Chaos Angelica: Extraordinary
Chapter 1: Yumeni Harukawa
I’ve started living with Phoebe now. It’s Summer vacation, and I don’t know what to do. It’s weird because I’ve never thought about what to do over the summer before. I don’t really get out much.
I’m not completely settled in here yet. I don’t have any of my things any more; I lost a very important necklace in that fire, not to mention I don’t have much to wear. I went out and bought a few things, but I still don’t have much. I should go clothes shopping.
“What’cha thinking about?”
“Huh? Oh, hey Phoebs. I was just thinking I don’t have much to wear. I should go shopping soon.”
“You want me to come with?”
“Well, I was gonna ask Ashton, but I think it’d be more fun with you. So um… you can come.”
“Great! Let’s go now!”
“But it’s ten o’ clock.”
“Oh. Right. We’ll go tomorrow then?”
“Yeah, tomorrow’s fine. We’ll get breakfast too. I really don’t want to cook again,” We’ve decided on a plan, so I’m going to bed.
I open my eyes and stare at the still unfamiliar ceiling. Living here with Phoebe is still new to me. We planned to go shopping today, so I should hurry and get ready to head out.
I get out of bed and head for the shower. The apartment is quiet, so Phoebe is probably still sleeping. When I’m in the shower, I notice I’m running out of my shampoo.
“Guess I’ll need to buy some of that too…”
I get out of the shower and quickly put my clothes on. It’s a little irritating having to wear the same three outfits everyday. I mean, that is why I’m going shopping today.
After I’m dressed, I lightly knock on Phoebe’s door, “Hey, Phoebe, you awake? You need to get ready to go soon.”
I hear a voice come through the door, “I’m getting dressed. Could you just wait out there for me?”
“Be quick please. I’d like to get going soon.”
Once she’s dressed, Phoebe quietly leaves her room. I’m putting on my shoes as she exits and closes her bedroom door behind her. She quickly then walks up to where I am to put her shoes on as well.
“I’m all ready to leave.”
“Right, let’s go get breakfast. I’m not cooking today,” Once we’re ready, we leave for town.
We decided to get waffles for breakfast, most of the breakfast places around here serve pancakes that are pretty mediocre. I make better pancakes than them, so waffles is the way to go. As we eat, Phoebe tries to make conversation with me.
“So what kinds of clothes do you like to wear?”
“Just something comfortable. I don’t care too much about how they look, but I’d like them to look presentable at least.”
“I getcha’. You do dress pretty casual most of the time, huh?”
“The most formal attire I’ve got is my school uniform.”
“You didn’t have anything to wear to events and stuff?”
“Do I look like the type of person who attends events?”
“No, I guess not.”
When we’re finished eating, I pay the bill and we prepare to head out. As we’re heading out the door Phoebe stops, “Actually, I’ve gotta use the restroom. Would you mind waiting here for me?”
Phoebe reenters the restaurant. As I’m waiting, I feel something leaving my pocket. When I feel around for it, I realize my wallet is missing. I look around and see a homeless-looking girl who appears about the age of a middle-school first year holding it.
“Sorry Phoebs, I need to step out for a minute,” I hastily chase after the girl.
The girl runs through the alleys like a feral cat. She’s so fast I can barely keep up with her. I chase her for what feels like a lifetime until we finally reach a dead-end.
The girl backs into the wall and growls at me as if she’s a wild animal. Then I hear a voice in my head.
“What do you want?”
“I just want my wallet back. I’ve no intention of harming you.”
“No! You can’t have it! I need this money to live.”
“Are you homeless?”
“Why should I tell you?”
Looking at this girl, I’m reminded of one of the lowest points of my life. I can’t help but see myself in her. I can’t help but want to save her, “I’d like to help you if I can. My name’s Ichigo Harukawa, but you can call me Ichi. What’s your name?”
“I don’t have one…”
“Well that’s no good. Would you mind if I gave you one?”
“Not having a name seems pretty inconvenient. Also, if you give me back my wallet I’ll buy you something to eat, as well as some nicer clothes. How about it?”
“You’re… not lying. You’d really let me stay with you?”
“So you can read my mind. My friend might need some convincing, but she’ll come around eventually. What do you say?”
“I… I need a name,” She speaks aloud this time.
“How about… Yumeni Harukawa? Yume for short. You’ll be like my little sister or something.”
“Yeah! I’ll be your big brother who takes care of you!”
“You said… you’d buy me food… right,” She hands me back my wallet.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
I grab the girls hand so I don’t lose sight of her and I go back to where I was waiting for Phoebe before. When I get there, I see a very worried-looking Phoebe calling out to me.
“There you are! Where’d you go?”
“This little girl stole my wallet.”
“Well that’s not very nice. You got her to give it back, right?”
“Yeah, I was also wondering if you’d let her stay with us. She doesn’t have a home and I feel kind of bad for her.”
“Why are you taking in a homeless girl?”
“It’s just a whim.”
“I don’t really have any problems, but where will she sleep?”
“I was thinking she could share your room with you. If not then I guess she’s stuck in the living room.”
“I guess… I’ll share a room with her. What’s your name, sweetheart?”
“Yume, huh? It’s cute. I like it!”
“Hey, big brother, when are we buying the food?”
“Just a minute, Yume.”
“Why… is she calling you big brother?”
“Well, in essence, I’m adopting her. She only looks to be about two years younger than us, so I thought I’d just call her my sister or something.”
“Big brother, I want that,” Yume is jumping up and down, pointing at one of the donuts on display in the shop next to the restaurant we ate at.
“Really? Donuts? You don’t want something more substantial?”
“Fine, I’ll get the donut.”
I go to buy Yume’s donut as she’s jumping up and down in an expression of boundless joy. When I come back out with her donut, she seems to have calmed down a bit. She’s looking longingly at the sweet treat in my hand like a dog begging for treats.
“Don’t give me those puppy-dog eyes. Here, eat it quick so we can buy you something to wear.”
“Thank you so much,” Yume begins eating her donut with a happy expression on her face.
Buying clothes for a girl is tough. I’m pretty glad I brought Phoebe along today, if I hadn’t I’m not sure what would’ve happened. Yume has been running around the store trying on a bunch of dresses. Specifically, all of the pink ones.
