Chapter 7: Another Day
'Tomorrow's the attack of the Priestess! I have to get ready...!' She clenched her fist, tucked herself under the covers, turned off the lights and wished the locket goodnight...
tick... tick... tick..
Like each and every night, everything changed... The sickly green, bloody world had revealed itself yet again... This night, S.E.E.S. Members had also turned in for the night after their exploration in Tartarus the previous night. The residents of the building were in their human forms in contrast to the people outside who had turned into coffins. Well... with the exception of one... The girl sleeping in the room at the end of the hallway... She was a coffin...
"Good Morning~!" she shouted cheerfully in the hallway. One by one the residents began walking out their rooms, with the exception of a certain cap-wearing teen who was still asleep. Other than him, there was Akihiko, the senior and captain of the boxing club. He was actually the first to wake up each and every day, doing his morning jog. The silver-haired senior was already dressed up and ready to go, greeting the girls along the way. Yukari and Mitsuru greeted him back. They had just finished changing their clothes and was on their way to eat breakfast, with Minako behind them.
The blue-haired boy had just come out of his room too. His uniform was rather messy, along with his hair. He rubbed his eyes and turned to the auburn-haired girl, glomping her from behind.
"You're early today..." he muttered in a sleepy voice. The girl smiled without turning to him. Normally, she'd blush, but he's been doing that for the past few weeks that they had been together, and now, she's used to it. Her brother would actually be more aggressive if it was only the two of them. The most he had done was bury his face in her chest... No malicious intentions though, he just loves showing the girl how he feels since he's not much of a talker. At least that's what Minako engraved in her mind...
"I feel great this morning! Now... Please... Get off... You're heavy..." she moaned, trying to keep her balance intact. Minato smiled and backed away from her, going his way to the dining room, ahead of her.
"Hey~! No fair! I'm getting the larger slice!" the girl pouted and followed him from behind.
All of the teenagers (minus Junpei) came to school together. Minako was especially cheery that morning, humming her music, and skipping her way to school. She didn't care if people began staring at her or if they began thinking she was weird. All that mattered was the feeling of lightness.
'She's so cute...' Minato had a faint smile on his face as he watched the girl's back. He was following her from behind, with Mitsuru and the others in front of the two.
Minato was the other reason that she didn't end up worrying about what other people thought... It was because she never had the chance to notice the stares. Whenever they give her a strange look, her twin immediately 'releases an aura of death'...
As usual, it was a boring day at school, Minako took down notes like she always did. This time, no one was asleep, but that didn't mean everyone was listening...
His silver eyes began to drop down... The voice of the teacher sounded like a sweet lullaby... Getting sleepy... 'Zzz... Huh...?' Minato was already half-asleep when he felt something touch his head. He curiously stared at the small sheet of paper which was now on his table when he heard a hissing sound. It was Junpei, signaling the boy to open the paper. He raised his brow and did what he was told anyway, thinking that sleeping in class would be worse. It was a messy writing, almost impossible to read actually...
Mi-chan seems awfully cheerful today... More than normal anyway...
Anything good happen?
The brother's eyes widened, forgetting his drowsiness. He took out his pen and began writing. Minato locked his eyes on the teacher's every movement and waited for her to turn around before throwing the paper back at the sender. It landed on the center of his table, right on target! And the teacher didn't even notice, their classmates ignored it, so they were pretty much safe. Some began whispering though, two pairs of students to be exact... Junpei opened it up to see the response. It was a neat, simple writing.
Yeah... She does that... Perhaps it's because of the love I gave her this morning...?
The teenager's eyes widened as he read the note. He turned to Minato with disbelief, as if saying 'No joke?'. The silver-eyed boy nodded at him, with his usual expressionless face. The capped boy hastily wrote back in the paper and threw it back.
You... Crossed the line...? Seriously...?
Man... I know your fetish... But... This is...
The boy read it calmly and wrote back.
… It's no big deal... I always do that.
She's okay with it...
The cap-wearing boy's jaw almost fell. He wrote back in the paper and threw it again, but it never reached Minato. The moment he turned to his right, a familiar figure stood, burning with intense, hidden anger. It fell in the hands of the teacher who had veins popping out of her head if you imagine it...
"You two... You're staying after class!" she was holding back her voice, but there was a hint of frustration. Junpei smiled weakly, Minato's face was the same as ever... The class fell into laughter with their capture, there was even a pair who were rejoicing for winning the bet that the two will be caught, much to the dismay of the other pair who lost.
' The moment they actually stay awake... They get into trouble...' Minako sighed in embarrassment. She was sitting in front as opposed to the two who sat somewhere way in the back - a perfect spot for sleeping.
Her blood-red eyes turned to the two, watching the teacher reprimand them. Junpei waved at her awkwardly, Minato gave her a thumbs up for no reason... '… What were they doing anyway...?'
The twosome stayed behind after class. One more in their group and they would complete the legendary idiotic trio of the class. There's one in every class, except 2-F. Not like anyone would be transferring any time now...
