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Persona: Conflicting Desires


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[i]April 6, 2015[/i]
[i]Port District[/i]

The sun would soon rise over the city of Yokuboshi, signaling the start of a new day. Soon, the streets would explode with people getting off and going to work, and kids going to school.

All unaware that there had been several murders during the night.

He didn't know how it happened. He had simply been with the gang, hanging out in their usual place, one of the warehouses in the Port. They had been going about their usual routine, loudly making jokes, smoking, popping back a few beers, the usual gang stuff. Then he had fallen asleep...

He didn't remember what he dreamed, but he knew someone had been in it...no, not someone, [i]something[/i]. The thing appeared and killed the entire gang. And for some reason, this had pleased him. He felt liberated- they had always looked down upon him, treated him like crap. Now he had finally gotten back at them, and they would never treat him like that again. Ever.

But of course it was all a dream- nothing but an illusion. Once he woke up, the gang would be alive, maybe even put him down further for falling asleep.

[i]But what if they really died?[/i]

[i]What if he made it happen?[/i]

When he awoke, he was greeted by a horrible sight. A glorious, horrible sight.

The bodies of everyone who had been in the gang lay strewn about the warehouse, limp and bloody.

And very much dead.

He felt his heart begin to race. This...this was bad. They were all dead. All of them. And he might be next...unless, of course, he had been the one to kill them all.

He finally noticed a sort of humming sound just behind him. He quickly turned around, falling over and landing unceremoniously on his rear end when he saw the source of the sound. It was the thing from his dream. Now that he got a god look at it, the thing was absolutely hideous. There was simply no other way to describe it. This hideous thing had killed everyone. And now it was about to come for him...no, wait. It felt oddly familiar, as if he knew it...

He then began to laugh, at first a low and steady chuckle, then a loud, uncontrollable cackle as the thing disappeared. He continued laughing, not even bothering to look around at his former â??friendsâ?. Who cared about them? They were dead, and he had killed them.

When the police found him later that morning, he was curled up in a ball on the floor, still laughing and only managing to occasionally say,

â??Shadows...Shadows, the true self...â?

Meanwhile, everyone in the city went about their business, unaware of the odd happening in the warehouse. Some had long since been awake, already on their way to work. Others were just now waking up, attempting to get fully awake and recovering from what had been a good night's sleep.

A select few, however, had not slept that well...
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Daisuke opened his eyes, if only to stare up at the ceiling. Sunlight filtered in through the blinds covering the windows of his bedroom, and he groaned, not wanting to get up. Rolling over, he glanced over to his alarm clock, and grimanced seeing the time. It was still early, and far earlier than he needed to get up.

His mind wandered, thinking of the strange dream he'd had. IT had been so strange, and felt so real. Something about it just felt off, somehow, like there was more than he was seeing to the picture. Shrugging, he sat up and threw off the fluffy black and grey comforter and put his feet down onto the cold hardwood floor of his bedroom. Stretching out, he stood, and threw off his underwear. They sailed across the room to land in his dirty clothes hamper, and he walked into the bathroom and twisted the knobs of the shower until he got the water just right for himself. The almost scalding hot water washed down his body, sending him away to cloud nine. Leaning into the water, it splashed onto his face and dropped down to the tiled floor of the shower.

A short while later and dressed for the day, Daisuke turned on the television in his living room. He had a nice apartment, and one that was considered higher end than most others, not to mention larger than most as well. While the morning news played out on the screen, Daisuke moved about his kitchen, getting a bowl, some milk, and a box of cereal from their respective places. As he raised his spoon of Frosted Mini-Wheats to his mouth, the news started playing a segment about some ship that had run aground and caught fire, killing over a thousand people. "Now that's a shame. All those poor people..." he muttered aloud. Sighing, Daisuke pressed a button on his remote and cartoons replaced the news. "Now that's more like it."

He sat down on his overstuffed couch and happily watched the images on the boob tube, his mind shoving the dream and the news far away from his conciousness. The day was young, and he didn't have anything to do in particular other than draw a few panels for his manga.

