Misha's eyes were half open and focused on something across the room. Her hair was a complete mess, obviously she hadn't brushed it yet, and she was still in her sleep wear. Her lavender eyes lacked their usual sparkle, and she had dark circles under her eyes. She looked completely exhausted.
"Nya? Are you sick?"
Misha was quiet for longer than a moment. She looked to be growing paler with each passing second.
She blinked suddenly, as if someone had just slapped her back to reality.
"Oh... Aya-chan...?" She sounded completely worn out. "You're up already? Su?"
"Already!?" Mango cried as she entered the room. "Lunabell, it's late in the morning! You've been at that same bowl of cereal for nearly three hours."
Aizou followed in soon after Mango. Mango and Aya were fussing with Misha, trying to get her presentable by brushing her hair and putting reasonable amounts of make-up on her. Her barely eaten cereal was still in front of her on the table.
"Everyone playing doll?" One of Aizou's rare jokes.
The others replied to her with incoherent mumbles.
"Misha, did you starve yourself during your last cycle?" she asked suspiciously.
The other two half demons gasped and turned to face their 'elder'. Misha was still focusing on something across the room and didn't reply. She then closed her eyes and slowly nodded.
"Lunabell, you know that's dangerous for you!"
Her eyes fluttered open at the mixed sounds of their voices. She forced herself to sit up in the chair and to look up at Aizou.
But she knew she should have. If a half demon--during their demonic cycle--refused to partake in mortal's blood, they began to fade from existance. Because she had been an angel for so many years, she found it hard to just give that up and feed. She often starved herself, always taking just enough to survive but never enough to quench her thirst.
Her angelic side always handled the rest.
With another sigh Aizou asked, "Can you still take the exam later?"
Misha forced a smile, mostly because she was too weak to do so with ease.
Kotarou groaned loudly as he found himself joined by Aizou once more. The young, maroon-eyes woman matched him stride for stride as he walked to school. There was a happy little glint in her eyes--perhaps it would be more accurately called relief.
"Would you stop following me?" Kotarou growled. "I'm not a restauront."
She just chuckled.
"You know something?"
"I don't care," he snapped at her.
"Misha's taken to that Fujimiya boy," Aizou continued, ignoring his protest. "She mentioned him before."
She had Kotarou's attention then. He scowled at her. It was then that Aizou noted how pale and tired he appeared to be. His skin was several shades lighter than it should have been; there were dark bags under his eyes. It wasn't unusual for a mortal to have that reaction after a demon fed upon him, but it should only have taken him a day to recover. Something else was draining his energy.
"She only mentioned him once," Kotarou said. He sounded very sure of himself. "That doesn't mean a thing. She's only met him once."
Aizou laughed softly. It was such an odd, hollow sound...
"You're probably right, Kotarou-san," she agreed. She stared straight ahead of them. "Misha has a lot on her mind, Takashi-kun being one of them. She talked about him a lot when we were in America, and so fondly as well. It would have been an easy mistake, to think that she was with him instead of yourself."
"Misha and I were never together."
Aizou closed her eyes with a heavy sigh.
"Such strong jealousy."
"Huh?" Kotarou was clearly confused.
"You're jealous of anyone who might take that sweet angel away from you," Aizou explained. "Rightfully so, I suppose. But Misha's feelings for the boy that was driven to suicide run deep. They may or may not be love, but they are deep, strong feelings that she directs towards you."
"They're not for me," he grumbled, "they're for her precious 'Kotaroh-san'. They were... They were always just for him. I was never anything more than a shadow of him."
"My powers are of the heart," she told him. "Aya's are of the body. I have yet to witniss Mango's true powers."
"The three of you, you're all demons?"
Aizou came to a stop. Kotarou stopped after her and turned to face the silent ainoko. Her maroon eyes were mournful, and it hurt to look at.
"If we were... then at least we would have had a place to belong. We wouldn't need..." She blinked and gazed up into his eyes. "Oh... You're..."
"I hadn't realized it until this morning, Kotarou-san," Aizou said as she blew on her hot chocolate to cool it. "You're partially demon, are you not? An... eighth, correct?"
Not for the first time that day, Kotarou looked quite surprised. He was quiet for a moment and she could see that he was doing the math in his head, retracing how far back he was connected to Shia.
"Yeah, it's an eighth," he confirmed. "Up until now I'd never actually thought about that."
There was a brief moment of silence in which Aizou took the opportunity to check out the cafè. She recognized several faces from Misha's 'Welcome Home' party. The blond girl, Kotarou's girlfriend Koboshi, was constantly turning around to watch them speak or to glare at her. She was picking up strong emotional energy off of Koboshi.
