Oh my gosh guys! You guys, seriously! Guys, seriously, WOW!

Apparently, a lot of you want to know what the deal is with Hotter Than Hell: Tokyo Ablaze. I couldn't believe how much you all liked it (I'm not kidding, I get asked questions about it so often), so I started feeling kinda bad for not looking back at it for years now. I apologise for that. It's just that so many ideas for new things pop up all the time, I literally get myself stuck. Many of those ideas I probably won't be able to realise ever, so the least I can do is go back to what I already have established and what people seem to enjoy.

It's time I continued work on Hotter Than Hell, but my view on this fic has changed overtime on some aspects, mainly subplot wise. So, my first goal is to re-release the first 5 chapters that I already had, clean them up, add new stuff to make them longer and more yummy, as well as re-arrange and alter some plotpoints (nothing too severe, don't worry).

Here's the thing though, I couldn't bring myself to delete or even overwrite the original story. I think it's part of my legacy on this site, and shouldn't be discarded. That's why I decided to make it a "new" story all together, got rid of the "Tokyo Ablaze" sub title and called it "Hotter Than Hell Redux", cause that's what it is (Hey, FFN, hope that's cool with you). The old incomplete one will stay there unaltered, while this one will finally see an ending. It won't be easy, but I'll do it for you guys.

Oh yeah, and it'll get new chapter titles too. Exciting huh?

20% cooler, 20% hotter, 20% more content, 20% more involving, It's Hotter Than Hell, but better. Enjoy!

Chapter 1 : Shaky Start

Friday July 13th 2001; 07:21 AM.

Everything in Kagura's head was just dandy. Today was the last of the 1st term exams. Math at that, the one subject that she sucked at the most! To make it even better, it was a Friday the 13th! The day when you're not allowed to walk underneath ladders, break mirrors or cross paths with black cats. The day of misfortune, of bad luck. Damn that superstition nonsense, why did she have to fall for it? There was no doubt in her mind that she was gonna botch it up today, even more than all previous days. She even studied until deep in the night for this test, sacrificing plenty of hours of precious sleep, giving her parents the impression that she died last night and started walking again as an undead. Undead Kagura huh? Maybe that would be a legit excuse for not having to do the test.

"Good morning, sunshine."

Kagura forced a smile to her mother standing in the kitchen and sat down at the table.

"Mornin' mum, dad."

Great. Cereal for breakfast. Normally, she would have jumped for joy, but not today. In fact, nothing her mom could place in front of her could enhance her appetite now. Her stomach was in a knot she couldn't untie, like a bunch of wild animals were scratching away at her insides. She just stared at the box, her head cupped in her hands, and sighed.

Her father noticed the girl being unusually glum, so he folded up the newspaper he had his nose sunken in and layed it down next to him.

"What's the matter?" he asked casually.

Kagura stopped her daydreaming and turned her head towards him. Her red and drowsy eyes gave away that she didn't catch much sleep at all. She didn't look quite fresh enough to be doing a test in just a couple of hours. She really was a zombie.

"Just not very hungry, that's all...," she mumbled.


"Sort of," Kagura nodded. "And tired too."

"I can see that," her father smiled warmly. "When you return home, you should catch up to some sleep. Wouldn't want you to collapse from fatigue now, would we?"

Kagura smiled, and not forced this time. That was a nice thing to look forward to now, just get back to bed and sleep, although something told her she'd probably end up staying up for the rest of the day anyway.

"Honey, you sure you don't want to eat?" her mother started, to which Kagura shook her head gently. "Then, would you like some coffee to keep you awake?"

There was an idea; some caffeïne to keep her at least a bit focused. She tossed in some lumps of sugar, just for the extra energy.

Afterwards, it was time to leave. She stepped in her shoes by the door, kicked them on properly and grabbed her suitcase. When she was sure she got everything, she opened the door and did her goodbyes before she stepped out.

"Mom! Dad! I'm leaving now! See ya later!"

"Okay sweetheart. Good luck with the test!" her mother called out for her, just before she pulled the front door shut behind her. Great! Jinx it, why don't ya?

She stood on the porch right in front of the door. She inhaled deeply and looked up to sky.

"At least the weather is nice," she murmured to herself.

