Disclaimer: I don't own Owari no Seraph, its plot or characters, or any other mentioned books, songs, or series. They belong to their respective owners. I only own my OCs and the plot that deviates from canon or doesn't exist in canon. This is a non-profit fan fiction just for fun.
A/N: I want to thank my first reviewer and follower MCRDanime and all my dear lurkers who have read the first chapter of Between Two Worlds! It made me super happy! I've decided to post another chapter this weekend, but don't expect the next one until next weekend. I still have some more editing to do.
More canon characters will show up in this chapter and some shenanigans will occur. Enjoy!
Last edited on 17.01.2020
Chapter 2 – Teen Drama
The summer break had just started when I made my way over to a park in Shinjuku. It was a different one than the park I usually went to with Shinya.
To counter the heat I was wearing a light blue T-Shirt, white shorts and sandals while my slightly wavy hair was bound back in a ponytail. I had chosen this park specifically because it had more shady places that would hopefully prevent me from getting a sunburn (although I had applied sunscreen, I was rather prone to it), more freckles, or a heat stroke in this muggy climate.
It was shortly after six in the morning when I arrived at the park with my bokken after going for an hour long jog. I never had been a morning person in my past life and certainly wasn't one in this either, but after a certain time it would be too hot outside to practice properly. The mornings were the only times when the temperature was bearable in summer here in Japan. I had never been a summer person either.
My parents trusted me enough now to go there alone most of the time, but I had to tell them exactly where I went and take my fully charged phone with me wherever I went. Those conditions were rather prudent, and I did as told. I seldom got into any fights with them because of my adult mindset even if I felt incredibly restricted at times. That was how most of our fights started... and whenever I was so bored at school that I did something immature like playing a prank or falling asleep during class.
However, I wasn't the only one who came here to practice – two boys who were about two or three years younger than me were sparing with each other and they both had bokken, like me. A rather rare sight. It gave me a déjà vu of my first meeting with Shinya. Out of curiosity, I opted to watch them for a bit and sat down on a nearby bench.
One of them had long, brown hair that was pulled back into a pony tail. His eyes were dark and I could see that he had a small mole under his right eye. The other boy, who was a bit shorter than him, had dark, medium-length hair, that shone in a weird violet hue. I could discern that his eyes were blue. They looked rather… extraordinary and reminded me of Shinya, not just because of their interest in kenjutsu.
They both were skilled at sword fighting, but the one with brown hair acted rather rash and most of the time didn't block properly. The other boy seemed more cool-headed and focused. Soon, he had the upper hand and defeated the rash one.
"Man, Shū, why do you always beat me?!" he yelled, clearly angry.
I decided to provide him the answer and walked towards them. "It's because your defence is weak and you attack straight on without strategy. You can't beat him just with power," I explained.
They both turned around to me at once.
"That is exactly what I tell him all the time," the shorter one smiled at my statement.
"Huh?! What does a kid like you know about sword fighting?!" the temperamental one exclaimed.
"First of all, you're a kid too, and I think I'm older than you. Second of all, I've been practising kendō and karate for years now." I stopped in front of them and bowed to the quieter one first. "I'm Kido Vivian, ten years old. I'm a first-year student of Akigahara Middle School. It's nice to meet you."
The boy with almost violet hair bowed to me, too, and introduced himself, "My name is Iwasaki Shūsaku. I'm eight years old. I'm in grade two of elementary school. It's nice to meet you, Kido-senpai."
"Huh, how can she be only two years older than us and be already attending middle school?!" the boy with brown hair was sceptic and turned to me. "You're clearly lying to us!" The boy whose name I still didn't know doubted me and pointed an accusing finger to my face – a very impolite gesture in Japan. And anywhere else for that matter.
"Makoto, don't be rude. I'm sure there is a sound explanation for that," Shūsaku appeased him.
"Actually, there is. I attended school earlier than usual and skipped two grades. That's why I'm already in middle school. Also, if you don't mind, you can call me by my first name. I don't care much about formalities."
"Then you can call me by my first name, too, Vivian-senpai." Shūsaku was awfully polite for his age. I concluded that at least Shūsaku was from a more traditional household if he had already received lessons in manners.
"Alright, Shū," I grinned and looked expectantly at… Makoto. He had crossed his arms in front of his chest. Shū elbowed him lightly and glanced at him.
"…Fine! I'll tell her! ...Narumi Makoto, eight years old, second grade of elementary school. Satisfied?" he told me, looking grumpy.
He reminded me of Kenta.
"Nice to meet you, Mako-chan!" I called him in an amused tone.
"D-d-don't call me that!" His temper flared up, tinting his cheeks red, and he lunged at me with his bokken. I easily parried him with my own.
"Alright, then let's have a match to get to know each other, Mako-chan," I proposed good-naturedly.
