Death by Ex-Girlfriend: War Cloud
(Like Aika did before her, Tsukiakari became part of this household over the next few months, someone who was valued and loved. When she felt anything, we all felt it too. It goes without saying that Izanami was nervous. Bishamon had told us that New Years was the cap. Regardless, Yoko decorated the whole house with Christmas ornaments and lights. It was something Tsukiakari had only ever seen from a distance throughout her many lives in the modern era. But now, she was with us...)
Tsukiakari began her Christmas eve with a hot shower in the master bathroom in Yoko's room. The walls were made of tiled, granite panels to match with the granite countertops. The long line of cabinets stretching from one end of the dual sinks to the other were all a dark, oakwood color. It was a bathroom that just screamed 'expensive'. Tsukiakari unraveled her hair from its pony tail and tried washing it as best as she could. She suddenly heard the sound of the bathroom door opening and closing, and the silhouette of a woman appeared before shower's frosted, glass door
"Who's there?" Tsukiakari asked.
"It's Yoko, your lesbian lover. I imagine you're having trouble washing your hair, right? It is longer than your actual height, even as a grown up."
"Leave it, I can handle it myself." Tsukiakari insisted, stifling a chuckle.
"Too late, I'm already naked."
Yoko slammed open the door and stepped right into the shower. She sat next to Tsukiakari, grabbing a washcloth and hibiscus scented body wash.
"Normally, in this kind of hot, steamy, girl on girl situation, you'd probably expect me to start teasing you by kissing your neck and fondling your breasts." Yoko began. "I can't deny I might do that, since being with me is keeping you off of Osamu, but I genuinely do need a shower. Look."
Yoko began scrubbing her legs with the washcloth, letting black trails of dirt run off from her body and down the drain.
"That's really filthy, Yoko! How did it get this bad?"
"Toiling around town trying to find a good tree for the festivities made me filthy. I ended up having to cut one down myself, which I'm sure was illegal. However, it's not like mother nature has security cameras, so I doubt I'll get in trouble."
"I see." Tsukiakari said, ignoring Yoko's admission to a crime. "I'll help scrub your back then."
"That would be most appreciated, Gekko. But don't scrub in circles."
"Circular movements on my bare skin turn me on. I can't promise I'll show you any mercy if that happens."
"I genuinely don't know if you're talking about sexually harassing me or killing me..."
Tsukiakari began scrubbing Yoko's back, who lifted her scarlet hair to make the job easier.
"Back then, when we first fought, you really weren't scared to die, were you?"
Yoko shook her head. "No. I would've been happy to die in such a great battle."
"How do you do it? How do you confront such a reality so fearlessly?" Tsukiakari asked.
"Hmm? You've died many times, haven't you? You already know what death feels like. Unless your referencing the fact that you're on your last life."
"Yeah, the latter."
"Gekko, just live every day as if it's your last. Life does not wait to be realized. It happens, and then it fades."
"I'm sure it's been difficult." Yoko said. "Your body is riddled with scars, and I'm sure your mind and heart are the same. The thing is, none of us are that different from you. Of course, I'm not saying we went through anything near the hell you did, but we all have scars in our hearts. Osamu, Izzy, even myself. I know it's only been a few months, and we could never hope to replace the Senkumo clan, but please think of us as your family."
A warm smile blossomed on Tsukiakari's face. "Thank you, Yoko."
After the shower, Tsukiakari and Yoko got dressed in their pajamas and joined everyone downstairs in the living room. The Christmas tree was already decorated and glowing with dozens of little lights. Osamu tied his hair in a samurai bun and wore a crappy Christmas sweater. Izanami and Isabella were both dressed as naughty elves in short skirts for Osamu's entertainment, which greatly annoyed Yoko, but not enough for her to disembowel them both.
"There you guys are!" Isabella cheered.
"Yeah, sorry. You know I take long showers, Izzy." Tsukiakari said.
"Don't worry, don't worry! We were just getting started!" Isabella said, grabbing Tsukiakari by the wrist and gently leading her to the couch.
With nothing better to do for Christmas Eve, they were going to drink ourselves into the best damn hangover they possibly could.
