Again i apologize for not noticing that my scene breaks hadn't carried over from word to ff. If anyone knows why this is and ways around it, once again please share.

This fanfiction has several changes in world history: the Holy Roman Empire never tried to retake the eastern portion of the Empire, and as such was never weakened enough to be conquered as easily as it had by the Turks, nor by crusaders. Constantinople was able to hold out and was awarded free city status rather than paying the price to capture what would have been a gutted city. Alternative history is a favorite of mine.


Minato sat next to Yukari at her desk helping his sister with her history homework, a typical Saturday scene as both of them liked to have their Sunday free. They looked up in surprise as they heard their mother's voice coming up from downstairs. "Kids, dinner." The two got up and ran down the stairs eagerly. Their mother was home so seldom that home-cooked meals were a rare treat.

They entered the kitchen and went to their places as their mother turned, holding some mail as she spoke to Minato. "This came from your school. Apparently they're starting some kind of study abroad program to Athens and Istanbul." She waved the paper in front of Minato's face and then made to throw it out, dismissing the idea out of hand.

Minato twitched in irritation. His mother was always doing this. She was always trying to run his life as if he had no will of his own. When he first noticed, it hadn't bothered him but as he was nearly 18 now, it had seriously begun to irritate him.

In a million dimensions, Sahashi Minato had been so beaten down by the iron will of his mother that his irritation would die still borne. In this universe however, something did happen, setting off a chain of choices and events that would in years to come change Minato drastically and the world in general.

He reached out and took the paper from her before she could throw it away. "Actually, that sounds interesting, after all I did take Greek as my foreign language. Maybe studying abroad will be a good idea, broaden my horizons."

Minato gathered his courage to meet his mother's gaze but she had already turned away, not even acknowledging his sudden spinal growth. "Whatever," She took out some paperwork from her office that she needed to do and began to work on it while eating. Her asshole boss never left her a moment's peace.

Yukari looked at her brother, surprised then she grinned and punched him lightly on the shoulder, proud of him for trying to stand up to their mother. Minato shrugged uncomfortably and looked down at the paper, he now clutched in his hands. The heading read Study Abroad: Constantinople. He put it on the table next to them and dug into his meal.

Chapter one Colliding

Forward four years

Hikari and Hibiki were not having a good week. First, their useless Ashikabi got fired from his job, and to put food on their plates they were forced to get jobs at a maid cafe. Sure, the pay and tips were great, but the number of balding oldies and pubescent brats who tried to feel them up made it a nightmare. Well that and the jealous stares of their co-workers. Their week got worse when the un-bonded Sekirei they attacked to try and force out of the project turned out to be number 9 Tsukiumi the water user, who promptly kicked their ass. And she had a temper! Now they were running for their lives as she pursued them angrily throwing spears of water after them.

Hikari grabbed her sister and dragged her into an alley by a busy subway station, practically running into a young man who was standing there talking on his cell phone. In fact, they would have if he hadn't dodged them, showing remarkable reflexes for a normal human.

Tsukiumi on the other hand, nearly collided with him, but pulled up short at his shout of anger. That shout would've instantly caused his death at the hands of the temperamental Sekirei of water if it wasn't so obvious that he was angry with the person on the other end of the phone. She skidded to a halt, as did the two twins, astonished by the force of emotion radiating off the young man.

The young man looked to be of average height and build, with unkempt black hair. His eyes were a unsurprising brown color but they crackled with anger as he spoke into the phone. "No mother, I don't want or need your money and I don't want to meet with you. How the hell did you even get this number? I thought I made it clear in my letter to you that as you had made it clear you wanted nothing to do with me I wanted nothing to do with you. Why would I want anything to do with you, when you seem to only care about me when it's convenient?!"

As his body slumping against the alleys left hand wall Hikari suddenly realized that the boy was as sad as he was angry. Moved by some maternal impulse she didn't really understand she began to move forward. Her sister and Tsukiumi also moved forward, Tsukiumi almost reaching out to touch the young man, as they could dimly hear a woman's voice on the other end (a voice that Hibiki would later swear she knew from somewhere), angry in its turn and not conciliatory at all. "You have to realize that I've had a lot on my plate the last few years, the company I work for has been expanding constantly and I've been in the thick of it. I understand you don't want any handouts, but my lack of communication with you is no reason to shut me out entirely! After all whatever happened can't have been that ba"

Minato's eyes narrowed and he hissed into the phone, "you have no idea, whatsoever, what I've been through." With an angry flick he closed the phone and just as quickly turned to Hibiki who was the nearest of the three women to him. He bowed abruptly. "I apologize for interrupting your movie or video shoot or whatever, but could you please wait for a minute longer, I need to destroy this phone and dump it somewhere. I'll recompense your production group for whatever waste of time my entrance caused."

Hikari and Hibiki were at a loss for words and were about to reply that they weren't part of any movie when Tsukiumi reached out, took the phone in her hand and summoned up a ball of water, crushing it with the water pressure.

The young man had closed his eyes after coming out of his bow and stood there, face upturned to the sky hands twitching as he got control of himself. When he looked down his anger was gone, but his sadness remained and he turned to Tsukiumi, bowed gracefully again and said, "Thank you Ms. I," he looked up at her face and froze, tongue-tied.

Before him stood a woman of peerless beauty. She was dressed in a long black coat open at the front with a very short white under dress stretched to the maximum to cover her amazing chest. A black choker on her neck stood out against its elegant curve, and long black boots with black stockings followed her magnificent legs up to mid thigh. Blond hair flowed down and around her body in waves to the small of her back and to the side of her face framing an attractive face dominated by lively blue eyes on a body whose proportions were almost unbelievably perfect.

As he saw her properly without his anger clouding his senses his whole personality seemed to change. Gone was the controlled, self-contained man he had been and in his place stood a very innocent young man who blushed heavily and began to look away, stuttering nervously.

Tsukiumi waited a few seconds for him to finish, but she was never the most patient of women and after a few seconds, her anger got the better of her. "What's the matter with you, you damn monkey!" She reached out and grasped his shirt, shaking him roughly. Hikari and Hibiki took this opportunity to back away slowly, trying hard not to attract #9's notice.

Minato held up a hand placating and looked back at her still blushing. "I'm sorry, it's just..." he looked away again, blushing even more heavily.

Tsukiumi stopped shaking him as he started, but began again when he looked away." It's just what!?"