“Big brother, how do I look,” Yume leaves one of the changing rooms wearing an outfit picked out for her by Phoebe. The dress is something I’ve seen before. It’s a light-pink dress with a knee-length skirt. The sleeves are incredibly short, with ruffles on the ends; the skirt is also ruffled. Around the waist is a large pink ribbon tied up into a bow on her back.
Her mint-colored hair is partly put up in a side ponytail with a small ribbon the same color as the one on her dress. She’s also wearing stockings of a very similar color to her dress, and mary-janes the same pink as her ribbons.
“You look really cute. I’ll buy that for you, but you should ask Phoebe to help you pick out some more casual outfits as well,” Between buying clothes for Yume and buying clothes for myself, I’m gonna go broke today.
“‘Kay! I’ll go ask her.”
I leave Yume to Phoebe so I can get some clothes for myself. By the time we’re done, it’s starting to get dark out. On the way home, I check my wallet to see how much I have left.
“Only fifteen Mura? There goes my life savings. I should find some jobs to do over the Summer.”
“You’re fine, freeloader.”
“If my situation were a little better, I’d pay my fair share of rent, y’know?”
“I was joking. Anyway, if you’re gonna be working jobs over the summer, try not to stay out too late. The city has been especially dangerous recently. I guess I’ll have to take control of Yume’s studies for you. She’ll need to go to school if she wants to live like a normal twelve year-old girl.”
“I’ve always wanted to go to school!”
That was a day…
Chapter 2: A Job
I picked up a part time job at a popular restaurant. They had an opening for a chef position. Cooking happens to be one of my only talents, so I took the job without a second thought. I didn’t think the job would be particularly difficult, but the atmosphere in this workplace is always so tense. The boss is always angry and all my co-workers look like they want to die. It’s a suffocating environment to work in.
“Hey! New kid! Hurry up with those orders!”
As soon as I get these orders out, it’ll be my break time. I hurry up and finish the orders so I can head to the break room. When I get there, I find a waiter who’s also on break. He has yellow-green hair and light-brown eyes. He looks to be about my age as well.
“Hey! You’re the new chef, right? Everyone is talking about how great you are at the job.”
“Yeah, that’s me. I’m here on break, so could you not bother me?”
He speaks as if ignoring my previous words, “My name is Sota Sakakura. I’m a part-timer here and a third-year student at Winter Blossom Junior High. What about you?”
“Ichigo Harukawa. Same as you.”
“Same as me?”
“I’m a part-timer and a third-year at Winter Blossom.”
“No way! Seriously? That’s awesome! Hey, do you wanna be my friend?”
“Not really, no.”
“Aww! Well that’s lame…”
A few moments of awkward silence envelope the room. While I’m sitting in my chair texting Phoebe, Sota looks like he’s trying to think of something he can say.
“So uh… why did you decide to work here?”
“Because I’m broke at the moment. What other reason would I have?”
“Why are you broke?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“Right… of course it isn’t. Did you buy something super expensive or something?”
“Didn’t I just say it’s none of your business?”
“Right… you did. I’m gonna go back to work now.”
“Work hard… or something.”
To think I’d run into a schoolmate here. I just hope I don’t run into him at school after Summer ends. That’d be a real pain. I should get back to work now.
After my shift, I prepare to head home. As I’m leaving I hear a voice call out to me, “Hey, Ichigo! Wait up!”
“What do you want?”
“We should walk home together. You live close by, right? What am I saying, of course you do! You go to Winter Blossom!”
“Do you ever shut up?”
“Y’know, your name sounds kinda familiar to me. You have any idea why that would be? I feel like it’s something pretty important.”
“You’re probably just imagining things.”
“Y’know, when the boss yells at you, you shouldn’t feel bad about it, okay? He’s just a grumpy guy, so if he gets angry with you don’t take it personally. Also in the changing room there’s actually a shoe-locker. A shoe-locker! Can you believe that? This is work, not school!”
“What are you even talking about?”
“Work of course!”
As Sota continues to ramble, we reach a fork, “I live this way so I’ll be seeing you!”
“I hope not,” What an annoying guy.
“I’m home,” When I get home, the place is quiet. I’m a bit concerned about why it’s so quiet, but when I start looking around to make sure everything is okay I find a very wholesome sight. Phoebe and Yume are passed out at the coffee table surrounded by notebooks, pencils, and other things for studying, “Working hard, huh? Keep up the good work,” I cover Yume with a blanket and head to my room to sleep.
For the rest of the Summer, Phoebe continues to tutor, Yume continues to study, and I continue to work. I walk back with Sota every day and he continues to annoy me. When school starts again, I quit my job so I can focus on school. Yume transfers to Winter Blossom as a first year, and soon I’m going to meet a certain girl from my past.
Chapter 3: Transfer Student
Finally I get to experience my first day of school! I’ve never been this excited in my life! I get to walk with Phoebe and big brother, and then I get to go to classes like a normal twelve year-old girl. This is a dream come true for me!
I hear a knock on my door, “Yume, are you ready?”
“Just about, big brother,” I finish putting on my uniform and open the door, “What’s for breakfast today?”
“There is no breakfast, I’ve got no time to cook.”
“Yeah, I know. I’ll make you something real tasty to celebrate you getting into school soon, okay?”
“You did a good job, Yume. When you started you had no formal education and now you’ve somehow been put in A Class. That’s a pretty big deal. It feels impossible.”
“Thanks, big brother. Let’s go!”
“Right, Phoebe is already waiting outside.”
While we walk to school, I take in Angelica in a light I’ve never seen before. It’s like my world-view has a new lens. I never thought I’d go to school. Growing up the way I did, I really did think it impossible. But now, I’m transferring to a new school, and I’ve been placed in the class for geniuses!
Once we reach the school, Phoebe leads me to the faculty office so I can get everything figured out. The teachers all look so tired. A female teacher leads me to my classroom after the bell and has me stand at the front of the room.
“Alright class, today we’ve got a transfer student. Yumeni, please go ahead and introduce yourself.”
“Yes! I’m Yumeni Harukawa, you can call me Yume. My big brother Ichigo is a third-year here at Winter Blossom. I don’t really know much about how a lot of this stuff works, so I’d appreciate it if you guys would help me get used to things around here!”
