A/N: Howdy y'all! It's been quite a while. I'm hoping this bug has bitten hard enough to keep me going for a while. I can't promise the story will flow from 10 to 11 very well, as it's been so long, but I'm hoping I can make it smooth enough not to hurt.

The next chapter is also mostly written, it's the chapter after that I'm currently stuck on. Chapter 10 may receive some edits, as I don't remember where I was going with it, and my notes from then are not fully fleshed out. Most of my notetaking is written with the intent of being immediately used, not a couple years later. And I don't quite understand what past me was going for.

I have had to scrap a few ideas, as I discovered, upon re-reading, that I was incorporating too much. I'm working without a Beta, as the one I'd asked has decided she doesn't want to be. As such, I hope my multiple attempts at editing has panned out.

My rambling has gone on long enough, and I wish all y'all the best. And disclaimer, I'm too broke to be the owner of any known characters.

April 28, 2020



'What a week' Harry thought, as he and Gabby strolled through a park after an excellent concert. "Band-Maids is such a good band. And their openers weren't too shabby either." He was quite happy they'd gone out; they really needed to get away from everything for a while. The week had been chaotic.

Training had picked up in earnest, and Musubi was at her happiest. No matter how many times Miya ran her ragged, she hopped right back up and went for another round. She was surprised at how well Harry could fight, and how fast he was, but eagerly took to learning new fighting styles from the non-Sekirei.

She was also receiving meditation instruction from the two magicals. While Harry had the better grasp of occlumency, Gabby had a better grasp of the young woman's mind: for one, they were both female and had similar thought processes. Secondly, and arguably more importantly in this case, she had a theory that Sekirei and Veela weren't all that different in certain senses. She had hoped, and partially succeeded, in using those similarities to better train the enthusiastic younger woman.

It had only taken a few days before Musubi and Yume made contact with each other within their shared mind. Yume had described it as mentally being tackled by a younger sister, as she hadn't been expecting said to suddenly drop in on her consciousness. From there, they had collectively begun working on creating a door of sorts between the two: able to keep access to each other, but also able to keep to themselves when the time required it.

Their success also went a step further, as Musubi was now able to retain her consciousness when Yume was in control. Blackouts would soon be a thing of the past for her, which she admitted had been debilitating a few times.

In other news, Tsukiumi hadn't been so enthused about the training. After her embarrassment at the hands of the not-so-good Doctor, she'd conceded she would benefit, but retained it should primarily be by another Sekirei. The last bit, Gabby happily took credit for, though how that came about remained a resolute secret between the two: one in simmering embarrassment, the other in smug satisfaction.

Miya had developed a fun game for Tsukiumi, Shi and Musubi to play: shopping races. Earlier that very day, Gabby had been at a grocery store during one such race, shopping for their own reserves, when Tsukiumi and Shi had come charging in. She'd shown him the memory of Shi's competitive look, determined to beat her fellow Sekirei. The look on the very shy and timid girl had floored Harry, who couldn't do anything but laugh when he came back together.

It was even better when the lithe girl had actually won the race, and won the right to sit next to Minato that night at dinner, looking very pleased with herself. That meal had been the most vocal and chatty that Shi had been with the group as a whole yet, and it warmed Harry's heart to see the girl slowly coming out of the shell she'd created. After said dinner, Harry and Gabby decided to spend some time alone together, which they'd not done much of recently. And a concert in Osaka had been a great way to start.

His vocal reflection to Gabby of the week's events, while taking in the serenity of the park back in Tokyo (and no, he wasn't going to call it anything else, whatever M.B.I. had to say), was interrupted when the sounds of a fight nearby reached their ears. A silent conversation later, they mutually, but reluctantly, agreed to investigate, in case someone needed help.

And it was to the sight of a girl chasing a scrawny boy around with a comically large hammer that they were treated to, standing at the top of a bowl. At the bottom and off to one side in the bowl, a guy in a hoodie was talking trash to both fighters, and to the other girl across the bowl. He couldn't tell much about any of them with how dark it was, and they mosied down to the bottom to get a better look at what was going on.

Right as they did, the man in the hoodie called the girl, named Yashima apparently, back. When she got close, he kicked her, hard, sending her to the ground. Harry and Gabby went to stop it, but his words froze them in place.

"It's all your fault you stupid Sekirei." Feeling his blood boil at the treatment, Harry moved to intercept anyways, but Gabby held him back. "Wait, mon amour. Let us learn more before acting. I don't like it either, but if this is an actual Sekirei fight, we cannot interfere per the rules."

"Screw… the rules," he growled in such a way that got her own blood boiling, albeit for a different reason, but she held fast.

"Follow the current, my love. We shouldn't fight the tide just yet." He wanted to reply, but the other woman's voice cut in first.

"Such a horrible Ashikabi" it said succinctly, holding her head. The boy in front of her just nodded, but didn't say anything. Harry and Gabby each raised an eyebrow slightly in realization it was a second male Sekirei. If nothing else, that alone was enough to keep their interest and intrigue.

The man across the way got angry at the girl's proclamation, and roughly grabbed his own Sekirei by the hair, yanking her to her feet with less consideration than even a bag of yesterday's trash would receive. He shoved a thumb in her mouth, holding her up by the cheek, causing the poor girl to whine in discomfort. "Start chanting, and finish them!" he demanded. Before the girl could even consider responding, he shoved his tongue down her throat, much to the disgust of all observers.

He abruptly released Yashima as her wings flared out, nearly blinding the four observers. The few pale lamps in the park couldn't have hoped to have aided with the sudden brightness. Meanwhile, the submissed sekirei began chanting, the previous treatment not at all affecting her voice. "The Hammer of my Pledge! Shatter the enemy of my Ashikabi!" Her whole body, and the hammer, glowed blue as she charged the other boy.

"Why must we fight?" the other boy philosophically asked, staring down the attacking woman. What came next surprised both Harry and Gabby in a number of ways. "Number 107: Shiina. To you, I am your Grim Reaper."

The woman swung the oversized hammer, determined to flatten the lithe boy. "GRAVITY HAMMER!"

He just stood there, raising his hand, stopping the hammer inches from impart. "I'm sorry" he stated, before an energy that was even darker than their surroundings twirled around his hand. "All that I touch decays. Death Garden!"

The result was anticlimactic to be sure: the hammer was vaporized, most of her clothes followed, and she collapsed, gasping for her ashikabi. The boy, to his credit, went over to her downed body, and was apologizing. The duo inched closer, curious to see what happened next.

