"I don't like her," Suzu muttered under her breath, turning away from the black-winged woman.
"We've gotten that a lot; that's the first reaction most people seem to have toward her," returned Isaac. "Somehow Kuroi gets on everyone's nerves right away."
"Even Marie-san's," a soft, small voice whispered from behind the taller man. Suzu peered around him to look at the girl; she had to be approaching becoming a teenager without quite being there yet, with cropped bright red hair and hooded eyes whose color could not be determined for the hair hiding them. "No one likes her."
Suzu smiled gently the few inches down at the young girl. "And what's your name?"
"I'm Suzu." She held her hand out, and hesitantly the girl took it, shaking it slightly. "Pleased to meet you."
"You too." She peered up over Suzu's shoulder. "Your friend is upset."
The white-haired fighter whirled back around, her golden eyes automatically going to her general. Enjeru looked like he was beginning to feel sick as Kuroi seemed to be thoroughly trying to wrap herself as tightly around him as completely possible, maybe even closer to him than the clothes he wore. On his other side, Aku looked even paler than usual. Oh, this was so not good, she couldn't help thinking to herself.
Without warning, Aku released Enjeru's other arm and made a break for it. "Aku!" the general called after him, practically throwing Kuroi off to follow him. And in that long quiet moment, Suzu and Miki both looked ready to cheer, both at their friend's actions and the expression of pure shock on the other woman's face.
"Enjeru seems to have a new friend," Marie muttered under her breath, breaking the near perfect silence.
"Don't knock it, imouto-chan," scolded Miki lightly. "Aku has been better for Enjeru than anything we could have tried."
"You saw it, Marie," Suzu jumped in. "He's even smiled - and laughed. Before Aku arrived, we were having to almost keep him on suicide watch, he was so depressed-acting." She paused for a long moment then continued. "Besides, they look good together."
"They're both guys." This came from Kuroi. Her dark eyes were slitted thin as she glared after them, settling her wings behind her until they vanished. "It's wrong, unnatural." She broke off as a dark shape appeared before her. "Yes...?"
Miki's voice was colder and harder than Suzu had ever heard it, more artic than even Enjeru's voice ever seemed to go. "You will leave them alone," he stated plainly. "You won't interfere with them at all, or I will find very inventive ways to kill you. That I can promise you."
A small hand grasped his arm, tugging at him to get him to move back. "Miki..." Suzu whispered. Her own eyes turned to settle on the other woman. "If I hear of you messing with them, I'll hang you upside down in their side of the Contested Lands." At the faint smirk on Kuroi's face, she continued, "Painted head to toe in your own blood."
"Miki! Suzu!" Marie's voice broke in, her tone scolding.
* ~ * ~ *
Aku skidded to a stop, barely even realizing how hard he was breathing. Not even looking at where he was, he sank to the cold ground, his back against something cold and wooden, drawing his legs up close to his chest and wrapping his arms around them, burying his face in them. "Why?" slipped from his lips without him meaning to say it aloud.
What did you expect? a cold voice in his mind whispered. What made you think you deserved someone like Enjeru?
"I just wanted the chance," he countered. "No one has ever treated me or looked at me or anything like he has."
Like he did, you mean. You know the legend; that winged man-stealing bitch and Enjeru, everything depends on them, and the world might could be destroyed if they don't like each other.
"So I should step out of the picture right away and hope for the best?" he returned miserably.
"Don't," a startlingly deep voice interrupted. Vaguely he felt a hand touch his head as the other man continued speaking. "Please don't."
"But the legend..." he mumbled into his pants, refusing to look up.
"I don't care about the legend." He couldn't help but be shocked, his eyes coming up to meet auburn ones. "I don't care about it at all," Enjeru continued. His hand slid around to the back of Aku's head, pulling him slightly closer as he too leaned forward, until their foreheads touched. "I've never cared about any of it."
"But... the army...Kuroi..."
"I joined the army to get my father to leave me alone and to be near Suzu and Miki. If you want me to, I'll leave it now."