"Alcohol?! We're drinking?! Why didn't you say so?!" Tsukiakari exclaimed with an excited glint in her eye.
"Oh no...Gekko is a notorious drunk..." Izanami sighed.
"How bad is it?" Osamu asked.
"So bad she once puked into the river and killed all the fish for an entire season there." Izanami replied.
(It's that deadly?!)
"Let's make this interesting! We'll play a game!" Tsukiakari proposed. "We'll play a game of I've Never'! We'll take turns naming something that we've never done, and anyone else who has done it has to take a shot of sake.
"You're on!" Isabella grunted.
"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" Osamu groaned.
"I've never had apple pie before." Izanami blurted out.
"We haven't started drinking yet, Izanami." Isabella said.
Izanami covered her face in embarrassment. "My bad! I'm still learning these things!"
Everyone was handed a short glass and filled them with sake. Tsukiakari was the first to go. "Alright. I've never peeked at a member of the opposite sex changing."
Everyone but Izanami took a drink.
"Osamu, you perv!" Isabella laughed.
"You took a drink too!" Osamu chided.
Next was Yoko. "I've never watched Hentai."
Isabella took a drink.
"Wow, I didn't know you were into that sort of stuff. Welcome to Japan, I suppose." Yoko said.
"This game is a set up, I swear!" Isabella cried.
Now for Isabella. "I've never ever used a hitachi wand!"
"Do these absolutely have to be perverted questions?" Osamu asked.
Isabella took a drink...and then Yoko stealthily took a sip.
"I saw that, Yoko!" Isabella shouted.
"I will have you know that I only used it for the intended purpose that it was originally built for. You never said it had to be in that way." Yoko explained.
"That is true, Izzy." Izanami giggled.
Isabella crossed her arms in defeat. "Damn it..."
"Your turn, Izanami." Yoko said.
"Okay! I've never gotten pale skin!"
"Izanami, that was a cheap shot" Tsukiakari scoffed.
Obviously, everyone had to drink to that. For a complete stranger to the game of 'I've Never', Izanami was already drawing up cheap ways to make everyone take a swig.
"Clever, clever." Osamu nodded. "Well then...I've never thought about stealing when I didn't have any money to buy what I wanted."
Isabella took a drink. "Oh I get it. 'Let's get Isabella drunk in an elaborate ruse', right? Is that what this is? How about this, from now on, whenever we take a drink, we have to remove an item of clothing!"
Isabella took off her christmas sweater, and all that was left were her tank top, bra, and panties.
"What the hell are you doing?!" Osamu recoiled.
(Stay calm, Osamu...)
"This just got loads more interesting!" Tsukiakari cheered.
Of course, a few drinks and confessions later, everyone was down to their bras and underwear. It didn't help at the end that Osamu was now bare chested in front of all the drunk and amorous women.
(This is the inevitable fate of a harem hero. We don't choose this life, for it chooses us to be its champions. The only way to break free from this cycle is to embrace it!)
Don't listen to him, it's the alcohol talking. Osamu has now officially lost his mind and reason. He untied his hair and finished his last glass of sake. Not a single one of the girls could keep their eyes off of him.
"Izanami." Osamu said.
"Come sit on my lap, babe."
"Babe?!" Yoko screamed in rage.
Izanami twisted the end of her raven hair around her index finger, looking away in embarrassment. "If you want me to..."
Izanami, half naked, gladly sat on Osamu's lap as the other girls watched with envy.
(Hehe...I feel kind of powerful when I'm drunk. Was I really resisting this kind of life this whole time?)
"What do you want me to do now?" Izanami asked with a flirtatious inflection.
"Tell me what you want for Christmas, beautiful." Osamu said.
More and more jealousy brewed between the girls. Yoko had to bite her lip to keep from yelling out again.
"I-I...I want..." Izanami stuttered.
"I want to get married and have lots and lots of children with you!" Izanami cried, her demand far more wholesome than what the other girls would've said in her place.
"You little corpse bitch!" Yoko shouted.
"Where do you get off?!" Isabella scoffed.
