Part 1: Nero
Chapter 1: Believe
I couldn’t actually believe that I was going to be a father soon, and to be honest, I was scared. I didn’t know what to do, how to deal with any problems, stuff like that. But the thing I was most worried about was coming in about six months, when Kiri was due. If something went wrong, I wouldn’t know what to do, and that always shook me up just a little. I wasn’t going to be ready in time, but I don’t have a choice to try to be.
“Nero?” I heard Gracia whisper in my ear. “Nero, wake up.”
I groaned. She had no idea how I tired was, what with catering to my fiancée's every wish - which I enjoy... For some unknown reason that I can't seem to understand! “What is it Gracie?”
“I heard something break, come on!” She whispered loudly, dragging me from bed. Her strength never ceases amaze me.
I got up, struggling not fall on my face. I ran downstairs to where ever the noise came while Gracia stayed with Kiri- I didn’t need her worrying right now. “Who’s here!?”
I heard footsteps in the kitchen. I ran in, ready to smack whoever was here. I hope this guy doesn’t plan on stealing anything… Unless- “NERO!!!” I heard Gracia scream upstairs. I did my trademark panther run up the steep, zigzag slope that was the dreaded stairs. I started to think of what could go wrong in the next thirty seconds; Everyone could die, the baby could die, Gracia could die, Kiri could die, or any combination of the last three. I sped up, but stopped at the door that led to my room.
I tried to open it, but it wouldn’t turn. “Gracie, you have to unlock the door!” I yelled in.
“Gracia!” I rammed my shoulder against the door.
“Who is it?” said an unfamiliar voice. Without even trying, I knew it was man, British maybe.
“Who hell is this!? Where’s my family!?” I yelled. If there’s one thing you don’t mess with, it’s my family! “Now, I’m going to kick your British a** when get in there…!” Did I say that out loud?
“I’ll be gone when you get inside… But knowing you, you may want to hurry… Your unborn child seems to be in a lot of pain!” He yelled, as if he was trying to yell over something.
“What are you doing to them!?” I yelled, hammering the door with my shoulder, ignoring the pain that emerged. I stopped and thought; I wasn’t getting anywhere just ramming the door with my shoulder… But maybe if I get a running start!
I started to take a few a steps back, but I heard the scream; the same scream of pain that always causes me to go berserk, no matter where I am: Kiri was crying out in- what I could tell- irrevocable, unequivocal pain. That was it! The British (Word of your choice) was going to die! When I’m done with him, that (Any two words of your choice) accent was going to be the least of his worries…! Excuse my French!
I ran back at least ten feet- just for good measure- and ran in a mixture or anger, speed, strength and anxiety.
The door opened hard, but I didn’t stop there; I wanted him dead! I grabbed Loving Bloodshed without losing momentum, and when I knew I was close enough, I thrust it out with enough strength to knock down a building!
The aim was perfect! Because of the reserve momentum and strength, my blade went straight through his chest and knocked us both out of the window. The rushing air caused me to remember something: The Branch of Demonic Elimination was international… There was nowhere we could run.
When we landed, I had a feeling that he let me kill him- as crazy as that sound- so he had answers that he needed to give me. “Alright, you broke-back b***h! You have answers that I need about the branch… I suggest you start talking!”
“So, are the answers really that hard to find? If you’re that naive, you’re not much of a threat.”
“Don’t think I’m a threat…? You’re right, I’m not, but I don’t want to be either… I want all of this to end.” Well, this is surprising! He didn’t die yet?
“Then… We aren’t … Enemies.” I saw death in his eyes as he said this, and felt as if I just killed my only ally, even if we hadn’t met before now. “The child your fiancée is to give life to… She is very important to the branch in a way that even I don’t understand fully… I had to use a very dangerous procedure in which to accelerate the growth of the unborn child by five and a half months.”
“Then why did you allow me to hurt you so severely? I don’t understand!”
“In time, you’ll know… But, for right now, I suggest that you prepare yourself! There won’t be enough time to get to the hospital!”
“Wait! What’s your name?”
“Juneau… Gara.” He died then, using up his last breath… Just to tell me what was done, just to tell me that my child was important somehow… Just to tell me his name.
“… Rest in peace… Juneau.” I said in, what I wanted it to be, respect.
“NERO!!!” Gracia yelled from upstairs. “Are you ok?”
“… Yeah… I’m fine!” I yelled back panting.
“AHH…!!! TELL HIM!!!” Was that… Kiri? “AHH!!!” Yep, definitely Kiri.
“Already? I thought we had… Five and a half months… Damn it!”
“You got to get back up here!”
“Ok… Stand back!” I jumped a least ten feet in the air before softly landing inside. “Ok, let’s get to the hospital!”
“There’s not enough time!” Kiri retorted… With her smart a**...! God knows I love her for it though!
Oh boy. “… Then I guess we’re having a home delivery.”
Chapter 2: Birth of Snow
I’ll spare you the details of the birth giving process, but I will tell you that I was biggest b***h in the room! It took at least fifteen hours due to complications, but she was healthy- Kiri too, she’s strong! After all that, I gave the little miracle to Kiri… She deserved to feel this way more than anyone else. “What’s her name?” Ok, I know just rushed that, but I told warned her two months ago that I’d do that!
