I really had no clue on what to do for this actually; I just felt the need to do something, since it feels like I left a lot to be desired by jumping from S1 to S2 (2 years later) without any given explanation. So, I made an ever critical OVA/Hybrid special that everyone wants but can't get cuz it's all in raw Japanese or they can't afford it.
I had enough mind to turn this into a rainbow, starting with red and ending with blue, but I wrote Kagari's part first and I wanted it to be in some sort of (haphazard) chronological order. So it starts with Kagari, next Yomi, then Saya, then Yuu, and Mato last like the anime and S1.
It should be updated periodically as I continue to make slow progress with S2.
Disclaimer - Don't own…
Old habits are diehards.
Kagari knew this to be a fact.
Not but a month after her memories returned, she began picking on Mato again. It wasn't on purpose, at least not at first. Sometimes she'd let a rude comment slip here or there, or unconsciously hand the girl the worst pick from a box of macarons when she shared them with Yomi, and Yuu.
When she finally did notice, she didn't make any effort to change or apologize for it. Mato didn't seem to mind, in fact sometimes the athletic girl would crack jokes about her too, so Kagari didn't make wave about it.
A week after that, the picking became heavier, and Kagari couldn't figure where exactly to draw the line. It only took one wrong word for light teasing with Mato, to turn into an all-out war of insults. Before long the two were huffing smoke from their ears and noses.
Yomi dragged them both to Saya's office and the counselor encouraged them to talk it out over coffee. Neither of them drank the coffee, and neither of them apologized either. They just sat on the couch for a half hour, just glaring daggers at each other.
When at last even Saya had had enough, she instructed them both to stay away from each other for a while until they could resolve whatever was going on. Kagari didn't have a single complaint about that.
Until she realized separating from Mato also meant Yomi wouldn't be associating with her either. It only took half a day of Yomi ignoring her for Kagari apologized.
Mato accepted it of course, but the petty bickering still continued. It was the most confounded thing, and Kagari couldn't figure out why it was so hard to get along with the twin tailed girl.
It shouldn't have been this hard, should it? After all, the days of her being crazy and controlling were behind her now. Why couldn't she make this work like she wanted?
Kagari couldn't seem to break old habits at home either.
Now that she could walk, her parents didn't dote on her nearly as much as they'd used to. Moving into their new place which was a cozy two blocks from Yomi's, she couldn't help but notice her parents weren't around as much as they used to be.
Granted, she'd been living with the Takanashi's for more than three months, but before that, they'd always been there when she needed them. Now, it seemed like they didn't have time for her at all, her mother especially.
Kagari's dad had always been an honest, hardworking man, despite trying to take Mr. Takanashi for all he had after his daughter's accident. Yet, he'd always been there for Kagari when needed. These days? it seemed like he was hardly there at all. But the worst was when Mrs. Izuriha had gone back to work.
Now that Kagari was better, the long year and a half Mrs. Izuriha had taken off work to care for her daughter was over now, and she'd thrown herself back into her trade with complete abandon. Both would be gone for hours, and Kagari often came home to an empty house, just like Yomi.
On the rare occasion the Izuriha's were home early, Kagari would do her best to coerce them into spending some sort of family time together. To which they usually did agree, only after much whining on her part.
This night in particular, Kagari had been hoping she could talk her parent's into attending the school's parent-teacher conference. She wanted them to help her pick new courses for the next semester, and to show off how well she'd been doing since returning to school. They had refused.
"I'm sorry angel, I'm afraid I have a business meeting that day." Replied her dad.
"I might try, but I have so much paper work to catch up on. We'll see hun." Answered her mom.
Despite trying not to, Kagari became upset.
"You have to be there! All the other parents are going to be! Even Mr. Takanashi's going!" The blonde shouted across the dinner table.
Her father tried to reason with her. "Kagari be sensible, you're a big girl now. You don't need us to help you with every little thing anymore. You're more than capable of picking your own courses for the next year."
Her father's words, though practical enough, did nothing to abate the neglect she was beginning to feel in her heart. The old festering wound of being abandoned began to reopen, and Kagari took the only action she could think of in her heated anger.
"I'm sorry, you did… what?" Mato asked in confusion standing in the doorway of her house.
It was nearly past seven in the evening, a little after Mato and her younger brother had eaten dinner, their mother absent, working late. Mato still had yet to shower and change into her sleeping sweats when a ringing doorbell and an incessant knock forced her out of her cozy position on the couch.
The last person she expected to see on her front step was Izuriha Kagari.