Summers in Japan can be a really hot experience, expecially when you live in Tokyo. Today was no exception; hardly any clouds, and the ones that were there were as white as snow. A scorching sun peeped up from above the buildings and generously bestowed her body with warmth rays. This early in the morning, and already temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees celsius. Awesome weather if you're a camel. Great effects on the thinking capability of a person too.

Kagura walked through the busy streets with her suitcase flung over her left shoulder. She yawned and stretched herself out. For once, there was only one thing going through her mind. That damn math exam!

Man, what do I even need math for anyway? It's not like it'll be of any use to me when I go to college...

Kagura was a devoted member of the swim team, and since she was no good at school except for P.E., doing something in the sports branch for her further studies seemed evident to her. Becoming a professional swimmer was the most appealing to her; it was something she always wanted to be since she started her favorite hobby so many years ago. Besides, turning your hobby into your profession, what more could you ask for? However, despite all that, she never liked the idea of being a drop-out, because it always was her policy to never give up. She had to get through this somehow. The exam today wasn't the deciding one, but she at least had to try her best!

The worries were slowly eating her up inside, but in the back of her head, she got a feeling of joy. When this was over, it would be summer vacation. A whole month of relaxing, chilling out, going to Chiyo's summerhome perhaps, and...studying...

Crap! Mid-term exams! Will they ever get off my back?

But oh the irony, because just when that thought crossed her mind, she was jumped from behind with a loud cheer, almost making her lose her balance. There was no doubt who this person was, who else could it be!

"Hiya busty one! How's it going?"

She was right. Now, she had 2 monkeys on her back; one methaphorical and one real.

"Dammit Tomo! You scared the hell outta me! I almost fell there!"

Tomo clinged her arms around her fellow knucklehead, a grin from ear to ear pasted on her arrogant face. "Fallen? You? The athletic wonder can't even handle little ol' me?" she teased while poking Kagura's cheek.

"I tried to stop her, but she was gone before I knew it."

Kagura looked behind to see Yomi marching up as calm as usual. "Now you know what I go through every morning."

"Ah, Yomi-san, good morning!" Kagura smiled as she elbowed a grinning Tomo off her.

"Morning, Kagura-san. You ready for the test?"

"Well, I'm not sure. I studied really hard, but I can't shake the feeling that I'm gonna mess it up," she chuckled nervously. To this, Tomo started laughing out loud obnoxiously. Kagura gave her that piercing "you got something to say?" stare. Not like it mattered to Tomo, of course.

"Poor, poor Kagura," she rambled. "Don't you know what day it is today? It's Friday the 13th! Everything you can imagine is going to go wrong today, and you went through all that trouble." She started poking Kagura on the cheek, again. "No matter how hard you try, it's not gonna work today. Which means you pretty much wasted a whole night. I feel sorry for you."

Her eyes clenched shut and her face twitching, Kagura grunted and slapped Tomo's hand away from her face. "Maybe for you, Takino! I bet you spent the whole night playing videogames or reading manga. I have no doubt in my mind that you're gonna fail. I, however, at least tried. You knucklehead!"

Tomo was taken aback by that comment, but overcame the shock with a counter-attack. "Knucklehead? Me? Remember which one of us got the highest score on that English test last year?"

"One point Tomo! That was only one freakin' point!"

"So? I still got a higher score than you, it doesn't matter how many points difference! Stupid! Stupid!"

"Oh it so does! You just got lucky, that's all! Today, I'm totally going to cream you, just you watch!"

"Haha! Sure, whatever, stupid!"

"Shut up, you numbnut!"

Yomi walked past the bickering duo, and figured that maybe it was best to leave those two there. That would save her a headache, and she could miss that today.

"Stop arguing, you two. I'm leaving you here."

08:20 AM

After a long walk in the scorching morning sun, the three made it inside the school building. The others were nowhere to be found, so they were probably already in the classroom. They went up the stairs and headed for their classroom to meet up with them. Indeed, there they were. Sakaki was already sitting at her bench and was silently looking through the window, no sign of stress whatsoever. That was the reason why everyone thought she was cool, though she was completely oblivious to it. Osaka sat on a chair, backwards, on her knees, and rocked back and forth. On the opposite side was Chiyo, getting her equipment ready for the test and conversating with the Osakan at the same time.

"So, whaddaya suppose jellyfish are made of? Jelly?"

"Huh? I'm not sure, Osaka-san," Chiyo answered. "But I think they are... I heard they're mostly composed of water though."

