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Author Topic: 私のアホ家族(My Stupid Family)[24/6 - Chapter 25: A Series of Unfortunate Events]  (Read 75278 times)

Offline astro18

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 :shocked I can hide no more, I must comment.. Just WOW! So Reina is the father, eh? :hehehe:

You've completely sucked me into your fic, once again estrea :sweatdrop: Ah, I can't wait for the next chp now :panic:

Offline mode107

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This chapter  :cry:

Yes, I'm glad to have learned that Reina is the father, but , I guess the thing that saddens me the most is the hardships that Ai had to endure. What gets me even more is the fact that Reina herself was hurting, but didn't even know what Ai was going through. 12 long years; the heartbreak.  :cry:

Anyways, Reina and Riho... the thought of Ai giving Riho an 'R' name after Reina is really cute, but in actuality, if we're talking about Japanese language characters, than that's a different story. :lol:
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 03:37:10 AM by mode107 »
"Under the beautiful blue sky"

Offline gracula

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I read chapter 16 and 17- and judging from my cursory glances at the comments of those below me, I might not be able to use the following pic for my GROSS speculations anymore. So, I share my 'cannot unsee' moment with you first before i continue reading chapter 18.

Quote
Well, technically having Michishige-san tell you that she bought a dozen copies of the spread would be a good thing, but Riho had found herself instinctively taking a half step back with a wide eyed look of apprehension at the declaration. Apparently, her instincts for self-preservation were well developed already.

First, some cuteness to temper the proceeding trauma:




Sayu=Riho's Daddy (or so she wishes)


Is it wrong for me to find this slightly sexy?

*Ahem* Now that that's out of the way...

I love the Gokkie love. I didn't realize how much I missed Konkon until I read chapter 16.

and this:
Quote
What was it with the adults around her? Were none of them properly sane and reasonable?
WINS!

Chap 17

Quote
The skirt was as short as she remembered, maybe even shorter, which led Reina to check her height against a nearby mark in the wall.
Is Reina still secretly holding on to the hope that she will get taller?  :lol: I love it! You are genius.

Quote
Reina no longer bait...
of the 'jail' variety? ehheheheh.
[ /pedo]

We got to follow Reina around, learned nothing and everything about her. The build-up to the meeting was deliciously drawn-out and beautifully written. I don't even need to see the actual date proceedings anymore because in my head, everything is just perfect. Fantastic.

Okay, now I will go read chapter 18.  :P And do live commentary as I read.

Quote
Takahashi Ai absently stuck the feather duster in the mop bucket and the mop up on the shelf...
Noob. :rofl: Ai is definitely not housewife material.

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Konkon eating.
XD Lucky there was any left at all.

Quote
"Ah yes," Asami nodded. "I was wondering whether you would be heading back to celebrate with the rest of the family. I would still make that trip of course, I always do."
Because she wants to see when Riho would pop that extra mutated limb due to her mysterious genetic origins.

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"We can figure details out as we go at least. Can't plan without Gaki-san here though, we won't want the themes to clash."
Said Asami, recalling Riho's legendary 'Dr. Snow White in Wonderland' 6th birthday party.

Quote
Ai narrowed her eyes at Asami, wondering if she could possibly get away with trying to choke her friend to death with the takoyaki she brought. Maybe if she stuffed them down faster than Kon-chan could chew on them...
But what a way to go, huh?

Quote
"I'm still not sure how I got that lucky that time." Ai grumbled. Asami chuckled awkwardly.
I love your Ai-chan so much. She’s all the right measures sardonic I love in a woman.

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You were the one who said that you didn't want to burden her with the knowledge...
Isn’t there a trope for this? We should make one. This fic will be a prime example.

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Ai wondered how she could ever tell Riho that she had two mothers.
Ah. Thankfully, there *is* a trope for this.

Quote
And somehow we still love you, even though you totally putting your lover over your friends.
Bros before hos. Or hos before hos.

Yay for the finale to the chapter!! I am so excited about these new developments already.


"I'm still blaming Sayu for my lolicon tendencies now." ~Essy

Offline KirikomoriHime

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P-pp-p-pa-pppp-PAPA REINA?  :shocked I was half expecting it to be Tsunku  :nervous



-cough- xD

But omg Reina @~@ I can see drama in the near future. But hopefully everything will be settled and there will be steamy make up sex...?  :wub: chee~

~ GakiKame, KameShige, TakaMitsii , JunSayu, YajiSuzu, MiyaSaki~

Offline Estrea

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Hey I'm back! Took a while, been busy, and I really really hate my job. =_= But I'm back! :D


shenlog: *hands you a face towel* Yes, Reina is the daddy. XD I thought it was obvious about a couple chapters ago. :lol:

waiwai: First time for everything. :D You definitely deserved those cookies~ And lmao, the "mada" thing...you deserve...a whack upside the head, and jelly bean babies. :lol: Well Riho heard something. You have to figure out what she heard though. XD

Kikk4r: Riho heard something. She couldn't have heard everything. And as everyone knows, hearing one part of something can totally lead you off track as opposed to hearing the whole conversation. :D And no I won't tell you. :P You knew I wasn't going to~

nighell: Jokes are more painfully hilarious when they turn out to be true. XD

rndy: I'm glad I could still surprise you without actually surprising you! :lol: Ai will eventually have to come clean with her friends about things. It's just a question of when and how. XD

Shiawase_Honoo: Yeah, Reina's skepticism can't be helped. XD It's hard to believe that you got someone of the same gender pregnant. XD Poor Reina lol.