Looking up suddenly, a thought blossomed in his mind. "Hey... it's a nice enough day. Why don't I go to the park later?" he wondered out loud.
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[color=#0099ff]The high-pitched whine of an alarm clock woke Noriko from her slumber. She rolled over, her hand groping around her bedside table for her cell phone. She tapped the screen, snoozing the alarm, before rolling back up in her blankets.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]She had been dreaming, which wasn't unusual. But most of her dreams were just of events and people preventing her from going to the bathroom (so that she herself wouldn't wet the bed). This one was...distinctly different. Nightmarish, almost. Actually, definitely. It was definitely a nightmare. Dark, nauseating, and with monsters. Overall, not very pleasant.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]But even awake, the queasiness wasn't over. Noriko stared at her ceiling as angry voices erupted from the downstairs. It was her mom and brother - again - arguing about whatever was picking their bone that particular morning. Hibiki had a job now, that was an improvement, and he was contributing to his share of the living expenses. But compounding failure (flunking out of school and a crumbling marriage) wasn't helping any.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]Noriko threw off the blankets the second time her alarm wailed. Her morning routine was pretty regulated at this point: bathroom, face scrub, shaking her hair out, and dressing in alternating versions of the same school uniform. After that was a careful excursion to the kitchen in hopes that the wars had settled.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]They hadn't.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]"Don't you end up like your brother!" her mom spat as she flipping an egg in the frying pan. Hibiki glared at her, his stubbled face creasing in annoyance.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]"Okay," was Noriko's simple answer. She gave a look to her brother, one that said 'look, please don't drag me into this, I didn't say it, she did'.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]"Are you going to eat anything?" her mom continued, her tone slightly shifted towards her daughter. Noriko shrugged.[/color]

[color=#0099ff]"Not hungry. Just gonna have some milk."[/color]

[color=#0099ff]"I wish you would eat breakfast. It's good for you, and - you're not afraid of being fat, are you?"[/color]


[color=#0099ff]"Because you're in sports, you don't have to worry about that, you're fine, it's muscle mass you know -"[/color]

[color=#0099ff]"I - I know..."[/color]

[color=#0099ff]Hibiki chuckled, sipping from his cup of coffee. Noriko didn't even bother asking what he thought was so funny, chugging down her milk and heading for the front door. The day was set to start, and there was still school to conquer.[/color]
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â??No...no don't...stoooopâ? Sarah muttered in her sleep.

Moments later she sat up with a jolt, her heart beating heavily. Whatever that...[i]thing[/i]...was...it was gone. She could barely remember what the dream was but it was awful; eerily awful. She stared about her small room and yawned. Sitting on her desk, a picture of her friends she left in England smiled back at her. It must be nerves she thought. After all this is her first day of school in a foreign country. With that, Sarah never gave the dream a second thought

â??Saaaaraaaaah, get up or we will all be late for school,â? her mother called from the small apartment's kitchen.

A couple of minutes later, Sarah walked into the kitchen dressed in her new school uniform. Her mother motioned Sarah to sit down as she placed a bowl of oatmeal before her daughter. Across from her, her father was sitting and reading a magazine.

Stephen peered over his magazine at his daughter. â??Did you forget that we were going to take you to school today?â?

Sarah shook her head. â??No dad, I didn'tâ?

The Walker family finished up their breakfast and headed out the door.
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[color=#4B0082][i]â??Oh godâ?¦why is my head pounding so hard. Really thought Iâ??d be used to sleeping on a pile of blankets by now.â?[/i][/color]

[color=#4B0082]Yuko took some time to gather her senses after what seemed like the worst night of sleep sheâ??s had in months. She had spent the night in her make-shift hideaway in the Port District which admittedly was considerably less comfortable than her bed, but she just couldnâ??t bring herself to go home last night. She wanted to enjoy her last night before the new school season, and being in that uptight atmosphere her mother called a home wasnâ??t the best way of doing that. She hadnâ??t counted on the odd dream she had in the middle of the night though. The details swam around her head between clear and hazy, if given more time to think about it she might have felt freaked out but she knew all too well she had to hurry. Still, it was unlike any other dream she's ever had. In fact she figured it was right on the border of being a nightmare.[/color]

