Things Were Never Going To Be The Same Again

By: Arielle


It was my initiation. It was supposed to be easy. Well, not too easy. Just shoot into the house. No big deal.

It wasn't supposed to happen. It was supposed to be a walk in the park. No one was supposed to get hurt.

It was just an accident. No one was supposed to be there.

She wasn't supposed to be there.

She wasn't supposed to get hurt.



He said after the fact that there wasn't supposed to be anyone in there. He told me it was my fault I brought her there. He blames me for what he did to her.

Fine then. If he wants to blame everyone besides himself for what happened, he can just go ahead and do it. But he better not think he's getting off this scott-free.

And if she dies...



"Okay, so all I have to do is..." I trailed off, allowing them to finish my sentence.

"Shoot into the house once," said Ken, the leader with the black leather bomber jacket everybody wanted. "and then you're a Kyo."

I smiled slightly at the thought of me being a Kyo. The Kyo was the dominating teenage gang in Odaiba, and even though everyone who was anyone wanted to get in, they just didn't let anyone in. You had to have the right stuff, and you had to be initiated. I had it in good. They liked my spunk, they said. And my initiation was easy. Now if only I knew how to fire a gun...

The old house on Baka street was the perfect place for my initiation. The old mansion, although fully furnished with the oldest smelling furniture, hadn't been occupied for decades. For as long as I've lived - heck, for as long as my parents lived - no one ever lived in the old house on Baka street. The place was perfect.



"Matt, I'm not so sure about this," Sora said as we walked past the corner of Baka street. "Are you sure this neighborhood's safe?"

"Of course it is," I reassured her, squeezing her hand. She looked up at me smiling. "And if anything happens, I'll be here to protect you."

"You better be."

I helped ease Sora into the open side window of the old house, then let myself in. "Hello?" I mocked, Sora giggling at the sound of the echo throughout the house. "Anybody home?"

"Looks like nobody's here," Sora said, pointing out the obvious as she sat down on an old velvet chippendale in what seemed like one of the livingrooms. She gave me a devilish smile, knowing just what I wanted.

She wasn't all that innocent, after all.

I crept up to her on the couch, my own smile growing on my face. My hand almost instantly went to her knee, caressing it slowly, as I looked up into her deep auburn eyes, sparkling with anticipation. She already lost her right hand, ungloved, in my blond hair.

"Mmm," I whispered into her ear, my hand inching up her pant leg. "You know what I'm thinking?"

"What?" Sora asked innocently, even though I knew she had never meant it innocently.


My lips touched hers gently, the intensity and longevity of our kisses increasing with each kiss. Sora sighed softly as she momentarily broke our kiss.

"Sounds good to me," she said, as I slowly laid her down on the old dusty couch...



Ken passed the small firearm into my trembling hands. I clenched it tightly, hoping that the other guys didn't see the shaking. I held it in my right hand, my finger on the trigger. I scanned the old house, trying to find a window that wasn't boarded up. I sighed inwardly, angry at myself. It didn't matter if I did find a window to shoot into; I probably couldn't hit it if it was two inches in front of the barrel. I hadn't shot a gun since Cops & Robbers when I was nine. How the hell was I going to aim this thing?

I finally settled on an open window on the second floor. Maybe if they just heard some glass shatter, maybe if I hit close enough, they'll let me in...I was literally trembling, and could barely hold the gun in my hands.

'Okay, Tai. Calm down. You can do this'. I pulled my goggles over my head, hoping that I would aim better with them on. I knew I kept them for something.

"Hurry up, Kamiya," I heard someone behind me say. "We haven't got all freakin' day."

I sucked in my gut, my jaw clenched, the gun in my hand cocked and ready to go off.

I braced myself as my finger slowly pulled the trigger, and heard the loud shot as the bullet catapulted itself towards the house.



"What was that?"

Sora's head popped up from the couch, her eyes wide with fear. I groaned inwardly, silently hoping Sora would just ignore the noise and we could get back to what we were doing.

No such luck.

"It was nothing, babe," I said, stroking her hair. My shirt was on the floor and already forgotten about, and Sora's was close to joining it. I didn't want this to end. Oh, why couldn't she just forget about it?