aussie: Of course you can call me Essy. :D Everyone can, and should! :lol: Yes, Riho is in an interesting predicament now. How much has she figured out by now? That's what we all wonder. XD I look forward to the family reunion too. :) RihoRiho's inherent talent is OVER NINE THOUSAND. I mean, just look at her parents. :lol:

oddball: Yeah Ai can't really be blamed about not wanting to tell them...who'd believe her? XD

stefy: Who ask you go and imagine! Stupid! :lol:

SarangAi: Thanks. :D Yes, you got it right, Reina really is the daddy. :D But who else could it have been anyway? :P

eruchan: Yeah I almost certainly have to write that prequel. XD It promises to be quite fun.

aya-chii: Yeah Konno totally had a hand in this happening. It's not her fault, but without her it wouldn't have happened. :lol:

astro18: Welcome aboard! No more lurking, y'hear? XD I'm glad I can suck you into my fic! Muahahahaha...

mode107: Well, we can only see our own pain. Sometimes the real tragedy is in ignorance.

drac: GRAC YOU BACK! :heart: :heart: :heart: I love that manga page, and that splash was...I have no words. :lol: I'm so glad that you saw how chapter 17 basically laid Reina metaphorically bare before the audience. The actual date itself matters little, now that you know how she feels going into it. And yes, Ai is epic fail at housework. She has learned a lot, but really...XD It's not something that comes naturally to her. :lol: Also, I might actually have to write that 'Dr Snow White in Wonderland' themed birthday party as an omake some day. Thanks a lot. >_> XD

KiriHime: WHY DID YOU HAVE TO SCAR MY BRAIN AGAIN! *scrubs vigorously with brain bleach* :lol: I want to get to the ReinAi make up sex too! XD


Ok time to edit and post. That was a lot of comments for the daddy reveal chapter. :lol:

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 Estrea

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Interlude - In the Sun



Papa...my Papa's in the same city as me...

Riho stumbled drunkenly down the street, or at least what would have been drunkenly had she been old enough to drink. She wove unsteadily in no certain pattern, her hands moving in random gestures in accordance with the chaos in her mind.

She hadn't expected to hear anything when she snuck home early to surprise her Mama; hell, she hadn't expected visitors of any kind. But she had spotted the extra pair of shoes in the entryway, and only proceeded to sneak even more carefully to avoid detection. Curiosity was ever a fault of hers.

Only to hear Aunt Konno say that Mama had been hiding her from her Papa all this time. Riho didn't know what to think. She loved her Mama, but how could Mama keep Papa away? Didn't Mama love Papa? Did Papa not want her?

Riho had retreated in confusion not long after. She couldn't understand this whole turn of events. The logical thing to do, the right thing to do, would have been to come out and ask Mama, but Riho found that she couldn't bear to ask Mama. Was Mama somehow ashamed of her? Mama loved her, and Mama said she loved Papa too, all those years ago. If she loved both her and Papa, why would she do something like this?

It made no sense. Riho was frightened by all the potential implications. Mama had spoken to Papa about her. If she had, where was Papa? Did Papa hate Mama for not telling him about her? Did Papa not want to have anything to do with them? Did Papa even care about her, his daughter? Riho trembled at the final thought. The very idea that she had a father who disliked her, who didn't want her, was terrifying. She'd rather not have one, in that case.

It was like having a whole world crash down around your ears. Riho had always imagined a father who was tall, strong and who would smile lovingly down at her. Cracks were appearing in her mental image, and she hated every moment of it. Her face was screwed up tight, in an effort to not cry.

She did not even realize how far she had wandered. Subtly, the buildings around her changed, though she paid them no heed at first. Where at first she was ambling down a street with uniform buildings of grey and white, they now seemed more decayed, more rundown. It was not anything easily definable, merely an atmosphere of gloom. The only major difference visible to the naked eye was the spontaneous outpouring of grafitti on the walls of various darkened alleyways.

Eventually her senses caught up with her, and Riho suddenly looked around her, bewildered. A battered street sign caught her eye, and she couldn't help the small gasp that escaped her lips. This was the neighborhood that Mama told her never to enter. As a rule, she always took the longer route on her bicycle, just to skirt the edges of this place.

The rule made sense to her. Even skirting around the edges, she could often make out the yankii gangs loitering around the area, doing whatever it was that delinquents did instead of going to school like normal people. They seemed fierce and completely alien to the soon-to-be twelve years old Riho, who had never seriously gone out of bounds in her entire life. At her worst she had only been disobedient and even unruly, but she had never done anything so terrible that it would stand out on its own.

Keeping her head down as her Mama instructed her, she scanned the vicinity around her furtively, trying to get her bearings and hopefully slip out before anything happened. She had only gone about two steps before even that slim hope shattered.

"Oh look what we have here, a cute little Toei student~" A voice drawled in a dialect so garbled that Riho had to pause before translating it into standard Japanese. She froze, her face a mask that showed nothing. It only ever happened when she was scared out of her wits. Where some people expressed terror openly on their faces, Riho did it in inverse instead, showing nothing but a cold face to the world. It gave her an imperious expression, as if she cared nothing of the fact that she was surrounded by a small gang of delinquents who looked all too delighted to find fresh meat on their turf.

"Such a cute ojou-chan, ne, Kenta-kun?" One of the girls cooed mockingly at Riho, her heavily painted face lending weight to her implied sneer as she sauntered closer, closing the circle. Riho swallowed nervously, her eyes darting around, looking for either escape or a savior. She didn't really expect to find either, but she couldn't just give up, could she?

Four of them. All of them bigger than her. Riho started sweating a little when she noticed the other girl in dreadlocks using a pocket knife to clean her nails. Dreadlocks saw her noticing, and hefted the knife almost in greeting, an oily smile on her face. Riho clenched her fists. This was not good.