“Hmm… How about Snow?”
“It’s not my choice, you did all the work.” I joked halfheartedly. What, I’m not about to argue with her, she just gave birth!
“You helped… Although, the passing out thing scared me a little.” She laughed weakly. I was reminded of why I asked her to marry me. Just everything about her makes me lost for words… It’s weird, but the very rare good kind… She’s just perfect.
“… Her name’s perfect for her.” Snow Gara… Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
“Then it’s settled.” Kiri said, caressing Snow’s face- which they both seemed to enjoy.
“… Oh, how sweet!”
That voice. “… Xing! Go back to hell!”
“Don’t worry; I’m not here to fight! I’m just here for the child.”
“… If that’s what you’re here for, then you don’t have a choice but to fight! You’re not taking my daughter!”
“If you insist… Just know that it didn’t have to be this way. You should’ve stayed away from the Agendum family!”
“Agendum? I’m guessing the marriage is official…? Good for them, but I still don’t give a damn!”
She lunged at me faster than I was used to guarding against. I raised my blade just in time to avoid harm, but I ended up open to attack. She swung as fast as lightning and cut me, but it wasn’t deep enough to kill me. I used a move that was known to break bones; I used the tip of my shoe and kicked her hard in the ribs to knock her back. She spit blood to the floor and started breathing harder.
“… Nice… Blow.”
“Thanks.” I lunged at her, swinging my blade downward. She dodged it and tried to swing kick me backward into Snow and Kiri… Fortunately, I always have something up my sleeve!
Right before she hit me, I did something that you usually see ninjas or samurai do; I vanished and reappeared behind her with my blade fully extended beside me, like I just swung it- and I did. “Game over.” I said as she fell to the ground, bleeding uncontrollably fast. I never have the heart to look at anyone who was forced to watch me kill someone. “… Are you ok?” I asked still looking away.
“Yeah, I’m fine… This wasn’t how I planned to be her first day on Earth would be like.”
“You and I both… I’m about to go see if Gracia is ok, do you need anything?”
“Just some rest would be fine… And a good dream next to my fiancée.” She said giggling… I still can’t get over what a miracle she is… And to think that I was lucky enough for her to have another miracle by me… I don’t deserve either of them, I don’t deserve Gracia… But I love them all.
“I’ll be right back… Wait for me.”
“… I’m not going anywhere without you.” She said as I was about to leave. She said that when this all started four months ago, and it’s still true in more ways than I could count.
I nodded and left, leaving an air kiss behind… What, I do that sometimes! I opened Gracia’s door slowly to see if she was still asleep. I stepped slowly to her bedside and- and I know this may seem weird- held her hand softly, like this was the last time I was going to see her alive… But in my life, you never know. I kissed Gracia’s forehead and left before I woke her up. “… Stay brave for me.” I said right before I re-opened the door.
“… I will.” She replied sleepily and quietly.
I chuckled and left back to my room. Gracia was depressed ever since I left her with Kiri four months ago, but you probably wouldn’t know that unless she told you. I opened the door to my room hard, - just in case- closed it back softly, and lay down next to Kiri, who was still up. “How is she?” I asked.
“Just went to sleep before you came back… How’s Gracie?”
“She’s doing that half sleep thing again, but she’s ok… But, you know she’s still having nightmares, right?”
“Did she tell you that?”
“No, but I did hold her hand… She was trembling.”
“Is something wrong?”
“No, I was just thinking.”
“… You’d get mad if told you.”
“No I won’t, promise.”
“I was just thinking about why she was so depressed… And I don’t want to be mean anything, but maybe-“
“I caused it?”
No response other than a hesitant slow nod.
I flipped to my back in thought. “… Yeah, I know, but that wasn’t my intention.”
“I know… It shouldn’t have crossed my mind, I'm sorry.” She said in sincerity, looking down at Snow, who was sleeping peacefully in her arms.
“You shouldn’t be… You’re entitled to share how you feel; I just wish you’d do it more often.”
“Sorry… Wait, I don’t tell you how I feel? What about a few days ago?”
“A few days ago, I didn’t know how you felt, you kept switching it up on me.”
“… Oh... Right.”
“… Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”
“It’s ok.” That didn’t sound good.
“No it’s not… Tell me what’s wrong.” I whispered.
“…My parents aren’t going to like this.”
“You’re still worried about that? Look, it’s not their wedding, Kiri. I mean, it matters what they think, but I don’t think they should control our lives just because they don’t like the idea of their youngest daughter of a royal family marrying a middle-class 25 year old with nothing to give you.”
“… You give me a lot more than you give yourself credit for, and I don’t think so either, but if they like or dislike something, they have the power to do something about it, and no one can stop them… I just don’t think I should run the risk, that’s all.”
“They’re not going to stop us, Kiri. I’m not going let them.” I assured her, caressing her face softly.
“You do know that they’ll try to take Snow away if they find us, right?”
“… I think they already know where we are… I’m not going to make things worse by letting them ruin our lives anymore, Kiri.”
“… I know. I just want everyone to be safe.”