"I see." Osamu nodded with a smug grin. "If you're a good girl, that might end up happening. Might."
"Thank you Satan!" Izanami said.
"Santa." Isabella corrected.
"Thank you Santa!" Izanami repeated correctly.
"Yoko, you next." Osamu commanded.
Izanami squirmed around in her seat next to Osamu, hopeful her wish would come true. Yoko now sat on Osamu's lap, caressing his face and guiding his hand onto her inner thigh.
"Yes, my love?" Yoko asked.
"Have you been naughty or nice this year?" Osamu asked.
"I can be whatever you want, Santa." Yoko purred. Do naughty girls get punished? Are we bound with chains and flogged relentlessly?
"If that's your wish..." Osamu began.
Tsukiakari slammed her glass onto the table and stood up. "Enough! The only way to truly decide who can have Osamu is by consuming..... 'The Drink.'
"No! Not that, Gekko!" Izanami cried.
"What exactly is it?" Yoko asked, perplexed.
"It's a deadly, divine concoction that only the elder gods drank when in contest with each other. Even I tasted it once and barely shook off the hangover!" Izanami explained.
An evil grin possessed Tsukiakari's face. "That's right. First, you start with normal sake, then you add divine snake poison, infuse it with lightning, mix it with the rotten fin of a dead shark, and then you bless it with a prayer. Most gods can't even handle more than two teaspoons of it."
"Because it sounds like it can kill you!" Osamu chided.
"Oh my, I didn't realize our little harem hero was such a wuss!" Tsukiakari tittered.
Yoko stood up from Osamu's lap. "I'll do it. I accept your challenge Gekko."
"Yoko!" Osamu said, sounding like he was going to lecture her about the dangers of reckless risk-taking.
"Don't worry, Osa. I can hold my liquor." Yoko smiled.
"Wonderful. Let's begin!" Tsukiakari cheered.
The drink was prepared, and everyone had a glass. It smelled absolutely fetid, but Yoko was not about to back away from a challenge.
"If I win, I get to have another go at Osamu." Tsukiakari said.
"Accepted. If I win, you get to have another go at me instead." Yoko replied.
"Ah, so I win either way!" Tsukiakari sang.
(Huh? Is there some girl love going on here I don't know about?)
"Alright, everyone. Let's begin." Izanami said, acting as the referee. "I must warn the mortals though. This drink is very, very powerful."
(Damn it. Here goes nothing!)
Down the hatch. Everyone drank in unison. At first, Osamu felt perfectly fine, as did everyone else. Of course, the drink itself tasted of urine and ancient mildew, causing everyone to scrunch their faces in disgust. Surprisingly though, the drink had a rather sweet and pleasant aftertaste. Everyone waited in silence for a few seconds, expecting something terrible to happen to them. Nothing happened. Not a single thing. Not an iota of what can be called a thing. The girls were almost disappointed after all of the hype Tsukiakari and Izanami gave the drink.
"Well this isn't so bad. Tastes kind of strong, but I'm feeling good." Isabella said.
"Yeah, same here. This is kind of silly, isn't it?" Osamu laughed. I mean, not even the gods could handle this drink? It doesn't even burn that mu—"
In an instant, every single one of them fell over, face-planting on the living room table.
That's right. Osamu blacked out then and there. It wasn't his fault. The drink really was a potent concoction. Just as fast as he knocked out, Osamu woke up on the front lawn of the house wearing sunglasses and a live cobra around his legs. The neighbors were all looking at him as if he were a madman, and with good reason.
(What the hell is this?! God damn, my head hurts! What happened last night? Hmmm...all I remember is that....wait! That's it! We took that drink that Tsukiakari prepared! I can't remember anything that happened after that though...)
Osamu got up slowly, being careful not to upset the hissing cobra at his feet. He went inside the house and saw Yoko in her bathrobe eating a bowl of cereal with a side of...more alcohol...
"Oh, it's you. Osa—" Yoko burped. "Osamu."
"Yoko, this story is getting way too weird now. What exactly happened in the time between the drink and now?" Osamu asked.
"Right, about that...take out your phone, Osamu."
Osamu realized there were a bunch of new photos on his phone.