Ganguro Girl stepped closer, and Riho found herself taking a step back, not wanting the girl anywhere near her. There was a strong sense of menace emanating from her, and Riho instinctively sensed that Ganguro was the unofficial leader of the bunch. The muscled idiot behind her with his flashy leather jacket -- Kenta, she had called him -- seemed little more than a puppet in her strings. Riho couldn't have explained to you how she gleaned so much in just a few seconds of observation, but some things were worth knowing.

Riho backed right up to another solid wall, in the process leaping aside to avoid colliding into Buzz Cut -- the other guy that had been standing next to Dreadlocks, and who was fiddling with a lighter almost compulsively. There was something hypnotic about that clicking sound as he flicked the wheel, coaxing out a small tongue of flame each time.

"What do you want?" Her words were formal, though her voice wavered uncertainly in the face of such danger. It was the only sign that she feared these people, and Ganguro's smile only widened at it.

"It's not safe for a little girl to be out here. Who knows what thugs might kidnap you?" Ganguro tsked. Buzz Cut chuckled, his thumb flicking faster.

"But we're nice people, so we'll help you out here. We'll escort you out safely, and in return, you give onee-chan and onii-chan all the money you have on you, ok?" Ganguro's smile was so sincere, Riho wanted to puke all over the wall behind her. Her hands trembled a little.  She didn't want to give everything to these thugs. She didn't even know if they would really leave her alone if she gave them money. Hell, Riho was notoriously tight-fisted about her money. It came naturally from not having much of it to begin with. It hurt to even imagine parting with it like this, even though Mama had taught her that it was better to hand over the money in such a situation, since money wasn't worth her life.

Then again, she didn't have much on her. Riho wondered if they would hurt her anyway, when they saw how little she had. Sure, she might be studying at the prestigious Toyo Eiwa Girls' Academy, but most of her allowance went towards necessities. Mama had drilled the need to be frugal into her from a young age. Some things never changed, even when her circumstances did.

"I won't." She found herself saying, and her eyes widened at her own defensive, even challenging, declaration. She clutched her bag to herself, a futile gesture of defense against an enemy she had no chance of defeating.

Mama, I don't want to die... She squeezed her eyes shut, expecting the blows to come.

And then, laughter. Hands slowly clapping, a confident step on the cracked pavement. Riho cracked open a single eye, fearfully. Both eyes snapped open, her mouth forming a small 'o' as she beheld her potential rescuer.

Hair shone like spun gold in the afternoon sun, honey wove in caramel fluttering in the breeze. It looked barely tame, similar to its owner, bouncing wild and cocksure with every step. The light caught on the golden hoops at her ears, completing the aureole around her head even as smaller pinpricks winked at her from the tip of one ear, as if in reassurance.

"Such spirit in a child..." The new girl was addressing her. Riho eeped quietly, her eyes peering like that of a hunted animal over her bag as she all but shrank behind it.

"It's a disgrace, really. Four of you picking on a cute little girl like this..." A disappointed shake of the head, the confident smirk never wavering. Dreadlocks took a step forward, knife raised, but Golden Girl was already moving, and then Dreadlocks no longer had her knife, only a sprained wrist and already howling in pain. The other three looked startled, exchanging wary glances.

The stolen blade was silver in her hands. Riho stared in wonder at this girl, resplendent in careless glory. Her school uniform was defiantly out of regulation, everything a good girl wasn't, but Riho felt no threat towards herself from her. Her shoulders relaxed as the friendly delinquent positioned herself in front of her, facing the punks.

"Get the hell out of here, kid." The girl hissed softly under her breath, jerking her head in the direction where a gap had opened in the circle. Riho needed no further prompting. She looked up at her rescuer, gave a nod of thanks, then took to her heels.

She did not look back. For some reason, Riho felt that her savior could take care of herself.

Fortunately, she wasn't all that far from the boundaries, and she burst out from a dingy alleyway into a slightly more respectable area, breathless from fear and exertion.

Equally unfortunately however, she wasn't watching where she was going, and skidded almost right out onto the main road as she hurtled out of the narrow alley.

The last thing she saw was bright lights and the screeching of brakes before she blacked out, dead to the world.


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


Mini-chapter. Not a full one. Spot the cameo! :D

Also, the hint of what exactly Riho heard. Note that Japanese can conveniently omit gender pronouns when referring to people, so Riho simply assumes that her other parent is a Papa. After all, what normal kid wouldn't? XD

Ok, bedtime. Ugh, work.

*hides under blankies*

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 KirikomoriHime

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I KNEW YOU'D LIKE THE PICTURE  :heart:

Riho stumbled drunkenly down the street,

Wait...

or at least what would have been drunkenly had she been old enough to drink.

...the fuck?  :? :? :?

Never mind! Moving on.

DON'T CRY RIHO!! -gives pocky- IT'S OKAY BECAUSE ESTREA PROMISES HOT STEAMY MAKE UP SEX (ok well you didn't really promise it, but you want it too so that's good enough for me)

Two questions:

1. I remember reading here a while back something about RihoXKanon? Is that still happening or did you give it up? Is it going to be introduced after the whole Reina-daddy thing dies down?

2. WHO IS THIS MYSTERIOUS GOLDEN GIRL I MUST HEAR MORE OF THIS MYSTERIOUS GOLDEN GIRL. Is she important? I'm trying to think of blond/have been blond H!P girls. Yuuko... nah too old xD. Makoto... Riho knows her, doesn't she? Rika... still to old. Yossy... old. Ai-chan... xD ok I have no clue

~ GakiKame, KameShige, TakaMitsii , JunSayu, YajiSuzu, MiyaSaki~

Offline Kikk4r

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ehhh.... now your just making more quastions in my mind that i might go to bed already


RIHO IM SURE REINA LOVES YOU and i cant belive you made me wrong but its fine cuz it was a update so i forgive you :nervous


hmmm but i dont get the chapter though :nervous

Offline gracula

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Quote
Interlude - In the Sun
Is this Joseph Arthur? In any case, I highly recommend readers to use as the BGM and reread the chapter again.

