This chapter was written under the influence of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Dark Angel (Faces Without Names), a dash of Fall Out Boy, a hint of random Nightcore'd music, and a liberal amount of DDR mixes.
Don't own. That is all.
Konata woke with a start, her arm outstretched and her other hand clutching at her aching chest. She noticed the room seemed strangely blurred before she realized that there were tears in her eyes.
A nightmare…just a nightmare…
But it was so REAL! It was so….real…
She stifled a sob, her forgotten manga sliding off her bed where she had fallen asleep. Clasping her knees to her chest and curling into a small ball, she gritted her teeth, willing herself not to cry; yet as if just to defy her will, she felt hot tears cascade down her cheeks.
Kagami…Miyuki…Tsukasa…My friends are real! I know they are! I'm not alone…I'm….not…they wouldn't betray me…they wouldn't leave me…
Her tears came faster as she gave up the fight and let it all come out. She raised a trembling hand and gazed at it, almost as if afraid of what she would see. It was thin and quite ladylike, if she said so herself. Her hand met her forehead with a hard smack.
I'm…being totally stupid.
"But what if you're not?"
A familiar voice sounded in her head. The last time she had heard it, she watched him stab Kagami in her dream.
"What if it's not a dream? What if that really is reality, little girl? What if you truly are alone? No one cares for the little otaku. Even Kagami, who very well may be a figment who will later try to kill you….purely out of love for you, of course. Even she grows tired of you. You love only yourself, little hero. And that is your secret, Konata Izumi. Your heart contains only room for yourself.
You are alone.
You always will be. Even your MOTHER preferred DEATH to helping raise you!"
"No, no stop it! Stop ittttt….!" Konata shook her head in denial. "I'm not alone! Mother loved me…it wasn't her fault or her choice to leave us..!"
Her tears came hot and fast. Konata prided herself on her iron-clad willpower when it came to showing true sadness. But every now and then, she would break down. There was usually no warning to it, just a sudden snap, and her wall of happiness would falter.
"Fool. But you're right, little girl. It wasn't your mother's choice to die. It is your fault, after all."
Konata gasped sharply. "No…no, it's not true! It's not my fault! Mother was….Kanata was…she…there was nothing they could do…I…it's not my fault, Mom! I didn't…I didn't want you to die…"
Konata squeezed her eyes shut, willing the pain to stop, willing herself to be happy again.
It didn't work.
"You did do it, you know. It's your fault I'm dead, Kona-chan. It's your fault Sou-kun is alone. But it's not like you could know that you would steal my remaining years with your birth."
A choked sob tore its way out of Konata's throat. This was the price; this was the payment demanded by her conscious. Even her mother now mocked her. She was useless. She was no one. She stole a life far more worthy of living than her own.
"You are alone, little hero. What have you done in your life that Kanata couldn't have done? What use have you been to anyone?"
"I…have nothing…I don't know…"
A hand touched her shoulder lovingly, and she turned to see who had touched her as it vanished. No one. She was truly alone. The shadows in her room seemed to darken, obscuring her sources of joy. The shadows seemed to reach for her, yearning to consume her; devour her.
Then once more, she felt a loving presence. She could almost feel comforting arms wrap around her, as if to tell her it would be okay. She ignored it. She didn't want to hear any more. She just wanted to curl up and cry herself to sleep, then wake up and be her normal self again.
"Jeez. You really are an idiot." Kagami's voice cut through her mind like a knife. "Seriously, you stupid otaku, cheer up. I'm here. I'm always here for you. No mother could ever truly hate their child. And as for alone? Think a little more often, damn you! I'm a phone call away, dammit! Jeez, You really would fail life without me, wouldn't you? Well, go on! Pick up the phone and gimme a call! No point in being miserable alone, you know."
The ghostly arms wrapped around her suddenly seemed to fade away as Konata reached for her phone. She hesitated, looking toward her window at the illuminated street. She could call, yes, but it just wasn't the same. Kurokona had braved worse in her dream, and….
She could feel the hot prickle of tears again as she sniffed. She needed a hug. She wanted a hug so badly right now, and only one person would do. Konata bit her lip, before getting out of bed and slipping on some clothes. She considered for a moment and wrote a quick note, telling her father and Yutaka that she was going to see Kagami, and that she'd talk to them about it later.
"Please be real, Kagami…and please don't hate me…" A quick minute of washing her face later, she slipped out the door.