[color=#4B0082]She reached out blindly with her right arm hoping to come across her skirt. The narrow beam of sunshine coming through the small attic window of the warehouse and hitting her cheek hastened her pace to get dressed.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]â??Well looks like Iâ??m going to be late. This will make three years in a rowâ?¦â?[/b] she spoke aloud, not terribly concerned with her situation.[/color]

[color=#4B0082]After sliding her skirt up Yuko practically leapt into her shoes and kicked her blankets aside. She ran to the worn out and splintered ladder she used to get in and out of her secret spot. She climbed halfway down and jumped over the walkway near the open window she uses to sneak in. She climbed out and found herself on the lower roof of the warehouse which would then lead her to the broken shipping carton she would jump down to. It was a complicated enough process to get in and out of that place that she trusted it would be highly unlikely that anyone else would discover it.[/color]

[color=#4B0082]She still had to rush back to her house in order to change into her school uniform. Sneaking into the window of her room was a much more challenging process in her eyes, primarily because of the chance of alerting her mother since she was always home until heading to her job at the Hyoma Resort and Spa in the afternoon. Halfway to the station the flashing lights of a few police cars caught her eye, they were pulling away from one of the warehouses on the opposite end of the Port. She just shrugged and kept running, figuring it was the usual disturbance call or some hooligans getting out of hand.[/color]

[color=#4B0082]Only a half hour passed before she got home. The first thing that came to her mind as her house came into sight was how badly she wanted to take a shower. There wouldnâ??t be enough time though; Yuko figured sheâ??d just sneak one in the girls changing room at school. She had done that on more than one occasion even when it wasnâ??t following a tough session with her kickboxing club or the swim team. The opening speech hadnâ??t stated yet, but she knew it would be a photo finish with whether sheâ??d make it on time even if she left in the clothing she was currently wearing.[/color]

[color=#4B0082]Yuko ran as quickly as she could toward the back of her house and stopped by the drain pipe next to her roomâ??s window. For some reason it seemed a little higher up than usual, probably because of how worked up she was about running late. She just sighed and thanked her lucky stars she was in as good of shape as she was otherwise her sneaking around would be significantly more difficult. She climbed her way up and forced her window open with her left hand. Shoving herself through the window and quickly donning her school uniform was practically a blur. Nagging thoughts in the back of her mind that she had made far too much noise in her actions were validated by her Mom entering her room just as sheâ??d finish putting her shoes back on.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]â??Yuko! I canâ??t believe you stayed out all night again! We talked about thisâ?¦â?[/b] her motherâ??s voice was devoid of surprise despite her words. Yuko grabbed her bag off her bed and just rushed passed her mother as swiftly as she could.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]â??Sorry mom, but Iâ??m going to be late! We can talk later!â?[/b] she yelled back as she almost stumbled toward the front door. Her mother tried to chase after her but Yuko was already gone by the time she had made it to the staircase. It was her typical method of avoidance when she was trapped with her mother in the same room, though she never had the intentions of sitting down and talking with either her or her new husband. Yuko wrestled with her backpack while in motion to get her cell phone out to check the time. She shoved passed a few people in her way after realizing that she had about five minutes left.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][i]â??Third year in a row Iâ??ll be late on the first day of schoolâ?¦wonder if anyone will notice?â? [/i][/color]
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The sound of a female vocalist filled Hoshiko's room, waking her up from her slumber and a dream she couldn't quite recall. She allowed her alarm to continue singing for a few moments as she stared at her wall and pondered; she just couldn't get the dream-- no, nightmare-- out of her mind. Visions of some sort of creature flicked in and out and made her shudder. After a few more seconds, Hoshiko shook her head and turned off her alarm with a smile. [i]Oh well[/i], she thought as she looked at the clock. [i]I need to get ready for school anyway. Gotta look beautiful for the first day back![/i]