Quote
Papa...my Papa's in the same city as me...
(off-topic: I'm in the same city as you, btw)

Quote
*Riho's Papa angst*
Aw, Riho... it's okay- Daddy Had A Good Reason For Abandoning You.

Quote
Where some people expressed terror openly on their faces, Riho did it in inverse instead, showing nothing but a cold face to the world.
Gets that from her Papa, she does.

Quote
The last thing she saw was bright lights and the screeching of brakes before she blacked out, dead to the world.
This seemed like a good place to stop? Really? It is the cliff I will go hang myself off of right now. Well, on the bright side, at least we know Riho was found by Ai.

I liked Riho's reaction to finding out. I remember being in a similar emotional situation at her age- the confused numbness and unexplained chill of fear. For someone who placed her father on such a high pedestal and who loves her mother so unconditionally, Riho will have a tough time trying to resolve this.

(Edit) PS:
Quote
Also, I might actually have to write that 'Dr Snow White in Wonderland' themed birthday party as an omake some day.
'Magic' mushrooms- we must have auntie Mako bringing that. Maybe Ai punches someone under the influence (or not).

Quote
Thanks a lot.
You're welcome.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 10:02:33 PM by gracula »

"I'm still blaming Sayu for my lolicon tendencies now." ~Essy

Offline astro18

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Ah, if it is Joseph Arthur.. I do love this song :cow: Poor Riho though!! :bleed eyes: Your papa loves you. And she was the one to find Riho.. right??!

This golden girl, she baffles me :? Hmmm..

Will they actually sort things out now?? Or more hiding? :panic:

Offline oddball

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Ahh!!! Riho found out, without hearing the whole story only that her 'father' Ai had been hiding, er, well 'him' from Riho for all these years, no wonder she felt so dumbstruck

It's funny though, how you look back at some chapter, and this one here and you seem to pick up parts of Reina's character in Riho now,  the cols stare, the stubborness, suddenly it means a lot more.

Riho in danger!!! I hope it was Ai that found her in the end... but who is the Mysterious 'golden haired' girl who save her? I wonder who it is unless Riho was seening things that weren't fully true, something along the lines of a knight in shining armour?

Offline aussie

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If it is indeed the song In The Sun the chapter title is referring to, while I do appreciate Joseph Arthur's original version, my preference will have to lie with Michael Stipes's version featuring Chris Martin. Strange how I used to dislike the remake version, until I heard it in passing one day and it just sounded a bit different to me :lol:

Ho ho ho. RihoRiho found out. I didn't pick up on that vibe from the previous chapter. Though it sounds like she ran out before her Mama got to the juicy parts? :P
Can't figure out who the cameo was for the life of me ^^; Was she just a one-off saviour for Riho, or will she be a recurring character? Curious. Though good thing she was lurking around the one time Riho accidentally slips into the 'hood XD

My money is on Papa who made a brief appearance at the end of this mini chapter. Don't worry Riho, it's not like your daddy abandoned you willingly. Though I don't know how (s)he is coping with the bombshell (s)he managed to have a kid with your Mama.

Oh, and to burst the final bubble, your Papa is definitely not tall either XD

Offline SarangAi

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WOAH so Riho now knows her daddy's in town... but she still has no idea that daddy is... WOman  :nervous

omg now i really wanna know who this golden girl is!  I first thought it might be Eri because she's the only GoRokkie who hasn't appeared yet, but i can't imagine her like that....*gasp* or maybe our other Rokkie, Miki?  XD

avii&sig by the wonderful kawaii beam~!

Offline rokun

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LoL you were so vague about this :lol: I'm not sure I would have gotten it either had we not talked (okay, well maybe I had... though those were a lot of talks...) Good job! Though the golden hair might confuse some people a bit, I think it's a good example of what Riho might have thought about it XD

You're just full of little (and big) mysteries in this story... No wonder everyone loves it so much, though I hope they're not too confused after this one. ^^;

Offline eruchan

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riho wandered to yankii area  :shocked... she's lucky though to be saved by a stranger...
i wonder who the stranger is, and whether she'll be important to the story...
and the one in the car, is it daddy dearest? XD

Offline Estrea

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Hey I'm back. Sorry it took so long. Didn't have much time to myself to write. Work sucks.


KiriHime: You're evil for posting that picture. :< :lol: I didn't promise any steamy make up sex! *eyes rokun* I might have to outsource it again, but then again, who knows? XD As for your questions, 9th gen pairings are going to take a while before showing up. Also, mysterious golden girl is just a cameo. She might show up again, I dunno. XD But she's definitely not a main member of the cast. :P

Kikk4r: Haha sorry for confusing you. :P I believe I shall continue to do so in this chapter!

drac: You are awesome. We need to meet up someday. XD I love how you have a trope ready for everything. Someday, we have to make a trope page for MSF. Or every story I've ever written. I have a feeling it would be Troperific indeed. :lol:

astro18: Yes, papa loves Riho. XD I mean, who wouldn't? There's going to be a start, but twelve years won't magically disappear. But hey, these things take time. XD

oddball: Yup, I had Reina as daddy in mine since before I wrote this, as I felt that Riho had certain Reina-ish characteristics that would be obvious on hindsight. XD The mysterious golden haired girl....well, if the culprit refuses to admit it...I won't yet, either! XD

aussie: Yes, RihoRiho found out! But you know, in Essyfic, we always have to have misunderstandings created by listening to half a conversation. Rule of Drama, you know. XD And yes, Riho's conception of her Papa is wrong on all counts. XD Poor girl lol...

