THE DARKNESS

Kuroro* hated to say this, but he was worried, legitimately worried. He hadn't seen Liz in quite some time, not since September 21st, when she had her "Big Fat American Birthday Party". Normally, he saw her every day, and it was now November 1st and he had gotten absolutely no word from her for 12 days. Not good.

"You know I hate to say this, but where's Liz?" Kuroro asked his twin sister, Koyuki*, who sat next to him. "I haven't seen her in forever and that scares me."

"Neither have I..." the ninja-in-training replied, messing with her dark gray neckerchief. "We're all going to die." She was betting that the crazy fangirl was planning some kind of "Ultimate Misery" plan. All she knew was that if her mother ended up pregnant again, someone was getting killed.

At that moment, there was a "poof" noise, and a cloud of pink dust popped up in their living room. From the dust, Kaururu* appeared, coughing a little to clear the dust from her nose. "Well, she's not planning on killing us, but I do have bad news. She's pretty sick, she's not doing too well."

"And we should be afraid because?" Kuroro asked, peering at her from behind his thick glasses.

"Er...well...she's pretty delirious but I heard her say something about "Darkness"...that's probably what I've been feeling..." Kaururu replied, messing nervously with her thumbs.

"Darkness?" Koyuki asked, getting to her feet. "I don't sense anything..." Suddenly, there was a rattling noise on the door, and Kuroro's head snapped to alert.

"Shh...did you hear that?" He whispered to Koyuki. For a moment, there was silence, before there was more rattling.

"...What is that?"

"That's what I was talking about," Kaururu told her, looking over towards the door. "Where are your parents?"

Kuroro shrugged in reply. "I think Mom's in his lab-thing, and heck if I know where Dad is..."

"He said he was going to go visit Aunt Koyuki," his sister replied. It was true; their father had gone to visit the woman his daughter was named after not too long ago. Kuroro had been too busy downloading iTunes to listen to him.

"Alright, we need to get your mother. If whatever she was talking about are already here..." Kaururu's sentence trailed off as she stiffened, hearing more rattling. Kuroro, who was starting to get a bit antsy and frightened, called out;

"W-well what are we waiting for? MOOOM!"

Hearing someone run down the stairs, Kuroro turned expectantly, but all that he saw was his youngest sister, Chimama*, standing at the bottom of the stairs.

"What's all this racket about?" She asked unhappily, and Kaururu scratched nervously at her head.

"Nothing Chimama," Koyuki answered her quickly, before yelling "Mom!" Kululu poked his head out from his room, looking somewhat irked that he was distracted from whatever that he was doing.

"We need to get out of here. Now," Kuroro told him as the rattling got louder. He was now noticeably frightened, crouching a little as his legs trembled.

The rattling grew even louder after that, and Chimama crossed her arms. "You know, if this is one of your stupid pranks, I'm going to kill something."

"What is that?" Kululu asked as the door visibly shook, nearly being pulled out of its hinges.

"It's a darkness, and it's poofy time," Kaururu explained quickly, before transporting them all to Liz's room before the door could be torn from its hinges completely.

The sight that greeted them was shocking; no, shocking was an understatement. The scene in front of them was downright breathtaking. The girl that lie in the bed was barely recognizable as the girl that they had come to know. Normally, she was so full of life, but now she was sweaty and pale, almost looking like she was dead, except for the slow rise and fall of her chest. Kaururu was looking slightly worriedly in her direction, and Kululu was the first to raise the question;

"What's wrong with Liz?"

"She's really sick, and we don't know what's wrong with her," Kaururu replied.

"Mhm...darkness...destruction...death..." Liz muttered in her sleep.

"Shh, she's talking," Kuroro whispered to the others. Chimama crossed her arms again and rolled her eyes.

"That's not good," Kululu stated after watching Liz thrash and pant for a few moments.

"Kill...kill the darkness..." She murmured again, her breathing getting heavier and shakier.

"She's trying to say something, I think," Kaururu murmured softly to the others.

"But what's it mean?" Koyuki asked, and Kuroro shrugged in reply.

"Kill...Kill them, kill the darkness!" She cried out, voice rising. "Kill them all!" And then she passed out, body going slack and limp, her breathing returning to normal.

"Liz!" Kaururu yelped as she passed out, and Kuroro put a hand on her shoulder.

"Well, she's too sick to really tell us anything. We need to go find the others. Kaururu, where's your family?" For a moment, the black and green Keronian was silent, before saying;

"They're already in the house. I got England to put a spell on it, the Darkness won't be able to find us here."

