"Wahh!" Tohru Honda exclaimed as she put her right hand up in the air, shielding her eyes from the sun. "It's already mid-September, yet it looks like another hot day!"
Her older sister, Akane Honda, slowly got out from the small tent that they both currently live in. She watched as her sister go back to the tent as they said their goodbyes to the picture of their mother, Kyoko Honda.
"Watch the house while we're away, Mom, okay?"
Akane stared at the photo longingly. People around her said that she was the spitting image of the legendary Red Butterfly herself. Rather than the short bobbed orange hair, Akane had shoulder length orange hair. Rather than long, M-shaped bangs that are swept to the right, her bangs was up to her eyebrows and swept to the left. Kyoko and Akane even had the same pair of light brown colored eyes with long eyelashes. A part of Akane's hair was braided to the right side of her head with a red colored ribbon, her favorite color.
Yes, ironically, her favorite color is red, and her favorite animal is the butterfly. Like her mother's legendary nickname back when she was a delinquent.
Akane even tried to follow Kyoko's footsteps once out of admiration after hearing that she was the legendary Red Butterfly. She asked for martial arts lessons, and Kyoko agreed because at first she thought that Akane wanted to learn it because she wanted to protect herself (and Tohru).
Until one day, Akane took out her anger on some bullies in a park. Kyoko brushed it off at first, thinking positively. But as time progressed, Akane kept getting into fights. Kyoko didn't want Akane to be like her. So, Kyoko tried doing damage control by moving her interests in martial arts well, to, arts. Kyoko gave her a set of crayons to draw with and a blank sketchbook for Akane to draw her emotions (predominantly, anger).
No wonder their grandfather always mistook her for Kyoko, while Tohru was mistaken of Katsuya, their father who died when Akane was four and Tohru was three.
Akane turned out loving drawing squiggles and doodles on the sketchbook with the crayons, and finds herself picking up arts as a favorite hobby of hers. When she was little, her favorite drawing of hers was of a red butterfly. Kyoko praised Akane so lovingly for drawing the red butterfly, and Akane found herself loving the praise from her mother (it made her blush) and continued drawing until now.
She didn't have close friends like Tohru, who had Arisa Uotani, the ex-delinquent who idolizes their mother and calls Akane "senpai", and Saki Hanajima, the mystic girl who Akane thought she was pretty cool. Although she knew them both and the four of them hang out from time to time, Akane spends her time alone, drawing.
She was always everywhere with her sketchbook and sometimes her fish- shaped pencil case (it was cute so she bought it). Occasionally, a set of color pencils are used. She wanted to try painting with acrylics or watercolors, or even that gouache medium that got her curious and saving money from her part time job to buy it.
While Tohru worked as a cleaning lady at a giant building, Akane worked at an art store. Her artist needs are quenched as she opened a new batch of paint sets and got to swatch them for the display swatch. She was content on working there, she loved it.
"We're going!" Both Akane and Tohru said as they left their tent home.
The walk was pretty content as Akane zoned out Tohru's rambling. She took time to examine her surroundings that looked beautiful. The blue sky, the green plants, the clear water... She would live draw her surroundings if she had time. Anytime, any place. At school, at her job, or even at gym class where she would sit out of so she could just live sketch her classmates playing sports for her reference. Her gym teacher tried to coerce her to do sports, she just ignored him and drew. Eventually he gave up (She wasn't that worse than Hanajima though). Nobody tried talking to her as well. She wasn't that much of a talker since her mother's death...
She snapped out of her dozing as she found Tohru already walking ahead, and hurriedly followed her sister who disappeared mysteriously- oh- what a beautiful view of the city. She took out her sketchbook from her bag in a hurry, not wanting to miss a moment. Just as she took out her fish-shaped pencil case, she heard a chime from nearby. It was a wind chime from a house that she didn't know exists.
She saw Tohru talking with a man.