"Really? That's weird... So, if they're made of jelly, could ya put 'em on a sandwich?"

"No... I'm pretty sure it's not that kind of jelly...," Chiyo sweat dropped.

"I see, ah guess you're right... But maybe, if they're made of water, ya could drink 'em! Or, maybe they use 'em to make jelly, an' just add strawberries or somethin'. Would explain a lot..."

"Ahem. Good morning everyone!" Tomo broke up Osaka's train of thoughts with a big smile.

Osaka turned her head nearly 180 degrees and smiled sheepishly. "Oh, hi! Good mornin' y'all! Didn't hear ya come in."

"Good morning!" Chiyo sparkled. "You guys ready for the test?"

"I sure am!" Tomo grinned.

"Really now? We'll just have to wait and see about that," Yomi mumbled with a smirk.

"What was that, four-eyes?" she snarled back.

"I'm just saying, you probably didn't do jack yesterday, much like the past few years!"

"Foolish girl!" Tomo laughed evilly. "I never said I didn't study last night, Kagura assumed that. In reality, I studied harder than I ever did before!"

"... That was a lie, wasn't it?"

"Absolutely! I studied, but for about two hours...including the amount of time I was distracted..."

"So, how long did you really study then?" Chiyo inquired, knowing the answer wasn't going to be good. Two hours wasn't nearly enough to begin with.

"I'd say, about 45 minutes."

The group fell silent. This girl in front of them was doomed, completely and utterly doomed.

"45? You were distracted for an hour and fifteen minutes?" Yomi shouted more or less amazed.

"Roughly estimated, yeah. But it'll be okay! And if it doesn't work out, I can blame the fact that it's the unlucky day today."

Yomi sighed and placed her hand on Tomo's shoulder. "I have to congratulate you, Tomo. You have reached your new low. You must be so proud of yourself." After that, Yomi walked away and took her seat, leaving Tomo behind confused.

"What? What's the matter?"

"Maybe it's the fact that you really are an idiot, but you just can't see it yourself. I'm pretty amazed too, to be honest," Kagura replied.

Then, Osaka joined the conversation, changing the subject completely. "Don't ya think it's really weird that Friday the 13th is an unlucky day? Maybe somethin' really bad happen'd on one of those days, and they've been believin' it ever since."

"Maybe something with a black cat? They say a black cat brings bad luck," Chiyo added.

Sakaki sat silently at her desk, overhearing the conversation. She started thinking about what she just heard.

Black cats bring bad luck? That's impossible. But if it's true, then... Oh no...

With wide eyes, she stared at her hand, wrapped in bandages and covered with plasters.

"It couldn't be..." she murmured softly.

"I already had a run in with a black cat. A Wildcat!" Kagura huffed, to which Tomo grinned and gave a peace sign.

"Ya know what's funny?" Osaka smiled. "Good things usually happen to me on a Friday the 13th. Ah might even do alright today!"

"You think?" Tomo and Kagura boomed in unison.

"Oh I know! The bad luck has a reversed effect on Osaka! It's one of her special powers! That's why she always messes up any other day!" Tomo analysed, with the air of that of a scientist.

"That doesn't sound like such a great power, you know. You think you'll pass, Osaka?" Kagura asked.

"Ah dunno. Got a pretty good feelin' about it, so we'll see. Oh, that reminds me. I brought somethin' with me! Wait."

Osaka felt around in her briefcase and pulled out a hockey mask. She put it on. "Who am I?" she asked.

"Ehm, a very bad cosplayer?" said Kagura.

"No... I'm Jason Voorhees, from the Friday The 13th movies. I thought it'd be appropriate."

"That's great, Osaka-san," said Chiyo, "but you shouldn't take these kinda things to school. People might think you're a murderer."

"Ah, don't be such a baby, Chiyo-chan," Tomo laughed. "I think it's pretty cool! It even has bloodstains painted on it! Is that a collectors item?"

"It is! It's cool, ain't it?" Osaka smiled behind the mask. "Raah! I'm gonna kill y'all in really awesome an' over the top ways!"

"Now you just need a machette and you're good to go," said Kagura.

