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Hoping For An Eternity With You

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Takanashi Kiara, a phoenix who's lived through time, being reborn and revived whenever she met her end, has just revived once more (after a series of unfortunate events that has sadly, targeted her by mistake), making it her 49th revival throughout her life.

Mori Calliope, an apprentice reaper working and training directly under Death, reaping souls for many years, has seen Kiara die again. Setting off for the underworld, she prepares to meet her.

"Calli!~", Kiara runs up to the reaper enveloping her in a hug.

"Sheesh, Calli. What took so long?"

The phoenix is overjoyed at the mere sight of her best friend, who she also considers as her significant other.

"Sorry, Kusotori. Death-sensei just talked to me for a while."

Kiara looks at her with a questioning expression. "Ku so tori?"

"Wait, you don't-... Ah, right.", Calli sighs and gives a soft smile.

"That's usually what I call you, Kiara. A nickname, if you will. Anyway..." Calli stops and gives Kiara a bonk on the head.

"Ow! Calliii~!"

"That's what you get. Why would you throw yourself over a cliff and then drown? You have wings! You could've just flown!"

Kiara puts on a smug smile. "Oh? Are you worried about me, Calli? You're too sweet!~"

Calli's face flushes pink. "Like I'd be! Anyway, I'm being serious here, Kusotori!"

Kiara giggles, and then faces the flustered, angry reaper. "I'm kidding. What else could I do? The person was going to fall to his death if I didn't reach for his hand on time. Also, I'm not allowed to show humans my powers, you know that."

"You could've at least asked Ina to catch you with her Takos or asked Gura to command the sea to break your fall."

"Who's Ina? And,,, Gu rah?", Kiara asks.

Calli becomes taken aback, shocked by what she has heard. But her shocked expression quickly turns to sorrow, mixed in with a hint of fear.

"looks like it got worst, just like what you've said, Death-sensei.", She says in a hushed voice.

"... Calli... Is there anything wrong?"

Kiara asks as she puts a hand over Calli's cheek.

Calli puts her hand over Kiara's and puts on a kind smile.

"Nothing... It's fine. "

Calli holds Kiara's hand and puts it down.

"Look, I'll tell you all about them later after you've revived. I'll meet you up there so wait for me."

"Sure thing, Calli!"

The phoenix does a salute, to which the reaper lets out a chuckle, and with that Calli brings Kiara back to the world of the living.

Calli lets out a deep sigh, changes into her human world outfit, and follows Kiara to the world above.
__________________________________________

"You called for me, Death-sensei? I'm kinda on my way to meet Kusotori."

"What I'm about to tell you, concerns your significant other.", Death says calmly, but seriously.

"S-she's my, my best friend, Death-sensei."

"You know that she's revived 49 times now, right? And that this is her 50th life."

Calli nods. She holds a curious face, still wondering what her mentor has to say about her phoenix friend.

"Whenever she revives, her memory gets affected-"

"Yeah! Kusotori gets some kind of short-term amnesia when she gets revived."

"Let me finish."

Calli soon feels the uneasy atmosphere filling the office.

"That's what we know, yes, but the matter is not as simple as that." Death-sensei takes a deep breath before continuing on. "Whenever Kiara revives, fragments of her memory slowly gets erased, removed, wiped from her brain."

"But, she still remembers when we tell her about things, sensei!"

"When trying to jog her memory, her brain connects the dots and makes sense of what she's trying to remember. Her lost memories in turn, ends up being quite vague."

The moment she's heard this, Calli recalls the times when she'd tell Kiara about their moments together, and she would just reply or talk about it in a vague way.

"So what does this have to do with this being her 49th revival?"

"Since Kiara is a being that dies and becomes reborn with another life, her brain slowly alters her old memories to make way for new ones."

"So why don't we experience that?"

"We are immortal beings, we live a single life. And our minds also, technically are storing memories for one life. Kiara on the other hand, is an eternal being. She's immortal by being able to be alive again after death. Her mind is living through different lifetimes with her."

Calli feels that she does not like where this is going.

"... What I'm trying to tell you, Calliope, is that the moment Kiara dies in this 50th lifetime of hers, and gets reborn for the 50th time, she'll lose all of her memories. Every moment spent from her 1st lifetime until now will be wiped from her mind to make way for memories for her next 50 years of existence."

The sound of a dropped scythe echoes throughout the office, and this breaks Calli away from her daze.

No wonder her memory loss gets worse every time she revives. The moment she dies again, she won't remember everything. The times we all spent together, our moments with the other girls, her other friends... She won't even remember Ame, Gura, Ina... She won't even remember me.

"I-i'm sorry, sensei." Calli says, her words sounding a little agitated.

"What you've said, sensei... Does she know? Does Kiara know?"

"I'm afraid not... Do you wish to tell her?"

A part of Calli does want Kiara to know. But she's afraid it might affect the way Kiara lives her new life.

Calli stays silent for a while and tries to collect her thoughts. A few minutes later, she feels a hand on her shoulder. She looks up and sees Death-sensei right before her.

"Calliope... I told you this because as her friend, I wanted you to know. But also as her appointed reaper, I wanted you to be prepared."

Calli takes a deep breath and puts on a strong face, for now.

"I think I'll go meet her now, Death-sensei. She must've been waiting since a while ago."

Calli picks up her scythe and walks out of the office, and before she's out of earshot from Death,-sensei, she hears him tell her something.

"Don't forget my only word of advice for a reaper, Calliope."

Calli hangs her head low and fully exits from the office, away from sight.

Chapter Text

Mori Calliope, or Calli for short, has been reaping souls for as long as she knows. Working under the tutelage of Death himself, she has been working hard, which is befitting for the one known as Death’s apprentice.

During her time as a reaper, she has seen many deaths, and many different souls along with it. Some are kind souls, some are bad, some are good, but with a tainted shade of bad as well. By meeting these souls, or reaping them herself, she has come to know many different people.

Of course, she has not thought anything of it. Keeping in mind the words of advice that her Death-sensei has given to her upon accepting her apprenticeship, she has not thought of humans as anything but just existences from the overworld. She has come to learn that death is nothing to mourn about as it is something that will eventually come naturally to mortals. 

Nothing fazed her.
Nothing about humans interested her. Nothing about them and their souls made her feel anything. 

For Calli, reaping souls is nothing more than just her job.

That is until, a certain soul appears time and time again in the Underworld, but still goes back up and only to come back to the underworld as the same person. With her curiosity, she goes to meet the soul, and here is when she meets the majestic phoenix.

The phoenix’s soul settles a while before manifesting as her chosen form, which in this case, is of a woman. 

Upon opening her eyes, the first thing she sees is a reaper, with eyes that show curiosity despite her face not showing much emotion. For a minute, the phoenix gets enthralled by the beauty of the reaper, making a mental note that this is the first time she has seen this specific reaper here in the Underworld.

The phoenix extends her hand, and introduces herself. "... Hi! I'm Takanashi Kiara!"

"Oh, yeah. Uh, Hi.", The reaper replies. “Mori Calliope.” She says as they both shake hands.

"I see this is your first time meeting Kiara, Calliope.", a voice says behind her.

A turn of her head and she sees her mentor.

"Death-sensei!", She says. “You know of this soul?”

“She has frequented the underworld, and I’m sure you have noticed.”

Calli nods her head. Having only seen human souls, this being’s soul is something new to her.

“Death Ojii-san! How are you?”, Kiara says and motions towards to give Death a hug. 

However, Calli intercepts this as she puts herself before her mentor.

”What are you going to do to Death-sensei?”, Calli asks with evident hostility.

“E-eh? Death ojii-san?”

Kiara stops and gives her a questioning look.

Death gives a small laugh. “I’m sorry, Kiara. My apprentice here, has no knowledge of different human interactions like that, forgive her. I see you’ve gone and done something reckless again. Letting yourself get involved in another battle, in your mortal form at that.”

Kiara lets out a laugh and scratches the back of her head. “Well, I couldn’t exactly sit still if the country I’m living in is in danger… I may be eternal, but not immortal.”

Calli, who has been listening for quite some time, joins in on the conversation.

“What exactly are you?”

Kiara looks at Calli and smiles. “I’m a majestic Phoenix! Last of my kind.”

‘A phoenix…’ Calli has only read about them in books so seeing one in person, caught her interest.

“For you to be reckless and die in battle… what a dumb bird.”, Calli tells her bluntly.

Kiara’s smile, then turned into a scowl, and her face turns a bright red. “Oi! Who are you calling a dumb bird?!”, she says as she proceeds to hit Calli’s arm continuously.

That is, until her right hand lands on Calli’s shoulder pad spikes.

“Ow!”, Kiara exclaims.

Calli turns to her and sees Kiara trying to hold back her tears from pain. 

“Such a dumb bird…”, Calli says as her lips forms a smile and starts to laugh a little.

“Do not call me a dumb bird.” Kiara says, but as soon as she sees Calli’s smile, she begins to smile as well.

“Looks like you can smile after all, Calli~.”

Calli hears this and her face flushes pink. “Shut up.”

“Looks like you’ll both get along well.”, Death says to the both of them.

Both Calli and Kiara’s eyes widen in surprise.

“No we do not.”
“I believe we do!”

Kiara and Calli both look over at each other, Kiara having a wide smile on her face, while Calli frowns.

“I’ve decided, Calliope. I’ll assign you as Kiara’s own reaper. For an eternal being like her, it would be much better if she had one permanent reaper to take care of her. Besides, I also feel that you might learn a lot from her.”

“But why?”

“Your heart hasn’t been on the job lately. Our jobs as reapers isn’t about just reaping souls, Calliope. Part of it is being able to make the passing of souls an experience comfortable and something they would not fear. You should go with Kiara to the human world every once in a while, I have a feeling it would help you.”

‘Death-sensei, but- Guh. Nevermind.” Calli knew refusing would be fruitless, and she also knew that what her Death-sensei says will always be absolute.

Death instructs the two to face each other and hold out their arms, and as they do, Death does an incantation, one that Calli deduces to be an incantation related to bonds.

A ring of red both encircle their arms, before fading away. Once done, they both look at each other, as if on cue.

“Well then. I look forward to working with you, Calli!~”, Kiara tells her.

“I-I look forward to working with you too, I guess.”

“Calli!”

I get startled as a voice calls out from behind me. 

“Oh! Kusotori.”