It wasn't a long wait, as the hoodie-guy grabbed the victorious boy. "Damn you, how dare you hurt my Yashima!" he screamed, holding him by the collar.

Again, before either of them committed, someone beat them to it. Namely, the nearly-forgotten woman, with a flying kick to the face. Needless to say, both spectators were impressed by the elevation and accuracy she'd achieved. "Let go of him with your dirty hands!" They had to give her credit, it was well placed, and highly effective.

"Shiina, are you ok? Did he do anything to you?" Both observers scrunched their faces at the name, each thinking it had sounded familiar. Ignorant of them, the boy didn't audibly respond, just sniffled, for what reason they could only guess. "Aah! Don't cry. It'll spoil your beautiful face."

"Mistress…" he replied softly, sniffling.

"What are you two doing?" the hoodie-guy screamed, getting their attention.

"Ara, still alive?" she asked condescendingly, before turning and getting to her feet. "For someone who abuses his Sekirei, you've no right to lecture us."

'Props to her' both Europeans were thinking, watching the whole encounter in growing amusement. They'd wonder later if they should've been more involved to that point, despite Gabby's insistence, but it was entertaining to be sure.

"I own Yashima. I'll do whatever I want!" he screeched back. They shared an incredulous look and moved closer.

"What? Are you stupid? You are the worst! How come scum like you can become an ashikabi? MBI sure got the wrong person."

It was at that moment Harry knew, instinctively, things were about to escalate, and steered them closer.

"I… you… I'LL KILL YOU!" the man screeched, pulling out a knife, charging at her.

He had only made it a couple steps when an arm shot out, flipping him backwards, his head hitting the concrete with an audible *crack*.

"Oops," the owner of the arm said casually. The young girl and boy both followed the arm, and saw a man standing there with both stretched out, in the middle of an exaggerated yawn. "Didn't see you there" he added, before dropping his opposite arm around a beautiful blonde woman who was giggling next to him that looked vaguely familiar.

Unfortunately for all, the lacking light made recognition difficult, even for the two foreigners.

They would've said something, but the downed man's groans got their collective attention. "Be right with you two," the girl said to the newcomers, who waved her on invitingly. With an approving internal smirk of glee, she stepped to the man on the ground. "Lemme ask ya somethin'. Do you know Number 108?" Neither she nor her sekirei saw the visible shift in the new duo in both demeanor and countenance, or their movements, so focused were they on the guy before them.

"As if I knew, you ugly girl!"

Without further ado, she donned the most sardonic, satanic, and sadistic grin she could muster, before plowing her boots right into Mount Alto. "Then you are useless now" she said with such venom that would've had most shivering, as the boy was doing, hiding behind his hands to avoid watching.

The resulting scream - nay, squeal - that every man would recognize with every molecule of their being, had every bird in the park vacating their perches. A squeal that only added to the young sadist's grin. The subsequent, also familiar, yet undesired scream, though, had the girl spinning around, and she prepared for another violent attack on a man, as the male newcomer had his arm wrapped around her Sekirei's neck.

"What is your business with 108?" the male asked darkly, tightening his grip. Shiina's whine was cut short by the sudden lack of oxygen, his arms feebly fighting the hold the much taller and stronger man had.

"We're looking for her" she snarled, stepping towards him. Another hand caught her from behind, and she felt sharp claws against her own throat. Though, fortunately, she could still breathe easily. A small reassurance, to her mind.

"That much was obvious," the blonde girl hissed into her ear. "My master wants to know what you want with her?"

She had a sudden realization as the woman's words sank in. "You're an ashikabi?" she asked the man..

"You've still not answered my master's question, girly," the clawed woman hissed again. The young woman was sniffing up and down her neck. "Hmm, you smell familiar. Have I threatened you before?" A dark cackle escaped her as the younger girl attempted to grapple with her. A few quick movements later, and Yukari was on her stomach, her arms held behind her by the much stronger older woman, who was now sitting on her butt cackling.

"Don't you hurt Yukari!" Shiina gurgled out as much as he could, having not given up his futile struggle against the surprisingly powerful man's arm. After Yukari's sudden plight, his captor had let out a bark of laughter, and he felt the grip loosen slightly. Just enough to get a gulp of air, and began focusing his power on the arms themselves. Yukari, despite her compromised position, donned a victorious expression, preparing to escape the woman's claws. 'Which, I'll think about when she's not holding them up to my jugular. Or sitting on me.'

Such a thought, and any attempt to struggle, ended with all the aplomb of running into a wall, as Shiina's power exploded… or so they thought.

"Mmm… tasty" the man hissed, lowering his head to the side of Shiina's now mortified face. "Been quite some time since I've tasted death."

"H-h-how?" he squeaked, eyes bulging in true terror. The man laughed.

"Because I'm the Master of Death" he hissed in his ear, before releasing him. Too stunned, the bishonen boy hardly registered being spun around, let alone being grabbed again by the neck and pulled close. The now-shaking boy came face-to-face with brilliant green eyes that were humming, and glowing! But that was all he could easily discern. Where his face should've been, there was only shadow, shadow that was deeper than the darkness of the air. Even his own eyes didn't penetrate the darkness he was exuding. It was a terrifying sight. "It has no hold on me unless I wish it so."

"Wha-wha-what are you?"

"I am your worst nightmare if you don't answer my question properly." They couldn't be sure, but it sounded as if his voice deepened, mixed with a growl of some sort. Either way, it had the desired effect.

"Number 108: Kusano, is my little sister" Shiina quickly supplied, hands gripping the man's wrist, more for support in staying upright than actual hope of escape. "I've been looking for her, and Yukari has been helping me."

"Yukari, huh?" the woman asked from atop the girl, who nodded dumbly, also failing in processing what had just occurred. "What is your family name, Yukari?"

"Sahashi" she answered, suddenly fighting violently against the impossibly strong grip the smaller woman had on her. A grip that tightened around her at the mention of her name. "What… have… you done… with Kusano… who are you?" she asked between gasps. The man stepped his captive over to the two women, his growl deepening.