"Stop calling me that!" He swished his wooden sword at me from the side, I parried it with my own and then stepped quickly around him, attacking him on his left side. The hit connected, but he didn't give up and lunged at me once more. I simply moved out of his way and slapped him lightly on the back. Training with Shinya was a lot harder – he was an excellent swordsman despite his young age. I lost more often than not... or rather... all the time if he didn't let me win.
"Why not? It's cute and suits you, Mako-chan," I teased him but was telling the truth.
"Makoto, you should be careful about your defence," Shū warned him from the side-lines.
"I don't need a defence if I have a good offence!" Makoto denied and tried to sweep at my head. I blocked his sword with mine and slid around his defence. Then I lightly slapped his hand with my bokken from the side, making him let go of his sword, and after taking a last step forward I had my sword pointed at his neck.
"And you lose," I told the boy with a smug grin.
"No way! I lost to a girl?!"
"Huh, what's wrong with losing against a girl, Mako-chan?" I inquired.
"Well, obviously, they're weaker than boys," Makoto stated bluntly. Ah, he was in the typical 'boys are better than girls and vice versa' phase at this age.
"Uh-huh. Says the boy who lost against the girl," was my simple response.
"I'll beat you! Let's have another fight!" He was energetic for sure.
"Alright… but if you lose, you'll have to call me Nee-chan, and I will keep calling you Mako-chan," I said. I had always wanted to be called that. Unfortunately, I was the youngest out of all my friends and classmates.
"No way! I'm not going to call you that!"
"If I lose I will call you 'Makoto-sama' and will admit that boys are better than girls," I baited him.
Was I a bad person for lightly manipulating an eight-year-old to my advantage? Nah... Perhaps? Makoto thought over my proposition and then agreed.
"Okay. Let's do that."
"Do you swear on your honour as warrior?" I asked him.
I saw that Shū was trying to hold in his laugh, he had most likely noticed that I had lured Makoto into a trap. I winked conspiratorially at him.
"Of course. This time I will win!" Makoto took his bokken from the ground and we started the match.
I won even faster this time because I didn't hold back like before and wanted him to experience utter humiliation – it was good for character building at this age. Who was I trying to convince? I just didn't want to lose. I never said that I was a nice person. Makoto slumped down in defeat and hit the ground with his hand.
"Noooooo," he wailed.
"Now you'll have to call me Nee-chan, Mako-chan," I sang and performed a pirouette.
"Shū, save me."
"I'm afraid I can't do that. You gave your word to Vivian-senpai after all." Shū smiled down at him.
"Let this be a reminder that you should think before you speak or act," Shū merely said.
"Shū… you can be really mean sometimes," Makoto whined.
"He's just educating you, Mako-chan. So, cheer up! Isn't that right, Shū?" I chimed in with a big smile on my face. Shū returned it.
Oh, we would get along just fine.
The rest of the summer went down in a similar fashion. Shū, Mako-chan, and I would meet up in the mornings to compete against each other and play, all the while Shū and I ganged up on Mako-chan – nothing too serious or evil.
I also met Shinya, Akira, and Kaori often. I went swimming with them and I even visited an amusement park together with Akira, Kaori, Shū, and Mako-chan – under the supervision of my and Kaori's parents of course. Sadly, my best friend Shinya was unable to attend because he got busier with some family matters, but I was glad that he still made time for me whenever he could. While I remained unable to beat him in a sword fight, he remained unable to beat me in that video game, which soothed my ego.
Even Kenta and Emi visited me one time in Tōkyō, as we had kept in contact for the last three years – I had visited them during the holidays – and I introduced them to my new friends. One time I was able to invite them all to my place, and we had a film marathon with snacks and popcorn – it was a crazy day but it was a blast.
That summer was the most fun I had in this life.
Unfortunately, Shū and Mako-chan went back home to Nagoya at the end of the summer break. They had stayed with some of Mako-chan's relatives, but they both promised me to write and phone me, and that we would see each other again. I had taken them both to my heart and although Mako-chan didn't like me much at the beginning (or at all), he slowly opened up to me and we became tentative friends... very tentative friends. Makoto and I got into arguments more often than not.
Additionally, it seemed that he started to like my nickname for him because he didn't reject it that violently anymore, and I could see his cheeks redden every time I called him Mako-chan. He never admitted it out loud though.
That little tsundere. Or maybe he had just given up... no, he was too stubborn for that.
On my eleventh birthday, I received an oval locket from my parents. It was made out of silver and had beautiful ornaments and small diamonds embedded into it. But the best part about it was that it could be opened and inside were two small pictures. The one on the right was a picture of me and my parents together that we had done at a photo studio on their eleventh weeding anniversary on the second of September.
And on the left side was a group picture with all my friends – with Kenta, Emi, Shinya, Akira, Kaori, Shū, Mako-chan and me. We had to be really close next to each other to fit all in. There was even space for two more pictures. I was really touched by the present.