Right, I’m at Kusotori’s place. This is where we arrived after I allowed her soul to revive once more.

“Is there something on your arm?”, she asks me.

“N-nothing! Nothing.”, I put my arm beside me. I don’t want to let her know that I was remembering the first time we met. I’ll see no end to it.

I intended to drop the subject but Kiara begs to differ. She looks at my arm intently, and then she looks at hers. Seconds later, and her expression changes to a big smile. Like a lightbulb going off in her head.

“CALLI!~ You were reminiscing!”

And there she goes. I let out a sigh.

“You know, you were sooooo awkward back then.”, she says as she laughs.

“Yeah yeah… I haven’t forgotten, dumb bird.”, I tell her, and unknowingly let out a smug smile.

“You’re always so mean to me.”

She punches me in the arm and then pouts.

I smile and pat her on the head. “Aww, c’mon. You know it isn’t like that right?”

“You’ve definitely come a long way from not knowing what a hug is, to giving head pats… ey, young apprentice.”, she says.

“Hey!”, I say out of impulse and push my hand harder on her head. 

She laughs and I pull my hand away. 

“Ughhhh. Okay, enough of that now Kusotori. We have to get going, the others are already waiting.”

“Wait! Wait, just lemme look for my hat… Where did the fricking thing go?”

I watch her as she almost turns her bedroom upside down looking for her hat. I wonder if it got lost when she died. 

“I think I’ve lost it…”, Kiara says sadly, disheartened as she couldn’t find her hat.

I walk towards her, and call out her name. “Hey, Kusotori.”

“Yeah?” *poomf*

I took the hat I was wearing and put it on her head. 

“If you can’t find it now, we can look for it later. For now, you can wear mine.”, I say in a somewhat softer voice. 

Man, I feel somewhat embarrassed.

“AWWWW CALLI!~ I LOVE YOU!”, she exclaims.

I look away and put my hand on my nape. 

“Yeah yeah, now can we go?”, I say, extending my hand, seeing the TAKA bracelet dangling on it and after a few seconds, she puts her hand in mine, with her MORI bracelet matching the TAKA one I have.

“Let’s go!”, she says cheerfully, before we both set off to see the other girls.

Chapter Text

“Hello?... Oh, hey Ina!”

“Who’s that on the phone, Calli?”, Kiara asks me. I look at her and tell her that it’s Ina.

So far, she has remembered the other girls, Ina, Amelia, and Gura, however, only by when we all first met. Her memories of spending time with them have not been recovered yet… I’m not even entirely sure if they can be recovered.

Uh… you there, Calli?”

Oh right! Ina’s on the other end. “Yeah, I’m still here. Was thinking of something.”

“Well, I hope you guys are close. Gura and Ame here have started an all-out arm wrestle out of boredom. Hahaha.”

As she says that, I can hear the faint smug laugh of Ame in the background.

“Hahaha, looks like we do need to hurry there. Don’t worry, Kiara and I are close. We just have to get off at the next station.”

“Oh! Okay. Tell Kiara I said hi!”

“Yep! Will do. Bye, Ina”

“Bye!”

I end the call and look at the time.

10:15am

“Looks like we’re a little late, Kusotori. Oh, also, Ina says hi.”

She stays silent as she watches the surroundings as the train passes by them. She has always been like this. For someone who can fly, she does quite enjoy riding the trains just to watch the scenery. Unless of course she’s late to something, to which she instead turns into her phoenix form and zooms her way there.

Kiara then turns her head towards me, and out of reflex, I look away.

Hopefully, she didn’t notice me. Huh?

I notice Kiara’s grip on my hand tightened. Aaand, I’ve just noticed that we’re still holding hands.

“Anything wrong?”, I ask her.

“Oh! Uh, nothing…” She stops a while, and opens her mouth to speak again. “I’m just nervous about meeting them again.”

Maybe she feels this way every time she loses her memories… I thought she’d be more loud and hyper, to say the least.

I hold her hand tighter to reassure her. “Don’t worry, Kusotori! Everything will be fine.”

She smiles. “Thanks, Calli.”

Another 5 minutes pass and we finally arrive at the designated meeting place, which was a boba shop near in Akihabara.

Upon our arrival, Gura and Amelia broke away from their game of arm wrestling to greet us, as well as Ina, who was leaning against Amelia’s arm, doodling on her Ipad.

“Kiara! Calli! You guys finally- Ohhh boy… What happened to the both of you?”, Gura asks.  

Amelia takes a good look at us. “Did you guys, run here? While holding hands?”

I immediately look at my hand which was, true enough, still holding hers. I let it go and I looked of to the side, face burning.

“Dang, they look tired, don’t they, Ina?”, Gura asks again.

Kiara, who is still panting beside me, opens her mouth to speak.

“Yeah…. No..Shit…Sherlock….”, she manages to say as her words cut off at places as she continues to catch her breath.

“Actually, it’s Watson.”, Amelia says as a retort, which made Ina laugh.

“Come on, let’s just help them to the table.”, Ina says as the three of them guides us to their table.

“Why’d you guys run?”, Amelia asks, the moment we got settled at our seats.

“Well, we were getting a little late.”, I explain.

“Not “a little late”, you’re already 20 hecking minutes late.”

“We know that, Gura. Anyway…” I compose myself as I ready to tell the events of what happened this early morning.

“You died, AGAIN?” Gura exclaims, to which Kiara just laughs it off.

“How come I’ve never heard of this? I’m supposed to take care of the “anomalies” that people see that come of as unusual to them in reality.”

“Ame, Kiara didn’t use her powers. That is why, no case for you, time travelling detective.”, Ina reminds her.

Amelia just replies with an “oh.”, to which Ina chuckles. Aside from that, I’ve noticed that Amelia looks at Ina fondly as she laughs. Are they?

“Oi, Watson! Ina might melt with what your doing.”

Gura points it out to Amelia, who is now turning red at the face and immediately bonking Gura on the head. “Oh, shut up, Gura.”

I turn my head towards Kiara, who is laughing along with the group. Oh yeah, she doesn’t remember much of them. Better give them time to talk.

“Hey, Kusotori.”

“Yeah, Calli?”

“Do you want anything to drink?”, here’s to hoping she’ll say yes.

Kiara thinks a while. “Well, I am pretty thirsty from all that running earlier. Sure thing!”

That was easy. “So, what do you want? Boba? Orange juice?”

“Boba’s good. Just get me what you’ll have so it’ll look like we have couple drinks!~”

“Ugh…” Good to see that she’s still her usual self. “I’ll be right back.”

I stand up to go order our drinks. I sure hope she’ll converse with the others. She’s such a people person so she’ll be just fine.

I reach the line for the counter. Quite long… I look back at our table and see them talking.

I wonder how Kiara’s doing. It’s not like she forgot them completely, she just needs to jog her memories, that’s all.

I look back at them again and see that they’re all smiling and laughing. I wonder what they’re talking about. I wonder if Kiara is doing fine.

“uhm, ma’am?”

Kiara looks like she’s having fun.”

“MA’AM!”, a loud voice breaks me away from my train of thought.

I look to the front and see that it’s now my turn to order.

“Oh, uh… sorry.” I also apologize to the people behind me, who clearly look annoyed at me holding up the line.

“Would you like to order?”

“Ah, yeah.”

I manage to place my order and pay in just a few minutes. The person leaves in order to make my order and I just wait.

I mentally face palm, wondering how I managed to ignore my surrounding.

Ugh… Why am I so worked up over leaving Kiara there? Why was I even worried?

Kiara can do fine on her own, I know that. But why do I have this nagging feeling that I can’t leave her alone.

The person arrives with my order and I hurriedly leave the line.

Chapter Text

“Calli! You’re back!~”

I smiled. “I’m here. Here’s your drink.”

She takes her drink and says “thank you” in the most Kiara way possible.

“So what’d I miss?”, I ask as I sat down with my boba.

“Kiara here actually lost her memories again.”, Gura says in a joking kind of tone.

“She gets memory loss every time she resurrects, Gura.”

“I know that Watson. Just baffled how she forgot most of her memories with us but not with Calli.” Gura takes a sip from her drink. “Wait no, not surprising anymore if you think about it.”

“Wha-?”, I ask. What does she mean by that?

Ina lets out a giggle. “Hehehe, must be how it is with true love.”

“Wha? No! I, uh… That’s not… That’s not how it works…”, I fumble with my words, and I can feel my face turn red with embarrassment. I had a feeling that’d it be like this.

However, Kiara on the other hand, seems to be enjoying this and going along with Ina’s joke.

“Ahahaha Maybe it is like that, Ina.”, she turns to look at me and our eyes meet, and gives me one smug smile. “Maybe it is true love but one won’t admit it.”

I look away. “Guh… Oh shut up, Kiara.”

Kiara then turns her attention to the other two girls in front of us who seem very close.

“Ina, Ame, when did you guys get together?”

Ina blushes and Ame chokes on her drink.

“These two airheads just got together yesterday, if I recall correctly.”, Gura says as a matter of factly.

“Why call them airheads, Gura?”, I ask her.

She puts down her drink and points towards the two of them. “Both of them actually had feelings for each other but only confessed when they both asked me for help.”

“So I wasn’t imagining things, apparently.” I can feel some tension whenever they had interactions. Also, I noticed a few times that Ina would sketch Amelia whenever she was free.

“Right?”, Gura exclaimed. “When Watson and Ina came to me for advice, I just thought, “Well, Fucking. Finally.”

Kiara leans on my shoulder. “Now when will Calli be true to her feelings for me?~”

I grumble but just drink my boba.

“Take a page from my book and learn about keen observation, Kiara.”, Amelia says as she pulls out her magnifying glass and wave it around. “Detective skills are quite something, sometimes.”

“What do you mean “keen observation”? I am a keen observer.”

“Hah! Has anyone told you that you can be quite the “dense protagonist”?”

Ina laughs at Gura’s statement. “I kinda agree with Gura on that one.”

Kiara has a confused look on her face, which, I actually find kinda adorable. Because of that, I ended up chuckling.

I have no idea what they’re talking about, but when you put the word “dense” together with Kiara, it actually makes sense.

“Do you think I’m dense, Calli?”, She asks me.

“Oh, Uh… I dunno. I have no idea what they’re talking about.”

Kiara pouts.

Heh. It actually makes her cute. After remarking in my head on how she looks, I just notice that she has something on her face.