"I…. Am… friends with your elder brother" he suddenly said calmly, his voice switching instantly to the friendly one that had just spoken to them moments earlier. Yukari found herself free, even gently helped up from the ground by the woman, with startling ease, before being released entirely. Shiina was immediately at her side, and they both looked up at the couple, and blinked. The man had a Cheshire grin on his face, his normal face, no sign of the evil persona he just displayed, as did the woman under his arm again, who was also giggling. She heard a snap of his fingers, and a small ball of light hovered over them, illuminating them all.

Both Yukari and Shiina gawked at the floating ball, neither fully comprehending its presence. Yet completely accepting of it, considering one being a sekirei. Yet, still completely baffled by it. Such was the wonder of magic.

"Sorry about that, luv. Had to be sure you were who we thought you were." He leaned down to offer a hand, and both looked at it with trepidation. He shrugged, reaching into a pocket. "Yeah, probably went a bit overboard. But, you'll be relieved to know that Ku-chan is perfectly okay. In fact…" he trailed, glancing at the time on his phone he'd just retrieved, "if you want to see her, we can get back before she's tucked in for bed. I daresay she'll be happy to see you."

"How do we know you have Kusano?" Yukari demanded, getting to her feet. She didn't trust the man, not after that not-so-little stunt, but was eager to help Shiina. For his part, he just tapped a few buttons on his phone, before offering it to them. Her eagerness to be of aid overcame what should've been common sense, and she hesitantly took it, and instantly gasped at the picture. Shiina followed suit, and both were going between staring at the picture, and the two in front of them.

There, for all to see, was a smiling, laughing Kusano, playing with both her brother, and the man in front of them.

"And for the record, I don't 'have' Kusano. I helped rescue her, she lives with your brother at a friend of mine's place." He pulled out a card from his wallet, then wrote something on it, with a utensil that simply appeared from somewhere, before handing it to her. "Here's the address." Ignoring manners, and common sense yet again, Yukari practically ripped the card from his hand, and gasped again.

"Hey! This is Izumo Inn!" She thought it over, ignoring the surprised looks on the duo across. "I was just there a couple weeks ago, though. I don't remember seeing a little girl running around."

The man shrugged with one shoulder. "Must've been before we brought her home. Or maybe she was out. Couldn't say."

Grabbing wads of hair in each hand, she tugged on both, attempting to rip it off in one go. "Grrr. Why didn't Minato tell me he had Kusano! We could've gone and seen her from the get-go!"

"If I remember right" Harry began, donning a coy smirk, "isn't one of the cardinal rules of the Sekirei Plan not to advertise it? Kind of like Fight Club: First rule of Fight Club is…"

"You don't talk about Fight Club" both women and he chorused together, before sharing laughter, surprising Yukari that her own was included after what had just occurred. Shiina frowned in confusion at the reference, but was ignored by all.

"Exactly" he continued, shaking his head, the moment of levity clearing most of the, admittedly deserved, animosity they'd created. "Have you told your brother about Shiina here?"

"Erm… well… no?" she muttered, rubbing her head. "Been kind of a crazy couple weeks."

"That's life with a sekirei for ya" he riposted, getting an elbow in the gut from the blonde that Yukari, once again, thought she recognized. To which he threw up both hands dramatically. "Hey! Don't tell me this past month hasn't been one long roller coaster for us."

"I'm not disagreeing with you, EJ" she said calmly, leaning into his arm.

"Then why the elbow?"

"Cause I felt like it, and I'm sure you deserved it for something" she responded, closing her eyes. "Mmm… comfy." Snuggling into his arm, she turned a slight smirk towards the other two. "Such as failing to introduce us to these two." She squinted at the younger woman. "Though, ya know, now that I'm actually looking, I think we've already met."

"You women are going to kill me," he muttered, before extending his hand. "I'm EJ, and this…" he indicates, squeezing the blonde lightly, "...is Gabby." Shiina accepted the handshake, but Yukari was visibly having a processing error. "And yeah, now that you mention it, didn't you run into these two at the mall?"

The now-named Gabby nodded her head against his side. "With Uzume pushing Chiho in that wheelchair she hates so much, yeah."

"Huh. Forgot about that. Oops. Oh well." He shrugged, turning back to the gaping teenager who finally found her voice.

"'Women'?" Yukari asked, having not been cognizant of the recent dialogue. "You have more than one?"

"Three at the moment, soon to be five most likely, maybe seven. Who knows" Gabby mumbled. "I'm sleepy. I don't like transforming. Makes me tired. And horny. Bad combo."

Harry snorted, ignoring the other two's questioning looks. "We can fix both of those soon, my Feather."

"You really are a pervert," Yukari voiced candidly.

"Well… yeah… duh…" he responded equally, as if rain was wet. "Never disagreed with that."

"And somehow have convinced three different women… I don't even know what to say about that," she exclaimed with exasperation, throwing up her hands. At least it wasn't her brother.

"Eh… it's actually a few more than three." He ignored the snort from the petite blonde in his arm, shaking his head. "It's a long, complicated story. And…" he drew out the last, looking at Shiina, "I think you're missing a few pieces of the Sekirei Plan. Which reminds me…" he held out his hand. It was several long moments before Yukari realized he wanted his phone back.

"Oh! Sorry about that!" she exclaimed, handing it back sheepishly.

"No trouble. Unless you were wanting to input your number, I won't stop such a charming young woman as yourself."

She gawked at the smarminess now wafting off of him. "Has that line ever worked for you?" she asked incredulously. Again, the blonde snorted, as did the ebon.

"More than it probably should, I'll say that much" he laughed. "Anyways…" he looked at the phone again, before pocketing it, "if you want to catch Ku-chan tonight, I'd get a move on. Her bedtime is in 34 minutes. Not that she actually goes to bed then, but… y'know… kids." She found herself curious about his familiarity with children, but relented, still unsure about him.

Turning to her companion, Yukari left it up to him. "What do you want to do?"

He thought about it for a moment, accepting what was being said at face value. After all, this was the first time since the forest he'd seen or heard anything regarding Kuno. It was a big decision. He wanted to see her as soon as possible. But, it was really late, and they were all tired.

"Tomorrow" he finally voiced, looking at Yukari. "Much as I want to see her, It would be better not to do so when she's tired."

"Are you sure?" she asked with concern, rubbing his shoulder, sending slight shivers up his spine. "We've been looking for her for some time. And now that we know where she is…"

He looked at Yukari for a few moments before turning back to Harry and asked softly, but determinedly, "Is she safe? Will she still be there tomorrow?" He felt a strange moment of joy when both smiled at him, truly smiled. Not their feral ones that had unnerved them, but genuine ones with a sense of pride in the young boy.