A ghostly figure watched her leave, a bittersweet smile on her face as she sighed. "I'm sorry, Kona-chan…I wish I could be here for you, so I can tell you everything will be okay. But you have Hiiragi to help look after you. I know Sou-kun seems useless at times, but he loves you as well…We never wanted to to be sad. It's not your fault. It was my choice. I chose to bring you into this world, even knowing that I may die because of it. Maybe I'm the one who should be suffering for my selfishness. But…you are a product of our pure love. We could never make a choice to kill you just so I could live a little longer.
It hurts to not have a mother, and knowing that you may have had a hand in that, even without a choice…That was never something I wanted for you.
Trust your friends, Kona-chan. Make sure Sou-kun stays healthy, and watch over your cousin. Don't let dark thoughts drag you down like this..." Kanata smiled softly as Konata ran down the road in the direction of Kagami's house.
"You're only alone if you let yourself be. It's not weak to cry on a friend's shoulder. It's not weak to rely on your friends. Well, within reasonable terms." Kanata sweat dropped lightly, thinking about how spoiled and lazy her daughter had gotten. "Oh Sou-kun, you never change, even with two young impressionable girls looking up to you." Kanata floated effortlessly to her husband in life's room, smiling as he mumbled in his sleep.
"Take care of our daughter, Sou-kun. She was my greatest gift to you." Kanata whispered softly into his ear, drawing away and running her fingers over his cheek. Soujiro stirred.
"I…will….Kanata-hime…I will always treasure her…." He mumbled in his sleep. Kanata smiled as she began to rise back to the celestial plains. Her work was done for now; she was expected back soon.
Kagami awake with a start. She wasn't sure why, but something told her it was best if she woke up NOW. She looked over at her clock.
She rolled over. A pair of sea green eyes met her gaze. Kagami blinked. So did the girl looking at her.
So that's why she woke up. Wait…2+2=….
"Konata, you have 5 seconds to explain how you came to be in my bed before I beat you and scream "Rape" at the top of my lungs." Kagami deadpanned. She inhaled deeply, right before Konata's hand covered her mouth.
"I'm sorry, Kagami….I know it's late, but I just…" Oh no! Nonononononono! Konata felt a familiar hot prickling feeling as she tried to fight back her tears. This was her Kagami; no one could fake this. Again, the tears came unbidden as she tried to discreetly wipe them away.
It didn't help. Kagami had already noticed. Something within her gave, and the "tsun-tsun" rage that had been building to dangerous levels evaporated. She was stunned. She had seen Konata fake many things, and Konata's face crying affected her like nothing else. But this was DIFFERENT. Tears, hot tears were actually leaving Konata's eyes, and she just look so distraught that Kagami felt herself losing to her instinct to cheer up her tiny otaku friend.
"He-hey….I'm not really that upset, Konata. What's wrong? Come on, you can tell me…" The sight of Konata genuinely crying blew through any and all of Kagami's barriers with minimal resistance. One thought reigned supreme in her mind.
Make Konata happy again.
Kagami sat up. Konata did the same. Kagami didn't register the movement until she felt the warm tears on her hand as she wiped them from Konata's face. "Konata, what's wrong? Is it your dad? Yutaka? Please, tell me why you're crying…"
Konata sniffed, biting her lower lip in attempt not to break out into a weeping, sobbing wreck. Why had she come here? She couldn't tell Kagami about this! There was no way she could! This was her curse, she couldn't share it with Kagami! Even though she seemed to be a bit closer since they started watching that show together, she just couldn't.
"I-I…Just wanted to see you, I guess. Its nothing…Just the stupid, good-for-nothing otaku coming to bother her favorite target at an ungodly hour. Are you surpri-"
Konata blinked, her hand coming up to touch the red handprint, tears of pain now joining her other tears. Kagami wasn't looking at her. No…not Kagamin...! I…this was a stupid idea, I'm just ruined our friendship!
"Ah. K-Kagami, I-"
"Don't say that."
"You're LYING Konata. Don't tell me it's nothing, I can tell it's something. Don't…don't cheapen this. Don't come to me in genuine tears, then insult yourself and tell me it's nothing. Just…don't. Tell me what's wrong, Konata. You snuck over to my room and woke me up. You owe me, so please…don't lie to me about this." Kagami looked up into Konata's eyes, and Konata was shocked to see tears creeping into her eyes. Sympathetic tears. Tears shared between friends.