Yukari had to go somewhere, most likely had something to do with her club... Mitsuru was busy in the student council, being the president, everyone always relies on her. Akihiko, on the other hand, was in the hospital for his check-up... No one was back there in the dorms... The girl sighed at the thought of staying there all alone and mindlessly walked in the city. Going back home would be boring since no one was around... Still, she felt good. It was like all her worries were suddenly washed away in one night, at the same time, the feeling was familiar. The sudden feeling of freedom that is. Recalling the past days, it's pretty similar to the day she hung out with Junpei. Speaking of which, where had her arcade loot gone to? She can't remember... She knew she gave it to someone... But however hard she tried, the girl couldn't recall who... It was like pieces of her memories suddenly disappeared... 'Oh well... If I've forgotten them... That must mean they're not that important...' she shrugged and continued on her way...
In the end, she decided to get something to eat. Sure, she ate lunch, but for some reason, she gets hungry easily and she eats heavily too, people say she's lucky that she stayed slim all those years.
Minako was on her way to Hagakure to grab a bite. It felt quite sad though, having to eat alone. 'They all have their own 'thing' to do...' she sighed at the thought. Although technically, Minato and Junpei's 'thing' was nothing to be proud of... The situation was usually like that for her. They'd have after-school meetings and they would immediately keep quiet when she arrived. Minako knew that her dormmates were in this 'secret club'. They won't let her join though, even Minato was being secretive about it.
'I feel kinda left out...' she frowned, turning to the shop close by. The auburn-haired girl stepped to the side of the road, in front of said shop and paused. She took out her wallet from her backpack and began counting her money. Minako had that habit of checking how much she had left. After all, it would be embarrassing to walk in, order a lot and only to figure out you don't have enough to pay. She was about to put her wallet back when a man suddenly crashed into her, almost toppling her down. A hit and run.
"Hey...!" before she knew it, her wallet was swiped off her hand. People stared at the scene. Yes, they just watched and did nothing. "Stop that thief!" she ran after him, shouting loudly. Despite the ruckus she was making, no one even dared stop the guy. Minako kept running after him, not noticing where he had led her to. When she came to her senses, he was gone. She was lost, yet, the place felt familiar...
It was the back alley of Tatsumi Port Island. Not the best place in the world... In fact, it had a pretty bad reputation around the area. True enough, the place didn't look Minako-friendly. There were writings all over the wall, trash and the place wreaked of the smell of smoke and alcohol. That's not the bad part though. It was quite early, but a lot of the rumored 'bad crowd' hung out there already. The teenagers ranged from around 16-20s years of age. Most were smoking, some were gambling while a few seemed to be doing some shady deals. Eyes stared at the oblivious girl as she walked around the area. She stood out like a sore thumb.
'My wallet...' the girl frowned, not noticing the dangers that lurk in the dark...
Slowly, one by one, the shadows crept up closer to her...
"Wah! H-hey...!" the red-eyed girl suddenly felt a strong tug by the arm while she was busy looking for the lost thief. "L-let go...!" Minako tried to pull away, but her strength wasn't enough.
She turned to see who or what dragged her. It was a beanie-wearing young man who looked like one of the punks, he can also be mistaken for a hobo by some. He had scary piercing eyes and somewhat long, dark hair reaching his down shoulders. The teenager was wearing a rich maroon pea coat and a pair of dark brown pants which matched his equally brown shoes. The moment she saw the teenager, her heart skipped a beat, her face flushed red for a moment... Why? She had no idea...
"Are you an idiot...?" he finally spoke in a rough tone, breaking the girl's trance as he continued pulling her out of the place. She looked around, finally realizing all the eyes prying on her. Most seemed rather... Lustful if not angry for someone getting her before them. All of them had the image of punks and delinquents. Minako lowered her head, trying to avoid their glares. The young man, however, deflected their stares with his own glare. One sight of him and they flinch on the spot. Some began retreating like rats in the darker alleys.
"B-but... My wallet... Someone stole it and..." bhe muttered in dismay, still looking down the ground.
"And what were you planning to do after catching up to him? Ask for it?" he sighed, finally releasing her. They were back from where she was robbed, in front of the shop. The girl scratched her head awkwardly, unable to reply. She was actually thinking of pouncing on him and grab her wallet given the chance, but now that he mentioned it, it's not like she could get away with that... It was a guy she was dealing with after all. Judging by how this stranger dragged her helplessly, there's no way she could have retrieved her item...
"Don't come back... I won't be there the next time got it?" he added with a rough tone after turning his back. He didn't even spare her a glance when he spoke. Minako pouted at him and followed from behind.
"But... I can't leave without my money...! I haven't eaten yet..." she complained, but he ignored her, continuing on his tracks. That was until... her stomach growled. Rather loudly. They both stopped at the sound of it, other people didn't seem to have noticed though. The girl blushed and held her tummy out of embarrassment.
She was on the verge of tears because of her hunger and lost money... Coupled by the fact that there was no one back at the dorm to comfort her. So much for waking up in a good mood... How she wished for once that Minato would be around... If he were there, he'd give her all the money he had, plus his remaining lunch and he'd even take advantage of the situation to comfort her. Minako frowned at the thought... The beanied teenager finally turned to the girl. "I should've just left you out there..." he sighed heavily.