Sora began to loosen up again as I kissed her neck passionately, but I could tell she wasn't getting into this like she was before. "No, it was definitely something," she said, her voice taking on a worried tone. "Maybe we should get out of here..."

"Aw come on, it was probably just the wind knocking something over...or a stray cat or something. Whatever it was, it's gone...and we can get back to what we were doing..." I needed this...we both needed this. My father was at home, and Sora's parents were at her house as well. There wasn't anywhere else we could do this; that's why we had come here in the first place. And now she wanted to leave because she heard a noise? And I thought I was going to get lucky tonight.

But she wasn't going to listen to any of what I had to say. When Sora Takenouchi makes up her mind, there's nothing that will stand in her way. "Yamato Ishida, we are leaving, and we're leaving NOW." She scooted away from me on the couch, denying me access to her neck, or lips...or any other part belonging to a woman. I groaned, almost childishly, but I knew there was no way I was going to change her mind.

"Okay," I said, sitting up. "Just let me get my shirt."



"You missed, Kamiya."

I opened my eyes to see the house unchanged and the window still intact. I sighed. I knew I wasn't going to be able to hit it that far away.

"But don't I get points for being close?" I asked. The laughter I heard behind me said otherwise. I frowned, dejected. I was never going to be a Kyo. Why did I think I was ever cut out to be a Kyo? I should just go back to my little group of friends and try to forget this ever happened...

"You got one more chance, Kamiya," Ken said, standing next to me, his hand on my shoulder reassuringly. "Shoot into the house, and you're a Kyo. But now, you've gotta do it three times in a row; no missing. And if you don't get even one shot in the house..."

I didn't want to look over to see Ken and the rest of the Kyo trying on their brass knuckles. I had to get this right.

No more playing around. This wasn't just about becoming a Kyo.

They were probably going to beat me to death just so I would never speak of my initiation to a living soul.

I couldn't goof off anymore. This was more important than a stupid leather bomber jacket. Whipping the goggles off my face and discarding them, most probably never to see them again, I searched the house for my next target.

The large, boarded-up bay window on the first floor seemed like the prefect target. These bullets would rip through that plywood like a knife through butter. I smirked and aimed quickly, cocked the gun again, and fired.

And fired.

And fired.



I was down on the floor in the dark house, searching for my discarded shirt, when it happened.

It all happened so fast.

I had heard her scream before I saw anything.

I looked up, and there she was.

My Sora. My beautiful Sora.

Covered in blood.



"Hey, did you hear something?"

I barely acknowledged the fact that one of the Kyo was speaking, or that a faint murmur had risen from the group. I was too busy beaming, delighted.

I had hit my mark. Not just once, but three times.

Maybe I was cut out to be a Kyo, after all.

I didn't even want to think about the piercing scream I heard from the house the minute my bullets hit home.

And hand fell upon my shoulder. It belonged to Ken.

"Yo, Kamiya, I think someone was in there."

And then, like a flash of light, every single member of the Kyo, the bravest and most ruthless gang in Odaiba, ran with their tails tucked between their legs.

I looked back at the house, the gun still warm in my hand.

I had heard that scream before. I remembered it from elementary school.

When I used to play keep-away with Sora Takenouchi's helmet.

I broke out into a run, straight for the house, only hoping that my ears deceived me.



I was upon Sora in a flash, holding her limp head up on my lap.

"Oh God, Sora," I whispered. I didn't know if she could even hear me anymore.

I looked up and down her body, seeing the points where there seemed to be the most concentration of blood.

One by her shoulder. One on her calf.

And one in the middle of her chest.

I tried to choke back a sob, but it came out anyway, and tears began to flow down my cheeks. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe. I felt as if it was me on that floor, slowly drifting away. I felt as if I was dying. But I knew that no bullet could ever hurt me the way I was hurting then.

I knew she had to get to a hospital. Someone needed to call an ambulance before she lost any more blood. But I couldn't just leave her there, and I had no idea how long I might be gone looking for a phone. She might be gone by then...

"Please, Sora, please don't leave me," I cried, my tears falling down onto the floor. "Sora, please, don't die..."

"She won't die," a voice from behind me said. "Not if I can help it."

I whipped my head around quickly to see who was in the old house with us. My eyes widened as I spoke the name of the last person I would think to see on Baka Street.




I stood in the foyer of the old house, seeing what my handiwork had done.