“It will be soon, I can feel it.” I said as I kissed her for as long I could stand –and that took awhile! I woke up on Kiri’s chest with Snow right under me. I checked her heartbeat just for the hell of it… Normal. I got up slowly, trying not to wake anyone up, but something was wrong… Something was wet and thick. I looked at my hands… There was blood everywhere. I looked at Kiri and saw deep scars and blood leaking vigorously from her mouth. I looked at Snow, praying to God that the same didn’t her… She was cut into pieces. I moaned in overbearing pain. I heard a voice… Was Gracia still asleep?
“… You killed them.” She whispered in that creepy girl voice that you hear in scary movies.
“… No… I wouldn't do that! I can't!” This is the only time I truly looked at her… She was seared black and an arm was missing.
“You caused this!” She said, pointing with her good arm.
“You’re nothing but a murderer!”
“NO…!” I sat up, grabbing Loving Bloodshed as I rose. I was panting, breathing harder and harder every few seconds, but after a half an hour later, I calmed down… That was the worst nightmare I’ve had in while, but I knew I was still troubled by what I did to Gracia and Kiri. I felt movement beside me, but I didn’t have a panic attack. Everything that happened was just a crappy excuse for a dream.
“… Nero, what’s wrong?” She whispered sleepily.
“… Nothing, I just had nightmare.” I didn’t want her to worry right now.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“No, it was nothing.”
“It doesn’t sound like normal.”
My voice faltered a little. “… I just don’t want to be reminded about it… It was pretty bad.”
“Well, if you change your mind… I’m here, ok?”
I kissed her softly. “… Ok… How about we talk about it in the morning?”
“I might forget about it by then… But after I get Gracia ready for school, if I remember, I’ll try to bring it up.”
“… I’ll bring it up… You keep straining yourself trying to do everything… You know what, you should rest tomorrow. I’ll take care of everything, all you have to do rest.”
“I don’t about that, Nero.”
“Ahh, come on. You deserve it. You do so much for us; I just want to show some gratitude.”
“… Ok, fine, but if you need help, just call me.”
I kissed her again. “… You know I’m not going to do that.” I smiled.
“Nero!” She whispered
“Sleeping!” I whispered jokingly, lying back down quickly.
“Nero!?” She knows I’m not getting back up why is she shaking me? “Nero!?”
“It’s non-negotiable, Kiri!” I laughed loudly.
She sighed deeply. “I love you, but you’re really annoying sometimes.” She joked, giggling.
I probably didn’t tell you this, but tomorrow was going to be a recreation of hell… But a lot worse.
Chapter 3: Bloodshed Extended
I had that dream again as soon as I went back to sleep. People say that if you don’t sleep through the entire dream, you’ll never figure out how it ends… But it kept ending the same way; panting, sweating and screaming like a girl… And for some reason, I always found some truth in what my nightmare version of Gracia said; if my family were to die, it’d be my fault. I hoped I didn’t wake anyone up as I got up and got in the shower, trying to wash the sweat and pain away. Someone knocked on the door. “Nero?”
“Yeah, it’s me.”
“Oh, just wondering.”
“Ok… What time is it?”
“You still have three hours.”
“Ok, thank you.” Why in hell did I wake up so early? About two minutes later, was dressed and a little dizzy. I lost balance for a moment, but I caught myself.
“Are you ok?” Is Kiri…? EWWWW!!!
“Yeah, I’m… Err… Fine… And a little freaked out.”
“… Oh, sorry!” She laughed.
I smiled just to keep her from worrying. She was supposed to be resting today… But I guess she can worry about Snow. “When does Gracia-”
“7:35… You’d think you’d know that.”
“Well, it is the first day of high school.” Have you ever seen the show Smart Guy? Yeah, well, Gracia’s two times smarter than that!
“…Are you sure this is good idea? I mean she’s only five!”
“I know… In fact, personally, I don’t think it’s a good idea, but I just think that she could get a better experience than from a normal kindergarten… She’s smarter than that.”
“I think that she could be a disadvantage because she could Japanese and Pig Latin at the same if she wanted to… Her life is already thrown out of proportion.”
“… Didn’t we agree that you were going to rest today? You don’t need to be worrying right now, you just keep doing… Whatever you’re doing, and I’ll handle everything. If it doesn’t work with the smartest five year old high school student known to man, then I’ll transfer her to a normal elementary school… Let’s just give this a try, ok?”
“… Alright fine… Remember last night, when were having that nightmare?”
“Yeah… It’s hard to forget.”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
“… Yeah, I guess… It was a perfect morning and I had woken up on your arm.” I won’t tell you the same story, but I will tell you that Kiri was crying afterward.
“How could you think that?” I asked sobbing.
“I wasn’t, I would never think about that! I wouldn’t dare let it even cross my mind… I don’t why I had the dream, I just did.”
She took a deep breath and nodded. “I’m sorry… Maybe I should’ve just left it alone.”
“No, stop blaming yourself… It wasn’t your fault.” I said wiping the tears that were still streaming down her face lightly with my thumb. “I would never let that happen to any of you.”
She took another deep breath and another tear rolled down her face. I winced hard from her pain. “Are you ok?”
“… I’m just can’t stand when you cry like that.” What did you want me to say, that you cause me too much pain? Keep dreaming!
“Nero?” I heard Gracia call.
I got went to side and picked her up. “Hey, what are you doing up so early?”
