"So long as she stays away from my Kotarou-kun, there's no problem."
"We are dating after all."
"I'll make sure she finds out."
Silence was useful for many purposes. Timid creatures used silence to ensure that predators would have a hard time hunting them down. However, predators also used silence, for hunting down they prey. It was an ironic cycle.
Silence also came in handy for eavesdropping.
That was how Misha discorvered that Kotarou and Koboshi were dating.
She wriggled herself away from her aqua-haired friend's embrace. Sharing a room with Aya didn't usually make her feel so clausterphobic, but for some reason it did that day. She needed air. She had to find some way to feel better.
Was coming to Japan really such a good idea?
Besides, it wasn't like she actually wanted to prove herself... exactly. No, that was just taking her around in those same circles again. She had to prove herself to everyone. To herself, to her friends, but especially... to Kotarou.
She wanted to keep her promise to protect him and to make him happy.
"Forget all that nasty stuff in your past, and what is your relationship with Higushi-san?" Mango asked as she joined Misha on the balcony.
"It's nonexistant," Misha sighed.
"Huh?" Mango nearly face-vaulted. "What do you mean 'nonexistant'!?"
Misha folded her arms on the railing, then placed her head down atop them. She sighed heavily, thinking of how to respond.
"Kotaroh-kun was the first human that I'd ever come into contact with, su, that could see me. The only reason I came back here was to see him. To do, in this lifetime, what I couldn't do in his last. I know I probably sound crazy and selfish, but that's why. In a way, I guess it has nothing to do with Kotarou-san, himself. Just me, a couple 'a broken heart, and the pain and sorrow that lead Aizou-san to me. Even this time... it has more to do with myself--and Ten-chan--than it'll ever be about Kotarou-san."
They were both silent for a moment, staring off to the glowing horizon.
"Heh. Lunabell, you're one crazy kid." She sighed and crossed her arms. "As one tenyou(1) to another, I wish you the best. You have a lot of hard work and pain ahead of you, but never--you can't ever give up on this. We're all standing behind you. Open up some eyes and show this world what you're made of!"
Misha looked over with a smile.
Mango gave a slight nod.
"And don't worry because us three will help you protect your friends," she promised. "Up until the very end."
"The war is coming soon. Suuuu..." Misha shuddered. "I hope neither side suffers. Su."
"Awright!! It's time ta see Mish at work!" Misha cheered herself on.
After her discussion with Mango, Misha decided to go flying around the city. When she spread her wings she was filled with an unmistakable warmth and her aura shone brightly. And her hair had retirned to its pink colouring, to top it all off. Her "angelic cycle" had begun. She swore to herself that every cycle she would successfully make five people happy. When she first began she did nothing but mess up, but when both she and Mango were in their nuetral forms, Mango spent a lot of time and effort into teaching her.
'Who'll I help?' she wondered. 'I wanna help Kotarou-san, somehow. Oh! And Takashi-kun... and that Kotaroh-boy, too!'
She squealed and laughed to herself.
"Yo, Miss Angel," Aya called her back to reality. "We're in the damn park, ya know. Go 'n make some people happy so we can get out of here. It's too bright."
"Oh, of course! Suu!" Misha laughed, playfully knocking herself over the head. She gazed around curiously. 'Now, who should I help...?'
Misha instinctively searched out the small voice. It belonged to a young girl, no more than five years of age. She was staring up a tree.
"Come down, pleeaaase! Koshou-chaaan!"
"Misha-san certainly tried hard,' Shia commented with a soft laugh.
"Too hard, sometimes. Nyah," Aya replied. "That's why she screws up so much. I feel bad because her heart's just in the right place. She really could've made a great full-fledged angel if it wasn't for..."
Shia's eyes peeked over at hte aqua-haired teen.
'So it's true, then. All of you are half demons.'
There were two kinds of ainoko that Shia knew of: those born with 'tainted' blood, and those that chose the path. The only half-angels-half-humans came from black angels--or rather, "fallen angels". The best example was Misha, whom had fallen low enough to touch humans. Half-angel-half-demon was also a rare breed, and usually an angel had to partake in demon's blood after falling in order to become one; demons could never rise high enough to be angelic. It was humans and demons, however, that were closest. Maybe that was because of the human nature of greed, jealousy, and anger. Humans were so close to demons to begin with, the only difference was mortality. However, demons could never become human, although it worked vice-versa.
There was only one exception for any of those rules. The "HanaSaku" charm. With that a demon could become a human and live their life as such. The key to making the charm work was an angel's blood. The charm transferred blood between an angel and a demon, allowing either to become one or the other.
Somehow Misha only made it halfway...
"Tee hee hee... I got scratched by a kitty. Su."
Misha returned to her 'starting post' with a sheepish smile. She shook her wounded hand as if that would shake out all pain, before landing next to Shia.
"Well, how'd it go?" Aya asked. "Nya?"