A few minutes and a few pointless conversation later, some fast paced footsteps could be heard in the corridor. Everyone frantically dashed to their respective seats. They knew who was coming, and it wasn't good news. Suddenly, the sliding door was practically thrown open, and behind it was their annoyed looking homeroom teacher, Yukari-sensei. Looks like someone didn't get her morning coffee again. With an irritated face, she stomped towards her desk and slammed the pile of exam documents onto it. She stood there with one hand supported on the desk, her fingers tapping the paperwork, and the other one placed on her side. On her face, a terrifying expression that could make even the devil feel uncomfortable. Suddenly, her agitation turned into an evil, ominous smirk.

"Heehee. I bet you're all very excited that summer break is starting, but you know what? I never go out without a bang!" she sneered while cracking her knuckles. "I hope you all studied, and studied hard, because man oh man, you're gonna need it."

In a matter of seconds, several heads landed on the desk in front of them with small bangs. One of them was Kagura, who feared this moment the worst. Yukari sure was a sadistic witch sometimes.

"That pretty much destroys all hope for some of my students, much like..." she paused and diverted her gaze to Tomo. Tomo at her turn just smiled and waved.

"Yes, you Takino, you're screwed! But don't worry, there's always next term... Bwahahahaha! Anyway, let's not waste any time and get started. I suppose you prefer the short pain after all."

The whole class sweatdropped.

"Alright, everybody shut their pieholes! We're getting star- What the crap? Osaka, take that stupid mask off!" Yukari yelled.

Yukari sure wasn't kidding. This test was as hard as nails! Every minute, there was at least one sigh that broke up the silence. Kagura sat with her hand in her hair, tapping the edge of her pen against her fingers.

Okay, let's see here. Keep it cool, Kagura

Tomo was chewing the tip of her pen. So far, most of the stuff she wrote down was complete nonsense that she made up on the spot in order not to deliver a test that was completely blank. There were some things she knew, but those were just minorities. Osaka was simply staring at her paper, and sometimes gested to writing something down, but pulled back again each time. Then, she continued to stare again, and repeated the whole process like she was in a loop. Yomi, Chiyo and Sakaki didn't seem to be having too many problems, but they felt that it was still pretty hard, and Chiyo probably wasn't going to get a straight hundred this time. After a few minutes, Kagura's face suddenly shone.

Wait, of course! I know this!

She started scribbling at a fast pace, feeling content of herself that she managed to remember this. After that, the next obstacle was the next math problem, and she once again started thinking deeply. But then she felt something odd. A small rumble, hardly noticeable, made her look up. She scanned the classroom to see if anyone else noticed, but they were all glued to their exams. That, or they just didn't care. Except for Tomo, who had her head up in the air like a deer hearing a predator.

Kagura frowned at her and moved her mouth without making any sound. "Did you just feel that?"

Tomo nodded slightly, but then Yukari's demonic voice roared through the classroom.

"Takino! Kagura! Keep your damn eyes on your paper! One more time and you can hand them in immediately!"

"Y-y-yes ma'm! Sorry ma'm," they both stuttered.

Kagura decided to make nothing of it and returned her glance at her paper. Probably just a small tremor, nothing to worry about. It's not like this never happened before; they were only living in Japan, one of the most seismically active countries in the world. She even started wondering why she gave it any attention to begin with. But not even a minute later, it happened again. This time it was noticably bigger, and was accompanied with a slight grumbling sound. Kagura once again looked up and noticed that this time, she wasn't the only one who felt it. In fact, everyone seemed to have sensed it.

"Did anyone else feel that?" a voice of a boy sounded.

"A quake!" another responded.

Yukari however wasn't impressed by the tremor. "Hush! It's just a small one, don't get all excited about it! Just keep your mouths shut and keep working!" she disciplined.

Her words weren't even cold yet, when a low roar emerged from the ground. Before anyone could raise their heads and try to figure out what was going on, the classroom started shaking about violently. As the grumbling quickly got louder, the quake also got more powerful, and pens and other equipment were inevitably tossed to the ground.

"Oh crap! Everyone under your desks, and don't even think about peeking!" Yukari yelled, before diving down under her own desk.

She didn't have to say that twice. In fact, most of them had already done so, and those who hadn't quickly did like their lives depended on it. The wooden legs clattered and trembled against the flooring, and the whole room was filled with a constant rattling. The windows sounded like they were going to break if this kept up much longer. To some, it seemed like the end of the world, but as fast as it came, it went. After about 10 seconds, the shaking died down and everything went quiet again.

After some sighs of relief, because it could have been way much worse than it was, everyone crawled from under their desks, including Yukari who was brushing herself off.

