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Author Topic: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Six -- Nightmare]  (Read 121471 times)

Loser87

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #320 on: June 21, 2007, 06:57:41 PM »
‘Kay, so… um… You’re probably wondering why I [FIM-chan] am not the one that’s posting this chapter… Long story short… and for reasons I’m not going to discuss here… I’m not allowed to get on JPH!P anymore. Luckily for all of you readers, I’ve decided that it’s worth the trouble to continue updating on it anyway, and thanks to some wonderful ladies (Loser-chan, Estrea, and possibly Yuu-chan at times if the other two aren’t around to bother with this.) the chapters will still be posted here on the forum. However, even though I’m not here to read your comments, they’ll be sent to me anyway, and when it comes time to update, I’m still gonna respond to them like I used to. <3 But BECAUSE I’m not able to visit JPH!P anymore, I’d like a minimum of five comments for every chapter from now on. I need to know that you guys care enough to still want to read this, and if you don’t, that’s fine, but if that’s the case I’ll just send the chapters to the people that do care to read it instead of getting others to go through the trouble of updating for me. Thank you for sticking through the story this far, anyway, though. :3 It’s because of everyone that’s read it that I even began to consider continuing to update, and that I still plan to finish this story AND it’s sequels. Sorry for the wait. Enjoy. <3

[::Chapter Forty-Three – Just Looking Out For You]
I watched as Koharu and Kirari walked away from me, waving happily after their retreating forms. The three of us together had absolutely no luck finding my cousin… but other than that I had enjoyed a rather pleasant day. It was nice to know that I had somewhat of an ability to still make friends, and nicer still to know that there were people in this city as amiable as they had been.

The two of them had led me safely back in the direction of the apartment complex before we said our goodbyes (and I thanked them profusely for all their help). I was walking along the sidewalk, humming to myself, when a familiar voice called out to me.

“Momoko-chan! Wait up!”

I turned around quickly, smiling as my eyes caught sight of Saki jogging up to me. She smiled back as soon as she was at my side, but I detected a hint of apprehension in her eyes, and wondered what on earth it was she was worried about.

“Ah, Saki-chan! What a surprise, how are you?”

“Fine, really… Actually, uh… I’ve kind of been following you around…” She admitted sheepishly, causing me to blink in confusion. It didn’t seem like her to be a… well… stalker.

“Why would you do that?”

“I saw you walking with those girls and… well, I just got a bad feeling about it… Not to say that I know everything, Momo-chan, but… My intuition usually isn’t wrong. I just wanted to make sure you were okay while you were with them.”

The idea that Koharu and Kirari were out to get me in any way struck me as incredibly funny, but I supposed that if Saki felt any reason to worry, then it was better to be safe than sorry. Plus, it was really sweet of her to care enough about my well-being to keep an eye on me like that. …I supposed.

“Well, um… thanks, I guess…”

She nodded, and we slipped into an awkward, yet still companionable silence. It was easy to be around the dancer, because she was always so calm and confident about everything that in her presence I felt the same way. I decided to try and make conversation, because I hadn’t seen her since the last practice.

“You look like you’re feeling a lot better. Happier, I mean. Are things with you and Miyabi okay, then?”

Immediately I wondered if that was the right question to ask, because Saki grew very quiet and adopted a very serious expression. I was about to apologize and tell her to forget about it, but before I could, she answered me anyway.

“…Yeah. At least, I hope so.”

“…Hope so?”

“Well… let’s just say…” Saki looked over at me quietly for a moment, before shaking her head. “Actually, nevermind. I’m not really ready to talk about it yet.”

I nodded, not wanting to make her feel anymore uncomfortable than I already had. I had formulated a guess about what had happened, but I wasn’t about to voice that assumption out loud. Instead, I tried to change the subject.

“That’s okay. What about Tokunaga-san, then? Is she doing any better?”

“Actually, I can’t find her. I haven’t seen her since the night before last. I know she’ll turn up, but it’s not like her to be gone for an entire day without checking in to say she’s alright… Hopefully she’s with whomever she visits so much…”

Poor girl. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. Between all of us, it seemed that she had a lot to deal with… I leaned over and draped an arm around her shoulder in a light hug, attempting to comfort her somewhat.

“I’m sure she’s fine. You just worry too much.”

Saki laughed at that. “I do, don’t I? I guess I can’t help it.” She smirked at me a little bit as we stopped in front of the complex, taking a step back and crossing her arms. “All of you are way too accident-prone for me to rest easy…”

I couldn’t really argue with that, and so I smiled at her.

“Just take it easy, okay? They say stress kills.”

“You sound like that doctor I used to go to…”

“I’m serious, Saki-chan…”

“Yeah, I know. I’ll see ya later, Momoko-chan.”

I nodded and waved goodbye as she slipped away, turning back to the apartment complex and letting out a deep sigh. The sun was setting, and I could only hope that by some miracle Risako was safe inside, and in one piece.

There was only one way to find out…

I climbed the stairs to my cousin’s apartment and fished the spare key from my pocket, unlocking the door with a simple twist and stepping inside. What I found there was… both surprising and ten times more amusing than anything I think I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

Maasa was seated on the floor, her eyes focused intently on the TV (which I hadn’t actually really hadn’t noticed before that point, since Risako and I weren’t really in the apartment all that much) and my cousin was sprawled contentedly across her lap, very much asleep.

It was such an adorable scene, especially since Maasa was clutching at the carpet beneath her hands like she absolutely couldn’t stand to be in that position much longer. It was that mischievous side of me that couldn’t help but tease her, because she hadn’t seemed to notice my arrival just yet.

“Well~ I suppose I’ll just leave the two of you alone, then.” I announced, putting my hands on my hips and grinning madly as Maasa looked up at me, rolling her eyes. She looked very happy to see me, though, in a “thank goodness, no more babysitting” kind of way.

“Help me get her off… I wasn’t sure how to do it without waking her up…”

I giggled at her a bit. I was curious as to how they got in such a position in the first place, but… questions could wait.

“Rii-chan can sleep through anything. Just pick her up and put her on the bed.”

Maasa blinked at me, as if she didn’t believe that it would be that simple. When I offered no further advice, however, she decided to try it, carefully rolling Risako off of her lap at first. She seemed to gain a bit more confidence when she realized that my cousin really was as dead as a rock at that point, and she stood up, lifting the younger girl off of the floor.

…That was when she started to act the slightest bit ridiculous, suspending Risako upside down by her leg and swinging her a little bit, all with this incredulous look on her face. She might have gone a little further to see what else wouldn’t wake my cousin up had I not cleared my throat and shot her a warning look, causing her to drop the sleeping girl on the bed obediently.