"That would explain why your blood is different from a mortal's," she said to herself. "For an ainoko, as myself, demon's blood is sweet. That's why I was attracted to you before. I acted more like Misha than myself."
"I don't know, you seemed pretty demonic to me," he said dryly.
"So then, she has yet to tell you?" Aizou sounded a little shocked. She said a few things under her breath and stared at her cup of hot chocolate.
"Tell me what?"
"It is not my place to say, it isn't. I don't think she's told any of you."
Kotarou rose to his feet, sending his chair flying back.
"What is it!?"
Takashi instantly was at the table, as was Koboshi, who softly touched Kotarou's shoulders. He stared at his girlfried slowly, as if just waking from a daze. When he calmed, Aizou slumped over in her seat, catching herself just in time to keep from diving nose-first into her drink. Takashi made sure that she was okay.
"Kotarou-kun, you're pale," Koboshi commented, touching the back of her hand to his forehead. "And a little cold. Are you feeling okay?"
He was silent for a moment. He wanted to place together this "secret", and what Aizou and the other two half demons had to do with Misha. What was the connection? What possible reason could Misha have to be the only angel among half demons? Unless...
His eyes marrowed and he looked to Aizou.
"She's like you, isn't she?"
Aizou was paler than she normally was, and seemed to be short of breath. She didn't respond to Kotarou, but looked away as if she was ashamed.
"Man, what's wrong with you!?" Takashi snapped at Kotarou, glaring darkly. He then turned his attentions back to Aizou.
"Are you okay, Aizou-san?"
'Takashi Ayanokoji...' She smirked to herself. She'd met this young man at Misha's welcoming party. He was the object of her angelic friend's affectiona. She recalled briefly, asking Misha once a few years back, why it was only Takashi that she kept in touch with, and why not Kotarou. Misha just smiled softly, a light blush tinting her cheeks, and told Aizou about the last time she spoke to Takashi before leaving Japan. She explained that Takashi had been the first person to see past her mask and to acknowledge it. He saw and acknowledged that she wasn't happy. And she wasn't. That was something that no one else, not Shia, not Kotaroh nor even her sister had done before.
"Yeah, I'm fine," she replied, keeping her gaze away from him. She didn't dare let her gaze return to Kotarou, either. "I'm just fine."
That seemed to satisfy him.
"Ugh! There's an evil entity within this place!" Hiroshi declared as he entered the cafè. "I can feel that dark aura. It's hideous!"
Kotarou looked to Aizou, Koboshi glanced between the others, and Shia ignored his antics as she had become quite used to them being about herself. Tired of the same old routine, Takashi rose to his feet and faced Hiroshi. He did not look happy.
"Would you just shut up about that!?"
Ignoring him, Hiroshi pointed straight at Aizou.
"Demon!" he bellowedm preparing one of his wards.
The others, excluding Kotarou, then looked very unimpressed. Aizou simply smiled at him.
"It's really only half."
They stared at her, shocked. Even Hiroshi had his mouth hanging in an "o" shape.
"Y-Y-You're not going to deny it? Not even a little?"
"No," was her reply. Glancing between them all she continued, "I see no reason to be worried if you know or not. I don't know any of you enough to cae if you like me or not. I'm here for Misha's sake, and hers alone. And then when that's over, I'll be gone."
They were speechless.
Kotarou sighed heavily as he slumped over his homework. He couldn't concentrate on it. He couldn't focus on anything but Misha. Her entire "new look"--was that just the result of becoming a demon? No, he was sure that she was only half. However she had done it. There were still traces of the Misha he knew and loved in the hybrid he had met.
"Ainoko..." he mumbled, crossing his arms over the desk to use them as a pillow. 'Misha-san, you...'
"Studying hard, Kotarou?"
His eyes fluttered open and he sat up straight. He turned to face the voice, half expectant though he was already disappointed. There was a bright aura, almost blinding, and he was filled with a relaxing warmth. Surreal blue eyes met his golden-green ones, and they stared at him harshly.
She didn't waste any time,
"Where's my sister? Where's Misha?"
She tossed her blond hair back and stmoothed out the non-existant wrinkles on her blue and white dress. Her expression was serious, just about angry.
"Wh-What's wrong, Sasha-san?" he asked. He tried to play stupid even though he was sure that I-know-where was written all over his face. He wasn't sure if giving Misha to her sister would be a good idea. She was, after all, a half demon now. What would they do to her? What would happen if demons got to her first?
"Misha was spotted outside your window earlier," Sasha told him, inching closer. "Do you honestly think that I'm stupid? Misha would never miss a chance to see you. So, how long has she been back?"
He remained silent, his eyes wide an unsure.
"When did Misha come back?" she repeated, starting to sound even more annoyed.
He shook his head dumbly.