"Well, that wasn't so bad now was it? Nice little diversion, now clean up your mess and get back to work. You can start chattering when you're done."

"Wow, straight to the point!" Yomi commented.

This was an earthquake larger than the average one, so it did cause some panic among the students, and most likely some of the residents too. Fortunately, there was no damage whatsoever in the classroom. Basically, it sounded a lot more scary than it actually was, because when the ground shakes, everything that's loose makes noise. Japan and earthquakes is like Japan and seafood. It's so natural to the point where the majority of the populace barely cares when their furniture slides a few centimeters to the right while they're sitting in it. Still, safety first, so the basic procedures still need to be executed, which are: get under a table or desk and cover your head with your hands to protect yourself from eventual falling debris. This one wasn't as bad, and it was relatively short, so there was not much danger.

After another hour, everyone had turned in their papers. The topic afterwards mostly wasn't about the exams for once, but about the scary experience they just went through.

"Oh man, that one was kinda big, huh?" Tomo mused while sitting on Kagura's desk.

"Meh, I've had worse. Still, it doesn't happen everyday, so it kinda startled me," the sporty girl replied.

"Right, wasn't it? So anyway, how did it go?"

Kagura felt the courage sink into her gut. Why did she have to ask? "Ehm...ehh well...okay, I guess."

"Liar!" Tomo grinned.

"Yeah, pretty much like I expected it to go... What about you, miss 45 minutes of studying?"

"I killed it, what did you think? It's what I call Tomo math, it only makes sense to me!"

"So, I assume you failed then?" Yomi joined.

"Ah shut up. I don't need you to tell me that," Tomo grimaced. "So, how did you do?"

"Me? You don't have to worry about me. I feel good about it, let's keep it at that."

"Am I still alive...?" Osaka sniffed as she joined the group.

"Oh, Osaka-san! How did you do?" Tomo beamed.

"Are ya kiddin' me? I didn't know anythin', an' then that darn earthquake, couldn't focus at all after that..."

"You mean you can focus?" Yomi gasped.

"Very funny..." Osaka uttered.

Then, Sakaki and Chiyo joined the group. The tall girl was visibly trembling, like the quake was still going on inside her body. She seemed unusually nervous.

"Yo, Sakaki-san, Chiyo-chan! Kagura cheered. "Huh? What's the matter? Didn't you do good?"

", I did fine... I'm just..."

"Sakaki-san is a bit scared of earthquakes," Chiyo explained, "so she's a little nervous ever since it happened."

Sakaki blushed slightly and nodded. "Y...yeah, it's true..."

"Oh, I see," Kagura replied. "I'm not blaming you, that was pretty scary."

"You think? I thought it was pretty exciting! What an adrenaline rush!"

"Those could be your famous last words if a real big one should hit, Tomo," Yomi said.

"Hmm, you could be right, but what are the odds really. But man, what a day, Yukari's math and an earthquake?"

"Ah dunno which was worse..." Osaka groaned.

"Uhuh, is it obvious that it's a Friday the 13th? Oh, I know! We should go do something!" Tomo suggested out of nowhere.

"Something? Like what?" Yomi inquired.

"Like, you know, go out! Isn't that what high school students do after exams?"

"You mean after school?"

"I mean tonight."

As the six huddled up to discuss, Yukari was making sure she got every copy of the exam. After that, she really didn't feel like staying. For once, Nyamo owed her some money, and she was so eager to reclaim it. She literally couldn't wait any longer.

"Okidoki. I'm going to show you that I'm not a heartless wench and let you go for the day. Enjoy your summer break!"

Yukari's announcement was received with a loud cheering by the whole class. And everyone began storming out of the classroom.

"Yo, Yukari baby!" Tomo stuck out her hand as she approached her. "The six of us are going out this evening to celebrate!"

"Oh really? What are YOU celebrating Tomo-chan? Your imminent failure?" she grinned in response.

Yukari expected Tomo to be angry or at least agitated, but instead she was still laughing. "Haha, sensei, you've got a million of 'em. No, I meant to ask you if you wanted to come along too. And bring Nyamo-chan too!"

"Hang on. You're students and you're asking me, your teacher, to come along on your night out?"

Tomo nodded.

"You do know that I'll be your supervisor for tonight then?"

Tomo nodded again, a bit more doubtful this time.

