Very slowly his eyes slid open...
For a long moment, he wondered if he'd been mistaken and he'd shut his eyes instead of opening them. Finally, after what seemed like forever but was probably only a few seconds, faint dark images began to take shape. From the darkness, sounds - only faintly recognizable as words - began to form. The voices were dimly familiar. What was going on? Where was he? Why was he here? Why was he so... cold?
Why was...? Wha...? Oh yeah, that was his name. Slowly he turned his eyes towards the voice, still not quite able to make out - or for that matter, name - its owner, only that it, he, was nearby.
Out of the darkness, he was faintly able to make out a figure with pale, pale skin. Black hair came into focus next, followed by navy blue eyes. He favored the figure before him a faint smile. "Aku..."
He was rewarded with a broad smile on the young man's face as he leaned forward to take his hand and, with his other, brush against his cheek. "I'm so glad you're awake. You were starting to worry us." It was very faint, but his voice shook as he spoke.
"I'm sorry." He coughed softly and started to push himself into a sitting position with his free hand. Something in the back of his mind told him it should hurt a whole lot more than it did, for what reason he couldn't be certain, though.
The tent he was in wasn't his own, that much was for certain. It was almost shameful that it took him a few minutes to recognize it as Deborah's. Slowly, the last events he'd been conscious for rolled through his mind. Blonde hair, the white light of an attack, sharp shooting pains across his back, black unconsciousness, and a half-remembered dream. "What happened?" he forced himself to ask anyway.
Aku shifted almost nervously in his chair. "You were... attacked. Suzu and Miki are trying to track down who did it, but..." He paused and sighed heavily, shaking his head slightly, causing dark hair to spill before his eyes. "But it looks like it was either Kuroi or Marie."
The image of blonde hair passed before his eyes again, even as he shook his head in disbelief. "It wasn't Marie." It couldn't be Marie. What reason would Marie have for trying to kill him, after all? "Is everyone else okay? You didn't get hurt?"
Aku smiled faintly, looking up at him. "I'm all right, thanks to you."
You two are so cute," an unfamiliar voice stated from the doorway. His head turned towards the sound, while Aku's body did the same, and he examined the speaker. Long lavender hair trailed his waist, bound in a ponytail that snaked over his shoulder. What Enjeru could see of his flesh was pale, nearly as much so as Aku's. Dark violet eyes stared at them levelly from a faintly feminine face, but the body was masculine and could be any age. He was dressed in a pair of black loose-fitting pants and a dark violet slipover shirt. No weapons were in sight, but a leather strap crossed his chest, like would be used for carrying a sword across the back. He was just a bit shorter than Enjeru, though not as short as Aku or Suzu, and he was vaguely androgynous in a very pretty, ageless way. "Just too precious for words."
"Who're you?" snapped out of his mouth before he could stop it.
A vaguely hurt look crossed the stranger's face. "Is that any way to treat the person who helped save your life?"
Enjeru's eyes turned to Aku as the demon's eyes slowly dropped to meet his again. Faintly the younger man nodded. "He did. I'm not sure how, but... somehow... he did."
Behind the stranger's, he heard Deborah snort softly. "Old magicks were used here," she muttered just loud enough to be heard. She slipped past him to check on Enjeru, forcing him to sit up. In a quiet tone, she confided, "He saved more than your life. We were going to have to amputate your wings." He turned his head quickly to meet her eyes. "Thanks to him, you still have them. You got lucky." At the doorway, the topic of their conversation smiled blandly, as if he heard every word they whispered. "I'd say he's on our side."
"That's not my decision," the stranger finally spoke, drawing their attention back to him and a scowl from Deborah. The old woman hobbled away from them to meddle with a vial of Bassei. "When An... when my companion gets here, he'll say whether we stay with you or not."
"What's your name?" Aku asked coolly, as if he were trying to keep his emotions to himself. It seemed to Enjeru that the stranger could see through them if he wanted to anyway but, from the smile on his face, appreciated the gesture.
"I'm Kamiyumi Kaori, but please, call me Kaori. Pleased to meet you." As he bowed slightly, the long tail of hair slid forward, reaching down towards the ground but not quite brushing it. He stood straight again and smiled at the pair at the bed. "It's quite an honor to finally meet the good general Enjeru when he's conscious. And you must be Aku; word of you has traveled far and wide."
"Of me?" It could have been his imagination, but Aku's voice sounded shocked at those words.
That seemed to amuse the str- Kaori as the smile on his face grew, stepping further in the tent and closer to them. "You're getting famous, taming a bear of a general in Enjeru here, is how the stories go." Around the curtain of his hair, he could see the faint blush spreading across Aku's face. Kaori's smile turned indulgent as he reached out to brush fingers against the heated cheeks. "You remind me of myself a long time ago."
Kaori nodded, stepping back from them and back towards the tent door, seemingly ignoring the sharp glares he was receiving from Deborah. "I'll see about finding myself a place to sleep, set up base, till my companion arrives. In the meantime," he shook a playful finger at Aku and Enjeru, "take it easy a few more hours. Make sure he doesn't get out of that bed, Aku."
"O-okay. Thank you, Kaori..."
"Think nothing of it."
The purple-haired man vanished out of the tent, and Enjeru slowly forced himself to ease his grip on Aku's hand, a hold he hadn't even realized he was maintaining till now. "Something tells me," he muttered under his breath, "this is just the beginning of something we won't want to see the end of."
"Something tells me," Aku countered, "that's the understatement of the year."
He sent a glare at Deborah where Aku couldn't notice as he pulled the young demon on the bed with him, holding him close to his body. That was enough for now.
12 September 2002
Whew... that wasn't supposed to be such an effort. Poor Enjeru, he's my chewtoy: I get upset and he gets pulled out to tortured or messed with.
*bounce bounce bounce* And now I'm bringing in the first of two characters I love dearly. Kaori and his... err... companion, they're both very precious to me. I want to take them home and snuggle them. (And they need it too!)
I hope to have another chapter or two out before Anime Weekend Atlanta. Everyone looking forward to that?
"I was left to cry
Waiting outside there
Grinning with a lost stare
That's when I decided...
Why should I care
Cause you weren't there
When I was scared
When I was so alone
You need to listen
I'm starting to trip
I'm losing my grip
And I'm in this thing alone"
-Avril Lavigne, "Unwanted"