AN: Sorry for taking so long with updates! Here is the next chapter! As well as the fluff (did I use the right word?) that I'm sure you've all been waiting for.
Thanks to everyone that reviewed, followed or favourited!
Chapter 7: Remembered
Oh. My. God.
I don't know any other way to react, really. Sweeping through the corridors, my thoughts jumped back to yesterday afternoon.
"Hmm?" I looked up as I dug up a spoonful of my sundae, surprised at the serious expression on his face.
For a moment, Alex didn't talk, just stared at me. So, I did the natural thing: stare back. "Serena," he began again, "I like you. Can you go out with me?"
The spoon stopped halfway between my mouth and the sundae. "Eh?" I blinked and swallowed. "What was that?"
"Serena, will you be my girlfriend?"
I stared at Alex dumbly, suddenly getting the crazy urge to laugh, but, looking into his eyes, I realized this wasn't a joke. "I… I'll think about it…"
Alex relaxed at once, smiling serenely. After that, we chattered about trivial things, me in a mild state of shock.
Oh god. I was not expecting that. I mean, Alex has always been the older brother I've always wanted to me, so it caught me completely off guard. To be honest, I'm still a little stunned right now. I do love him, but as a brother, not a potential lover. Really, I'm not sure exactly how to respond to him. Maybe I can… procrastinate for a few days, get some more time to think, yeah. I don't want to hurt him by rejecting him or anything, but… I sighed and looked around.
To my surprise, my wandering had taken me to the roof. It was lunch – well, almost lunch; I had gotten off a little early – and the rooftop would be a wonderful place to just sit and think. I smiled to myself, taking no notice of the 'STUDENTS NOT ALLOWED' sign and unlocking the door with the key I had been given. There were many advantages to having rich parents. I'm just glad I'm not a spoiled brat.
I climbed onto the top of the little box-room that jutted out from the top, sheltering and bordering the stairs (I have never bothered to learn the name of that part of the roof), lying down on my back. Before I knew it, I had drifted off to dreamland.
I wasn't really sure how long it had been when I woke up, but I heard voices, strangely familiar voices… Alex and Joshua!
Sitting up abruptly, I strained my ears to try and catch what they were talking about, but I couldn't. So, doing what a normal curious yet slightly guilty feeling of eavesdropping teen would do, I sat up and got to the edge to hear and see better.
"… Serena… friends… leave it…" Alex was saying, face showing little emotion. Having heard my name, I got even more curious and tried harder to catch their conversation, succeeding.
"I'm sure of it and you know it, too. Why are you denying it?" There was an edge to Joshua's voice. His expression was serious, lacking the usual arrogance and smirk.
"… Ilixo has been given her chance to rectify everything and live a happy life. She is no longer the Ilixo you knew; now, she is Serena. Stop trying to bind her to the past! And please stop trying to make her life like it was before…"
"But I want a chance to rectify things, too… I might sound selfish, but she promised and I plan to hold her to her word."
"… Leave her alone, Yoshiya Kiryu. That's the final warning you'll get. I won't allow you to cause any more harm than you already have… She just wants to live a normal life and she'll only be able to without you." Alex turned and walked off, leaving an annoyed and pensive Joshua.
Suddenly, Joshua's expression softened into a tender one and he smiled, as if remembering a sweet memory, before walking off, too. I was left, stunned and confused, blinking rapidly. I had one question in my head:
I shook my head and lay back down, stretching. I must be dreaming or something. I stared at the could drifting lazily across the blue smile and began thinking of other, less confusing things.
Suddenly, without warning, Joshua's face appeared within my thoughts, that tender expression lingering. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks and sat up suddenly, shaking my head with a frown. How did my thoughts get there? Damn it. That guy was messing with my mind.
I took out my cell phone to check the time. There was still some time until class. I shrugged, putting my phone away and deciding to relax a bit before having to face the mystery.
When I walked into class later, I was surprised to see no one there. Except….
"Joshua? Where did everyone go?"
The boy looked up at the mention of his name and smirked. "I thought you knew the timetable better, Serena, they've all gone out for PE."
I facepalmed. How could I have forgotten? Suddenly, I thought of something. "Then why are you here?" I inquired, raising an eyebrow and crossing my arms.
Was it just me, or did his smirk just get wider? "That's none of your concern, dear Serena," – my eye twitched – "Why don't you run along now?"
"You know, Kiryu, you are really starting to sound like some posh old lady talking to her grandchildren," I replied, huffing and folding my arms, "And you can't tell me what to do, you know?" I sighed, "So. Why are you still here?"