"She's far safer than you are, that's for certain" Gabby answered candidly, her boyfriend letting out a harsh bark of laughter, which she later followed.

"She's not wrong," EJ added, kissing the top of her head. "There are…" he did a count in his head, "at least half a dozen other Sekirei there with her right now, and the scariest landlady you've ever met. She's more than safe." He released Gabby and gingerly set both hands on Shiina's shoulders. The younger duo both flinched, but otherwise didn't move. And Shiina was graced with another gentle smile, and a slight squeeze he understood as approval. How he understood, he didn't know, but he did. "You are welcome to visit her any time." After a glance towards Yukari, he added, "both of you. So long as neither of you start trouble there, Miya will have no issue with you visiting Kusano." He patted Shiina's shoulders, before turning back to Gabby, replacing his arm around hers.

"How do we know we can trust anything you're saying?" Yukari suddenly spat out venomously, reminding all she'd not forgotten the events of that very night. The previous hour had been a roller coaster of nightmares, and she was not accustomed to being on the back foot, wrong foot, and for a while, not even on her own feet, and was rattled. And despite the good news and moments of joy, the previous events hadn't simply gone away. Yet for all the rage and causticness that one question emitted, EJ merely shrugged nonchalantly.

"Smart girl, questioning strangers. To answer your question, you can't. But, by the sounds of it, we're the first two you've encountered who have any information on her. So, believe us. Don't believe us. Your pick. You could always call your brother to confirm it, you know."

And faster than a bowling ball dropping into an abyss, the rage Yukari was working herself up into vanished as she gaped for a few moments before face palming. Loudly. She heard Shiina let out a light snort at the obvious that neither of them had contemplated yet. "Usually it's my idiot brother making these mistakes. ARRGGHH!" she screamed to the sky, pulling at her hair, before ripping out her phone, nearly losing her grip on it, before grumbling as she turned it on. "It's almost funny; I was supposed to meet with him this past weekend, but canceled so we could look for Kusano." She sent a text message to her brother, asking if he'd be there the next day.

She turned to say thanks to the duo, but saw them having already walked away. "Hey! That's rude just walking away like that, y'know!"

"It's rude to shout at people when you could walk over to them, you know!" the girl, Gabby, tossed back over her shoulder, as the man laughed, not breaking stride. Yukari screeched, both fists at her side, ignoring the now-cowering, yet still giggling, Shiina as she maturely stomped over to the departing duo.

"Hey! Don't just walk away! We're not finished!" At that the duo did stop, turning to look at her. The elder man, EJ, made a visible show of checking her out, something that stoked the teen's ire as she fought down an unwanted blush, but it was the Gabby that spoke first.

"Much fun as I think you could be, sweetheart, I don't think either your brother or your boyfriend there would appreciate you joining us for the rest of our evening, if you catch my drift" she added saucily, wagging her eyebrows. Yukari felt herself reddening up past the point of steam venting from her ears. It was rare meeting someone more openly perverted than she was. And they weren't finished yet. "You really aren't our type, and likely not even old enough, to be a part of what's coming next."

She held up her hands defensively, wholeheartedly agreeing, until a few select words caught up to her. "M-m-my boyfriend?" she squeaked, looking at her bishounen Sekirei, who was equally red faced at the thought.

"Looks like you two have some things to talk about" Gabby teased her, before wrapping an arm around her man's neck. "Now, lover, take me home and make me scream."

"As you wish, my Feather" he responded huskily, and with a twist, the two disappeared. The two teenagers just stood there, red-faced from the impending conversation, and shocked that two people just vanished before their eyes.

Nearby, a figure that had been observing them took to the skies, disappearing with the wind.


April 29, 2020

Izumo Inn


Sure enough, Yukari and Shiina had arrived that morning. They'd arrived just ahead of Harry and Gabby, who watched the reunion of 107 and 108 with soft smiles. Kusano had shown all she was indeed Sekirei, clearing the last several meters in the air as she launched into Shiina's arms, hugging him for all he was worth.

Yukari and Minato's reunion was less endearing but more comical, as Yukari smacked her elder brother around for not telling her about Kusano, berating him for Winging such a young girl, then congratulating him when Musubi showed up, revealing she was a Sekirei to the young woman. The two observers thought the young Sahashi was going to rip Musubi's chest off, fondling her so brazenly. Gabby had to restrain her bonded from interfering, as the girl was unknowingly also fondling his Sekirei. But, it was far too soon to drop that particular bomb on the woman they knew so little about. Though, watching her switch to Tsukiumi mid-fondle was downright hilarious, as the uptight woman was at the younger's mercy, scandalized into inactivity.

For what it was worth, Yukari had taken his usage of magic pretty well, once his abilities had been explained. Presently, they were all gathered around the magically enlarged table, in the magically enlarged dining room, eating a meal that had been magically cooked. Normally, Miya would be miffed by the last, but it hadn't diminished the quality of said cooking in the slightest, and thus let it slide. In the case of Yukari, all of the aforementioned facts were probably helped by all the Sekirei with their incredible abilities, so meeting a non-Sekirei capable of doing strange things had hardly phased her.

"You know, Tsukiumi," Harry voiced as they sat around the table for lunch. "If you didn't want guys staring at you so lustfully, you shouldn't wear such revealing attire."

"Why should I change my attire when such villains should simply desist from their uncouth perversions!" she screamed from next to Minato. She'd managed to win the last shopping race, her first victory in fact, and was relishing it.

"I'm a guy" he said plainly, in the most obvious and point-of-fact manner possible. "I know how guys think. I know how we act. Yes, a good number of us are scum and lecherous fools. As are a number of women, but that's getting off topic" he added with a chuckle, ignoring the elbow from his bonded.

"While you are correct, it should be on the guy's head not to be so 'openly uncouth', as you've put it, you're wearing a mini skirt and an underdress, displaying a good 90% of your sexual appeal. Even if I weren't to take the time to openly check you out, it's impossible to miss with just one glance. If you really want the public not to stare at you and label you a sex object, you might want to consider wearing something less revealing. If it bothers you so much," he added as an afterthought.

"I haven't any other clothes" she admitted glumly, looking away akin to shame. "This is the outfit I was assigned to when I left MBI. They told me I couldn't wear anything else until the end of the game."

