The decision of our fate we have already made beyond The threshold We dared to give up now the awesome powers which Rightfully were ours For now, we sit in the comforts of familiarity Feelings
Misuzu opened her eyes, the heavy stone of the weather wheel spinning fast, whirling. Gravity gripped it tightly, and the wheel began to slow, the characters carved onto it becoming more and more visible.
'If only my life were as so,' she wished upon the wheel, her hands clasped tightly against her chest. 'If only my future were so clear...'
It had been a month since she woke up in the arms of her brother Yushiro. The dawn had just risen. She had been crying, but why?
All around her was destruction, but also the wonder of love and happiness that always surrounds friends and people who are close to each other.
She felt like an outsider, a foreign object placed in the bubble of positive feelings. And yet, she had also been involved in...
"What have I done?" She whispered silently to herself.
"What's the matter, Little Sister?" A voice spoke gently behind her.
Startled, Mizusu whirled around, a look of shock on her face as she stared into the eyes of her brother's lover, Miharu.
Miharu smiled gently as a warm breeze tousled her hair and jacket.
"It's, it's nothing." She nearly whispered, her feelings towards the girl still unclear to her. 'Like so many other things,' she thought with a frown, 'still unclear, and yet no one is willing to help with any of the questions in my mind.'
"Then why such a long face?" Another voice spoke. Her brother Yushiro stepped out from behind Miharu, a loving smile on his face and a kindness to his eyes that could only be shared between a close brother and sister.
"It's nothing, Big Brother. I was just... Thinking..."
He smile faded a bit. "About father? And about Kazukiyo?"
She nodded. That had been one of the few things she had been thinking of recently.
Kazukiyo.... He said something to her...something about... About Yushiro... And then... Father...
Misuzu grabbed her head. Yushiro dashed forwards to catch her if she fell. Miharu merely looked on with concern. "Misuzu? Are you...?"
"Just a headache, Big Brother." Misuzu lied with a slight smile. "I just... I'm going to go rest..."
"I'll help you," Miharu began sweetly, reaching for one of her arms.
"No!" She shouted accidentally, quickly pulling away. "I just... I'll be fine, really."
The two looked at her with concern, but shrugged.
Without hesitation, Mizusu made her way to the large Gowa house, the pain in her head intensifying... ________________________________________________________________________
She was asleep, in a familiar place and yet... So unfamiliar at the same time. A graveyard, an entire plot with Gowa descendants buried everywhere. Her brother Yushiro stood before her but, he was younger, a child. Eight years, she knew suddenly, he is eight years younger.
This was a different Yushiro from the one she knew now. This was the REAL Yushiro.
"Big Brother," Misuzu whispered, taking a step closer to the familiar boy. "Yushiro, what's going on? Why was I all alone?"
The child smiled, began walking away, his ghostly figure fading.
"Wait, no! Big Brother!" Quickly, she ran after him, trying to keep up with him...
The scene changed. No longer were they in the cemetery, but in a large lot, trees lining the asphalt path. Yushiro appeared before her again. Behind him though was something....
Something familiar...
'Kai,' something spoke in her mind....
"Kai..." She repeated, staring up at monstrous looking machine that sat in a calm, cross-legged position. Its samurai armour and Noh mask-like face, framed by long hair which hung into it's eyes were beautiful and horrifying at the same time. It's eyes bore into her, calling her...
"Kai." Yushiro said, offering a hand out to her.
"I am... A Kai?"
Pain erupted inside her stomach, quickly spreading up and through her entire being.
'Yushiro!' She cried out, but he couldn't hear her, and she couldn't move! And then, she showed up, her... Miharu...
The scene changed once more. A yellow place, strange, bodies deformed, connected, creating space...
"I'm... I'm so cold." Whimpering, she hugged herself, looking around. "Why am I all alone?"
Turning, she saw a strange shape, greyish. Small eyes opened on it, it's arms and legs curled up inside itself as if it were an infant in a womb. "Misuzu..." It spoke her name again with Yushiro's voice.
"Big Brother? Is that you?"
"I am here, dear sister."
"I... I don't want to be alone..."
"You aren't alone. I am here. You found me. You will find me again. You are Kai. You have the power..."
Everything began to fade away, the strange gray form materializing into Yushiro. The Yushiro she knew.
"Big Brother! No!" Reaching out for him, she tried to move forwards, but couldn't. Space wouldn't allow her to move.
"It's not over..."
"Big Brother!!!"
Yushiro left the room. It had taken her forever to convince him it was a nightmare.
Yushiro. But not her Yushiro.
The one alive now, the one who had just comforted her, called her Dear Sister, was
Miharu's Yushiro.
Big Brother was dead.
Father was dead.
Kazukiyo was dead.
And it HAD been her fault...
'Kai,' something whispered in her ear, Yushiro's voice filling her with a strange energy.
'You are Kai... You have the power...'
"I am Kai." ________________________________________________________________________
Yushiro shut the door, something in the back of his mind nagging him. They had all agreed after the incident with the Gasaraki that they shouldn't tell Misuzu anything more than they had to. She had woken up, confused, not knowing what had happened. 'For the better,' he thought to himself, walking down the narrow shoji-walled hallway.