Joshua stood up straight, leaving the desk he was leaning on and walking towards me. He stopped directly in front of me, mirroring my pose. "Would you believe me if I had said I was waiting for you?" he asked. I raised an eyebrow. "I want to – need to – talk to you about something."
I narrowed my eyes, having a feeling I knew where the conversation was going to go. He opened his mouth to speak, but I spoke first. "Who's Ilixo? Who's Ilixo and what does she have to do with me?" I began. I hesitated for a moment, but continued when I saw Joshua beginning to talk again. His smirk had vanished. "What did you and Alex mean about my past? What promise were you talking about?" My curiosity was getting to me. Joshua had a frown paced on his face.
"You are Ilixo."
Those three words brought another splitting headache to me and I hissed in pain. My hands flew to my temples and I crouched down, desperately trying to calm the thoughts and images that came to my mind. Joshua's hand touched my shoulder and I was pulled away…
It was a bright and sunny day, the heat beating down on the narrow streets and wooden houses. The thirteen year-old Joshua, however, was not enjoying the sun, not that many did, but still, it was better than the rain. Huddled in a dark corner, he sat on a crate. Fear was flashing in his lavender eyes, but his face bore a determined expression. He watched as two people ran past, one shouting at the other, seeming to be in a hurry. They were both children around the same age as he. Then he watched as a flash of color dropped from the sky, striking the younger of the two. A strangled cry rang out and Joshua had to stop himself from flinching. They faded, one after the other, and the silverette found himself face to face with a kangaroo-like creature.
The boy tensed up even though he knew the thing could not hurt him. It stared at him. He stared back. He couldn't take it much longer and jumped off the crate, about to take off before he heard a chuckle.
"I don't understand why you're so afraid of them, Joshua." A girl stepped from the shadows with a smile on her face. Her dark hair cascaded down her back in waves and her brown eyes, so much alike to my own, were filled with laughter. Her dress was simple and Victorian styled. Odd.
"Ilixo." The greeting was simple and tense.
The girl reached out a hand and began stroking the creature which turned its attention to her. Joshua couldn't help but flinch. How could she come into contact with that thing that had killed those two children. Joshua felt guilt rise as he realized he was angry. That's right. She couldn't see them. She couldn't see the horrors that they had committed. He was once like her, only seeing the innocent side of these creatures, yet he wasn't entirely like her, the creatures didn't become human when he was around. They retained the soulless composure around him, but Ilixo was somehow able to bring back their humanity. Against his wishes, he felt slightly jealous, but he also knew that he could never have that ability. Ilixo was special.
She gave the creature one last pat and shared some parting words before it disappeared. Then she turned her gaze to Joshua. "Are you ready to go?" she asked. He smiled, negative feeling fading away. He couldn't bear to keep those feelings of negativity towards her. It just didn't work. Nodding, Joshua followed the girl out onto the Victorian streets. I knew that it was Victorian, or at least I thought it was. Before I had time to examine the memory further or complete process what I had seen, I was dragged out of the memory.
I was kneeling on the floor of the classroom, Joshua beside me.
"Serena?" his uncertain voice made me look at him.
"Was that… Your memory?" For some reason, I wasn't at all shocked that I had managed to see inside his memory and know that it was a memory. Perhaps it was because I met up and chatted with monsters every day?
Joshua seemed confused and shocked for a second before slowly nodding. "What did you… you see?"
"You… You lived in the Victorian times."
He gave me an amused, bewildered and… scared… look? Scared? Was I imagining the fear in his eyes? "No… I don't. If I lived then, how am I here?"
I gasped, suddenly realizing what the odd feeling that had lingered when he or Alex were around was. "You don't belong. You aren't the right age, aren't in the right time. You and… and Alex. I remember. Alex… he's meant to be five years older than me and you… it's impossible. How can you still be alive?" I was bordering shock by now, "If you had lived all those years ago, then how can you…? Why do I even believe this?" I shook my head, smiling, sceptic and unbelieving.
"No no, I must be dreaming. Something must be wrong with my head. Why do I recognize you as someone who has lived all those years ago?"
"Serena, please, listen…"
"And Alex, he… He couldn't have been five years older than me because he's the same age as me and yet he's five years older…"
"Serena, stop… You're going to hurt yourself…"
"They're both the truth and yet one must be false… I don't get it. How can you live then and now? How can-?" I was cut off by something warm against my lips. Without knowing it, my hands had grasped my head and I was shaking. Joshua was close, really close. Then it hit me.
Was he… kissing me?