Minato moistened his lips and looked back at her, staring into her eyes, still blushing bright red. "It's just you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen." He looked away, embarrassed.

Tsukiumi gasped and let go of his shirt backing away, holding her hand to her chest as a warm flush ran through her at his words, overwhelming every other sensation. For a moment, she could feel her body reacting to something beyond the words spoken, her breathing quickened, her body pulsed, and her heart beat. "It's you", she whispered.

Swiftly her mind, which she had used so long to combat the indoctrination overcame the feeling. Suddenly filled with rage she clenched her fist angrily. How dare this monkey make her body respond like that! She opened the palm of her left hand and began to summon her power her voice rising to a scream, "how dare you! How dare you try to control me! I'll never let you touch me you damn monkey!"

Minato backed away against the alley wall farthest from the blond Valkyrie, his old habit of being terrified of powerful women developed dealing with his mother and the shock of the accusation itself momentarily unmanning him. His voice rose to a squeaky stammer as he waved his hands in front of his face trying desperately to calm the magnificent woman down. He looked around for help but the sisters of lightning had made their escape. "W-wait, what do you mean? I would never... "

The blonde haired goddess raised her hand, a ball of water forming in her palm and she roared," No excuses!"

Her hand was grabbed from behind as a calm voice said, "Now there's no reason to go around involving innocent bystanders is there Tsukiumi? I'm certain this young man meant no harm." Tsukiumi turned and glared at her rival Homura, Sekirei of fire and self appointed defender of Sekirei. He stood behind her in the alleyways entrance, wearing a long, flowing black cape with a black mask covering the lower part of his face as was normal for the vigilante. She was about to speak when Homura turned to Minato, still gripping her arm and inquired calmly. "I'm certain you'd never dream of doing something like that would you?"

He shook his head rapidly, fear of the powerful woman in front of him drowning out his natural curiosity about her powers and what was going on. "I'd never do that to anyone." He breathed deeply getting a hold of himself, facing the woman squarely. He said, "I'm sorry if I offended you in any way, truly I am."

Homura nodded equably, and he and Tsukiumi watched as the young man walked away, still bowing until he was out of sight around the corner of the alley. As soon as he was out of sight the fire user turned to the water manipulator, "What were you thinking getting an innocent bystander involved! MBI would have sent the disciplinary squad after you if you had killed him!"

Tsukiumi shook her head angrily, her blonde tresses wafting over her ample chest for a moment. "My body reacted to him. And you know what that means."

Homura grinned beneath the mask. "Congratulations then, you found your Ashikabi."

Tsukiumi glared at him. "You know my opinion about Ashikabi. I'll kill him before he has the chance to do anything to me!"

Homura shook his head, sadly. "Who's to say he would ever try to 'violate' you as you put it? Besides, you shouldn't be so quick to waste what others cannot have."

Tsukiumi stopped and looked at him. "Why do you want an Ashikabi in the first place? Why would you let anyone own you, control you like an Ashikabi can against your will?" To her mild surprise, the question came out with none of her usual force. Tsukiumi was a woman of incredible emotions, as temperamental as the ocean. And her encounter with the young man had evoked so many conflicting emotions that she couldn't hold on to any one of them for long, leaving her adrift without any anchor.

Homura answered the question as best he could, hoping to convince his temperamental acquaintance of the good points of having an Ashikabi. "Because I don't think that an Ashikabi really would try to control me, not a real Ashikabi anyway. Ashikabi and Sekirei are supposed to love one another and that love makes them both stronger, an equal partnership, with neither partner dominating the other as both are equally important, just like in a normal human marriage."

Tsukiumi looked at him thoughtfully, his words cutting through her emotional confusion. Such a concept had never entered her mind before but the way her body had felt when the young man complemented her was…. Perhaps… perhaps there is more to this Ashikabi business than I've let myself believe. But that doesn't mean I'll just jump at the opportunity. No, this young man may make my body react, but there has to be more to it, more than just my Sekirei genes reacting. Tsukiumi nodded decisively, not even noticing Homura looking at her quizzically. I'll have to do some research on this.

+++++++++++++++++++++Forward one week++++++++++++++++++++

(why did this break work and none of the others WtF?)

Minato stretched his arms above his head, heading home to his apartment from his part time construction job. The pay for part time work wasn't much, but it served his needs for the moment. He'd intended, upon his return to Japan, to begin studying to get into college, any college, though his youthful dream had always been to go to Tokyo U. The construction job allowed him to have some spending money for textbooks and the like, while the 'money' he had brought back with him from Constantinople paid for his few ongoing expenses and gave him a bit to invest long term, allowing him to concentrate on his studies. With his grades from before his 'trip' and his intellect, he had every hope of getting on with his life and putting the past behind him.

That had been the plan, but for the past week the goal had lost its luster. He sighed for what seemed the thousandth time. Ever since I met that blonde woman, I can't get her out of my head. What had been going on? That question took on more prominence every time he thought back on the strange encounter. Women that beautiful surely aren't so common that three of them would be in the same place by chance. The blond was by far the most beautiful, but the other two were better looking than any model I ever saw in those magazines the men used, let alone any woman I've ever seen in real life. Minato had never thought this much about a woman since hairs starting growing in odd places and his voice changed (of course that might have something to do with his mother's version of 'the talk' which would have destroyed tougher man than he had been). Then there had been the other stuff going on. There was no crew or equipment around and I saw no sign of special effects or anything that could create that effect, whatever it was, in her hand. Her reaction to my words and her sudden anger was also very strange and somehow… somehow strangely painful.

He shook his head trying to shake off the thought of piercing blue eyes and long flowing blond locks as he looked around, his senses suddenly telling him something was wrong. After a moment, he realized what was bothering him. It's only sevenish, there are usually still a lot of people walking around the park. But the only person Minato could see was a young woman sitting alone on a bench. As he cautiously walked on, he realized with a start that she looked to only have a pair of underwear and a long trench coat on. This sent his senses into overdrive and he moved forward swiftly, eyes searching the shadows for danger as he made his way toward her. He had met and helped rape victims before during his time in Constantinople, and this looked something like that, putting him on unwelcome but familiar ground. The lack of bystanders is weird though.