Matt was sitting on the floor, tears streaming down his face, his lap holding the unmoving head of Sora.

They were both covered in blood. I didn't know who was shot anymore.

I didn't know who I shot.

"I called for an ambulance. Said it was an emergency," I said mechanically, my hand tightening on the grip of my cell phone. The gun was tucked in the waistband of my shorts, the remaining two bullets unloaded. I couldn't let Matt see that; he would kill me if he did.

"How did you get here?" Matt asked innocently, his voice barely above a whisper. His hand never stopped lovingly stroking Sora's forehead, his fingers trembling with every touch. He must have really loved her.

I couldn't stop staring at Sora. She lay there on the floor of the old house, unmoving. Her clothes were stained with her blood. She looked as if she was already dead. I didn't want to look at her - I didn't want to see what I had done to her - but I couldn't tear my eyes away from the sight. She was already beginning to look paler...

"It's not important," I answered, not daring to tell Matt the real reason I was there. Matt grew silent, as a blank expression came across his face. I became worried, and quickly asked, "Are you...hit?"

Matt shook his head slowly, then returned his eyes to Sora. "I...I don't know what happened," he whispered as silent tears fell from his eyes. "It all just went so fast..." I saw Matt stroke Sora's cheek with his hand, and then break down with a sob that caused all the house to shudder. I could feel my own chest tightening and my tears threatening to erupt. How could I be so stupid? What was I thinking? I was planning on doing anything to get initiated into the Kyo, and now, one of my best friends might die.



I could hear my sobs echoing through the old house as if they went through paper.

As I heard the loud sirens of the ambulance approaching the old house, I wished it was me who was hit. I wanted to be the one lying on that floor, dying slowly. It should have never had happened. I never wanted Sora to get hurt.

I promised her I would protect her. I told her I would be there. And when it counted most, I couldn't save her.

I wished I was dead.



I watched as they loaded Sora onto a stretcher and carried her out of that cursed old house. I watched helplessly as the ambulance sped away. I saw Matt's tear-stained face through the rear window before the ambulance turned on Hitoshi Drive.

He wanted me to stay with them in the ambulance. He wanted me to drive with them to the hospital.

But I couldn't have faced Sora's parents then. I wouldn't have been able to watch their faces of anguish as they found out what had happened to their daughter.

I wasn't going to step one foot into that hospital with the heavy guilt in my heart and the pistol in my pants.

But I was going to be damned if I didn't give myself the chance to say goodbye to Sora for the last time.

As I left the old house on Baka Street, hoping never to return, I threw the gun in the open lot next to the house, thanking my mother a million times over for forcing me to wear my gloves when I went out of the house.




I knew who spoke before I could even raise my tearstained face. I knew that voice by heart.

"Is she..."

I shook my head slightly. I didn't even know if he noticed.

"She's in surgery now...they say it's touch and go."

My voice was barely above a whisper. I didn't even care why Tai had decided to show up, despite declining to drive with us to the hospital. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore.

"Did you call her parents?" His voice sounded distant, even through the incessant humming of machines and loud intercom interjections flowing throughout the hospital. It then occurred to me that he hadn't moved from his space at the door. It was almost as if he was afraid to come too close to me...

I nodded, swallowing hard. "They said they're on their way."

He took a step closer cautiously. "What were you doing there?" he asked.

Something about his voice; it didn't make the question sound innocent.

I looked up at him, my eyes filling with tears. "Why do you think we were there?"

From the expression on his face I could tell he understood me.

I rested my head in my hands again. I kept replaying the night in my head...the feeling of anticipation as we entered the old house...the regret as I ignored the warning shot...that feeling of instant dread as I heard her scream...

A shaky hand went to my shoulder, and my head jerked up. I looked at Tai, his eyes full of concern, and then back at my hands; my gloves were wet from fresh tears. I didn't even notice when I cried anymore. "It's so hard..." I whispered, before my head collapsed onto Tai's shoulder as he pulled me in for an embrace.

"Hey..." Tai said in his eternally chipper tone, "they always say the waiting is the hardest part."

"Tai, you don't understand..." I cried into his shirt. "I told her I would protect her. That I would be there for her. Tai, I let her down..."

"Oh, Matt, you couldn't have stopped did you know that was going to happen? It wasn't your fault."