"Tohru, I know you're too nice but don't talk to strangers so easily." Akane said scolding as she tried to shield Tohru from the man. Akane was protective of Tohru since she was afraid that she would be taken advantage of by the stranger.
"S-sorry, Aka nee-san..."
"Haha, another girl!" The man laughed. Akane sighed and found her eyes analyzing the man as he tried to talk with Tohru. The man was pretty good looking, not gonna lie. Her eyes then found themselves roaming the house. It was pretty nice, and finally her eyes stayed on the CUTE animal figurines on the porch. Akane liked cute things a little too much... Maybe that's why she's so protective of Tohru.
The animal figurines was that of the Chinese Zodiac, and She chuckled as she heard her sister asking about the Cat. They found themselves remembering her mother's bedtime story about the Chinese Zodiac's banquet.
"Poor Cat! I made a decision! I'm going to quit being the Dog and become the Cat!"
Tohru's declaration made her chuckle at the time.
"What about you?" The man turned to Akane.
"I never thought about changing my zodiac before." she admitted honestly.
"I don't want to change my zodiac! I'll still be the Rooster so I can fly and see the world!"
"But Akane, Roosters can't fly..."
The man laughed at Akane's straightforward answer as her face gave a slight blush at her old self.
"Really? I wonder what face he'd make if he heard that." The man smiled as he put his chin on the back of his right hand. "And that guy..." The man whispered which Akane didn't miss, while Tohru just gave a "What?" as she innocently tilted her head.
"So, you were born in the Year of the Dog?" The man asked curiously. "I kind of feel a sense of affinity with you. You know, I'm a Dog... as well." The man was hit in the head by a bag by no other than the famous Yuki Sohma who happens to be the topic of every student of Kaibara because of his prince-like appearance and personality.
Tohru tried to run away because she was shy but Yuki offered to walk together to school. Akane didn't want to join them since she didn't really know Yuki, so she stayed a little behind and found herself conversing with the man about the cute zodiac figures.
"Can I... touch these?" Akane asked unsurely.
"Yes! help yourself." The man smiled as she sat on the porch and gave him a thankful smile.
Akane's hand reached the Rooster figurine instinctively. She smiled as she picked it up, inspecting it.
"Ah, so you're the Rooster zodiac, huh." The man fanned himself as he tried making small talk.
"Yes..." She smiled nostalgically. "Unlike my sister, I never wanted to change my zodiac."
"Why is that?"
Akane chuckled and patted the Rooster that was in her palms.
"Because..." She then held her palms holding the Rooster zodiac up.
"I used to believe that the Rooster can fly. To escape it's confining cages and be free and see the world with it's wings." The man stared at Akane and gave her an odd look as he stopped fanning.
"My mom quickly corrected me though, and said that Roosters can't fly, and I argued so hard with her that it could. She gave me another option though, that is the Dragon," Akane put the Rooster figure back down and took the Dragon figure,
"She said that the Dragon could fly as it is big and majestic, unlike the Rooster. My kid self threw a hissy fit and said..."
"Well. The Rooster can dream! It has wings, so why can't it fly!?"
Akane dozed at the memory.
"I guess that's just a childish thought." She put down the Dragon figure and picked up the Dog figurine.
"You said that you were a Dog?" She asked, and the man just gave her an indifferent look. "If you are, does that mean you're 28 years old?" She asked him curiously.
"Oya... I'm not that old." He started fanning again. Akane felt his aura changed.
"How old are you then?" Akane tried to prod. The man got silent for a while.
"Hahaha... Isn't it time for your school? Wont you be late?" He tried to change the conversation in another direction. At his answer, Akane's eyes squinted, analyzing his face. He seemed different than how he acted earlier. This man...
"Well If you don't wan't to answer then just say so. Thank you for the conversation. I'll be going now." She bowed politely and took off to school.
The man watched her figure walk with sharp eyes as he fanned his face, then stopped.
"That girl is perceptive..." He smirked. "And poetic too. Interesting..."