“I couldn’t sleep… Can I sleep in here, with you?”
“Sure.” I replied sitting on the bed. Gracia unraveled her arms and legs from around me, tightened her body into a little ball, and hugged herself as close as she possibly could to me. I don’t care what you say; she’s cute as hell she’s asleep!
“… Do you think she’s nervous?”
“Yeah, but who could blame her?”
“I could.” What the HELL!!!? Can they leave us alone for one day!?
I laid Gracia down as softly as I could and turned toward the intruder. “What do you want?” I asked rhetorically, grabbing Loving Bloodshed just in case.
“I’m not here to fight you, Nero; I’m here to help you… I need all of you to come with me.”
“Why the hell should we trust you!?” I asked getting in reverse style.
“… I was a friend of your parents, Nero… In fact, I was the best man at your father’s wedding.”
I relaxed a little, but I didn’t let my guard down. “… What do you want with us?”
“There are things I need to teach you… Things about your blade that you inherited from your father… May I?”
“What, you want this…? Yeah, just don’t try anything.” I handed him my blade, watching him even harder.
He inhaled deeply and let it go, turning Loving Bloodshed to a horizontal position. “…Bloodshed… Extend!” There was a bright flash emanating from Loving Bloodshed, causing everyone’s eyes to tear. When the flash finally receded, Loving Bloodshed seemed to have actually lengthened. It looked like it was red hot! “This is Loving Bloodshed’s first form... The blade is as beautiful as a dancing flame… But is as deadly and explosive as Mt. Vesuvius’ eruptions… It is the most powerful blade created by… Did you know that your father was a demon?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Well, he created this blade to kill a higher demon named Darkus. But he didn’t want you to have the same life that he had, so he left you with an adoptive family to ensure this… You and your sister were adopted as bloods siblings, and you are, but you are the one who must help the Demonic-Angel destroy Darkus… Do you understand?”
… Whah? “So you’re here for?”
“I was sent here by your true mother to take you back to her and teach you more about this blade… The skills you have now won’t be enough.”
“… I survived this long…Fine; I’ll go only if my family comes with me, and it’s their choice.”
“… You’d put your fate with them?”
“Yes, I would… I don’t go anywhere without them.”
“Fine, but please and make up your mind.” He said in defeat, and waiting from an answer.
“… Nero, are you sure it’s safe?” Kiri asked quietly after a few seconds.
“… Yes, but if he tries anything, I’ll just kill him.” I whispered back.
“Ok, I’ll go.”
“Me too It’ll be fun!” Gracia said in excitement, laughing. Why is she always so excited about these types of things? And why can’t I ever notice that she’s awake… Quiet little b*****d!
“… I guess we’re going!” I announced.
“Excellent! We’ll have to leave as soon as possible! You don’t have to worry about your things; we already have everything you need…! Oh, one more thing I need to tell you.” The other guy said.
“Yes?” I asked.
“… I hope you all have strong stomachs!”
Chapter 4: Before The Angel is met
It all went by in an instant; I couldn’t tell what happened, but we ended up in a more serene place, a place of peace. I was pretty sure that what I was seeing was only a place of peace when the turmoil didn’t reach it.
“Oh, come on! This is holy land; we don’t need you two throwing up everywhere!”
I hadn’t notice until now, but Gracia and Kiri were vomiting everywhere. “Hey, watch the way you talk to them…! However, I’d like my blade back!” I exclaimed.
He tossed Loving Bloodshed like wasn’t already two hundred and forty-five pounds. I caught it with ease. “Just as a warning, please don’t unsheathe it unless we’re practicing or there’s an emergency… Are you two finished?”
They both nodded breathing hard.
“Are you guys ok?” I asked. Look, I know I’m late! I was waiting until they were finished!
“We’re… Fine, Nero.” Kiri answered breathing slower now. Gracia just nodded again and struggled to get up with no success. I went over and picked her up, sheathing my blade.
“Hmm… Just as regulation, we need to make sure you went through safely. Please, come with me.”
“Hey, we may as well.” I said under my breath.
“Leave the attitude at the door, Nero!” Damn…! His hearing’s good!
We walked through the temple-like structure to a large hall and veered left to a large hospital wing. There was a nurse there, waiting on us. “Welcome.” She said quietly, bowing. “Please sit and I will be with you momentarily. In the mean time, could you…? I’m sorry, I didn’t ask for your name.” She asked Kiri.
“… Oh, me? My name’s Kiri, it’s an honor to meet you.” She replied blushing.
“The honor’s mine! If you and your baby could please come with me, I’d like to check you both out, just in case.”
“Of course.” She said following the nurse into the room, while we waited outside.
I unsheathed my blade, remembering that it was still extended. “… Hey, I forgot to ask, how do you turn this off?” I asked unsheathing Loving Bloodshed.
“Just touch the blade gently with your fingers.”
“… You’re kidding, right? This thing’s glowing red!” I said silently-Gracia had fallen asleep.
“It doesn’t harm its owner, your father made sure of that.”
“… Alright, whatever you say.” I touched the blade as instructed. It cooled almost immediately, the glow fading. “Hey, it worked… Maybe I can trust you a little bit more now… So, my mom? What’s she like?”