"I'm not an idiot!" He voice rose enough to make him flinched back. "We'd found her in America and then she just up and disappeared when we were about to confront her! Now she's here. Do you expect me to believe that she's not around here!?"
"She hasn't!" he yelled, his voice accidentally squeaking. He breathed in deeply. "She hasn't yet, Sasha-san. Not yet."
They stared at each other for a few moments, not quite looking each other in the eyes but not looking away, either. Sasha finally turned to leave.
"She's a dangerous animal now,' she said softly. "A half-breed. If she gets hungry she'll kill. She'll kill just like any full blooded demon would."
She phased through the wall and then was gone.
"Misha-san...?" He sighed heavily at himself. "I'm getting worried..."
Misha walked through the city streets quickly. She had to hurry away from the apartment building. Mango had noticed that Sasha was descending--actually she hadn't noticed that is was Sasha, she just knew that it was an angel, but Misha had recognized her. That was more than enough to make the four ainoko run and hide.
When she was finally sure that she was far enough away from Sasha, Misha stopped. She walked under a street light and leaned against the post. She huffed a little and tried to catch her breath. She was tired, and scared, and alone. But being in the soft, artificial light provided her with some comfort. It made her stand out, she knew, but she was sure that she was far enough away that Sasha wouldn't find her and give her any trouble.
She yawned loudly.
"Maybe I should've... gone with... one of... them... Suuu..." She slid down the post and to the ground. She brought her knees to her chest and sat there quietly. 'Until I partake in mortal's blood... That's what she said.'
Even as an angel, as pure an angel she could become, the curse of being a demon lay heavily upon her. She could fade at any time now. If she let that happen then all of it would have been in vain. All of her efforts would have been for nothing. She would have accomplished none of her goals, and meet an avoidable death.
She looked up tp see him walk into the circle of light and closer to her. His hair cast shadows over his face, making him appear a little mysterious. She could see his green eyes full of kindness and worry and... something she had not been expecting. He stood a few feet away from her, watching her.
"Can I ask you a personal question, Misha?" he requested.
'He always does this. He always finds me when I need him. He always knows where to look for me, like he knows all of my movements.'
"You don't have to answer it," he assured her after she didn't respond.
Her eyes scanned his over his face, over his entire body. He was tall and well built, and his face was soft, but not feminine. It was very handsome. Everything about him complimented something else. Everything about him was strong and balanced.
He looked so much like an angel...
"Takashi-kun..." She blushed.
"You see, Kotarou was talki' to Aizou. They got into a bit of a fight," he explained. "No. That's not it. Hiroshi said, when he saw Aizou today, that she was a demon. Aizou said she was a half demon. Weird stuff goin' on... Anyways, Kotarou got the idea that you're like her. So I was... uh, just wondering..."
"If I'm crazy enough to say the same?" she finished for him.
"Would you even believe me?"
"I would!" he promised, stepping closer to her. "Misha, tell me the truth and I'll believe you."
He came down to eye level, his eyes full of countless emotions. That "something" was clearer now, more dominant. She understood exactly what it was.
"I am a demon. I am an angel."
"Is that... even possible? Wouldn't the two just cancel each other out?"
"You'd think." She reached out to him, and he took her cold, cold hands in his own. "I shouldn't exist, in theory. But as an angel I wasn't pure, and the blood used to turn me into an ainoko wasn't purely demonic, either. For most of the moon's cycles, they are nearly cancelled out, but at certain points, when the moon is new or full, one side is dominant."
He nodded, listening to her closely.
"At the new moon I am an angel, and at the full moon, a demon," she continued. His hands tightened around hers.
"Which is it right now?"
"A new moon. The angel."
"Your hands are so cold." He breathed on them to try and warm them. "And you're so pale. Are you okay?"
She cried out then, in pain, desperately clutching at her chest. She collapsed against him, every muscle in her body tensing. The pain was so severe. It was like nothing she had ever felt before. It shot through her body, and called out for someone. 'Someone' from deep within her answered that call and woke from their slumber.
"Ta...ka...shi... Takashi... kun..."
He watched her laying in his arms. She looked different. Funny. Her skin was transparent, allowing him to see her white, white bones underneath. The situation seemed familiar, but he could not place it. He couldn't place where he had seen this before.
Misha cried out again, small fangs forming in her mouth.
'Shia,' Takasha thought. 'That's why this is so familiar. Shia-san... was in pain until she kissed Kotarou!'
He blushed deeply.
"Taka...shi...kun!" she cried out, desperately trying to claw at him.
He closed his eyes and sucked in a deep breath. He wasn't sure what to expect, and he couldn't quite remember what had happened to Kotarou, but he knew he had to do something. He had to save her.
"Hold on, Misha!!"