As soon as she had rid herself of that baggage, however, her attention shifted completely over to me. But it seemed almost as if she were hesitant to approach me at first, and she  leaned over to give me a sweet, gentle kiss. Suddenly everything that I had done that day paled in comparison to that single moment, feeling her arms slide lazily around my waist. But something was off, and she was looking at me carefully, as if she were seeing me for the first time again.

I wasn’t really sure what to say, knowing that she’d probably avoid any question that I had… I was learning that when she wanted to tell me something, she would, and if she didn’t want to… pushing her was kind of pointless. So I momentarily let it go, because I needed to get the answers to the questions burning in my head about where Risako had been all day.

“So… What happened to Rii-chan, then? Erika-chan called me this morning to tell me that she disappeared at the amusement park, and she never came back here while I was asleep, so… how did you end up with her?”

“Actually, I didn’t, at first… Apparently Maiha found her in a club, smashed drunk, and so she brought her home.”

Though I wasn’t sure what the flirt’s true intentions might have been… I supposed it more noble of her to try and take care of Risako than to just leave her in such a place. Besides, I preferred the thought of her safe with Maiha than with some random stranger who might have done her quite a bit of harm…

“So, she was okay when you got there?”

Rii-chan and I are going to have a very long talk as soon as she wakes up…

“Yeah, she’s fine. Just wiped out. She had a rough hangover this morning and had to walk all the way from our place to here. Then we found your note and I didn’t want to leave her alone like that, so I stayed, and she fell asleep an hour or so ago. By the way, your cousin can talk a LOT…”

I giggled a bit, aware of just how true that was. If Maasa was annoyed with my cousin’s chatter after just one day with her…well… there wasn’t much help for her, because the better Risako got to know a person, the more she talked. And judging by the scene that I had walked in on… she must’ve become at least somewhat attached to Maasa.

“Thanks for taking care of her, Maasa. That was very sweet of you.”

“Well, she’s important to Maiha… but mostly she’s important to you, and so I guess that means I have to care about her at least a little bit. She’s not… that annoying… once you get used to her, anyway.”

I smirked, leaning up to give her a kiss on the cheek.

“You’re lying through your teeth.”

Maasa grinned in response, as if she had no remorse for feeling like that at all.

“Well, only partially. At least… I hope she’ll get less annoying eventually…”

The two of us drifted off into a comfortable silence for a moment, with her strong arms holding me close, until I looked up to study her face. She was wearing that strange expression on her face again, and being the curious girl that I am, I couldn’t help but ask…

“Maasa… what’s wrong?”

I could feel her body grow slightly tense, and she looked back at me, the cloud of emotions in her eyes disappearing quickly behind that mask she was so good at putting up.

“Hm? …It’s nothing… Don’t worry about it.”

“You’ve already tried to use that line… And maybe it’s not… really any of my business, but… you know I’m smarter than that. I know it’s not nothing… something’s bothering you… What is it?”

A sigh. Maasa closed her eyes for a moment, and when she opened them again, I could tell that the mask she had been wearing was gone.

“…What are we?”

“…What?”

“I mean… what is this…” She moved her hands away from my waist to make a motion refering to us, “…what am I to you, Momoko?”

And then… dead silence. The question that had been rolling around both of our minds… Perhaps mine more than hers, since she was probably more concerned with what I was to her… but… it was the same concept, anyway. I wasn’t really able to meet her eyes at first… because I knew what I wanted my answer to be… but…

“There’s something I want to say… something I almost said last night… but I’m not sure if I’m ready to say it… or if it’s the right time to say it… Because… those words can ruin so much if they’re said before it’s time…”

“Are you afraid that I wouldn’t feel the same way…?” She whispered to me, in a small, sad kind of way that was painful to listen to.

“I think that… you would… or, at least you want to, but…” I slid one of my hands up to rest gently above her heart, feeling the faint pace quicken beneath my fingertips. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one who had a rabbit-like pulse at times… “There’s something in here that’s still holding you back. Something that I don’t know about, and may never know about, but… until you let it go… I can’t say those words yet.”

She slipped her hands around my waist again and pulled me close, and I could sense that she was upset. Which, in turn, made me feel terrible, because that was the last thing that I wanted to happen… My eyes watered a little bit, and I was about to apologize, before she started to speak instead.

“I’m sorry… I just… can’t yet… I don’t want to hold on to this, but…”

“No… it’s okay. I don’t know what happened to you, Maasa… I probably can’t imagine, because for most of my life I’ve lived in a safe little country house with nothing but the occasional cow to worry about… But…”

“You’re being honest with me at least… I wish that I could tell you….”


“Until you’re ready to talk about it… don’t worry, okay? I’m not going anywhere right now.”

That only caused her to hold me tighter, and I blinked, looking up at her. Her eyes betrayed what it was that she was thinking… But I wasn’t sure what to say anymore after that…

Six more days… Already a week has passed by so fast… Would you really follow me? …Is it even fair to ask that much of you? You’re much too untameable for the quiet place that I live… aren’t you? But then… if that’s true… then what if I stayed here…? Would that be… worth it?

Something told me that it would be… But that rational side of me was saying that it was much too soon to think about these things…

…wasn’t it?


After a few more moments of silence, Maasa spoke up again, startling me and breaking through the quiet with her rough voice.

“Anyways… I should probably go… You two need to get some sleep before practice tomorrow, right?”

I sighed, nodding a bit before sliding reluctantly out of her embrace. A thought came to mind that I had almost forgotten, and as she was about to leave I called out to her.

“Maasa?”

“Hm?”

“…Do you want to meet me at the theatre during lunch? The others will be gone, and we could work on the dance together again… I want to keep it a secret until the performance.”

She looked at me thoughtfully for a moment, before a small smile spread across her lips.

“Sure… I’ll see you then, Momoko.”

And just like that… I was alone. Well… not completely, I suppose… I sighed and flopped down next to the snoring Risako on the bed, staring up at the ceiling. It was hard to think with the dull roar of her sleeping going on beside me, and so I frowned and rolled over, reaching across her lump of a body to pick up the phone. I waited a moment after I dialed in the number, listening to the electronic ring before the other line was finally picked up.

“Moshi-moshi~ Umeda Erika desu.”

I could hear the sounds of girlish giggles and a loud squeal that sounded oddly like Miyabi’s voice in the background, and assumed that Erika was not alone.

“It’s Momoko… What’s going on over there?”

“Oh… Miya-chan and I are at Kumai-chan’s house. We decided to check up on her since she skipped out on the fun yesterday like you did, and- ah, Miya~!”

I could hear the sounds of a struggle, and then a slightly evil giggle filtered through to my ears, a sign that Miyabi had probably wrested the phone from poor Erika’s grasp. Which was good, I guessed, since it meant that she was most likely in a playful mood rather than an angry one.