The young woman hummed as she went through her special First-Day-Of-School routine, and after an hour of washing, drying, brushing, straightening, dressing, make-up-ing, and adding just a bit more fashion to the school's uniform, she was finally ready for the big day ahead of her. As she made her way downstairs, Hoshiko could hear her mother on the phone, undoubtedly talking to the idol that she managed. The two made eye contact when Hoshiko entered the kitchen, her mother giving her the usual 'I'm-sorry-but-I-have-work-and-can't-take-you-to-school' look. The student returned the look with a smile as she grabbed an apple from the counter.

A few minutes later, Ms. Akiyama gave her daughter a quick peck on the cheek before grabbing her purse and wandering out the door, still spouting out information through the phone. Hoshiko munched on her apple for a few minutes before she grabbed her bag, put her headphones in her ears, and got ready to seize the day with a grin. Edited by AnimeArchAngel
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[font=times new roman,times,serif][b]"Wait!"[/b] Katsuro yelled out as he abruptly woke up. For a moment he felt sure that he was still in that place, looking at that man... [i]Man? [/i]And suddenly the image was gone, and he was once more simply Katsuro, sitting upright in bed and reaching for some unknown object. He pulled his hand back into his body and held his chest, trying to make sense of his thoughts and emotions. Hadn't he just been somewhere else, not the home of his recently deceased parents? Hadn't something... surreal just happened? Before he had a chance to think further, a mocking voice addressed him from the other room.[/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][b]"I'm not leaving you moron[i]. [/i]I just got home,"[/b] said his sister as she closed the front door. Katsuro rolled his eyes and threw off his sheets, his concern over his dream having been shifted to his concern for his sister. He jumped out of bed and walked up to her.[/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][b]"You can't keep staying out late Jun,"[/b] he said, giving her a disapproving stare. Jun rolled her eyes and kicked off her shoes.[/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][b]"I'm okay, aren't I?"[/b] she retorted, a bit more venomously than she had intended. They stood in silence for a moment, neither person looking at one another. Finally Jun sighed and laid her head on her brother's shoulder.

[b]"I'm sorry,"[/b] she said quietly. Katsuro kissed the top of her head.

[b]"Don't worry about it kiddo,"[/b] he said earnestly. Jun smiled at him and walked into the kitchen to make herself some breakfast. Katsuro followed suit and walked back into his room to get prepared for school that day. As he pulled a white undershirt over his head he yelled over to his sister.

[b]"I don't want to encourage what you're doing,"[/b] he said, now shoving his right arm through the sleeve of his white button up shirt, [b]"but did you manage to find anything out last night?"[/b] He heard the fridge close in the other room, and then the house fell silent for a couple of seconds. Katsuro opened his mouth to ask again, in case she hadn't heard him, but she suddenly she responded.

[b]"Something happened last night,"[/b] she stated with a sigh. Katsuro finished putting on his black leather belt over his work pants and stepped back out into the main room.

[b]"Another murder?"[/b] Katsuro asked. Jun shrugged and took a bite of the toast she had prepared.

[b]"By the time I found out the police had partitioned the area off, and they shooed me away,"[/b] she said with an air of irritation. Katsuro laughed and grabbed the piece of toast from her hand.

[b]"They probably just didn't realize they were in the presence of the latest child detective prodigy!"[/b] he said with another laugh before taking a bite of her toast. He had barely torn a piece off when Jun snatched her toast back from him.

[b]"Shut up, you jerk,"[/b] she said, though she chuckled nonetheless. She finished the rest of her toast and then glanced at her watch.

[b]"Shouldn't you be on your way to work?"[/b] she half questioned, half stated. Katsuro looked at the clock on the wall and frowned.[/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][b]"Oh darn,"[/b] he stated with a grimace. He ran over to grab his messenger back and then ran back over to his sister and kissed her on the cheek.