"A guy told you that, didn't they?" Gabby asked rhetorically, her face taking on the most plainest of expressions. Tsukiumi looked at her questioningly, taking in her visage before her eyes widened, finally connecting the dots. Then her face turned red and she pounded a fist on the table.


"What does that mean, being 'assigned' an outfit?" Kusano asked from next to Shiina.

"It means that's what she was told she had to wear. She didn't get to pick her own clothes" he replied, and the little girl frowned. She was sitting there in a wagtail costume, after all, one Uzume let her pick out herself.

"You didn't get to pick?" Musubi asked Tsukiumi. "I was told to wear whatever I wanted, so I picked this because it's comfy!" She pointed at her own outfit, and Tsukiumi's ire rose some more, turning her gaze on Shi.

The smaller, timid girl backed down a bit from the hard stare, but nodded slightly. "I picked mine as well," she said softly. Shiina nodded from next to Yukari.

"You've been here a little while now, Tsukiumi, haven't you seen how many different outfits Uzume goes through?" Gabby queried, which had Tsukiumi even more incensed, glancing at the brunette woman. "I highly doubt you have to stay in that outfit. Likely just perverts being perverts" she supplied, elbowing Harry again.

"Hey, don't look at me. That's not the outfit I'd have picked out for her if I got to choose for her."

"Oh? And what outfit would that be, mon amour?" she asked, exaggerating her French accent.

"The table is not a place for such conversations, Miss Delacour" Miya interrupted, before pointing a ladle at Harry. "And you will keep your perversions to yourself and not corrupt the innocents around you."

"Party pooper" he whined, returning to his food, but smirking as he did. She hadn't told him not to corrupt the corrupted, after all.

"As interesting as this is... " a new voice sounded from above them. The group collectively looked up, seeing Matsu's head through the ceiling, having slid one of the panels back. "...We have a situation. Another Ashikabi/Sekirei couple has been attacked. They're currently on the run, not far from here. As this is your territory, Minato-san, it's best if you look into it."

"M-My territory?" the boy stuttered, startled by the proclamation.

"Yes, you've the most Sekirei of anyone in the Northern part of the city. This is your area."

"But-but, what about EJ-sama?"

"Again with the -sama, I'm not your superior" Harry muttered under his breath. Yukari just hung her head at the lack of spine in her elder brother. But Matsu answered anyway.

"Two of his three current Sekirei are not available, and I'm not a fighter. It's up to you." Yukari turned a questioning look towards Gabby, who giggled lightly as their ruse was revealed and shook her head. Yukari squinted in suspicion, but said nothing. She'd get her answers later.

Minato wasn't looking very convinced, but turned to his girls nonetheless. "What do you think we should do?"

"I want to see how strong this person is!" Musubi immediately answered, to no one's surprise. Tsukiumi nodded in agreement, which surprised most.

"Indeed. It would do us well to put our practice to good use. It is against the rules of the game, and highly dishonorable, to launch sneak attacks against the unsuspecting. The honorable thing would announce your intention, and not battle unless both sides have agreed." She stood up, and Musubi followed suit. "We will go and intercept this mystery attacker."

"I'll come with you" Harry supplied, also standing up. At the collective unasked question, he shrugged. "If it's who Matsu thinks it is, then you'll need an Ashikabi with you." He turned and pointed at each of the gathered Ashikabis. "Chiho hasn't recovered enough, Gabby is unable to for some reason, and I don't think Yukari wants a female Sekirei." The last was with a questioning eyebrow, the recipient shook her head in agreement. He then turned to the black-haired boy. "No offense, Minato, but in this case, you really would get hurt. She's already put three Ashikabi into the hospital, one of which may never walk again." The young man's visible relief at not being expected to fight was evident. Which was why Harry left out the body count total.

"What about you, EJ?" Chiho asked worriedly from next to Uzume.

"I'm me, I'll be fine" he said with a wink, leaning down and kissing Gabby on the head.

"Retourne-moi, mon amour" she whispered to him, before kissing him softly.

"Toujours" he replied, before heading to the door.

"Comm check" came the voice from his ear bud, as the three of them inserted them.

"Reading you five by five."

"Such a strange statement" Tsukiumi remarked, looking at him.

"Just means I can understand her clearly with no difficulties."

"Hmph. Why didn't you just say so?" she retorted, crossing her arms under her bust, amplifying it. 'And that's why I suggested the new clothes. How they aren't spilling out is amazing.' He shook his head.

"Where we headed, kitten?" he asked into the earpiece.

"Oooh, kitten, mee-oww" she purred, getting a chuckle from him, another "Harumph!" from Tsukiumi, and a flash of violet eyes from Musubi. She gave them the area, and they turned northwest.

"And how, pray tell, do you plan on following us? I daresay you are unable to move along the rooftops as we are." Without answering, he just smirked, before turning and disappearing. He appeared on the roof of the house next to them.

"Are you two slowpokes coming or what?"

"I won't lose!" Musubi declared, taking off. Tsukiumi gaped for a moment at the man, before following her sister Sekirei. "Sorcery. It's all sorcery" she muttered.


"Kuno, hurry up!" yelled a boy, tugging on the girl's hand as they sprinted down a street.

"Please hold on, Haruka-san" she whined, tears in her eyes as she tried to keep up. They didn't make it much further before her foot caught in a pothole, sending them both sprawling.

"Kuno! You klutz! How could you fall down like that?"

The girl was in tears, on her hands and knees. "I'm notta klutz! I'm Kuno-" but she was cut off, as a figure dropped near them, landing with a *thud* that betrayed her size.

Before them stood a woman with long, black hair that reached her hips. Following it down, one saw she was well-endowed, but not overly so. She wore a pale yellow shirt with missing sleeves, showing off her toned arms, and black capris, showing off her well-toned calves. And this woman was staring at them, with a face of thunder as she took in the duo that was currently on the ground.

"Shit, we've been caught" Haruka stated, getting to his feet, pushing the girl behind him.

"Haruka-san" she whined.

"Stand back, you pathetic excuse of an Ashikabi" the woman demanded. Her eyes were silver, so much so one would think they were soulless, were it not for the sheer rage one could feel from her. "I won't hesitate to hurt you, even if you are a human."

Kuno immediately tightened her grip on her Ashikabi. "Haruka-san…" she welled up.

"How could I just leave this girl and run, you idiot!" he screamed. The woman looked on unmoved.

