Fufufu~ Sorry for not updating in a while! This story doesn't seem to be getting a lot of response... There is almost nothing! Nada! =w= Anyway, I'll upload this tiny chapter~~ :)

~ ( O w O ) ~

Secrets of the Family

Chapter 4 : Shiki

Natsume pauses in mid-step as a chilly breeze blows by. It is a sunny Saturday morning and he is walking home from an errand from Touko. It is nearing summer and the chilly breeze he had felt is uncommon. It felt unnatural.

Natsume purses his lips grimly. This isn't the first time during his errand did the unnatural breeze blown by. On his way to the supermarket that stands five blocks down, he had nearly fallen over from the sudden gust of wind. After he had walked a couple blocks more, another gust had blown, this time in his face. He would have had ended up with a concussion if it weren't for Nyanko's chubby self.

Now, the wind isn't as strong as it was before. Natsume can't help but feel as if the wind earlier had been warning him not to go any further. Or keep him from going any further from a threat... Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't.

His feet come to a halt as a petite girl comes into view, a few blocks ahead. Her eyes are shadowed by her bangs as she stands in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking Natsume of his journey home.

"Tomo-san?"

As soon as he utters her name, a strong gust of wind blows from behind her, sending Natsume a couple of steps back. The grocery bag in his hands fall onto the sidewalk as his hands lose their grip, the vegetables and fruit rolling out of the bags. Growling lightly, Nyanko grumbles at Natsume's lack of grip and rushes to pick them up.

Meanwhile, the wind dies down, her blond hair settling on her shoulders once more. Her eyes are revealed, glazed over and dull as an eerie grin etches onto her pale face.

"Hand over... the Book of Friends... Natsume..!"

Natsume freezes, his body tensing up as she rasps for the book. She shouldn't know of the book's existence! He grits his teeth, concluding that an ayakashi had taken control of the girl.

"No, Tomo-san! You're being possessed!"

"I said, give it to me!"

Natsume's eyes are forced shut as sharp winds blow once more and he uses his arms to shield his face. His eyes widen fractionally as he takes in the sight of two shiki ayakashi floating alongside the girl. Is she an exorcist? He immediately turns and runs.

"Get him!"

She bellows her order and the ayakashi chase after the teen, their cloth masks fluttering wildly from their speed. His legs pump hard as his muscles are forced into their routine of running.

He skips over puddles and runs around lampposts in efforts to lose them, but they are relentless and merely pass through the obstacles despite the toll it takes to go through all of them. Not long after running around lampposts and ducking under small gaps, the ayakashi are finally gone.

He pants, leaning against a wall of a building in an alley. Sweat trickles down his skin and he looks up. It's getting late, Natsume thinks to himself. Touko-san and Shigeru-san are going to worry if I don't get back soon...

"Ne, there you are, Natsume! Baka, it's almost time for dinner! Dinner, the most important meal of the day!"

"Hai, hai, Nyanko-sensei... Did you get all of the grocery that fell?"

"Hmph, what do you take me for? I'm not your maid, baka! Here, take the bags, they're too heavy!"

Natsume chuckles lightly as he picks up the' bags in front of the pudgy lucky cat. Although the powerful ayakashi in the form of a cat complains all the time, Natsume knows that he doesn't really put much of a fight when it comes to him.

"Gomen, sensei."

"In return, you will give me half of your dinner!"

"Eh? No way, Nyanko-sensei! Eat your own!"

"Natsuummeee!"

"GYAH!"

The cat glomps the tired teen, nearly pushing him down from its ridiculous weight. Natsume sighs playfully at the cat, letting it sit on his shoulder as he walks home.

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