As he moved closer he realized that here was another woman of uncommon beauty. She had unkempt short tan colored hair, and porcelain colored skin. Her body, which Minato was careful not to look at after ascertaining her level of distress, was like the stuff of dreams. She's as gorgeous as the blond from last week, he mused. Maybe Japan really has changed, and beauties like this are more common than I thought.

He shook off the whimsical thought as he stopped in front of the women. Keeping his distance he bent down slowly to bring his face even with hers. "Miss, are you all right?" It was only when the woman looked up at him that he saw the mark on her forehead, a complicated image centered around a bird shape overlapping a yin-yang symbol with several small moon shapes circling it. Oooooh shit, something really strange is going on here! For the moment however, hekept his expression as gentle as he could as he smiled down at her, pushing his questions and concerns to the back of his mind.

From a nearby tree, Tsukiumi looked down at Minato as he stood in front of the failed Sekirei. She had been watching him for a week, trying to understand why her body had reacted to his complements so strongly, trying to determine if it was merely a physical Sekirei gene-driven reaction or if there was more than physical compatibility at play here.

That question was still unanswered yet in that time she had realized that he was a very unusual young man, and many of those things only made him more interesting to her. He had no friends and few acquaintances off his prep school campus, none of whom he was close to. This by itself was not so strange, but he seemed to be wary of letting others too close, something she could relate to but could not understand in a normal human like him.

He seemed to be constantly watching his surroundings unobtrusively yet keenly. She realized almost immediately that keeping to the rooftops was the only way to stop him from noticing her, and even then he had almost spotted her a few times. He seemed to automatically search for vantage points and high places. It almost reminded her of the way some of the more experienced Sekirei who fought with their fists watched their surroundings when expecting combat, but why would he be watching his surroundings like that all the time?

She'd also realized he was stronger than he looked. A few times during his construction work he had displayed more strength than his lean frame would suggest. Tsukiumi also saw what seemed to be several scars on his forearms, and she had spotted another on his calf when he had ripped his pant leg. She found she was very curious about where he had gotten these scars.

He was also independent. Twice he had refused handouts from coworkers who had heard he was living alone. He had been polite but firm in turning them down. This independence pleased her greatly, and drew her to him even more.

She had decided to introduce herself to him that evening and followed him home with that purpose, determined to get to the bottom of her reaction to him, as well as all the mysteries that surrounded him, but now she watched with consternation as the failed Sekirei, who she recognized by the crest on her forehead, met the man who may be her Ashikabi. The thought occurred to her however that this could be of a final test of his character. If he's truly worthy of me how he reacts to the broken one will tell me. Thus deciding she remained in the tree, watching.

The failed Sekirei Akitzu looked up at the young man standing before her. In the dim light provided by a nearby lamppost, his eyes shone with kindness in a handsome face, and she looked away, confused. The scientists had thought her an object to manipulate and experiment on as they saw fit. The few other Sekirei she had encountered had looked at her with pity and often contempt, not kindness and she didn't know how to deal with it. She spoke in a halting voice, "I, all I desire, is my Ashikabi," she shook her head sorrowfully "Yet I am alone and will always be alone, nothing more than a broken experiment unable to form a bond."

Minato's teeth clenched as he fought to keep his sudden anger off his face. Whoever messed with this girls' mind has a lot to answer for. At the same time, the young woman's beauty struck him as much as the blonde's from last week had, but he kept his blush off his face and his voice under control. "Well, I don't know what an Ashikabi is, but would you allow me to help you?" He held out his hand and smiled slightly as Akisu's stomach betrayed her hunger. "Maybe something to eat would help?" He shrugged off his over shirt and handed it to her, politely turning away to allow her some privacy.

Akitzu was astonished. Not only was he willing to help her, he also gave her his shirt. When she had been released she had not even been given anything to wear, so useless was she considered by the scientists who had experimented on her. She set aside the overcoat that she had stolen and pulled the T-shirt over her head before putting the overcoat back on. Now dressed, she reached out and gently touched the man's back. As he turned to her, his welcoming smile made her heart pound and her body hot. Is this what an Ashikabi would make me feel?

Minato took the young woman's hand and guided her out of the park to a nearby restaurant. "What's your name?" he asked gently. "Mine's Sahashi Minato."

The fallen Sekirei looked down at their hands, blushing slightly at even this small human touch. Her voice was barely above a whisper as she replied in a single word, "Akitzu."

Tsukiumi was both pleased and irritated. She had watched from a nearby building through the windows of the restaurant as Akitzu and Minato ate. Minato had not tried anything, just talking to her with a gentle smile on his face. She had no idea what they were discussing but it was obvious that Akitzu was enjoying the conversation, responding a little bit more as the discussion went on. This pleased the water Sekirei.

Yet Tsukiumi felt something, a pain in her heart. Could this be jealousy? She thought, but why would I be jealous over some monkey? She shook her head at the thought. Still, so far Minato's proven to be a much better man than I thought any damn monkey could be. From his perspective, he simply helped a woman who desperately needed it and asked nothing in return, bursting her misconceptions about his gender and species as he did. I need to think on this further…


Unbeknownst to the water goddess, she was not the only one watching the pair. A limo pulled up on the other side of the street from the restaurant and a young boy with wavy light brown hair and European features looked out the tinted glass of the window. He turned to his companion, a tall man who had a sword in his lap, leaning back in his seat with his eyes closed. "She's a rare one isn't she, Mutsu" he said excitedly. "I want her. We'll strike in the park after they leave the restaurant." Mutsu nodded his head, but inwardly he was rather irritated. Master really doesn't have any sense of propriety. The young man obviously feels something towards the flawed one. Getting in the way of true love isn't something we should be doing. Orders were orders however, and if Mutsu wanted to help his master win the Sekirei plan he would have to do things he didn't want to.

As they ate, Minato tried to draw Akitzu out, asking if she had anyone she wanted to contact, only to be told she had no family and no one to help her. The worst part was Minato got the impression that was all she had ever known. Minato quickly realized her past was a touchy subject and changed the topic. He kept the conversation light, talking about the weather and then some Tokyo Disney rides he had gone on the first day he came back to Japan. At the time, he had felt that he had deserved a little fun, a chance to reclaim some of his destroyed youth.

Her reactions when he related how he screamed like a girl on some of the roller coasters brightened her face almost to a normal level of expressiveness. She also seemed to enjoy being close to a mother and her baby, who came and sat in the booth behind her halfway through their own meal. He had returned from the bathroom to find her smiling shyly over her seat at the giggling baby boy but she immediately composed herself when she noticed his return, much to Minato's amusement.