“Oh. Hold on, Kusotori.”, I grab a table napkin and wipe a small stain of sweet syrup on her cheek. Once done, I smile and tap her cheek. “There.”

Her cheek felt warmer than a usual person’s does, probably cause she’s a phoenix. And for a few seconds, I wanted my hand to stay there. I wanted to feel her warmth….

I love it.

“C-Calli?”

Hearing Kiara call my name broke me from my thoughts and once again, I find myself staring back at her eyes, her face showing a reddish hue.

Dang it! I did it again.

“Oh, uh. Sorry.”

“I-It’s fine…”, she whispers.

The others seemed to not have noticed it as they were pre-occupied with another Gura and Amelia banter.

“Look, Watson! All I’m saying is that drinking it with ice is weird. It waters down the flavor!”

Amelia rolls her eyes and sighs. “Drinking it with or without ice doesn’t change the taste GU-RA. Milk is Milk!”

I look to see Kiara tap Ina on the shoulder. “Ina, what’re they arguing about again?”

Ina’s laugh dies down and answers Kiara’s question. “They were talking about food and then they suddenly got heated when they talked about ice or no ice in milk.”

Kiara chuckles. “That’s nonsense.”

“It is. Hahaha. I should probably- AGH!”

Ina stops mid-sentence and suddenly gasps in pain. She presses her right hand on her right temple and immediately rests her head on the table.

“Ina!”, both Kiara and I say out loud in surprise. And at our sudden cry, Gura and Amelia turn towards us.

Ina’s face contorts in pain and breathes heavily.

“Ina… What’s wrong? Are you fine?”, Amelia asks, her voice full of concern and worry.

“I- I’m fine… Just… a headache…”

“Do you wanna go home?”

“Yes please.” Ina responds softly.

We all stand up, and Amelia helps Ina up.

“We’re gonna go ahead guys… Are you guys gonna stay longer?”, Amelia asks us.

“Nah. I have to go clean my house.”, Gura responds.

I look to Kiara. “Well, we do have to fix the house too. Let’s go?”

“Sure! I’m cool with that. You take care of yourself Ina, okay?”

Ina responds to Kiara’s question with a nod.

“Sorry guys…”, Ina says with a whisper, and we assure her that it’s fine. Soon, we all say our farewells, and Kiara and I head home.

Chapter Text

“I’m sorry, Ame… Our day got cut short cause of me.”, Ina says softly, to the girl who is currently helping her to their car.

“What’re you saying, Ina? It’s all fine… except you. How’re you feeling?”

“…Just a headache… nothing to worry about, I’m sure.”

Ina’s head is throbbing, but she can still walk properly. She doesn’t want the bright detective getting overly worried about her.

“Are you sure?”, Amelia asks Ina.

“Yup… “

Ina insists that everything is fine, but Amelia notices that with every step they take, Ina winces in pain. She opens her mouth to ask another time but she can feel that Ina wants to drop the subject so she keeps quiet.

She does want to ask why the sudden headache though, when they get back home.

A few minutes later, they arrive at the car. Amelia opens the car door for Ina and helps her slide into her seat comfortably.

“Comfy now?”

“Yeah… Thanks, Ame.”, Ina replies sweetly.

The response grants a smile from Amelia, and she decides to plant a small kiss on the artist’s forehead.

Ina blushes hard, her face turning a bright pink. Amelia giggles at the adorable face her girlfriend has and goes around the car to get in the driver’s side.

“When we get home, you have to rest, ‘mkay?”, Amelia looks at Ina and Ina nods.  

Ina then proceeds to shut her eyes for the rest of the drive home. Amelia however, looks worriedly at her partner. She can’t turn a blind eye to this weird feeling she feels as of late.

“I just hope it’s nothing serious…”, she thinks to herself, hoping that it’s just Bubba messing up the house while they were gone.

She lets out a deep sigh.

Maybe her mind has been on so many things. Being a time-travelling detective isn’t really an easy job. Maybe it’s the cases piled up, or the reduced amount of tea she has had the week prior. Whatever that weird, sinking feeling was, she wished for it to be gone.

 I was feeling really good this morning, so why the sudden headache?

My head is throbbing, and I feel the sweat beads forming on my forehead. I decided to shut my eyes, trying to get some sleep, but to no avail.

I hear Ame sigh just right beside me. Maybe she’s stressed, and thinking about a lot of things. I really wanted today to be our day of de-stressing.

Hearing the car just drive along the way at least, made me feel a little bit rested.

However, all of that was cut off in a split second. No sound came through, just silence in the darkness I was in.

It didn’t faze me. Being a priestess of the Ancient Ones, I have experienced a lot of “otherworldly” stuff, so nothing much fazed me.

“Ninomae Ina’nis…”

I hear a whisper in the darkness. A familiar voice.

Ninomae Ina’nis…”

An all too familiar voice, whom I haven’t heard from in quite a while.

Ao-Chan?”

“You… Ninomae, have forgotten your duties as a priestess…”

“What? Ao-chan?”

“The Ancient Ones, We… We have noticed your neglect of duties. We have let it slide, but we could not let it go on for any longer.”

Neglected, my duties?? “Ao-chan, what do you mean? Also, we?”

“Undertaking your oath as a priestess, you were supposed to act in accordance with Our will… However, you have failed to meet Our demands… We have also noticed how you have abandoned being the priestess we sought for… the priestess you told us that you’d be, therefore, We have decided…”

Abandoned? Failing to meet the demands? What does this all mean?

“… that you must face the consequences. One that is long overdue…”

“Wait! Ao-chan! What do you mean by all that??”

“Goodbye, Ninomae Ina’ns… for now…”

“WAIT! AO-CHAN! WAIT!”

“WAIT!”, I scream aloud.

In cold sweat, I open my eyes and I jerk right up and notice that I was already in my bedroom. Still in a state of confusion, The door to my room suddenly burst open, with a worried Ame coming through it.

“Are you okay, Ina??”

Still trying to make sense of everything, I reply back with a small nod.

W-what the hell was all that?

Chapter Text

A faint beeping noise in the background, a small bit of warmth on my face, and the darkness around me.

Ah, I must’ve fallen asleep.

I wake up and look around to see where the sound is coming from but I don’t find it anywhere around me, which I think is odd. However, after minutes of looking around, I came to the realization that this is the living room.

I lie back down and place my arm on my head.

“The sound must be my alarm then…”, I tell myself quietly.

Feeling the need to turn off my alarm, I try to get up. As I do however, I feel a bit of weight leave my right arm side and fall onto the sofa cushions. I turn to see what it is.

“Ah, Kusotori…”, I say in a whisper.

Kusotori?

We must’ve fallen asleep immediately the moment we went home.

I feel my face turn bright pink because of the fact that we slept beside each other.

I facepalm myself. Guh! It’s just friends sleeping together, Mori. Nothing to get worked up over.

Anyway, I went to shut off my dang alarm and went to the kitchen to see what we could cook.

“Might as well cook breakfast before Kiara wakes up.”

I look into the fridge and see… nothing. Not. A single. Thing.

I let out a sigh as I remembered that we were supposed to go grocery shopping yesterday. Well, looks like I have to do some quick grocery shopping now.

I change from my pajamas and into a dark grey hoodie and my usual sweatpants. Once I was done fixing myself, I proceeded to leave, but then I passed by the couch and saw Kiara still asleep.

She’s gonna get sore muscles if she continued to sleep there.

After a while of thinking, I motioned to carry Kiara, lifting her from the couch.

She’s not as heavy as I thought.

I then carried her from the living room, and placed her gently in her bed, as to not wake her. Afterwards, I shut the door to her room, grabbed my house keys, and left to do a bit of grocery shopping.

Huh? Where am I?-

I look around and see… wait. Why is everything so blurry?

I blink and everything seems to come back into focus. Looking around I see, snow. Everywhere is covered in snow, and it seems like I’m on top of a hill.

“Hey, Kiara. I’m … fir… okay? I’ll … you how … do-.”

I hear a muffled, but familiar voice. I don’t recognize whose it is, though. I turn around to try and see who it was and beside me, was a standing figure.

Her pink hair, her smile, her voice… it all seems familiar. Her face however, I can’t seem to recognize. As if static was covering most of her face, and that same static was muffling her voice.

Everything was going back into a blur. Everything, unrecognizable once again.

Is this a dream? Maybe it is, but why do I feel so lost? I feel like a stranger in my own dream.

I shut my eyes, and darkness envelops me.

I open my eyes, and I finally see, and feel the light.

I’m back in reality, so it seems. I look around, and realize that I’m in my room. I do remember falling asleep on the couch though, but now, I’m on my soft bed.

Maybe Calli  carried me to my bed…

Wait, who… carried me?

Phew. Doing groceries sure took a while. I ended up holding up the line because I was lost in thought. The woman behind me ended up getting mad at me.

“EX-CUSE ME. If you’re gonna daydream, do it somewhere else!”, she said in this shrill voice.

“gee, I’m sorry. No need to shout, Ma’am. I’m just right here. Sheesh.”, I reply. I get that it was m fault but she had no need to shout it. Yeah, let everyone know, jeez…

I move forward and put my items to be scanned, but then I hear her scoff behind me.

 

“God! The attitude of these kids. So disrespectful.”

With that, I almost snapped. I turned around and glared at her, a literal Death’s glare… Just toned down… Wouldn’t want her to die.

She did, however, got a wee bit intimidated, since I saw her become a little pale.

After that, I turned to the cashier with a smile, finished my groceries and left.

I put down the groceries on the kitchen counter, thinking of putting them away later. I then grab a bottle of orange juice and made my way to Kiara’s room. She might like something to drink the moment she wakes up.

Upon reaching her door, I knock and proceeded to enter. “Hey, Kusotori! I got you some orange juice as good morning.”, I say.

I see her sitting by the foot of her bed, looking really confused.

“Kusotori?”

She then turned to face me, and had this questioning look on her face.

“Who… are you?”, she asked. And I froze.

Thud!

Her responses made me drop the bottle, and it rolled towards her. She picked it up and faced towards me.

“You said this was for me?”

I nodded, unable to get any words out since I was still in shock.

She smiled, and said, “Thank you!”

I stayed silent, looking at her. Has she forgotten me?

“Uhmm…”

“Hey, Kiara. Don’t you remember who I am?”, I asked, a little bit of panic mixed in with my words.