The blonde was still wearing her uniform, and carrying a packed duffle bag. Mato didn't want to know the implications of what it all meant, but she'd greeted Kagari anyway. What a mistake that had been. Upon saying hello, the blonde had barged her way into the Kuroi residence and blurted out,
"I ran away from home. Can I stay with you for a couple of days?"
She had asked with complete confidence, as if she were expecting Mato to answer with an automatic yes. The raven haired girl was left stunned.
"You… You ran away from home? What would possess you to do that?! Wait a minute… How'd you even know where my house was?!" Mato inquired completely confused.
"Well, I know you live on this street, so I asked a couple of your neighbors." The blonde answered, completely ignoring the first question.
Kagari took a white box out of her duffle bag and handed it off to Mato as a peace offering.
"Here, some macarons. They're the messy- I'm mean blueberry ones. I gave all the pink ones to Yomi earlier. I knew you wouldn't mind."
Mato, still confused, took the box and examined it. Sure enough, half the box was filled with messy blueberry macarons. She twisted her face in disgust.
"Gee, thanks." Mato muttered contemptibly, slamming her front door closed. "Now are you gonna answer my question? Why'd you run away from home? Didn't you just go back to your parents a month ago?"
Kagari continued to ignore the question as she scrutinized Mato's home.
"This is your house? It's so… small. I kinda expected more from a three story home." The blonde teased, unsure of how else to be truthful, without completely hurting Mato's feelings.
"Yeah, well dad's alimony checks only pay for so much." Mato muttered bitterly. "Now, are you gonna answer my question?"
"Kuroi-kun, where's your room?" Kagari asked, pointing up.
"Third floor, second door on the left- hey! Get back here and answer me!" Mato demanded, following the blonde as she walked up the stairs.
"Don't ignore me! Why'd you run away from home?!"
The blonde continued to disregard Mato, and she let herself into the raven haired girl's room uninvited.
In the colorful world of white washed wind, the sounds of painful noise and clashing steal were (for once) not to be heard anywhere. It was an odd thing, since there was always some sort of friction to be created. Still, for whatever reason, it was quiet, and Rock relished in it. She drank in the serenity and silence that reigned.
…That is, until Chariot's wheeled feet made their way to Rock's peeking white cliff.
Rock's cliff was a tall structure, and very odd in its jagged construction. No one in their shared land of colors could quite figure where it came from and why. Except for the areas with color, the rest of the land was completely flat, and dry.
The cliff though comparable to that of an insignificant splinter to the rest of their vast land, still drew the eye's attention. It looked almost as if it were rebelling against the rest of its surroundings, an oddity in its own right, much like its new owner.
Rock enjoyed the cliff, not only for its "individual nature" that so greatly matched hers, but for the peace it offered as well. Though there were many in her world now, this one spot was completely hers. It went unsaid out loud, but the moment Rock had stamped her blue star to the cliff, everyone knew to keep off, unless Rock gave the okay.
So it was quite a surprise when Chariot, boldly came wheeling her way to the top without given permission.
Rock who'd been sitting Indian style in deep meditation, was forced to break her concentration for the new comer, who was quickly destroying the short lived amity. There was a long, low whirring noise before it came to a stop just behind her. The hooded girl hadn't even needed to turn around to know who it was.
("Get lost.") It was an order not a request.
Chariot just continued to stand there.
("Did you not hear me? If you're looking for a fight, go somewhere else.")
Chariot's cold, unfeeling eyes bore a hole into Rock head, and after three minutes of the girl's gaze on her, Rock became impatient. She turned to finally face the intruder, her eyes filled with indifference.
("Leave Chariot.") Rock ordered once more.
The blonde didn't budge; in fact she didn't even bat an eyelash. She simply held up a black clawed hand and pointed downward to the ground. Rock stared in confusion. Was Chariot asking to join her?
("You have your own spot. Get to it.") Rock turned away, to go back to her meditation. Chariot just rolled even closer.
Rock became fed up. She turned to shoo Chariot away again, but was caught off guard as a golden wheeled foot came barreling down on her face.
"This is your room? It's so tiny…"
Mato stood with her back against the door of her room, hands in her pockets, giving Kagari a silent glare as the blonde continued to insult her home.
"It's like a hovel!"
Mato gritted her teeth and tried to bare it.
"I bet a homeless person wouldn't be caught dead in here!"
Mato's left eye twitched.
"And your decorating sense is so boyish!"
Okay, that's it.