"Thank you, I will cherish it forever," I told them with a happy smile. The only thing I had kept from my past life were memories after all.
The next time I met Mako-chan and Shū at a skiing resort Shū's uncle owned during the winter break. We made snowmen, went sledging and skiing – I loved skiing in my past life and snow in general. I had lived in an area where you could always go skiing or sledging in winter.
Everyday Mako-chan had a rematch against me but never won – I made sure of that. Much to his frustration and our amusement.
Was it cruel of me? Perhaps. He was just too transparent and had to learn to accept some advice. Shū was a better sword fighter than him because he thought about what steps the enemy would make next and didn't only concentrate on his own attacks.
Just like that, in the blink of an eye, more than two years passed while I was attending school, living with my parents, meeting my friends, living my second chance at life…
Maybe this time I could fall in love. In my past life I'd had a few light crushes and I had confessed my feelings to two of them, but unfortunately my feelings were never returned.
It wasn't because I was hideous or completely insufferable or something like that – I had a healthy self-image – but my first two crushes already had girlfriends and my last crush in my past life… well, it turned out that he played for the other team and we simply remained friends.
I didn't have a good eye for guys apparently. There had only been those three crushes altogether, nothing really serious or more than a light attraction.
Sure, sometimes a guy would ask me out, too, or vice versa, but either they had a personality that clashed with my own, or we didn't hit off aside from the looks department (some handsome guys were really shallow or 'players' – I wasn't dumb or desperate enough to waste my time on them). And I didn't want to base a relationship on only looks, or to have a boyfriend just to not be single. Maybe I had just had too high expectations, or maybe I had accidentally friendzoned the ideal guy.
Thus, I prioritized my education, job, and friends and remained single until my death at the age of twenty-four. Very unromantic and perhaps a little pathetic in the eyes of some, but I had been happy and that was the most important thing.
I was only beginning to think about love and crushes and all those things again because I was starting puberty. For a second time. Ugh. It had been bad enough the first time. I was not happy when this time around my body started maturing earlier than last time, and I got my period at age twelve and needed to buy bras.
My mother was really enthusiastic about being able to shop with me for bras and the like, I never got why mums enjoyed that.
Because it was an important step in growing up for their baby-girl? If I didn't have my adult mindset, I definitely would have gotten stuck in a teenager crisis when she announced my bra size unintentionally to the other customers in an underwear shop. So, I only was embarrassed about her blunt action and the attention we received and face palmed.
In my past life I had been a late bloomer and luckily started the hormonal stage at the age of sixteen. It seemed that I wouldn't have this kind of luxury this time around.
I also noticed that some of my male classmates, who were all at least three years older than me – the dangerous hormonal age of fifteen – were beginning to eye some of the female classmates in that special way, me included. Not that the girls at this age were any better. Because of my partly foreign roots (Irina was a tall woman), I was also tall for my age and soon, thanks to puberty, nobody could tell that I was a few years younger than my classmates. At least, I finally fit in somewhat.
In my final year at middle school, the teenager-craze started with a love letter in my shoe locker shortly after the spring break, like I had seen it in anime and manga before.
I stared at it in disbelief and mild panic. "No. No, no, no. This is not happening...!"
Kaori came to my side, worry apparent on her face. "Vivi-chan, what's wrong?"
I pointed at the love letter and made a strangled noise. Kaori's eyes lit up in recognition once she had had taken a look at it.
"Oh wow, Vivi-chan, that's the first love letter you've received! I didn't know that that was still a thing nowadays... How romantic! Even before I got one. Ah~ I'm kind of jealous now. But who wouldn't want an adorable girlfriend with blonde hair and a body with these assets!" She engulfed me in a tight hug... before she groped my breasts.
Yes, some Japanese girl friends did that apparently... or maybe it was just Kaori. It had been quite a culture shock for me. And no, she wasn't attracted to women, she just had a perverted personality streak.
"Kaori! Stop that!" I protested, trying to push her away, and she let go a few seconds later and handed me the letter.
"Read it. I'm dying out of curiosity!" the tomboyish girl was very excited.
I sighed and indulged her. Otherwise it wouldn't be fair to the one who wrote it... and Kaori wouldn't leave me alone.
It was from a Hasegawa Takuma. Didn't someone in our kendō club have that name?
every time I see you during club practice, I can't help but notice how clean you perform your movements. I've been a fan of you for some time now. I would like to ask you something after school today. I'll be waiting on the rooftop.
I hope I'll see you soon,
Hmm... Maybe this was a simple misunderstanding and he didn't want to confess his love but just ask for pointers in kendō without letting the others know?
"I think he's from my kendō club. He wants to meet me after school," I told Kaori who started bouncing next to me.
"Kyaaaaa! You're gonna get a boyfriend!"