“Well… You are familiar…”

I put my hands on her shoulders. “Come on, try to remember…”

“Wait… I’ll try- Please calm down, and stop shaking me.”

“oh.. Sorry, I’ll stop.”

I calm down and think about another angle of approach.

“Uh, so Kiara… Whenever you’d say thank you, you would get all close like this…”, I move closer to her. “… and hug me tight like this.” I then proceeded to hug her tightly, just how Kiara would do to me.

She seemed surprised by my actions, but we stay still for a while like this.

“Hey…”, she said to me softly. “I don’t quite remember yet, do you think you could hug me tighter?”

“Tighter? Uh, okay…”, I stay hugging her. Wait…

I look at her and I see her in a wide smile. “Ahaha, looks like you got me, Calli~”

My face turns red and my hug towards her turns into a crushing embrace. “KU-SO-TO-RI!!!”

She then bursts out laughing. “AHHHH, I’M SORRY CALLI! AH- STOP”

I let go and flick her forehead, she however, was still laughing.

“I was really worried you know!”, I say as I crossed my arms.

“I really did forget!”, she exclaimed, while still holding that smile on her face.

She’s not telling a lie, I know that. I’m just really embarrassed.

My arms still crossed, I look down on the floor, in an attempt to hide my flustered face. Why the heck am I even flustered?

A few seconds later, I hear a soft sigh and I feel a slight weight on my head. Seems like Kiara pressed her head against mine.

“You know Calli, I’m very touched and glad that you were worried about me. Thank you~”

The way she said her words…

The softness and sweetness in her voice,

it would be lying if I said that it didn’t make me smile.

Chapter Text

Seeing a flustered Calli is really something I find too cute. It’s not everyday that your barely showy reaper shows extreme emotions after all. However, realizing that Calli was hugging me tightly made my heart skip a beat. I felt like there was something more to that hug, but eh.

Though, it seems like I’m forgetting again. I find that odd since I know that my memories usually return after a while once I have revived after all.

“Hey Calli…”, I call out to her from the kitchen counter as she’s cooking our breakfast.

“Hmmm?”

“Do you think there’s a problem with my memory lately?”

The moment I asked, I heard the clang of a spatula hitting the pan.

“Ah, sorry. I was pre-occupied with something… but your memory? I don’t think so.”

“Hmm… maybe I was just overthinking things.”

I hear Calli turn off the stove, and I see her bringing our cooked breakfast here to the counter. She placed it down, and said “It’s my thing to do overthinking.”

“Ahaha, you’re right.”, I respond, realizing that that was her way of telling me not to overthink.

“Anyway, let’s eat! Do you want me to feed you, Kusotori?”, she asks teasingly.

“I still remember how to eat, thank you very much.”

“Oh, okay then.”, she replies, and goes on to eat her breakfast.

Wait, she was going to feed me?

“Wait wait wait, Calli! On second thought, maybe you can-“

“No.”

I look at her dumbfounded. “Wha-? You cut me off before I could even continue!”

“Well, I already knew what you were going to say.”

I laugh. “Gah! Ah, wait, Calli! Doesn’t your offer still stand?”

“Nope, not anymore.”

She turns me down again! And this time she’s chuckling!

“AH, CALLI!~ Just… Just one teeny bite-“

“No”

“Just one spoonful? Please?~”

She lets out a soft laugh. “Nope! Sorry, you had your chance. I’ll give you my bacon though.”

I let out a sigh and slowly accept my defeat.

As we continued eating, I suddenly remembered about the dream I had.

“Calli, have we been to a snowy area before? Like, a reeeeeaaally snowy place?”

“Hmmm….”, she thinks about it before she looks at me.

“Oh, you mean Hokkaido? Yeah, We’ve been there before.”

Hokkaido? It feels like it should be familiar to me.

“How’s it like?”

‘How’s what like?”

“Hokkaido. I don’t remember being there before…”

Suddenly, I feel the atmosphere change slightly, and for a brief second, a worried look passing over Calli’s face.

“Hokkaido? It’s kinda hard to explain but the place is snowy, and big, and has great food.” She looks away for a moment and looks back at me. “You know, we should go there sometime. Me, You, and the other girls, what do you think?”

“A vacation? With you and the others?”

“You could put it that way, yeah. “

The thought of being with the closest people I know immediately brought a smile to my face.

“AW YEY! When do you think they’ll be free?”

“Who knows? We’ll have to ask them first, and then plan the trip before we actually go there.”

“Ohhh!~ I can’t wait!”

I hear Calli laugh, and I see her smile at me.

My face turns red and I become embarrassed. “I-Is there something funny?”

“oh, nothing… I just miss seeing you this excited.”, she mumbles her last few words.

Before I get to ask what she was trying to say, she pointed at my plate. “You should keep eating, Kusotori. Your food is getting cold.”

“Oh, ah, yeah. Sorry…”

“It’s cool. I’mma go ahead and take a shower.”, she stands up and disappears into her room.

Calli has been really sweet today. I just hope she would show it more often even if we’re outside… though, the thought of me being able to see this side of Calli when it’s just me and her, it’s something special.

I take a bite of my breakfast that Calli made, and of course, it’s delicious. A little scuffed, but delicious nonetheless. I look at my Mori bracelet, and smile.

“And she wonders why I love her so much…”

Chapter Text

A loud ringing fills the house, waking a certain atlantian shark girl from her sleep.

“Ugghhh, who’s calling right now?”, says the still sleepy apex predator. Still groggy from her sleep, the girl picks up the phone.

“Yello…”

“Gura?”

“Yeah this is Gura, who are ya?”

“It’s me, Ame. Wait… did you just wake up?”, the voice asks from behind the phone.

“Ame?”, Gura rubs her eyes, before realizing that she was talking to her close friend, Amelia Watson. “Oh! Watson! What’s up?”

“I’m coming over, is that fine?”

Gura, mildly surprised by the question, takes a quick look around her house.

“Uhhh, yeah… but give me a few minutes.”

“Actually, I’m by your door already.”

Gura hangs up the phone abruptly. “SHE’S WHAT?”, She says out loud. She hurriedly puts on a large shirt and combs her hair before going to the front door.

“Watson?! Do you understand how early is still is?”, she asks Amelia the moment she opens her door.

“Gura… it’s 12:30 in the afternoon.”

Gura takes a look at the wall clock behind her.

12:30, it read.

“Oh. Uh, You can come in now.”, she sees her in before closing the door. “As you can see, Watson. The place is a bit of a mess… I just woke up after all.”

Amelia walks around the place. “I can definitely see that Gura.”

Gura, rubbing the back of her neck in embarrassment just laughs it off. “I do plan on cleaning though.

“Well why don’t we clean?”, Amelia turns around and smiles at the girl in the oversized shirt.

Gura blushes, quickly turning her gaze away from her. “You don’t have to do that, Ame…”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Gura. I used to help you all the time.”

Amelia insists on helping, and Gura has no problem with that. They’ve been friends for so long that Amelia helping her clean is no big deal. Besides, Gura knows that once Amelia has decided on doing something, nothing changes her mind. Gura knows that there’s nothing wrong with this, so why is she hesitating on that simple “yes”?

Lost in her thoughts, she didn’t notice Amelia walk towards her, and placing a hand on her head.

“Gura?”, Amelia asks.

Gura looks up, and this is where she thinks big mistake.

Amelia’s face was only a few inches away from her. At that distance, she could see almost every bit of detail on her face. Her blue eyes, which reminded her a lot of the sea; the soft pink blush on her cheeks; the small dark circles under her eyes which makes one wonder how much sleep she gets.

“I… uh…”, she stutters, trying to form words to give to the detective. Gura remembers why she wants to say no, why she feels like it’s wrong. Being this close to Amelia makes her heart feel things, remembering those feelings she used to have, those feelings she kept deep down in the depths of her atlantian shark girl heart.

“You?”, Amelia asks her, unaware of the inner turmoil she’s facing.

Gura takes a deep breath, and musters up the strength to give a warm smile. She takes Amelia’s hand off from her head.

“You’re right. Maybe you helping me clean is better, y’know?”, Gura says with a chuckle.

“You used to only ever clean when I came by, Gura.”

“Gah- I. Do. Not.” Gura gets the pillow close to her and throws it at Amelia.

“Yeah, yeah… I know you hate cleaning.”, Amelia laughs.

“That’s true… But!” Gura goes into a storage cabinet and gets a broom. “I still clean every once in a while.”

“If you say so, Same-chan.~”

“Ugh, just clean Watson.”

And after their usual bickering, they start cleaning Gura’s house. It isn’t all that messy, just a few things scattered here and there, and with things placed far from their original positions.

“When was the last time you had pizza, Gura?, Amelia asks as she motions to pick up a pizza box placed on the carpet beside the center table.

“Oh, I had it a day ago.”

“A day?- And you kept it sitting on the carpet?”

“I did say I was going to clean today.”

“You’re so messy as always.”

Gura laughs. “And when did YOU become so tidy, Ame?”

“Cleaning has been more fun ever since Ina moved in, y’know?”

Gura’s laugh dies down. “Oh…”

Amelia ties up the black bag filled with trash once she’s finished. “Oh! Maybe you should learn a thing or two from Ina.”

Gura’s heart sinks further in. “Yeah, mhm. Will do.”

And with that, they both continue on cleaning. After a few more minutes, they both drop on the couch, sinking into the cushions.

“UGHHHH! I’m pooped!”, Gura says aloud.

“You can definitely say that again.”

Gura takes her time letting her eyes wander around the house. It’s definitely cleaner than if I cleaned it by myself. And to think Ina actually got Ame to be tidy… that’s a great feat.

Her eyes then land on Amelia, who’s slumped on the couch, looking as tired as Gura, but yet still manages to look lovely. Seeing her best friend like that, it reminded her of their fun times together. It also reminded her of those few times when they threw hands due to misunderstanding, but they would always laugh it off and make up anyway. She missed spending most of her time with Amelia.

Gura was well aware of her feelings for the detective back then, she decided not to act on it. Gura felt that Amelia did not feel the same, and she didn’t want to lose her sunshine… so she buried the feelings deep.

However, at this moment, she feels those feelings slowly resurfacing. Gura felt like time had stopped for her, she would be lying if she said she didn’t wish for time to stop. But of course, she knew time never stops, that time would always go on, unless of course, it was manipulated by the time traveler beside her.