"I-I'm sorry, Kagami…I…." Warm, welcoming arms wrapped around her comfortingly, and she stifled a shocked gasp. Kagami was hugging her. Again.
The dam broke. The tears came. Konata buried herself into Kagami's arms as she let her tears of sorrow and loneliness soak into her best friend's chest. "I was so scared, Kagami! It was so horrible! I was all alone, and no one liked me! You, Tsukasa and Miyuki….None of you were real! Dad was…dad was….and mom was dead; and-and…..You….Kuroi-sensei didn't exist, Yutaka was dead, and you…you were just a figment of my imagination, trying to drive me insane or kill me! I hated it! I hated it Kagami!I don't want to be alone! It was…it was so real….and then….and then the voices started to tell me that I would always be alone, and that it was my fault mom died!" Konata wasn't even paying attention to what she was saying anymore; she was just soaking up Kagami's comforting presence.
Kagami, however, was almost in shock. She…really was lonely…and….
Kagami tried to imagine herself in that sort of situation. She felt a sharp pang of loneliness as her own tears returned. All she could feel was horror. Horror that Konata's dreams could be so cruel to her. It wasn't FAIR! Why did Konata have to have such a horrific nightmare? She had done nothing to deserve that!
"Shhh….shhhhh…it's okay, Konata, I'm here. You'll never have to worry about me leaving you, okay? We're…best friends, after all…" The words tumbled from her lips so easily, without even thinking about it. She just held the weeping bluenette close and stroked her hair comfortingly as her tears slowed. Oddly enough…the situation felt…right, to her.
"It's okay, Konata, I'm right here. I'm not going to leave you, so let it all out, okay? Tomorrow, if you feel like it, I'll hang out with you after school. Wherever you want to go, okay? Just cheer up."
Konata finally look up at Kagami, absently noting how close their faces were, unaware that Kagami was noting the same.
"You promise? You really promise, where ever I want to go and whatever I want to do?" That face…it was impossible to say no to. Konata's face was a face full of childlike hope, streaked with tears. It was the look of a dying man who had just been told that someone wanted to perform a miracle and give him his life back. It was a face Kagami would never dream of saying no to.
Kagami smiled. That face…was just too cute. "Yeah, yeah, I promise. Just cheer up. And you know…its okay to come to me for more than just homework. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on…That's what best friends are for, right?"
Konata's face broke into a beaming smile as she buried her face into Kagami's chest, for once without a single dirty thought. Her tears began anew, but they were happy tears. She felt exhausted, but it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders. "Can I…stay like this a little longer? Please?"
"Yeah, yeah, go ahead…I'm glad you're feeling better."
"Sis, if you don't get up, we're going to be late to school!" Tsukasa panicked, throwing open Kagami's door. She froze upon seeing Kagami's bed. Kagami's hair had become fanned out, and she was slightly curled around something.
Something with long blue hair.
The two in question stirred, Konata mumbling something about all the cute aliens being either emotionless or batshit crazy.
Kagami, however, stirred, opened an eyes, and sat up with a yawn. "Morning Tsuuuu….." It was at this time that she noticed Tsukasa was already dressed for school. Further examination revealed that she also appeared to be in shock. It didn't take her long to look down at the short girl curled up almost in her lap. Her eyes widened in rage as she opened her mouth to scream at the home intruder, which seemed to snap Tsukasa out of her stupor as she flinched in preparation of the beat down about the occur.
Kagami stopped as one of Konata's eyes lazily opened. Her laziness vanished when she saw Kagami in Rage mode as she curled up to protect her head from an attack that would never happen.
The moment Kagami saw Konata curl up in fear, it all came rushing back. Her mouth closed as she lowered her hand. Konata's eye cracked open to survey her imminent doom, only to find Kagami smiling down at her softly, a small blush on her face.
"Good morning, sleepyhead. You turned off my alarm, didn't you? I'm going to totally blame you if we're late." Her gaze hardened as she looked at Tsukasa, who looked intrigued that Konata had escaped her sister's wrath.
"One word about this, and everyone finds out just how long it took you to stop wetting the bed."
Tsukasa "eeped!" and began to hurriedly assure them that she must have been mistaken. There was no way Konata would be in bed with Sis, right? And besides that, for sis to resort to blackmail...!
As the door closed, Kagami realized something. "Konata, did you bring your uniform?"
Konata's kitty grin was affixed to her lips as she pointed to her school bag on Kagami's desk.
"Hurry up and get dressed, okay? I'll let you know when the coast is clear, okay."