"Damn it Kagari, If you're just gonna insult me you can do that over the phone, in your own home!" Mato scolded, finally losing her temper.
"I can't go home." Kagari stated simply.
"Why not?!" Mato questioned for the millionth time.
"Because…" Kagari looked off to the side unsure of how to answer.
Kagari sighed. "I got into a fight with my parents, and… I just don't wanna be there right now."
Mato sighed. "So why come to me of all people? Why not just go back to Yo….Yo…" Mato couldn't quite choke out the last word.
Even though they were supposed to be friends now, if she were admitting the truth, Mato didn't want Kagari in her room. Or anywhere near her house for that matter. But, the only option left to the blonde would be Yomi's place.
Would sending Kagari back to Yomi's really be a good thing? After waiting so long for the blonde to finally leave her girlfriend alone?
"You mean Yomi's right?" Kagari finished for her. "I can't go there! The Takanashi's is the first place my parents would look for me! They don't know you yet, so hiding here is my best bet. And you better not go blabbing to anyone either!" The blonde exclaimed.
Mato gritted her teeth in frustration.
She just couldn't win.
Kagari set her heavy duffle bag down on the floor in front of the closet and took a seat at Mato's table on the floor. She huffed and folded her arms in a spoiled manner, and turned her head to the wall.
"I want them to miss me as much as possible. Then they'll be sorry…" She murmured.
Mato took a seat opposite of the blonde at the tablet, and sighed in defeat. Kagari would always be one person she would never be able to understand.
The raven haired girl twiddled her fingers, unsure of what to do. Kagari hadn't said a single word for over several minutes now, and the silence was earsplitting.
Mato went into courteous host mode.
"Uhh… Are you hungry? I still have leftovers from dinn-"
"-No." Came Kagari's swift reply, still looking off to the wall.
Mato became more nervous.
"Um… Yomi told me the funniest story that happened today in her volleyball club, do you wan-"
This was getting Mato nowhere fast. She needed something to break the ice around Kagari. Tea? The blonde loved tea. Yeah, that could work.
"I'm gonna go make us some tea-" Mato said happily.
"-Go ahead." The blonde replied, still bitter.
Mato wasted no time in making a break for the kitchen and putting on a kettle of water to boil. Holding her cellphone which had been nestled in the pocket of her jean skirt, she contemplated calling Yomi and asking for help.
'I really, really don't want Kagari here, but I can't call Yomi. That dumb smurfette might end up leaving with her. Plus she told me not too, if I do, I'll never hear the end of it.' Mato sighed unsure of what to do, and in the end put her cell away.
She poured the boiling hot water from her kettle into two mugs with tea bags, and set them on a tray with spoons and sugar. Walking carefully as possible, she carried the tray upstairs to her room. She was surprised to hear another voice besides Kagari's come from the jarred door.
"So where's your mom?"
"At work. Mom's usually home by four, but she had to put in overtime, so she won't be here until eight."
Huh? Was that Hiro?
"Must be tough, being here by yourself."
"Naw, the only tough part is having Mato babysit! She's so bossy!"
Mato gnashed her teeth together. 'Twerp!'
Kagari laughed. "I know right? Mato thinks she has to be everyone's best friend! And she loves to bark orders too. You wouldn't believe what I go through in school with her!"
"Maybe she's jealous because you're prettier than her?"
Mato's eye's widened. 'Why that good-for-nothing little…'
"Hah! Maybe she is!" Kagari nodded her head in agreement. "I like you Hiro; you're so much nicer than your sister."
The door to Mato's room slammed open, and a twin tailed, blue eyed demon stomped in.
"HIRO, GET OUTTA MY ROOM!" Mato shouted nearly, spilling the tea she'd made.
Hiro, who had macaron crumbs around his mouth, immediately hunched his shoulders in fear. The look on his sister's face wasn't just angry it, was murderous. A look he'd seen only once when he'd accidently deleted Yomi's contact off his sister's cell the year before.
The boy stood up from the table and decided to make a break for it.
"Bye Kagari!" He yelled, scurrying for his life.
Mato watched him go, before turning her glare to Kagari. The blonde sat where she was, and smiled condescendingly. When it looked like the blonde had no intention of moving, Mato closed her door with her foot, and set the tea down on the table.
She placed a steaming mug into Kagari's hand, before taking a sip from her own. Kagari just stared at the cup with mild caution, swishing the liquid around in a circular motion.
"What are you waiting for, Christmas? Drink it." Mato urged, growing impatient.
"What are the odds you haven't poisoned this?" The blonde asked, quirking her brow.
