Chapter 11:

Returning Home

The God's Child

Dawn broke its way over the mountains as the last embers of the fire started to smolder, leaving only a pile of gray ashes. The two stone serpent statues still stood tall, the only reminder of the holy shrine that once stood there. The group stared at the destruction with downcast expressions.

Rika turned to the Ugajin-sama, bowing her head apologetically. “I’m sorry about your shrine, Ugajin-sama. Even though we went through all that, it still managed to get destroyed.”

“Sorree!” Emi repeated from Rika’s arms.

Yuki glanced at the wreckage with a thoughtful look before adding, “We’ll try to do what we can to help.”

Their heads turned towards Takuya, who remained in a moody silence. Yuki elbowed him hard. “Ow! Fine….our bad!” He muttered half-heartedly, shooting her a glare.

Jesus padded up to the goddess, bowing. “We apologize that our arrival caused you so much trouble. We are sincerely thankful for your help with Pegasus.”

Ugajin-sama picked up a snake that had escaped the fire, letting it slither onto her shoulders. “Your apologies are appreciated but this outcome was expected, once I made my decision to break away from Zeus’ request.” She set the snake down, letting it return back to the woods. “Whether it happened now or in the future makes not a difference.”

She fell into a melancholy silence. Takuya crossed his arms.“Aren't you forgetting something?” The goddess’ head tilted confusedly. He sighed, irritated. “How about an apology for sending your pets out to attack us?!”

“But I’m not particularly regretful about that.” She answered honestly.

Takuya fumed, opening his mouth to snap a reply but both Jesus and Yuki quickly covered it. “Now! Now! It’s been a long night! How about we all head home?” Yuki suggested with a strained smile.

“Yes! Yes!” Jesus agreed, as Takuya struggled. “Wonderful idea!”

Ugajin-sama slithered up to the young officer, pausing in front of him. The trio froze, with Jesus and Yuki backing away from Takuya as the goddess addressed him. “Though I do not regret my earlier actions, I am sorry for what you have had to go through due to your goddess heritage. I also would like to thank you for releasing me from my icy bondage. I’m afraid I am not a very big fan of the cold so it was a relief to be free.”

“Yeah…” Yuki mumbled guiltily, scratching the back of her neck. “Sorry about that.”

“For your troubles, I would like to present you with this.” Ugajin-sama held up a red and white braided bracelet with several of her white scales dangling from it like charms. A character was written on each scale in ink that looked very similar to dried up blood. Takuya took it, examining the kanji.

“Shironaga?” He read aloud. The white scales glowed briefly before returning to normal. “What is this?”

“Shironaga is the white serpent that I had sent out earlier in the night to capture Emi-chan.” Ugajin-sama explained. “My pets are a part of me, an extension of my powers. Thus while I still exist, they can not truly die. Shironaga is resting now, but can be called upon when his name is spoken.” She nodded towards the bracelet. “If you come across any future trouble, do not hesitate to call upon him. This is my gift to you.” She inclined her head slightly in a sign of respect.

“Thanks.” Was all the baffled Takuya could say as he tied the bracelet around his wrist. The goddess nodded, gliding past him towards the wreckage.

Rika followed the goddess, still looking troubled. “Ugajin-sama are you sure you’re alright?” She glanced at the burned grounds sadly. “I mean….this shrine was your home. It’s where you were able to connect to the humans who came here. Aren’t you worried?”

Ugajin-sama too, gazed upon what remained of her shrine. “It’s true this shrine was a physical tribute to the bond between me and my worshippers.” She picked up a piece of charred wood. “But with it being gone, doesn’t mean that bond is broken. If I am needed I will continue to do my duties as a goddess and if not…” She paused, tossing the woodchip to the ground. “Then it will truly be my time to go.” With that said, the goddess silently slithered away into the woods, where her body slowly disappeared amongst the early morning mist.

Rika returned to the group just as they were discussing what to do next. Takuya was speaking to someone on his cell phone, most likely his friend from earlier. Yuki was slumped on the ground, her back against the snake statue as Emi pulled on her shirt persistently.