"Hmm. A better man than I usually meet. Shame, that. At the very least, you'll meet your makers together" she declared, as one arm slowly turned into a long, metallic sword. She went to charge them, and Haruka spun to put himself between the two.

"Kuno!" he shouted, and the girl's lavender eyes went wide, before quickly placing herself in front of her Ashikabi.

Her mouth opened wide, wider than a normal human's would, and let out a shrill that had both Ashikabi and Sekirei covering their ears.


This lasted for nearly a full minute before she subsided. Haruka stood up, pulling out plugs he'd had in his ears. "Heh heh. Did you see that? Kuno's finisher, the 'Screaming Screech Cry'."

"Haruka-san, that name is so awkward. It's not like memorizing an incantation, so it's not a finisher."

The unknown Sekirei slowly got back to her feet, and Haruka felt his heart drop, as the woman's palpable rage was emanating from her. "Shit, it didn't work! We're outta here!"

Before anyone moved, all three were drenched, a torrent of water soaking them. When the spray settled, three more persons had arrived. He saw another guy, tall, wiry, with messy black hair standing there, looking around at everything care-free. On his right was a short-haired brunette, who was bouncing on her toes, looking between Kuno and their attacker. But it was the blonde, very well-endowed blonde, that spoke first.

"I'm Number 9: Tsukiumi. You!" She pointed at the intruder. "I'll take you on!"

"I'm Number 88: Musubi! Please fight me!"

"Three Sekirei, I'm so dead,'' Kuno whined from the ground. The torrent had knocked her over again, and she was pulling her scraped knees to her chest.

"Who the hell are these guys?" Haruka asked, and the man turned towards them. He looked him over, before looking at his Sekirei. His face softened into a smile, before stepping over to her.

"Hello, my name's EJ, what's yours?" he asked, holding a hand out to Kuno.

"K-K-Kuno,'' she stuttered. The cold water and her own fear had her teeth chattering as she curled in further, clearly afraid of the man.

"Pleasure to meet you Kuno. Were you the one who released that Banshee Cry?"

"'Banshee Cry'?" Haruka repeated. "Hmm. I don't know if that's better than 'Screaming Screech Cry' or not" he trailed off.

The man turned an amused look towards him. "'Screaming Screech Cry'? Bit of a mouthful, don't you think?"

"Hey! I think it's perfect!"

"Haruka-san… it's so lame!" Kuno managed to get out between chatters. EJ chuckled.

"I have to agree with your Sekirei here, Haruka-san. Name's EJ, by the way." He held out his hand, and helped Haruka up to his feet. "The two of you alright?"

Haruka turned and helped Kuno up, rubbing her arms to warm her. "A bit wet, but yeah, I think we're ok." He looked over the lithe girl. "Are you ok, Kuno?"

"I'll be fine, Haruka-san." They turned to the man, but his attention was focused on the three women.

"So you're the one who has been hunting solo Sekirei, are you?" Tsukiumi queried to the silent woman. She was appraising the newcomers. Particularly, the man that was with them. She was soaked, which irked her, but unlike her prey, these two weren't running from her.

Then she met the man's eyes, and she felt it in her chest: Ashikabi.

"YOU!" she snarled, pointing at Harry.

"Moi?" he asked innocently, daintily putting a hand to his chest. "Oui, je suis moi" he supplied with a smirk.

"Don't get fancy with me, pretty boy. I'll not be winged by the likes of you!"

"Aww, she thinks I'm pretty. You hear that, Tsukiumi, at least someone here appreciates my good looks." The blonde woman turned an evil eye on him.

"As if I could ever think a monkey such as thou could be remotely attractive" she sneered, but with much less venom than she intended. His smirk deepened.

"Oooh oooh ahhh ahhh" he imitated, stepping up towards her with a chuckle. "Don't be hating that your Ashikabi isn't as good looking as I am."

"Wait, she's not your sekirei?" Haruka suddenly asked, drawing their attention.

"Nah. Her ashikabi is a friend of mine." He laid a hand on Musubi's shoulder, rubbing it gently, sending the implied message. "He's back home with another of mine, and the rest of his."

He turned to the woman. "You, darlin', have been causing no small amount of trouble, however. Tsukiumi here isn't very happy with you."

"As if I care what she thinks" the girl retorted. He shrugged.

"Suit yourself. But why don't we settle this like adults, and you come back with us and explain what's going on."

"So you can attempt to wing me?"

"Don't recall suggesting that, but if that's what you want, I'm not against it."

She scoffed at him. "That has to be the worst offer I've had yet, and I've heard my share."

"More than, I'd wager" he countered, tilting his head. Tsukiumi let out a low growl next to him. "Oh, where are my manners. My apologies." He bowed with a flourish. "Doctor EJ Black, at your service."

To their surprise, that incensed the woman even more, before she let out a cackling laughter. This continued for several minutes before she composed herself.

"Oh, this is too perfect." She leveled a hard glare at him. "Higa's number 1 most wanted: Harry - fucking - Potter. I've been chasing rumors about you for weeks and you just walk right up to me and introduce yourself. This is fan-fucking-tastic!" He blinked. The number of people aware of his real name had long since become annoying. Now, it was getting concerning. "You're a long way from home, rich boy. And now, you're defending weak-ass Sekirei. How pathetic."

"And you've sold your services to Higa of all people. Who's the more pathetic, I wonder."

"You don't know what you're talking about" she countered, and he shrugged.

"Maybe not. Why not come home with me and explain it. I've nothing planned, and we've all day to chat."

"Really? A pickup line? Are you fucking kidding me?"

He thought it over. "Wasn't my intention, but if you want to look at it like that, sure." He thumbed Tsukiumi. "That, or Tsukiumi here takes out her pent-up frustrations on you." He thought that over as well. "That sounded bad, but my offer stands."

"Screw you!" she snarled, before spinning and throwing a silver dagger at him. He dodged it, catching it as it passed by, surprising all.

In retaliation, Tsukiumi spun and threw her hands out at the girl. "Water festival!" The girl's left arm formed a shield, blocking the hose.

"Not bad, how about this!" Water circled her hand as she rotated it, then thrust it towards her. "Water dragon!" The large torrent took on the head of a dragon, charging towards the woman. Her arms formed a singular club, and she swung them around, batting the dragon away.

Harry moved to the side, giving the combatants some room, and bumped into someone. "Oh, excuse me… Hana?" He was surprised to see the woman there, though not at all seeing the bottle of sake in her hand. She was absently attempting to coax more out.