"Kaori! Shush! Don't just jump to conclusions! Stop that, you're attracting too much attention!" I scolded her when other students began watching us. "And even if it is a love letter, I don't even want a boyfriend right now! I'm only twelve!" I hissed. I had decided a few years ago that I would only start dating when I was sixteen and the person I dated at least eighteen – the legal age. Yes, my body was that of a young teenager, but I couldn't agree to date an underage teenager with my adult mind.
Actually, I doubted that I would date anyone before I was twenty and the other person in their twenties.
I mean, I was mentally thirty-six for crying out loud! Plus I didn't particularly want to be a cougar.
"You're turning thirteen this year, and you already look like fifteen thanks to your mum's genes," Kaori countered.
She was a huge fan of people with blond hair and foreigners in general, which was why she was very... enthusiastic about my family and me. In every otome game she played, she would choose the blond guy. And she played a lot of them. I was fortunate that I wasn't a guy.
"Kaori…" I mumbled her name in exasperation. That's when Akira – my saviour – walked around the corner.
"Good morning, Kaori-chan, Vivi-chan," he greeted both of us in his calm voice.
"Morning, Akira," I replied. 'Please be the voice of reason, like always!' I thought and threw him a desperate look. But he was too fixated on Kaori to notice it.
"Akiraaaaa! We have an emergency!" Kaori pulled him aside and told him about the letter. I put on my slippers and went ahead to the classroom, leaving them behind. I didn't want to hear anything else about that subject.
After classes were over Akira came over to my desk while I was packing my things. "I hope it's going to go well with the one who wrote you the letter."
"Not you too, Akira," I groaned, but he only smiled in response.
"Sooner or later someone had to fall for you."
Kaori took that as a cue to chime in. "That's right! It was only a matter of time. Only a blind man could ignore you and your boo-"
"- Kaori! Would you please stop exaggerating and talking about that topic!" I interrupted her, blushing furiously. And that was exactly what she wanted – she liked to make me embarrassed. But I wasn't her only victim. Kaori was a teen girl with a bubbly, open-minded, and slightly perverted personality.
Those goddamned otome games had really ruined her. Were was the innocent tomboyish girl with a sense for justice now?
"Fine, fine. I'll stop. But you have to tell me everything about your 'meeting' once you're back home!"
I sighed. "Alright. I'll do that. Now go, before I hit you!" She latched onto Akira's arm, and he was blushing lightly while she was dragging him out of the classroom. I wondered when he would tell her that he had a crush on her.
Teenagers. I was too old for this shit. Or at least I felt too old for it.
"Until later, Vivi-chan! Don't forget to text me!" she yelled.
"Bye, Vivi-chan, see you tomorrow at school!" Akira said goodbye.
"Bye," I replied unenthusiastically.
I was the last one in the classroom. To calm myself down – stupid hormones – I breathed in and out a few times until I was ready to get it over with. Then I took my school bag and climbed up the stairs to the roof, where Hasegawa-kun wanted to meet me.
He was already waiting for me and smiled once he saw me. I recognized him – the guy was really a member of the kendō club. The teen had short, ruffled, black hair that was parted to the right and dark but friendly eyes. He was taller than me and looked rather nice, but he was still too young for me although he was physically older than me.
The wind ruffled through my side swept bangs and open, almost waist long hair, tugging at the skirt of my school uniform so I had to hold it down or I would unintentionally flash my underwear. Why did we have to meet on the roof of all places? That was such a shōjo-anime cliché.
"Kido-san, I'm glad you came," he began.
"Yes, thank you for your letter, Hasegawa-kun. You wanted to talk to me?" I asked him as calmly as I could.
"Ah… yes… it's kind of hard to say, but ever since I joined the kendō club last year… I can't get you out of my head… I-I really like you… and I wanted to ask you if you would… go out with me a-a-and become my girlfriend!" he declared and blushed.
So Kaori had been right with her assumption... Shit. This was beyond awkward.
I waited a few seconds to form my response, being slightly embarrassed about this whole topic, too, and tried to keep the internal cringe off of my face. I felt like a cradle robber.
I felt bad for the teen boy, but I wanted to get out of here as quick as possible.
"...Thank you for confessing your feelings to me, Hasegawa-kun… and thank you for liking me, but I have to decline. I'm not ready for a relationship and boyfriend yet." I didn't consider it for even a second.
I was mentally old enough to be his mother! That was a disgusting thought.
His face fell at my response, but then he smiled again. "Ah… well… I can't even be mad at your refusal… I kind of expected it. But I'm not going to give up that easily! I'll show you that I'm worth it! I'm going to be the best at our kendō club and make you fall in love with me!" He was really optimistic, that was for sure.
If I could sweat-drop like characters did in an anime or manga, I would right now. I thought my refusal had been firm enough, but it didn't seem like that was the case.