“Who’s this?” She asked, as if she thought perhaps Erika was talking to a secret lover and trying to tease her of it.

I rolled my eyes.

“It’s me, Momoko.”

“Momo-chan~ What’s up?”

Oh yeah… Very playful mood, especially if she was happy to be talking to me. The two of us hadn’t quite settled our differences JUST yet, even though we tolerated each other a bit better… so I could assume that Yurina had made them something to eat that contained quite a bit of sugar…

“I was just calling to tell you guys that I found Risako.”

“Really? What happened? Is she okay?”

“It’s a long story, and I’m kind of tired, so I’ll let her tell you tomorrow if she wants to… but yeah, she’s fine… She’s sleeping now.”

“Haha~ That’s Rii-chan for ya. Anyways, we’ll see you guys bright and early in the morning for practice, ne?”

“Yeah… Make sure that the three of you don’t stay up too late, okay?”

“Aw, we’re not staying anyway… Just messin’ around before Kumai-chan kicks us out.”

“Regardless…”

“Yeah, yeah. ‘Night, Momo-chan~”

“Uh… Goodnight, Miyabi.”

I blinked as I hung up the phone, turning over to look at Risako, who was still very much asleep and completely oblivious to her surroundings. I sighed, getting up to turn off the lights in the room.
…After all that I had been through… I was going to bed early.

---

Loser87: You people better comment! >O

Offline iacus

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #321 on: June 21, 2007, 08:51:33 PM »
I would personally love to read more of this story. I'm sure many others would as well. Thanks to everyone involved for going through the trouble of posting this up.

I just now realized that Saki doesn't recognize Koharu and Airi. I think you mentioned that a few chapters back but it just now sunk in. Are Maasa and Chinami the only ones who know who they are?

Offline whytphyre

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #322 on: June 22, 2007, 12:37:22 AM »
I refuse to comment. Not because it's Fimmy, but because it's you....

J/K I'll comment.

This is what made me like de Miya-chan. Miya est lurve.

And *snicker* Momo's turning into Rii-chan's mommy.

And I hate your situation Fimmy. DID I MENTION I HATE YOUR SITUATION BECAUSE I HATE YOUR SITUATION IT R NOT GOOD!

I'll stop the unintelligable now.

Offline Estrea

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #323 on: June 22, 2007, 12:45:25 AM »
Oodles...GO GO FIM-CHAN!!! XD

Ahem. Anyway. Fluff. <3 Sort of. XD Maasa and Momoko are cute together, but I sense something brewing underneath the surface. Secrets between a couple, or a budding couple, are usually not a very good way to get started. I wonder what will happen later...? Especially since Momoko seems to sort of trust Koharu now....o_O;;;

I agree with iacus. Saki doesn't seem to recognise Koharu and Airi. So their identities are only known to a select few eh? Interesting. I wonder what Koharu will do next. Hmm.

And anyway Fimmy, you know we support you! Keep on writing~ Fighto~ XD

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
- Lilium-related things. God save my soul.

On Hold:
- Everything Else. Too many to list.

I'm also on AO3!
http://archiveofourown.org/users/Estrea

Offline mode107

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #324 on: June 22, 2007, 04:40:37 AM »
I love this story, and I'll still remain a devoted reader    :D

Anways,  I hope w/e Maasa has to say doesnt put a strain on her relationship with Momo  :-\

lol, I wanna see the talk Momo has with Risako after she wakes up. Her sleeping reminds me of a short clip i watched of her falling asleep.
"Under the beautiful blue sky"

Offline Yuuyami

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #325 on: June 22, 2007, 11:27:30 AM »
It's been forever since I've commented, sorry for not being a loyal fan xD I'll keep commenting now :]

So now, Koharu and Momo's relationship have been established, and Momo's unaware of ill intention :0 And is apparently still oblivious even when Saki points out her uneasiness about the other two :0... Must be the magic of Koharu's eyes :0... -wonders if Momo will still be manipulated regardless, or if she is, she might cut herself off while being manipulated.-

Momo x Maasa are cute by the way xD

Can't wait for more of the story xD

Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #326 on: June 23, 2007, 02:04:48 PM »
Whatever the situation may be, I hope it works out and I'll still hang around in hopes of catching an update or two. I really love this story. Really. Like, a lot.

A lot a lot.

So good luck on everything and keep up your spirits or something equally as comforting.

Offline lil_hamz

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #327 on: June 24, 2007, 06:05:49 AM »
Yeah I 2nd rndmnwierd, I hope things get better for you, like really really soon.

About the story, so far you have paced everything nicely. There's a nice bit about every couple and some great character developments as well. I'm impatient to read what Koharu and Airi are gonna do to Momoko though and what Maasa has to let go.
 

Offline Estrea

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #328 on: July 21, 2007, 05:08:34 PM »
iacus- ^__^ Thank you very much. That’s encouraging to know. XD I’ll try my best to WRITE more of this story. XD And yes, a round of applause for the people who keep me connected to JPH!P. <3

Bingo. Saki never saw Koharu, so even though she gets a bad feeling about the two of them, she doesn’t recognize her. Koharu and Airi did a pretty good job before of keeping their identities secret and destroying anything that might aid in their capture (the police files don’t even have pictures of them). So yes, Maasa and Chinami know who they are, and Maiha would recognize Koharu, at least. Good question. :3

whytphyre- Lol Don’t be hatin’ on Loser-chan. <3

Miyabi is indeed love. :3

XD SOMEONE has to watch out for Risako. She’s trouble waiting to happen.

Lol I hate my situation too, but there’s not much I can do about it… other than hate it. >>

Estrea- Aww, turning into my cheerleader, dearest? XD

Yay fluff. :3 And of course there’s something going on underneath it all, it’s me, remember? Momoko’s trust in Koharu will definitely complicate things… you can be sure of that…

-replied to the Koharu thing in iacus’s comment- <3

^__^;; -keeps on fighting?- XD

Modesta107- :3 Thank you. I appreciate it, even though I’m sometimes not the most devoted writer. XD

Mrr.. XD All in good time… they’re not quite exactly in trouble yet.