“…I’m tired.” Yuki moaned pitifully. “I can barely lift my arms here from all that flapping.”

“But it morning!” Emi begged, popping her with her tiny fists. “Sun is up! Play time!”

“I want to murder the sun right now.” Yuki replied, glaring upwards at the grey sky.

Jesus padded up to the toddler, his tail wagging. “Hey Emi! I’ll play with you!” He circled the statue, wagging his stub of a tail teasingly. “Bet you can’t catch me!” Emi squealed, running after the feline joyfully. Yuki watched the scene tearfully.

“Praise Jesus….” She sniffled. “You truly are a saint!”

Takuya snapped his phone shut, giving a heavy sigh. Rika glanced from him to Yuki, who was already almost dozing off. “I think maybe we should all head to Yuki and I’s place for now and get a few hours rest before doing anything else.” She suggested.

“No.” Takuya instantly replied. “I can’t rest knowing my sister is still missing somewhere.”

“But Takuya you’re tired...” Rika protested.

“I don’t need some kid telling me what to do!” He snapped. Rika flinched at his harsh tone, amber eyes shining resentfully. Takuya turned away from her hurtful gaze, hands balling into fists at his side as his phone suddenly rang. “WHAT?!” He answered, voice clearly annoyed.

“Wow, talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed!”

Rika’s ears perked up as the obvious voice of a teenage girl rang out on the other end of the line. “That couldn’t be...could it?” Rika wondered. One look at Takuya’s shocked expression was enough of a confirmation. That was Kikyo, Takuya’s younger sister calling.

“Kikyo?” Takuya’s voice cracked as he spoke. Yuki, Jesus, and Emi all paused, turning to Takuya in surprise. “Is that you?”

“Well duh. Who do you think I was?” She answered, teasingly. “Don’t tell me you don’t have my number saved on your caller ID!”

“No I do! I just…” Takuya was struggling to find his words. Rika, Yuki, Jesus, and Emi huddled close to him, listening in.

Yuki poked him and whispered, “Ask her where she is!”

“Where are you?” Takuya repeated in a fluster.

“Hmm I’m about to get off at the Nato Train station. My class took the overnight train so we’re just now arriving.”

“Train Station?” Takuya repeated dubiously. “Wait? Why are you at the train station?”

“Onii-chan! Don’t tell me you forgot about my class trip to Tokyo!” Kikyo complained. “Jeez, do you even listen at the dinner table when you come to visit? Remember me asking you what kind of souvenir you wanted me to buy you back in April?”

“That was three months ago! How in the world am I supposed to remember crap like that!” Takuya argued, face reddening as he felt the eyes of everyone in the group drilling into his back.

“Well anyway, I called because I think I might need a lift home.” Kikyo continued, sounding a bit concerned. “Dad was supposed to pick me up this morning after his shift, but neither he or mom have answered their phones yet.”

Takuya frowned, hand tightening around his phone. “Yeah...don’t worry. I’ll be there to pick you up.” He disconnected, looking grim. “If you all are going to hound me, just go ahead and get it over with.”

Rika and Yuki glanced at each other, before giving identical grins. Yuki walked up, patting his back good naturedly. “Nah, I think we’re good.”

Rika gently set her hand on his arm. “We’re just happy your sister is safe.”

Jesus pounced on his shoulder. “We’ll all be there to greet her with you.”

“Yeah….thanks.” Takuya answered solemnly. The three glanced at each other with similar sad expressions as they thought about the unpleasant task Takuya had in store for him when he met his sister.

The melancholy mood was broken as Emi walked up, tugging on Takuya’s jeans. He glanced down as she held her hands up towards him. “Police-kun! Up! Up!”

Despite the task ahead, he gave her a small smile. He lifted her up and set her on top of his shoulders. “Come on, let’s head to the train station.”

“Choo! Choo!” Emi giggled, clapping her hands. The twins followed as he led the way down the path and away from the shrine.