SarangAi: Yup, Riho's still missing the critical part of the information. She'll find out. Eventually. XD As for mysterious savior, it's not yet time for the identity reveal. XD You'll see why~

rokun: Of course I had to be vague. :P Now you have to do your part. Seriously. XD You know how I enjoy confusing people~

eruchan: Yeah Riho was lucky to be saved. XD But she has Protagonist Immunity, so yeah. XD Daddy dearest to the rescue! :D You shall see the aftermath here.


And on to the chapter! It took days to write this. -_- But I do rather like how it turned out in the end, even though the middle was awfully weak. XD Without further ado...actually, wait, I still have to edit and post. Damnit.

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 Estrea

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One More Time


Reina didn't think her day could get any worse after the disastrous strategy meeting with the managers. They wanted her to re-activate PLAY with just her and Sayu. Reina refused. It was pointless without Eri there, and Sayu just couldn't handle the parts that were Eri's. With her own load, Reina couldn't exactly shoulder everything either, unless she rewrote and remixed the tracks just for the two of them.

Which Reina rejected. Flatly. The higher-ups didn't understand. They weren't the ones working with Sayu, Reina thought bitterly. If nothing else, Tanaka Reina was incredibly harsh and exacting when it came to work. Anyone who couldn't match her, or at least make the effort to do so, was useless to her. She knew Sayu was trying, but it didn't help that her cousin was tone deaf half the time and flat for the other half. It wasn't a very charitable assessment, but Reina was not known to mince her words.

The meeting hadn't quite come to blows, but there was a great deal of shouting. There might also have been chairs thrown. No visual record would ever released. Even the minutes would have to be carefully edited to leave potentially scandalous portions out.

So it was in a great deal of ill temper when Reina stormed out of the building, flagged the first taxi she saw, and ordered it to head for home. Whenever she got into one of these moods, her first recourse was to head home and stuff herself with ice cream. A lot of ice cream. And then proceed to watch TV until she passed out from sheer exhaustion. She was strange like that.

Just the thought of ice cream and TV made her feel marginally better. She had a number of recorded drama serial episodes she had yet to catch up with, so she might as well. Never a better excuse than an attack of bad temper to catch up with her TV habit.

Or so she thought. Life had a way of screwing you over when you least expected it. She never did get to start on her ice cream when she got home. No, instead she was here in her kitchen warming up some milk and wondering just what she had done in her past life to deserve the confusion thrust upon her in this one.

On the bright side, at least no one was killed. So she comforted herself. She really didn't want to have to tell Ai that she ran her daughter over. Our daughter, a traitorous little voice reminded her in the snidest way imaginable, making Reina narrow her eyes and mime stabbing the imaginary voice in her head with the spoon she was holding.

No, it was not possible. They were both girls, for god's sake. It was a biological impossibility. Reina might have been indifferent to school, but she remembered that much. Male plus female plus sex equals babies. It was not so complicated an equation to follow. It goes to follow that what Ai told her could not possibly be true...

But it was also too damn ridiculous to be a lie. The microwave beeped. Reina opened it, reached in, and started swearing in every single language she knew (one, but she had somehow mysteriously picked up swear words from other languages without actually knowing them). Blowing on her scalded fingers, she reached for the oven mitts with her good hand and pulled the cup out with a ferocious glare.

Riho was Ai's daughter. Reina wanted to smack herself for not noticing it any sooner. The way she spoke and carried herself --- that was all Ai. She put the cup on the tray, and poured some juice for herself. She would have liked milk too, but that was her last bit, and she felt like the kid could use it more than she did, given the scare from earlier.

The brat had sustained nothing more serious than a few bumps and bruises. A couple of scratches on her knees and elbows too, which Reina herself had treated with the first aid kit after bringing the kid home. Riho was hardy, she had to give her that. She had regained consciousness before they even made it to a hospital, and the kid had even refused to go to one, insisting that she was fine. So Reina had simply given in and offered to take her home, which the kid surprised her by refusing as well...

Which somehow led to her bringing the kid to her own home instead. It was the first time she'd done that, she reflected. Her house was meant for a single occupant, and it showed. She literally only had one set of everything she needed for herself in the kitchen. The only exception was the garishly pink cup that Sayu had planted on her very first visit. Her cousin had reasoned that since Reina was so intent on being anti-social, the only way she was going to be properly entertained whenever she chose to barge in without invitation was to bring her own things to use. Thus far, other than the cup, Sayu had also brought chopsticks, a couple of bowls, and her own plate. All cheerfully designed and completely out of place. Reina stuck them in a cupboard, out of sight. Her own utensils were a lot more elegant in comparison. Even if she did still have giraffe-print curtains. But that was a completely different matter altogether.

At least Sayu's foresight allowed her to actually serve the kid a drink without using her own cup. Reina was quite particular about that. She never let anyone touch the things she used. Despite her seemingly careless image, she was actually a cleanliness freak deep down. And that meant no sharing of her things. Reina hoped Riho liked pink. Reina liked the color herself, but having it so offensively bright and in your face was a little disconcerting. No wonder her cousin loved it.

Precariously balancing a very full tray (for some reason, she had absently thrown in just about everything she had thought remotely necessary, so now there were cookies, chocolate and various sweets jostling for space alongside the cup of milk), Reina stepped back into the narrow hallway leading to her spacious living room.

Her home was bigger a space than she strictly needed, but she hadn't exactly gotten the extra space for herself. Neatly sidestepping her dozing cat (who was occupying the exact center of the hallway with all the imperial majesty of his name), Reina wondered again if she could get away with bringing her other cats to her apartment here in the city. Then again, King didn't take very well to sharing, which made the point moot.

As she trotted past with her very full tray, her trusty feline companion opened one eye to track her progress, then yawned widely as he arched his back, rising with the motion. Reina wasn't alone when she finally reached the sofa where Riho sat, but the little girl had...fallen asleep?