"Yes, it was! It was all my fault. If she dies..." my voice cracked, the mere thought of that possibility ringing in my head. "I wish I was dead, Tai."

I felt Tai stiffen at that remark. I didn't care anymore. It was all true.

"What about the gunman? Isn't he responsible, too?"

"Of course," I replied. "But they're never going to find him, and I'm still partly to blame..."

"And if they could catch the gunman...and if the gunman was you think you'd still feel the same?"

His voice took on an odd tone; one I never heard from Taichi before. Guilt. That tone was guilt.

"Tai...just what do you mean by that?"



I knew this was the stupidest thing I had...well, okay, *second* stupidest thing I had ever done in my life, but I had to do it. I couldn't stand to see Matt beat himself up over this so much. To wish he was dead... If he only understood that he wasn't in control of the situation at all...that he had no way to stop what happened...that he wasn't the one to blame...

I took a deep breath, carefully removing Matt from my shoulder. He had to look me in the eye for this.

"Matt...I did it. I'm the one. I shot her."

There was a silence at first. Matt's face seemed expressionless, frozen in time...shocked. Then his eyes began to narrow, and he asked, more out of confusion than confirmation,


I nodded, tears springing to my eyes. If it was this difficult to tell Matt, then how the hell was I going to deal with her parents?

"I didn't mean it, Matt, you gotta believe me; it was just a stupid prank, no one was even supposed to be in the house..." Words started pouring out of my mouth; it was the only way to keep myself from crying.

"You did this?" Matt's voice was menacingly soft. He was either on the verge of tears or on the verge of insanity. I couldn't tell. I didn't want to tell.

I didn't really know what I could say. How do you apologize to your best friend for nearly killing his first love?

"Matt, I'm sorry."

I saw his eyes cloud over with anger, and I knew that wasn't the right thing to say.

"You're sorry?" He repeated, slowly standing up from the cushioned chairs in the hospital's waiting room. "You're sorry? What the hell were you thinking?"

"I...I don't know," I tried to explain myself, but it wasn't going to work. My tongue was tied, my eyes were blurry, and Matt's pissed-off factor was way past through the roof... "It...was an initiation, okay? I was trying to get into the Kyo..."

Matt's fists clenched, and my eyes widened. He was way past irrational...he might want to do something drastic... "She might be dead, Tai, and all you can say is you're sorry?!"

I shouldn't have done what I did next. I don't know why I can't think before I put my foot in my mouth.

I shot up from my seat, immediately on the defensive. "Well, if you didn't take her there in the first place, none of this would have happened! If you were thinking about Sora's safety, and not on getting laid, then maybe -"

A fist connected with my jaw, and I felt the ground rush up beneath me.



I felt the sting on my knuckles and heard the crunch of bone hitting bone as I did what I felt I needed to do for the last fifty seconds.

For the last thirty minutes.

For every second since it happened.

A nurse behind me gasped. She would probably ask me to leave in a few seconds.

Or call security.

Either way, I knew I wasn't going to be staying around here. And God, I wanted to be here when - if - Sora woke up.

It's all Tai's fault.

It's Tai's fault that I'm going to get kicked out of the hospital. If he hadn't told me, I wouldn't have gotten so angry...

It's Tai's fault we're here in the first place. If he was a little more careful and considerate, none of this would have happened...


If he...

I sigh. It's not his fault. I always think it's his fault - oh God, how I want it to be his fault - but it's not.

If I hadn't taken her there in the first place, she might still be in my arms.

If I wasn't so selfish... If I protected her like I said I would...

Things were never going to be the same again.



I threw a wide-eyed glance at Matt as the two burly security guards escorted us curtly out of the building, a thin trickle of blood running down the side of my mouth.

He never looked back at me.

His eyes were cold, dark, emotionless.


I vowed then never to look upon those eyes again.

I joined the Kyo the morning after, leather jacket and all. Ken wasn't with them; they said he was arrested. It was his gun they found in the bushes around that old house on Baka Street.

He was tried for murder.

Her parents were validated; they thought they found the murderer.

They never found her murderer.

I heard she died that night. She went silently, and peacefully; she never regained consciousness.

I heard he never got over it.

He wasn't the only one.

Things were never going to be the same again.

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