The group was silent as they traveled by bus to the train station, either lost in their own thoughts or too tired to chat. Emi and Jesus had dozed off together, one wrapped in each twin’s arms. Yuki leaned against her sister, eyes drooping. Rika could feel herself losing consciousness with the rocking of the bus. She kept glancing at Takuya, wanting to say anything that could wipe away his grim expression as he gazed out the window.

“He’s probably still mad at me though.” Rika thought dejectedly. Their earlier confrontation still fresh in her mind.

“If you're tired, just go ahead and sleep.” Takuya spoke, as if he could sense her glances. “I don’t care if you lean on me. I’ll wake you when we get there.”

“Thanks.” Rika replied quietly, wishing he would at least look at her. She settled her head against his arm, feeling rather compressed with both Yuki and Emi’s weight pressed against her. She closed her eyes, her mind going through the night's events as she pondered about the future. She caught a whiff of Takuya’s musky scent and all those thoughts slipped away as sleep took over.

The bus ride ended all too soon for the sleep deprived passengers. They stumbled through the busy train station as it filled up with people rushing to their early morning departures. Several people gave them sidelong glances as they passed by, clearly curious of the odd group of teens with bloodied, torn clothes and carrying around a toddler and cat.

“Coffee, then shower, then bed.” Yuki muttered over and over again, the dark circles under her eyes becoming more prominent.

“Yuki is very punctual when it comes to sleep.” Rika explained, noticing Takuya’s perplexed glance. “She says sleep creates a sharp mind.”

“Hmmm I’m sure college will kick that habit.” Takuya replied, lips twitching slightly before he once again turned away from her. Rika gave a small sigh. Emi glanced up at her, tugging on her sleeve.

“We eat soon? Emi hungry.” The toddler asked.

Rika smiled, poking her nose. “We will, I promise. After the train comes in.”

“Choo Choo?” Emi asked, pointing at the shining blue train just pulling in.

Takuya’s body instantly tensed as it came to a halt in front of them, the usual chime for passengers to move away from the doors ringing out. The doors opened and a cluster of sleepy students in ruffled uniforms exited out to the arms of waiting family members. A cheerful girl of fourteen, with long black hair skipped out, chatting with a group of her friends. Her voice instantly told Rika this was Kikyo.

Kikyo’s eyes suddenly lit up as she spied her brother’s tall frame. “Onii-chan!” She waved a farewell to her friends, bounding excitedly over. She paused as she came close, taking in Takuya’s torn and blood stained clothes. Her gaze then wandered over to the equally battered group. She clutched her school back close to her side, suddenly hesitating to get closer.

“Takuya, what’s going on?” She asked nervously. Silently he walked up to her, wrapping his arms around her and holding her close. Kikyo clutched his shirt with shaking hands. “You’re scaring me. What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry.” Takuya whispered, squeezing her tightly. “I’m so sorry.”


An hour later the group, including Kikyo, stood in front of the entrance to Rika and Yuki’s house.

“We’re home!” Rika called out, slipping her shoes off. No answer came.

Yuki clicked her tongue, taking her own shoes off. “Told you she would still be sleeping.” Jesus jumped down from her shoulder, looking around curiously.

“Your home is very lovely.” Jesus complimented. “Very traditional.”

“Don’t let it fool you.” Yuki replied, stretching out on the tatami mat flooring. “This place is falling apart.”

“Rika! Help!” Emi whined, trying to clutch a banana and take off her sandals at the same time. Rika squatted next to her, unbuttoning the toddler’s shoes.

“Make yourselves at home.” Rika said, smiling kindly as Kikyo and Takuya walked past. Kikyo sniffled miserably, eyes swollen and red. Takuya held her hand, leading her quietly to the sitting area. Emi tugged on Rika’s sleeve.

“Is Police-kun sad?” Emi asked curiously.

Rika nodded, crouching low so she could whisper. “Both Police-kun and his little sister, Kikyo-chan, are really sad right now. So let’s be nice to them okay?”