But something just now... The way Misuzu had reacted to his touch, to his voice. It wasn't her. She seemed... Scared. Of him.
Did she know?
But how could she?
'It was just a dream,' Yushiro shook his head, walking into the sunlight. 'Just a bad dream...'
"Is she all right?" Kahoru Kaburagi asked, standing next to Miharu, looking strange in her civilian clothes and not her SDF uniform.
Yushiro nodded, although it wasn't the whole truth.
Miharu's eyes reflected the fact that she could tell he was lying. Kahoru though, didn't notice.
"Shall we go then? The meeting starts at 1800."
"Be careful." Miharu held his hand gently, not wanting to let go.
"Are you sure you don't want to come?" He asked, not wanting to leave her behind ever again for anything.
"I'll look after Misuzu. Besides, I don't want to see the Kugai ever again." The last part she whispered, not wanting the words to reach Misuzu's ears.
Yushiro simply nodded. He, too, wanted to forget all about the Gasara, the Kugai, and what it meant to be a Kai. 'I'm haunted by the memories I don't want,' he thought, smiling back at Miharu as he followed the ex-captain to the small, chauffeured car.
'Maybe, this closure will end the nightmare for us all,' he wondered as he stepped into the car, his thoughts going out to both Misuzu and Miharu. ________________________________________________________________________ The entire TA SDF was there, all in civilian dress with the exception of Akia Hirokawa in his Lieutenant uniform and Tamotsu Hayakawa in his chief officer's dress.
Ataka smiled at him as he entered the huge observation room. "So, Yushiro, where is that girl of yours, Miharu, isn't it?"
Yushiro nodded. "Back at the estate with my sister." He spoke quietly, memories of the entire squadron and their trials flooding his mind.

"Ah, there you are, Yushiro." Kiyotsugu Gowa, one of his older brothers, called as he entered the room from an adjacent one. Brushing a small strand out hair from his eyes, he gave his brother a smile. "So, how is our sister Misuzu doing."
"Well." Yushiro replied coldly, his brothers all but strangers to him. The only one he had ever been close to was his sister. Not even his own mother, Yukino Gowa, had his love.
Ex-captain Nozomi Takayama cleared his throat, cutting through the tension that had started to build up between the brothers. "If you don't mind, sir, I think we would like to get to the point of being here real soon."
Hirokawa narrowed his already small eyes even more at Takayama, quickly remembering he no longer had the power he once had before the SDF had been disbanded.
Kiyotsugu swept some hair away from his eyes and nodded in acknowledgment. "All right." Turning to the large window in the room, everyone looked down onto the two, monstrous samurai looking beasts sitting cross-legged and serene in the next room.
"We've come up with very few ideas with what to do with the two remaining Kugai. There's the possibility that we could bury them,..."
"Won't somebody who knows about them want to try and dig them up for their own personal gains?" Hayakawa interrupted.
"Of course. That's why we've come up with really the only other alternative. Disassembling the Kugai, and from there, either burying the pieces or storing them in different, undisclosed warehouses around Japan."
Everyone seemed to slowly nod to the idea, except for Yushiro. Kiyotsugu noticed. "Something wrong with that, Yushiro?"
Yushiro shook his head, returning his attention back to his brother. "No, no, it's fine."
..It still called to him...
Everyone had been staring at him. For that spilt second, the monsters below him twitched, sensing his energy, wanting to gather him, the life-force they needed to do the one thing they knew how... To fight...
"No, it's a good idea." Turning, he decided to leave the room.
Outside in the lone, gray hallway, he leaned against the wall, his arms crossed over his chest. His heart was pounding, something in his mind triggering fear. Fear, that he'd use to Kugai again? No, no, he would never touch that power again. There were too many now that he cared about more than life. People that he could never harm...
And still, something about the Kugai had struck intense fear in his heart.
A warning?
Did they know something he didn't?
But how?
'Don't they always know?' He thought to himself, looking back at the observation room door. 'Aren't they the weapons that hold the memories of our past and future within them?' ________________________________________________________________________
The koi pond sparkled as light from nearby paper lanterns reflected off the surface and the koi beyond. Serene, beautiful, it helped to distract her mind for a moment.
'Good things,' Miharu thought to herself, watching as one koi with white, black and red markings came up and kissed the surface of the water. 'Yushiro... You're with Yushiro now. Now and forever. The errors and terror of the past can now be forgotten.'
But none of that had been their fault. It was the puppeteers fault, those who had used them for the utter chaos and horror that only Yushiro and herself had been capable of creating. And, of late, Misuzu. 'But the past, now it is all in the past.'
For a second, the entire world was perfect and beautiful.
But only for a second
It dawned on her, too late, that perfection was a mere illusion so thin, it could never stand alone. ________________________________________________________________________
Misuzu watched in silence as Miharu slipped to the ground, hardly a moan escaping from her lips. Without even realizing what she had done, Misuzu knelt down, watching in stiff silence as a small trickle of blood, dark and wet in the night, began to run down the side of Miharu's head.