Kagami poked her head out the door as she heard clothes rustling. Tsukasa was already waiting outside the house, pacing slightly out of nervousness.
Kagami was dressed quickly and out of the house in minutes, dragging a strangely non-protesting Konata behind her.
Kagami couldn't figure it out. Neither could Ayano and Misao, apparently.
"Oi, Hiiragi! Did something good happen? You've got a really bright smile on your face. Its kinda creeping me out."
"…Blunt as always, Misao. And I don't know what you're talking about." Kagami retorted, trying and failing to erase the smile from her face. A couple of her classmates were even starting to whisper and point.
"Hiiragi-san really does look very happy today. I must admit that I am curious as well. "
"You too, Ayano?" Kagami was in a strange mood, and she knew it. Strangely, she was finding it hard to care. Konata had become her usual happy self, even if slightly more exuberant and clingy to Kagami; something she suddenly seemed to find much more tolerable after last night. Who'd have thought she was like me? Well, never again. We'll never be lonely again. We have each other, after all.
Her smile widened.
"I bet she finally confessed to Shorty McBluehair! The Great Kagami-sama has had her heart of ice thawed by the midget! She's finally got laid!" Misao suddenly cowered behind Ayano as she tried to avoid the predicted Hiiragi counterattack.
Kagami was in a strange mood. Kagami was happy. Kagami was feeling a small bit of Konata rubbing off on her. Kagami had a plan.
Kagami was going to tease back.
"Nah, Konata couldn't handle me in bed. I'm just so happy to see my bestest friend in the world, Misao-chan." Kagami grinned, stepping past Ayano and placing a hand on Misao's shoulder .
"Besides…." Kagami cooed into Misao's ear. "Misao is the only one for me…"
Misao felt her heart stop for a moment as she felt Kagami's hot breath on her ear. Her face flushed red with heat as she backed away from Kagami with a mixture or so many different feelings.
"Hi-Hiiragi-sama, it wasn't…I mean…people are watching!" Misao was drawing blanks. This couldn't be the real Hiiragi-sama! Hirragi Kagami is a scary person! Not this hauntingly seductive person in front of her!
"Let them watch, Misao-chan…"
"Why won't you accept me, Misao?"
"I-imposter! Where is the real Hiiragi-sama?"
"I'm right here, Misao."
"You're scaring me!"
"Don't be afraid, Misao."
"Bu-but you mustn't! We're both girls!"
"So is Ayano-Oh! How could you, Misao? Cheating on me with Ayano?"
Kagami couldn't take it any longer. She burst out laughing, clutching the nearest desk for support. "I GOT you! Oh, wow, Kusakabe, you should have seen your FACE!"
"You're channeling the midget now! No fair!"
"All's fair in love and war, Misao."
"So does that mean you love the Squirt? You seem to be at war with her all the time."
"You're just asking for retaliation, Kusakabe~"
"Nooo! Spare me, Hiiragi-sama! Ayano, help! The imposter wants to violate me!"
Akira: Hiya Luckies! I'm Akira Kogami, here with the third installment of Lucky Angel's Lucky channel! We got one more review than last time, so that makes Akira super-extra specially happy!
Minoru: My poor wallet…
Akira: Akira had lots of fun on her date with Sebastian yesterday. We went to a big expensive diner, then we went to the movies and saw an action movie! It was amazing! Then Minoru treated Akira to a cake buffet!
Minoru: All that money…gone in one night…..
Akira: Aww, poor Sebastian has a sad wallet. Oh well, pay day is coming soon, so be sure to review so we get a bonus!
Minoru: Sooo….much….junk food…..
Akira: Of course, Sebastian was a perfect gentlemen, and even used his coat to cover a puddle for Akira!
Minoru: that jacket was a one of a kind limited edition item….
Akira: Oh, don't worry Sebastian. I'm sure the mud will come out.
Akira: Awww, its time to go. Be sure to review lots and lots! Bye-niii!
*sign goes up*
Akira: So, why so depressed. You'll be paid soon anyway.
Minoru: I spent my entire paycheck last night! Don't you care?
Akira: Yeah, yeah, sorry about that. I went a little overboard, okay? I'll pay for tonight's date, IF you can handle the shame of making the girl pay.
Minoru: Really? Wait, tonight's date? We're going on another one?
For a bit of a look into Konata's dream, read this s/7575364/1/Unlucky-Star
Also, please pester him to write his happy ending.
I apologize for the shortness.