Emi dug a folded piece of paper out of her pocket. “Me give picture!” Before Rika could question her, she clambered into the room, waving the paper in the air excitedly. She skidded to a halt in front of the siblings, who sat together at the dining table. “For you!” She proudly announced, handing the picture to them.

Takuya took the paper, glancing down at it uncertainly. Rika walked over, also curious about Emi’s drawing. It was definitely something drawn by a toddler, mostly a series of different colored circles and squiggly lines. But some of the shapes looked like it could be a person…or a building….it was really hard to tell.

“Uh, thanks….I guess.” Takuya answered, not sure what to think.

“It’s lovely, Emi!” Rika answered, smiling brightly. “You did a fantastic job...Takuya is very happy now, isn’t he?” She shot him a look, and hoped he got the hint.

“Couldn’t be better.”

Rika was glad toddlers didn’t understand sarcasm. Yuki’s head suddenly popped up.

“Oh so that’s where it went.” Yuki commented, squinting at the picture. “I thought it got lost when we left the station. That’s the picture your….uh...your father asked her to draw for you.” She hesitated, before adding quietly. “He knew his time was up so he asked Emi to draw something to make you feel better.”

Both Takuya and Kikyo suddenly looked at the drawing with a whole new appreciation. Kikyo buried her face into her brother’s shirt, tears renewed. Takuya carefully folded the picture. He then reached over and patted Emi gratefully on the head. “Thank you, Emi. This makes me very happy.”

Emi puffed her chest out proudly. “Me color more pictures!”

“Yuki can you find Emi some crayons or colored pencils?” Rika asked, as Yuki gave a tired thumbs up. “I’m going to get mom.”

She walked over to the sliding door that led to the master bedroom. She got to her knees, quietly calling out. “Mom? Are you awake yet? I really need to speak with you. It’s important.” The door instantly slid open, her mother looking down at her worriedly.

“You two….didn’t come home last night.” Her hands fiddled with the string of her bathrobe. “I didn’t know whether you were at a friend’s house or if I should call the police.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry about that.” Rika apologized, secretly relieved her mother actually noticed they were gone. “She really does care…. Wait? If you knew we were gone, why didn’t you try texting or calling us?”

“I did try to call, but it seemed like you were out of range.” Her mother explained. “I also sent a text but didn’t receive an answer from you.”

“Text? I didn’t get a text.” Rika checked her phone to be sure. “The out range part I get since we were in the middle of the mountains but if she sent a text I should have gotten it by now.”

Her mother took out her phone, showing her the message. “Here, see!”

Rika glanced at the screen with an amused grin. “Mom….you forgot to push the SEND button.”

“Oh….I guess I did.” Ms. Kase replied, blushing. “I’m relieved your sister isn’t here. She would call me an idiot for sure.”

Welcome to the club.” Rika thought, smiling to herself. “There’s something both of us need to talk to you about. Can you come to the sitting room?”

“Umm, sure.” She walked in and froze when she saw the large group settled at the table. Her eyes roamed over each person before stopping at Rika. who gave a nervous chuckle.

“Yeah….we have a little company.” Rika scratched her neck, giving a nervous laugh. “I forgot to mention.” Before she could give any explanation, her mother held up her hand.

“Stop...I’ll need coffee for this.”

The group waited patiently at the dining table, watching as Ms. Kase struggled through the kitchen in an attempt to brew enough coffee for everyone. She kept opening up different cabinets, obviously not used to being there.

“Oh….where was that kettle kept again? Oh, these are new, when did we get these cups? There’s the kettle. Now how much water do we need? Is it a teaspoon or tablespoon for the scoops?” Luckily Rika quickly lent a hand.

“Mom, look I reorganized that last spring. The instant coffee is now here.” Rika explained, reaching up and handing her the container. “No, that’s too much. For this brand, use only half a teaspoon. No, the water needs to boil a little longer.”