Carefully putting the tray down, Reina stared down for a moment, lost in thought. The kid really could sleep anywhere, her head lolling to one side in what must be a totally uncomfortable position, but it didn't change the fact that the kid was sleeping. Contentedly. And snuffling in a way not unlike a kitten.

King took stock of the unknown person, having been hiding in a corner when Reina first brought Riho in. He was always lurking somewhere unseen, and Reina never bothered looking around for her cat, trusting that he was somewhere around. In a way, she understood that King would show up when he wanted to, just as she did whatever she wanted when she wanted. They made a good pair, master and pet, king and queen of their own realm.

It always amused Reina to see her cat assessing strangers, however rare they were in her home. King never took to Sayu, ignoring her cousin whenever the narcissistic bunny tried to coax him into her lap. He didn't dislike her, he just didn't care. Sayu always complained, but she never stopped trying to win him over. It never worked, but at least King knew enough to not scratch her. Not after the first time anyway.

So it came somewhat to her surprise when King obviously decided that Riho was acceptable, as he wound sinuously around the girl's limply outstretched legs a couple of times before leaping right onto her lap.

That woke Riho up, and she quite nearly fell off the sofa in her surprise. Only sharp reflexes saved her from a tumble, and she found her hands full with 8 pounds of fur in her lap. She blinked, then sneezed. Reina winced, hoping that King wouldn't scratch in retaliation. He hated being sneezed on.

King purred instead, placing one paw on Riho's nose as if to comfort her instead. Reina blinked. So did Riho. The little girl placed one tentative hand on the back of the cat's head, stroking almost hesitantly, then with greater confidence. The purring intensified, and Reina watched with no small amazement as her uppity cat curled up peacefully in Riho's arms, his head resting on her chest. That was quick. Not even she had gained his trust so easily. Then again, he was but a half wild stray when she first saw him. He was only a bedraggled kitten back then, a hissy ball of fur that didn't even back down when backed into a corner by an overenthusiastic puppy.

That was a long time ago, and that kitten was now a lot older. Positively ancient actually, in cat years. Reina couldn't help the small smile quirking her lips. No doubt the puppy that had led her to him was equally advanced in years, if not already deceased. The thought was slightly depressing, but Reina shook herself out of it by addressing Riho.

"That's King. He seems to like you." Riho looked up at Reina, still petting the mass of black fur sprawled in her lap. Reina flopped down next to the kid, reaching over to tickle her cat's tummy, and grinned as King twitched his tail, opening one eye to stare at her.

"We have a dog named Prince, back home in the country." Riho rubbed King's exposed tummy, and the cat yawned, settling comfortably on the girl's lap. "He's old though, so he sleeps a lot. I like your cat, Tanaka-san, he's so cuddly." Riho added the last as if on an afterthought, earning another deep purr from King as she continued rubbing his belly.

"He acts like a big kitten even though he's old." Reina commented, earning another sharp glare from said 'kitten'. She sometimes wondered just how smart her cat was. Riho's revelation that Prince was still alive though, brought another broad smile to her face. If not for that dog, she would never have met her cat.

"I wish we could have brought Prince over with us, but he's not really in good health anymore. Mama had him since he was a puppy. He's older than me too, actually..." Riho was silent for a moment, and King raised his head, meowed once, questioningly, prompting the girl to smile.

"Don't let him con you into giving him anything. He's a trickster, that one." Reina warned. King gave his owner a haughty look, then leaped off Riho's lap with all the dignity of his name. They watched as he disappeared into the next room, tail held high.

Reina turned her attention back to the quiet girl by her side. The kid looked pale, which could have been an aftereffect of the accident, but the troubled look on her face gave her the sense that there was more to it. Riho sighed, fiddling at the hem of her school uniform, when a cup was thrust in front of her nose.

"I hope you like milk." Reina looked on as Riho accepted it with a small word of thanks. They fell back into silence, before Reina finally broke it again, irritably.

"What's eating you, kid?"

Riho looked up, startled. To Reina's surprise, Riho's eyes were more than a little watery, though the brat was obviously holding back her tears with all the bravery a not-quite-yet-twelve year old could muster. Impulsively, Reina reached forward and pulled the kid into an embrace, patting her head in a comforting gesture.

"What's wrong?" Riho had gone stock still in Reina's arms, but Reina could feel the minute trembling in the little girl's shoulders. Prudently, she removed the half empty cup from her hands and shoved it onto the coffee table. Riho's face was hidden in Reina's shoulder, and there was a muffled sob.

"Tell me." Reina all but ordered, feeling a surge of protectiveness over the kid in her arms.

"Mama...I...I don't know." Riho admitted. "I think Mama met my Papa. But...Papa hasn't come. And Mama didn't want him to know about me. What if Papa doesn't want me? What if Mama hadn't wanted me? I'm scared..."

The words spilled from trembling lips, raw with fear and uncertainty. Pushed past her last barrier of endurance, Riho couldn't hold the tears back, great wracking sobs that heaved her tiny shoulders with every breath. She looked lost and pale, and Reina held her tightly, not knowing what to say or do, but feeling her pain keenly.

"It's alright. It's going to be ok..." Reina found herself saying quietly, repeatedly, trying to calm the crying child in her arms. She felt out of her depth here. It was the first time she had to comfort someone like this. She felt an irrational wave of anger at Ai for some reason. What had the woman done to her kid? It felt easier to target her frustration and confusion at that person. Reina really didn't want to contemplate her own possible role in this.

It took a while, but after Riho had finished sobbing out her fears, Reina found herself rocking a sleeping child. She felt worn out too. Who knew watching an emotional meltdown could be so exhausting?