It was at that point that he realized he was very taken with this girl, as much as he was with the blonde from a week ago. He shook his head ruefully. Even with Akitzu right in front of me that blonde woman is still on my mind. What would Yukari do if she learned that I'm thinking about two women at the same time? Something painful I bet. The fact was also bothering him, as it was totally unlike him to be this attracted to someone in so short a time, and here it had happened twice in a week. It should have bothered his logical side far more but for some reason he found himself unable to fight the feeling.

After he paid for his meal, he hesitatingly asked Akitzu if she wanted to stay at his place for the night, again something he would never normally do. She agreed immediately and the two of them had begun to walk back through the park towards his apartment.

Halfway through the park Minato stopped and looked around realizing again that there was no one in the park. He tensed hearing something and motioned Akitzu to stay behind him as he turned to face down another park path. From the shadows, a boy stepped forward; foreign, rich looking and dressed in an effete manner with frills at his cuffs and sleeves. Ookay, when did we travel back in time to the renaissance? Kid looks like he stepped out of one of those horrible Shakespeare plays.

Next to him stood a tall man and upon sighting him, Minato tensed further all temptation to laugh vanishing. The man's entire manner spoke of a trained warrior and he held a sword, a katana from the look of it like he knew how to use it. On the other side of the man, a young woman appeared, younger and with a bust much smaller than Akitzu's ample proportions wielding a scythe. Minato paid her scant heed however, all his attention focused on the man with the sword.

The boy spoke in an arrogant manner that immediately grated on Minato's nerves. "Now, nii-san, we don't have to do this the hard way you know, we just want to talk to the girl. If you let us maybe you'll walk away from this."

Minato grinned tightly moving slightly to stand next to a convenient trashcan, making certain to keep his himself between Akitzu and their assailants. "I have no idea what's going on but if you think I'm going to follow your orders you're crazy. And I don't think Akitzu wants anything to do with you. Do you?" he kept his eyes on their assailants as he asked the question and felt more than saw Akitzu shake her head quickly.

For her part Akitzu was angry at these people trying to take her away from Minato. Minato was the first person in her life to treat her with kindness and she did not want to be separated from him. He made her feel alive in a way she had never thought possible and she would fight to keep that feeling! Concentrating briefly, she began to gather her power and the night turned cold in response around them.

The boy smirked and at a negligent wave of his hands the other two moved forward in unison. They stopped abruptly as a voice from the left shouted out angrily "two on one isn't fair!"

The woman with the scythe only had time to blink once before a battering ram of water appeared out of nowhere smashing her into and through a tree behind her. Mutsu turned swiftly, his still sheathed blade blocking a similar attack. Immediately assessing the new threat as far more than any human he moved in the direction of the attack, but was interrupted by a trashcan smacking into his legs, tripping him up midstride.

Before he could regain his balance, Minato was on him, palm striking at his opponent's nose, hand twisting the sword out of his hand before he could recover.

Damnit, let that be a lesson, old boy. Overconfidence can be the bane of the best of us and humans can fight too. Mutsu shook his head and brought his attention back to the fight. His nose was broken and blood was flowing down his face freely. He was much stronger than any human though, and he reached out and grabbed Minato's hand slamming him to the ground and reaching for his sword. Minato gasped as the breath was hammered out of him by the impact but kicked out as he was slammed to the ground aiming at the man's elbow, but before he connected both combatants were flash frozen, encased in ice that suddenly formed around them. The boy too had been frozen solid.

That threat to Minato dealt with, Akitzu glanced at the blonde woman walking towards her and nodded, recognizing her, "Tsukiumi." The two of them had met once when undergoing combat related tests two years ago. Tsukiumi nodded back and Akitzu waved her hand, vanishing the ice surrounding Minato but not the sword wielder.

Minato shook his head, shaking off the cold snap and his shock at witnessing what could only be called magic for a third time, taking in his surroundings hurriedly. Questions can wait until we are out of here. The man he had been fighting was already breaking the ice surrounding him.

Mutsu glared at Minato through the frozen blood crystallized to his face, jerking his arms out of the ice and trying to reach his sword. Beyond him, the girl who had been smashed through the tree was already getting up, only a few scratches showing from her assisted flight through the tree.

Without waiting another second Minato reached out and grabbed Akitzu's and the blonde woman's hand tugging them both after him as he ran away from the fight, down another of the parks trails. Tsukiumi sputtered indignantly at running away from the fight but Minato looked back at her smiling in a manic sort of way, stopping her protest. "Hello again, I don't think we ever introduced ourselves, my name's Sahashi Minato! We can talk later but a rule of combat is to never fight in a place chosen by your enemies unless you know something they don't and in this case," he nodded past her left shoulder, "they seem to hold all the advantages!"

Tsukiumi glanced back only now realizing that the two Sekirei she and Akitzu fought was only two of four and that the other two were now racing after them in pursuit even as the first two started after them. She ground her teeth audibly at this betrayal of what she felt was the only honorable type of fight: one-on-one combat and she turned forward, nodding. "Tsukiumi, Sekirei number 9. We will talk later." Minato nodded.

Grimly the trio ran on out of the empty park into a crowded street. Once they were on a busier street with other people around, they stopped running. Tsukiumi noticed absently that Minato was still holding her hand, though he had let go of Akitzu's as they turned a corner.

Akitzu was quick to rectify the situation, clasping Minato's hand to her breasts, making him gulp involuntarily. Tsukiumi responded by grabbing his arm and pulled herself close just as possessively in a reflex action before regaining control of herself and going back to just holding his hand.

Meanwhile Minato calmed down a bit, now that they were away from the immediate danger, cursing himself for letting his guard down. I thought life would be easy being back in Japan, but it looks as if I'm destined to live in interesting times. The two lovely women who were holding onto him looked up into his face, capturing his own eyes with theirs. Still regardless of what happens it will be worth it, if I can get to know these two. Again the strangeness of this thought registered, only to be swept away by the realization that it was true. "Would you ladies like to stop by my apartment and tell me what the hell is going on?" After the sudden attack and the strange powers he had seen both women wield he wouldn't have been surprised if he sounded half hysterical, but instead was rather pleased by how calm his voice sounded.

Tsukiumi and Akitzu both nodded and he led the way off through the crowd, still holding his hands.