XD The popcorn clip, maybe? I love that. It looks so fake, and yet it being Risako, kind of believable… Though… I can’t see how anyone would fall asleep while they were eating like that… XD

Yuuyami- -jabs Yuuchan with stick- Bad you~ XDD Just kidding. If it weren’t for your constant prodding, I’d probably get nothing done. <3

XD Blissfully unaware… like that Aika-face you do. It’s like in one of those horror movies where you’re all like “DON’T GO IN THAT DOOR!” but the actor does it anyway and then shit happens. XD

<333

rndmnwierd- Thank you… It means quite a lot to me to hear something like that. I’ve been kind of off ever since things happened the way they did to me… but for the most part I’ve learned to adjust and so I think I’m going to be alright. Which means that this story will keep on moving along… albeit at a slower pace, it seems. XD

^___^;;

lil_hamz- Thank you. :3

Haha~ Well, I should probably try and pick up the pace on my writing then in order to keep you from waiting so long. <3

------------

Woo~
How long has it been since the last one?
Fimmy-chan doesn’t even remember.
But she apologizes profusely for the long wait.
A combination of laziness and writer’s block pretty much brought me to a screeching halt, and it seemed like every day I’d get up and not want to write.
Thankfully, however, I think I’m getting back into the swing of things, and so I’m going to try hard not to let such a gap come between updates again.
Thank you for all your kind comments and your patience.
Enjoy. <3

------------

[Chapter Forty-Four -- Moonlit Alliance]

She was so cute standing there, leaning against the window frame and peering out at me with the most apologetic look on her face that I had ever seen sent my way. Her friends had finally left the house, and though it had only seemed like minutes to me, I had actually been sitting outside for several hours…  I wasn’t upset, though. It was worth the wait to get to be around Yurina.

I was standing just outside of the window (having had a hell of a time getting out of the tree with my arm the way it was, mind you), resting my arms on the frame while allowing her fingertips to trace gentle patterns on my skin. It was so relaxing… No one other than Saki had ever been able to touch me without it feeling like I was being burned or something…

“I’m sorry that you had to sit out here for so long… I couldn’t figure out how to get them to leave… Miyabi talks so much sometimes that it’s hard to get a word in edgewise…”

Wasn’t that the truth… the evil girl started talking the moment she got into the house and didn’t shut up until she left with the other one… Not that I had been eavesdropping or anything like that.

“It’s alright, really…”

“Still… I feel bad for making you wait…”

“Don’t. For you, I’d wait forever.”

It may have sounded really stupid, but I meant it. I was completely and totally in control of myself at that moment, and when I looked up to meet her eyes… I think she believed me, too. After a second or two I could have sworn she blushed, but it was hard to tell once she looked away.

“Chinami…”

“But… I should probably go home for a little while. I’ve never been away for this long before, and Saki might be worried… I don’t like to cause her so much trouble, after all she’s been through for me.”

“…Will you come back again soon?”

She turned her head back to face me again, and the look in her eyes… coupled with that tone of voice… well… it was enough to make me melt… Even if I wanted to refuse any request she had of me… I probably wouldn’t have been able to.

“Tomorrow morning. I’ll be here.”

That concerned expression—kind of like the one she had given me when she found out I had injured myself—made its’ way onto her face, and she frowned at me a little bit as if she hadn’t meant quite that soon.

“…But what if you’re not feeling well? I don’t want you to get hurt again if-”

I cut her off, placing my finger gently against her lips in an attempt to stop the flow of words coming from her mouth. She was really blushing now, and though it was hard to make eye contact with her without doing the same, I looked into her eyes to add to the sincerity of what I was about to say.

“I’ll be here, Yurina-chan.”

“…Okay. Goodnight China-”

What I had been thinking at that point, I’m not sure, but something compelled me to lean forward and kiss her. It was sweet and I felt warm all over, but the best part was probably the fact that she didn’t push me away. That might have been because I caught her off guard… but when I pulled back and looked at her again I could see a slight smile mixed with the surprise reflected in her eyes.

“Goodnight, Yurina.”

And with that, I slipped away, reluctantly leaving her behind. As much as I wanted to stay longer, it was getting very late, and I already felt guilty enough for not stopping in at the Loft to let Saki know I was okay. I knew she would probably scold me a bit like she usually did when I went missing, but maybe the fact that I was feeling better than ever would help to make her ease up about letting me do things on my own.

…Maybe. I had the feeling Saki was probably going to be overprotective of me until the day she died. Which was just as well, since I could think of several situations I had gotten myself into that might have killed me without her around.

Manuevering by way of rooftops like I usually did was particularly hard with my arm in the condition it was in, but my mind was sharp and alert for once, and so I was taking extra steps to avoid falling a second time. I had been lucky that the first time it was just my arm… A repeat might have meant my neck… And that wasn’t something you could fix with a few bandages.

I paused to rest on the top of an apartment building, allowing my throbbing arm some time to recover before I dared to push it again. A warmth had begun to spread across it, and the dark stain that colored the fresh bandages that Yurina fixed up for me that morning told me that the cuts had begun to bleed again, thanks to the stupid notion I had that I could be climbing in this condition.

There wasn’t much I could do about my injury at that point, however, and I resolved to just let Saki check it out as soon as I made it home. Something else had caught my attention anyway: voices filtering up from the dark alleyway below. I immediately felt a chill run down my spine, and a certain kind of cold washed over me… the kind that produces goosebumps and chills… and an innate sense that something was probably terribly wrong with the conversation going on down there.

Against my better judgment and the voices screaming in my head, telling me to keep moving and get home as soon as possible… I crouched down on the flat rooftop, leaning slightly over the brick edge to peer down into the darkness, waiting for my eyes to adjust so I could try and see who was talking.

“So… run the reason you need my help by me again…”

The first voice was one that I didn’t quite recognize… it was smooth and strong, and it occurred to me at that point that if a cat could talk, that’s probably the way its voice would sound. It was the kind of tone that was meant to lure somebody into a false sense of security… before the pounce.

“I don’t have the knowledge or the manpower that you do in order to pull off such an operation alone…”  THAT voice I was definitely familiar with… Nausea was starting to set in, but somehow the clearness that I had left Yurina’s house with gave me the strength needed to maintain control. I had a feeling that no matter how hard fear was trying to paralyze me right then, I needed to listen, because the things that were being said were important. “Yajima seems to be afraid of the law, and so I couldn’t count on her. Yoshizawa’s being a lazyass as usual, and Ishikawa’s still too preoccupied with that urban legend about Tsugunaga’s secret fortune under the city.”

The woman with the cat-like voice stepped forward a bit, so it was easier to make out what she looked like. Cat-like indeed… she moved with the fluidity of one, and her facial expressions were not that much different. The grin that crawled onto her lips at that point was definitely screaming that she was up to no good.

“Still haven’t learned to give up on Rika-chan, have you… She’s unreliable even when things are all going her way. Her little pets aren’t much different… Still, it seems like you’ve come to me as a last resort… I’m a little hurt by that.”