At least she hadn't started crying along with the kid. Reina didn't let her emotions take over so easily, even though things could still touch her on occasion. On this one though, it had been an imperative that she be the pillar of support for the vulnerable Riho.

Gently laying the comatose kid down on the couch (she certainly hadn't the strength to carry the girl without dragging her half the way), Reina tiptoed to her room to wrestle her blanket away from King, who had arbitarily claimed it during her absence. She earned a scratch on the back of her hand for her efforts, but one of the cat's ears would not be twitching proudly for a day or two in return. She returned with the blanket and spread it over the sleeping kid, taking a step back and looking over her with something approaching maternal satisfaction. Then the scratches on her hand twinged, and she winced, reaching for the first aid kit she had earlier used on her guest.

Reina pondered the recently disinfected scratches on her hand and wondered if she should slap a band-aid on it. Her gaze drifted over to her phone on the counter. It was not the first time she did so, since Riho first stepped into her home. She returned her gaze to the tiger striped carpet, its very presence a fierce splash of colour in an otherwise austere setting. She liked the carpet, even if it didn't quite go along with the pale rose and sharp angles of her living room.

Sitting cross-legged on the self-same carpet, it didn't take her too long to make a decision. She left the scratches well alone -- they had been disinfected and it would be enough, she had survived King's claws before -- and approached her phone. Her phone, that had a number.

Riho had given it to her, weeks and months ago, before she had even known that Ai was her mother. Sensible child that she was, she felt that it was good to inform the adults in her life about who to contact in the event of emergency. So she had given her mother's number to Reina -- Sasaki already had it, since he did have access to the company's personnel records -- simply because it was  "the right thing to do". Reina had entered the number without giving it much thought. She certainly wouldn't have any reason to call the brat's mother, or so she had thought at the time. She had anticipated that, if nothing else, Sasaki would handle any emergencies, or Moriya would. That's what the managers were for.

She most certainly had not anticipated it becoming a matter of personal concern, and Reina hated the fact that the role de-evolved to her by default. She tried treating it impersonally -- telling herself that any mother would be worried about their child and she should at least inform A--the mother, she corrected herself, her lips compressing to a thin line.

She was doing what needed to be done, or so she told herself as she fired off a curt message that had all the sensitivity of a stroke patient in the 4th year of his coma. Then, in a turnaround just as abrupt as her message, placed a call to her manager and informed her that all her calls for the night would be diverted to her, no questions asked. Then she hung up.

Reina wondered why she felt a sense of vindinctive triumph after setting her phone to divert all incoming calls, but brushed it aside as unnecessary. She trusted her instincts. Striding over to the windows that were the entirety of one wall of her living room, she breathed out slowly, allowing the tension to ease out of her as her usual confidence came back to her. In fits and starts at first, to be sure, but it returned, because she refused to worry. Such a concern was beneath her. She was Tanaka Reina, she could most certainly do whatever the hell she wanted and get away with it. Somehow.

The city beneath seemed to wind sluggishly amidst the neon tenements interpersed with the claws of high-rises surging towards a muggy sky hanging heavy in humid pregnancy. The heat would be oppressive out there, Reina knew. Here in the comfort of her apartment, climate control kept it at a comfortable temperature, so that she never had to break into sweat. She rarely did anyway, even when work called for more physical exertions. Her cool detachment was often mistaken for arrogance, but Reina had little patience for the fools who simply assumed that. They might even be right in their whispers, she thought vehemently, resting one clenched fist against a pane. She refused to be anything less than proud of what she had achieved. All she had, she had earned with her own hands, her own ability. She had succeeded despite her privileged background, not because of it.

So what if her mother was the controlling interest behind half the publishing industry in the Kanto region? Reina certainly didn't see any reporting biased in her favour. Oh, certainly, the more damaging scoops somehow never made it to press, but Reina had her own connections to achieve such an erasure. She had clawed her way to success, ensconced in a swanky apartment high up in a flashy district. She owned everything in here, with the possible exception of the little girl sleeping on her couch...which might not even be an exception at all.

That kid. Reina turned once more to regard the tiny figure huddled under her favourite blanket. Without conscious thought, she found herself crouched next to the plush couch, absently combing strands of silky long hair from the kid's face, wondering about her own conflicting feelings towards her. Riho was cute, she admitted to herself. She was brilliant in her own right, though still unpolished. A diamond in the rough. Reina had never had thoughts of a legacy past her own career and the songs she had written that would be immortalized in memory. Now, looking down at the peaceful, if tear-streaked, face of this sleeping girl, she felt as if she could see a future for the first time.

Reina had no idea why she felt like her heart would break as Riho shifted in her sleep, clutching the blanket in tightly clenched fists, murmuring a soft "Mama" that would have been missed had Reina not been right next to her. The tiger-striped carpet bunched under her suddenly tight fingers, and Reina had no idea how long she stayed there, on her knees, until the doorbell rang.

Somehow, Reina was not surprised. With all the unhurried calm she could muster, she headed towards the door. The short distance felt like a thousand miles, and she felt King's eyes watching her from behind. Letting out a slow breath, Reina opened the door.

Dark eyes met hers, and Reina wondered how a woman could age so quickly in such a short span of time. Yet those eyes were still lively, still tense and alert as they locked with her own. Reina nodded sharply, giving nothing away, as she swung aside to allow passage in.

They said nothing as her guest all but kicked off her shoes and removed the waterlogged jacket that had to be peeled off. Reina reached out to take it, but her guest showed no signs of giving up the threadbare material, her hair hanging as limply as the soaked cloth folded over one arm.

And yet, despite everything, Reina thought she had never seen anything more wonderful.