"Really, really well! Su!" Misha exclaimed. "Up until I dropped the cat."
"Oh my," Shia breathed, sounding a little worried.
"The kitty's okies, though. It landed in the little girl's arms," Misha explained. She shot a dirty look into the bushes behind them. "And lotsa thanks to Nya-chan for all his help."
"Nyaah!" he hissed back.
"Oh, he helped you?" Shia questioned, obviously not getting that Misha meant. "That's nice of him."
Aya chuckled to herself.
"I'm sure Nya-san will be helping you aaaall day, Misha-chan."
"Mm, well you did a pretty good job today," Aya complimented Misha. "Despite his efforts. Nya."
"Nyaaaah!" Klaus hissed.
"Oh, Aya, are you still coming?" Aizou asked as both she and Mango retrieved their jackets.
"Huh?" She glanced over. "Right, right! Nya! Let me go get ready!"
"Luna, dear, are you sure you want to stay?" Mango asked.
Misha nodded slowly, "Um, yep. Su."
Aya jumped from her seat at the table and ran into the room she shared with Misha. There was shuffling and banging in the room. What Aya could have possibly been up to was beyond her friends.
"Huh?" From the corner of her eye Misha noticed that Shia was staring at her strangely. 'What's up with that look, Shia-chan? HAve you figured me out, yet? Or that parting gift? Just don't tell Kotarou-kun, okay? Okies then! We're all good!'
Aizou and Mango approached the kotatsu.
"Stay out of trouble, then."
"And make yourself something healthy, Lunabell."
Misha smiled and nodded at her two friends. They seemed satisfied with her response and left the apartment without any further words. A scrambling Aya followed them moments later, yelling things that made no sense.
"Did you get that?" Misha asked. Shia shook her head. "Wells, then, su, that's the both of us left. Su."
Shia smiled softly and nodded.
There was a highly uncomfortable moment of silence between the two as both racked their minds for something to say. Filling the silence was something that Misha was usually exceptional at, but for some odd reason, she jsut couldn't come up with anything.
"Wow... This is really awkward, isn't it?" Misha chuckled. "I guess it's just hard to accept. Kotarou and Koboshi are... together. They're dating. Honyaaaa... I just feel soo~ useless right about now. I'm s'pposed to be making Kotarou happy 'n showing him all this great stuff Mango-chan taught me... but I jsut can't seem to pull myself together."
Shia sent her a sympathetic glance and reached across the table to touch her hands.
"All you can do is your best, Misha-san," she encouraged. "That's all anyone expects of you. And I really am proud of how far you've gotten in these last three years."
Misha shrugged sheepishly.
"It's not really that much. I can't even talk to him anymore. And then there's that 'Kotaroh' they go to school with. I wonder why... he has the same eyes as him. Have I been wrong all along?"
Shia tilted her head curiously.
"Wrong? About what?"
"Oh, nothin'. Su." Misha smiled.
Shia frowned deeply.
"Well, okay then," She sighed softly and rose to her feet. "I promised Kotarou-san that tonight I'd cook dinner for him and Shino. He said that he'd be back late, and Shino's home all alone."
"D-Do you think he'd mind at all if I... if I helped you out? Suu?"
"I don't see why not," Shia replied. "And I'm sure that Shino would love to see you again."
They both stood up and went over to Kotarou's apartment, nextdoor. Shino, excitedly, answered the door.
"Shia-oneecha--" She blinked at the unfamiliar figure.
"I'm Misha. Su," she reintroduced herself. "I used to live next door three years ago. Su. I moved back yesterday."
"Haauuuu... O-Oneechan?" She smiled, recognizing her. "I remember you! But you look different."
"Ha ha, don't I?" she laughed.
"Well now, I suppose I should start dinner, hm?" Shia mentioned, brushing past Shino with a smile. "Oh, Shino-chan, would you like to help make dinner, too?"
"Come on, Shino-chan!" Misha cheered. "Let's go help Shia-chan out!"
"Yeah!" Shino agreed, closing the door behind Misha. "And I want sukiyaki!"
"Then how about we make some really yummy sukiyaki for everyone?" Misha suggested. "Su...?"
Kotarou yawned loudly, not even bothering to cover his mouth, as he reached the door of his apartment. He was at least half an hour late coming home from the study group he and his friends had formed. He hoped that it wasn't too much of an inconvenience to Shia, and that Shino wasn't too worried.
He stuck his key in the lock, turned it, and opened the door.
"Okies! Su! We're gonna start on multiplications!"
Huuaaah! Mii-oneechan!" Shino whined. "I don't like them!"
Kotarou stood frozen in place a few steps into the apartment. He knew that Misha was there. Why? He didn't have an answer to that question, but he did know that he'd been hoping to avoid close contact with her or any of her "friends".
His recent encounter with Aizou had been more than enough. Not to mention that he was to discuss an important matter with Misha. How could he tell her that?