“She’s very nice, although, everything she says ends up being about you two… I must admit, I envy you, Nero. You mother’s a classified half-angel who boar the only two demons who don’t want to destroy the world as we know it… I guess you’ll have to meet her sooner rather than later.”
“What do you mean by ‘two demons’?”
“You haven’t noticed? Your sister’s strength has increased rapidly, and you haven’t noticed? She hasn’t awakened her powers, but at this at this rate, her powers will be unstable in a week’s time.”
“Is that normal?”
“Yes, Nero, there’s no need to worry… Her will body will have to adapt to her power, but it’ll only take a week or so.”
“Hmm… I apologize, didn’t even ask what your name was.”
“… Renga Henai… Just call me Ren, ok?”
“Whatever you prefer… This taking a lot longing than expected, how long does it usually take?” I asked, noticing that about an hour had went by.
“It takes this long sometimes, just be patient.”
I sighed, trying to find a way to occupy myself. Then I remembered something from earlier. “Hey, why wasn’t my daughter throwing up earlier, but everyone else was?” I asked in concern.
“Hmm… That’s a very good question. I’m not sure myself… Maybe that’s why it’s taking so long.”
“Maybe… You said you knew my father, what was he like?”
“You wouldn’t expect a Demon to have a kind heart, but he was different in so many ways… He just seemed to be more of an Angel than a Demon… But he did have a temper, especially when it came to you two; if anyone were to say any unkind word about you or Gracia, he would strike them down then and there…! He truly loved you both.”
“I can imagine.” I saw Kiri walk out the hospital room, the nurse close behind. “Hey, how’d it go? Are you ok?”
“I’m fine. Sorry it took so long, I was asking a lot of questions… I got concerned about Snow.”
“Yeah, I figured.”
“Ok, if you’re ready, Mr. Gara, I’d to check you and your sister out.” The nurse instructed. I picked Gracia- who just woke up- up and followed the nurse inside. “Please sit. Just let me get clean and I’ll be with you soon… In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.”
Perfect opportunity. “Does everyone here know us?”
“Yes, of course!” She replied ecstatically, washing her hands. “The two children of Desmond Gara deserve to be known, especially if anyone knows your stories…! Gracia, could please say ‘Aw’?”
“Aw!” Gracia mimicked, laughing. I smiled; I haven’t seen her truly laugh in such a long time. Even if this wasn’t real, it was good to see her smile. The nurse placed a metal tongue depressor in her mouth, but took it back out after a second.
“Ok… This is going to tickle, alright.” The nurse warned, grabbing a stethoscope from a shelf behind her and putting it on. “Try to stay still if you can, will only take a minute.” The nurse requested. I turned around; I knew what she was going to asked next. “… Also, I need you take off shirt… It’s ok, we’re girls here.”
“But my brother…”
“I’m not looking, Gracie. You’re not that appealing!”
I heard her giggling for a moment, but that was it. “You can turn back around now, Nero.”
Yeah right; like I’m falling for that again…! Unless. “Are you decent?”
“Yes, I’m decent!”
I turned around hesitantly. She was dressed, so I don’t know why I was so paranoid… The change in scenery, maybe?
“Ok, your turn! Just open your mouth, this shouldn’t take long.” She said quickly turning toward me, grabbing another tongue depressor. This one was wooden.
I opened my mouth. She stuck depressor in my mouth and pressed down on my tongue. I don’t know why, but I have a funny feeling my gut. Probably because every minute is getting me closer and closer to meeting a mother that I’ve never met, or knew existed. “Ok, I need you to off your shirt and jacket.”
I nodded and followed her instructions. Gracia looked away. The nurse put re-equipped her stethoscope and put the “scope” part on my chest. It was cold as hell, but I ignored it. “Ok, you both check out!”
I got up and bowed. “Thank you.”
“Thank you.” Gracia mimicked, doing a curtsy. I told her wearing a skirt was cute…! I know what you’re thinking, shut up!
“No problem! If you ever feel sick or anything, feel free to come back!”
“Ok, thank you.” I walked out with Gracia’s hand in mine, into the main hall. Kiri ran toward me with Snow in her arms.
“How was it?”
“Actually kind of short, it didn’t take too long.”
“Maybe we should go? We have things to do, especially you two.” Ren said pointing at me, then Gracia.
We all looked at each other and nodded. Gracia looked hyper. “Are you ok?” I asked Gracia.
“Yeah, I’m fine... I’m just excited I guess.” Right then, a beam of light blasted out of her hands. It basically created a sun roof. Gracia was falling to the ground. I caught her before she landed.
“Gracia, wake up! Gracie!”
“She’s fine, Nero.” Ren said.
“AND HOW THE HELL WOULD YOU KNOW!!!?” I yelled, although I wasn’t trying to. I felt something grab my arm. I looked down… It was Gracia. I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself, as Gracia fell asleep in my arms. “... I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to yell… I just-“
“It’s ok, Nero… Just so you know, when the people that are close to you are in pain, you become 95 percent stronger, and you lose control of your anger… So it’s understandable.”
“… Whatever… So what just happened?” I said trying to control myself.
“Gracia’s power is beginning to awaken… This is the earliest I’ve seen it happen, though.” He answered. “Her body will need the extra rest so it can adjust. She can sleep in her room until she wakes up.”