"Okay then, I'll come along. Then I can make sure you kids don't start drinking!" Yukari chirped.

"Aww geez sensei, you're no fun. I'm having regrets asking you already!"

"Too late! I warned you!" she cried out. "Where and when?"

"City center, 9 PM"

"Gotcha! I'll go get Nyamo and tell her. Now get outta here, all of you!"

12:36 PM

The girls were walking around in the city now, and had stopped to get something to eat before moving on. By now, they've all had phonecalls from their parents regarding the earthquake earlier. Typical worried parent phonecalls. Are you alright? Nothing dropped on your head right? Were you scared? And so on. They were about to march on afterwards, but they were halted by a voice calling out for them from behind.

"Ah, wait up! Wait for me!"

Running towards them from the end of the street was their ex-classmate Kaorin, eager to catch up with the group, and most particular, Sakaki. She slammed on her brakes right in front of them and panted heavily.

"I...saw you...go out a while ago. I finally...caught up," she coughed between gasps.

"Ah, Kaorin-chan! Did they set you free too? How did it go?"Yomi asked.

"Te...terrible!" she caught her breath again. "Not the test, but that Kimura was gawking at me the entire time! It was seriously freaking me out! Say, did you guys feel that earthquake?"

"Well duh!" Tomo reacted. "The whole room was shaking, how could we have missed that?"

"When the quake started, Kimura, he...," she muttered.

"He what?" Chiyo asked suspiciously.

"He...he shouted "Don't worry Kaorin, I will save you!" all over the classroom!"

The group remained silent at this. That must have been really awkward.

"I don't know what's worse, the earthquake or that comment," she wailed with tears flowing down her face like waterfalls.

"Poor you," Kagura chuckled.

"Tell you what. We're going out this evening to celebrate the end of the term. Wanna come too?" Tomo cheered as she patted her on the shoulder.

Kaorin gave a thoughtful look, then pulled Tomo in and whispered something in her ear.

"Is Sakaki-san coming too?"

"Well, yeah!" Tomo whispered back.

"I'm in!" she now yelled.

"Great! Awesome! We meet at the city center at 9 'o clock. Don't be late!" Tomo smiled.

"Are you kidding? Of course I won't be late! Not when Sak...err, I mean... It's been while since I've gone out!" she giggled and blushed. "Well, gotta go now, see ya this evening!"

She ran off the opposite way and waved them goodbye. The others were left behind a bit baffled.

"Strange girl, huh?" Kagura lisped.

They all nodded in unison.

As soon as she made it across the corner, Kaorin slammed her head in the palm of her hand.

Stupid! Stupid! I almost blurted that out in front of her! I got to watch out what I'm saying! That was so embarrassing...

She grumbled a bit and started walking again.

Darn, it's just becoming a bit too much for me. What the hell am I going to do? I can't just go on like this, I'm going crazy! But wait!

Kaorin stopped in her tracks for a moment and frowned her eyebrows.

We're all going out tonight. Maybe I should... Oh who am I kidding. I'm too much of a chicken for that. What if she doesn't...

She shook her head, disregarding the people who were looking at her funny.

No, I gotta get myself together! This is too much of an opportunity to pass up. I just have to think of the words to say! That's it!

Her face now beaming, she already started to gather her courage.

Tonight! I'm going to do it tonight! I'm finally going to tell Sakaki-san how I feel! I'm going to turn this unlucky day into the day of truth! Just you wait, Sakaki-san. This will be the best day of my life...I hope...

With that, she continued to march home.

02:23 PM

Kagura just came out of a tiring and long argument with her mother. When she told her that her exam didn't exactly go smoothly, she was more than a little bit upset. It wasn't the first one that she probably was going to fail either. Kagura let herself fall on her bed. She understood that she was angry, it's what most parents tend to do. But accusing her of not even trying? She was trying her best! She started studying at 2 PM and stopped at 3 AM, but it still didn't do her any good. She felt sad on the inside, but comforted herself in knowing that she really tried. Now if only her mom realised that. Kagura sighed and curled into a fetal position. Her head resting on her pillow and her eyes falling shut reminded her how tired she was. Since she still had a long time before she had to go, she decided to catch that sleep she missed last night. Before she allowed herself to doze off, she programmed her alarm clock to go off at 7 PM.