"*Sigh*. All out of sake. These bottles never hold enough" she moaned, not acknowledging him. She looked blankly at the two fighters, stepping towards them. Harry just stood there, wondering why she was ignoring him. It was odd, to be sure. And he didn't like the feeling it stirred.

"Who was that?" Haruka asked him, pulling Kuno along with.

"Let's call her a friend of mine," he supplied. Haruka and Kuno both looked at him in askance. "It's complicated, but yes, she's another Sekirei."

An argument broke out between her and Tsukiumi. Musubi was showing a remarkable amount of self-restraint, wanting to charge right at the both of them.

'At least Hana doesn't seem to be in league with Tsubaki.' He noted the black-haired woman was every bit equally surprised to see the woman as they were, easing his worries that Hana was helping her.

"I'm Number 88: Musubi." The girl had bound over to them, something about 'unfair advantage', so she came to speak with Kuno. "My Ashikabis are Minato-san and EJ-san."

"Two Ashikabis?" Kuno asked in surprise.

"Long story. VERY long story" Harry emphasized, shaking his head. "Certainly not the time for it." Internally, he was surprised by the acknowledgement. Yume had certainly been busy explaining things to the bubbly girl.

"Pardon me, but you can't fight this girl" Haruka voiced, wrapping an arm around Kuno. "This is Number 95: Kuno. I'm her ashikabi, Shigi Haruka." He turned to Harry. "I don't know what this Sekirei 'Plan' is about, but we don't want to fight with anyone!"

"Why not?" Harry asked, and Musubi tilted her head, a finger to her lips in contemplation. "You're the first Sekirei that I've come across that hasn't wanted to fight."

"Kuno isn't a fighter," he answered, tightening his grip. "And I don't want her to get hurt." EJ smiled.

"A noble sentiment, but as you can see…" he indicated the three women arguing. "A fight is bound to happen."

"That's why we're trying to get out of Tokyo," Haruka replied.

"There are only three people permitted to speak to me in such a manner, little girl" Hana's hardened voice dominated the air. "Number 1, the director, and my ashikabi. And you are none of them." Harry frowned at that. He wasn't aware she'd been winged, and would've thought Matsu would've informed him.

"You... you're a sekirei?" Tsukiumi stuttered. Harry mentally face-palmed. 'Really need to work on her observation skills.'

"Number 3: Kazehana" the buxom woman announced, wind surrounding her hand. "Fare thee well, Miss Panty-Flasher." In one motion, she sent a gust of wind at the group at large, and in the next, disappeared with the girl.

After she'd gone he replayed what she'd said in his head: "my ashikabi". He felt something he hadn't felt in a long time: jealousy.


"Why did you save me?" the black-haired woman demanded. Kazehana had spirited her away with speed that had surprised her, and here they were, easily half the city away.

"I've seen you fight," the woman replied instead. "You're pretty good. Only saw you lose once, though I'm fairly certain he was cheating."

"Magnetism and I don't get along well, you didn't answer my question."

"I see no reason to, Number 13: Tsubaki" she stated simply, revealing her knowledge of her.

"I suppose I shouldn't be surprised you know who I am, Number 3: Kazehana" the woman responded, arms crossed. "And why won't you answer me? It's not as if I needed saving from those two, let alone that guy."

"You really have no idea who he is, do you?" the woman asked with a seriousness that didn't fit her. Tsubaki shrugged.

"Yeah, he's Harry Potter. Higa said he goes by the persona of EJ Black in public."

"And I presume Higa wants Harry dead, is that it?"

Tsubaki shrugged. "Why does it matter to you what Higa wants? Unless you're planning on joining his troupe, that is" the woman asked coyly. Kazehana leveled a near-hateful glare at the thought.

"As if I'd debase myself before such a vile excuse of a man" she stated venomously, unknowingly sounding quite like Tsukiumi just now.

"But you would for Harry Potter, is that it?" Tsubaki asked with a knowing smirk. At the woman's cautious curiosity, she dropped a little more. "Yeah, Higa knows you've slept with him. Don't ask me how, because frankly I don't care. You're on his 'to-do' list as well, just FYI."

Kazehana spit to the side, all fun and games being dropped. "I'm certain he'd like to make that quite literal, if given the chance."

"Right in one. He tried to get me to bring you in." Tsubaki scoffed. "Had to remind him I'm not one of his playthings. Why those girls allowed themselves to be one of his fuck-toys I'll never know. I'd rather die."

"Love does strange things to people" Kazehana stated, a soft smile donning her lips.

"Love is a chemical, abstract concept that encourages people to debase themselves before lesser beings."

"I see you've been learning from Karasuba. Her opinion is much the same."

"The wench went and winged herself to a gay guy. Not exactly a role model."

"You could say she was the smart one, choosing someone who had no interest in her body. This way, she can become as strong as she needs to be without relying on an Ashikabi" Kazehana said sadly.

Tsubaki cocked her head. "I can't tell if you're envying her, or pitying her." She shrugged. "Again, don't care. I'm grateful I don't have a body like yours. I get enough guys trying to cop a feel as it is. With a body like yours, my body count would have an extra digit in it."

"Perhaps you should find your Ashikabi as well, Tsubaki. One that knows how to appreciate a body without demanding it from you."

"Yeah, like yours does?" At Kazehana's bemused glance, Tsubaki smirked. "You just told three Sekirei, four including me, and two Ashikabis, of which, your Harry Potter was one of, that you had an Ashikabi." She laughed dryly. "Potter looked like a kicked puppy when he realized what you'd said. It was pathetic."

Kazehana was taken aback by that, and absently rubbed her chest above her heart. Tsubaki smirked, before turning to make her exit. "Yeah, and that's why love is such a useless concept. You're with one person, and thinking of another. Better to say 'fuck it all' and go it alone." With that, she jumped off the building, leaving the Sekirei of the Wind to her thoughts.

"Ah, Minato, glad you could join us. Come in, come in." Harry beckoned the boy inside the small apartment that he instantly recognized. Musubi had practically dragged him along, not giving much of a reason.

"Uh… EJ-sama, why are we back in my old apartment?"

"Not yours anymore, bud" he responded, clapping him on his back. "Gabs and I came and rented it out for a full year shortly after you vacated, and I've been subletting it to this guy apparently for a few weeks now. Gabs keeps track of that sort of thing. She'll be amused by the happenstance when I tell her later."