"What are the odds you haven't poisoned these macarons you gave me?" Mato asked in retaliation, putting one to her lips.
Kagari wasted no more time in putting the tea to her mouth after that.
Conversation wasn't an easy thing for both girls to engage in (with each other), but Mato still needed to know why the blonde had run from home after just going back. What could have been so bad it would bring her all the way here into the arms of a girl she basically saw as an adversary?
Mato blinked before asking once more. "So are you gonna tell me why you ran away from home now?"
Kagari took another sip of her tea before answering. "I told you I had a fight with my parents."
Mato sighed. "I got that part, but what was the fight about?"
"They won't come to parent-teacher day with me, and I really want them to. They felt their jobs were so much more important than me, so I figured I'd make them miss me for a while."
"…You really are a nut." Mato muttered.
"Macadamia or pea?"
"I'm not joking Kagari. You ran away from home for something as stupid as that?!"
"That's why I didn't want to tell you, I knew you wouldn't understand."
"Of course I don't understand! Oh how sad, your parents are too busy working to watch your every move now! Poor pitiful Kagari! Just when I thought you couldn't get any more frustrating! Since dad left 7 years ago, I've only had one parent, and she works hard just to make sure Hiro and I have food in our mouths! Both of your parents practically hand you everything you could ever want, and you treat them like this?!"
"Hey! They don't hand me everything I want!" Kagari argued. "That's why I left!"
Mato threw up her hands in defeat. Kagari was a hopeless case.
"I can't understand you."
"I know you don't, but it's important to me. I need them to be there! Otherwise…"
"Otherwise, I'll be alone."
Mato drummed her fingers on the table still not understanding. So what if Kagari would be alone on Parent-Teacher day? Her mom had to work that day too.
"I always thought… even… even if I didn't have Yomi by my side, at the very least my own parents wouldn't abandon me. But now.."
Mato curled into the fetal position hugging her knees, unsure of the direction this conversation was headed. It bordered territory Mato wasn't sure she knew how to handle.
When it looked like the rest of tea would not be drunk, and the macarons would not been eaten, Mato cleaned up the table and announced she was going to go shower before bed.
"When I'm done, I'll bring you a spare futon to lay on, okay?"
Kagari just gave a nod, and watched the raven haired girl go.
Somewhere in between washing the dishes, and dumping the rest of the dirty colored macarons, Mrs. Kuroi returned home. She gave both her children a kiss and instructed them to finish their homework and go to bed on time. Mato contemplated telling her mom about their new house guest, but remembered Kagari told her not to blab, so she kept quiet.
Mato showered quickly and changed into her usual gray sleeping sweats. In the hall closet next to the bathroom, she grabbed a spare futon, blanket and pillow for Kagari to use and made her way back upstairs.
Shock came for Mato a second time that night when she beheld Kagari dress in her white nightgown, lounging in the bed like it was hers.
"Hey! Get outta my bed!" Mato scolded closing her door.
"I'm the guest; you're supposed to let me have the bed, while you sleep on the floor." Kagari stated truthfully and cheerfully.
"You're not a guest, you're an imposition! Get on the floor!" Mato argued back, throwing the spare bedding she held to the ground.
"No way." Kagari turned away under the blanket.
Mato stomped over to pull the blanket off the bed, but Kagari pulled it back with just as much vigor. The two were soon caught in a disordered tug-of-war.
"If it were -huff!- Hnnng! If it were Yomi, you'd give her the bed, right?!"
"-huff- I'd sleep on the front porch if she asked! -huff- Unnng! But, you're not Yomi!"
Mato gave her comforter a strong tug, and both gasped as Kagari came tumbling down on top of the other girl with a yelp.
Rock lie in more shock than pain, as Chariot's wheeled foot buzz sawed into her face, leaving blue bloody streaks in its wake. It took a moment for Rock to get her wits about herself before she jumped up, black sword held tight in hand.
Fine, if it was fight Chariot wanted, it was a fight she would get. Rock made a mad dash for the blonde, enraged that her peace was disturbed.
Chariot made no effort to take out her own weapon, as she dodged Rock's blows left and right, and it took all her concentration to keep her distance from the very same black steel that took her head clean off, not but four months prior.
Rock slashed from the top, and Chariot ducked. The ink haired girl's bottom half was wide open, and Chariot made a quick grab for Rock's boots, throwing the girl off balance. Rock felt herself fall back, as Chariot hauled her up and slammed her down head first, snapping her neck out of place.
