A/N: ...o-okay. ^ ^" This is it! Finally! The last chapter! ^0^ I can't believe this is happening! XD
After Yomi's exclamation, the first few minutes were just a jumbled mess. There was a lot of running and hugging L and Light, no, now Koutei Yukoshi and Hijima Ryousuke; Yomi practically sobbing in relief while Kiyo's voice cracked, and then both girls embracing Nikushimi. Kiyo swore his cheeks were a little pink as he smiled at them with a mixture of surprise and gentleness.
Then came the stuttering of what the hell were they doing there, how the heck did Nikushimi-san get them into this world, and why the hell L had brown hair. At this, Yukoshi let go of Yomi's hand, remarking "I'd like to know that myself."
And so, according to Nikushimi, it was like creating a false identity. Usually, people create a different identity for themselves in order to disappear. In this case, it was for those two to reappear.
For Yomi and Kiyo, it was the same, yet different. They looked alike and they looked unlike. Their habits remained and their habits changed. It was just too difficult to explain.
But L and Light were still themselves in the long run, and they were there to still stand beside them, and that was all that mattered.
Not everything worked out, however. L and Light were the only beings Nikushimi could bring back to the human world. Anymore would have disrupted the balance. Or so Nikushimi said.
It was when Ryousuke smiled widely at Kiyo did it hit her.
Wait... Light- n-no, Ryousuke, likes me. Rokya likes me. And I... I might like both of them... Kiyo's mouth fell open. AGGGGHHH DAMMIT! WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?
Meh. I'll worry about it later.
Meanwhile, on a different continent...
"Charlie? Is that you? Agh, you wouldn't believe what happened, I had the weirdest, most horrible dream ever-"
Rokya groaned. He should have known that this wasn't going to be easy. "Mark-"
"-Oh my god, it was so messed up! And what's worst is that it went on and on, like it really was real and everything, but of course it wasn't, and we had to do all of this stuff and go to all of these places and I kept getting left behind-"
"-It was so annoying! And there was so much scary stuff, a ghost that looked like a little girl, a god that looked like a little boy, and a huge snake-"
"-but since it was just a dream, none of that really happened, and I'm so glad right now!" Mark finished, practically panting for breath. "...Sorry, was I freaking you out?
"...Mark." Rokya finally said for lack of a better word, bringing his hand to his face in frustration.
"I did freak you out? Sorr-"
"It was real."
"All of that stuff you 'dreamed' about. It was real. It happened."
"...Y-you're playing a prank on me, aren't you, Charlie? I KNEW IT! I'M GOING CRAZY-"
"My dear friend, let me assure you, you're not going crazy. ...oh, and when Yomi and Yoko get back from their trip in Japan, Nikushimi-san will be there with them, so we should all get together at my house. See ya."
"...Ni... Nikushimi-san..." Mark dropped the phone shakily. "S... so it was real... but... but... WAIT! Wh-why does it feel like I'm the last one to know about this?
Several days later, in a random public place...
Rokya's jaw dropped in astonishment. Mark simply raised an eyebrow.
"...nice to see you too, Rokya..." Kiyo murmured, quickly coming forward to pat him on the back in a one-armed hug.
"THE HELL?" The said teenager fumed, wrapping an arm around her while using the other to point accusingly at the two men behind. "THE HELL, YOKO?"
Yomi sighed wearily. "Charlie Meet Koutei Yukoshi-san and Hijima Ryousuke-kun. Yukoshi's got the brown hair, and Ryousuke's hair is black."
"THE HELL?" Rokya repeated, seeming only capable of yelling those two words.
"How did you manage to do it, Nikushimi-san?" Mark asked admirably as the high god nodded his head towards them in greeting.
"...it is a long story." Nikushimi mumbled briefly, glancing around them warily. "Perhaps it would be better if we were to move to a place less crowded."
As they hurried away from the piercing looks of some suspicious passerby, Rokya shook his head in disbelief. "I don't believe it! You guys basically switched hair color and changed your names. The heck? People are bound to recognize you two! I'm surprised that no fangirls came screaming up to us!"
"Ah, I wouldn't necessarily put it that way, Rokya-kun." Yukoshi piped up, his hand coming up to scratch at his ear. "If one observes closely, my current hair color is lighter than what Ryousuke-kun's once was. My skin is also a shade darker than my previous tone-"
"Meaning you look like a normal person instead of an anemic recluse..." Yomi grumbled. "Don't scratch your ear in public, you look like a monkey!"
