Secret of the Ashikabi

Wheels in Motion

Takami Sahashi was standing behind her desk, her left hand resting on the glass surface of the modern industrial styled table.

Her right hand rested in the right pocket of the white lab coat that she wore. A coat that she had worn so many times it had become a part of her identity. Underneath the lab coat she wore a simple black top. For her lower half she wore a pair of dark trousers made of the finest silk to make them very comfortable to wear. As for footwear, she had on black flats. There was no point in wearing heels for her job after all, and she hated them anyway.

Her gray eyes were looking out of the glass windows of her office. Two sides of her office were all glass since she had a corner office. The view of the city was beautiful, especially at night when the city glowed. She could not help but think about how utterly in the dark everyone in the city was, or everyone in the whole nation for that matter. Nobody could have guessed what would happen in only a few days time. Nobody except her and Minaka. Not even the others in the company really knew what was going on.

Thinking of Minaka, she balled her hands into tight fists and gritted her teeth, a soft growl escaping her lips.

Minaka Hiroto. Chairman and CEO of the largest and most powerful conglomerate in the world: Mid Bio Informatics, also known as MBI. He was a true genius, and yet also a madman. But he had not always been that way. She had loved him once, and he her, but ever since that fateful day when all this began something in him had changed. While his love for her remained, her's began to disappear as he transformed into the Minaka that lived and breathed today. A far cry from the man he used to be, the man she used to love with all her heart.

Still, she could not hate him. At least, not completely. He had, after all, given her children. Two beautiful children. Her eyes flicked over to look at a framed photo on her desk, her left hand reaching out and grabbing it. She brought it close to her face as it was hard to see in the darkness.

All the lights in the office were turned off, with the only lights coming in from the windows. From the glow of the city at night.

Her initially hard gaze softened as she stared at the picture in her hand. Her two children, a son and daughter, looked at the camera with happy, smiling faces as they hugged her from either side. Innocent. A younger version of herself stared right back at her, a smile on her face as well. She returned the picture to where it belonged and placed the hand back into the pocket of her coat just like the other one.

Her strides long and purposeful, she moved to leave her office. She loved her children very much, more than anything in the world, which was why she was going to go see Minaka. She needed to have a discussion with him about them. She knew that because they had his genes, that because they were of his own flesh and blood, that Minaka would be involving them in his plans somehow. And that simply was not acceptable to Takami.

It was late. The building was mostly deserted, with most of the employees home, either asleep or getting ready to be at this hour. The only remaining personnel were the guards, soldiers, and medical staff stationed at Teito Tower, the headquarters of MBI located in the heart of Shinto Teito, capital of Japan. They were mostly in the lower floors though.

An elevator was already open to her floor, as if the building had kept it there knowing that she would need one. She walked in, turned on her heel, and swiped her ID card to activate the elevator before pressing the button for the top floor. Hands still in her coat pockets, she waited only a short while before the doors opened into a large reception area.

It was, as expected, deserted.

She walked out of the elevator and headed for the glass doors directly opposite the elevator and on the other side of the reception area. The area was excessively large, strangely so because Minaka rarely ever got any visitors, if they were even allowed to get up this far. As the head of the largest and most powerful conglomerate in the world, he was practically a king, and if he did not want to see you, you did not get to see him.

As she approached the glass doors with the MBI logo emblazoned on them proudly, she moved over to a console mounted onto a stand a few feet in front of the doors. Again she scanned her ID card and the doors smoothly slid open. Taking a deep breath, she stepped into the even larger office of Minaka Hiroto.

It was empty, a few lights turned on by his desk.

Anyone else who had gotten this far, and there were only a handful of people who could have, might have thought he was out of the building and therefore unreachable. But Takami knew better. In fact, she knew him best out of anyone else besides Minaka himself. She had been his wife after all. Even though he had changed, she knew who and what he had changed from and into. She knew that he barely slept, and when he did it was in the office. This was his home, as he had told her many times before ever since the tower was built.

There were stairs on one side of the room, and Takami made her way towards them. They led up to the roof deck. If Minaka was not in his office, he was undoubtedly up there where he liked to enjoy the view. From that vantage point, you could see most of the city since Teito Tower was the highest building in the city by a few dozen stories. He liked to say that he literally felt on top of the world from up there.

Sure enough, Minaka was out there near the edge of the deck and looking out at the city stretched out before him. His entirely white outfit billowing in the strong winds that often buffeted the highest point in the city. She always wondered how he could stand there for hours without seeming to be affected by the gusts. It only took minutes for her to become irritated and chilled by it, but she ignored those feelings. She needed to talk to him.

"Hello, Takami," he said in a loud voice, necessary since the wind was so strong. He was not surprised to see her and he did not turn around when he greeted her. Like Takami, he had his hands in the pockets of his own white coat, and he had slightly longer gray hair. Other than those similarities, he was different from her in almost every way.

Takami was of typical height for a woman of Asian descent, who tend to skew on the shorter side. She stood at 5 feet 4 inches, or 162 centimeters, while he stood tall at 6 feet 3 inches, or 190 centimeters. He had blue eyes, she had gray. He was considered by many to be a 'super' genius, she was merely a 'normal' genius. Plus, she was sane and he was not, or at least that's what she liked to tell herself.