Horrified, she dropped the pole she had used to strike her brother's lover, as if it had been placed in her hand by someone else. 'What have I done?'
"What have I done?" She quietly whispered to herself, clasping her hands to her chest. A short, but quick breeze rustled her skirt, tousling Miharu's hair as the blood, trickling now down the side of her face, began to solidify.
Something inside her told her she was right. Horror and sympathy was quickly replaced with empty feelings that what was done was right and final. The pain, the look on Miharu's face before she went slack...
Memories from another place, another time, flooded her senses.
They didn't know she was watching.
They didn't know that they needed her.
Her, with greater ability than anyone knew.
How would they?
If she hadn't opposed, everything would have been complete.
The Flaw. Her eyes faded into a trance-like state. Control. Only she could control the Gasaraki now.
Kazukiyo had been wrong - Yushiro could summon the Gasaraki, but without her, there would be no real control.
No, she was a Kai.
The Kai.
No one could oppose her. ________________________________________________________________________
Kahoru sighed. She needed air, to get away from this all, and the memories that had suddenly surfaced. She was certain she wasn't the only one who was being haunted by these memories, but that didn't mean she had to hide these emotions anymore. The TA division was disbanded now, and what had seemed to be a temporary thing, now becoming more and more a reality.
Outside in the hallway, her gaze fell on Yushiro. He leaned against the wall, one leg bent with his boots resting against it. His arms were crossed, and if it weren't for the pained, frustrated, concentrated look on his face, he seemed peaceful, almost asleep, as if he hadn't been caught up in a web so complex with family and politics that it nearly tore him apart. Yushiro. So silent, so strong...
A warmth suddenly began to rise in her face, and Kahoru shook her head, thankful that he wasn't looking. Their time together -although not intimate and in no real way close- had been enough for her to develop feelings for him. At first, it was merely a protective bond, trying to help him adjust to SDF life, straight off the streets. But when he suddenly was more than that, so did the bond and emotions become more. For her, anyway. Care grew to love, protectiveness to selfishness...
But that was were Miharu had stepped into the picture. The two were destined for each other, it seemed. She did not want to step into the middle of what must be, but it didn't do anything to rid the void that had suddenly appeared when she realized she no longer had a chance with Yushiro. The two most important things, and things she had loved in her latest phase of life, all torn from her in a moment that was so sudden and surreal, she wondered if it were truly real, and not a dream that she'd awaken from.
Yushiro stirred, quickly standing back down, eyes opening. "Miharu... Misuzu," he whispered, looking down the hallway towards the exit.
Kahoru frowned, taking a step forwards. "Yushiro? Are you all right?"
If he heard or even realized she was standing almost beside him, Yushiro gave no sign, the rapid thudding of his boots as he ran down the hall leaving her alone. Questioning.
'I wonder what the matter is?' She asked herself, puzzled, running a hand through short, light brown hair. 'I wonder if I should follow him...'
'No. It must be family business. He has both Misuzu and Miharu -especially Miharu- now. You're not needed.' That realization seemed only to increase the size of that void inside of her.
The whispering swish of the door made Kahoru turn her head. Rin stepped out hurriedly, looking down the opposite end of the hall. "Yushiro?"
"He just left." Kahoru replied, stepping towards the other woman. "What's going on?"
"Damn. We just received a call from his mother, Yukino Gowa. Seems Miharu was attacked or something at the house, and Misuzu's nowhere to be found."
Her heart began to suddenly race. 'Did he know? But how?'
"Shit, c'mon." Kahoru began to run down the hallway, knocking open the double doors at the other end carelessly.
Rin, without further instruction, quickly caught up and followed. "What's going on? We can just page him." A sudden bad feeling began to build in the pit of her stomach. As much as she loved Yushiro, she knew of his happiness when around Miharu. 'My god, I hope she's all right.' "No, he's already gone." Kahoru said. Together, they ran down the stairs, neither knowing what to expect.
"Gone? But how did he know?" Rin's brows were knitted in puzzlement.
Kahoru shook her head. She didn't want or have reason to explain the feeling she had, but she knew something was wrong.
Seriously wrong.
And for a second, she almost welcomed the break of peace. ________________________________________________________________________
Outside the large research facility, the chauffeured car which Yushiro had arrived in with Kaburagi still waited, the driver flipping through the paper. Yushiro's loud footfalls made the driver look up, started. Upon recognizing Yushiro, the driver gave an acknowledging nod.
"I need you to drive me back to the Gowa residence. Quickly." Yushiro's voice was calm, but strong, needing only to be obeyed as if he had been a soldier his entire life.
"Sure thing." Starting the car, it turned away from the drive and back onto the main road. Trying to calm the fears that were continually growing into a torrent, Yushiro stared out past the road into a beyond only he could see. Something was wrong with the both of them, he knew. But how? Did it matter? Was it a connection they shared, being kai? 'If only we could have left all that behind us inside the Gasaraki...'