The other girl… devil that she was… smiled a bit in response, shrugging innocently. Or… she did it as innocently as someone who was most definitely NOT innocent could shrug…

“Well, I wanted to start with the ones I figured would be least interested in giving me aid… I knew coming to you… you would at least be curious about what I have in mind.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere, Koharu-chan. Especially since you’ve already made it clear that you want something beforehand… I have to admit, though, the whole thing sounds like fun. But… what’s in it for me?”

The girl—giving her a name would make her seem more human in my mind, and she was too much of a monster for that—turned to look over her shoulder for a moment, and I saw the faint movement that indicated a third figure standing near the entrance to the alleyway.

I didn’t have to be a genius to guess that the other was the one that followed her around all the time, and the thought put me on high alert. I would have to be careful to remember to continue to be extremely quiet… the last thing I wanted was to have the pawn come after me.

“Think about it. If you help me pull this off, I get what I want, and you get the recognition for it. The other two are going to hold you in a higher regard after this, and that means you can throw your weight around a little bit, because you’ll have more respect from them.”

Catwoman mulled that over a bit in her head, her grin fading into a much more serious expression. Whatever she was thinking about, she was thinking about it hard, and I wondered if perhaps thinking wasn’t something she did too often…

“I’m just curious… why do you care so much about that theatre? There are other places you could take out just as easily, and probably get more from doing so, so why bother with IT?”

Another jolt of panic shot through my body as I finally actually realized what they were talking about. The theatre… that Yurina practiced at everyday. That Saki… and that Momoko girl… and the others all practiced at… that my parents had owned before…

Before…

“I cannot stand hope, Mikitty… It’s like this blinding, annoying pinpoint of light that pierces through anything, no matter how dark the situation… So that when someone feels like they’re nearing the end, instead of giving up, they keep pulling through. It’s so… irritating to me.”

Evil. Her voice radiated waves of it. Some dark black hole her heart must have been to think that way… And yet, if that was really the way her mind worked, then all the horrible things she did weren’t quite as unthinkable now… Not that I would ever justify them, but it was at that I realized she was a lot more messed up than most people thought…

“And so… take that illustration and magnify it, so that instead of seeing a pinpoint, you see a huge beacon. The theatre is a lighthouse from which that beacon is being sent. It may not be shining very brightly right now, and truth be told, I could probably leave it alone and it would die out on it’s own…”

The pawn had appeared at her side suddenly somehow, and whispered something into the girl’s ear. Either it wasn’t all that important or the girl wasn’t too terribly worried, because she waved her pet away and continued on with what she had to say.

“…But the key word there is ‘probably’. I want to be sure of things. There’s a new girl in town, and with her help, those girls WILL get the place restored to it’s former glory. THAT is what I’m sure of. And THAT is what I don’t want to see happen.”

She was talking about Momoko now, I assumed… I didn’t know too much about the newcomer other than what Saki told me about her, and I had only ‘met’ her once… when she chased me down after nearly giving me a heart attack. Still, she seemed to be a nice enough person, and probably didn’t deserve whatever these two were planning for her…

Unfortunately, I still had no idea what exactly it was that they were going to try and do, other than the fact that it wasn’t going to be good. The girl’s long rant about why didn’t really help to clear up the what

“People used to come and watch performances there, and to them, it was a means of escape that didn’t require doing or taking anything illegal. For just a few hours and a small price for a ticket, they could get lost in the music and the dancing…”

For a moment, I saw that glint in the girl’s eyes fade a bit, like a memory was coming back to her that she had repressed for some time. Catwoman seemed to notice this too, and arched an eyebrow skeptically, though she did not speak. The instance passed quickly, however, and the glint returned to her eyes, making them twice as sharp and dangerous as they had been before.

“And if we let this continue… it will happen again. This city will have hope again. And when people have hope, they have strength. When they have strength, they could turn this place into something better than the hellhole it is now. When that happens, people on this side… people like you and me who didn’t really do anything to deserve our lot in life other than be born on the streets… we lose it all.”

The pawn returned a second time to stand on the girl’s right side, her facial expression and body language calm and composed, but her eyes reflecting an urgency of sorts. I dared to sit up a bit to get a better look at the streets from my advantageous position, and noticed that two new figures were wandering this way. Police, perhaps, and they looked as though they were expecting to stumble upon people like this… up to no good.

The girl was still as unconcerned about her partner’s anxiety as she had been before, however, and she regarded the cat-like woman with a lazy sort of look.

“…That is why I’m targeting the theatre. To me… it’s not really about the money… just the control I’ll get out of it.”

Catwoman clapped slowly for a bit, a sarcastic tone edging its way into her voice.

“Inspiring speech, Koha-chan… Though I could have done without all of the sappy descriptions and the comparisons and whatnot… It did manage to confirm to me that your heart still is darker than most, however…”

The girl bowed, flashing her teeth in a dangerous smile.

“Thank you, Mikitty, I try.”

What a fitting nickname… I tried to keep from grinning, since the situation wasn’t exactly anything to laugh about.

“Well… I suppose I can lend a hand. I’m not really doing anything right now, anyway…” Catwoman stretched, and even from where I was sitting far above them I could hear her bones pop. “I’ll tell the others about all of this… Perhaps it’s too early to rule out Yocchan and Rika-chan just yet… At least… I think that I can convince Rika-chan to put forth some effort if I word things the right way… Meet me later at the usual time… we’ll go over the details then.”

“Of course.”

The catwoman brushed past the other two, and I caught sight of her hands wandering down to… well… I’m pretty sure it’s not normal to say goodbye by groping someone’s leg or butt, but… I suppose I didn’t know enough about these people to really say… though I did catch the pawn flinching a bit, even as her partner’s expression remained neutral.

Soon after she disappeared, the other two fled quietly in the opposite direction, just as a beam of light shone into the alleyway, coming from the flashlight of one of the police figures from before. I took that as my cue to leave, because I figured it would have been a bad idea to stick around… I would have looked much too suspicious… and it wasn’t to my benefit for me to be found while most people still thought me to be dead.

And so I quickly continued on my way to the Loft, the nausea still plaguing my stomach, and this new information weighing down on my mind and my heart.

…It was all I could do to make it to the ladder before I passed out.