[b]"Well at least you can't get into trouble while you're at school, right?"[/b] he said playfully, although his eyes betrayed his real concern. Jun scoffed and handed her second piece of toast and a glass of orange juice to him.

[b]"A quick breakfast, so you don't spend the whole day starving,"[/b] she said before walking out the front door for school. Katsuro smiled and shook his head slightly before devouring the toast and swallowing the whole glass of orange juice in a single gulp. He slipped into his shoes and then headed on his way to Junes.[/font] Edited by Orcus
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Alyssa woke up with a start when she rolled out of bed and landed face first on the carpeted floor.

"Ow!" she yelped, and sat up in a tangled mass of person, blanket, and pajamas. Her hair looked to her like she'd been gifted with a shock therapy session while she'd been asleep, judging from her reflection in her curio cabinet's glass sliding doors. Many geisha dolls of varied ages looked back at her, and she smiled. They were pretty, and several of them were worth more than what her parents paid in a year for their apartment. It would have been nice if they could purchase a house, but foreigners weren't allowed to purchase property in Japan. Shaking herself free from her blanket, she stood up and walked into the bathroom she shared with her parents. She paused for a moment to reflect on the persistant thoughts about a dream she'd had that night. It had been so strange.

She turned on the shower and grasped her toothbrush and toothpaste. Stripping down, she got in and started brushing her teeth while she washed the filth of the world from her body. Granted, she'd also taken one last night after a jog around the block, so there wasn't much.

After wrapping a towel around her midsection, she opened the bathroom mirror above the sink and grabbed a detangling spray and a hair brush. She grunted and cried out as she went through her hair, it being tangled up from her tossing and turning during the night. Her mother popped her head into the bathroom and chided her with a smile. "Honey, why don't you just cut your hair? You wouldn't have to deal with all that pain of brushing it."

"I love my hair, I really do." Alyssa retorted, and abruptly yelped in pain, followed by her swearing in Japanese. "Watch your mouth, young lady." her mother scolded. "Ladies don't use that kind of language."

"Really? Ever heard of Paris Hilton?"

Her mother shook her head. "I hate having to give you credit for that comment." Her mother left the bathroom, to leave the poor girl in peace with her hair. After nearly fifteen minutes of trying to manage her steel wool hair, she finally had it brushed enough that the brush went through all of her hair without snagging. Smiling, she went back to her room and opened the dresser to find her school uniform. "First day of class..." she giggled in excitement.
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[color=#800080][size=3][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]Hiroki resisted the urge to yawn as he finished getting ready to leave for school. Usually any dreams he had faded fairly quickly but for some reason, this time it lingered in his mind, making him feel tired. Not even his usual cup of coffee with toast was enough to chase the sleepiness away.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#800080][size=3][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]He shoved it out of mind, as best as possible, as he grabbed his things and headed out, pausing only long enough to make sure he hadnâ??t left a mess in the kitchen. Not that his parents would ever notice. Both of them were always long gone before he ever got up and rarely came home before suppertime. If he had missed something all he had to do was take care of it when he got home from school.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#800080][size=3][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]As he opened the front door to leave, the urge to yawn came again and this time, Hiroki didnâ??t bother to stop it. He pulled the door shut; making sure it was locked, and headed towards school. At least it looked like it was going to be a nice day out. Pity he was likely to be bombarded with the usual round of â??when are you going to start preparing for medical school?â?? questions by all the teachers.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#800080][size=3][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]Just because his father was a doctor didnâ??t mean he had the same interest. Heâ??d been able to put off both his parents and everyone else for now, somehow he got the feeling that it wasnâ??t going to work anymore. He was getting too close to when he had to finally make a decision as to where he would go to college.[/font][/size][/color]