"To what do I owe such a late night visit?" He said after a momentary pause that was punctuated only by the buffeting of the wind. "Is this a desire to rekindle some fiery romance?" His voice seemed to gain some excitement.

"No," replied Takami in a flat voice. That was on the very bottom of the list of things she would have thought about, and she knew that he knew that.

"Oh? How disappointing..." He truly did seem disappointed at that. He finally half-turned to look at her, his glasses catching a light and reflecting it slightly. He grinned at her. "So what is it then my dear Takami?"

She didn't appreciate him calling her his dear, but she did not voice her discomfort and displeasure at such a trivial thing. At least, it was trivial in the grander scheme of things that they were both involved with. Which brought her mind to the original reason she went to visit him.

"Minaka," she began, "I do not want them involved in all this. Do you understand?"

Minaka's grin seemed to widen, his eyes gazing at her with increasing interest. "And who might these people be? And what is this that you speak of?"

"You know who and what I am talking about!"

"Enlighten me."

"Our... my children. And the plan."

"The plan," he whispered, and she almost did not hear it. Minaka returned to looking out at the city before him. "They're all so very clueless as to what's about to transpire. And they are all so lucky that I chose Shinto Teito for this magnificent, world-altering event. Now they will have front row seats to the birth of a new era, the dawn of a new age. The Age of the Gods! Oh it makes me tingle just to think about it! I wish it was already starting..."

"Did you hear me, Minaka? My children better not be involved in your schemes!" She began to glare at him, her efforts would have bored a hole in the back of Minaka's head if that were possible.

Minaka spun on his heel, his cape billowing behind him and is spiky hair swaying every which way with the wind. He stopped in front of Takami and then half-turned back to the ledge, extending his arm out in a sweeping motion.

"This is the playing field for the game, my dear. If they are within the game's boundaries, I'm afraid they have no choice but to be a part of it," he told her simply, making her visibly stiffen and glare at him even more. Before she could respond, he continued, "If anything happens, then it happens. I won't force them to do anything, Takami dear. But I also won't stop them from becoming a part of this glorious event, should they be so fortunate as to be given that chance."

Her lips were pursed into a thin line. Her entire body was shaking from the effort she was expending to refrain from hitting him. Even though Minaka loved her and would not hurt her, she did not want to push him further than he might be willing to tolerate and do something that might injure her. She was feisty and strong-willed, but even that would not help her compensate for the massive differences in their size. An actual physical fight would only end with her in a lot of pain, and possibly damaging whatever love and respect Minaka still had for her that kept her at the company.

"Didn't you hear me properly? I do not want them involved," she repeated, grating out the words.

Minaka tutted at her, "Takami, Takami, Takami... you knew for a while now that I chose Shinto Teito to be the playground, to be the site of history in the making. And yet!" He smiled, "And yet you allowed your children to come here to study and to live their ordinary little lives." He looked at her and then out at the city. "The mere fact of being within the city means that they are part of the game, at least indirectly. And if any of them happens to be nearby when our little ones are released and running around," he paused, the light in his eyes dancing with excitement. "Well, their ordinary lives would become extra ordinary, as they should! They would have no choice but to be a part of it then. But," he paused again and looked Takami straight in the eyes,

"All of that would have to happen without undue influence, of course. There will be no forcing them. It will be entirely up to chance, and of course, their own choice. I will promise you that. " He clasped his hands behind him and walked back to his spot near the ledge.

Takami did not like it. Not one bit. But what could she do? What he said was actually better than she had ever expected to get from him, which was merely a negative response. She turned and looked away, her own shorter gray hair blowing around her. She shivered, and not simply because of the chilling wind.

"Don't be like that, Takami!" Minaka's voice again pierced through the silence and carried over the winds. "Think of this as a golden opportunity to be a part of an event that will drastically shape humanity's future."

Takami shook her head, "I would rather spare them such a golden opportunity," she replied sarcastically.

"But why? Why would you deny them the glory of ushering in a new era?"

Her reply was dead serious, "Because it will be hard. It will be dangerous. It will be painful. And I want to protect them, like a proper mother should."

"A noble sentiment, my dearest Takami. But a mother should also give her children the best possible chance to succeed, to become great, to change the world! Do you not agree? Besides, it is too late to stop it all from happening now. The wheels have been set in motion. Soon, the Sekirei Plan will unfold," he spoke with increasing excitement and joy and actually started to laugh. He quieted after a while and cast her a sideways glance, "There's no way to know for sure if one of our precious birds would react to them, anyway. You should not fret so much."

Takami narrowed her eyes at the sudden statement. They both knew that it was actually more than likely that they would. With his genes in them, they were definitely the right material to become Ashikabis. And Sekireis were attracted to the right Ashikabis. With that, the chances that they would become full participants in what Minaka called 'the game' were much higher than he was making it out to be. Still, he was right though. She could not stop the plan anymore. Not having gone this far. And there was always the chance that no Sekireis would be attracted to them. A slim chance.

She slowly walked over to the ledge and looked down at the city, in the direction of where she knew her children lived.

"The wheels are in motion," Takami repeated under her breath. She only hoped her children would not get caught up in those wheels, least of all trampled.

Author's Notes: I love this anime and will probably write a few stories about it in time. Anyways, I hope you will enjoy my first foray into the Sekirei fanfiction world. Reviews are welcomed with open arms.