“Good job. You can sit in the front next to Mallock there.”
I head to my seat and sit down. My desk is next to that of a blonde-haired boy named Mallock Izerna. I can’t help but wonder what type of person he is. As I take my seat, I can hear people gossiping.
“She said she’s Ichigo’s sister, right?”
“You mean that gloomy kid in 3-B?”
“She’s bound to be a total weirdo,” I won’t stand for this. I ought to say something.
“I can hear everything you say, y’know,” Telepathy is pretty handy.
After my message the gossip slowly subsides. Class begins and I remain unable to focus. I can’t help but look at the boy sitting next to me. He looks oddly familiar. It’s like, he looks near identical to someone I know. For the rest of the day, I end up unable to take my eyes off of him.
After school, I decide to head to the library to study. I wasn’t able to focus at all today. When I get to the library, I take a seat towards the back of the room. No one can bother me here. As I begin working, I’m able to hear some people talking.
“Hey, you’re Mallock Izerna, right? The one who scored highest on the exam?”
“Do you girls need me for something?”
“Yeah, you should go watch a movie with us. It’ll be fun.”
“I can’t. I can’t keep my grades up watching movies.”
“Hey, can we call you Mal?”
“I’d rather you not, I hate that nickname.”
“Why not? It’s cute!”
“I just don’t like it, okay? You can call me Luck if you want.”
“Luck? Wow… that’s even cuter,” I can’t take any more of this.
I approach the group quietly to ask them to quiet down, “Excuse me. I don’t know if you noticed, but this is the library. Could you quiet down please? There are people trying to do study here.”
“And just who are you supposed to be?”
“Apologies. I’ve yet to introduce myself. My name is Yumeni Harukawa. I just transferred here today. You can call me Yume.”
“Why does a new transfer student care what we do?”
“Because you’re being loud and disturbing people. Especially this boy here. I don’t know if you could tell, but he clearly wants you to leave him alone right now.”
“And how do you know that?”
“I’m a psychic. I can read minds… among other things.”
“Oh yeah? What am I thinking right now?”
“You’re thinking you want to take me outside and hurt me.”
“... Let’s go girls,” They stomp out of the library, clearly upset.
“Thanks for helping me. You said your name was Yume?”
“Yes. My intention wasn’t to help you, though. Those girls were just disturbing me.”
Luck stares at me for a few moments that feel like an eternity. As I begin to get a little flustered, he finally speaks, “It really is you. You’re the girl from the fountain.”
Chapter 4: My Very First Friend
“It really is you. You’re the girl from the fountain. But… why are you here?”
It was a hot summer day. Only ten years old, I was without a family or a home. I didn’t even have a name for myself. Unable to bear the heat, I spent my day at the fountain in Angelica park. I stood in it, letting the cool water wash over me as I collected change from the bottom of the fountain. As I stood there in my rags, I heard the voice of a boy my age come from behind me.
“What are you doing there?”
I looked back and saw a young boy with violet eyes and blonde hair that sparkled in the sunlight. For the first time in a long time, someone had asked me a question, so I decided I should answer.
I showed him one of the coins I had picked up and said, “I need money to eat.”
He looked at me, concerned, “Is your family poor? I noticed you’re in rags.”
I shook my head lightly, “I don’t have a family. I’ve been on my own as long as I can remember.”
“I see… what’s your name?”
To this question, I had no answer. My name was one of many things that I could not remember. Whatever it may have been, it had been so long since someone called me by it, that I had forgotten it all together.
“I have no name.”
“You don’t?” The boy seemed surprised, “Then how about this, I won’t tell you mine? That way it won’t make a difference.”
I slowly moved out of the water, and sat down on the edge of the fountain, “Why does it matter if I know your name?”
“It doesn’t, not anymore,” The boy walked over closer to me, then he kindly extended his hand, “You wanna be my friend?”
“Your… friend?” I tilted my head slightly to the left, confused.
“Yeah, my friend. Like someone you hang out with and enjoy spending time with.”
“If you want to be my friend, will you do something with me right now?”
“Sure thing,” He gave me a gentle smile with closed eyes.
“I’ve always wanted… someone to dance with me… in the fountain,” My face was flushed red with embarrassment.
“Let’s dance then,” I was surprised at how easily he agreed. I never understood why he wanted to be friends in the first place, but that day was the first day I had felt happy. The boy was my very first friend, someone truly irreplaceable to me. And now…
“But… why are you here? Did someone take you in?”
“Yeah… he’s a third year student here. I believe I mentioned him in my introduction in front of the class.”
“Ichigo Harukawa, huh?,” He pauses for a moment, “Tell me, where were you all summer. I was worried something had happened to you. You really scared me.”
“Sorry. I had to study all Summer, so I’d be able to come to school.”
“Looks like it paid off. Congrats on getting into A Class.”
“Do you… want to go back? Back to the fountain where we first met. It’s been awhile since we were there together”
“Sure… I guess we can. Don’t you need to study though?”
“Skipping out once in a while won’t hurt.”
Luck and I both put our supplies back in our bags and leave school. On our way out, I can tell a lot of people are looking at us. From what I can tell, Luck is pretty popular for some reason. That’s probably why. When we arrive at the fountain, the sun is beginning to set. The sky is a beautiful collage of pink and orange. It sets a very romantic mood. The sky and the mood set by it make me afraid, yet also excited, for what might happen next.
“So hows your new life? You adjusting well?”
I’m glad this seems to just be a normal conversation, “Yeah, things have been going rather well.”
“What’s the boy who took you in like?”
“He’s… well, I guess the best word I can think of to describe him would be troubled.”
“Troubled, huh? I can relate,” For a few long moments, there is silence, until finally, he turns to look me in the eyes, “You’re not… going to disappear again, are you?”
Again… was he really that upset by my absence? I can’t say I didn’t miss him from time to time but… a light breeze blows past us, and as I look at him, his blonde hair and violet eyes glow in the sunset. He looks stunning, even with his hair a mess, he’s a beautiful boy. But he’s more than just that, he’s…
“I won’t disappear again, I promise you.”