"Hasegawa-kun…" I started again, but the overly motivated teenage boy rushed to the rooftop door.
"See you tomorrow at club practice, Kido-san!" he exclaimed and then went back inside.
Dumbfounded, I stood there for a minute. What the heck just happened...? What should I do now? I didn't want to give him any false hope, but somehow my point didn't come across right. Shitty teenage problems.
Exhausted, I went home for today and texted Kaori but mostly ignored her texts that basically all said that I should just go for it, and some more perverted ones with possible date scenarios. I blocked her. Kaori should really stop playing those adult games. I think an intervention of some sort was needed.
I texted Emi for advice on the topic of boys, too, but she was entirely clueless as well.
I decided to ask someone more mature than them for advice. Yes, I was an adult but sometimes the different culture here in Japan still surprised me, and I didn't know everything about this particular topic.
Maybe Shinya could give me a little more insight on how I should go about that matter with Hasegawa-kun. He was a boy of the same age after all. I made plans to meet him on the day after tomorrow, which was a Saturday, so we could also train together again.
Friday went by fast and club activity was like always, with the exception that Hasegawa-kun came over to me and wanted to have a match. He lost but told me that he wouldn't give up yet. Somehow he had this idea in his head that he could make me fall for him by defeating me in a match.
Where did he get his love advice from?
On Saturday Shinya and I met at the park we usually went to and sat down on a bench to chat.
"So, you wanted to talk to me about something?" he asked.
"Yeah… it's kind of… uh… a romantic problem?" It was kind of embarrassing to ask someone who was mentally many years younger than myself for romantic advice, but I couldn't ask mum and dad for their advice either.
The way they both would react… just no. Just thinking about it made me shudder. For the same reason I didn't ask Kaori.
"Ah, my little Vivi-chan is growing up. You want advice on how to handle your boyfriend… in private?" he teased me with a playful smile while wiggling with his brows in a suggestive way, but somehow it didn't reach his eyes.
I blushed and hit him on his arm for his perverted insinuation.
Somewhere down the road he had started with innuendos like that. I had no idea why. I guessed that he was just at that dreaded naughty and horny age. Sometimes I felt like I was drowning in an ocean of teenager hormones.
"Shinya-nii! Let me rephrase that. A guy from my club confessed to me, and I turned him down unambiguously, but he doesn't want to give up on me even though I clearly told him that I didn't want a relationship right now because I'm not ready for it. What should I do to make him understand this?"
"You're not ready for a relationship yet?" he repeated. "So you wouldn't date anyone at the moment?"
"Of course not. I'm twelve. In what world is that old enough for a relationship?" I deadpanned.
"But you're really mature for your age..."
"I'm not dating before I'm sixteen at least!" I snapped and threw up my hands.
Shinya grinned at my proclamation. "Okay, okay. Calm down Vivi-chan~." He thought over my problem and then told me his opinion. "Well, with the way how you phrased it, it sounds like he has a chance if he is persistent enough. Tell him again that you don't want to date him, not even in the future. If that doesn't work, I suggest you tell him that you totally hate him and can't stand him. If that still doesn't work, I'm volunteering to be your... fake boyfriend and scare him off. Actually, make that plan number one. It sounds like fun."
I lifted a brow. "Wow, you're cruel. Did you do the same things to girls who confessed to you but that you didn't like?" I deadpanned again and ignored the last part he had said, but Shinya just shrugged his shoulders.
"Actually… no one confessed to me yet…"
I couldn't believe that.
Girls his age had to be crushing on him. Or were the girls at his school deterred by his family name? That would make some sense if it was really a family of yakuza.
Shinya was a really fun, intelligent, and kind guy, and he was handsome, too. Although he could be a tad cheeky and arrogant sometimes. But I wasn't one to talk – I knew that I could be like that, too, and a troublemaker and vain at times as well.
"What?! No way! I thought that you already had a girlfriend, Shinya-nii?"
"Well... It's kind of complicated…" He rubbed the back of his head.
I face-palmed. "You know what? Let's end this ridiculous conversation and have a nice training fight instead."
What was I even doing here, asking a teenage boy of all people for romantic advise?
"If you're sure, Vivi-chan. This is such a fun topic to talk about." He really was entertained.
Well, at least one of us had their fun.
"Yes, I'm sure. I want to knock some sense into you for making me believe you've had a girlfriend for the past two years, Shinya-nii."
"Vivi-chan~, don't be so mean. I told you it's complicated... Are you jealous?" he teased me.
I got up and pulled him on his feet. Then I took a hold of the bamboo sword. They were better for fights than the wooden ones.
He smiled, walked over to me and took a similar stance with his sword. "Alright, let's have a fight. I won't go easy on you~."
"I wouldn't want it any other way." I grinned and then lunged at him.