I nodded as I picked Gracia up. “... I can’t leave her alone.”
“She’ll be under our protection, you don’t need to worry.”
“No, I mean, I made a promise that I wouldn’t leave her alone.” I corrected him. I felt like I was lying to him a little, but it was the truth.
“I’ll stay with her if you want me to.” Kiri offered. “… You should go meet your mom; I won’t let her out of my sight…I promise.”
“… If you truly want to, you can… If she wakes up, tell her I’m coming right back, ok?” What, I like thinking ahead!
She nodded. “I will… Just keep your word.”
“I will.” I saw Snow move just a little bit. “… She’s not even three days old, and she’s already part of this… Two kids… Who knew?”
“Not a lot of people, but enough to make me still love them both.”
“… You three are the only reason I’m doing this… So, don’t do something crazy.” I said, teasing.
“… Go.” She laughed.
She said that right before all of this started… And it was exactly what I was thinking.
Part 2: Kiri
Chapter 1: The Past
Nero carried Gracia to a room that was a lot bigger than I really expected. He kissed her top of her head and whispered something in her ear. “… Be careful for me, ok?” He said after he kissed me for I don’t know how long… I always forget things when kisses me like this.
“I’ll be ok… Just be back as soon as possible.”
“I will.” He seemed annoyed just a little bit.
“… Promise me.”
“... I promise… I love you.” He assured me, kissing me again. If he keeps doing this, he’ll start getting away with things… I might just enjoy that!
My knees buckled a little bit, but it wasn’t noticeable, especially with the long pink dress I was wearing. “… I love you too, Nero.” I whispered in his ear, hugging him. Why was I crying!? I knew he was coming back…! I guess it’s because of what used to happen before this all started, when he would go on assignment… I would always cry when he left… So why not now?
I knew he didn’t want to, but he let me go. “Wait for me.”
“I always do.”
He kissed me one last time and left with a loud, “I love you!”, as he followed Ren out of the door. I closed my eyes and relived the past ten minutes or so in my head as I sat on the bed by Gracia. I laid Snow on her back with her head on a pillow. I felt Gracia sit up, hug me, put her head in my left shoulder, and fall back asleep.
“… Mom… Why are you crying? You should be happy… You shouldn’t be so sad all the time.” She said sleepily. I didn’t really care if she was still asleep, just the fact she said ‘Mom’ made me feel better. I held her tighter to me, just to remind myself that she was here. “… Mom, don’t cry anymore, please! I can’t stand it!” … Was she talking to me? “Nero will be back, just like always! Then, we’ll be together again.”
I still didn’t know if she was talking in her sleep, but I decided to entertain the idea that she might be talking to me. “… I know sweetie.” I said, trying to keep it simple.
“… Kiri… I can’t wait until you’re my mom… Then maybe you wouldn’t be sad so much when Nero leaves.” Oh yeah, definitely talking to me! “Maybe you’ll be happy, because you married Nero... Or you would at least act like you’re happy because you love him, right? And you’d do anything to keep him happy, right?”
“… Gracia… The day I become your mother will be the happiest day of my life… I will be happy, especially for you and Nero and your sister… I may not have given birth to you, but you and Snow are like blessings to me… My little angels that God sent me.”
She hugged me tighter. “… When this is all over, what will happen?”
“… If I honestly knew, I’d tell you, baby… But let’s try to think positive, ok…? I’m sure we’ll be fine... Everything’s going to be back to normal.” I felt like I was lying to her, and I was… I was saying all this as if it was a guarantee that we’ll survive, when it wasn’t… But, even though I know it’s a sin, I don’t have the heart to tell a five year old super genius that it’s likely that we’re going to die… Besides, she probably already knew that. “… I’m guessing you already know where Nero went.”
She nodded. “He went to meet our real mom… But that doesn’t mean I don’t want you to be.” She stated, fully awake now, but still looking a little tired… It amazes me that she’s not gaining any weight… Still the same eighty-nine pounds… I think I gained a pound or two- literally- while I was still pregnant. “I still want to meet her, at least. Just so I can know what she’s like.” She said, picking her head up from my shoulder. It seems she inherited the ‘silent cry’. It’s when you cry so silently that even when you’re right by that person, you wouldn’t know their crying until you actually look that way… Or your shoulder is soaking wet, like mine… Not that I cared.
I rubbed her side… Why did it feel like she was shaking? “… Gracia, are you ok?”
“… No.” She said calmly. She took off her long-sleeve, magenta shirt. What I saw under it was worse than anything I’ve ever seen; a thick, unnaturally long scar running up from her hip to all the way to her underarm.
“… Gracia, why didn’t you tell me about this? Where did this come from!?” I hate when my motherly instincts kick in… I always made someone feel awkward.
She looked downed, as if saddened by the thought that someone would do this to her… Or maybe she did it… Was she really that depressed? “… I was in the car with my parents when they hit someone… They were laughing and weren’t paying attention to where they were going… I can’t really remember what happened afterward, but Nero and a doctor was standing over me, so I assumed that I was in a hospital. Ten minutes after woke up, another doctor walked with a look of terror and grief on face… That’s when I knew mom and dad were… Gone.”