=======================================================================

Estrea: Yay Fimmy updates~ Everyone better comment >D
« Last Edit: July 21, 2007, 05:18:05 PM by Estrea »

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
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Offline Estrea

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #329 on: July 21, 2007, 05:19:19 PM »
And because I can....DIBS (this does not count as double post because, yeah, I said so >D)

Before I start, short chapter yo. >_>

XD

But I still love you anyway. XD

That said, Yurina/Chinami is <3333333 That kiss was a little unexpected, but sweet. <3

Chinami's POV is interesting, especially when she accidentally overhears all that. Koharu's logic unnerves me. It makes sense in a evil way, but she is totally scary. >_>

And the fact that Chinami thinks Miki talks and acts like a cat made me giggle...Catwoman? XDDD Judging from the content of Miki's and Koharu's conversation, Miki is like...a gang lord? XD Hehe. Along with Yossi and Rika....haha. 3 of the 85ers controlling the crime world. XDDD That's kind of hawt for some reason. XD Miki being evil and helping Koharu? Oh my. >_>

-wonders what will happen next- This is getting really fun! In a "omg what will happen next?!" way. I hope Chinami is alright. -twiddles thumbs-

Write on~ XD
« Last Edit: July 21, 2007, 05:31:05 PM by Estrea »

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
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I'm also on AO3!
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Offline rndmnwierd

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #330 on: July 22, 2007, 01:47:59 AM »
Chinami!  :O*gasp* I hope she'll be alright. I'm so glad to see this story updated! I'd been missing it for a while now.

Offline iacus

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #331 on: July 22, 2007, 04:45:55 AM »
Yay! Fim wrote another chapter!  And, yay! Estrea posted it!
About a week ago I was listening to 'Samidare Koi No Uta' and for some reason kept thinking of Momoko.  I had to put the song on repeat for almost twenty minutes before I finally remembered that scene from this fic. Then I got all excited and went to look for updates.(which of course weren't there)  But now. . . Yay!

Oh! anditwasagoodchapterpleasewritemoreokthnxbye

Offline mode107

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #332 on: July 22, 2007, 04:15:46 PM »
Yay you updated!

Chinami's POV is nice. I like the way she describes Yurina in the beginning. ChinxYurina love rocks

Yeah, I'm a really bad commenter, and you don't have to respond to this comment of mine.  lol, sometimes I feel that I  have to leave respondable comments to fanfics, or at least good ones. I still love this story though
"Under the beautiful blue sky"

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #333 on: July 23, 2007, 07:26:19 AM »
ABOUT DAMN TIME!!

Jesus, short or not it's still a chapter!
And you better update soon!

But the yurina/chinami scene was cute <33
Made me mushy >w<

Anyway update update update, hopefully i'll catch you on aim later~

Offline lil_hamz

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #334 on: July 23, 2007, 10:13:57 AM »
Miyabi talking too much XD That I can believe :lol:
Wait a minute.... so Chinami's family owned the threatre before? :shocked:
Just when I thought I might have an idea why Koharu is so bent on ruining things for the girls, I come up against a wall after reading more. I need to knowwwwwwwwwwwwwww :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

Offline FeverInducedMadness

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Two -- Bond]
« Reply #335 on: September 10, 2007, 11:02:53 PM »
Gah, wtf.
So many fics to catch up on. I can't even remember who I was reading and who was writing what and dear lord there are new people to add to the madness. @__@
This is just a post to say that I'm still alive (and, no, I have no idea why my internet is letting me access JPH!P, but oh man am I hoping that it'll stay this way) and that I've updated the table of contents and whatnot.
I am currently struggling with the next chapter, but I wanted to say that there's probably gonna be a bit of a delay, as the file containing all of my planning and organization and story notes has been deleted from my computer somehow, and so I have nothing to go on and I have to rethink how I'm going to get to the end again.
...Frustrating, yes. But eventually I WILL get back up to speed again, damnit. Life's just being especially rough on me right now.
For those of you that still care, thank you, and I apologize for taking so freaking long.
I promise not to let you down. <3
Also, for those of you who want me to read/comment on your stories, hit me up on AIM and I'll definitely take the time to do it. T___T I need a good fanfic after being deprived for so long.

~Fimmy-chan desu!
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Offline mode107

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Four -- Moonlit Alliance]
« Reply #336 on: September 11, 2007, 12:56:19 AM »
FIMMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!  It's so great to see that you're the one actually posting your post this time.
"Under the beautiful blue sky"

Offline FeverInducedMadness

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Four -- Moonlit Alliance]
« Reply #337 on: September 16, 2007, 01:30:02 PM »
And because I can....DIBS (this does not count as double post because, yeah, I said so >D)

That said, Yurina/Chinami is <3333333 That kiss was a little unexpected, but sweet. <3

Chinami's POV is interesting, especially when she accidentally overhears all that. Koharu's logic unnerves me. It makes sense in a evil way, but she is totally scary. >_>

And the fact that Chinami thinks Miki talks and acts like a cat made me giggle...Catwoman? XDDD Judging from the content of Miki's and Koharu's conversation, Miki is like...a gang lord? XD Hehe. Along with Yossi and Rika....haha. 3 of the 85ers controlling the crime world. XDDD That's kind of hawt for some reason. XD Miki being evil and helping Koharu? Oh my. >_>

-wonders what will happen next- This is getting really fun! In a "omg what will happen next?!" way. I hope Chinami is alright. -twiddles thumbs-

Write on~ XD

Lolz, I don't think it counts as double post either, since, technically, you didn't write any of the first post. XDDDD

Mm... I think I blame Loser. But it was coming anyway. >D

>3 Let's wait and see just how scary Koharu-chan can be, ne?

And don't forget, Miki seems to think she can get Yossui and Rika in on it... Cuz if you think Koharu and Miki teaming up is evil...

Mm... I hope she's alright, too...

Chinami!  :O*gasp* I hope she'll be alright. I'm so glad to see this story updated! I'd been missing it for a while now.

Aww, well, I'm back as myself for a little while, so lets see if I can't write as much as I can in order to make up for lost ground. XD

Yay! Fim wrote another chapter!  And, yay! Estrea posted it!
About a week ago I was listening to 'Samidare Koi No Uta' and for some reason kept thinking of Momoko.  I had to put the song on repeat for almost twenty minutes before I finally remembered that scene from this fic. Then I got all excited and went to look for updates.(which of course weren't there)  But now. . . Yay!

Oh! anditwasagoodchapterpleasewritemoreokthnxbye

LOL~ Yeah, I sometimes think of Momo when I listen to that song now, too. <3

:3 Your wish is my command.

Yay you updated!

Chinami's POV is nice. I like the way she describes Yurina in the beginning. ChinxYurina love rocks

Yeah, I'm a really bad commenter, and you don't have to respond to this comment of mine.  lol, sometimes I feel that I  have to leave respondable comments to fanfics, or at least good ones. I still love this story though

<33

But I love your comments, no matter what they are. :3 So of course I'm going to respond to it.
Thanks for sticking with me. ^__^

ABOUT DAMN TIME!!

Jesus, short or not it's still a chapter!
And you better update soon!