"Ahaha~. You like it rough, huh?" he commented, and I only put more force behind my sword for his perverted comment.
"I'm going to make you eat dirt for that lewd comment!"
Today it was my win. I refused to believe that Shinya had let me win on purpose to make me feel better about myself.
Over the next months Hasegawa-kun remained stubborn in his quest to win me over, even though I had made it clear a few more times that I didn't want anything from him.
Stubborn teenage boys. I didn't know why he bothered with me, he had a nice personality and was handsome, and he could have come together with another girl his age by now. I didn't understand why he still... courted me.
Did he like me that much? It made me feel even worse for rejecting the boy. I felt as if I was kicking a puppy.
Meanwhile, I had begun with ballet lessons, which pleased my mum (she had done ballet in the past), because I had always been interested in it (I also liked the music for it), and Shinya was busy with something and told me he wouldn't be able to meet me for a long time.
Ballet was a welcome distraction from my worries even if I was really bad at it. Or maybe because I was bad at it.
The teacher shook her head in displeasure whenever I did something other than to pirouette – the only thing I could do well. I had thought that ballet would be similar to the standard dance course I had attended in my past life, but it was much more complex. You had to be conscious of what every body part was doing and were your limbs went.
It was a form of art. My admiration for professional ballerinas went up – they made it look so easy.
When I demanded an answer from Shinya why he wouldn't be able to meet me, he simply told me that some of his friends were in trouble, and that he didn't want to involve me unnecessarily. I was upset and told him as much but also instructed him to be careful and to call me or the police if he got in serious trouble.
He only answered me with one of his typical smiles. "Don't worry too much, Vivi-chan, or you'll get wrinkles."
"Shinya-nii…" Once he had set his mind on doing something, there was no going back...
He patted my head. "Don't worry," he repeated, "it's going to be okay."
I scrutinized him. "It better be."
I didn't see him for a long time. I watched the news everyday to see if anything about Shinya would pop up, but fortunately there was nothing extraordinary happening. Only one particularly odd newscast made me nervous. I didn't even know why.
It showed a burning building and firefighters trying to extinguish the fire when suddenly a young woman with long black hair appeared on the screen and got hysterical. She started screaming at the firefighters to let the building burn down and something about a demon child, who needed to be killed right this instant. Then a man clad in a black suit moved in front of the camera and the scene was cut off.
It was really weird. The woman had to be mentally impaired or was suffering from a mental breakdown. I hoped that the poor child she was talking about would be okay. Either way, I shook my head and went back to playing something on the piano.
Between texting Shinya and worrying for him summer came and with it the holidays.
During the summer break I went to Nagoya for two weeks to visit Shū and Mako-chan. I was rather surprised when I saw them.
Shū had grown like a weed and was taller than Mako-chan and almost as tall as my 166 centimetres (5'4"). Now, Makoto was the shortest in our group. Once I was at Mako-chan's house and they let me in, I let go of my luggage and ran towards them.
"Hello Shū and Mako-chan! I've missed you two~." I engulfed both of them in a tight hug. I might have adopted that habit because of constant exposure to Kaori, or maybe it was just me. Shū just went with it, but Mako-chan tried to get free.
"Hi, Vivian-senpai. We've missed you, too. Makoto wouldn't stop talking about you," Shū smiled slyly at me.
"Let go of me, Vivian! And Shūsaku, stop saying such things or she will believe it!" Makoto's face got red.
I didn't know if it was out of embarrassment or anger. Ah, or maybe because I was still holding them in my tight hug. I let go for now to let them breathe.
"Mako-chan, that's still 'Nee-chan' to you!" I scolded him lightly and ruffled through his hair. "At least you're still short enough for me to do that," I commented absent-mindedly. Kids grew up so fast.
"Are you calling me short?!" Mako-chan yelled.
"Yeah, you're kind of the shortest of us now. See." I stood next to Shū and then pulled Makoto in between us. The difference in height wasn't hard to miss.
"You sure have gotten tall, Shū," I turned to the younger boy. "Are you still able to fight well with your new height?"
"Let's find that out in a match, Vivian-senpai," Shū smiled confidently at me.
"You sure sound confident."
"Of course. I've trained all the time to be able to beat you someday."
"I like your determination. Let's go outside."
Shū and I walked out into the garden of the traditional Japanese house, leaving Makoto standing in the corridor.
"Hey, don't ignore me!" Mako-chan cried.
"Did you hear something, Shū?" I asked with a wicked grin.
"No, senpai. Just a dwarf talking," Shū answered me with his own devious smile.
"I will end you two!"
After a week of daily sword fights, we, meaning Shū and me, both had enough of it and we decided to go swimming at a local swimming pool for a change. Makoto was accompanying us against his will – we didn't let him escape. Fortunately, my mum had talked me into taking my newly bought blue bikini with me.
