I know I said that it would probably be a while until I started a new story, but I came up with a great idea for this story yesterday. I was going to wait until after finals to publish it, but I think the more work I have, the more I want to procrastinate, so I ended up writing it. Plus I was kind of sad that I had finished my other story. I wanted to start a new one. I hope you guys like my new story, and please review!

Chapter 1


Yukiko held her breath and slowly began counting to ten in her head. "One...two..."

Thump! The sounds seemed to be nearing.

She squeezed her eyes shut and covered her ears with her small hands. "Three...four...five..." She glanced at the closet door with fear and whimpered. "Six...seven..." Beads of sweat rolled down her forehead, causing her scraggly, black bangs to stick to her face. The little girl trembled when she heard heavy footsteps walking up to the closet where she was hiding. "Eight...nine..." The closet door flew open and Yukiko let out a shrill scream of terror.

A large, meaty hand snaked in and grabbed her arm, dragging her roughly out of the her small hiding space. "There you are, you little bitch." The man growled, spit flying out of his mouth. His breath reeked of alcohol, and Yukiko cringed away. "Where's my dinner?!" He shouted.

Tears sprang to her eyes. "I'm sorry, papa. I didn't know you would be home tonight!"

He raised an arm and struck her face. "I never raised you to speak back to me like this! At this rate, you're going to grow up to be a good-for-nothing like your slut of a mother!"

The seven-year-old girl clutched her burning cheek, the tears escaping.

Her father slapped her again and his hand tightened around her slim wrist. "Don't cry! Your ugly face becomes even uglier!"

But his words only served to help the tears flow faster. He cursed under his breath, glaring at her, and pulled her to her room. He threw her in there and slammed the door shut.

"Stay in there until I say you can come out. If I find out that you've disobeyed me again, your punishment will be greater!" He threatened from the other side of the door. Then he stomped off.

Yukiko heard the clatter of sake jugs, and knew her father was back to drinking again. Nursing her bruised wrist, she crawled over to the small window and opened it halfway. She wiped the tears of her face with the sleeve of her dark-brown kimono and leaned against the wall, staring out at the burnt-orange sky. Yukiko pressed a hand against her stomach. The sharp pain reminded her that she had not eaten since the less-than-half-a-bowl of rice that she had that morning

She sighed and closed her dark-brown eyes. "I promise I will get myself out of here." She swore. When she reopened her eyes, a small boy with sandy hair and forest-green eyes was standing right outside her window, staring at her, holding an onigiri. Yukiko eyed it hungrily.

"You're hurt." The boy commented.

"Papa hit me because I was disobedient." Yukiko replied honestly.

"Do you want to come outside and play with me?"

"I can't. Papa will get mad at me." Her eyebrows furrowed.

The boy frowned and looked down at the onigiri in his hand. He held it in front of her. "Then here, take this. You're too skinny." He pouted.

Yukiko blinked in surprise, but she took the onigiri, smiling as she did so. "Thank you!"

The boy's pout turned into a scowl and his face reddened. He quickly turned away to hide his embarrassment. "It's only an onigiri..."

"Thank you!" She repeated.

His scowl deepened and his blush reddened. "Shut up, you're annoying." And he ran off

"Wait!" Yukiko called after him. "At least tell me your name..." She trailed off when he didn't turn back. She blinked down at the food. Smiling, she ate it as slowly as she could, savoring every morsel.

Everyday, the little boy would leave food for the girl by the window. Several days into the routine, Yukiko caught him in the act. "Hey," she called out to him. The boy started and tried to run away, but she caught his arm. "What's your name?"

He looked away, blushing. "Okita. Okita Souji." He muttered.

"Okita-san?" Yukiko smiled. "I like that name!"

Okita wrenched his arm away and ran off. Yukiko stared after him.

The next evening, Yukiko's father returned reeking more than usual. "Get out of my way!" He screamed at his daughter, kicking her out of the way. She fell backwards into a pile of sake jugs.

Crash. Several hit the floor and shattered upon impact. Yukiko stretched out an arm to brace herself, but landed in the shattered glass. Pain wracked her body and her vision blurred as she saw her crimson blood staining the tatami. The red seemed to blot everything else out, and for the first time, Yukiko felt an emotion she had never experienced before. Her fingers twitched, itching to kill.

As she bent down, the blood flowed even faster down her arm. It felt uncomfortable. She pick up a particularly large, sharp shard of porcelain and straightened. Turning, she dove at her father and embedded the shard into his chest.

Okita stood next to the window, holding a steaming meat bun. He recalled the girl's smiling face and blushed. He was waiting to see her so he could ask her name, but she was tardy. He glanced at the screen with worry. He remembered what it was like to be bullied, and how it felt when Kondou had extended his kind, helping hand. The girl reminded him of his past, when he was weak.

A cry from inside the house made Okita jump. Worry crossed his face and he ran around the side of the house to the front entrance. Without announcing himself, he threw the door open.

His eyes widened at the scene in front of him. A small, thin girl with long, black hair stood, covered in blood, clutching a shard of red porcelain. Beside her laid what looked like a large man, but he was so cut up he was almost unrecognizable. The walls, the floor, the furniture, and the child were dripping in crimson blood. She turned and stared at Okita with hard, obsidian eyes, devoid of any emotions. Okita felt bile rising in his throat. He dropped the meat bun he was holding and fled.