Something you should know...

The version of this fic is really sloppy and unedited. I apologize, but I'm not fixing it here. You can visit my profile and go to my homepage. On my page, you'll find a much prettier, more grammatically correct version. I highly recommend you view it there. Thanks, and sorry for any inconvenience!


Akane yawned and stretched, smiling at the bright sunshine outside the window. She was so happy it was a nice day; the last couple of days had been so gloomy. She shrugged herself out of her pajamas and threw a robe over herself, humming sunnily. It seemed it had been ages since she'd felt this happy.

Nabiki was hogging the bathroom, as usual. "Come on oneechan, I have to wash my hair!" Akane whined, but her heart wasn't in it. Today was just too nice a day to yell at anybody.

"Girls, breakfast is almost ready!" Kasumi called cheerily. Akane's lips quirked again. Trust oneechan to match her mood perfectly. Kasumi was this cheery on days that were cloudy, rainy, and during tornadoes as well. And monsoons. And.

"I'll be there in a minute!" Hmm, my hair will just have to without, today. "Nabiki, are you even in there?"

Some indecipherable grumbling rumbled out from behind the closed furrow door.

Akane attempted to get angry and failed. "Oh well." Smiling and still humming softly to herself, she went back into her room and pulled on her knee-length socks, followed by the blue skirt and jacket of Furinkan High.

When she arrived downstairs, Kasumi was just setting out the plates of food. The savory smells of rice and fish wafted over to Akane. "Mmmm, that smells fantastic! As usual."

Kasumi beamed at the compliment.

"Just so, dear, just so," Soun agreed, his words garbled slightly by the pipe protruding out from between his teeth. He shook his newspaper slightly to punctuate the statement.

"Nabiki! Oh where is that girl?" Kasumi queried to herself, her voice bordering on annoyed. "She's usually not this late."

"Ere I am," Nabiki slurred softly, plopping down in front of the food and setting to with a will.

"Not even an 'itedakimasu', Nabiki?" Kasumi chided.

"Itedakimasu," Nabiki repeated woodenly, then shoved more rice into her mouth.

Kasumi's eyebrow twitched in unison with Akane's. As far as Akane was aware, nobody had ever sassed Kasumi. Akane shrugged at Kasumi and sat down beside her other sister, her ebullient mood softened somewhat.

Akane slowly ate her meal, examining both of her sisters. The two of them both seemed wrapped in an ineffable silence. Kasumi appeared to be in what amounted to an extremely gentle form of shock; Nabiki appeared to be single- mindedly interested in her food, as though unaware she'd committed a faux pas of the greatest order.

Akane's gaze wavered to the seat next to her father. It was strange, but it seemed like somebody should be sitting there who wasn't. Someplace between Kasumi and her dad.

Mother. Her mood deflated even more. I thought I was over that for the most part. But that empty seat is making me so sad.