I don't own K Project~




The most emotion she showed since the incident occurred on the day it had taken place. Nearly seconds after the Red King's death, she had been screaming out for Mikoto Suoh and bawling. A hole formed in her heart in that very moment, irreparable and forever there. But after that fateful day, she hadn't so much as mentioned the event or shed another tear. The other members of HOMRA were much too caught up in their own grief towards the situation to really take the time of day to assess that there might be something wrong with the white-haired girl - she was always quiet and emotionally detached, more so than ever before, but they all figured that it was just her own special way of dealing with the death of the most important person in her life. She was dealing in silence, they decided, and left her be.

Little did they know, the hole in Anna's heart was simply growing deeper and deeper with each passing day. She didn't know how to live without Mikoto by her side, helping her with things and acting like the father figure she missed out on having. Kusanagi, another constant in her life she was grateful to have, cared for as he had beforehand, treating her as though nothing had changed in her life, as though Mikoto had just gone off on a long trip and would join them soon. He would chatter livelily at her, fix her her favourite drinks, and carry about without a care in the world, it seemed. There were no heavy sighs or examples of fumbling or trembling hesitance that might give away how he truly felt, if there had in fact been a change at all in how he went about his life. Anna didn't understand how he could be so cheerful, so unaffected by the loss of his best friend, but did not question him - Mister Kusanagi was always open and honest, so if this was his true behaviour, then she would trust it, even though it felt wrong to watch him act casually day to day without even a shift in his general attitude.

Forced apathy no longer began to work as escape for her after a long whiel - too much late-night dwelling left her desperate for a way to relieve her sadness and frustration, but she could find no way to go about it. She didn't want to burden someone with it - the other members of HOMRA, especially Yata and Kamamoto were still reeling from what had happened, and the last thing they needed was an emotionally-distraught eleven year old adding to their anguish. She would most certainly not disturb Mister Kusanagi's happiness - if he was dealing well with the situation, then she wasn't going to suck him into the suffocating sorrow she felt.

There were reminders, too. Everywhere and anywhere she looked, she was forced to remember the Red King. Try as she might, there was nothing she could do to prevent it. The one colour she could see was the one Mikoto had embodied - red, red, red. All she could see was red. And instead of seeing it as the wonderful, bright favourite colour of the man she had looked up to as her father, now all she could think of was how it symbolized blood and how that had to do with death - Mikoto's. The single hue terrorized her everywhere her eyes were unfortunate enough to land on, each time her heart breaking further and further. Whether it was simply someone's shirt or colour of her own eyes, she became sickened by the sight of red, a colour once adored by her.

She loathed it and what it meant, what it brought her to. She had to rid herself of the dreadful colour, had to block it out before she could no longer take it and broke down - she couldn't let that happen, especially not in front of Mister Kusanagi, who was trying so hard to help accommodate her back in a normal life again after all the trauma she had gone through. She had to deal with it by herself - she had to free herself from the shackles it had cast her into.

She was glad Izumo was preoccupied and rather clueless when she procured a pair of scissors and made her way to the bar's bathroom. He needn't get involved if she could prevent it. It was difficult for her to look in the mirror at herself then, to take in the very thing she was trying to get rid of completely. Her red eyes flashed with unshed tears as she held a shaky hand to corner of her dress. A sudden, deeply-rooted frustration presented itself then, and no longer hesitant, did she snip away furiously at the crimson fabric. Jagged tears and rips were made, but she was unconcerned, she just wanted it to be gone so she didn't have to look at it and hurt anymore! Everything that was pent up was working its way out of her system in that moment, but she was halted when she caught her gaze in the mirror again and a terrifying thought crossed through her scattered mind. She could end it permanently if she wanted to - hell, right then and there, she could take her vision and never once have to look at the blasted colour ever again! It was tempting, oh-so tempting, but as her anger began to drain and misery took its place instead, her sense came back to her jarringly and before she knew what was happening, she was collapsing to the floor and silent sobs were falling from her lips. She took care not to cry loudly out of fear of alerting Kusanagi to what she was doing, but nonetheless, she wept.

Weeks' worth of pain welled up and left her in the form of tears, her chest aching as they continued to fall. She couldn't handle the loneliness anymore - she appreciated that everyone had given her her space, but she needed someone that she could vent to and who would be there to provide for her the emotional support she so desperately wanted. She daren't ask Kusanagi or anyone else, but she didn't know who else she could turn to any longer…

Her sobs quieted slightly as she lifted the scissors in her hand again and peered at the tip of one of her fingers. Easily, curiously, she nicked the pale skin and immediately it began to dot with it - the red, the blood. She didn't find it fair that she currently had the liquid running through her in that moment, providing her with life, when Mikoto was six feet under without a trace of it in his system. She hated it - that she got to live on while he was dead, that while she was wallowing around silently in her sadness and wasting away her life, if he was still alive he'd be trying to help people like he always had. It didn't make sense to her that someone as great as Mikoto, who was simply trying to help bring peace to HOMRA, had been the one to die that day and that she was still alive and doing nothing. She would never amount to what he could have done with the rest of his life - her life, her blood, all of that damned red was being wasted on her. "I-it's not fair," she bit her lip, trying to choke back a sob and failing miserably, "it's not-"


Anna's clenched eyes flew open, wide as could be, on the young man that stood in the doorway before her, eyes equally as wide, though confusion swirled behind his sunglasses. Immediately, the scissors clattered to the floor from her hand, and she continued to stare up at Izumo without a clue as to what to say. She was completely and utterly frozen - this was exactly the situation she had been trying to avoid. When she didn't respond to her name, Izumo took to examining the mess she had made in the small quarters, from the countless pieces of fabric strewn around to the few drops of blood from her finger falling to the ground below her. His eyes landed on the scissors and then on her tear-stained face, and he cautiously took a step forward. "Anna? What's going on here?"