Yukoshi continued as if he had not heard her, though his mouth twitched slightly. "The age gap between Yomi-chan and myself has considerably lessened, much to my relief, I am now only two decades of age in this world. I feel younger already. Although, Rokya-kun is not completely mistaken, I believe I shall continue my habits of insomnia while Ryousuke-kun's looks have enchanted quite a few women, not to mention girls, and we both have our same nationaliti-"
"THAT'S NOT THE POINT, RYUUZAKI!" Rokya interrupted loudly, flailing his arms wildly. "Or should I say, Koutei-san! Hah, Koutei... sounds like I'm addressing you as the emperor, should I say your majesty instead?* Nikushimi-san, if you gotta come up with a name, can't you come up with something a little more, I dunno, normal sounding? What kanji do you even use to spell your name with?"
It was evident that L's intelligence had not shrunk a bit as Yukoshi's eyes narrowed shrewdly. "...I understand Rokya-kun's irritation, but it would be better if he would complain directly to the source, instead of taking his frustration out on the innocent one."
Obviously ruffled, Rokya huffed defensively. "Wh-who said anything about being irritated? I-I mean, of course I'm pissed! After all, I went through all the angst of not being able to see you guys again, and then-"
"Yeah, you seem VERY happy to see me, Rokya-kun." Ryousuke muttered sarcastically, running a hand through his black hair. "I missed you too."
"O-of course I missed Aniki!" Rokya fumed. "And.." His eyes widened. "Wh-why are you standing so close to Yoko? Get away from her!" Rokya hastily ran between them.
Kiyo flinched, feeling the beginnings of what promised to be a very sore headache. "O-oh, about that, Ryousuke, Roky-"
The taller teenager smirked at Rokya, crossing his arms. "Hmph! You were so jealous of me, younger brother, why didn't you tell me from the start? Or was it because you knew it was hopeless for you?"
"YOU BASTARD-" Kiyo wouldn't be surprised if puffs of steam came out of Rokya's head. "A-ALL RIGHT THEN! Fine, from now on, I declare war on you! You won't ever win Yoko!"
The said girl coughed uncomfortably. "U-um..."
"I already have won her." Ryousuke informed Rokya cooly, regarding him in a strange mixture of fond amusement and barely contained annoyance. "Don't think I'll just hand her over to you easily. Someone who kept declaring that she was just a friend or a sister stands no chance against me."
"Hahahahaha, ooooh you think so, huh? You're not even Yoko's type!"
"Uh, you guys-"
"For the second time then, you're on!" Rokya yelled, putting his hand on Yoko's shoulder. "Oh, wait, Yoko, sorry, were you going to say something?"
Kiyo sighed, putting a hand to her forehead. "What I mean to say is... erm..." Great... of course when I have their attention, I have no idea what to say...
"Ah." Rokya's face grew serious. "I-I mean, in all reality, it's up to you. We shouldn't be making you uncomfortable with this-"
"A-actually..." Kiyo felt her cheeks heat up. "R-Rokya... maybe I'm not totally opposed to thinking of you... in... that way..."
Ryousuke raised an eyebrow. "B-but it's not like I don't like Ryousuke-kun anymore! It's just... er..."
Kiyo gave up and groaned. "Just... don't kill each other. Unlike most girls, the thought of you two fighting over me is really unappealing."
"But the thought of you being with one of us isn't unappealing?" Ryousuke persisted.
"It's settled then!" Rokya grinned at her cheerfully. "Relax, Yoko, we won't make life too difficult for you."
"I agree." Ryousuke added smoothly. "After all, it's clear who will triumph in this."
"That's right Aniki, it's me!"
"You can only believe in that deluded fantasy for so long, Rokya-kun..."
"YEAH RIGHT! I won't lose to a cartoon character!"
"Ah, ah, but I am no longer a simple animated figure, I am Hijima Ryousuke-"
They... totally aren't listening to me, are they? Making no attempts to hide her twitching eyebrow, Kiyo quickly ducked underneath of Rokya's arm. "Okay, I'ma getting out here before this turns into a war zone."
"Ditto!" Yomi muttered in agreement, moving to follow her out. A jacket-clad arm intercepted her. "Y-Yukoshi-san?"
"I need to talk to you." Yukoshi stated bluntly, gently guiding her away from the group.
Meanwhile, Mark and Nikushimi were also backing away warily from Rokya and Ryousuke. "W-well, Kiyo, it can't be too bad, can it?" Mark suggested timidly, trying to cheer his friend up. "After all, Charlie did say that they weren't going to make it difficult for you-"
"Not difficult?" Kiyo snorted, looking miserable. "What'll probably happen is that they'll end up fighting forever while I die an old maid!"
Unfortunately, Nikushimi took the last sentence seriously. "...I am sorry. I should have known not to transport Light as well-"
Kiyo interrupted him hastily. "Oh don't, Nikushimi-san, none of this is your fault! It's just their own stupid competitiveness! By the way..." She frowned, looking at him carefully. "...are you ever going to tell us what Zarth's real name is?"
"..." The high god was quiet for a long time. "...Koi. His real name is Koi." Kiyo noticed how tightly his fists were clenched as he spoke. His knuckles were turning white.