The trio drew stares from all sides. Women looked on envious of how pretty Tsukiumi was and how strangely Akitzu was dressed while men glared at Minato balefully. They all were wondering what the hell an ordinary looking slob like Minato had done to warrant the attention of two such amazing hotties. The three walked on in silence, each in their own thoughts, which constantly revolved around their companions. Tsukiumi and Akitzu especially were wondering how to handle the others presence. They both decided to simply go with the flow for now, Tsukiumi much more reluctantly than Akitzu. Minato's actions and the emotion he evoked in her raised far too many questions for her to walk away from willingly any more.

They soon came to Minato's apartment small and very cheap apartment that he had rented out upon his arrival in Tokyo. The landlord wasn't the most understanding individual but he was able to pay by the month rather than by the three-month as was normal and he didn't run credit or background checks, which suited Minato, who had none of the first and very little of the latter he wanted known in Japan just fine. But now he found himself embarrassed to show his apartment to such high-class (judging by Tsukiumi's clothing and general air) women, and this showed in a blush as he escorted them into his room. "Sorry about how messy it is" he muttered.

Tsukiumi glanced around and at Minato's face and tried to keep herself from laughing. It was obvious to her that he realized this place was well below what she was used to.

Peeling wallpaper and dirty walls was just the start of it. A few textbooks and note pages were scattered across the floor, as were several articles of clothing. Empty instant food containers were piled up around and in a small trashcan in the far corner. Drinks of several varieties were scattered on a small table in the center of the room, though the sofa next to it was clean. Behind the sofa, she could see an odd box, about four inches by forty leaning against the wall. The only light came from an overhead light set into the ceiling. In other words the room was the quintessential bachelor's hovel, with a side helping of collegiate clutter.

Tsukiumi was not such a connoisseur of messiness to realize this however. All she saw was a pigsty. However, he had welcomed her in without hesitation and the warmth she felt for him was undeniable now. He could truly be my Ashikabi, and I, I still do not know how I feel about it. All her previous convictions about Ashikabi had been destroyed in the past week watching this man, and it left her confused and off balance, a state of being that she disliked intensely.

Akitzu on the other hand did not know enough about the outside world to realize Minato's apartment was anything to be ashamed of. She simply gripped his hand as hard as possible, following him into the apartment.

The moment they entered the apartment, Minato walked over and grabbed a pair of folded jeans from his clean clothes corner and gave them to Akitzu. He turned away as she pulled them on, noting out of the corner of his eye Tsukiumi's look of approval. After sitting Akitzu and Tsukiumi on the sofa, he went to get them some water, giving himself some time to think away from their intoxicating presence.

Looking back, he could again find no explanation for the strange powers he had witnessed and the way their attackers had acted, nor the way he felt drawn to them, though that was at best an incidental observation, lost in the myriad of confusing new experiences he had tonight. What the fuck is going on here? That kid acted like he was playing a game, but everyone else was deadly serious about it. And the powers Akitzu and Tsukiumi used were like magic. Some kind of ESP maybe, or government experiments? Feels like I walked into some kind of bad sci-fi novel. He tried to think of a rational explanation and came up blank.

Walking back into the room and handing the ladies their water he sat across from his guests none the wiser for his musings but determined to get some answers. "Umm, I realize that this is a very direct question, but what's going on here? It's not every day that a young man meets two gorgeous women and then has to fight someone else off to keep one from being taken away." He blushed, realizing how corny and stupid that sounded. He really hadn't meant to say it that way. Their presence was really affecting him, and this caused him to wonder about everything that was going on even more.

Both women flushed in pleasure at his compliment but glanced at each other, trying to decide who would speak first. Seeing a chance to learn about the odd scars Minato carried, Tsukiumi took the lead. "I think an exchange of information is in order. We tell you about us, and you tell us why a college boy acts like a trained warrior, agreed?"

Realizing it was only fair Minato nodded his ascent. He was asking them to share information about themselves, and he had to give them some reason to trust him with that knowledge.

Tsukiumi hesitantly related to Minato the origins of the Sekirei on earth, fearing his rejection of them for their origins. Minato did not interrupt her, simply closing his eyes and thoughtfully rubbing at the bridge of his nose. When she finished, Tsukiumi and Akitzu sat waiting anxiously for his reaction.

Minato opened his eyes and looked at his houseguests. Realizing that they were both waiting for his response he smiled gently, which seemed to relieve them. "I'd already realized you weren't normal, so the idea of your being alien doesn't bother me. It beats witches all hollow, which was my first guess." Akitzu smiled and Tsukiumi laughed aloud at his wry humor, relief pouring through them at his response to their odd origins. He went on more grimly, "Besides, after seeing the worst humanity can offer the idea of extraterrestrials doesn't really bother me. But how did your ship crash?"

Tsukiumi shook her head. "We don't know. Only Sekirei number 1 was awake at the time. Single numbers were babies held in cryogenic stasis, and the other 97 were embryos when we were found. Only number 1 would know the reason behind the crash and no one but top M.B.I. Officials know who she is or where."

She, huh? Minato filed that and the embryo concept away, already wondering several things about the ship and it's crash-landing but there were more pressing concerns now. "Please go on. I can tell there's more to this."

Tsukiumi glared at him, gesturing at his forearms. "I think it's time you told us about yourself. I know you've been working as a construction worker and that you don't get along with your mother, but I for one need to know more about you before telling you more about us."

Minato nodded, running his fingers through his hair. "Right, my turn now huh? Um, how much do you know about recent world events and world history?" When both shrugged, he sighed. Short version then. "When I was in my last year in high school I was part of a study abroad program to Constantinople. It's what's called a free city in Turkey. That means it runs itself but pays dues to the country it's in, but the national religion is not the law there." At their blank faces he sighed again. "It would take too long to explain, especially if neither of you ever studied world history. Suffice to say there's always been lot of tension in and around the city, and while I was there as part of a student exchange program it broke down into open fighting between the Greeks and the Muslim populations of the city."

Tsukiumi looked up sharply. "Greeks, I know something about them, weren't they supposed to be some of the best fighters in the world a long time ago? I saw something about them in a museum I visited once."