His serious expression turns to a radiant smile as he says to me, “Good, I’m glad! I don’t know what I’d do if I could never see you again.”
My face begins to feel hot, and my chest feels tight. I feel confused, scared, happy, excited. Underneath this brilliant setting sun, I realize what this boy really means to me. He isn’t just my very first friend, he’s also my very first… love.
Chapter 5: I Used To Be In Love With Her
The rumors about a model transferring at the start of the new term were true. The worst part is… it really is Ling. Ling is an old childhood friend of mine and our relationship is a bit… complicated. I believe I mentioned losing an important necklace in the fire? She gave that to me.
As I walk through the halls, I hear people talking, “It really is her. San-Ling Fei is at our school!”
“No way! Seriously? She’s like, super hot. I wonder if she’d go out with me,” She wouldn’t.
“Ah! There she is! I can’t believe I’m seeing her in person,” Crap, she’s close by! If I just keep my head down, she surely wouldn’t recognize me. If she can’t see my face, since my hair is dyed, she wouldn’t know it’s me, right? But as I try my best to hide, my worst fears come to fruition. She calls out to me.
“Is that Haru? Hey, Haru! That’s you, right?” She approaches me in a run.
“Hey, Ling. Long time no see, huh?”
“Seriously. I was real worried when you suddenly disappeared like that. When I asked your parents what happened, they said you were a disgrace and you weren’t needed! You could’ve come to talk to me at least before you left.”
“Sorry… it uh… didn’t cross my mind.”
“Hey, do you still have the necklace?”
“I lost it… in a fire.”
“I see… I guess that means our promise is broken, doesn’t it? That’s unfortunate. Makes me a little sad, to be honest.”
“That was just a stupid promise between children Ling. I don’t like you that way anymore. It’s been three years, after all.”
“I understand. But for the record, I’m not giving up. I still… love you Haru. I really do.”
As I realize everyone is watching and talking about us, Phoebe approaches me from behind, “Hey, Ichi? Do you know her?”
“She’s just a childhood friend. Now she’s more like a stranger, though. Let’s head to class.”
“Right,” She turns to Ling, “I’m Phoebe, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” She begins to speak in a whisper so I can’t hear, “I won’t let you take him before I can tell him how I feel.”
Ling looks surprised for a second, before a fire is lit in her eyes. I wonder what she could’ve said? What kind of challenge did she just give Ling? I just hope it wasn’t a fight since Phoebe would absolutely lose. After all, it was Ling’s family who taught me everything I know.
During lunch, I’m visited by Phoebe on the roof. At first, there’s an awkward silence. She seems to be thinking about what to say. When she finally says something, it’s in a quiet voice that I can barely hear.
“What is Ling to you?”
“What kind of a question is that? She’s just an old friend. Someone I used to know a long time ago. She’s nothing to me now.”
“Would you please be honest with me? I wanna know what she meant to you back then,” For some reason, she looks like she’s about to cry.
“To be honest, I used to be in love with her. Our feelings were mutual, but my father was supposed to choose my wife so we couldn’t be together.”
“What do you mean used to?”
“It’s just what it sounds like. After everything that’s happened these last three years, those feelings kinda just faded.”
“I see… do you think things would be different for you if your father let you be with her?”
“Yes. Very. I’d be a lot happier that’s for sure.”
“I see,” She begins to speak in a whisper so I can’t hear again, “I’ve no chance, do I?”
“What was that?”
“It’s not important,” She smiles awkwardly with teary eyes, “That was just a hypothetical, so it’s not a big deal, ‘kay?”
What was that about? Don’t tell me she… no, it couldn’t be. There’s no way anyone could feel that way about the person I am now. Ling is in love with the person I was three years ago. Phoebe though… is it really possible that she’s… in love with me?
Chapter 6: A Broken Promise
It was five years ago now. That day, I asked Haru to meet me at Suzuka Central Park. I wanted to give him something, something to represent our feelings. With all my allowance savings, I bought two matching pink heart necklaces with gold chains. I planned to give it to him, so we could be together even if we were apart.
When I got to the park, it was still mid-afternoon. I waited an hour, then two, then three, but I believed he’d come, “He’s late,” I said, dejected. Just as I was about to give up, I heard someone running up to me. I turned around, teary eyed, and there he stood, “You’re three hours late, Haru!”
“Sorry, I had to escape my father,” He scratched the back of his head, embarrassed, “ What did you want to talk about?”
I slowly grabbed his hand and opened it, placing the necklace inside it, “I wanted to give you this,” He looks at me, surprised. The look of surprise quickly turned to a bright look of joy as he noticed I was wearing the same thing, “Thanks! I’ll wear it every day!”
I was glad he was happy, I looked him in the eye and told him, “Let’s make a promise. As long as we both have these necklaces, we’ll be together even if we’re apart.”
He smiled at me, he was almost blinding. That’s how bright he seemed to me at the time, “It’s a promise!”
That day, I thought that we might have a real future together. That promise we made, that little, children’s promise gave me a small glimmer of hope for us. I remember staring at the sunset with him, it was like a beautiful sea of purple and orange. It was beautiful that evening. And underneath that sunset, we shared a kiss. It was nothing special, it only lasted a second, but that’s the happiest I’ve ever been.
“He seems so different now,” I whisper under my breath, staring at the ceiling and slowly rocking my chair back and forth. I’m completely unable to focus on class right now. The only thing I can think about is Haru, “Maybe I should talk to him. He’d at least be willing to do that, right?” I whisper under my breath again, as to avoid interrupting the teacher’s lecture.
After class, a girl approaches me as I’m still sitting in my seat. She’s small and dainty. She has olive skin, dark pink eyes, and black hair put up in pig tails with two heart ribbons. She seems a little uncomfortable, but she decides to ask me a question, “Um… excuse me. You’re San-Ling Fei, right? I saw you talking to Ichi this morning, I was wondering if you two know eachother?”
“Ichi? Who’s that,” I don’t recall talking to someone named Ichi.
“Oh, um, uh… he has honey blonde hair, pale skin, grey eyes. He’s always wearing a purple sweatshirt.”
“You mean Haru? He calls himself Ichi now?”
“So… you do know him?”
“He’s kind of like… an old flame. One I want to reignite.”