She hadn't really had the stomach to ask her mom if she was allowed to go out yet. She would have to do that after she wakes up. Maybe after her dad got back home from work, she would have a better chance. If not, she was still going nonetheless. She sighed, made herself comfortable, and drifted off into a deep slumber.

06:32 PM

Tomo had once again snuck inside Yomi's room through the window. She was already good to go, so she decided to leave together with her. Why Tomo never entered her house through the front door was beyond her. Maybe Tomo was a bit too adventurous to come in by conventional means. Yomi had gotten somewhat used to it, but it annoyed her to no end when she just barged in at the most inappropriate times.

"So, what are your big plans?" Yomi asked, looking up from the book she was reading.

"Oh, nothing really, just hang out, get a couple of drinks, have a few laughs, annoy people" the smaller one sitting on the bed responded.

"You're not annoying me tonight! I feel like having some fun just like you, so keep me out of it okay? Annoy Yukari-sensei instead." The bespectacled one chuckled.

"Well I can't promise you anything, but I'll try. Shouldn't you get ready? Like, put on something decent?"

Yomi twisted her head and glanced at her with venomous eyes. "What's wrong with my clothes?"

"Nothing, it's just not really appropriate for going out, is all."

Yomi pulled her gaze away from Tomo and to her own clothes. "Maybe you're right... But I'm not changing when you're in my room."

Tomo rolled her eyes and gave a small snicker. "Pfff, oh come on. We've had P.E. and even swimming together. It's not like I've never seen you in your underwear before."

Yomi knew she was right, but she still didn't really feel comfortable with it. Her complexes have run deeper lately because she has gained some weight when she last checked. Those damn Korean barbeques!

"Okay fine, but turn around," she sighed.

"Man, so prudish. What's up with you? If I didn't know any better, I'd say you've gained some weight again," Tomo laughed while turning around.

From behind her back, she could hear Yomi choking softly. Tomo quickly understood and formed a vile grin.

"Oh so you did, huh? Letting yourself go again lately? Constant battle with the scale huh? I understand, someone like you can't possibly resis-." Tomo's taunts were cut off with a surprise shoe to the head.

06:55 PM

Osaka was killing time by surfing the internet at home. She was looking up some information about earthquakes, because that's what intrigued her at that moment.

An earthquake happens when two or more geological faults rupture and release seismic waves. When the tectonic plates move into eachother, the pressure rises, until the edges of the plates break or slide upwards, release the energy and thus create a tremor. When this happens below the ocean, a tsunami occurs...

Osaka looked away from her screen and let that information sink in. She sort of understood, but it was way more complicated than that. She continued to scroll down the page and soared her eyes over the information, until she came across a certain headline.

Earthquakes and volcanic activity. Oh, I see.. Movement of magma? Whut's magma...? Oh, lava, right! Earthquakes can serve as early warnings for volcanic eruptions... Whoa...

The one that occured today made her think of the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995. In Osaka, that quake was senseable as a Shindo 4. The one today wasn't as powerful if she remembered right, but it was still pretty close.

I wonder... if that one was the real one, or just a foreshock...

She pondered about this for a little while, but then got track of the time again. She still had to go to Chiyo's place to pick her up, since neither of them wanted to go alone in the evening. Osaka turned off her computer, flung open a window to let some of the cooling air inside, and got dressed.

07:00 PM

When her alarm clock went off, Kagura was wide awake. This afternoon nap sure did her good. Unfortunately, now she really didn't feel like asking any of her parents if she was allowed to go out. What if they said no? She layed still, staring at the ceiling for several minutes. What was she supposed to do? Ask them anyway? She was sure her dad would be okay with it, but her mom was a different story.

Ah, what the hell. Man up, Kagura! I'm sure it'll be fine.

She jumped up from her bed and headed towards her closet to look for something a bit more casual to wear. She was still wearing her school uniform, and no way in hell was she wearing this on a night out. She flicked through her clothes and found a Slayer T-shirt she hadn't worn in quite a while. The large band logo in red letters and the "Reign In Blood" albumcover on the front, and the name of the album in white letters on the back. Possibly quite shocking for some people. This brought back memories. She found this in some store a few years ago, when she was a huge fan of the band. She still listened to them and others of its kind, so she figured it wasn't such a bad idea to wear it again.

The others aren't gonna believe their eyes when they see me in this. I bet they don't know I listen to some of the heavier stuff once in a while.

She nodded and threw it on her bed. Next, she grabbed a pair of regular jeans, her belt, and took out her black sneakers. She then made her way to the bathroom to get ready.

After about a half an hour, Kagura was all set, and if everything went right, Sakaki would be waiting for her just a block away. Now all she had to do was ask her parents. After all, leaving without at least letting them know would get her in even more trouble. She walked down the stairs and entered the living room, where her mom and dad were watching tv.

"Oh, hi! Where have you been?" her father smiled when he noticed Kagura standing there. Her mother, however, didn't say a single word, giving her the impression that she was still angry. This made Kagura a little nervous.

"I was sleeping, just like you said I should, dad," Kagura answered politely with a smile ever so tiny.

"I see, that's good. So, what's up? Why are you dressed up like that?"

Kagura really didn't like the vibe that was coming from her mother. She just said there, staring at the tv screen, tweaking her ears to overhear the conversation. Her frowned eyebrows gave away that she still wasn't in a very good mood. After inhaling deeply, Kagura gave her explanation.

"Well, I was just wondering. My friends are going out to the city tonight and they kinda asked me to come along, so I..."


Ouch... Like she couldn't answer more bluntly than this. Kagura started tinkering with the edge of her shirt. "Wh...why not?" she asked timidly.

"Because I decided to ground you, that's why," her mother responded.

That last statement really rubbed Kagura the wrong way. She suddenly had to fight the urge to yell at her. "Grounded? For what? Doing my best?"

"Don't give me that tone, young lady! As long as you live under this roof, you will do as we say!"

"That's...that's rediculous... I tried..." Kagura stuttered softly, clenching her fist and looking down to the floor. "I really tried, I swear..."

But her mother didn't react. She just continued to watch tv, and after a while, repeated what she said before.

"For the time being, you're staying here. What's the deal with you telling me this only now anyway?"

"I...I was scared you would've gotten upset..."

"Really? Too bad. If you'd told me before I might have reconsidered, but it's a bit late now."

Kagura looked at her father, who had this worried look upon his face.

"Uhm...honey?" he butted in. "Maybe you're being a little too harsh on her. I believe her when she says she tried really hard, and besides, we don't have any results yet. I think we should let her have this."

Kagura looked up hopefully. This reminded her why she loved her dad as much as she did. She was really happy that he was on her side. But her mom just neglected the arguments.

"Sorry, but I made up my mind."

Are you serious? You're serious, aren't you? What the hell is up with this woman?

Kagura stood there silently for a bit, then huffed, turned around and walked away. She was really angry now.

"Hey, where are you going?" her mom called after her.

"Going out," she answered bluntly.

"Am I talking to the walls here? I thought I said no!" she snarled as she got up and chased her.

"I don't care."

"Now, you listen to me, young lady-"

"No, you listen to me!" Kagura yelled, just a few steps away from the front door. "I don't want to disobey you, I really don't. But if you're going to be such an unreasonable bitch about it, I don't care if you're going to yell at me!"

Kagura's mother was speechless at what she just called her. As she was nailed to the ground, Kagura's rant continued.

"My friends asked me to come along tonight; something we haven't done in months. They're my best friends, mom. The best friends I've ever had in my whole worthless life! There's no way I'm ditching them just because I messed up that stupid test! And if you're too shallow minded to see that, then that's too bad!"

Kagura paused and gested towards the door. Much to her surprise, her mother didn't give a single reaction. She got her now! But then Kagura said something that she'd probably regret later on.

"Seriously, sometimes I wish you'd just go away."

Without giving it time to sink in, she threw the door shut behind her and walked off down the street. Her mother just stood there in the hallway, let out a big sigh and walked back to the living room where she plumped down into the couch.

"See? Was all that really necessary?" her husband commented.

Kagura's mom just looked at him from the corner of her eyes, then returned her gaze to the tv screen. Angry, but a little sad too, those words her daughter said to her echoed in her head. She contemplated wether she or her daughter went too far in this. But she kept it to herself, and continued watching her show.

Wata: Hah! How's that? Much better huh? Anyway, I'll be polishing up the next chapter, so it shouldn't take long for that one to be up.

Oh yeah, nearly forgot. Should I keep the Tomo x Kagura pairing? Huh, should I? Write me a review, tell me what you think. Come on, you can do it. Tomo x Kagura FTW, yes? You know you want it. :3

Aaahhh, I just had a nostalgia trip!