"Yoko, tell me what I'm in for. Don't let me open these up and be surprised."
"Just look. Nothing I can say will ever prepare you for what we did last night."
(Would you believe me if I told you what kind of photos were on there? No? Well, I'll tell you anyway. It seems that in our drunken rampage, we trashed the house, proceeded to run through the streets insulting people, and then...well, how do I explain this? Let's see...Tsukiakari caused a lightning storm just for fun to spook the neighborhood. Then, Yoko and I got married in some shady little church. Don't shake your head yet, because it gets worse! After the marriage, Isabella shot up the wedding temple for fun. Thankfully, her horrible, drunk aim meant that nobody got hurt. Isabella then had the great idea of flying to Pakistan to join in a joint op raid between Navy SEALS and Russian Spetznaz to capture a wanted terrorist. The photos on the phone show us smiling next to the terrorist in a selfie. He didn't smile, obviously. Though, I suppose it's more accurate to say he couldn't because his teeth were broken. As a thank you, one of the SEALS gave me his sunglasses. We were flown back to Japan, where we let all the animals in the local zoo loose upon the already aggravated neighborhood, and then our 'Alcohol high' finally wore off and we all passed out. That explains why I woke up with a cobra on my legs, and a strange pair of sunglasses. Now, I have about two hundred photos to delete, lest we be thrown in jail for the numerous international crimes we've all committed during our inebriation.)
"Yoko, about our marriage..."
Yoko stabbed a knife into the counter top. It was like heat waves around her distorted the air as her hatred began to burn hotter than the flames of hell. Yoko's voice slowly escalated from a whisper into heart-stopping screaming. "Osamu, darling, honey, lovebun, soulmate, partner in crime, baby!"
(So many cheesy names!)
"Don't tell me you regret our union, my love." Yoko laughed, on the brink of lashing out.
(There are those eyes again!)
"H-hold on a second, Yoko! That's not what I'm saying!"
"Oh? Then what are you saying? You'd rather marry someone else? Or perhaps you'll give me the same crap every guy gives a girl in order to back out of commitment. 'Let's take our time sweetie. I don't want to rush. Hold on, I'm not ready. Wait, please don't kill me!'"
"That last one was clearly a cry for mercy!"
Izanami's voice rang out. "Uhh, guys..."
Izanami and Isabella were behind them, blushing and unable to look at Osamu or Yoko in their eyes. Yoko immediately started laughing at what she saw, and Osamu's head only began to hurt more.
"Please stop laughing..." Isabella groaned.
Izanami and Isabella both had their hands superglued to each others breasts, unable to remove them.
(This is actually strangely hot...)
"Please help us get out of this! I can't even feel my boobs anymore!" Izanami cried.
"Stop pulling! You might rip them off!" Isabella hissed.
"I'm sorry!" Izanami wept.
"Oh god, this is amazing! Osamu, take a picture!" Yoko said, barely able to breathe through her laughter.
"Yoko, where's Tsukiakari?" Osamu asked.
Yoko's laughter ceased as she really thought about it."Hmm...you know, I actually don't recall where she is. She was with us during all of that stuff, but my memory after we returned to the country is hazy. I'm sure she's around here."
Tsukiakari sat alone in the cemetery down the road, the same cemetery where Aika's mom was buried. The snowfall was gentle that morning, lightly coating the grass in a sheet of white. Tsukiakari sat with her back against a gravestone, her face stained with tears. As her heart and throat burned with sadness, a voice called out to her.
"Um, excuse me..."
Tsukiakari wiped her eyes and raised her head. A young woman stood before her, wearing a red scarf and a brown, leather jacket. Her hair was a light, chestnut color and reached down to her chest.
"I'm very sorry, ma'am, but...do you know my mother or something? That's her grave your sitting next to."
Tsukiakari quickly scuffled onto her feet, stealing a glance at the gravestone she sat against. She only saw the last name, 'Mihara.' She returned her gaze to the girl before her, realizing that she was Aika Mihara, the girl that Osamu had saved just a few months ago. Was their meeting by chance, or were these two familiars of Osamu destined to see each other?