… Oh god. “…I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.” All of this happened to a five year old? God, I really shouldn’t have asked!
She smiled reassuringly. “… It’s ok… Now I know what Nero meant when he said you blame yourself for everything… Nobody but god could’ve prevented this, so you really shouldn’t blame yourself.” … I guess she was right, but I‘m not going to say that just yet.
… Ok, now I’ll say it. “Yeah, I guess you’re right… So, every time someone touches it, you shake?”
“Yeah! I don’t know why, I just do… I guess I get little colder, though.” She laughed.
“Yeah, I figured that…! Look, I’m really sorry for earlier… I guess-“
“It’s ok! You were just being a mom!”
… Man, she’s actually serious about me being her mom… You have no idea how this is making me feel right now. I nodded smiling, trying my best not to cry… I’m tired of crying... At least for today.
Chapter 2: The Storm
“… Do you think we can go anywhere where we can be alone?”
“I wouldn’t try if I were you.” Yeah, I forgot to tell you about that. In an attempt to keep us safe, Ren set up a personal a guard outside of Gracia’s room. The one that just yelled through the door was a woman… And, apparently, very tough, but not stronger than me, of course!
“Yeah, do you mind not listening in on us? And would you please be a little quieter, my baby’s asleep.” I silently yelled back.
“Sorry, it’s my job… But I can be quiet if you like.”
“Yes, thank you… I guess we can’t. Sorry, sweetie… Maybe later though.”
“Ok, I’m going to hold you to that!” She whispered, laughing. She better…! I’ll forget if she doesn’t!
I jumped when there was a knock at the door. I saw Snow shrug a little in the blanket she was wrapped in, yawn, and go back to sleep. I calmed myself and went to open the door. It was someone, a man, with a neutral look on his face.
“There’s someone here to meet you.” He said as if he didn’t really care.
“Ok, we’re on our way.”
“The other two must stay here.”
“… Well, I’m not coming if they don’t.” What, I just gave birth yesterday! I shouldn’t even be walking… But I am anyway, so deal with it! Besides, I doubt if Gracia can handle herself if I left her alone.
“We’ll be ok, you should go!” Gracia said eccentrically.
“Nope, I’m not leaving you two alone.” Sooner or later, I was going to cave, but I may as well put up an argument.
“You worry too much! I’m sure it’s important! Besides, you’re coming right back, right?”
… Damn she’s good! “… Fine, if it’s so important, I’ll go.” I said, defeated. “Don’t get into trouble while I’m gone, ok?”
“Not that we can.” She smiled. I’m starting to get jealous because her smile's a lot brighter than mine.
“You’ll think of something.” I laughed. “… Ok, let’s go.” He led me into the main hall and veered right to the main entrance. I froze in place when I saw the face that was waiting for me. “… Dad?”
“Hello Kiri. How’s life with a deadbeat?” He said in a dry voice.
“A lot better than my old life… What are you doing here?” My mouth became desert dry as my words became venom.
“Well, to be honest, I came here to bring you back home… I miss the teenager I 'tucked' into bed every night.” My heart skipped a beat when he did the air quotes. It’s taking everything in me not to run away.
“… No… You just miss raping every night when my mom went to sleep.”
“Oh, and you think having sex with this man is going to make it all better…!? You’re just a whore, my daughter… Oh wait, that’s right… I disowned you a long time ago.” The glare in his eye… He was going to do it to me again.
“… You’re thinking about it, aren’t you?” I accused, taking step a back… I need to put as much distance between me and him as possible before he lunged at me. WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYBODY!!!?
“Don’t run Kiri… It’s just going to hurt you more.” Taking a quick step toward me. I turned and started to run, but a gleam in the corner of my eye stopped me.
“I dare you to take one more step toward her!” Someone said… Nero?
“… Nero Gara, what a pleasant surprise! I was just talking to my daughter.” Said calmly. Oh, thank God!
“Sounds like you were trying to do a lot more than that…! Are you ok, Kiri?”
I couldn’t manage to say or do anything… I couldn’t think of anything other than ‘I was almost raped.’
“… She’s fine.” My father lied.
“Shut it, a*****e! I asked her, not you!”
“I’m ok, Nero.” I said panting hard. I sat on the floor wearily and curled into a ball. I said I wasn’t going to cry… But I think this will count as an exception on my part.
“I don’t tolerate disrespect, Nero!” I saw a glowing thing emit from his body… Was that a spiritual body?
“What the hell?” Nero said surprised.
“You honestly didn’t think you were the only one with a spiritual body, did you?”
“Actually yeah, I did!” I heard him say. His spiritual body came into form behind him… I didn’t know it was so beautiful! “Kiri, can you move?”
“You should go check on Gracia and Snow, and stay there please?”
“Ok… Be careful, ok?” I said, getting up.
Chapter 3: Blackout
I started to run back to Gracia’s room, thinking to Nero that I love him as I sprinted. When I got to Gracia’s room, everything was in order- I guess she couldn’t think of anything- and Snow was moving around playfully in Gracia’s lap.
“Hi mom!”... Nope, not used it yet, but I’m getting there. “... Why do you look so tired? Is something wrong?” No, Gracie, no! “Do you need help?” No, she’s a mother...! She’s turning into me!