Minato nodded, eyes not seeing them, mind a thousand miles away. "They were and are damned tough. I was housed in an Islamic household when riots began aimed at the Greek's because everyone thought the Turkish president had been assassinated by Greek separatists. Soon after, when it became apparent that no one was working to get me out of the city, and several of my classmates were either dead or gone I was caught up in the fighting and the only way to survive was to join a side." He looked back at them grimfaced. "Eventually I ended up switching sides, when I stumbled upon… well something horrible that I won't discuss with ladies like yourselves." He slowly opened up his shirt on one side, showing them three bullet wounds in his side. "I learned then to always help those who need it." He smiled looking into Akitzu's eyes. She blushed slightly, remembering how he had helped her without knowing who she was or asking anything in return. "After that I fought with the Greeks for two and a half years, until an armistice was reached between the two sides, and the real culprits of the assassination uncovered."

As Minato wound down, Tsukiumi grimaced slightly, leaning back into the sofa. She could tell there was a lot more to Minato's story than he was telling, but it seemed to be very painful for him to relate anything of that time, so she decided not to push.

The trio sat in silence for a few minutes, allowing Minato time to come back to the present. When he did he smiled encouragingly at them. "Now I think it's your turn again."

Akitzu took up the story, telling what she knew of Minaka's finding the ship and using it's tech to build M.B.I. into the superpower it was today, and of the Sekirei Plan and what it entailed. Minato interrupted her several times to ask questions.

"What do you mean when you say adjusting?"

Tsukiumi answered, "Slight genetic modifications done to us over time to allow us to control our powers as well as other changes."

"What other changes?" Minato closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose again, fighting a sinking feeling. He was building himself a very grim picture of this, but he kept his thoughts to himself for now. As he suspected neither knew. When Akitzu got to the actual Sekirei plan, he interrupted again. "Why do all Sekirei have to fight? What if they've met this Ashikabi person of theirs and don't want this grand prize?"

Akitzu shook her head sadly as Tsukiumi answered. "We have to fight because that is a part of who we are. We are warriors and must constantly strive to be the best."

Akitzu shrugged, not agreeing or disagreeing. "Regardless, no Sekirei is supposed to leave the Tokyo city limits. If they try, MBI sends the disciplinary squad after them to bring them back or to kill them. They are three of the strongest and most bloodthirsty Sekirei, and follow any order so long as they are able to fight and kill while doing it. To president Minaka we are all tools to be used as he wills, and he wants us here where he can control us." Tsukiumi scoffed at the idea of leaving, of not fighting, but didn't disagree with anything she said.

Tsukiumi took up the account, telling him about the role of Ashikabi in the Sekirei game. Afterwards she paused before going on. "My adjustor told me that my Ashikabi would enslave me, I never wanted that, I wanted to prove I could be strong enough to never need an Ashikabi. But a friend told me that an Ashikabi was your destined, your love if he was the real one and I have felt…" she paused again "I, w- when you called me beautiful, and the way you look at us, I" She broke off, blushing heavily. Akitzu nodded silently next to her.

Minato opened his eyes and looked at Tsukiumi, blushing as he remembered how he had complemented her when they first met. He was struck by her sudden change in demeanor, finding it intensely attractive. The woman who had been so powerful, so forceful before was looking down at her hands blushing nearly crimson. Minato reached out and gently took her hands. "I meant what I said, you are beautiful" he said. "Any man would be honored to be your boyfriend or just your friend. I'd never try to order you around like you were some kind of object." He glanced over at Akitzu, who had looked on with a blank face as he made this declaration, reaching out a hand to her as well. "I mean it, you both are incredibly beautiful and I don't mean just your bodies."

He turned to Tsukiumi, not knowing where the words were coming from, or the courage to say them but meaning every syllable. "You are fiery, passionate, intelligent, and have a forceful personality, something I really like."

He then turned to Akitzu, "you are kind, gentle, and just as intelligent. I-I,"

He paused and blushed taking his hands away, as his self-control reasserted itself. "You both are extraordinary women and any man would be, I…" he paused. "I- I feel as if I've fallen for both of you. I feel like such a heel saying that but I…" Minato stood up abruptly, his face as red as a tomato at his little speech. "I s-should go. You can stay here the night, I'll find someplace else to stay."

Before he had taken two steps Tsukiumi and Akitzu both reached out, grasping his arms and pulling him back down. Minato glanced back at them and Tsukiumi met his eyes for a moment before looking down shyly. "Strange," she murmured, "the thought of an Ashikabi touching me, owning me, should send me into a rage, but your words make me feel something I've never felt." She looked back up at him almost angrily. "You've turned my whole world on it's head, don't even think about just walking away!"

Akitzu nodded. "I too feel something for you. While I am unable to have a true Ashikabi I would stay with you." The two women looked at each other for a moment before Akitzu looked away dejectedly.

Tsukiumi sighed sadly. She couldn't help Akitzu's situation and was sorry for her, which was in itself something of a shock as before meeting Minato she had always envied Akitzu for not being able to be winged. Yet here she was sorry about it. Yet in that look, Akitzu showed her she would not stop Tsukiumi from grasping her own happiness.

She turned back to Minato studying his face for a moment, thinking of all that had been said, of all that was still to be said. As she stared into his eyes, she made a decision that two weeks ago she would never have had the courage to do: she decided to trust someone enough to give them her heart. "Would you be my Ashikabi?" She asked in a very soft, uncertain voice, completely unlike her normal tone.

Minato gazed to Tsukiumi's blue eyes, and saw fear, trepidation, anxiety and budding love. It was as if she was an open book to him just then, or perhaps he saw her emotions because they mirrored his own. After his own moment of introspection, and fighting that part of his mind that was still certain his emotions were being manipulated somehow he took the plunge and nodded firmly. "What do I have to do?"

Immediately upon hearing his answer Tsukiumi surprised him by leaning abruptly forward and pressing her lips against his.

Minato closed his eyes reflexively and leaned forward, deepening the kiss, loving the feeling of her soft lips on his own. His arms went around her and he poured his own emotions into the kiss, never wanting this feeling to end.

Warmth, exquisite heat, spread like a wave through Tsukiumi's entire body from her lips as she kissed him back, the power filling her from head to toe. This feeling, this is what love feels like. Twin wings of light blazed from her back enveloping the room and flowing outward through the walls and into the night, showing the world the power of their newly formed bond as the Sekirei crest appeared on the back of her neck.