Chariot hauled her up again, but Rock was ready. She grabbed Chariot's head tight with both feet and forced her body to twist around. This time, Chariot was slammed down head first, her claws still clutching Rock's ankles.
Rock straightened up and popped her neck back into place, as Chariot turned over. The blonde came face to face with a black sword and a pair of glaring blue eyes.
She waited for the quick end, which she knew Rock was famous for, to come.
The tug-of-war quickly ended with both Mato and Kagari on the floor panting in exhaustion.
Kagari rolled off the athletic girl and rubbed her head. "Geeze, why do you have to be so stubborn about everything?!" She demanded.
"I don't wanna hear that from you!" Mato huffed, clearly tired.
"Hmmp! Well, I'm still taking the bed!"
Kagari quickly grabbed the comforter from the floor, tossing aside Mato who was tangled in it. She spread it neatly over the bed, before jumping under it and messing it up again. Mato sat up and glared silently at the giant ball huddled on her bed and clicked her teeth in anger.
No longer in the mood to fight, the raven haired girl pushed her table toward the door and quickly spread out the spare futon and blanket. The light was turned off, and both the girls settled down for an early bed time.
Kagari came out from under the covers, and stared blankly at the ceiling. Not quite sure where the question was coming from, Kagari asked,
"Kuroi-kun? Do you know what Yomi's favorite fruit is?"
The question was so off handed and random, Mato wasn't sure if she should answer or not.
"Pears. The brown ones, not the green." She muttered from her spot on the floor.
"Hmm, when we were younger it was always yellow apples…" Kagari trailed off. "What about her favorite dessert?"
"Strawberry cheese cake, last time I checked."
Kagari shifted slightly, to stare at Mato on the floor who had her back turned. "It used to be brownies."
Mato gave no indication that she cared just where Kagari was getting at, or that she cared for the blonde's brand of pillow talk at all, for that matter. She simply wanted to fall asleep and let the night pass as quick as possible.
When Kagari couldn't gage any sort of reaction from the raven haired girl on the floor, she began asking more questions.
"What's Yomi's favorite drink?"
"…Iced coffee milk, I blame Saya for that one." Mato mumbled.
"Huh, it used to be strawberry milk… Kuroi-kun, what's Yomi's favorit-"
"-Alright Kagari, I'll bite." Mato said, no longer sleepy. "Why the sudden interest in Yomi's diet?"
Kagari sighed. "I just wanted to know. I have to ask you, because she won't tell me. She doesn't tell me anything anymore."
Mato wasn't sure what to say to that, so she said nothing. A long moment of silence passed, before she heard the rustle of bed sheets as Kagari shifted around. Out of nowhere Mato felt something warm press against her back. Her eyes widened.
Mato craned her neck and turned her head, in search of the sudden warmth. She frowned when she realized it was Kagari. They both lay back to back on the floor, and Mato had half a mind to shove Kagari away.
"You already stole the bed; you plan on stealing the floor too?" She asked, slightly irritated.
"…Mato, do you think it was my fault? The accident I mean."
There was a strange sort of disconnect in Mato's mind at hearing her first name being spoken from Kagari's lips, and it was so odd that she almost missed the rest of the question.
"Yes." Mato stated quickly, truthfully.
"You don't hold back, huh?" Kagari asked, quirking her brow.
"For you Kagari? Never." Mato muttered, slightly bitter. "Who am I supposed to blame if it's not you? Your parents for letting you wander the streets alone? Mr. Takanashi for running you down? Yomi for not warning her dad fast enough?"
"Yeah, yeah, okay, I get it!" Kagari urged, crossing her arms. "You really do hate me, don't you?!"
"I don't hate you."
"Yes you do!"
"No I don't. I don't hate you Kagari… I…"
There was a pause in the air as Mato searched for the right words.
"I hate how you are. Even though you're better, you still act like you have nothing else to do but hurt people (me). Every mistake you apologize for, you just make again. It's annoying."
The words spoken were truthful, but Kagari wasn't sure how to receive them. There was silence for another moment, before the blonde spoke.
"It's just so hard to like you."
Kagari unconsciously pressed her back closer to Mato, in more need of the contact than she would ever know. Although the extra heat was somewhat unwelcomed, Mato made no motion to move the blonde aside, and when it seemed Kagari had no more questions to ask, she rapidly felt her eyes begin to droop close.
"Mato? What exactly is Yomi's darkness?"
Mato's eye's popped back open. Oh there was definitely no chance of her getting any sleep now.
"I hear you two talk about it sometimes… Sometimes Yomi yells at someone when she thinks she's alone, and her own shadow makes her jumpy these days. You brought her home from it when she went missing, right? What is it exactly?"
Mato rubbed the temple between her eyes with her index finger, suddenly missing the many questions about Yomi's taste in food. Kagari was now treading in water's she shouldn't, and Mato needed to deter her fast. Dead Master was something not even Yomi herself was comfortable talking about, so Mato certainly didn't want to.
"That's not something I can answer. You'll just have to ask Yomi."
"…I don't think she'll tell me."
"Then it's probably better if you don't know. Besides, I thought you didn't want to deal with Yomi's problems anymore?"
Kagari squirmed about on the floor, slipping further under the blanket with Mato.
"That was before, when I forgot… -sigh- I've been trying to figure it out, you know? How I managed to forget Yomi. She was like a stranger to me after the hospital. Why? Why did I forget?"
Mato stayed silent.
"Sometimes, I wish things would go back to how they were before Yomi moved. I only knew her for two years before she left Germany, but we became so close in that time. There wasn't a thing about her that slipped passed me. Her favorite foods, favorite colors, and favorite books, her hopes and dreams, and even what she feared most."
"Then she left me. And when I found her again, she became someone I didn't know anymore. Yomi always said she hated sports, hating running at the best of times. And now, she's playing volley ball."
"She was always so timid too, constantly shrinking her shoulders whenever people passed by. Now she holds her head up high, like some sort of princess. I've even seen her snub people; the old Yomi never did that!"
Mato wanted to snicker but held it in; suddenly reminded of the first day she'd met the heiress.
"But the worst part of her changing is that she did it without me, and she's still changing without me. Yomi becomes more and more like a lady every day, and I still feel like a kid. I threw out my wheel chair, I walk every day now, I even go to the same school with her, but it still feels like you both are leaving me behind."
"When you two are together, you forget about me and I end up feeling like a third wheel."
'You are a third wheel.' Mato left unsaid.
"I can't control my feelings. When I see you with her, I can't help but picture myself in your place, and think it would have happened if Yomi hadn't left. It's painful, I know it's what she wants, but it's still painful. I don't need her to take care of me anymore, but I still love her you know… very much."
Kagari was sure this conversation was all sorts of levels of uncomfortable for Mato, and yet somehow, letting it out made her understand a little better. She was trying to reach out to someone. Anyone, really.
Her tension had been building up again, and now that she thought about it, the blonde didn't just come to Mato simply because she needed a place to stay; she needed a shoulder to lean on.
Unfortunate that the shoulder she chose belonged to her only romantic rival…
Kagari knew she could be a selfish, manipulative person, who really took things to far. But even she needed release at times. She guessed this was her way of letting it out, without carving needles into people.
Mato probably knew all that too, which was (most likely) why Kagari hadn't been thrown out yet. The blonde wondered if perhaps, Mato was beginning to pitying her at last, like everyone else had?
Although reformed, the blonde was the one who'd tossed porcelain tea cups at Yomi's head for target practice. She'd thrown herself down the stairs, and basically brain washed every adult into pitying her for no reason. She'd gone and carved up Yomi's body like she were a Halloween jack-o-lantern.
Things like that weren't easily forgotten, so Mato had no reason to pity her, or befriend her… at all. But she had, or had tried for Yomi's sake. The pink heart charm that dangled from Kagari's cellphone was proof of that.
But it seemed pointless now. Though Kagari didn't admit it out loud, if asked, she would have said she didn't particularly care for the athletic girl's friendship.
Mato probably felt the same about her too.
The only thing heard for several long moments was the Tick! Tick! Tick! of the clock Mato had mounted on the wall, which seemed to thunder out loud amongst the deafening silence. Mato's breathing had become easy against Kagari's back, and the blonde wondered if the athletic girl had finally given herself to the land of the dreaming.
"Mato… Are you still awake?"
"…Hmm, I'm still awake."
"What's it like to kiss Yomi?"
"Yomi likes to wear peppermint candy lip gloss. Her kisses are like peppermint, spicy yet sweet. And soft."
Fatigue set in for the blonde, and her eyes began to close of their own accord. She was still confused about what to do, but the loneliness seemed to subsist for the moment.
Tomorrow, Kagari would go back home and apologize to her parents, but tonight she'd soak away whatever little peace from Mato she could.
"Ne, Yomi still likes math at least… right?"
They could go back to fighting tomorrow.
"…Yeah, Yomi still likes math."