One of Makoto's older cousins took us there with his car. Inside, I found us a nice shady place and placed my towel over the lawn. Makoto and Shū placed theirs next to mine, our phones and other valuables were put away in a locker. Eager to get into the cool water, I stripped down to my bikini I already wore underneath and shoved the clothes into my bag.
My open hair fell into my eyes, and I put some strands of my fringe behind my ear while I turned around to my friends. I needed to visit a hairdresser soon. For now I put my hair into a braid for convenience.
"Are you ready, guys?"
"Sure!" Shū was ready to go. Mako-chan didn't meet my eyes and stared stubbornly at the ground. I rolled my eyes and simply grabbed his hand, tugging him with me.
"Come, now is not the time to get into one of your moods, Mako-chan! Let's get into the water; I can't stay one more minute in this heat."
He let himself be dragged to the pool edge under protests, not looking like he would go in any time soon. I glanced at the water… deep enough…
With one of my kicks I thrust him into the water, re-enacting a famous scene from a film.
"This is Sparta!" I pressed out between laughs at Mako-chan's funny expression as he fell into the water. Shū laughed together with me as Makoto swam up to the surface.
"I'll never let you watch that film again!" he shouted, his face twisted in anger. I jumped into the water right next to him, drenching him again in the process.
"That was a good one, Vivian-senpai," Shū held up his hand for a high five, which I gave him.
"I will get back at you!" Makoto lunged at us but we quickly swam away from him and hid behind other people.
We swam and played in the cool water until we were completely exhausted and laid down on our towels.
"Ah, that was refreshing!" I announced.
"Yeah, it's good we came here," Makoto confessed not that he had cooled down.
"See, sometimes you just have to listen to me, Mako-chan." I rolled around to smile at him.
Makoto grumbled at first but then let out an begrudging, "Yes… Nee-chan…"
"Aww, you're so cute when you call me that, Mako-chan!" I loved being called Nee-chan.
Makoto turned red in anger or embarrassment or both. "I'm a guy, and I'm not cute!" he protested while Shū chuckled.
"Mako-chan, if someone, specifically a girl, says that you're cute, then it's meant as a compliment," I informed him.
"I still don't like it. I'm manly, not cute!"
I snorted in amusement and began to snicker. Makoto was far from manly at this age. Especially not with his shoulder-length hair and the beauty spot under his eye. He could easily pass as a girl. But I wouldn't tell him that. It would crush the boy's ego.
"Hey! Are you laughing about me?!"
I just grinned like a Cheshire-cat while Shū tried to hold in his laughter. "You're adorable when you get all angry and embarrassed and your tsundere side shows, Mako-chan," I teased him and Shū nodded in agreement at my statement.
Makoto got even redder. "I-I'm not a tsundere!"
I laughed at his antics and Shū chimed in, "Yes you are, Makoto. But we still like you."
"You both should just shut up! You're horrible friends!"
Two days before I had to return home, it happened. Once out of the futon, I grabbed my womanly hygiene bag and rushed to the bathroom as if my life depended on it. Fortunately, I was fast enough and hadn't stained anything but my underwear.
I spent the rest of the day moping around in front of the TV. Period cramps were not fun. I cursed Heaven and Hell that I had forgotten to take pain killers with me and was too lazy to ask for them.
"Hey, Vivi-nee, what's wrong with you? Why are you lying around the whole day?" Makoto poked me in the side.
"Are you sick, Vivian-senpai?" Shūsaku asked me, worried for me.
"No, I'm not sick. It's only the curse every woman has to suffer from every month," I groaned.
"Curse?! What kind of curse?!" Makoto exclaimed in alarm.
"Just ask your mum when I'm back home if you still want to know. Or any other woman for that matter. But I'll warn you, once you know what the curse is, you'll never see a woman with the same eyes as before. There is no going back once you know," I said in an ominous tone.
Mako-chan and Shū both gulped at my warning. It seemed that my period made me even more mischievous than I already was. I would apologize later on if they were seriously traumatized, but sooner or later they would come to that topic in biology class either way. And it was something completely natural.
We spent the rest of the day and the following one playing video games on a console and watching the anime 'Helsing Ultimate' (it fit my current mood) even though we were technically too young for it. Oh well, even I wanted to break some rules sometimes and the boys liked action.
I briefly wondered if the last anime I had seen in my past life – its name had been 'Owari no Seraph' if I remembered right– would exist in this world. I only had watched the first season and had wanted to start with the second one just before I died. Maybe it would come out in a few years.
The next day I went back home – my father picked me up with his car. I said good bye to everyone and gave Mako-chan and Shū a tight hug.
"Bye guys, take care of yourselves! I'll see you again during winter break. Don't forget to train your defence more and think before you attack, Mako-chan! Shū, please keep an eye on Mako-chan to make sure he doesn't do something dumb! I know I can trust you," I told them with a grin.