“Oh… okay. I had no idea he’s had a girlfriend before. Um… good luck with that! Bye now,” The girl runs off before I can even do so much as ask her name.
“What an odd girl,” I sigh and hold my necklace tightly in my right hand. I wonder if she likes him too? I don’t know how to feel about all this. I’m finally reunited with Haru after three years, and he says we’re strangers now? I don’t get it. Does he really not feel anything for me anymore? I’m starting to feel slightly depressed.
Still though, he’s like a totally different person now. He used to be so bright and cheerful. Smiling all the time, enjoying everything life had to offer. But now he’s… he looks so tired. When he speaks, he sounds like he doesn’t care, almost like he only means half of what he says. How can a person change that much in just three years? I don’t get it, “Haru… what happened to you? You can talk to me, y’know?”
Chapter 7: Anything More Than That Isn’t Happening
I did something stupid. Something really stupid. I put a letter in Haru’s locker saying to meet me behind the school after class. I wish I could’ve asked him in person, but I know that if I did that he wouldn’t come. He probably knows it’s me though. He’s pretty smart, y’know. There’s no turning back now though.
I’ve got no choice but to wait here for him behind the school, “Will he even come?” I really doubt he’ll show, “He’s twenty minutes late already. Heh, this reminds me of that day…”
As I feel like I’m about to cry, I hear a voice call out to me, “Sorry I’m late, what’d you want to talk about?”
“I want to know… why you won’t talk to me.”
“Because we’re strangers now. I said that before, didn’t I?”
Feeling like I could break down any moment, I lash out at him, “But we’re not! We’re not strangers! I don’t even care if you love me any more, I just want you to talk to me! Is that too much to ask? Is that-,” I fall down to my knees, frantically wiping my tears with my sleeves. Seems like I finally broke, “Do you really hate me that much? Does looking at me hurt you that much? Tell me, Haru! Tell me and I’ll leave you alone!”
He kneels down, and gently wraps his arms around me, “Ling, we’re both different people than we were three years ago. Me especially. A lot happened in those three years. It’s not that looking at you hurts me, it’s just that… seeing you again like this has made me realize just how different I really am. There are a lot of things that changed which I don’t want to accept. Looking at you is the same as accepting it to me.”
“That doesn’t make any sense…”
“Sorry. I’m not good at explaining things. I’ll have to accept it eventually though. I think,” He lets me out of his embrace and looks me in the eyes, “I’d like to be your friend again. Anything more than that though… isn’t happening,” He averts his gaze and slowly looks down at the ground, “Sorry, I have to go now.”
As Haru walks away, I look up at the sky that is slowly turning to night, “A friend, huh? Is that enough for me? I guess… at least he’s willing to talk to me now.”
I stand up slowly, and I hear footsteps approaching me from behind, “E-excuse me.”
I turn around to face the direction of the voice, and see a familiar looking girl with black hair in pigtails and olive skin, “It’s you. Were you… watching that?” This is kind of embarrassing.
“S-sorry. I uh… got curious so I kind of, um, I followed you. I’m very sorry,” She bows her head submissively in apology.
“It’s fine,” I begin brushing the dirt off my skirt and stockings as I talk to the strange girl, “So what’s your name, stranger?”
“It’s Zianna. You’re, um, San-Ling Fei, correct?”
“You can just call me Ling. It’s nice to make your acquaintance.”
“Y-yes! I look forward to, um, being your friend! I think…”
“My friend, huh? I pretty much just got rejected, so I think I could actually use a friend right about now,” Having brushed all the dirt off my clothes, I stand up straight and look down at the girl in front of me. I’m not a giant or anything, but I’m taller than even most of the boys in my grade, “Why don’t we talk at a cafe of something?”
Zianna’s face lights up a little, “I know a place pretty close by,” Her bright expression dims a little as she looks away from me, “It’s sort of like an art cafe though… are you okay with that?”
I chuckle a little, “As long as the coffee is good, I don’t really care,” Hearing my response, Zianna begins moving and beckons me to follow her. As we walk, I decide to try and make small talk, “There’s actually a photographer working for the magazine I’m featured in who usually hangs out at places like that.”
“What’s their name?” She awkwardly asks.
“I think it was something weird like Eren Clementine. She’s kind of anti-social. Doesn’t talk to others unless she needs to. I’m hoping I can get her to open up to me somehow.”
“I wonder if something happened to make her that way,” She looks down at the ground with a solemn expression on her face, “I can sort of relate to that,” I don’t think I should push the subject any further.
When we reach the cafe, the sun has nearly completely set. Zianna opens the door and I follow her inside. Considering the time of day, the place is surprisingly crowded, “Table for two please,” She holds up a two with her fingers.
“It’s rare for you to come with someone else Zianna.”
“Isn’t she that model,” The green-haired boy working the counter asks, “What are you doing with someone like that?”
“You must be mistaking me for someone else. Don’t worry, I get it a lot. Would you lead us to our table, please?”
“Sure, right this way ladies!”
The waiter leads us to our table and sets out two catalogs in front of our chairs, “Thank you very much sir,” I bow slightly and me and Zianna take our seats, “This place is pretty crowded considering the time of day.”
Zianna looks around for a moment, as if searching for someone, “People usually come here when they need to work late into the night. The place just has that sort of atmosphere.”
“What about you?”
“Me?” She seems surprised and confused, but she also seems happy that I asked, “I come here sometimes when a competition deadline is creeping up,” She looks away, blushing in embarrassment. How cute.
I look over the menu, trying to find something that sounds good to me right now. I usually drink a caramel macchiato, but I feel like trying something different this evening, “Any suggestions?”
“Huh?” She looks up at me, confused.
“For the coffee. Is there anything you think I should try?”
“Well, um, if you like seasonal drinks, the pumpkin spice here is pretty good. I recommend you get it iced,” She points to the seasonal drinks on the menu, and her finger slowly glides over to the pumpkin spice latte.
“Maybe I’ll get that then,” I smile slightly, “What are you getting?”
“White chocolate caramel mocha. It’s my usual. I’m not feeling like trying anything new today,” She hides her face behind her menu.
“That sounds pretty good!”
“I-it is,” She says in a near whisper.