Kagari finally drifted off to sleep, dreaming silently of brown pears, iced coffee milk, and peppermint kisses. Mato felt her go limp, and breathed easy. Both girls slept on the futon, back to back in the darkness, with the moon's glow as their only nightlight.
The bed remained unoccupied for the rest of the night.
Rock's sword hesitated, and she wasn't sure why.
She'd dispatched many before; taking care of Chariot (a second time) should have been no different. Still she stopped.
Somehow there wasn't any point to it, killing the girl needlessly. This had hardly been a real fight to begin with; Chariot hadn't even bothered to take out her sword.
Staring down at the blonde who was giving her a confused look for the stalled execution, Rock couldn't help but contemplate just why she'd been bothered in the first place.
It was obvious Chariot wanted something, enough to start a squabble anyway. But what? Company? Rock had no need of such; she was content to be alone, but the blonde seemed to be silently insisting on it anyway.
Rock lowered her sword and put it away. Stepping over Chariot, she went back to the peak of the cliff and sat back down. With no one left to stop her, the blonde continued her attempt to get closer to the raven haired girl whose spirit was so far away.
Without being invited, Chariot sat down behind Rock, back to back. She struggled somewhat in her decent as her wheeled feet would not allow her to fold her legs into the Indian position that Rock had hers.
The blonde attempted to sit back and tried to force the joints (where her ankles would be) to lie flat, but the golden spikes attached to outer haul of her wheels prevented her from bending any further.
Rock became irritated by Chariot's continuous jostled movements, and when the blonde all but began to push harshly against her back, she could take no more.
Standing up, Rock circled Chariot and bent down. Grabbing one leg, she bent it outward instead of inward, and repeated with the other leg. She had the blonde settle for a W sitting, and then went back to her seat.
The rest of the moment passed in silence.
Chariot still continued to sway gently against Rock's back, but the movement was not as jarring as it had been before. In fact, it was actually quite nice. Almost as if Chariot herself were trying to lull Rock into sleep.
It failed of course, but for the moment… It brought the raven haired girl an even better sort of peace then she'd been feeling when she'd been alone. Her guard could be let down for a bit.
Okay, so Chariot could stay… this time. Next time, Rock would make sure to throw her off.
And promised to make sure she splattered when she fell too.
The next day, Kagari greeted Mrs. Kuroi over the breakfast table with a smile, and later, Yomi was left stunned to hear the blonde had casually spent the night in the Kuroi household from a sleepy and deflated Mato.
Kagari returned home that evening to two teary eyed parents who hugged and scold her at the same time for disappearing the way she did. She apologized and promised herself she'd never act so selfishly again…
But of course, Kagari had never known how to keep such promises, and her selfishness always had a way of making itself known. It only became worse as the time passed.
She was a complete third wheel during a date to the amusement park with Mato and Yomi, there's a beach outing where she trampled a lovingly built sand castle of Yuu's, and a hair clip of Yomi's she couldn't apologize enough for breaking.
All the while her pain of unrequited love piled higher and higher…
The year ended in no time, and before long they were all in their third year of Junior High. Booklets were passed around for students to choose their next school of choice.
Yomi, who had more or less begun to treat Kagari like a beloved if not frustrating pet, chose to follow Mato into a cozy B ranked (on the cusp of C ranked) school.
It was hardly up to Takanashi standard, so it wasn't so surprising when the heiress's father intervened and enrolled her into a school worthy of her future college application. An A ranked, gray brick building that catered to the highest standard of education.
Kagari was all too eager to put her name on an application to the same school after hearing about it, and it was even funnier to see Mato panic like a chicken with its head cut off when she realized she'd never make it in to such a school. Not with her "just slip by" grades.
For a while the blonde was in her own little paradise, application deadlines reared in and Mato still had yet to decide what to do. The blonde basked in the happy thought of having Yomi all to herself at last, until she'd caught the athletic girl sobbing her eyes out alone on the school's roof.
For once, pity instead of jealously took over in Kagari's heart, and she agreed to help the girl in any way she could.
In the autumn, testing time or "Exam Hell" as dubbed most graduating Japanese students, came rolling up fast. Kagari and Mato sat together the day of the entrance exams, so the athletic girl could copy whatever answers she needed to off the blonde's test. Probably all of them, Kagari suspected.
An hour passed. Then two, then three, and then the tests were over.
When finished, Mato had the expression like she'd committed a horrible crime of some sort. In fact, cheating had affected her so much so, that she hadn't bothered Kagari again for a whole week.