[color=#800080][size=3][font=lucida sans unicode,lucida grande,sans-serif]This time he resisted the urge to sigh. No need to get annoyed over something that had yet to happen. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and then let it out. With a determined step he opened them back up and set out for school at a brisk pace. Hopefully the pace and cool morning air would at least chase the sleepiness away. [/font][/size][/color]
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Daisuke locked the door to his apartment, intending on going to the park as he'd suggested to himself earlier. Under his right arm he had several drawing journals, as well as his own project he'd done. Many people were looking forward to his published work, and almost all of them had seen him at work at the park. More than a few were rather wealthy business men, and sincerely enjoyed his works. And some of those were even willing to pay to help him get it published if he needed it. He was doing well enough, so he just politely thanked them and told them it wasn't necessary.

He smiled as he felt the light breeze of the day as he exited the apartment building into the city street. The many bustling commuters were moving about, intent on enjoying their journey through the day same as he.

The park was near the center of town, so he had to ride the bus to get closer to town. He had a personal garage in town for his car, there really wasn't any point in driving all the way out into the country with it, when getting into town was just a couple minutes away. The all time gas hike was a real pain in the arse, so he prefered to conserve his gas as he saw fit. And the garage was just down the street from the train terminal. A smile spread across his lips as he thought of getting behind the wheel of his pretty red early 80's Porsche 930. He'd gotten it dirt cheap because it had been impounded and gone up for sale from the police impound.

He heard the familiar clacking of the train and smiled. Riding on a train was common, but always interesting for the purposes of people watching Foreigners in particular.
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  • 3 weeks later...
[size=4][font=times new roman,times,serif][i][color=#222222]I should juggle for tips[/color][/i][i][color=#222222], [/color][/i][color=#222222]Katsuro thought dryly as he watched the ferris wheel of apples soar between his hands and the space in front of him. Normally that sort of behavior was frowned upon, to say the least, today no one was harassing him. Why would they? The store was almost dead empty. If someone were to walk in at that very moment they'd probably make some quip about everyone finishing their shopping earlier in the week, and Katsuro would laugh-- not because the joke was funny, but because it wasn't true. With the high string of murders whittling away at the population, not many people did much of anything nowadays. People still shopped, of course, but they sped in and out, as if they were afraid that prolonged exposure to other humans inevitably led to murder.[/color][/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][color=#222222]He exhaled heavily and finished his performance, placing the apples back in pristine order. He looked up at the clock and, noticing that it was his lunch break, picked one of the apples back up and walked over to another section to grab juice. [/color][i][color=#222222]Working at an empty grocery store has its perks[/color][/i][i][color=#222222], [/color][/i][color=#222222]he thought as he took a swig of juice and plopped down onto the floor. Before he could take another, a voice caught him by surprise.[/color][/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][b][color=#222222]"You intend to pay for that Katsuro?"[/color][/b][b][color=#222222] [/color][/b][color=#222222]the voice questioned in a mock serious manner. Katsuro rolled his eyes and took another drink.[/color]

[b][color=#222222]"No,"[/color][/b][b][color=#222222] [/color][/b][color=#222222]he said with a slight grin before polishing of his drink with a bite of apple. The owner of the voice laughed and sat down of the floor with Katsuro.[/color][/font]