And in that moment, she broke down. Tears flooded her vision and she couldn't stop them, though she didn't try to. Instantaneously, Kusanagi was by her side, his hands gently gripping her shoulders so that she would face him. Before he could get another word out, Anna had launched herself at him and buried her face in his chest, fingers gripping and twisting into his shirt desperately. Her wails filled his ears, only further frightening the man. As his arms instinctively rose to encircle her and comfort her, it became clear to him exactly what was wrong - Anna was not an overly emotional person to begin with, so there was only one reason why she displaying so much so openly in that very moment.

At hearing her vent so bluntly, he couldn't help but feel his own feelings towards his best friend's death being brought to the forefront, and he gritted his teeth. He would not break down. Contrary to popular belief within HOMRA, he had not gotten over Mikoto's passing yet - far from it, in fact. To not have the Red King in his bar each day still rattled him and it took everything within him not to let his wall break when the others were around. Someone needed to be there for the team at such a fragile time - someone needed to be strong for them all when they could not be for themselves, and that someone was Izumo Kusanagi, second-in-command - now first - of HOMRA. Despite his desperate need to relieve himself of the strangling grief that overtook him, he would not allow himself to, especially in front of someone like Anna, so obviously broken herself. It was difficult, though, when everything happening with her right then was reflecting how he felt.

He placed his hand on her white locks and ruffled the hair in what he hoped was a comforting gesture and tried to calm her. He shushed her and pulled her closer, listening to her frenzied babble and reassuring her that it would be all right, but her sobs far from ceased or quieted down. His chest swelled painfully at listening helplessly to the little girl cry so hard, but he wasn't quite sure what else he could do - try as he might, he was never quite sure he would be able to get a hang of the whole parenting thing. He had had a hard enough time trying to figure it out even when Mikoto was by their side and was an acting father figure, too, but now more than ever was he at a loss as to what to do.

Moments passed, and he was surprised to find that tears of his own were rolling down his face, uncontrollable and increasingly plentiful. He could no longer keep his wall up, not when faced with such raw emotion on Anna's part. He cursed himself inwardly, but try as he might, he could not make them stop. He risked a sniffle as he tried and failed to reign in his emotions, and before he could prevent her from doing so, Anna jerked away from him and peered up at him, watching as he, too, cried quietly. He pushed his shades up to conceal his eyes and turned away, murmuring, "Ah, Anna, this is nothing you need to see. I've just-"

He was cut off by her soft whisper of a voice. "Mister Kusanagi, it's okay to c-cry. Even the cool guys sometimes need a break." She offered him a shaky, sad smile before leaning into hug him again, deriving a sense of calm now though the waterworks had not yet stopped, while Izumo blinked down at her, tears rimming his eyes once again. He was shocked to hear such words from her when she was in such a frazzled state, but nonetheless complied, and despite himself, pressed his hand to his face and let out a small, gentle cry, an anguished noise that while made him feel utterly pathetic, lightened his heart considerably.

He blamed himself, he really did - he couldn't help but think over and over again about how the situation could have gone differently if he had intervened the night previous. If maybe he had seriously spoken to Mikoto instead of being his usual cocky self, would it have turned out differently? Would Mikoto still be by their side? As much as he would have liked this to be true, Kusanagi doubted it. He knew Mikoto as a man true to intentions, and his intention that day was to kill the Silver King and if he had to, die trying. And die, he did. He had no qualms with this, and didn't want Izumo to have any either. But it was nearly impossible for the blonde bartender to accept, and he wondered briefly if he would ever be able to overcome the blame he knew Mikoto would want him to get over.

It wasn't long before Anna's weeping gave way to soft snores and Kusanagi smiled down at her sadly, wiping the last remnants of his own tears away and shaking his head - she was emotionally-drained, this was obvious to him. Hell, he was now, too. He hated that it had taken so long after the Red King's death for her to open up to him, but decided as he stood up, her small body cradled in his arms, that now was better than never. He wouldn't have been able to live with himself if she continued to silently let it eat her up inside until she was nothing but a hollow shell - he couldn't let that happen. For Mikoto, he had to protect Anna with all he had.

He slowly ascended the stairs to his apartment above the bar, and was careful to not rattle her around as he placed Anna on the sofa of the living room and covered her with a blanket. He was just about to turn to leave her be after a few minutes of watching her - and discreetly checking her finger to discover that it had stopped bleeding on its own - when he felt a pressure on his own digit and looked down to see her clutching it. "Mister Kusanagi," she mumbled, yawning slightly, "please promise me you won't ever leave me?" She squeezed his finger then, as if to add emphasis.

She couldn't bear to lose another person in her life, he knew this, that she might possibly lose it completely if this was the case, and so with a genuine smile he nodded at her. "I'm not going anywhere, I promise you that, Anna," he told her truthfully, before turning towards the door again. She returned the smile before letting his finger go and drifting off easily again. Izumo made his way to the doorway and watched her for a few more seconds before taking the steps slowly - it was still relatively early in the evening, but he had decided that it was important that he spend at least a few hours with Anna rather than keep the bar open - he knew that she needed him more, and if he was being frank with himself, he needed her, too.