And once again, Gura decides to stay within the light of her sunshine, admiring it from afar.

Chapter Text

“Oh yeah, Watson. What brings you here in the first place? And where’s Ina?”, Gura asks, snapping out of her thoughts.

“Right…” Amelia sits up straight and put on a serious face. “It’s about Ina…”

Of course… Gura thinks to herself. “Okay. What about Ina?”

“Remember that time she got a headache? Well, it went away eventually, but it would come back occasionally, more painful than before, so it seems.”

Gura became a little bit surprised with this information. “But that was days ago… Is she sick?”

“She certainly doesn’t look sick, that’s for sure.”, Amelia can’t help but be worried. Her detective instincts can tell that there’s something probably wrong. “Anyway, I came here because I need your help Gura.”

“My help? What for?”

“You’ve been in this world for probably as long as the Ancient Ones… Do you know anything about them?”

The Ancient Ones? “Do you think that the Ancient Ones have something to do with what Ina’s experiencing right now?”, Gura asks Amelia, in a tone that makes it seem that the whole assumption is crazy.

“I know, I know… It might sound crazy-“

“That’s because it is, Watson. They haven’t caused any trouble for Ina in years, what makes you think that they’ll do so now?”

Amelia sighs, bringing her hands to her face. “I can’t help but feel like they have something to do this, Gura. It’s my detective instincts acting up.” Amelia faces Gura. “And when have my instincts ever been wrong?”

Gura stays silent. She has a point, she thinks to herself. “Your instincts are something we would never doubt.” Perhaps it was due to her nature as a time-traveler, or maybe because she’s a natural detective. Whatever it is, once her instincts start acting up, it ended up being never wrong.

“That’s the thing, my instincts have never been wrong. That’s why I’m worried, and there’s the thing about my watch not reacting to anything this time.”

“Your watch?”

Amelia brings out her pocket watch and shows it to Gura. “This would react to any anomaly it senses, any anomaly that I should be worried about.”

Gura remembers seeing the watch the first time they met. Only difference was that it was glowing a bright yellow back then, now it’s just like any regular old pocket watch.

“So…”

“So, Gura… This pocket watch would react whenever my instincts were acting up. Only this time, I only have my instincts, and not the anomaly warning from my watch.”

“Then maybe it’s nothing to be so worried about. You know, maybe you’re just overreacting cause it’s Ina.”

“I won’t expect you to believe me Gura, but I just want your help. If you have no knowledge about the Ancient Ones, at least tell me if you notice something out of the ordinary. I know that you Atlantians and the Ancient Ones have almost the same mythical frequency, you can sense each other somewhat… That’s how you came to meet Ina after all.”

Gura hesitates, Amelia’s theory after all, seems a bit of a stretch. “I- I dunno…”

“Please, Gura. At least do it for a friend? I’ve been researching and looking for every bit of information I can find about mythical beings, but I still don’t have enough. Will you assist me, Gura?”

Amelia pleads, making a face that Gura knows, She herself can’t say no to. “Ugh, fine. I’ll help you Watson. But I’m not making any promises that something will turn up if I help.”

Amelia, out of joy and relief, grabs Gura’s hands in hers, and places her forehead on hers. Gura of course, stiffens with this sudden action.

“Ahhh, thank you! Thank you, Gura. I know I could count on you.”

“Yeahhh, hehe.”

Amelia lets go of Gura, and stands up. “Well then, I’ll head home, Ina’s cooking dinner, I wouldn’t want to be late.”

“Yeah yeah, go now. Shoo.”, Gura says jokingly.

“Ahaha, bye Gura!”, Amelia leaves with a smile and the door shuts.

“Buhbye, Watson.”, Gura sits back down, tired, in more ways than one. It’s just her and her home again. She lets out a deep sigh, she then sits upright, and then stands up.

“Well then. I’m hungry, I wonder what I can eat.”

Chapter Text

It’s been a few days since Kiara’s last major tangent with a memory lost, there are still times however, when her vague memories would go on to becoming forgotten. Like that time when we were cleaning our closets and she found her ukulele there.

I hear Kiara gasp and I go to her room to see what’s up. “Find anything, Kusotori?”, I ask her.

She turns towards me, with her ukulele on hand. “I found my ukulele!~ It’s been quite a while since I last played.”

“Oh! It has been quite some time since I last heard you play. Remember when you played that song for me on my birthday? That was great.”, I say with my most sincere feeling.

“I played a song for you?”

“Don’t you-“ Ah, her memory must be vague again. “Remember that song you made? For me?”

A few minutes of thinking and her face lights up like a bulb. “I remember now! I do recall making you a song… though the details are all kinda fuzzy in my head.”

Not much, but it is progress. I smile, and pat her on the head. “It’s fine if it’s all fuzzy. Just know that I loved it, ‘kay?”

She now smiles even wider and gets a little red on the cheeks. “Now I’m all curious as to what I sang for you, Calli~.”

Yabai.

I’m finding her smile really adorable, and now even I feel myself getting red on the cheeks. I take off my hand, and turn towards my room.

“You’ll remember it eventually, Kusotori. For the meantime, why don’t you start cleaning your closet? It’s really cluttered.”, I say. It really is not that cluttered. Just a little bit out of order.

“Oh you don’t get to say that to me, Mori Calliope. Your closet is even worse than mine.”, she retorts.

I smile smugly and look at her from over my shoulder. “At least I, for one, am almost done cleaning my room. You still have a long way to go, Kusotori.”

Unsurprisingly, she finished quickly, and now, because we’re both free, we have decided to start planning that Hokkaido trip.

“I wanna go skiing! I haven’t tried skiing yet.”, Kiara exclaims, her eyes having stars in them. I remember her being so excited up that beginner hill, her smile was so wide. She has that same smile right now, the reasons for it are completely different though.

“We can put that as part of the activities, Kusotori. But don’t you think we have to think of transport first?”

“Doesn’t uh… Who was that again?... Right! Ame!”

“What about Amelia?”, I say, a little bit confused.

“Well, doesn’t she drive a car? Why don’t we use that?”

Woah, that’s quick thinking. “Oh right, that can be a possibility! But that’s only if Amelia would come with.”

“Then why don’t we just ask her?”

“We haven’t even finished planning yet, Kusotori.” Guh… Planning is, and always will be complicated.

Kiara shrugs her shoulders. “Eh. We can skip it for now, can we?”

“I guess… Next is, accommodation.”

I usually plan by myself because I find the process to be faster if I do it myself, but doing this with Kiara, doesn’t seem too bad. Sure, it was a little bit frustrating at some point. But planning with someone is fun.

“Hey Kusotori, about the skiing-“, I look up from the table to ask insight from Kusotori, only to see the phoenix in front of me napping away. I poke her cheek with the pen I have. “Oi! Kusotori. Don’t nap in front of me. We’re still planning.”

The pen kind of sinks into her cheeks, and she grumbles. I put down my pen and I start pinching her cheeks.

“Hey, Kusotori~ Wakey wakey~” My lips start to form a small smile as I do this to her. This is quite cute. I think to myself.

She waves away my hands, and continue to sleep. I sigh, try to finish up what we have planned for now, and I get up to the kitchen to get a drink. Maybe some cheap konbini red wine. Looking forward to some alcohol, I open the fridge door, only to find our fridge devoid of any red wine.

"Well then, looks like I'm off to the convenience store. Might as well get some snacks there too."

I head to my room to grab my hoodie, cap, and keys, and some things from my bed. I then go towards Kiara, and leave a note by her side and leave something for her, before heading out and locking the door behind me.

The chilly autumn wind, paired with the subtle warmth of the sun is a feeling I love when it comes to autumn in Japan. Which makes me think about our upcoming Hokkaido trip.

“Hokkaido, huh? This feels like déjà vu.” I say to myself.

All this planning reminds me of when I was planning the trip for Kiara and I. That vacation, as I call it, was one of the most fun I’ve had since years. Our ski trip, our meals together, that unfortunate incident we had gotten ourselves into. Those were all fun, and precious memories. But the only one who remembers them is me.

I let out a sigh. “Look on the bright side, Mori.”, I tell myself. I have a chance to have fun with not only Kiara, but also with the other girls as well. Experience the things we didn’t get to do before. Of course, there’s still the plan to help Kiara get her memories back.

I snap out of my thoughts and look around me. Looks like I’ve arrived at the konbini without noticing. I step in front of the door, allowing the automatic door to open before going inside.

What happens however, is the moment I step inside of the store, the environment around me fades, and changes into another familiar place I know of.

“Yo, Death-sensei.” I greet the figure in front of me, and I feel the charm on my scythe behind me fade away. It must’ve sensed that I’m in the Underworld.

“Calliope. I do apologize for bringing you into my office all of a sudden. This is something of an urgent matter.”, He says, as he motions for me to sit in the chair in front of him.

Sorry Kiara, looks like I’m gonna be a little late.

Chapter Text

I find myself walking around in a gallery… an exhibit? Maybe an art or photo gallery. For some reason, I notice that most of these show me, and some events in my life.

“Oh? Is this a gallery about me?”

I stop by one frame, and I see me, and Calli, meeting for the first time. In another, I see Gura and I hanging out in the aquarium we visited when she first came to Japan.

As I walk further from the entrance, the more memories I recall. Ame and Gura having a stupid competition about who has the farthest throw, Ina sketching the sunset on our Christmas camping trip with the girls. All 5 of us watching the sunrise together on that same camping trip, on Christmas day. These were all fun memories I cherish.

However, the longer I walk and see the displays, the more they seem to become blank spaces. Some even appear to be blurred out of focus. Maybe these are spaces meant to be filled up by more memories soon. These blurred ones, maybe they aren’t important. One blurred out picture stands out to me though. A picture that looks like a face, with a big smile. It seems all too familiar, it feels like it’s pulling me in. I reach out, trying to hold it in my hands.

Suddenly, I feel the floor beneath me collapsing and I soon find myself in a freefall. My sight is the view I saw when saved that guy, moments before I died. I know I’m approaching the water below me, and I close my eyes, ready to accept this death. After all, dying is one way for me to get closer to Calli. Seconds later, I feel the hard impact on my body.

My eyes open and the first thing I notice is this blanket over me, and the pen and paper that read “Hokkaido Fun”. Oh right, Calli and I were planning the Hokkaido trip.

I must’ve fallen asleep in the kotatsu.