“Rika seems to really know her way around the kitchen.” Jesus commented, ears twitching in interest as he watched. Yuki gave an annoyed sigh.

“Yeah well, she’s been practically doing all the cooking and housework since our father passed away.” Yuki grumbled, resting her head on the table tiredly. “For some odd reason she thinks it’s her responsibility now. I personally think she’s spoiling our mother, taking in all her tasks.” Her eyes shifted to Takuya, who also seemed to be watching Rika work.

Before long, steaming cups of coffee were set in front of each person, excluding Emi and Jesus who each had kid’s cups filled with warm milk. Warmed up buttered toast was served next to each mug.

“Itadakimasu!” They called out, taking a sip in unison as they savored the sweet taste of caffeine after a long sleepless night. The twin’s mother was the first to set her cup down, turning to Rika as she got down to business.

“So how far along are you, Rika?”

Coffee squirted out of Rika’s mouth, causing Emi to go into a giggling fit. The teen stood up, face red with embarrassment as she replied, “Mother! What are you talking about?”

Mrs. Kase looked confused. “Well with this serious atmosphere I assume you are trying to tell me you’re pregnant.” She pointed at Takuya. “Isn’t that why he’s here?”

This time Takuya was the one to choke on his drink, his one face reddening.

Rika fumed. “I AM NOT PREGNANT!”

“Oh.” Ms. Kases exclaimed, hand covering her mouth. She turned to her other daughter in distress. “Oh no, Yuki don’t tell me you’re the one….”

Yuki slammed her mug down furiously, “DO REALLY THINK I WOULD GET PREGNANT?”

“No… I guess you’re right.” Her mother answered with a sigh of relief as Yuki scowled. “But if neither of you are pregnant, what’s with this important meeting? And who is this lovely thing?” She asked as she hugged Emi to her lap.

The twins glanced at each other, not sure where to even begin. Suddenly, Takuya cleared his throat, setting his mug down. “Ms. Kase, before we begin, please allow me to introduce myself and my family members. I’m Takuya Yamamoto, a police officer for the Yamamoto Police Division in Natomo City.” He presented his badge to her as proof.

Ms. Kase turned to Rika in shock. “Rika, don't tell me you got in trouble with the law?!”

“I appreciate how you assume that I’m the one in trouble with the law.” Rika mumbled, sipping coffee.

“This is my younger sister, Kikyo. And this child is a distant relative of ours, Emi.” Takuya explained. “Emi is a child that attends the daycare Rika works at which is how she got involved in this case.”

“A case?” Ms. Kase repeated, concerned. “I hope it's not too serious.”

“I’m afraid so.” Takuya answered grimly. “And unfortunately, due to the nature of the situation and for your own personal safety, I can not foreclose any details concerning this case to you. Only that it does involve the murder of both of our parents.”

Ms. Kase gasped. “Oh dear! I’m so sorry.” She hovered over to Kikyo, dabbing a handkerchief to her cheek as fresh tears fell. “You poor thing, here let me take you somewhere more private.” She rushed the young girl out, allowing the group a few minutes of alone time.

“So we’re not going to tell her about last night.” Yuki whispered.

Takuya shook his head. “No. The less both Kikyo and your mother know, the better. We don’t want them to become anyone’s next target.”

“But what are you going to tell Kikyo?” Rika asked, worried. “Especially about your family.

“She already knows our parents were murdered. We’re just going to leave it like that.” Takuya replied, brows furrowed grimly. “Unlike me, she has no connection to any of this mess. I want to keep it that way.”

Before they discussed anything else, Mrs. Kase came bustling back in. She sat back down with a sad sigh, a deep frown darkening her face. She turned to Takuya with motherly concern. “I feel so sorry for your poor sister. I can’t imagine what she's going through right now. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help! Anything at all!”

“Actually, there is.” Takuya replied solemnly. He moved from his seat, crouching in front of the twin’s mother as he made his request. “Please, I humbly beg you to allow my sister, Kikyo, to stay here in your care.”

“I...don’t quite understand.” Ms. Kase replied, as Rika and Yuki both looked at each other in shock. “Wouldn’t it be more comfortable for Kikyo-chan to stay with another family member during a time like this?”

“Unfortunately, our only family members left are stationed in the Hokkaiddo region.” Takuya explained bitterly. After this tragedy, my only wish is for her life to continue as normally as possible.” He grimaced, clenching his fist as he continued. “With the nature of this case, I can’t stay here. If I’m to find the person who murdered our parents I will most likely have to travel far away, even out of the country if need be. It would put my mind at rest if I knew she was in safe hands.” He bowed to the ground, touching his head to the floor. “So I ask you again, may I please entrust my precious sister to you?”

Mrs. Kase waved her hands in a frantic fluster as the young officer prostrated himself in front of her. “Please! There’s no need for that! We’ll be happy to have her! Right girls?” She turned to her daughters with shining eyes. “Right?!”

“Of course she’s welcome!” Rika answered with a kind smile.

“I’m not giving any answer until I get asked personally.” Yuki replied, twirling more sugar into her beverage. “Our mother isn’t the only one who lives here, you know.”

Takuya moved and prostrated himself on the ground in front of Yuki. “Please allow my sister to stay here.” She spewed out her drink, face reddening.


“Thank you very much.” Takuya got up, bowing his head once more. “Now that that’s settled, I need to return to work as soon as possible.”

Rika’s eyes widened. “He’s leaving now? Shouldn’t he rest first?

Mrs. Kase stood up quickly, grabbing his hand. “Oh no! There is no way you can return to work in those clothes!” She fretted, inspecting his bloodstained shirt in horror. “I insist you at least use our bath first to get cleaned up. You can borrow some of my late husband’s clothes. Here follow me.” Before he could protest, she dragged him away down the hall.

Rika and Yuki were left alone with Emi and Jesus. Yuki stood up, stretching her aching arms. “Well I don’t know about you, but I’m heading off to bed. Are you coming too?”

“Uhh, let me see if Mom would mind watching Emi.” Rika replied, glancing towards the toddler who was coloring on the ground. Jesus flicked his paw at her.

“Go and rest. I’ll watch Emi for you.” Jesus insisted. Rika patted his head gratefully.

“Thanks but I don’t think my mother would think much of me if I left a cat watching over a one and a half year old.” Rika replied, jokingly. “I’ll go ask her now.”

Rika passed by her mother’s room just as she was digging through her dresser. “Mom, would you mind looking after Emi for me for a few hours while I take a quick nap?”

Her mother looked up, holding a set of old men’s clothes. “Of course dear! Just go and rest.” To Rika’s surprise, she gently caressed her hand along Rika’s cheek, her lips trembling slightly. “I’m really glad you and Yuki are okay. You two had me terrified for a moment.” She wiped her eyes with the back of her palm. “I know over the last few years, I haven’t been the best mother to you girls. But I do want to change….I hope you know that.”

“I do.” Rika answered quietly. “I’m not sure about Yuki though.”

“Thank you...Oh, can you drop these off for Officer Yamamoto?” She handed the clothes to Rika.

“Sure.” Rika held them to her chest, making her way towards the bathroom. She entered, standing in the entryway where all towels and cleaning supplies were stored. She set the clothes on the sink, knocking on the door to the bath. “I’m leaving some clothes out for you.”

“Okay, thanks.” Takuya's voice called out.

Before leaving she gathered his old and bloodied clothes, planning on getting them washed. “You know…” She called out, looking at the torn shirt. “I think you should at least stay and rest for a bit. You’ve been up all night. You’re just as tired as the rest of us.”

“I can’t.” Was Takuya’s instant reply. “My parent’s bodies are at the station. It's procedure for a family member to identify them. There’s also paperwork for autopsies and cremations and other junk.” There was a heavy pause before he continued. “These things just can’t wait.”

“I guess you’re right.” Rika agreed, picking up the hamper of clothes. “Just try to rest when you can.” He didn’t answer so she quietly left the bathroom.