Makoto only mumbled, "I don't need a good defence if my offence is good."
"Yes, I'll do that, Vivian-senpai. You take care of yourself, too. I'll Skype with you on your birthday."
"Sure, let's do that! Bye bye!" I ruffled through Mako-chan's hair and then sat down in the car next to my dad. I waved at them until I couldn't see them anymore.
I visited Kenta and Emi in Kyōto and spent the rest of summer break hanging out with Kaori and Akira. Sadly, I met Shinya only a few times during that time. Suddenly, one Tuesday morning he stood at our apartment door. I let him in and took a seat on the sofa in the living room, crossing my arms.
"So, what have you been up to these past few months, Shinya-nii?" I asked him.
"I've made some friends… and we got into a bit of trouble, like I said."
"Uh-huh. That's rather vague. Well, at least you didn't forget me completely…" I had been constantly worried for my friend and had missed him.
"Oh, Vivi-chan, are you maybe… jealous?" he teased with a smile on his face.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I kind of am. We've been friends for five years… suddenly you find some new ones and you practically vanish from the surface of the earth, making me worried over nothing!" I had watched the news every day for months like I was paranoid, but I wouldn't tell him that.
"Aww. Are you pouting?"
"No. Maybe. Yes. I hope that your new friends are nice at least." I was a tiny bit peeved at being abandoned like that. It made me feel lonely.
"They are. They're a bit weird… but who isn't?"
If that came from Shinya they must be odder than odd. I was his best friend after all.
"So, are you going to introduce me to them or what?"
"Hmm… that would be kind of… dangerous."
"Are they from the yakuza or what?" It was a half-joke. I knew that his family was involved in some shady business, so the thought that his friends had similar backgrounds wasn't too absurd.
"Seriously? I knew that you were strange when I met you all those years ago, but I didn't think you would be downright suicidal," I deadpanned.
"Now, now, Vivi-chan. Don't be mean. It was just a joke! Did you really believe that?" Shinya told me with a smile in his typical light-hearted attitude.
I watched him carefully – his smile seemed honest but he couldn't fool me. He interpreted my silence right and sighed.
All the playfulness he had exuded before was gone and only seriousness was left.
"My friends and I are onto something… I can't tell you what because I don't want to put you in danger. I'll… have to stay away from you for a while even if I don't want to. Please trust me on this one, Vivi-chan."
I didn't want to, to be honest. Since I had met him, Shinya had tried to solve all his problems on his own and rarely asked for help even though I wanted to aid him. Granted, in his eyes I was an even younger kid he didn't want to endanger because he didn't know about my past life and my mental age.
Still, Shinya was a fifteen year old child in my eyes, and I didn't want to see him in any kind of danger. Shinya was one of my closest friends, I cared for him like he was my brother, and I didn't want to lose him. But I couldn't confine him either. He was his own person and had the right to choose what he wanted to do. He made decisions for himself, and he was capable enough to take care of himself. With a heavy heart, I sighed.
"Then I will trust you, Shinya-nii. But if it ever goes over your heads… please don't try to do everything by yourselves, and call for help. I know you're a loyal person and won't abandon your friends, no matter what situation you are in, but please, try to stay safe… and alive. I don't want to… lose you." I had lost so much already and Shinya had still all of his life to live.
Faster than he could react, I jumped onto his lap and hugged him tightly. Shinya was a bit stiff out of surprise at first, but then he placed his hands around me and returned the hug.
"I will. I promise, Vivi-chan."
Some heartbeats later I let go of him. Shinya wiped over my cheek with his thumb – I didn't notice that some tears had started falling down.
"You're crying... Do you like me that much?" he teased me. I pouted in mock-hurt.
"Of course I am. Someone who is part of my family, my stupid best friend, is placing himself in danger."
Shinya looked taken aback for a moment and then a bright smile spread over his face. "Ah, is that so? It feels good to be loved."
"Hn," I stood up and then returned his smile. "I'll make us some tea. Do you want to listen to the new piano piece I've created?"
"I would love to. Oh, and I brought you your favourite kind of chocolate, Vivi-chan."
My eyes lit up at the mention of chocolate. He held the box out to me, and I was about to take it with a beaming smile before I realized…
"Is this a bribe, Shinya-nii?"
He smiled innocently at me. Too innocent. "Why would you think that, Vivi-chan? I simply want to treat you for always being there for me."
I eyed him suspiciously with narrowed eyes but took the offered box and opened it, plopping one piece into my mouth.
"Delicious," I commented as the flavour spread and smiled back at Shinya in contentment.
A/N: Poor Makoto... I feel kind of sorry for him. How do you like my characterisation of him, Shinya, and Shūsaku? I would love some reviews!
I hope I'll see you again in the next chapter when the canon plot starts!