Next to her Akitzu, who at first had to fight off her jealousy at what was unfolding found herself enveloped by this light. When she was, Tsukiumi's feelings and emotions were communicated to her. Her memories, desires and fears, in that moment Akitzu saw them all. She watched as a much younger Tsukiumi was made fun of by others because she liked high places. She watched as the few friends she had turned on her as she grew more powerful, as the doctors and soldiers around her began to look at her with lust, disgusting her with their eyes and manners and as her adjustor tried to turn her into a man hater like herself. Akitzu was uncertain what to make of it, and decided to talk to her about it later.

The two broke apart and Tsukiumi leaned her head against the chest of her new husband. "My Ashikabi I, Tsukiumi, Sekirei number 9, warrior of water will love and protect you with my life," she murmured.

Minato was about to ask her what that light had been about when Akitzu touched his shoulder gently. He turned to her, releasing Tsukiumi who leaned back into the sofa cushions, momentarily dazed by the strength of the emotions the ceremony had evoked in her. Akitzu was blushing faintly, but she looked at Minato determinedly. "I cannot be your Sekirei, but I too would perform the ceremony."

Again Minato lost himself in a pair of beautiful eyes, light gray this time, and he nodded helplessly oh God, he thought. I really do love them both. What the hell is wrong with me? The thought was a small one, easily overwhelmed by the power of his new reached out and gently touched the side of Akitzu's face, bringing her forward to his lips.

Akitzu felt it almost immediately, but it took her a moment to realize what was going on. She had never even thought that it was possible, was never even allowed to consider the idea that it was possible. But as the power of her emotions filled her, as warmth touched places in her soul long left cold, she realized that her new love had healed what M.B.I.'s scientists had broken.

Tsukiumi looked on in awe as the mark on Akitzu's forehead slowly disappeared and again wings of blazing light reached from wall to wall of the little apartment and beyond. She in her turn was enveloped by the light and gasped, mind suddenly seeing images from Akitzu's past as Akitzu had from hers. She watched aghast as day after day uncaring doctors worked on her, feeding her chemicals, drugging her, breaking her spirit in an attempt to see if they could break the bonding ability, as she was looked at with pity and contempt by her peers, as her one ray of hope, the one scientist who was friendly with her was taken from her. Tears welled up unbidden as she felt Akitzu's bottomless loneliness and despair, disappearing in a blaze of light as she had against all odds found her Ashikabi.

In a room in the MBI tower, sensor analysts ran around frantically as Minaka looked at a small screen in front of him with growing irritation. One shouted "Aura's confirmed, number nine and number…. Seven now winged!"

Another scientist exclaimed in shock, "That's impossible. Akitzu was specifically broken so that she could never have a bond. That was the entire point of the experiment, to see if we could break that ability!"

Minaka shrugged carelessly. "Apparently the bond is more powerful and much more complex than you thought." He turned back to his own screen and scowled. "More importantly, how am I supposed to make my mysterious and grand entrance? How can someone not have a TV or even a radio to their name in this day and age! And he's not answering his cell phone!" He sighed theatrically. "The irritations I must go through to fulfill my duty as the games master. You" he turned to a random flunky "Get someone over to this address with a TV so I can make my grand entrance and tell him the rules of the game." The security guard nodded and walked off, wondering how much longer he would have to follow the crazy asshole's orders and if the admittedly decent pay check was really worth it.

Akitzu and Minato's lips finally parted, a trail of saliva connecting them for a moment before Akitzu licked it away, and whispered in a soft, throaty voice full of love, "Sekirei number seven Akitzu of ice gives you her devotion and her love. I will defend and protect my Ashikabi with my life."

Tsukiumi reached out enfolding both her new life-partners in a fierce embrace. She had never thought that she would ever have an Ashikabi let alone share one, but she had seen what Akitzu had gone through, and having seen could not turn her away. She is truly my sister now. Akitzu returned the hug, having realized the same thing earlier. Minato for his part was in a daze from the power of the two kisses, his first and second respectively.

After a moment, Tsukiumi stood up abruptly, authoritative manner resurfacing. "Minato we're leaving, this place is not fit for a pig. I'm staying at a hotel and the three of us can spend our wedding night together there." All her previous worries had disappeared, and she suddenly wanted nothing more than to be in Minato's arms. She glanced at Akitzu. I wonder if we will have to figure out some kind of rotation…

Akitzu gazed back at her realizing what her new fellow Sekirei was thinking. I know it doesn't actually have to be part of the Sekirei/Ashikabi bond, but Tsukiumi's misconception will benefit us both here. In fact, it was safe to say that Akitzu, her emotions and more importantly at the moment libido newly awakened, was looking forward to their wedding night just as much as her companion. Her eyes were almost blazing with desire in her calm face as she looked at Minato.

For his part, Minato spluttered in shock. Not only did he not have enough money to spend on a hotel, certainly not a hotel that was good enough for Tsukiumi, but also the idea of marrying either one of them hadn't really crossed his mind. What court or priest would marry a human and two aliens (neither of who probably own legal I.D.) after all? He Looking at his new life-mates, and a rush of realization hit him blasting through his emotional barriers like a tank round through paper. Shit, I would in a second if I could. I really would marry them both.

He brought his mind back to the here and now. "I would love to, but I don't have enough money right now for a hotel room and hotels charge by the person so" he stopped as Tsukiumi brought out a gold credit card and waved it in his face. Minato was stunned for a moment, but when he saw the name MBI on the card, he understood. Of course, money is just another layer of control over the Sekirei. Crap, this is getting worse and worse. But for now…

Minato looked at Tsukiumi and sighed. "Alright we can use that to pay for one night at a hotel for the three of us but tomorrow we are going to sit down and talk about things like that. I have some points I want to raise before we start thinking about the future. After all" he grinned fiercely at Tsukiumi and Akitzu, "if we can't get out of this game I mean to win it." Tsukiumi smiled back, thrilled that her Ashikabi was as competitive as she was while Akitzu blushed and nodded agreement. Nothing and no one would separate either of them from Minato while she lived.

The three left the apartment quickly, nearly running into the landlord, who had come out to complain about the light show. The fat unpleasant man became even surlier as he saw the two stunning women walking down the stairs his tenant. "Sahashi, you know the rules of the apartment, no women allowed. I expect you gone by tomorrow afternoon."

Tsukiumi growled protectively. Reaching out with one hand she slammed the rude man into the wall for his insolence. "My husband and I would never think of staying in this hovel regardless of your rules!"