"You convinced England to do something?" Koyuki asked, sounding slightly shocked, and Kaururu nodded. "Anyway, we need to find the rest of my dad's platoon, Garuru's platoon, and the Pekoponians. Then we'll make a plan," Kaururu told them all.

"Right," Koyuki agreed. The others reluctantly agreed with her, and again, Kaururu transported them all away. This time, however, they were all in Giroro and Natsumi's house. Everything seemed normal, except some overturned furniture and shattered glass.

"Uncle Giroro!" Kaururu called out after a few moments of silence. "I don't hear the Darkness..."

"You can hear it?" Koyuki asked curiously, checking over her friend's body to see if she had any kind of "Darkness-sensing" devices on her, which she did not.

"Kinda." Kaururu replied, still mostly intent on finding Giroro and the others. Her feet crunched over broken glass, and Koyuki winced at the noise. "I get heat flashes when they're near, I don't quite know why though."

The crunching grass alerted someone else, too, and Giroro jumped out from around the corner, holding his pistol ready and aiming. "I HAVE A GUN!" he cried out, before realizing that it was just Kaururu and the others, and lowering his gun, he gave a relieved sigh. "Oh, it's just you guys."

"Giroro, where's everyone else?" Kuroro asked. At the moment, he was only worried about getting the family and then getting out of this place. He had started to visibly tremble though, pressing close to Kaururu for support.

"In the basement," Giroro replied, motioning back behind him. "Some weird creature just attacked, but it left like, ten minutes ago."

"Must've been the Darkness," Kululu muttered, and Giroro looked confused.

"The what?" He asked, before Kaururu cut him off.

"No time to explain, just go get your family, we need to get out of here before—" she went rigid suddenly, holding her head at alert, looking like a hound dog that had just scented a rabbit.

"...Kauru?" Kuroro questioned, and Kaururu turned, looking at all of them with a very serious expression.

"Run." Was all that she said, before tearing off in the opposite direction. Not knowing what else to do, the others took off after her, before skidding to a stop when Ayame* poked her head out of the door that led down to the basement.

"Dad?" She asked, looking at all of the assembled Keronians. "What's going on?"

"Get back in the basement, Ayame," Giroro barked at her quickly, before the sound of a window shattering and a deep snarl took his attention away from her.

Standing in front of them was perhaps the most hideous creature that any of them had ever seen. It was reared up on its back legs, and stood about six feet tall at that point. It looked like some kind of disgusting mix of a lizard and a dragon, with a long, scaly tail, a lizard-like body, and a grotesque head. It had a long red tongue that dripped with saliva as it wiped it around its deformed muzzle, before letting out a high shriek.

"Get out of here you guys!" Kaururu called to them quickly. "I'll take care of it."

"It'll kill you!" Kuroro argued, grabbing her arm. "You come with us!" Kaururu wrenched her arm from Kuroro's grip and pulled out a rather large knife, throwing it at the creature's head. It gave out another shriek as it toppled over, and without any further warning, the group now started running as fast as they could down to the basement.

"Where are we going!" Koyuki asked Kaururu as they practically leaped down the stairs. The black and green Keronian replied with a simple "You'll see," as they reached Natsumi, who was standing protectively over Kawawa*. The boy attempted to peek out from around his mother's arms after hearing them run down, his big brown eyes curious and questioning.

"Kauru! Sis!" He called out, and Kaururu ran over to the other two, looking very distressed indeed.

"No time to talk, it's poofy time!" And without any further time, she transported the others back to Liz's house, and herself to the house that Koyuki and Saburo shared, only to find Koyuki crouched up on a dresser, tensed and ready for battle. "They won't get away again..." she was saying, which led Kaururu to believe that the monsters had been here, too.

"Koyuki! Dororo!" She called. At her words, the blue Keronian popped up from where he'd been hiding from behind Koyuki.

"Kaururu?" He asked curiously, and Kaururu held up a hand to cut him off.

"Let's go, we need to move! Where's Saburo and the others?"

"I don't know!" Koyuki replied, and Kaururu cursed under her breath. A minor bump in the plan...but even now, minor bumps could put huge cracks in her plan.

"Don't worry, we'll find them," she reassured the ninja girl after she jumped down to her level. "I don't think they're around here, which is good, 'cause there's at least three heading our way..."

"Three!" Dororo said in disbelief, starting to pull out his sword, before the glare that Kaururu gave him stopped him in his tracks.