The next thing they knew, the two were in Hagakure, eating ramen, extra large for Minako, regular for the guy. There wasn't much people eating, it was a rather slow day. The couple sat beside each other eating in a rather awkward silence.
"So... Ummm... Thanks for treating me here!" the girl turned to the teenager with a bright smile on her face. He was blowing the soup and took a quick glance at her with his piercing eyes and immediately turned back to his meal.
"Tch. Whatever" he replied. The girl sighed and continued eating her bowl of noodles furiously.
"Seriously. Forcing a complete stranger to treat you... What a moron" he added. The girl stuck her tongue out and pushed away her now empty bowl.
"Hey! I didn't ask you! You lured me here with you remember?" she crossed her arms and glared at him. The young man ignored her glare and kept quiet. It wasn't her usual glare though. Not the type she uses when trying to scare off others, but it was a rather playful glare. One that a spoiled kid uses on her older brother when they fight. She sighed, finally giving up on the silent treatment she's getting.
"Oh, yeah... My name's Minako by the way. How about you?" she smiled, trying start a conversation and to ignore the fact that he was ignoring her.
Her male companion finally finished eating his meal and was getting ready to pay. The beanie-wearing teenager finally turned to her with an annoyed expression.
"None of your business" he answered in a gruff tone, while rummaging through his pockets. He took out a bill and placed it on the table.
"Aw... But I want to know onii-san's name..." the girl frowned. The moment she left those words, the guy immediately turned away from her as if feeling embarrassed. She tried to peek on the face he was hiding, but to no avail, although she could've sworn she saw a tint of redness in his face. He didn't speak for some time until the shop owner took his bill and gave the change.
"Shinjiro" he muttered in a low voice, still avoiding her gaze.
"You were asking for my name. It's Shinjiro..." he scoffed without turning to her.
Her red eyes slowly widened, filled with sparkly stars of delight while her lips began forming a wide smile.
"See? That wasn't so hard! Were not strangers anymore! Right, Shinjiro-onii-san?" she chuckled.
He stood up and stomped away, but the girl still stalked him from behind until they left the shop. He finally turned to her, with a scowl in his face and a furrowed brow.
"Just shut up and go home. Don't bother with me" he answered bluntly.
The girl frowned and grabbed his sleeve. She stared at his eyes with her special 'puppy-dog eyes'. Shinjiro flinched, but tried to keep his cool by keeping his expression intact.
"But... I want to spend more time with onii-san..." she said in a weak voice which sounded like she was ready to cry. He pulled away his arm and turned the other direction, ready to leave.
"Don't you have anything better to do?" he suddenly spoke without even sparing her a glance. His back was turned on her the whole time.
"Mmm... Nope... Everyone back at home are... kinda busy... So I'm pretty much alone..." the girl shook her head slowly. The young man sighed at her response. He gave her a quick glance, seeing her lonesome face. He sighed again.
"...I'm usually here on Wednesdays..." he muttered weakly, yet loud enough to be heard, pulling the beanie even lower right after saying those words. Minako's expression immediately lit up and nodded at his answer, waving to him as he disappeared in the crowd.
'Shinjiro-onii-san~ I hope he treats me out again~' she giggled while skipping her way back to the dorm...
5/9/09-Saturday, Dark Hour
A sudden pain erupted from her head as the world turned sickly-green yet again. It was like something suddenly pierced her head, like a spear of overflowing memories. She breathed heavily and held her head tightly before finally getting a hold of herself. The girl was now sitting on her bed.
Her face flushed red after recalling the recent events. The stolen wallet, her brother's mess, her savior, her trip to Hagakure... Everything happened so fast...
'I can't believe we met today...' she shook her head trying to shake off the thought. The girl pinched her cheeks and sighed. 'But... I can't believe it... I called him onii-san... It's sooo embarrassing...!'
She turned her gaze outside the window. The full moon was shining beautifully despite its strange color, illuminating the moss-green night. It was quite as expected of the Dark Hour. There was not a single sound other than her breathing. Her dormmates were asleep, and if she remembered it right, Mitsuru was in the command room with Akihiko, trying to search for Shadows outside. Soon... It will begin...
'But... I'm glad to see him again... I'm not a member of S.E.E.S. anymore... So I though he'd never bother with me...' the red-eyed girl sat on her bed quietly for some time, looking down her feet before suddenly standing up. Her face was filled with a mixture of shock and confusion.
'Hold on...! Did I just... Lose my ...!' she paused and tried to calm down for a bit before finally taking out her 'disguise'.
'Agh... Igor...! You'd better have an explanation for this!' she clenched her fist after pulling out a large black box from under the bed. Minako opened it revealing a crimson dress, a sleek naginata, a golden wig and a bright-red mask. The girl began changing her clothes as she submerged herself into thought.
'I'll deal with Igor and Theo later... I have to get that Shadow first...' she donned her crimson mask and departed through the window and into the long night awaiting her...