“Calli…~”, I call out sleepily. I sit upright, and notice another peace of paper on the table.

 

 

Kusotori,

          I went out to the konbini to get some snacks and red wine. I’ll be quick so you won’t have to worry.
Be safe, okay? Don’t. Do. Anything. Reckless.

-Calli

So Calli put the blanket on me before she left… “AWWWWW, CALLI~” Wait, what time is it?

I check the clock and see that it’s already 6pm. I don’t really know what time Calli left but I hope she comes back soon. I bring myself to stand-up, holding on to the blanket, and I fix the things we left here on the center table.

“Calli’s really good at planning stuff, huh…” I say as I see the list. Each element of the plan is kinda detailed, with little notes at the side, saying whatever backup plan could be. Is this what she also did for our one trip together?

Trip? “Eh?” What trip did we go to again?

I try to recall what trip we had because it’s nagging at me at the back of my mind. It’s like a flashback hit me in the head like a truck, but it comes out blank. I dig through my memories to see something that would remind me of something, but to no avail. I do circles around both my temples, wondering to see if massaging them would help me remember.

“Ughhhh, what is wrong?”

I try to recall other memories. German lessons with someone, Chess game with someone, racing game…. All these I remember doing with other people, but their faces, their whole person are blurred out white. My memories… Are they all faulty? I know they aren’t wrong, I just feel like there’s something wrong with them.

I breathe deeply. Relax, Kiara. Everything is fine, and Calli will assure you that it’ll all be fine.

Speaking of Calli… I look at the time and see that it’s getting a little late. “Calli’s taking quite a while.”

After putting the things back in their place, I fold Calli’s blanket, put it back on her bed, and I have decided to go look for Calli. I know she told me not to do anything reckless but she’s been gone since a while ago.

I fix my hair, put on a sweater and a beanie, and I grab my bag and keys before heading out.

Chapter Text

It’s been a week since Ina has received the warning by Ao-Chan… or the Ancient Ones as the warning says. Ina is clueless as to what she could’ve done that would incur their wrath. Despite being an existence from Cthulu mythos, she never expected this kind of hostile behaviour from them. The girl has always considered them harmless compared to other mythological beings that she has read about before.

Along with the unease she has felt since that warning, and the constant minor pains she felt in her head, Ina has also been worried about the sudden disappearance of her companion, Ao-chan. She was definitely sure that she had never misplaced Ao-chan, as that special book has always been by her bedside.

She lets out a sigh, and because she was deep in thought, she didn’t realize that her partner, Amelia, had been watching her the entire time.

“Ina, is there something on your mind?”, Amelia asks the troubled girl.

Ina snaps out of her thoughts, realizing she had stopped for quite some time. “Oh, Ame… Not really, it’s just…”

“Are you still worried about Ao-chan?”

Unable to hide her worry from Ame, she replies with a small nod. Wanting to cheer her girlfriend up, she wears a kind smile. A smile that gives Ina a reassurance that everything will be fine.

“Aw, don’t worry about Ao-chan too much. I’m sure she’ll turn up eventually. For now, we enjoy our time at the park.”

Ina smiles. Amelia feels relieved, however, this doesn’t make her feel any less worried. Her gut has been telling her that something is wrong with each passing day. It also doesn’t help that Ina has been losing consciousness every once in a while. Either fainting, or collapsing. Ina says that it may be due to overwork and fatigue due to the amount of work she has right now. Even the doctor that they have consulted has said that it might be due to overwork.

Amelia doesn’t believe it, but she chooses to. Heck, that reason might even be better than what the real reason might probably be, and hopefully, there’s no other reason.

While walking around the park, Amelia receives a phone call. Checking the caller i.d., she sees that it’s Gura.

“Oh, It’s Gura. Do you mind if I take this, Ina?”

“Not at all. I’ll just sit by the bench over there.”

“Okay. I’ll be done quickly.”

Ina pats Ame on the shoulder. “Now now, Ame. I’ll be fine. Just wave if you need me. And tell Gura I’ve said hi.”

Amelia smiles and thanks Ina before answering the call.

“Hey Gura! What’s up?”, Amelia asks.

“So uh, about the thing you asked me to do?”

“About the Ancient Ones?”

Amelia hears a sigh on the other side. “I think your gut feeling may be right. Within the week, I’ve been feeling an energy signal similar to what I felt when Ina was first entrusted with the Ancient Ones power. A faint one, but it still is there.”

Amelia looks over at Ina, who is reading a book by the bench. “Is that everything?”

“Not quite, I’m afraid. My trident is sensing that same energy right now, but not as faint as before.”

Amelia’s heart slowly begins to race, worry starting to slip into her voice. “What do you mean, Gura…”

“Where are you? Are you with Ina?”

“Yeah, I’m at the park with Ina, in front of the Family Mart near Calli’s place.”

“Keep an eye out for Ina, I’m on my way.”

Before Amelia gets a word out, the line cuts off. When has Gura ever gotten so serious before?, she wonders.

Amelia begins to walk back towards Ina, who upon seeing the detective, waves back and decides to walk towards her as well.

Amelia smiles and waves back. However, she suddenly notices that Ina is stumbling with her steps, her book falling out of her grasp.

“Ina?”

“Ame…”

Amelia quickens her pace, seeing as it seems like Ina is about to fall. “Ina!”

Ina, on the other hand, tries her best to try and keep her consciousness, at least until she’s certain that Amelia can catch her as she falls. Her world view starts to blur and everything seems to spin. Try as she might, she could not hold on for much longer as she gives in to the darkness that consumes her, hearing a faint voice before losing consciousness. A voice she could not understand.

And finally, Ina falls to the ground. Amelia was about to reach her but as soon as she fell, a big wave of dark energy releases from within Ina and surges throughout the entire park and the immediate vicinity. Because of this, Amelia gets thrown back, as well as others in the park.

Amelia rushes to Ina and tries to wake her up. “Ina! Wake up, Ina.” As soon as she said that, Ina’s eyes began to flutter open. Amelia wears a smile of relief however, she gets pulled back by someone.

“Get away, Ame!”

“Gura? What are you-“

“That’s not Ina.”

Chapter Text

Ina stands up, her eyes fully open, a blank, dark purple in them. Her tentacles appear from their disguise, uncloaked and very much visible to the human eye. No. We can’t let anyone see this!, Amelia tells herself.

“Watson! Your pocket watch!” Gura yells.

Amelia immediately searches for her pocket watch in her pockets, and upon finding it, she sees that it’s glowing a bright yellow.

Oh now you react, you fcking thing.

Slightly annoyed, she presses on one of its switches, allowing her to stop the time of the world around her. The only beings this affects are regular humans, animals, and every non-living thing. This means that only the mythological beings are unaffected.

“Ina! Snap out of it!”, Amelia yells, wielding her gun and her syringes in case anything gets out of hand.

Instead of a warm hand greeting her in response, she was instead almost hit by a tentacle coming at her at full force. If it weren’t for her quick reflexes, she would’ve been crushed.

Gura goes towards Ina at full speed but is also met with an attack from the tentacles. Gura uses most of her strength to block and repel this.

Amelia, though reluctant, manages to fire a few shots at the tentacles as a defensive strategy. The tentacles however, always appear to be unscathed even with being hit with the bullets at point blank range.

Both Gura and Amelia look at each other, visibly shaken and close to being exhausted due to the situation they’re in.

“Any idea on how to handle this, Gura?”,Amelia asks, firing a shot and dodging at the same time.

Gura parries a tentacle, pushing it back with her trident. “Wah- How am I supposed to know? Don’t you have anything that can neutralize and most probably… bring Ina to sleep in one of your syringes there?”

Amelia’s eyes widen. “You want me to sedate her?!”

“At least it’s not harming her, Watson!”

“Ugh! I think I have one concoction that can be used for sedation.”

“Great!” Gura says with a smile, dodging from an attack. “Try sticking it in one of her tentacles.”

Amelia nods, even if she is unsure if Gura sees it or not. Amelia waits as a tentacle is about to hit her. Once close, Amelia jumps and barely lands on the tentacle. Hanging on to it, she gets her sedative and tries to inject it into the tentacle, however, upon impact, it snaps the needle.

‘What!?”, she says in surprise. “Damn it!”

“Come on, Watson! Anytime now!”

“It doesn’t work Gura! The needle won’t even penetrate her skin!”

“Well great! Just great!”

Gura and Amelia can’t take being on the defensive anymore as it’s taking a toll on their energy. Both are almost nearly running on empty, keep running and dodging any longer, their legs might just give way.

“Well, we’re fucked.”, Amelia says.

“Definitely.”, Gura agrees in response, as both girls try to catch their breaths.

On the other side of the road, Kiara stands by the convenience store, waiting for Calli to get out.

“Calli’s taking a while in there, huh…”, she says to herself, currently using up time by playing on her phone.

Minutes later, she experiences what feels like a strong gust of wind slam into her, but she was able to stand her ground. “What the fuck?”

She looks up from her phone’s screen and sees that the world around her has stopped in motion. Her expression goes from annoyed to clearly baffled. Everyone and everything around her is stopped in place, she checks her smartphone and sees that the time has also stopped as well.

At this point, she realizes what could have caused this… In this case, who. She looks at the sky, towards the horizon, sees that the sun has stopped halfway in its descent in a sunset, marking the skies with a dark orange, reddish hue. This catches her eye for a moment, however, her attention then moves towards the leaves of the trees rustling, and the movement she sees in the park just across the road.

“Is that…”, she starts moving closer, the silhouettes becoming more and more clear. The closer gets, the more she hears grunts, yelling, and impact sounds.

Is there a fight here? She thinks to herself.

Trusting her instincts, she brings out her sword and readies her shield, which were both conveniently placed in her pocket disguised as a cool looking badge. Now in a fighting stance, she bares her wings and with one swift downward motion, she’s up high in the air, soaring above the scene of the fight.

Looking down she sees Ina with her tentacles, which are constantly aiming to hit the two other girls in front of her, Gura and Amelia.

“Ina? What’s going on?”, she asks herself.  As she starts to descent, she notices Gura and Amelia’s figures stopping, even when there’s a tentacle coming at them with full force.

“What ARE they doing?!”

Full of worry, she rushes down almost immediately towards the tentacle, raising her sword that soon starts to blaze with her flames, and swings it in a full force circular motion, cutting the tentacle cleanly in half.