“No, sweetie, I’m fine... When did your sister wake up?” I asked panting extremely hard... Damn, I’m out of shape! But, that was an extremely long hallway, so, I guess that's ok!
“Just a few minutes ago, why?”
“Nothing, I was just wondering.” I said, a little calmer now that I have a little more breathe.
“... Did you see Nero?” She asked excitedly.
“Yeah, I did... He’s fine.” She’s already excited; I can’t get her worried over something that might be nothing… I hope. I heard a crash outside and my father scream in pain.
“What was that!?” Oh, great!
“Get down!” I yelled although I wasn’t trying to.
Gracia got down under the bed with Snow in her arms. A crippling pain went through my stomach like a strike of lightning, making me fall to knees, screaming. “MOM!!!” I heard Gracia yell.
“… Stay down.” I tried to tell her without success- I could barely breathe. God, I felt like I was labor again…! But I know I’m not… Am I…? No, it’s too late.
Another crash surged through the hallways. “… KIRI!!!” I heard Nero call.
“Nero.” I couldn’t manage to say anything else any louder.
“… Is she ok?” I heard another woman ask… I felt a strike of disbelief, hoping that wasn’t someone else Nero decided to marry instead… No, he wouldn’t do that.
“God, I hope so… She’s in Gracia’s room… Damn it, which way is it…! Gracie, are you ok!?” Man they’re talking loudly!
“I’m fine, but Kiri’s hurt!”
“I’m on my way!” I heard a set of footsteps that started to grow louder and louder as they got closer. I tried to get up, but my knees buckled again. “Kiri, hold on, I’m almost there!”
I screamed in pain in response as tried to get to the bed.
“Hold on, Kiri!” Gracia yelled as I fell again… I felt like something was sapping the strength out of me! I struggled to get up. If it wasn’t for Gracia, I probably would’ve blacked-out by now. She’s helped me to the bed and put me down. “Nero’s almost here, mom… you’re going to be ok.”
“… I know… Sweetie, where’s Snow?” I couldn’t help but be concerned… Mother’s instinct I guess. I heard Snow laugh playfully… Good, I want her to be happy. “… Never mind.” I said, smiling a little. I wasn’t in too much pain now, but braced myself just in case.
I closed my eyes and dreamed of my family, made just more perfect when I woke up to find… Oh God, NO!!!
Chapter 4: Deceptive Dreams
“… I hope you’re feeling ok, Kiri.” Is there echo somewhere?
“Nero… Oh God, NO!!!” I heard his voice, but when I opened my eyes, it was my dad standing over me.
“Hush, my daughter… It will all be over soon… In a way, you should enjoy this.” He said laughing as he climbed on top of me, holding my arms. “Just close your eyes… It’ll be over in a flash!” He laughed menacingly.
I rose up my knees hard, one hitting him in the ribs, the other hitting him in the worst place for a guy to hit. He fell off of me and onto the floor. I jumped up and tried to run, but something was wrong; the floor wasn’t there! I was falling into darkness.
I woke up then… Just like every other time I had this nightmare. “Where am I, what happened?” I said panting.
“Hey, she’s awake!” I heard Gracia say loudly.
I heard footsteps coming my way very quietly. “… Hey sleepy-head.” I heard Nero say in my ear. I jumped, surprised. “… Sorry, did I scare you?” Did he see that? God, that’s so embarrassing!
“… No, I’m fine.” It was nice to know he was there beside me, but I couldn’t help wondering who that other voice was.
“… Remarkable! I was pretty sure she was going to kill over!”
“MOM!!!” … Mom?
“Just telling the truth, Nero… I forgot to ask, what is her name?” Her voice is so beautiful!
“Kiri.” I answered weakly. “… What would your name be?”
“You’re a goddess?” Yeah, I’m a nosey person!
“No, I'm a half-angel.”
“… You just seem so radiant!” I laughed. I looked at the ceiling, trying to figure out what to say next… Or if I say should say anything at all. I looked down at Gracia, who was asleep all of a sudden. Such a little girl, and yet she sleeps half the day!
“… Her body’s still adjusting, Kiri. It’ll be a while before she wakes back up.” I jumped at the thought of a five year old dying. “… Damn, I- I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.” Nero said sincerely.
I couldn’t say anything… What a nightmare would that be if she died right here…? “… I know… That just scared me a little.”
“It’s ok.” Right then, someone busted through the room door loudly like thunder sounded right by your ear. I saw Snow nudge Gracia in the ribs- Gracia didn’t seem to notice.
“Lady Celeste!” He yelled, bowing. “Nero, you and your sister are needed, it’s an emergency!”
“Damn, can’t it wait!? And would you stop yelling?” Nero retorted, whispering.
“No sir, it can’t... And, sorry, force of habit... Please, you must wake you sister.” He whispered back.
“... Sorry, can’t do that-“
A noise rang through the hallways... I’ve heard it before... Swords clashing as their wielders swung with deadly force. “No, it can’t have started already, not yet!” The other said fearfully.
“Come with me! Kiri, you have to get everyone else out of here, ok?” Nero exclaimed as he ran out the door.
“I’m on it!” I replied quickly. I looked in Gracia’s direction... She woke up before I even had a chance to think about it!
Good, she’ll need to be.
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