But the yurina/chinami scene was cute <33
Made me mushy >w<

Anyway update update update, hopefully i'll catch you on aim later~

Lol~ and where is YOUR update, hm? Doesn't look like PDL's been very active in my absence, either... >_o

XDDD Yeah, yeah, soon, soon.

Lol, of course it did, it was your fault. XD

<3

Miyabi talking too much XD That I can believe :lol:
Wait a minute.... so Chinami's family owned the threatre before? :shocked:
Just when I thought I might have an idea why Koharu is so bent on ruining things for the girls, I come up against a wall after reading more. I need to knowwwwwwwwwwwwwww :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:

XDD Well, don't hurt yourself too much hitting your head on that wall or you won't be around to find out what's next!
-sig is undah construction because it needs to be pimped out-

Offline Estrea

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Four -- Moonlit Alliance]
« Reply #338 on: September 16, 2007, 01:31:35 PM »
WEEEEEDGE! XD

永遠に咲き続ける花なんていない、すべてはいずれ枯れて朽ち果てしまう。

Currently writing:
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Offline FeverInducedMadness

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Re: ::Heartbeat Tempo:: [Chapter Forty-Four -- Moonlit Alliance]
« Reply #339 on: September 16, 2007, 01:34:01 PM »
Finallyyyyyyyy~
I get to be the one posting my own chapter again~ :D
How exciting. <3
Well, after a long while of being crushed under writer's block (and losing my notes and whatnot to boot) I finally managed to get out this next chapter.
And I feel inspired again, so hopefully the next gap between updates won't be so large. <3

[Chapter Forty-Five – Distorted Sense of Justice]

A singular bead of sweat rolled down the gang leader’s neck, the heat radiating from the overhead light roasting her skin a little bit and adding to her already high level of anxiety. Saki and Kanna were standing on either side of her, having been dragged along with her into this mess (though they would have willingly followed Maimi anywhere, were she to ask them to), and the three of them were staring down at the table in front of them, upon which laid a standard-sized white piece of paper.

Maimi had a yellow number two gripped loosely in her right hand, and as she turned her attention away from the paper towards the two police officers also standing in the room, she had quite an incredulous look on her face.

“You have GOT to be kidding me…”

“’Fraid not. It’s like, a little past two in the morning, and even for me, this is way too late for jokes.”

“Besides, currently we have no pictures of the Miracle or Suzuki on record… They’re not exactly easy to photograph, and even when we managed to find someone brave enough to snap some shots, they’d end up vanishing mysteriously from society… along with any images they managed to obtain.”

“I’m not exactly… an artist…”

One of the twins groaned, most likely Nozomi, as she seemed to grow more and more impatient as the ‘interrogations’ dragged on. But it was Ai instead that decided to try again, the tone in her voice becoming sweet as to sound as non-threatening as possible.

Besides, Nono wasn’t good at being persuasive unless she had a gun in her hand.

And that wasn’t the kind of persuasion she wanted them to resort to…

“It doesn’t matter if it looks perfect, we just need a sketch of some sort. You’re the only ones who have seen the two of them up close and recently, and so it would really help us out if you can try and draw as much as you can remember. Clothing, hairstyle, distinguishing marks like scars or facial features… just anything.”

The pencil suffered the abuse of being rolled about nervously between the fingers on Maimi’s hand, as she quietly pondered what the young officer had said.

“…I don’t remember this being part of the deal.”

“The deal was that you cooperate until we’re satisfied that we’ve gained enough information from you, OR we throw you behind bars until you decide that you’d prefer taking the first option instead.” Nono snapped, obviously irritated, “Either way, you aren’t getting out of here until you help out as much as you can, and we all know that you had some form of contact with the Miracle a few days ago.”

The room went silent for a moment, though Aibon was sure that she could hear the crackle of static as sparks shot through the glare Maimi sent in Nono’s direction. Thankfully, however, the gang leader knelt down in front of the table, and began to grudgingly scratch out lines on the piece of paper that she had been given.

At first, everyone watched what she was doing with mild interest, mostly because she was the only one in the room that was moving.

But mild interest soon turned to greater curiosity and even amusement as Maimi’s drawings began to take shape… or rather, a lack thereof…

“Um… Maimi-chan, is that supposed to be her nose?”

“Looks more like a foot…”

“It’s a head, you dumbasses.”

“…Seriously?”

“I’ve never seen the Miracle in person, but I know she’s got to be much more… attractive than THAT.”

The pencil suddenly shot across the room, flying so hard and so fast that it embedded itself into the wall on the other side of the station’s lobby, just a few inches above where Reina’s sleeping head was resting. The youngest member of the force was skilled at remaining oblivious to the things going on around her, however, and merely rolled over in her chair in order to continue her nap.

Things were not so relaxed for the girls standing around the table, as Maimi obviously had had enough of the teasing… and perhaps the whole ordeal entirely.

“Yeah, yeah, alright, you’ve had your fun, now we’re leaving. We told you everything we know, and you even got to see my wonderful drawing skills firsthand, so if you’re quite done making me feel stupid we’ll be going now.”

Before the gang members could even begin to move from where they were standing, a sort of wordless, silent message passed between Aibon and Nono, the younger’s quick glance giving her partner the go-ahead to do what they had decided would be done without ever discussing it between themselves.

That was how the two of them worked so well together. They had no need for ‘planning’ or ‘preparation time.’ One would act or implore the other to do so, and then the second would catch on to what was happening almost instantly, as if they were able to read each others’ minds.

There were no intricate schemes, just spur-of-the-moment decisions that just happened to be pulled off in style most of the time.

Such was the case with what happened next.

In what appeared to be a single, fluid motion, Nono slid behind Saki and had her arms pinned behind her back and cuffed before the younger female could even manage to cry out in surprise. When she and her companions did finally register what was going on, however, it seemed as though all hell was about to break loose.

Kanna, being the first to react, leapt at Nono in an attempt to forcibly wrestle her away from the other girl, but Maimi came to her senses in enough time to grab her subordinate and hold her in place, ignoring the fact that the other was struggling hard to break free of  her grasp.

Whatever was going on, she had to keep her cool, though with the way things were headed, quite frankly, it was becoming more and more difficult…

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t let her go…” Maimi growled, glaring dangerously at Aibon. She flinched, however, as she heard the click of a gun being prepared to fire, and her eyes darted to glance at the silver revolver that the young officer now had out and in her hands.

Aibon seemed to be unconcerned about the fact that she was handling a deadly firearm, though, and she merely shrugged her shoulders at the gang leader’s threatening question.

“I promise you, there’d be a hole in her head before she ever made it to Non-chan.”

Maimi’s jaw twitched slightly as she clenched her teeth together, hard, and she gave Kanna look that said ‘You’d better not move or I’ll kill you myself’ before slowly releasing the other girl. Kanna would obey as long as Nono didn’t do anything to hurt Saki, and if that happened, there would be no way to hold her back.