Along with the cut piece falling and slowly disintegrating into the air, a deep painful cry can be heard from within Ina’s mouth.

“Geez, what were you two doing?! Also, what happened here?”, Kiara confronts the other two the moment she lands.

“KIARA!”, the two exclaimed in delight.

“Kiara! What took you so long? That was badass!”, Gura says.

“Yeah… And I’m more relieved that we managed to get out of the defensive.”, Amelia adds, letting out a sigh of relief. Once regaining strength, Amelia manages to speak amidst her panting. “It seems like Ina’s tentacles are not immune to elemental attacks. Even Gura managed to scathe Ina with her trident.” She raises her gun, drops all the empty bullet shells to the ground and put it back in her holster. “My bullets though, don’t do shit.”

As soon as Amelia said that, a tentacle landed in front of her, crushing the ground as it landed.

“No time to rest, so it seems.”, Kiara says as she chuckles, immediately flying up into the sky.

With the change of momentum that Kiara had given them, both Amelia and Gura managed to push through on the offensive, while making sure to dodge and block at close calls. Knowing that her bullets and concoctions are useless in this fight right now, Amelia decides to use brute strength to try and take it down. As soon as she’s getting targeted, she jumps, grabs hold of the tentacle about to land, and using her strength, brings it down with her to the ground at full force, mimicking some kind of wrestling move… or as Amelia calls it, the Ground Pound.

“Nice one, Watson!”, Gura acknowledges as she attacks the tentacle attacking her. With one swift motion from her trident, she puncture and skewers it. Enraged and in pain, another tentacle comes towards her. She uses her stuck trident to lift herself up and deliver  powerful roundhouse kick to the oncoming tentacle.

Kiara, despite being in the sky, is also being targeted by the tentacles, rendering her unable to get closer to the host body, which is Ina.

“Damn it!”

Because of what she did just minutes ago, the Ancient Ones have now targeted her as of higher importance than the other two, which is why she’s being targeted more by the tentacles. She may have allowed the other two to get on the offensive, but she now has made herself stuck on defending herself.

“ENOUGH!”, The Ancient Ones shout, the ominous voice booming throughout the entire park. A huge wave of dark energy releases from within Ina, stronger than the previous one. This one knocks back all three girls, making Amelia and Gura fall on their backs, and making Kiara lose her balance and made her flightless.

What happened next all happened in an instant. A tentacle swings at Gura and Amelia, sending them hurling towards a big tree. Another tentacle swings up at Kiara, who is now free falling to the ground, hits her and sends her flying all the way behind the Ancient Ones.

My wings! I need to… She thinks to herself. Her heart races as she can see her friends unable to get up, as she sees the ground getting ever so close. She tries to spread her wings but can’t. The tentacle hit her wings, and now, she’s hurt them.

As she gets closer to the ground, she shuts her eyes and braces for impact. Seconds later, she feels the impact of landing. However, it was not the ground she felt. She hears the rustling of clothes against her ear, the feeling of being supported behind her neck and knees, but no support whatsoever against her back.

“I thought I told you not to do anything reckless, Kusotori?

Chapter Text

“So why’d you bring me here all of a sudden, Death-sensei?”, I ask. It’s been quite a while since we last saw each other.

“I’ve been sensing an irregularity in the overworld for quite some time now. And this one, brings an overwhelming air of death.”

Overwhelming… “Do you know what kind of irregularity is it, Death-sensei?”

“I’m not quite sure, I can ensure that it’s getting stronger.”

“If there really is something, like you say there is, Death-sensei, then it feels rather odd, don’t you think?”, I ask. If there really is something, then Amelia would’ve told me and the other girls by now. It’s usually Amelia who notices these kinds of things before they usually appear or happen.

“What do you mean by that, Calliope?”

“Well… everything seems to be alright in the overworld. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of danger anywhere around us… or at least in overworldian Japan.”

Death-sensei lets out a sigh. “You have to understand Calliope that not everything is what it seems. Not everything is out in the open.” He reminds me, telling me off because I should perfectly know what he means.

And I do know exactly what he means. I may look like a human, but I still am a reaper after all. A mistress of the darkness, apprentice to Death himself.

“You’re right, sensei. I’ll have to consult with Amelia when I get back. Is that all you wished to warn me?”

Death-sensei nods. “Send my regards to Kiara-chan for me.”

“Will do, sensei.”

I turn my back, about to leave but then I remember something. “Oh yeah, sensei.”

I turn around to face sensei again. “Uh, sensei… so about…”

“Is this about Kiara-chan?”

“Yes, actually. I remembered what you said about Kiara’s memories going to be reset and I was wondering if there are any memories that will remain.”

“That’s a good question, Calliope. But why ask?”

“I just wanted to know hat you meant by ‘all memories’.”

“Ah.”, Death-sensei says. He grabs a bottle of alcohol from the cabinet behind him, and pours it in his cup. “Do you want a glass, Calliope?”, he offers.

I decline his offer, as I don’t really feel like drinking now… being brought down here all of a sudden. “Nah, sensei. I’m good.”

“Well then, more for me.”, He pours more into his glass and then takes a sip. I really am wondering why he chose now, of all times, to get himself a drink. I wanted to question it, but being with Death-sensei for so long, I guess he was just being dramatic.

“You see, Calliope. The only memories that will be gone were those after her very first death. And if you recall, her very first death started when she was, shall we say, a young adult. Her memories of her childhood and her teenage life will remain intact.”, He explains.

I sigh with relief. So she won’t be just an empty husk with no memories. I’m really glad.

“Let’s say that Kiara-chan dies now, and she revives.” Death-sensei continues. “The accident or event that caused her current death is not the one she will remember, but the very first one that caused her very first death. And she will continue on from that memory.”

“naruhoudo ne…”, I reply in response. I may be grasping on a very thin straw here, but I ask sensei a question that’s been stuck in my head.

“Will Kusoto- I mean, Kiara, remember our friends? Will she remember me?”

“If she has met your friends before her first death, there might be a chance, quite a really small one. For you however, my dear apprentice… I’m afraid that the odds are zero.”, he says to me, in a sorrowful tone.

I take a deep breath, and let it out as a deep sigh. Well, I figured as much. We did first meet here in the Underworld after all.

“Thanks, sensei. I appreciate the time you gave me.”, I say, bowing, showing respect. “I guess I’ll go head back up to the Overworld now.”

“Thank you for your time as well, Calliope. And I do think it best be time for you to go up now, I have just sensed that the irregularity has gotten stronger. Oh, and take this with you.”, he hands me a dagger with a rather intricate design on the handle.

“Your dagger, sensei? What for?”

“It’s a special dagger, one that has the ability to inflict the concept of death onto any kind of being. You might need it someday. Also, I shifted your area just a bit when you go out of the door, it’s right near the irregularity so ready your scythe.”

I nod in response. Taking sensei’s words into account, I pocket the dagger, and I ready my scythe in my hands.

“Take care, Calliope.”, he says as soon as I open the door.

 ______________________________________________________________

The moment I step out of the door, I am momentarily blinded by the sunlight outside, Once my vision normalizes, I look around and realize I’m at the park just in front of the convenience store I went to.

“Why am I in the park?”

As soon as I start to question things, I notice that my watch stopped, a few birds frozen midair, humans frozen on the spot, and the sunset just stopped halfway.

“What the heck is going on?”

Seconds later, I hear loud sounds of impact and a voice that yelled, “ENOUGH!” Following the voice, I finally notice the girls.

“Guys?”

Getting closer, my jaw drops. Ina has released her tentacles and has attacked Amelia and Gura, who are now on the ground by a tree, unconscious. Hurrying my speed, I then notice a tentacle shooting straight up into the sky.

Oh no, don’t tell me…

I look up and see that the tentacle had just slammed into Kiara, who is now plummeting to the ground.

“KIARA!”

I use one of my abilities as a grim reaper and conceal my presence. I immediately get into an even faster run and use that momentum to jump high into the air where Kiara is, catching her in the process.

“I thought I told you not to do anything reckless, Kusotori?”, I tell her, my face putting on a warm smile as I’m glad to have caught her in time.

She opens her eyes, and her expression changes from fear, to shocked.

“C-Calli?”

“Shhh..”, I hush her, avoiding to have my presence felt by “Ina”.

I make Kiara put her arms around me, and I hold her by my side as we descend. Using my free hand, I grab my scythe, hold it so the blunt back end is facing the front. The moment we get close to Ina, I swing my scythe with force and hit Ina on the head.

Ina’s eyes widen, and then they close shut. Her tentacles disappear, and she collapses. I caught her of course, and laid her gently on the ground.

Chapter Text

“Tell me again why we chose to let Ina rest at the hospital and not just her home?”, I ask the girls.

Right now, the girls and I are sitting by the foot of Ina’s hospital bed. We had to get Amelia and Ina checked, Gura and Kiara decided not to because they are not humans after all.

“Because we have to check if her body is doing fine.” Amelia says. “Also, if you can’t see, I’m all scuffed up!”

“Right. Sorry.”, I say timidly, my hand rubbing the nape of my neck. “So, what happened? Why did Ina go berserk a while ago?”

“The thing a while ago wasn’t Ina. It was the Ancient Ones using Ina’s body as a vessel.”, Gura explains.

Turns out Death-sensei was right. There really is an irregularity that brings death.

“I don’t get it though. Why now, out of all times would the Ancient Ones choose to wreak havoc, so to say.”, I ask them.

They all shrug, meaning that they have no idea as well. I let out a sigh, and look towards Ina, who is sleeping peacefully on the bed.

Kiara, whose head was resting on my shoulder, sat up properly. “Maybe Ina knows why.”, she says.

“I do think so.”, the detective agreed. “She has been looking for her book lately… Ao-chan. But she can’t seem to find it anywhere.”

“Ao-chan?”, Gura asks Amelia. “The Necronomicon like book? The one that gave her the knowledge of the Ancient Ones?”

Amelia nods.

Well, this is certainly strange. Without answers, nor context, figuring out why the Ancient Ones have gone berserk, after all these years of them staying silent, will prove to be a challenge.

“By the way Calli. Thanks for earlier.”, I hear Amelia say.

“Oh. That. It’s no biggie.”, I say in reply. “I’m just glad you guys are okay… well, somehow, I guess.”

“Hey! You thanked Calli, but not me?”, Gura suddenly interjects.