"Of course." At this close a range, he could see the faint glimpses of nervousness in Enjeru's eyes as he apparently weighed what he was going to say next. When he did speak, it was so softly that Aku could barely hear him, even in the near perfect silence. "I... like you,... Aku..."
"Enjeru-sempai!" a voice called out suddenly. A moment later, the tent flap tore open and Enjeru's aide appeared in the space. "There's..." He skidded to a stop before them. "Oh... Konnichi wa, Aku-san."
"What's wrong, Sorona?" the general asked, very apparently trying his best to keep his temper under control, though some of his exasperation clearly bled through into his voice. He slowly turned on the floor of his tent to look up at the small (very) young man.
"There's a problem at the north gate. It's that new woman... Kuroi, I think her name is."
Aku couldn't help the slight stiffening that went through his body at the sound of that name, and he knew that Enjeru caught it as well. He slid just far enough backwards as to be able to wrap an arm around Aku's shoulders, drawing him closer to his own body. "What's she doing?" the general asked.
"It looks like she's trying to get the guards to open the gates. I don't know why, but she may be trying to leave."
"Enjeru?" Auburn eyes turned to look at him. "We should stop her. We're going to need her."
"I wish I could disagree with you." The reddish-blond-haired man stood wearily and then pulled him to his feet as well, wrapping a cautious arm around his waist when he didn't protest. "She's not going to change anything between us, Aku."
"Of course not." But there's not enough between us yet to change, his mind shot back as they stepped into the sunlight. And things between have already changed anyway, Enjeru. He sighed deeply in his own mind. And none of it changes the fact that I don't deserve someone like you - and I never will. I'm nothing, nothing but a piece of tail, like your guard said. And that's all I'll ev-
He called a quick halt to that line of thought as the north gate came into view. He could hear voices, some more familiar than others, screaming and yelling words he could not yet understand due to the distance still between him and the gate, but even from as far away as he was, he could feel the anger rolling off both Suzu and Miki. The two fighters were practically radiating hostility, and they both seemed to be trying to keep Kuroi from the gate - while trying to stay as far away from her as possible.
"Aku-san?" a soft feminine voice whispered. He and Enjeru both stopped and looked down at the small girl that had arrived with Marie. "Aku-san, you shouldn't go with them to stop her."
"What do you mean?" It was Enjeru who spoke, completely without his usual hostility that he normally reserved for all strangers.
The girl shook her head, a distracted expression on her face. "I'm not sure why, but I think something bad would happen if he went over there, Enjeru-san." She glanced back over there then back at Enjeru. "But Suzu-san and Miki-san alone won't be enough to stop her."
He looked over at the scene at the gate and nodded once, before looking back at the two of them. He seemed like he was about to say something when Aku spoke first instead. "You'd better get over there, Enjeru."
He watched the general reluctantly stalk over towards the gate, letting his mind wander. Why can't you see I don't deserve you, Enjeru? You're perfect, and I'm nothing. Less than -
"Don't think about yourself like that, Aku-san," the girl's voice interrupted.
"I said, don't think about yourself like that. You're not as contemptible as you keep thinking that you are."
"How would you know what I'm thinking?" sprang from his mouth before he knew he was asking it, suspicion lacing every word.
She smiled faintly, a bare upturning of her lips that reminded him oddly of Enjeru, and lifted blood-red eyes to stare up at him. "Because I'm an empath."
17 September 2001
Here is the much dreaded but sought-after Chapter Fifteen. What do you guys think of Abigail? What about Kuroi? *drop-kicks Kuroi into the next century* That's what I think of her...unfortunately, she's kind of an important character. (Dammit...)
This is the final chapter that will be shown on the net. And I won't be able to do the physical mailing list anymore, just the electronic one. Gomen ne, but I'm broke, and Oyaji's all over my back about everything, especially money.
Well... ja mata!!!
got a kick for a dog beggin' for LOVE
I gotta have my suffering so that I can have my cross
I know a cat named Easter he says will you ever learn
you're just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird
I've been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I've been raising up my hands drive another nail in
got enough GUILT to start my own religion
-"Crucify," by Tori Amos, off Little Earthquakes