“I’ve decided! I’ll get the same thing as you!”
“Huh? You don’t have to-”
“You’re the expert here,” I cut her off, “Whatever you usually get, I’m sure it’s delicious.”
As we’re talking, the waiter comes to our table, “What can I get you guys?”
“My usual please,” Zianna seems a lot more relaxed talking to the staff in this cafe.
“Okay. One iced white chocolate caramel mocha,” The waiter writes down Zianna’s order, then turns to me, “And you?”
“I’ll get the same.”
“Alright, I’ll be out with that in just a second,” The waiter puts his notepad back into a pocket on his apron, then walks back towards the counter.
“So what’s your opinion of Haru?” I continue my conversation with Zianna.
“Yeah. Do you have a crush on him or something?”
“N-no! I admire him a lot, but I don’t like him or anything! Promise,” Red in the face, Zianna waves her hands frantically in front of her as she denies having any feelings for Haru.
“You admire him? What do you admire about him?”
“I guess… I admire how he’s fine with being alone.”
“Mm-hmm,” She nods her head before continuing, “He doesn’t have many friends, but he doesn’t really let it bother him. It’s like he’s resigned himself to a life of loneliness. It may sound kind of weird, but I admire that about him.”
“That’s admirable to you?”
“Y-yes. It is. I’m actually quite bad at talking to people. Especially strangers… and boys. So I, um, I have a lot of trouble making friends. I wish I could just let myself be alone like he does, but no matter what I do I can’t. Being all alone is just too scary I suppose… I think that, no matter in what way, I just want someone, anyone, to pay attention to me. I admire Ichi because he’s fine with being by himself.”
Listening to Zianna’s explanation, I begin to have a better understanding of her character. She’s probably been left to herself most of her life, “I don’t think he’s necessarily fine with being alone.”
“What do you mean?”
As Zianna asks me what I mean by that, the waiter arrives at our table with our coffee, “Here you are ladies. Enjoy,” He carefully places our drinks in front of us, bows, and heads back to the counter.
I slowly sip on my coffee before responding to Zianna’s question, “The thing is, even if he has completely changed, Haru is still Haru. Does that make sense?”
“I… don’t follow,” She begins to drink some as well.
“What I’m trying to say is, that at his core, he hasn’t changed. He’s changed a lot, but his core character is still the same as three years ago.”
“It is?” She looks at me, confused.
“Yes, it is. You see, Haru is the type of person who can’t stand being alone. He may act like he doesn’t need anyone else, but that’s all it is, an act. No matter what, he’s always going to latch onto someone in the end. There’s going to be a person who he sees himself in slightly, and he’s going to grow close to that person so he isn’t alone. Before, it was me, now I believe it’s a girl named Phoebe Linhardt.”
“So he’s like a leech?”
“That’s a pretty poor way to describe it. A leech doesn’t care what their target feels. Haru does. As I said, he grows close to his target. He starts to care,” I slowly take another drink of my mocha, “The other person becomes a part of him. It’s a more symbiotic relationship. Ultimately, they both need each other.”
“I’m confused. You knew this about him, but you still held on to your feelings for three years?”
“Well thats,” I clench my heart necklace in my left hand, “As I said, they both need each other. I may not be his target anymore, but that still applies to me.”
“I see,” Zianna quickly drinks the last of her coffee and stands up, “I think I sort of understand now,” She leaves some money on the table, “We should get going soon.”
I quickly drink the rest of my coffee then stand up and me and Zianna leave the cafe together, “I really enjoyed talking to you today Zianna. Feel free to talk to me any time during school.”
Zianna looks down at the ground, her hands fidgeting, “R-right. I enjoyed it too. Good night,” She runs off, waving goodbye from behind her back.
Chapter 8: Because It Makes Me Feel Alive
Apparently, the apartment complex that Ichi lived in was attacked by Nemesis. He still shows up to school, so he’s safe at the least. I want to believe that the article she was reading that day was completely unrelated, but I can’t shake the feeling that my sister is plotting something.
Whatever the case, Ichi could be in danger. If my suspicion is correct, and my sister really has taken an interest in the Middle School Monster, then he could be in serious danger. I want to try and do something to prevent the worst from happening, but I don’t know what I can do.
Nemia isn’t a murderer, she’s an arsenist. Most likely, she’ll toy with him until she’s bored. That being said, her idea of toying with him is burning everything around him. She’ll set fire to his whole world, literally, until she feels there’s nothing left worth burning.
As I silently contemplate on the fluffy pink sofa in our hideout, I hear a boyish voice call out to me, “Hey, Leader! You’re awful silent today. Is something the matter?”
The voice belongs to a girl with tan skin, dirty blonde hair, and lavender colored eyes, “I was just lost in thought. You need something, Princess?”
“Not really,” She shrugs, “You just haven’t been talking to anyone, so I got kinda worried.”
“Well,” I stand up slowly, “Believe it or not, I’m typically not the social type,” I slowly look around the room, scanning for my sister, before turning back to Princess, “Is Nemesis around today? I don’t see her.”
“You need to talk to her?”
“Sort of,” I let out a long sigh before continuing, “I just have a few questions for her is all.”
Princess turns around and points towards the exit with her left hand, “I believe she’s out front burning newspapers again,” She turns back to me and positions her hand under her chin in a fist, as if contemplating something, “I don’t really get why she’s always doing that.”
“It’s like a hobby for her,” I begin moving towards the exit, waving goodbye to Princess from behind my back, “Thanks for chatting with me. And thanks for the help as well. Next time, I’d like to see your face and not just your eyes through that mask.”
“Only if I can see yours,” She yells back playfully.
Just outside, I see my sister setting fire to newspapers, exactly as Princess said she’d be. Her black hair shines in the light given off by the fire, “Burning papers again?” I ask her as I approach her slowly.
“Huh?” She looks back at me and I flinch a little, she scares me, “Oh, it’s you,” She looks back to her fire and tosses another paper in, “Yeah, I was bored so…”
“Why do you like fire so much anyway?”
Slightly confused by my inquiry, Nemia turns away from the fire, probably so she can focus on coming up with an answer, “I don’t really have a reason.”