“Oh right. Thanks, Gura.”, Amelia says, letting out a small chuckle.

“Well you should be! If it weren’t for me and my quick thinking, you would’ve been an Ame pancake by now.”

Amelia scoffs. “Oh yeah? Well, if it weren’t for me having your back, you would be swimming with the fishes by now. You dummy.”

With that, Gura lightly punches Amelia’s shoulder. “Who’re you calling a dummy, Watson?” Amelia smiles and laughs, and Gura follows.

The mood in the room lightens and all of us start laughing along with each other.

“Seriously though guys. Thanks.”, Amelia says once the laughter dies down.

After a few minutes of lighthearted banter and conversations, I let out a yawn. Guess it’s time to go home. I look over at Kiara and see her cheerfully chatting with Gura and Amelia, but she also, lets out a yawn.

“You tired, Kusotori?”, I ask her.

She wipes the tears that formed in her eyes when she yawned. “Yeah, a little. Do you think we should head home?”

“I think so too.”

“Oh. You guys headed home?”, Amelia asks.

“Yeah. We need some rest, and I gotta clean up Kusotori’s wounds.”

Upon hearing that, Kiara’s expression lightens and a big smile forms on her face. “R-really Calli? You would??”

“Guh! Yeah, yeah… I already said I would, don’t make me repeat it, Kusotori.”, I pull my cap lower to hide my face, and when I did, I felt a soft, short kiss on my cheek. I froze, eyes wide, and my cheeks, I soon feel turning red.

“Thank you, Calli.~”

“Yeah, yeah…”, I manage to say, only soft enough for Kusotori to barely hear.

“Better call us when Ina wakes up, okay?”, Kiara says, right after giving me her surprise attack.

“Yep! Will do. Now why don’t you lovebirds head on home now.”, Gura says. I look towards her and she just gives me this smug smile expression.

Oi! We’re not lovebirds!

Instead of saying my thoughts, and just let out a sigh.

“What about you, Gura?”, I ask.

“Oh. I’m staying here a while. Gotta keep Watson company here.”, she says with a smile.

“Okay, then we’ll go on our way now.”, I say. They both saw us off, and before I got too far, I remembered something.

“Wait! Guys…”

“What is it Calli?”, Amelia asks.

“Let’s go on a trip to Hokkaido. Us 5, when Ina wakes up and gets better.”

“Hokkaido?”, Gura questions.

“A vacation… of some sorts.”

“Uh, I dunno.. there’s work piling up at the-“

“Sure! Let’s go!”, Gura interrupts Amelia. She looks at the confused blonde. “Why not? It’ll be fun!”

“But-“

“Come on, Watson!”, Gura tells her with a smile. “Let’s all go on a vacation. A much needed rest for all of us.”

I agree with Gura. “Yeah. The time can also be used for Ina to heal up without having to worry over work and other things.”

Eventually, Amelia agrees. “Oh well. Why the heck not. Both Ina and I needed an opportunity to take our minds of off things anyway.”

“Alright! Thanks guys!” I tell them. “Well, I’ll get going now.”

With a smile on my face, I wave them good bye.

“Hokkaido, huh…”, I say. “Didn’t Calli and Kiara go to Hokkaido already?”

“Well, they did. “, Amelia replies. “But there’s no harm in going again.”

“You’re right. I still can’t believe you agreed though, hahaha.”

“We do indeed need a much needed vacation after all, Gura. Besides, I know you guys needed me there cause I know how to drive.”

“Woah.”, I let out a laugh. “Looks like we’re busted.”

“Did you guys really think you can hide anything from me?”, Amelia says as she gestures towards herself. “Number 1 detective here!”

“Okay, okay.”

“Anyway, why aren’t you going home yet, Gura? I can manage fine just by myself you know.”

I walk towards the area where we were sitting beside Ina a while ago. “I wanna wait for Ina to wake up too.”

“I could just call you.”, she says as she sits beside me. “She would probably wake up in just a few days.”

I don’t want to leave you alone. “Nah. I want be here, that’s all.”

She lets out a sigh, and gets up to leave. My eyes follow her and see her going to the nurses station nearby.

“What is she doing?”, I ask myself.

Soon, the nurse comes back and hands her a bottle, and a small bag of cotton balls. She then comes back afterwards.

“What’s that?”, I ask, pointing to the stuff she’s carried.

“If you’re going to stay here, at least let me clean your wounds.”

“What? But I can do that my-“

She bonks my head. “Just let me. Knowing you, you would just go back to bed.”

Damn, she’s right.

“I hear no objections, so it means I’m right.”, she says as she puts on a smug smile. “We’ve known each other for so long, of course I’ll know my best friend’s habits by now.”

“Yeah yeah, just go ahead Watson.”, I say, feeling defeated.

I guess, even as her best friend, if I can be close with her like this, then this is fine by me.

Chapter Text

The way home was quiet but comfortable. We were both tired, but I could feel that she was more tired than I. She did engage in battle after all, and her flames earlier were burning harder and brighter than usual. I only came to help them towards the end, after all.

As we were on the train ride home, Kiara rested her head on my shoulder. Normally, I would tell her not to do it… but for today, I just let her be. I will not say that it doesn’t affect me just a little, but having her beside me like this right now calms me.

“Hey Calli?”, I hear Kiara say in a sleepy voice.

“Hmmm?”

“Thanks for saving our butts a while ago…”

“I’m just glad I got there in time.”, I say in response. I recall the hit she took a while ago. The impact was really strong and if she wasn’t careful, she would’ve gotten even more hurt. “How do you feel, Kusotori?”

“Huh? Oh… I’m fine. Just a little tired, and I guess a little body pain as well.”

“That was quite the impact you took a while ago. I’m impressed.”

She laughs softly. “If all that’s all I gotta do to impress you, then I guess I’ll have to take more deadly hits, huh.”

What? “What? God no, Kusotori. I didn’t mean- Guh! I didn’t know you loved living life on the edge.”

“Well…”, she yawns. “I mean, I’ve always did. I just started taking more risks because I met you.”

My head snaps in her direction, and gave her a questioning look.

“You almost always never leave the underworld. Dying was one way I could meet you after all.”, and she gives me a caring smile.

I didn’t know that she was willing to die just to meet me… Wait, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. But still. The way she always takes risks, most that even I would not take.

“That’s amazing.”

Shit. I said it out loud.

She gets surprised, which I very much expected, of course.

“I mean, Kusotori. It’s amazing, how you’re always so willing to take risks. But please don’t always risk your life, your all. I would be lying if I said I did not like seeing you die, every now and then.”, I look away from her as I say these things as I feel more embarrassed if I faced her. Ya boi is quite cheesy…

Kiara stays quiet after that, which I find a little odd since she’s usually the one who cries and then says “Oh Calli!~~~”, or something along those lines.

I look at her and see that her eyes are shut, and her face has a somber smile. Is she asleep? She then adjusts herself and puts her hand in mine. And in a small voice, she says “If that’s how you feel…”, she locks her fingers in mine and tightens her grip just slightly. “then I promise to not risk my life so easily again. I’ll take care of it.”

With her hands in mine, this quiet, peaceful ride on the train back home. This moment is one I will cherish… and one that I hope Kiara would not forget.

“Thanks, Kiara.”

“Oh? You’re here again, Kusotori.”

I finally get to use that word that I learned from way back when Kiara first brought me to Japan, her current place of dwelling in the overworld. Apparently ‘Kuso’ can be meant as damn, and ‘Tori’ meant bird, and so ‘Damn Bird’. Immediately, the word reminded me so much of Kiara.

“Kusotori??”, visibly confused and surprised, she turned to face me, however, her former expressions were soon changed to delight. “Calli!~ Did you come to meet me?”

Wah… this again?! She always does this every time we see each other. It’s already been a couple of years so I’m used to her and er antics by now. However, if there’s one thing I still haven’t gotten used to yet, that’ll be her hugs.

“Guh! Seriously, Kiara! I swear that your hugs get tighter every time we meet.”, I complain out loud.

She lets go and begins to pout. “Is that all I really get as a greeting?”

Ah jeez. “You know I don’t do that, you dumb bird.”

“Stop calling me a dumb bird!”, she exclaims, her face turning a pinkish red. Even the tips of her hair sparking little flames.

Ah, shoot. Yabai. Seeing her kinda annoyed is fun though. “I’m kidding… Anyway, why are you down here again? The frequency of you coming down here is becoming a little too frequent.”

“I saved a little blonde girl from getting hit by a rogue car.”, she smiles as she says this. “Besides, you wouldn’t come up to the overworld yet, so I figured that dying is one way to meet you after all.”

Uwah… This girl’s ability to keep taking hard hits is amazing and at the same time terrifying.

“You could’ve saved yourself too you know!”, I reprimand her. “Don’t keep throwing your life away! Just because you revive every time… just because you can doesn’t mean you should!”

She backs away slowly, eyes widened in surprise. ‘Shit’, I might have went to far.

I furrow my eyebrows and pinch them together, letting out a sigh at the same time.

“Look, I may be your reaper but it’s not exactly all that fun when I see you die, or have to see you dying. I don’t like it.” I manage to blurt out.

“What? C-Calli?”,  she says, visibly getting a little flustered.

Wait, what did I just say? Did I say something weird?

“What… what?”

She goes around me and hugs me from behind, which makes me just roll my eyes and let out a “guh”.

“Why not just come and stay with me in Japan, Calli? That way, I can just see you whenever and you won’t have to see me just whenever I die.”, she proposes..

I’ve thought of it, living up there in the Overworld, experiencing life with the living and what not. It just took some time thinking.

“You know you can just tell me if you wanna visit and I can bring you down here.”, I tell her before I start going back to my place.

“Eh?! W-Why didn’t you tell me? Oi, Calli!”, I hear her say from behind me, probably following me.

I reach the door to my place and she stops behind me. I take a deep breath before facing her. “I guess I’ll take you up on your offer.”, I say and give her a smile before facing my door.

Kusotori’s surprised face made me let out a chuckle. “Eh? S-So you’ll come up to the Overworld with me? Really Calli?”

“Unless you don’t want to-“

“Yes! I Do! Does Death-ojii san know about this?”

“You weren’t the only one pushing for me to stay in the Overworld, that’s for certain.”

“So I’ll see you soon?”

“Yeah. I’ll see you later.”, I go inside my place, not facing her as she might see my excited smile.