She entered her and Yuki’s shared room a few minutes later. Yuki had already dragged out her blue, bird themed futon and was bundled up, her glasses set next to her on the floor. Rika pulled out own red, flower themed futon, laying it next to Yuki. She pulled back the blanket, resting her head down with a weary sigh. She thought sleep would come instantly, but the morning sun blazed through the window as birds chirped outside. She heard Yuki stir under the covers.

“It’s kind of weird resting in the middle of the day like this.” Rika commented, after ten minutes of waiting for sleep to come.

Yuki threw the covers off, her hair ruffled and sticking up. “Not as weird as watching mother actually act like a mom for once. Did you see her doting on Yamamoto’s sister?”

Rika turned over, prompting herself on her pillow. “Maybe seeing someone who’s had it worse than us made her want to try harder? We have been able to take care of ourselves for the most part. Maybe she wants to try harder with Kikyo?”

“Maybe.” Yuki remarked skeptically. “I’m sure it won’t last very long.”

“She does want to change, you know.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it.” Yuki answered stubbornly.

“Funny, I seem to remember you saying almost the same thing earlier last night.” Rika teased. “Though it concerned someone named God….”

“Haha, very funny.” Yuki replied, shooting a pillow at her twin’s face.

Rika laughed, tossing the pillow back playfully. Yuki received it, holding it to her chest tightly as she pondered something. “So are you and Yamamoto still fighting?”

Rika grimaced, chest tightening. “I’m….not really sure. It’s just kind of awkward right now.”

“Yeah, I would say pulling a gun out at someone would make things more awkward.” Yuki agreed dryly. When Rika didn’t respond, she continued. “By the sounds of it, it seems like he’s planning on leaving soon.”

“Yeah, it does.” Rika agreed quietly. Yuki glanced at her, eyebrows raised.

“So, what are your plans?”

“Eh? What are you talking about?” Rika asked, confused.

“I mean, Yamamoto already mentioned leaving to find out who murdered their parents. I’m sure Emi will be going with him.” Yuki explained, putting her glasses on as she turned to face her sister. “So, what are your plans going forth?”

Rika set her head on the pillow, watching birds flicker to and fro outside. “ I don’t know. I really don’t. I know it’s important to finish school and think about our future. But seeing what Takuya and Emi are going through, I also want to help them out.”

She rolled over on her back miserably. “I know you said before none of this was our responsibility. I get that, but sometimes I can’t help feeling it is, in a way.” She raised the ruby pendant to the light, watching it shine brightly. “I’m not like you Yuki. I’m not talented or smart. I’ve never had any inkling of what I want to do with my future. I’m just ‘the other twin’. That’s why if I see an opportunity to prove myself or make someone happy, I just go for it.” She turned her head to the side, shooting her twin a sad grin. “Pretty pathetic right?”

Yuki was scowling at her, her glasses flashing angrily. “Baka! This is why I hate you.”

Rika’s eyes widened. “You hate me?”

“Yes, I hate you!” Yuki answered, sitting up. “I hate you because you’re always trying to please everyone but yourself! Just stop it! Rika, me and you aren’t gods. We aren’t immortal. We’re just normal humans that will live our one life and then die!” She stood up, putting a hand to her chest. “I work so hard to draw because I know that’s what I want to do with my one life. You may not know what you want right now, but that doesn’t mean you still have to waste everything you have for others just because you think that’s all you're good for!” She pointed a determined finger at Rika. “You only have one life so decide what you truly want and go for it!”

She sat back down with a huff, throwing the covers back over her. “And you're not just ‘the other twin’.” Yuki mumbled from under her pillow, blushing slightly. “You’re my twin.”

Rika smiled, laying back down. “Thanks Yuki. I’ll think about what I want.” Closing her eyes, she let sleep finally take over as she drifted off.

Neither of the twins were aware of Takuya listening outside their door as he dried his hair with a towel in the hallway. 

Real Aire