"S-sorry, it's not really our business, I didn't mean t-"
"No, you deserve to know." Nikushimi said in a surprisingly gentle tone. "You all deserve to know." He let out a long sigh. "Afterwards, I will need to talk to all of you. To explain everything. Everything that happened between Zarth and I, and how we became what we were today."
"...o... okay..." Kiyo whispered uneasily, Mark gulping as well. She longed to ask more questions, but didn't dare.
"There's nothing that I wouldn't answer here, though." Nikushimi added. "Go ahead, ask me. If it's you, Kiyoko-san, I do not mind."
"...a-all right then." The girl agreed guiltily. "...so, Z- y-your brother's name meant love, right? And your name means hate..." Something that Zarth had said so long ago was eating at her. "...Nikushimi-san, why DOES your name mean hate?"
Nikushimi did something unexpected then. He smiled. "Surely, Kiyoko-san already knows that."
"O-oi, where are you taking me?" Yomi demanded as Yukoshi continued to lead her away from the building, until they reached an abandoned parking lot. "Yukoshi-"
Yukoshi turned around abruptly. "...I apologize. I just... need to know."
"Need to know?" Yomi tilted her head curiously. "What?"
He could have face-palmed at her nonchalance. "...I need to know if anything's changed between us." He whispered softly. "...I... am different man. I may contain the memories, and maybe even somewhat be the person Yomi-chan has known, but I have changed. Does Yomi-chan still-" His question was cut off swiftly as the said girl kicked his shin. "Ooof-"
A man gave the two a strange look as Yukoshi tried and failed not to hop around in pain. "Wh-what did Yomi-chan do th-that for-"
Yomi rolled her eyes. "Be grateful it wasn't in your 'weak' spot. I bet half my manga that that particular fact hasn't changed about you. And that was for asking such a stupid question." She smiled at Yukoshi. "Of course I'll still love you, baaakaaaaaaa."
Her lover gawked at her before forgetting his shin and quickly hugging Yomi. "A-AAH! WH-WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?"
"I'm... really glad..."
"L-let go of me! People are staring!"
"So..." Yomi stuck her hands in her pockets. "What's the deal with Ryousuke and Charlie now?"
Kiyo simply groaned in despair. "Don't even ask." The two girls were now alone, and walking home together. "But, now that we can't talk with our minds anymore, I need to tell you something..."
Yomi raised her eyebrows as Kiyo told her what Nikushimi said. "...He's gonna talk about his past with Zarth? Or, as his real name is, Koi?"
"Yeah..." Kiyo rubbed her neck, uncomfortable. "I told him that he shouldn't do it if it would dredge up any painful memories, but he insisted letting it all out would be a lot better. In all honesty, I'm not really looking forward to it..."
"Me neither. I doubt that they had a happy childhood, if you can call that period of time a childhood..." Yomi commented darkly.
After a short period of silence, Yomi spoke up again. "But... why are they called 'love' and 'hate', seriously? Is it just for the sake of naming them opposites or what?"
Kiyo smiled sadly in the darkness. "Actually, no."
"...then what is it?"
"Nikushimi-san is called Nikushimi because he feels all the hatred of the humans. Zarth is called Koi because he feels all of their love. That's actually the reason why they were created."
Yomi stopped in surprise. "...say WHAT? Then why is Zarth the crazy one and Nikushimi the nice one? That doesn't make sense!"
Kiyo shrugged. "All depends on the way you look at it, I guess."
"Well... I guess there's no use sweating over it." Yomi muttered reluctantly. "After all, it's all good now, isn't it?"
"Yeah. Yeah, it is."
"If we do have children, then they should be close. Really close... like siblings."
"Haha, it would be cool if we would have two children around the same age, wouldn't it?"
"Definitely! ...b-but, just don't try to think too hard about how we should do that, ehehe."
With that, the two friends hurried across the cold street.
* If I'm not mistaken, Koutei means emperor in Japanese, hence Rokya's comment. ^_^"
And we finally reach the end! First of all, I sincerely thank you, the readers, for taking the time to read this long, rambling story started by a teenager that had way too much time on her hands.
Then, I'd really like to thank all the reviewers of this story, including Neon-Nancy The Green, Moshi, Zen, And Ester of N.E.M.Z-World (lololol), mild94, Frogata, TamiLawliet, SwilzSmile, Sakura Ichigo Morihiko,York2189, lsdghjlnf, Deadlysweetness13, kit kat, 13, HybridRebellion, The New Vampire, Tailsdoll123, Keitorin Chiisai, alyssakuga, AnimeCrazed121, xXChillyNightXx, Navi-at-heart, and last but certainly not least, Hazel Murosoichi! ^_^ you all have my eternal appreciation and gratefulness! (terribly sorry if you reviewed I didn't mention you. O_O" but I think I didn't miss anyone, did I?
...so... yup, that's it, folks! ^0^"