Minato smiled faintly. He'd never liked his landlord, a very minor bully who could never understand why Minato wasn't afraid of him and who tried to belittle and taunt his young tenant at every turn. "I'll be out of the apartment by tomorrow. I expect my monthly deposit returned when I arrive at around two. Have a nice night." Without a backward glance, the trio walked away leaving the man sprawled on the ground.

After they were out of sight of the landlord Tsukiumi turned to Akitzu. "The hotel I'm staying at is to the east of here." Akitzu nodded and wrapped her arms around Minato from the right as Tsukiumi did the same from his left. Before he could ask what they were doing, they lifted him into the air. Once they had a firm grip on him the two of them jumped straight up, landing on the apartment's roof, and proceeded to bound from rooftop to rooftop, carrying him with ease.

At first he gripped their waists in terror, but after a few jumps he relaxed and started to enjoy the ride.

Five minutes after they left a black car pulled up and two men got out. A minute later, they reported to Minaka that they had just missed their target. Far away in his lofty tower Minaka scowled irritably. Takami had just returned from the medical wing and he knew how she would react to him having anything to do with her son: violently. I'll just have to wait until tomorrow to contact him.

The trio landed on a hotel room balcony set into the side of Tokyo Meridian, one of the most expensive hotels in the city. As soon as they touched ground, Minato turned to Tsukiumi and Akitzu kissing each deeply in turn, not caring that the wings of light appeared again as he did. "That was amazing! Flying like that was one of my oldest childhood dreams, thank you so much!" Both women looked back at him momentarily stunned by his kiss.

After they recovered, all three entered the hotel room, its balcony door left unlocked for just this purpose. Tsukiumi went to put a do not disturb sign on the door while Akitzu went to get a quick shower.

Minato looked at the bed, his elation from the trip evaporating in a sea of worry as he realized what was about to occur. His mind, no longer besotted with their presence fell back on logic and again began questioning the speed with which this was all happening.

Before he could come to any more conclusion than before Tsukiumi returned. He watched as she slowly walked towards the bed, having changed in the anteroom into a towel. Her large gravity defying breasts jutted firmly from her chest with only a hint of jiggle, showing that her nipples had already hardened to points poking through the towel while showing off legs supermodels would kill for. Oh my god. As he looked at her, he felt both desire and trepidation of what was going to happen growing, drowning out his other worries as his emotions became more confused. Tsukiumi looked at him watching her and blushed, before running past him and jumping under the covers.

A moment later Akitzu exited the bathroom. Unlike Tsukiumi, she was completely naked. Her porcelain skin shone in the dim light of a single lamp, and her small cherry red nipples stood out in stark relief on her own large, firm breasts. Below, Minato noticed she had only a small triangular tuft of tan hair. He gasped turning away quickly and raising a hand to his nose to stop the sudden flow of blood that her gorgeous body evoked. "Are you both certain that you want to do this? I won't, I, I don't" he stuttered, feeling awkward and overwhelmed as all his doubts and insecurities about this new relationship came back to him.

Akitzu stopped his internal battle by wrapping her arms around his back, pulling his head down, placing his ear against her collarbone. "Can you hear my heart, Minato?" He nodded mutely, blushing yet at the same time calming down. It was beating faster and faster as he listened. "It is beating in excitement for you. We both feel the same way. We both want this." Minato looked over to the bed and Tsukiumi nodded mute agreement, all her earlier arrogance gone, leaving only a shy eagerness in its place. Akitzu released Minato and moved over to join Tsukiumi underneath the beds covers.

Doubts gone to be replaced by apprehension Minato slowly removed his clothing until he stood there with just his boxers on, allowing both his new life-mates to get a look at his body in turn, worried that they would find him waiting. Instead of the revulsion he expected to see in their faces he saw frank appreciation.

In fact both women felt a rush of excitement at the sight of his lean waist and washboard abs, which showed another long scar down one side opposite the three bullet scars on his flank. He wasn't a heavily muscled man, but he had a rangy power to him, and if there was an ounce of fat anywhere on his toned frame, neither woman could see it, and his scars did nothing to mar his body in their eyes as he had secretly feared.

Tsukiumi kept her gaze firmly on his chest and face, forcefully ignoring his nether regions as he moved toward the bed. Akitzu on the other hand took a good long look and blushed, further aroused by his large and obvious reaction to her and her sister-wife.

One concern gone, another reared its head and Minato stopped halfway to the bed. "Um, wh-what about protection? I mean I er, kids you know, not that down the line that wouldn't be fine but er, I mean if you're supposed to fight and all and I…"

Tsukiumi cut off his amusing and rather endearing babble, understanding the unease behind it and smiling happily at the concern it showed. "Don't worry Minato. All Sekirei were given a drug that makes us infertile for four months before the start of the plan. After that, we can go in and get it renewed or not if we wish. Now, stop stalling and come to bed!" Her earlier commanding tone came back for a brief moment, but was quickly stifled as Minato started moving towards them gain.

Once under the covers, Minato turned to look at them. "I, um I'm a virgin, so I…" he trailed off embarrassed. Both women smiled in relief, sharing the thought: so we will be his first as he is ours.

Tsukiumi grasped his hand and brought it to her left breast underneath the towel. Minato gulped and moved his fingers slightly, squeezing gently and moving his hand in a circular motion. Tsukiumi moaned in pleasure. Akitzu reached out and gently stroked Minato's face. "This is as new to us as it is to you, Minato-sama. I think we should just do what feels natural."

Tsukiumi nodded, moaning again as Minato brought his other hand up to gently stroke her side, slowly moving it underneath the towel. "I want you to do whatever you want. I'm putting myself in your hands."

Minato nodded, gazing into her eyes. "I love you." He said it simply, and realized he meant it with all his heart, all his doubts gone and his logical brain silent for the moment in the face of overwhelming evidence. He turned to Akitzu, looking into her eyes in turn. "I love you."

Tsukiumi nodded, eyes filled with overflowing emotion. "I love you, Minato."

Akitzu disdained words, leaning forward and capturing Minato's lips with her own. Again, wings of blazing light appeared and Minato moved his hands, removing Tsukiumi's towel as she removed his boxers in turn. Akitzu held the kiss as her tongue dueled with Minato's, electricity filling her at the sudden intrusion.

Reaching past Akitzu's shoulder, Tsukiumi turned off the light.

end chapter 1