[font=times new roman,times,serif][b][color=#222222]"Incorrigible,"[/color][/b][b][color=#222222] [/color][/b][color=#222222]the voice mumbled, mock severity having melted into sweet chiding. Katsuro turned and looked the person in the eyes. Her name was Ryoko, and she was the reason Katsuro specifically decided Her brown eyes were clearer than usual in this area, so that when the sun struck them they looked bright amber. The bangs of her chestnut brown hairâ??an oddly specific color, yes, but Katsuro had spent a great amount of time working at the grocery, as well as staring at her---fell over her eyes, and glowed against her fair skin. At 5'7'', Katsuro towered over her, and he thought that was adorable. And they were kind of dating.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??So I guess you're on break now too, huh?â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]Katsuro said, looking back toward the front of the store and leaning his head on her. [/color][color=#222222][b]â??I guess that means poor Isamu has to watch the register on his own... That's a shame,â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]he said with a shrug, before taking another drink of juice. Ryoko laughed and punched Katsuro lightly. Katsuro scoffed and swung his arm over his head, knocking down another two drinks. He tossed aside his finished bottle and opened one of the new ones. As he took a long gulp from that he extended the other one to Ryoko.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??Incorrigible,â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]she repeated, before taking the drink. The two sat in silence after that, content to drink their juice and enjoy each other's presence. As Katsuro's thoughts drifted away, he began to daydream about a lovely, and oddly familiar butterfly. It casually hovered in front of his face, gradually getting closer and closer to him. Soon, it was practically on his nose, and Katsuro could almost feel the fluttering of its wings. Just as it touched him, the daydream broke.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??Katsuro!â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]rang Ryoko's voice against the pieces of Katsuro's shattered concentration. For a moment he was terribly disoriented, and could barely remember where he was. When he turned to face his caller, his eyes were filled with a mysterious figure in a butterfly mask.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??Are you alright?â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]Katsuro shook his head quickly, and suddenly everything was back to normal. He was once again just Katsuro, sitting on the floor of Junes Grocery Department, staring at a concerned Ryoko.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??Yah I'm alright,â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]he said slowly, still partially recovering from... from whatever had just happened to him. Ryoko extended her hand to him and helped pull him up.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??You were out cold for a little while there. I was afraid you wouldn't wake up! Try to get some more sleep from now on, yah?â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]Ryoko said half jokingly and half concerned. Katsuro laughed and kissed her quickly on the lips.[/color]

[color=#222222][b]â??You got it,â? [/b][/color][color=#222222]he said before grabbing the rest of his stuff off of the ground. He gave the blushing Ryoko a wink before walking over to the trash can to throw away the remains of the food and drinks he had apparently finished consuming when he drifted off. But as he watched the trash plummet into the abyss, an uneasy feeling crept into his chest, just as it had this morning. What was happening to him? Moreover, why did he have an irking suspicion that something ominous was going to happen today?[/color][/font][/size]
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  • 3 weeks later...
[color=#4B0082]There was a little bit of a [/color][color=#4B0082]pep in Yuko's step even though it would have been apparent to anyone watching her that she didn't exactly exhibit the appropriate sense of urgency a student who was going to be late for her first day of school should. She carelessly bumped into other people in her way on the streets giving only insincere apologies that trailed off into the weak wind. She thought maybe she'd sneak into the girl's locker room to take a quick shower before reporting to home room since she was all but certain she was going to miss the opening speech. She made a quick right turn on the corner where Gozan's Arcade was located; there was only the bridge to cross now and Yokuboshi Academy would come into view. Yuko took a brief moment to look down at her phone for the time.[/color]

[i][color=#4B0082]"Hm, I'm actually making pretty good time all things considered." [/color][/i]

[color=#4B0082]Yuko tucked her phone back into her bag before her progress was abruptly halted by a strong impact that saw her collapse forward on top of another student. She instantly grabbed her head and began rubbing it vigorously while she rolled off and noticed some loose papers surrounding the collision scene. [/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Ow, what the hell...I only looked away for a few seconds,"[/b] she muttered to herself as she gathered the papers up. She finally looked over at the person she had collided into and noticed he wore the same school uniform.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Hey! You should really watch where you're going you know. People are trying to walk!"[/b] she scolded, feeling as if she had instantly alleviated herself of any of the blame for the accident. The boy just lifted himself up and wiped his uniform off, a bit of a pained look on his face but nothing too serious. He registered Yuko's voice in his head and even though he had just fully realized what had happened he couldn't help but feel like he was the one who was crashed into.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Koizumi? Sorry...but you were going pretty fast yourself, don't you think?"[/b] the male student asked casually, reaching out his hand to help Yuko up. The girl just slapped his hand away and brought herself to her feet with the group of papers she had recovered from the ground.[/color]