They continued on in silence, Reina half a step behind behind the anxious guest who simply barrelled ahead with all the subtlety of a steam engine. They stopped by the couch where Riho slept, and Reina watched without comment as the engine simply ran out of steam, the sails literally collapsing without any wind to propel them, as a relieved mother sank to her knees beside her now located child. Reina thought the woman might cry, but was surprised, maybe even a little disappointed, by the lack of reaction.

"Thank you for finding her." Those words held an undercurrent of sincerity so strong that Reina felt herself dragged along by it, unable to fight the tide. She inclined her head, murmuring some platitude or other she couldn't quite remember. She watched as one trembling hand traced the slumbering planes of the little girl's face, invested with an emotion that Reina couldn't properly identify. She did, however, feel an inexplicable surge of jealousy. She suppressed it. It was not worthy of mention, let alone demonstration. She simply stared, uncomprehending.

Reina wanted to yank the woman to her feet, push her away, do something to her -- but the only thing she found herself doing was fold her arms, the very expression of indifference. Her insides screamed for action, but she stood rooted to the spot. Where were her clever retorts, those sharp barbs she had planned from the start? Reina was mute when it mattered, unable to overcome the barrier that mother and daughter presented to her.

It took a third party to break the tension, and that while not even being awake. Riho stirred briefly, her face distressed in some nightmare only she could see. Her mouth opened, as if in a soundless cry, and closed with a gasp and a single word that froze both adults in place.

"Papa..."

Slowly, deliberately, the kneeling mother looked up at the frozen shock on Reina's face, her face bland, perhaps mildly amused. Reina recovered in a snap, her face hardening despite the flash of pain that greeted her expression.

"The kid needs a father." Reina said slowly, her features neutral. On the floor, on her knees, Ai smiled in response. A quiet smile of private amusement.

"She has one." Ai tilted her chin upwards, defiantly, as if challenging Reina to contradict her. Their gazes clashed fiercely, neither willing to back down. Ai pronounced the next words carefully, every syllable bearing the full impact of a runaway freight train.

"Only if Papa will take responsibility."

Reina felt her face twist, noted with irritation the light of laughter flashing in those damnable eyes. She closed her own eyes briefly, clenching and unclenching her fists to regain control. Her counter was impeccable, betraying nothing of her internal dilemma.

"Only if he knew of such a responsibility." The 'he' held approximately a dozen years of accumulated bitterness, and fell with all the grace of an anvil on Ai's head. Reina noted with satisfaction the involuntary flinch, setting her jaw proudly as she waited for the next salvo.

"I love you, Reina."

That was the last thing she had expected to hear. It was not a confession. It wasn't even an apology or even an explanation. It was simply a statement of fact. There was no surrender in those dark eyes, no remorse. Just a plain honesty that was searing to gaze upon.

It was Reina's turn to flinch, but her body also reacted before she could think, her arms slamming down on Ai's shoulders as she sank into a crouch half on the older woman's lap, her eyes fierce and wild as she stared into Ai's unflinching eyes.

"Then you should. Never. Have. Left." She spat the last few words, her fingers digging painfully into the bare shoulders of her former lover. Ai took the pain without complaint, her hands reaching to pull Reina closer to her.

"I'm sorry, Rei..." She was not apologizing for leaving, they both knew. Only for the pain it caused. Reina shuddered, a gasping breath that made her shoulders shake. She felt Ai's arms tighten around her, a familiar embrace she hadn't felt in so long, but had never forgotten.

"I hate you." Reina bit out, her forehead resting against Ai's. They were not looking at each other, but into each other. Ai bowed her head.

"I know." They stayed silent for a moment, then Ai spoke up.

"That's our daughter over there." Reina said nothing, but Ai thought she could feel one eyebrow raising. Reina chuckled lowly, turning her head slightly to watch the troubled sleep of the kid.

"It's impossible." She said flatly, and Ai felt her heart sink. But Reina wasn't done yet. Her eyes remained fixed on the sleeping child, calculating.

"You'll have to tell me how."

Ai felt like she could hope again. Reina turned fierce cat eyes back on her, eyes that Ai always felt secretly thrilled by, with the feral light dancing in them.

"I'm still upset with you. Don't think you're forgiven. Not so easily."

Ai felt herself smile. How could she not?

"Thank you, Reina."

Thank you for giving me a chance. For giving us a chance.

On the couch, Riho shifted restlessly, watched over by both parents, for the first time since she was born. She could not know. She would not know, not now. When she settled down, it was with the cool touch of her mother's hand on her brow, smoothing away her fears. It was her "father" who bore the brunt of her weight as they carried her to the bedroom. When she woke, she would not be alone. But she never was to begin with.

It was one step to mending a broken family. Who knew where it would lead?


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



That was exhausting.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2011, 03:57:39 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:
- 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 kawaii beam

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so many emotions and such as usual. i live how yoy write reina~ and im happy that we actually get to see riho acting her age, well crying wise ^^;. the little moment with king was cute too XD i would love more of that lol either way, nothing felt weak to me. it all was pretty stable and understanding X3 and im happy to see that mama and papa together with wittle riho~ X3 cant wait for what's next, and what will happen when riho wakes up lol kepp it up essy~! :deco:
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Offline Kikk4r

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yey so Riho is going to get to know it soon right btw how many chapters are you going to writ ? :?

and ai and reina are going to have make-up-sex right XD

hahaha yes you confused me again :nervous

Offline SarangAi

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My gosh, all that was BRILLIANT  :bow: :bow: :bow:

All the emotions that you described that Reina felt... and with King... and the little invisible fight that Ai and Reina were having with their words at the end... until the "I love you Reina"  :wub: :wub:

I love how Reina feels naturally responsible and loving towards Riho.  I guess Ai's confession that Riho was her child rly got to her.  Will this lead to a happy family now??  :D

avii&sig by the wonderful kawaii beam~!

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