The season of Exam Hell left as quickly as it came, but things didn't necessarily get better afterward. Yomi was still upset with her dad, and Mato was still apprehensive about cheating. No one even seemed interested in what school Yuu had decided to apply to, and Kagari had begun to regret helping Mato, her earlier feelings of pity passed away, and unrequited love now became heart piercing.
In the coming winter when letters of acceptance were sent out, as expected, Mato received a passed score of 90, along with a booklet of the new supplies and uniforms she would need. The athletic girl wasted no time in telling Yomi the good news.
Kagari hadn't meant to initially, but she'd eavesdropped, when Mato sat the heiress down on the bench in school's court yard, and told her. She'd conveniently left out that Kagari had been the one to help her do it. That had been the agreement of course, that neither would tell the heiress of their secret, but Kagari still became angered.
There was much hugging and "I love you" and other spoken words of happiness between the couple, that it had the blonde's stomach reeling in hate. And it wasn't so much the fact that Mato was taking credit for something she didn't achieve on her own that bothered the blonde.
It was the fact that after this, Yomi was now looking at Mato like the great miracle worker Kagari had been suspecting the heiress always believed her to be.
This had been a mistake hadn't it? All of it.
Kagari huffed in defeat, and decided she couldn't deal anymore. She'd had tried. Honestly, she had tried for over 2 years to accept Mato. It failed; all she felt at the end of her effort was more growing disdain. The girl was a liar, a cheater, and a stealer of hearts. Yomi deserved so much better…
At the end of the day, Mato came to see her in cooking club. The athletic girl took her by the hand and bowed over a dozen times in thanks.
"I wouldn't have been able to pass without your help Kagari. Thank you so much!"
Every word spoken was honest, but it didn't move Kagari's heart in the slightest. Not anymore. She snatched her hand back spitefully, and pointed her nose to the air. With a smirk to broad and a hollowed gaze, she wasted no time in reminding Mato just what a huge favor she done for her.
"Hmmp. We'll I'm glad you're happy, now there's the matter of what I want from you."
Mato stood confused. "Huh? What do you mean?"
The blonde just smirked. "I certainly hope you didn't think I'd just help you without expecting anything in return."
She grasped tightly at Mato's blue tie, in that commanding way she was known for. "That is of course, if you don't want Yomi to know how you really passed the exams with such high marks. Cheater…"
Mato's eye's widened. "K-Kagari…?"
The blonde just continued to glare. "I can't really say I'm too surprised you didn't tell Yomi you cheated, but don't think I'm gonna let you walk away without giving me something in return."
Mato grasped at the hand that held her tie, shaking slightly. "Wh-what do want exactly?" She asked, fearing the answer.
The blonde's grip tightened and old practiced words of guilt tripping flowed forth from her mouth uncontrollably. "Nothing... just yet. But for now, I'm gonna make you completely devoted to me."
It was so easy.
After blocking it for so long, Kagari found it was surprisingly easy; to lapse back into the old her she used to be. Had always been, perhaps?
"Don't forget you'd be nothing without my help."
Why couldn't she stop herself? She vaguely wondered as she continued talking.
"I'll make you so sick of me you'll have no choice but to agree."
Did she really want to walk this road again? This path of forcing obligation onto others?
"And you'd better make sure you behave yourself until then. Got it? Or else-"
So it appeared, her mouth was bent on making the decision for her, as she effectively hauled the raven haired girl up to her height.
"-Or else, I'll make it rain hellfire on you."
And just like with Yomi, harsh words had Mato chained to Kagari indefinitely. There was no guilt afterwards, no remorse what so ever for the girl she'd wanted to help, but ended up trapping like a rat out of jealousy.
The forced sleepover just one year ago and countless others after it, as well as the pink heart cellphone charm the athletic girl had given her went forgotten in the moment.
Their chaotic friendship went up in smoke, leaving only ash behind. And Kagari suspected even the ash would be blown away when she made her demand to Mato later.
Old habits really are diehards.
Kagari knew this to be a fact, but now she found she really didn't give a damn anymore.
Maybe she never really had.
A/N - …Well that's that for Kagari's part. So easy to slip back into old habit's isn't it? I could have written so much more, but I'm saving the good stuff for S2 later.
The sleepover bit is probably unnecessary huh? It was originally a one-shot I had planned, but stuck it here instead. I didn't want to give you guys the impression that I actually ship these two.
Yomi's part as well as chapter 3 of S2 will be up soon, but for now? Review.