"So you're the one that the manager was complaining about" the third guy accused, pointing at Minato.

"Uh… about what?" he asked worriedly.

"He went on and on about the previous tenant bringing girls home all the time."

Minato sweat-dropped, while Musubi giggled behind her fists. Harry laughed.

"Before we get into Minato's wayward shenanigans, let's get to why you're here." From one of the nearby walls where she was leaning, Tsukiumi "harrumphed" and crossed her arms, not moving from her perch. "Musubi, if you will?" he invited, seating himself on a chair that Minato didn't remember being there before.

"I want to help these two," she said succinctly, pointing at Haruka and Kuno, who was hiding behind him. "This is Number 95: Kuno, and her Ashikabi, Haruka-san."

Minato's eyes raised in surprise, then took in the scared girl. "Don't worry, you two. Minato-san will take care of everything."

"Wait, what? What do you mean 'take care of everything'?" he backtracked nervously.

They were interrupted by a knock on the door, and Harry went to answer it. He took the several bags of food, and tipped the driver, before turning to the room. He was amused to see everyone not named Haruka had moved into the bedroom out of sight.

"It's ok to come out now, it wasn't the big, mean, manager" he teased. Tsukiumi looked to have been dragged in, as her outfit was disheveled. She was in the process of fixing it, turning towards the restroom to do so.

The conversation that followed was amusing, as the two boys hashed it about the manager, which led to schooling, and discovered how much alike they were.

In the end, it came back to the reason for the gathering. "You two don't seem like bad guys, and somehow you're sharing a Sekirei, so I'll tell you everything" Haruka stated, taking a deep breath. "Honestly, we really don't wish to fight." He held up a hand for the objection he was sure that was coming. "No… it's not that we don't wish to. It's not possible, she's such a klutz after all."

Before anyone could object to his description of his Sekirei, he continued. "It's Kuno… she doesn't have any physical strength, and her only skill is her loud voice. Anyways, this is some serious stuff. That's why we wish to leave this place, and withdraw from the Sekirei Plan."

"If you want to leave, then why don't you?" Minato asked. Harry facepalmed. 'He and Tsukiumi are a good match. As if the dozens of helicopters swarming the city weren't a give-away. Or the announcement that Minaka made.'

Haruka was of the same thought line. "Don't you know anything? MBI's helicopters are sweeping all across the city, day and night. And even the airports are filled with MBI's soldiers. And all along the roads there are armored cars, the borders of this city have been barricaded." He leaned forward, grabbing Minato by the shirt. "Don't you know the reason for such a hostile environment? To prevent us, ashikabi and sekirei, from escaping from this city!"

"You will remove your hands from my Ashikabi this instant, or find both you and yours eliminated. Permanently." Tsukiumi's threat was given slowly, but the tone left absolutely no room for misinterpretation. She held a blade made of water - something Harry raised an eyebrow at, unaware she had learned to do so - to his throat, and he slowly released the other boy.

"Sorry, sorry" he instantly apologized to the very scary lady. Kuno wasn't much better off, clearly threatened by the woman. Though, she did scurry to her Ashikabi's side when the scary lady removed the dagger.

"So that's what's going on" Minato breathed out in understanding, having ignored what just happened.

Haruka looked at him in exasperation. "You… so you knew nothing about this after all" he observed, and Minato shook his head. "I suppose that's the benefit of having strong Sekirei, you get to be more oblivious."

'Daaamn that was a low blow to Kuno' Harry thought. 'Minato too, for that matter. Though, he is more accepting of that fact.' The girl instantly teared up, and was holding onto the tail of her Ashikabi's shirt.

"Giving me a kiss… Saying I'm 'your girl'" she whimpered, and Haruka instantly succumbed to it.

"Ok ok, I'm sorry. I won't compare you to her again!"

"Kuno-san. What do you want to do?" The heavy question from Musubi came as a surprise. Harry had to double take, making sure it was actually Musubi who asked. 'She really has her moments. My theory about Yume hindering her is slowly gathering more and more weight. Really need to get her body back. Or build her a new one. We've been slacking.'

"I wish to be together with Haruka-san" the girl's soft voice answered, tears streaking down her face. "But I… am… so… weak…" she sobbed out. "If we remain here… I won't be able to protect Haruka-san." Tears were flowing freely, and Haruka, to his credit, slowly took her into his arms, holding her close as she sobbed into his shoulder. He looked near to tears himself, Harry noted.

"THEN RUN AWAY, WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!" Musubi's sudden screaming declaration had all caught by surprise, and Harry was bent over holding his ears. He'd forgotten how sensitive they could be.

The shout sobered everyone up, even bringing Tsukiumi back out from her self-pampering, looking in tip-top shape. "Even though you might not be strong… even though you're weak, if you have someone precious in your heart. Your heart will never stray!"

'Then again, Yume is good for her. If I didn't know better, I'd've thought that was Yume speaking. Musubi's moments of brilliance are giving me whiplash.'

Regardless of his thoughts, the exclamation seemed to have sold Minato, who was looking much more determined. "I know what you mean, Musubi. I, too, wish to help the two of you. So that the two of you can stay together. Leaving the city is much better."

Haruka was sold as well, and held out his hand for Minato. "I entrust this to you. There's nobody else I can trust here." He looked sheepishly at Harry, who was looking back with a cocked eyebrow. "Sorry, EJ-sama. But you won't even tell me how many Sekirei you have. Kind of difficult to trust a guy who won't answer such a simple question."

"Whatever" he replied, shrugging it off, looking out the window. "It's gotten late, I better get Minato back before Miya thinks he's getting busy with his Sekirei."

"Of course he's been busy, EJ-san, what do you think all of this amounts to?" Tsukiumi demanded. Harry pursed his lips, and exchanged an amused look with Yume's violet eyes that were dancing in merriment, before returning to Musubi's brown. Haruka and Minato were hanging their heads.

"Yes, of course you're right, Tsukiumi. Be sure to inform Miya of that, will you?" Harry asked with as level of a voice as he could muster, trying not to laugh.

"Indeed I shall, not that my conversations with the landlady are of any concern to you" she snapped at him. He kept his innocent facade up until he was at the door. "Minato, be sure to give your information to Haruka so we can organize their escape."

"Ah, right, EJ-sama. Good idea" Minato chuckled, turning to the other boy. Harry shook his head, stepping into the cool air.