She turns back to her fire and tosses the rest of her papers in it. The fire starts to grow larger and brighter. In the night, it almost looks radiant, “If I had to give a reason it’d be that it makes me feel alive.”
“It makes you feel alive?” I tilt my head to the left in confusion at her response.
“How do I explain it,” For a few moments, she goes silent, staring into the fire, “Sort of like a drug, I suppose.”
“I don’t really get it.”
“You know how addicts keep doing drugs because they live for the high?” She turns around to face me.
“I guess,” I avert my gaze from hers, afraid.
“It’s the same thing!” She says loudly as she begins to dance around the fire, “I continue to play with fire because it makes me feel alive! Fire is my drug, and this,” She stops in front of the fire, facing me, and raises both hands in the air as if holding something above her head, “This is my high!” A mischievous grin is plastered on her face.
“I see,” I turn around, “I think I get it,” Before heading back inside, I turn my head back to tell her one more thing, “Don’t go doing anything stupid chasing that high, okay? I don’t enjoy cleaning up your messes.”
Somehow, I understand Nemia better now. Even worse, I understand that she’s even crazier than I thought. I always knew she wasn’t in her right mind, but comparing arsen to drugs? I’m now more terrified of her than I ever was before.
Last night is still on my mind, and I can’t focus on class. As I’m spaced out, trying to figure out how my sister thinks, someone approaches me, “Hey Zianna. That coffee the other day was pretty good, we should go again some time.”
I look up at her, still slightly out of it, “Oh, yeah, sure.”
Ling’s face turns to a look of concern, “You okay? You seem out of it?”
“Oh, yeah I’m fine. I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”
Ling pulls up a chair from a nearby desk and sits down to face me, “You wanna talk about it? I’m willing to listen.”
I let out a long sigh, “It’s nothing important, and I doubt you’ll be able to help anyway.”
“Why do you say that?”
“It’s sort of like… a family issue I guess?”
“I see. I think you should talk about it anyway. Sometimes it’s good just to tell someone about your problems,” She smiles at me, “Why don’t we go back to that cafe and you can tell me about it.”
“I guess… if you’re willing to listen then,” I look up at the clock and realize that class has ended, “Class is over, huh?”
“Yeah it is, have you been spaced out this whole time?”
“Yeah, pretty much all day, I suppose,” I look back to Ling who is listening intently, “Anyway, um, if you’re willing to listen I guess I’ll tell you about it. It might sound a bit ridiculous though…”
“That’s fine. I’ve probably seen something crazier,” She gives me gentle smile with a warm gaze, “I promise I won’t judge.”
“You can’t tell anyone what we talk about either, okay?” I say frantically.
“Right,” She stands up and puts her chair back, “Let’s go back to that cafe then.”
“Right,” I nod my head slightly as I stand up.
This silence is… awkward. She’s looking at me like she’s just waiting for me to speak. We’ve already ordered, so I suppose I can start talking about it.
I take a deep breath, and begin telling her about my problems, “Have you heard of the serial arsenist Nemesis?”
“Yeah, I have,” She shifts slightly in her chair, “What about them?”
“Nemesis is… my older sister. And I’m also… the leader of the Violet Tigers.”
Ling chuckles a little before responding, “You were right, that is ridiculous,” She laughs more at what I said.
“Do you… not believe me?”
“I never said that,” Her expression turns serious, “It was just unexpected, that’s all,” She looks me in the eye, “So when you said it was a family issue, you were referring to your sister?”
“That’s correct,” I nod as I respond quietly.
“Did you have a fight?”
“No. The thing is… I don’t know if I can keep her on her leash…”
“What do you mean?”
“As leader, I should keep Nemesis from causing too much damage, but I don’t know if I can,” I sigh, “Honestly, I don’t think there’s anyone who could stop her. I don’t know what to do…”
Ling’s expression turns quizzical and she looks at me with a furrowed brow, “Who said you had to do anything?”
“Well, it’s my responsibility as leader to-”
“If Nemesis causes a ruckus, that’s her problem. You don’t have to feel responsible when your sister does something stupid.”
That’s… I never thought of it that way, “You’re probably right,” I chuckle a little, “What have I been doing this whole time? Cleaning up her messes? Since when was that my job?”
Chapter 9: It Was Me; I’m The One That Killed Them
Phoebe wants me to go somewhere with her again today. Once again, she won’t tell me where it is we’re going. As I follow her, I notice that we’re taking lots of shortcuts through alleys, “Would you mind telling me where we’re going?”
“Shh,” She turns to me, touching her index finger to her lips, “It’s a secret for now. I have something to tell you, but there’s a place we have to go first.”
“Thrilling,” I let out a deep sigh.
As I continue to follow her, we eventually reach a part of the alleyways that kind of reminds me of a clearing in a forest, “I’ve never seen this before. Seriously, where are you taking me?”
Phoebe chuckles a little as we come to a halt, “Quit your whining, we’re almost th-”
“Phoebe Linhardt and Ichigo Harukawa,” The voice of a deranged woman cuts her off, “What an odd pair. Truly interesting,” The voice laughs.
“Who are you?” I shout back at the voice, surprised.
“Y’know, Ichigo Harukawa, your friend there has a pretty interesting secret,” I hear a snapping sound and all our exits our blocked off by fire, “Okay class! Time for show and tell! First up, Phoebe Linhardt! Show us your secret!”
“The hell? You trying to kill us?”
The voice laughs once more, this time she sounds even more deranged, “Not quite! I’m just toying with you, that’s all!”
“Toying with us? What’s your problem?” I yell back at her, infuriated.
“Okay Phoebe! You know what you have to do if you wanna make it out of here!”
Phoebe’s face seems terrified as she decides to speak up, “Before I do anything, I wanna know who you are?”
“Who am I? Well… you may call me your Nemesis!”
“I’ll be taking my leave now! You better reveal your secret, Phoebe Linhardt. It would be such a shame if you two kids died,” The voice begins to fade as it says those words.
I look over to Phoebe, “Phoebe, if there’s a way you can get us out of this then-”
“I won’t!” She cuts me off, “I can’t! I can’t do it!”
“If I… if I do it, you’ll get hurt!” She seems distressed.
“And if you don’t we both die!” I yell back at her, “Which would you rather have happen, Phoebe? Tell me!”