[b][color=#4B0082]"You got some nerve! You knock a lady to the ground and then blame it on her, really classy. Now i'm going to be late because of you!"[/color][/b]

[color=#4B0082]She had intended on just running off there and leaving him behind but as she actually looked over the papers she realized that none of them belonged to her. She quickly turned to see that her bag was fully zipped and nothing could have spilled out from it. She re-focused her eyes to what was in her hand and noticed the name written in the greeting portion of what seemed to be a letter; it read "Kaneko Hiroki". She turned back and noticed the boy Hiroki picking up some more items that had fallen in the collision. It appeared as if he was intending on ignoring her last aggressive comment.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Umm...hey. I think these are yours!" [/b]Yuko called out while stretching her hand out to hand them over. Hiroki went to grab them but Yuko quickly pulled them out of his reach upon noticing what the letter actually was.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Whoa, hey...this is an acceptance letter from Shigome University! Isn't that the top rated med school in the region?" [/b]she asked, genuinely surprised to have read what she did.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"I need that back if you don't mind."[/b] Hiroki reached out for the papers again but Yuko continued her game of keep away.[/color]

[b][color=#4B0082]"Hey, you're already getting acceptance letters? and from a school this important? That must mean you're some kind of genius right...?"[/color][/b]

[color=#4B0082]Hiroki tried to answer her but Yuko continued on after only a mere fraction of a breath.[/color]

[b][color=#4B0082]"...well of course it does, I mean i guess they don't let just any idiot into a top university like this. You sure this isn't a fake?"[/color][/b]

[color=#4B0082]Hiroki finally succeeded in snatching the contents of Yuko's left hand away from her and fixing them back into order in the folder they were once in.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"If you must know, it is a real acceptance letter. I don't know if i'm attending or not yet...it's one of a few possibilities."[/b] he explained, a bit taken aback as to why he was actually that open about it. Though it wasn't like it was a complete stranger, Hiroki recognized Yuko almost instantly. She was a popular girl who most everyone in their year knew, especially the male students. Hiroki never really spoke to her before though, and didn't know much about her personality until they had bumped into one another. All he ever heard anyone talk about concerning Yuko had very little to do with her personality. He figured rudeness came with good looks and wasn't really at all surprised.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Wow, one of a few huh? Your parents must be pretty proud of you aren't they?"[/b] she said in a slightly mocking tone. Hiroki didn't dignify that with an answer, he just made sure everything was in order before continuing his way to school. It was then Yuko suddenly remembered where she had seen Hiroki's name before. [/color]

[b][color=#4B0082]"Hey, hold on a second! Hiroki Kaneko, weren't you in Ms. Hanaka's homeroom last year?"[/color][/b]

[color=#4B0082]Hiroki stopped briefly and just turned his head back to Yuko, [b]"Yeah, and you were in Mr. Fujishi's homeroo..."[/b][/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Yeah yeah, that doesn't matter. So maybe those letters ARE real, you always had the top exam grades right?"[/b] she quickly interrupted. In her mind she thought it maybe a stroke of good luck that she ran into Hiroki after all. She needed to shape her grades up this year otherwise she'd be kicked out of her clubs and be held back, and since a 100% attendance record sounded far too boring Yuko figured she could easily get Hiroki to help her out with whatever she wanted. The gears kept turning in her head as Hiroki just watched on with a confused look on his face. He sighed and looked down at his phone and nearly had a heart attack when he noticed the time.[/color]

[color=#4B0082][b]"Wha...no way. I'm missing the speech! I've never been late like this before!"[/b] he exclaimed, stuffing the phone back into his pocket almost instantly. Yuko's ears perked up when she heard the urgency in Hiroki's voice.[/color]

[b][color=#4B0082]"Oh crap, that's right. Well hey! Just walk into school with me, ok? I'm kind of an expert at this being late thing so i'll get you through it! The teachers will probably just blame me anyway."[/color][/b]

[color=#4B0082]Before he could answer Yuko just grabbed him by the arm and tugged him with her.[/color]
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