Shia's head peeked into the front hall.
"Oh! Kotarou-san! Welcome home!" she greeted. There was silence in whatever room Misha and Shino were in for a moment. "I can heat you up some dinner if you'd like."
"Uh, yeah." He removed his shoes slowly, trying to prolong having to talk to Misha. 'Why am I so nervous? She left three years ago. I'm with Koboshi now. Everything's changed.'
"I brought Misha-san with me," she told him. "I really hope you don't mind. I couldn't bear the thought of leaving her all by herself."
"N-No, it's okay." He walked up to her and smiled. "It'll be a little like the old days. I just, uh, need to..."
"I'll keep Shino-chan busy," she offered. "You and Misha-san need to clear things up between you two. Especially about Koboshi-san. If you don't speak to her then you two will never get along."
He looked away and nodded numbly. The three years apart had given him plenty of time to think about his life. At the time of her departure, he'd fallen in love with her. That was why it hurt so badly, the emptiness of every day she no longer filled. He'd even compared that pain to the pain of losing someone to death. There were regrets, so many things he should have said, and no chance for closure.
She might as well have killed herself.
'No, don't think like that.' He shook his head clear of those thoughts as he headed for the living room.
Shia had already called Shino over into the kitchen, and Misha was keeping herself busy by studying Shino's math book. He had to smile--she looked so serious at the moment. It was a side of her that he'd never really gotten to see.
She noticed him and quickly rose to her feet.
'You have to say it now!' he yelled at himself. "Mi-Misha-san, Koboshi and I are--"
"I already know," she cut him off. She rubbed her arms, glancing around unsurely. "I mean, in his letters, Takashi-kun was mentioning..."
Kotarou didn't head anything after "Takashi-kun" as Misha spoke. Takashi had never let off that he had an idea where in America Misha was staying, much less her exact location or the fact that he was corresponding with her. The thought that she was keeping a relationship up with Takashi and had never even given his a sign of life made him numb inside.
"I'm just so happy that you're happy, Kotarou-san!" she exclaimed. "And I promise, still, that I'll find a way to make you happy by myself. Not for... him, but for you. Because I... I really do care about you, Kotarou-san. I always have."
His heart fluttered and he felt his cheeks heat up.
"Y-You can't go around sayig those kinds of things, Misha-san," he chided. "Especially since I'm seeing Koboshi. It's not right."
Why did she have to come back? Why, when he was finally over her? He was moving on, finally putting the past behind him. She was so different, as well. At least she'd already gotten rid of the black hair. It didn't suit her happy personality. It was too... depressing.
"Well, it looks like Shia's done. We should join her."
'Misha-san, what are you doing back here?' he wondered.
Blood... A body shreded and torn up beyond all recognition...
So much blood...
"What... What happened?"
"Misha-san." It came to her as a whisper on the wind. His voice.
She was surrounded by blood and a never ending darkness. The body lay in a heap a few feet away from her.
"Why did you..."
"Kotaroh-kun..." she breathed. She shook her head, unwilling to believe... "No! It can't be!!"
She closed her eyes and ears. She refused to see the sight before her, or to hear the voice addressing her. It was just too much.
Misha's eyes snapped open. Her breath was shakey and her heart pounded hard within her chest. She could feel those all too familiar tears burning her eyes. She couldn't let herself cry, though. She had cried too many times in her life. She would stop crying and do the right thing, even if it hurt.
Whatever the "right thing" was.
She pushed herself up and out of the bed. If she couldn't sleep, then she might as well consider all of her options. She had so much work ahead of her, and she'd just been slacking by running around in circles. With four days left in her cycle, she had to hurry up and complete her tasks.
'Somehow... at least one of them for now,' she decided. She headed for the door. 'I think... Yes... I probably couldn't handle more than that without screwing up.'
"Misha-chan...?" Aya called sleepily. "Are you going someplace?"
"Aa... No." Misha stopped on her way out of the room and smiled back. "Just for some water. Go back to sleep, Aya-chan. Suu."
"Mnn... haaiii..." came Aya's sleepy reply.
Misha chuckled to herself and continued on her way.
The cool night air was a bit of a shock to her senses when she first came out onto the balcony, but it was still refreshing. She hoped that she could clear and focus her scattered thoughts.
There was only one person she wanted to focus on at that moment.
The light in his bedroom was still on, she noticed. When she came over and gazed through the slightly parted curtains she could see him studying. He was working so hard, just as she always remembered him.
'He works so hard to achieve his goals...'
He yawned and rubbed his eyes tiredly.
'Somehow... I'll make you happy.'
"That girl there, with the pink hair."
"What about her?"
"It's the one we've been searching for."
"The one we've--Are you sure?"
"Yes. No doubt about it."
"So I suppose we should tell the young miss?"
"Of course. She'll want to know..."
"...the whereabouts... of the young angel, Misha."