It seemed, however, that the officers’ intentions were to make some kind of negotiations rather than harm them, and though Maimi wanted nothing more to do with the police, it wasn’t as though she had much of a choice left.

So, she cautiously cleared her throat, an edge creeping into her voice no matter how hard she was trying to remain calm.

“We told you all that we know… Now you have to let us go. You said that as long as we helped you, we weren’t at risk of going to jail tonight.”

“Who said anything about jail? I could hold her here perfectly well without putting her behind bars. And technically, promise or no, I still have the authority to take all of you into custody for the crimes you’ve committed…” Aibon watched as Saki writhed unsuccessfully against the handcuffs and her partner’s hold, and she yawned in a lazy kind of way before returning her gaze to Maimi to continue speaking.

“…Small though they may be, you’ve built up quite a record, and it’s enough to keep all of you here for a while… if I felt like it.”

“Bitch! What else could you want?!”

And then, as if the gang leader’s outburst had summoned her from the depths of the station, Yuko kicked open the door to the back room with a slam, marching into the lobby with her perpetual ‘back off before I punch you in the face’ look plastered on her face. She made her way over to the group, but not before she stopped to grab hold of the chair Reina was sleeping in, giving it a nice, forceful spin that was sure to shake the junior officer from her nap.

Dramatic entrance aside, the police captain paused to assess the situation, scrutinizing her subordinates with a fierce glare.

“What the hell is going on here? Do all of you realize what time of day it is?”

Aibon grinned, as if she had expected or wanted Yuko to enter the room, but as soon as she opened her mouth to form a response, the older woman cut her off.

“Yeah, that’s right, it’s that time of day where Yuko-sama should be sleeping, right? So why is it that instead of sleeping, that I’m up and talking to you idiots?”

A grin was her response. Aibon had since closed her mouth and her lips were turned up in the most mischievous way that she could manage, almost as if she were trying to mirror an upside-down version of the police captain’s scowl.

“…You DO have a good reason, right Kago? I mean, you’re a smart girl and all… you’re fully aware of what happens when someone disturbs my beauty rest…”

“Well, earlier this morning, Yajima-san here told me that we were doing a horrible job of policing this city… so I came up with the brilliant idea of letting her help us out a bit in order to see if she could possibly do any better.”



“YOU WHAT?!?”

The police captain and the gang leader had equally bewildered looks on their faces after hearing that, and even as Yuko’s surprise began to quickly shift into something more along the lines of ‘you-better-explain-now-before-I-kill-you’, Ai was completely unshaken.

In fact, she seemed to be enjoying the reactions she was getting…

“What, don’t you think it’s an awesome idea?”

“No, actually, I think it’s really stupid. What makes you think I’d even agree to go along with this, anyway? I think I made it pretty clear earlier this morning that I don’t really want to have anything to do with you people… I didn’t even want to come down HERE, but we did to try and avoid something like this…” Maimi motioned to Saki, who was still wrapped up in her futile efforts to try and free herself from Nono.

“…And now, even though it’s happened anyway, you expect me to do something for… you? That’s messed up. Why don’t you just go ahead and put us all in cuffs and take us away. It’s gonna happen after I finish running your little errand anyway, right?”

“Now, now… don’t you trust me?”

“Hell no! Especially not after what you’re trying to pull here!”

Aibon smiled. It was not a smirk, or a devious grin, but rather a genuine smile that said that the officer could tell that there was more going on than what the other girl was letting on.

“Well, I think you do trust me… somewhat, at least. If I were really out to hurt one of your friends here, you would have stopped me. But I think you know that’s not what I want, and besides that, I think you’re kind of curious… I think that you want to know a little more about what’s going on here, but you’re afraid to find out or do anything to help because you don’t want to risk the chance that anyone else might end up getting hurt…”

She tilted her head to the side, still smiling at Maimi, who in turn was staring quietly back at the officer as if she had definitely hit the nail on the head.

“That’s right, isn’t it? …So… what do you say now? You could possibly be our connection to the inside here… You could get information that we would otherwise never be aware of, because even with disguises, there’s no way that we could blend in to your world. They would smell a rat as soon as we started nosing around. But you… You seem smart. And you’re familiar with the people we need you to spy on, so you know how to handle them.

“As for your friend here, the handcuffs come off and we take good care of her until you get the job done.”

“No.”

Kanna gave Aibon a fierce look, one that even seemed to startle Yuko a little bit by how intense it was. Maimi was also surprised, turning her attention to the younger girl, who rarely ever spoke with much emotion… when she bothered to speak much at all, anyway.

“If you’re gonna keep Saki-chan here, then I’m staying, too.”

“Kanna, don’t-”

“Let me talk, okay? I don’t trust these guys either—not all the badges in the world would convince me otherwise—so if I stay, I can keep an eye on them, and you won’t have to worry so much about either of us being alone while you go off and do whatever.”

Maimi raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“…Wait. You agree with what she’s saying? You want me to go along with this?”

“Well… maybe not that exactly, but… I want to know what’s going on, too. Plus… anything we can do to make sure the Miracle and her demonic little pet pay for taking out the others…”

A small smirk crossed her lips.

“…I say we do whatever the hell it takes. Whether we really like the situation or not.”

Maimi nodded a little bit, before turning her head to glance at Saki, who, while she didn’t seem as though she was the happiest camper out of the bunch, also didn’t look like she was going to try and push the matter any farther. So the gang leader reluctantly returned her gaze to Aibon.

“…So… if I don’t help…”

“Then she stays with us, and honestly, I’m not likin’ the idea of having to take care of this kid for too long, so you can bet she’ll find her way to a nice, cozy cell after a while. Either way, she’s stuck with us… for how long depends on you.”

“So if I come back with something that can help you, you’ll let Saki go?”

The officer nodded. “Yes.”

“How do I know you’ll keep your promise?”

Aibon examined the gun that was still in her hands for a moment, and then without warning, she tossed it lightly through the air and straight towards Maimi. The gang leader caught it with ease, but handled it cautiously, as if it could have gone off at any moment with no assistance from her.
“You can come back and shoot us if we don’t.”

“…I’m not sure it’s wise to trust a kid like her with a gun, Kago…” Yuko mused, eyeing the gang leader warily.

But Aibon merely grinned.

“Well, I don’t think anyone’s ever used the term wise to describe me, Nakazawa-san… Besides…”

She watched as Maimi turned the gun over in her hands, an almost hesitant look starting to creep onto the gang leader’s face.

“…She needs some way of defending herself with where we’re sending her…”
-sig is undah construction because it needs to be pimped out-

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