"Let's get out of here," Kaururu told them quickly, and before anyone could have any objections, she transported them all to Liz's house, where the others were waiting for them. "I'll get everyone else by myself, you guys stay here. If I'm not back in thirty minutes, don't come looking for me." With those words, she was gone again in a poof of pink dust.

"Koyuki!" Saburo called, running up and hugging his wife with a sigh of relief. Their children* ran over, also delighted to see their mother.

"Saburo, you guys have been here the whole time?" Kuroro asked after they finally pulled away.

"'Course we have. Did you think we were going to stick around while all those crazy monsters are running around?" Akane asked, crossing her arms.

"Is everyone alright?" Dororo asked after the situation had calmed a bit. Running up, Kuroro threw his arms around his father, crying "Dad!" as he buried his face into Dororo's chest.

"Where's my daughter?" Keroro declared, walking in from the other room. The sergeant looked angry, yet also worried, and Tamama stood beside him, wearing a frightened expression.

"She left to go get everyone who isn't here," Kuroro replied, and Keroro snarled;

"Dammit!" Tamama rubbed Keroro's shoulders in support, and Dororo looked over at him. "That's my poor little girl out there..." Keroro murmured, much softer now, and Tamama rubbed his shoulders gently again. Really, right know, there was nothing else he knew of that would calm the restless Keronian.

"She'll be alright. I know she will," Kuroro added. He was saying it mostly to reassure the others, although he was also saying it to reassure himself. After a few moments of an awkward silence, there was another "poof"ing sound, and Garuru, Pururu, and their two daughters Gariri* and Shiruru* had joined them in the living room. As long as they were there, it must've meant that Kaururu was alive, at least for the moment.

"Look who's here," Koyuki stated, as Garuru and Giroro shared a tight hug.

"Will someone please explain what's going on here?" Shiruru asked, her red eyes narrowed in annoyance. Of course, it was only to be expected by someone who'd just been so rudely uprooted from their home, even if it was only to protect them.

"These creepy monster things, called "Darkness", are apparently trying to kill us. And that's all I know," Kuroro replied, shrugging dismissively. Honestly, everything had been so rushed when Kaururu came to find them, those were the few scattered details that he'd been able to pick up.

"Perfect," Shiruru sighed, rolling her eyes. From beside her, Gariri tentatively asked;

"Does this have something to do with Liz?" For a moment, everyone was quiet. For once, they were a bit hesitant about whether or not to blame Liz for this. Normally, whenever anything bad happened in their world, they automatically blamed it on the crazy fangirl; this time, however, they weren't sure if she was really the source of this problem.

"I think so. This didn't start happening until she got sick," Kuroro finally said. He felt like he was a judge, sentencing a criminal to the sentence of "guilty". This feeling was only furthered when Gariri muttered "Knew it" under her breath. Only a few moments after he'd said it, there was another one of the "poof" sounds, and this time, Tororo, Zoruru, Akameme*, and Kōgege* had joined the already large group that was standing awkwardly in the living room.

"Where's Kaururu?" Kuroro asked after they'd cleared their lungs of the annoying pink dust that had accompanied them.

"She was fighting with a Darkness when we left," Akameme replied nonchalantly, the tone of her voice suggesting that she really didn't fully understand (or she really didn't care) about the current situation. "It looked like she was winning."

"And you left her?" Kuroro snapped, bristling. Akameme let out a little "tsk" at his behavior, glaring at him down her nose. She looked like she was about to say something, before Kaururu finally appeared, covered in black blood and wearing a triumphant grin on her face.

"Kaururu!" Her father exclaimed, running over to look over his daughter, who attempted to duck away from his protective grip. Her mother also joined in the little reunion, leaving the poor girl helplessly trapped with an unhappy look on her face. Keroro was now hugging her tightly, and Kaururu gave a soft huff.

"Dad, I'm covered in blood," she muttered, lifting one of her arms to prove her point. "You might want to let go." Finally, her father released her from his death grip, and she proceeded to grab a towel and start to wipe the blood off of her body.

"So, what now?" Koyuki asked, and Kaururu turned to answer her after she got the last of it off of her face.

"We need to contact Kayla, see if she knows about the Darkness." It was a sensible idea. As Liz's best friend, Kayla might know a thing or too about the Darkness, and even if she didn't they needed to keep her out of danger. If Liz failed to come through, then Kayla would be what they would have to lean on. She was the only other demention traveler around, after all.

"On it!" Kuroro proclaimed, going over to the house phone and picking it up, dialing the other girl's number.

"Hello?" The brown haired girl answered boredly, and Kuroro sighed in relief.