Her expression turns blank, “Fine. You’re right,” She closes her eyes as the air around us begins to feel colder. As the air grows cold, water appears above the fires, putting them out. As the fires begin to die out, Phoebe’s expression turns to one of pain, “No. Stay in control, Phoebe,” The chill in the air becomes even colder as shards of icy water shoot out in all directions around phoebe.
“The hell?” I jump back, but the shards still cut me.
“Ichi! You have to get out of here!”
“What about you?”
“I’ll be fine! If you stay, I’ll only end up hurting you. Or worse, I might end up-”
“Like hell!” I cut her off, “Let me ask you Phoebe. Do you want to hurt me?” I begin moving closer to her as the shards cut me and I start to bleed.
“Of course not! I have no control here!”
“If you don’t want to hurt me,” I continue to move closer to her, “Then you won’t.”
“It isn’t that simple!” She yells, “I can’t control this power, Ichi! Every time I use it, I always end up hurting someone! It doesn’t matter whether I want to! Don’t you understand? It was me; I’m the one that killed them!”
Is she talking about her family? Even so, “I won’t abandon you here!” Finally, after what feels like an eternity, I reach her. I gently wrap my arms around her cold body and we both fall to our knees.
“Why?” She asks in a confused tone, “If you had just left, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt. So why?”
“It’s because I lo-,” No, I can’t say that here, “You’re important to me, okay? I can’t just leave you when you’re clearly in pain,” The chill in the air begins to fade as her body starts to feel warm again.
“Your such an idiot, Ichi.”
“You’re the idiot here,” I chuckle a little, wincing in pain, “When someone offers you help you should listen,” Slowly, I release her from my embrace. I carefully reach into my pocket and take out my phone, then I hand it over to Phoebe, “Do me a favor, would you? In my contacts, there should be one that says Dr. Illis. Could you call her for me?” I begin to feel light-headed as I continue to lose blood. Slowly, my consciousness fades and the world goes dark.
When I wake up, I’m staring at a blank ceiling in a room lit by LED lights. The bed I’m laying in is firm, but not uncomfortable. It looks like Phoebe called her. I look over to my left and notice Phoebe sitting next to me holding my hand.
I sit up slowly, “How long was I out?”
“A couple hours,” Her face is red and her eyes look tired.
“Have you been crying?”
“Of course I have, you dummy!” She raises her voice at me, “Don’t you ever scare me like that again, okay?”
“Right,” I sigh, “I know this isn’t the time for this, but I have something to ask you,” She nods, “Back there, when you were out of control, you said something. You said that you’re the one who killed them. Were you, by chance, talking about your-”
“My family?” She cuts me off, “Yes, I was. It was the same thing. I used magic and lost control.”
“Was there a reason you used your magic?” Though she seems uncomfortable, I decide to ask anyways.
“I just wanted them to praise me,” She laughs awkwardly, “They never praised me. I thought that if I got good at using my magic they might praise me,” After a few moments of silence she sighs, “Pretty stupid, right?”
“I don’t think so,” I hold her hand a little tighter, “And you shouldn’t blame yourself, okay? It wasn’t your fault.”
“But it was. I was stupid. I knew I couldn’t control it and yet I still…”
“I still don’t think it was your fault,” I sigh, “You were just a kid. All you wanted was some praise. How is that your fault?”
For a moment, there’s silence. As both of us stay quiet, I hear a door open and then close. A voice comes from the edge of the room, “Good you’re awake. I’d ask what the hell happened, but I already heard it all from your girlfriend here.”
“She’s not my girlfriend.”
“Yeah, whatever,” She walks over to us, notepad in hand, “So how are you feeling?”
“I’m okay, I guess,” I chuckle a little, “Twenty-seven and still wearing pigtails, are we?”
“You making fun of me?” She raises an eyebrow, clearly annoyed.
“What does it sound like?”
“You’ve got a serious attitude problem, kid. I’ll have you know I just saved your ass,” She sighs, “For the thirty-eighth time, no less.”
“You keep count?”
“Yeah, I’m that bored,” She stuffs her notepad in a pocket on her lab coat, “If your well enough to make fun of me then you should get the hell out.”
“You’re not gonna tell me what I need to do? Isn’t that your job?”
“Just change your bandages every day and you’ll be fine,” She waves a hand dismissively.
“Really? That’s it?” Phoebe asks.
“Just get the hell out!” Dr. Illis throws a roll of bandages at me and it hits me square in the face. The doctor may be irritating, but she’s saved me many times. Whatever. At least I’m alive.
Chapter 10: This Is War
“Would you mind telling me what the hell happened?” Lyra’s stern voice breaks the awkward silence surrounding us.
“We were,” I pause for a moment, afraid to tell him anything, “We were attacked by Nemesis.”
“Nemesis?” He seems confused, “Then what the hell happened to your friend?”
“Did you use your magic?” He cuts me off with a question. I sit in total silence, afraid to answer his question, “Answer me, Phoebe!”
“I did,” I answer quietly, unable to speak up.
“I thought I told you not to use that! Do you have any idea what could’ve happened? You’ve no control over your magic. Your friend could’ve been killed!”
“I had no choice, okay!” I lash out, “We were trapped! If I didn’t… if I hadn’t used my magic, we would’ve suffocated!” I pause for a moment, “And Ichi is fine,” I add.
“That’s not the-”
“That’s exactly the point, Lyra!” I cut him off mid-sentence, “You need to stop treating me like a little kid! I’m old enough to think for myself!”
For a few short moments, there’s silence, “You’re right. I understand that if you hadn’t used your magic, things could’ve been even worse,” He takes a deep breath, inhaling slowly and exhaling into a long sigh, “I’m sorry for yelling at you. I was just… so worried for you.”
“I’m fine, Lyra,” I sigh, “And so is Ichi. So you don’t have to worry, okay?”
“You said that it was Nemesis?”
“If that’s true then there’s something I have to do.”
“What… what do you mean?” I ask him in a worried tone.
He slowly begins to walk away, “I’m declaring war on the Violet Tigers,” He stops to look back at me, “You have no say in the matter.”
Chaos Angelica: Extraordinary, end. Next volume, Chaos Angelica: Burnout.
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