log and handing it to him. "Alright, it says here that the latest visitor was...wait a minute, this can't be right!"
The names for the visitors list for the day were blank, but that would mean that the kids had been here for more than a day.
"That's impossible. People would notice them if they've been around here since yesterday." He mumbled to himself. "Are you sure this list is correct?" He asked the secretary.
"Any visitor who wants to enter has to be on that list. If they're not there, then they're not here." She answered bluntly.
Ichika hung his head low before turning back to the two kids. How was he going to explain this one?
"Mister, is something wrong?" The brown haired boy asked him.
"Uh, there's a small problem" He started slowly. The trick to telling kids problems was that you had to do it slowly to give them time to accept and hopefully lessen the impact.
""Huh?"" The two of them looked up at him
"Your friend's mom isn't on the visitors list, that'll make it hard to find her." He told them as calmly as he could. Unfortunately, Ichika wasn't a man known for his extreme tact.
"M-Mommy~" The blonde haired boy started crying once he heard Ichika's words. "Mommy~" Tears dripped down his face and dropped down to the floor.
'That's not good!' He thought frantically. "P-Please don't cry, I'm sure we can find her." He tried to calm the crying child down.
Unfortunately, his crying just got worse.
'Gotta calm him down!'
"Uh, do you guys want to get food first? We can continue searching for her later." When all else failed, distract them with something else. Food was usually the best to be used.
It was a temporary solution but it would give him some time to think.
"O-Okay, do you promise to help me look for her?" The blonde haired boy gave him the puppy dog eyes that made him gulp. It's as if they were saying 'You wouldn't lie to me, right' to him.
"I promise, don't worry." He smiled as genuinely as he could.
"We have to pinky swear on it." He held out his pinky towards Ichika before clasping it tightly against the older boy's finger. "A-Anyone who breaks promises has to eat a cluster bomb!" He proclaimed loudly.
'That sounds dangerous...but oddly familiar.'
Finding a temporary solution to the problem, he took the two boys to the cafeteria."What are your names anyway?" He asked, realizing he never got their names.
"I-I'm Charles." The blonde haired boy answered. His stutter seemed to be mostly gone.
"My mom calls me Yuu." The brown haired boy answered after him.
"Alright then, let's go you two."
Meanwhile, at another side of the school.
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we there yet?"
"Are we the-"
"Please stay quiet you two, we'll be there soon"
Charlotte's day wasn't exactly going according to plan. She had hoped to spend lunchtime with Ichikam but she found these two kids wandering around the dormitory hallways and they immediately latched onto her. Asking the office didn't help since apparently there were no visitors in this day.
"Where are we going now Dunoa-san?" A voice interrupted her thoughts
The one who called her this was a young girl with brown hair tied into a ponytail wearing a green jacket and a pair of pants along with brown shoes. She looked to be 8 or 9.
"I wanna know too, France-tan!"
The other one had short light blue hair, red eyes, and wore some kind of blue dress along with brown sandals, she kept calling her France-tan for some reason (apparently he looked like one of her favorite anime characters). She guessed the girl was 10, but her...maturity (Particularly in a certain area) confused her.
"I'm taking you two to the Cafeteria, Maybe Ichika or one of the other girls will know what to do." She replied.
Upon hearing the word cafeteria, the two immediately ran ahead of her towards the cafeteria building.
"Hey wait!" She chased after them until she managed to grab both of them by the collar. "Don't run off, I need to make sure you don't get lost!" She scolded them as she held them by the collars.
""Okay~"" They answered simultaneously and she let go of them before leading the way into the cafeteria.
"THEY LOOK SO ADORABLE!"
Charlotte stopped as she heard the yells coming from the cafeteria hall, it sounded like there was a commotion inside.
"I think we shoul-" She couldn't finish her sentence before the two ran off towards the source of the noise. "Wait you two!"
Having no other choice, she ran to the inner building and saw a crowd surrounding someone's table. 'What's going on?' She thought to herself as the more and more people converged on the table.
"Please keep the noise down girls, you're scaring the kids." A familiar male voice said from the center.
Charlotte didn't have time to think about it before she saw the two girls making their way through the crowd.
"Why don't they listen?" She muttered to herself. Taking a deep breath, she tried to push through the crowd but was met with no success.
'What do I do now?'
Before she could think of another way, a loud voice suddenly yelled out.
"Everybody leave now!"
The sound of the voice immediately made the crowd scatter apart and soon only Ichika stood at the table.
"Honestly, you always get into trouble."
"Call me Orimura-sensei"
Chifuyu Orimura said this with a grimace on her face. Even the trouble her brother had been put through didn't excuse calling her by her familial name.
"Sorry." Ichika rubbed the spot where he was hit. It was always the same routine.
Charlotte figured it was a good idea to ask what the trouble was about.
"Ichika, what happ-"
Charlotte was interrupted by the sound of a screaming voice.
"Mom, I've been looking everywhere for you!" Charles ran up to Charlotte and hugged her on the waist.
"Did you just say mom?" Ichika was confused beyond belief at this point.
"I-Ichika, what's going on?" Charlotte looked uncomfortable as the little blond haired boy continued to cling to her waist.
"I thought you said you were looking for your mom?" Ichika asked Charles.
"I am! Mommy's right here!" He said without letting go of Charotte.
"That's Charlotte, not your mom." He tried to explain.
"My mom's name is Charlotte too! Her name's Charlotte Orimura, I'm sure of it!"
Please tell me if the re-write is better or I should put back the old one.