"Good, you're alive. We need you to come to Liz's place right now. It's urgent, unless you want to get killed."

"...You guys do realize I'm up in the attic, right?"

"Oh, you are?" Kuroro asked, feeling the urgency drain from his system. "Well then get down here!" He muttered, attempting to make up for the misinterpretation, before hanging up.

"I'll go check on Liz, make sure she's still alive," Kawawa said quickly, running up the stairs to check on the ailing girl. A few moments later, he rushed back down the stairs, looking slightly worried but also happy. "Guys, she's awake! She wants to talk to you!" They didn't need to be told twice before the group rushed upstairs and into Liz's room, crowding around the girl's bed. She was sitting up now, and looked slightly better than she did before.

"Good, good, you're all here," she sighed, running a hand through her hair. "I think I should explain to you what's going on. You see, I have a very high level of depression and darkness in my body, and it's started to poison me. That's why I'm sick. My darkness has materialized into these creatures. I need you to kill all of those creatures...if you can't do it within this month then I'll die, and the darkness will take over."

"Why didn't you tell us this before?" Kuroro snapped, and Liz snapped right back at him;

"I didn't know!" Realizing that his words had come out much harsher than he'd wished for them to, Kuroro backed off, looking down at the floor.

"Well...how do we kill them?" he asked much more quietly, and Liz leaned back against the bed. Her eyes were starting to glaze over, and Kuroro knew that they didn't have much more time for questions as she heaved out the next words with difficulty.

"Same way you'd kill large game." She replied, her brown eyes half-closed. "A good shot to the head, chest, heart, lungs, wherever you can get it." They all nodded, and Liz leaned her head against the pillow. "Good luck...soldiers." With those final words, she was passed out again, head lying slack against the pillow.

[AN: Well hello readers. Yes, yes, I know what you're thinking; ANOTHER FANFICTION? Yes, another one. I couldn't help myself. Don't worry, guys, I promise the next chapter of 300/Hellcats: Fire and Ice/WolfTag/my other fanfics will be up soon. In the meantime, enjoy my new addiction to Sgt. Frog. And yes, I do realize that in this chapter it doesn't say anything about Momoka and Fuyuki, I realize that (this was written off of a roleplay with a friend), and I'm too lazy to add a scene in because it would hinder the fanfiction. This probably isn't one of my best starting chapters, but it picks up from here. Here are the new characters so you won't be confused;

Kuroro: the oldest son of Kululu and Dororo. He's a golden-yellow color, like Kululu, with a waterdrop as his symbol. He wears glasses like Kululu, thick and opaque, but without the swirls.
Koyuki: the oldest daughter of Kululu and Dororo, and Kuroro's older twin. She's a blue-gray color, like Dororo, with a small shadow as her symbol. She wears a dark gray neckerchief.
Chimama: the youngest daughter of Kululu and Dororo. She is a solid yellow-gray color with the yin-yang sign as her symbol. She wears normal glasses, not like Kuroro or Kululu.

Kaururu: the oldest daughter of Keroro and Tamama. She is green with black markings and the toxic sign as her symbol.

Ayame: the oldest daughter of Giroro and Natsumi. She has two forms, her human form and her Keronian form. In her human form, she closely resembles Natsumi, but with darker reddish hair and stone blue-gray eyes. She wears a headband with the crossbones symbol on it. In her Keronian form, she is pink with red markings and has the crossbones sign as her symbol. She wears a belt like her father in both forms.

Kawawa: the youngest son of Giroro and Natsumi. He has two forms, his human form and his Keronian form. In his human form, he is short with dark reddish hair and brown eyes. He wears a headband with a bullet on it. In his Keronian form, he is red with darker reddish markings and has a bullet as his symbol.

Akane: the youngest daughter of Saburo and Koyuki. She is the only important character out of their four children and the only one I feel like mentioning. She has long white hair and dark blue eyes.

Gariri: the youngest daughter of Garuru and Pururu and Shiruru's twin. She is a purple color with a jaguar as her symbol. Later on, she wears sunglasses.

Shiruru: the oldest daughter of Garuru and Pururu and Gariri's twin. She is a magenta color with a pawprint as her symbol. She wears a belt like her father.

Akameme: the oldest daughter of Zoruru and Tororo. She is a dark gray color with a blade as her symbol.

Kōgege: the youngest son of Zoruru and Tororo. He is a dark salmon color with three clawmarks as his symbol.

You should probably still know who Liz and Kayla are, and what the Sanctuary is. If not, feel free to read The Brotherhood. /end AN]