A/N: For newcomers, thank you for taking the time to give this story a chance. This chapter, like many that will come after it, has been rewritten and replaced. All updated chapters will have a date in bold at the top of every page; please visit and like my FaceBook page for any note of change should you read beyond them.
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Arc 1 - 1
"There's an ancient Chinese myth about the Red Thread of Fate.
It says that the Gods have tied a red thread around every one of our ankles,
and attached it to all the people whose lives they are destined to touch.
This thread may stretch,
but it will never break."
-Jake Bohm, Touch
Many people say that before you die, you see your life flash before your eyes.
"WAIT! REED! STOP!"
Well I'm here to tell you that from my experience, that simply wasn't true.
Because when it's sudden, when that moment just sneaks up on you . . .
"Someone call an ambulance!"
Despite having years of dealing with this ability, seeing the red threads of fate was still difficult for me to understand. At 12 I had gotten curious, but asking my parents for help was out of the question; they were over protective, and did their best to keep me from the answers I've been searching for. I had to depend on the stories told by those who researched the myths, and they were very rarely right. And at the age of 14, there was very little I could do about it.
The red threads of fate worked like this: God tied a string around all living things, and that string connected to the others they were destined to interact with. No matter the distance, no matter the time. Whether it was direct, or indirect. Everyone and everything was connected.
The stories were at least half right. What they didn't say was that there were an infinite amount of those strings, bouncing off one and striking through another. My world was a world of red lines overlapping each other in criss-cross shapes. Fate could not be avoided. Coincidence did not exist.
Still, I'm surprised at how easily I accepted my death. At how quickly I'd forgotten the agonizing pain that followed getting hit by a bus. By how I felt more irritated by dying at the figurative hands of a bus than I am by, well, dying.
Maybe it was because I had always felt this need for things to be under control. Hell, I was the epitome of control, since I could see the fates of those around me, so why should now be any different?
Mind you, I did take a few minutes wondering if I was going to wake up from this God-awful nightmare. Lord knows how many times I've been chased by zombies, or did something completely embarrassing, only to tell myself to wake up and I actually do, and sigh in relief that life is normal and zombie-free. But when it didn't happen, I was immediately cast into acceptance.
That controlling part of my brain told me that my death was inevitable. That I accepted death so easily because I was supposed to push my sister, Reed, out of the way. That it wouldn't make sense for her to die, since I could clearly see the long and happy life-line she still had left. That nothing mattered now because I was dead.
But that didn't mean the pain wasn't there.
I didn't mourn my death, I mourned for the loss of my life. I was never going to have a first love. A first heartbreak. I was never going to comfort my sister again when she had nightmares. My father wouldn't give me away at my wedding. My mother wouldn't get to nag me for grandchildren. None of it no longer mattered, and it scared me.
It's a lot to put on a 14-year-old! To add insult to injury, who would have expected me to become a spirit of all things? I've turned into Casper the Friendly-freaking-Ghost!
"Fuck!" The curse felt foreign on my tongue, and if I had a heartbeat I'm sure it'd thump slightly faster in fear of me getting in trouble. I reflexively turned towards my sleeping parents, fully expecting my mother to wake at my exclamation and chastise me for my language. And then I remembered: oh, I'm dead.
"Now what?" I spoke aloud again, but this time not expecting a response. What does one do when stuck in a body-less form? Weird fate abilities or not, I had no idea what to expect or what to do. What, no guardian angel? No bright, white light? An instruction manual would've been nice.
I can yell and kick and sing Zip-a-Dee-Da and not have a care in the world! But is that it? Is this where death takes you? Because I do not want to just sulk around and haunt my family from beyond the grave. As much as I love them, and as much as I'd love to stick around and keep an eye on them, watching them live life without me does not sound appealing at all. To know what could have been, and what isn't.
My time of death had been called over two hours ago, and my parents hadn't left Reed's hospital room save for my dad's occasional trips to the vending machine. He had been trying to get my mom to eat for an hour before giving up and falling fast asleep on the recliner, his hat tilted to obscure his face and hide the redness around his eyes. My mother had fallen asleep with her head by my sister's broken leg, her back bent over at an uncomfortable but determined-not-to-leave-Reed's-Side position.
The bed was ultimately unaffected by my ghostly weight as I lay beside her, stroking her dark hair with my transparent fingertips and imagining the warmth of her skin pressed against mine. She had hit her head hard on the pavement when I pushed her, which knocked her out and was cause to keep her monitored throughout the night. Somehow she managed to break her leg amongst the midst of the accident, and I could only hope it wouldn't have any permanent damage. Her face, despite being scratched and bandaged, looked so peaceful in her slumber.
How will that change when she wakes, expecting me to be by her side only to hear of my death? How many nights will she cry herself to sleep, turning over to see the bed space next to her empty and cold?
This continued during the night. I asked Reed questions that she'll never be able to answer. I wanted to stroke her cheek and I yearned for her warmth to counter the coldness of my nonexistence. I wanted her to open her deep blue eyes - but just for a moment - to see the green and grey flecks of color distortion that came with being a twin.
We are . . . were . . . twins.
What will it be like for her to look into my coffin and see her face, lifeless and cold, laying there? By then, it will be her wishing to see me open my eyes and see the same shared-quality that I too admired so much.
"Now would be a really good time to wake up from this nightmare." I say softly, listening to Reed's heartbeat lull me into an impossible, dreamless sleep.
Ichigo Kurosaki debated whether or not to poke this strange young girl with a stick. It was quite tempting, and it took his mind off his true purpose for coming down to the stream, if only for a few minutes.
The first day he saw her, he thought nothing. It wasn't often that people took naps under the bridge, for it was a nice town and homelessness was at an all-time low. It was especially strange that a person would be napping outside in the rain. It was no concern of his, though, and he continued with his normal, albeit unhealthy routine of waiting on the hill, walking around to occupy his time and his thoughts. However, after hours and hours, the girl hadn't moved an inch. The next day, she was still there, in the same spot, curled in the same fetal-position on her side. His curiosity piqued, Ichigo made his way over and gulped at the sight before him.
The girl was just a little older than he was; with short dark hair lopped longer on one side and shorter on the other, obscured mostly by her red hood. Her skin had a strange translucent tone to it, and for a moment Ichigo wondered if she was some kind of winter mirage. A mirage like the girl he had seen before . . .
But his attention was diverted to the red stains on her tattered, black and white tank top. Dried blood stuck the fabric to her skin and suddenly Ichigo was overcome with fear and concern. He knew what blood looked like. He knew it all too well. Was she dead? Had another girl become victim to the same illusions that haunted him that night?
A large intake of breathe shortly after his approach immediately ceased the loudly thumping in his chest. The girl muttered something under her breath and turned, and Ichigo was brought back to his thoughts of poking her with a stick. The girl opened her eyes and immediatly shut them, as if the dull light of the cloudy day disturbed her. Blinking away her sleep, the girl pushed herself up and blinked at him.
Now he could see her eyes, glazed over and wrought with confusion. Ichigo would say that her eyes were much like the stream; matte blue, but flecked with sparkling shades of grey.
"The fuck?" she muttered, her gaze at him shifting from sleep-induced confusion to absolute confusion.
Ichigo could only say the first thing that popped into his mind. What he meant to say was, You're alive. But instead, he said: