Author: Twilidramon PM
Loaño Ishida is probably the weirdest girl you'll ever meet. Insane jokes, crazy schemes, and so far, nothing special about her. Until, however, two new kids enter and change her whole perspective on the World and the things in it... Believable or not!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Chapters: 789 - Words: 2,045,971 - Reviews: 1,770 - Favs: 130 - Follows: 56 - Updated: 04-26-13 - Published: 10-09-08 - id: 2581873
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
758: The Sorting Hat (Sort Of)
Kidd didn't want to have to do this. He didn't like the idea of separating his pack into groups and sending one across the Koukon Bridge into who-knew-what. He didn't know what Yamata no Orochi had planned for the other world, and he was wary of not being there himself to find out. But someone had to stay on Earth to make sure nothing too horrible happened here, and he had a feeling that it was meant to be him.
Yuugata would do fine, he knew. The Elf wanted to protect his people if he could, even if they might not accept his help. After saving Bateau, though, Kidd was sure they would welcome him. He trusted the Elf to do what needed to be done – to take care of the pups he would be sending with him.
Shinji's lists had been, well, incredibly accurate. Kidd, however, had to make a few changes to it – there were some people he just wanted by his side, and others he knew would do better with Yuugata in the other world. He had explained his changes to Shinji and, though the boy didn't like them, Kidd hoped he would see his reasoning soon enough.
He had called everyone down into the living room. It was almost midnight. Something that sounded like hail was clanging against the rooftop of the mansion. It sounded something like little bodies being thrown on the roof. The Protectors squeezed in where they could – the living room was big, but not big enough, apparently. Those who weren't lucky enough to get the armchair or the couch had to either sit on the floor or stand. Some preferred it this way, others didn't. Kidd, however, towered over them all.
Kidd pulled the list out of his pocket. He had taken Shinji's list, written on simple lined paper, and made his changes directly to it. His handwriting was much messier than Shinji's, and he grimaced. Big hands and small pencils didn't really make too good of a combination when it came to writing something legible. He could read it, though, and that was what mattered.
" 'Kay, e'eryone," he grunted. They all quieted at the sound of his voice and looked up at him, their eyes curious. "I got it figur'd out."
"So, who's going where?" Cody asked, sitting on Loki's lap while Loki sat in his armchair. The boy would give it up to no one save Mattie, who had decided to sit on the floor with Shinji instead.
"Hol' yer horses," Kidd rumbled. He looked out to all of them. "I'll git ta 'at in a minute. Firs', though…" He trailed off, unsure. Here they all were, his pups – his family. And he was about to send them off into a fight that could be much worse than anything they'd faced before, even the Titans. Was he worrying for nothing? It wasn't like he didn't have any sort of confidence in their abilities, but… he couldn't help but be anxious for them.
He shook it out of his head. They were older now, and much more experienced. They were stronger than he gave them credit for, and more resourceful, too. He would simply have to trust that they could take care of themselves in what was to come; whatever it may be.
"The Old Man'll be runnin' things on the other world," Kidd told them. "Whoe'er goes 'ere needs ta list'n ta 'im like ya listen ta me, got it?" They all nodded in agreement. Yuugata flattened his long ears, looking much too modest about the responsibility. He shot a glare at Altaïr and growled, eyes narrowed, " 'At means you, too."
Altaïr flicked his tail and scoffed, "Please. I can follow orders easily enough… when I agree with them. Even if they're coming from you, furball."
Kidd nodded and looked back at the others. He took a deep breath and then said, "I don' wanna hear no complainin' 'bout this, a'ight? I don' wanna separate ya like 'is, but I gotta – nothin' is impossible, but e'en we canna be in two places at once."
"We'll be fine," Naota told him. He leaned against Izumi, stretching his legs out on the floor. "Just tell us, alright? The suspense is killing us."
Kidd blinked at him and then at all the others. They were nervously awaiting his selections, like children waiting to see who will be on whose team in gym class. He silently prayed to whatever God would listen – he chose Coyote, since he was sitting in Izumi's lap and it was the first God in the room he laid eyes on – that he had chosen correctly. Coyote blinked at him, his eyes glinting with a spark of interest.
"Wit' me on Earth are," Kidd began, looking at the list, "Shinji, Haseo, Nikki-boy, Cody, Loki, an' Atlas's team."
Shinji narrowed his eyes at Kidd, grumbling something about being separated from Mattie. Mattie laid a hand on his shoulder and told him something that was meant to be comforting, but it didn't seem to work on him. Kidd figured he wouldn't be easily forgiven for separating the two of them.
"Wait," Naota burst, "Atlas – you're on a team?"
Atlas rolled his eyes. Arms crossed, he explained, "Yes, I am. The Boss decided to organize a little group to do… odd jobs for him. Itsuki and I are the only members at the moment."
"What's it called?" Hikaru wondered.
Atlas shrugged, "Doesn't have a name yet. I don't think now is really the time to think about it, though."
"Wait, I'm stuck on Earth?!" Nikolai said suddenly. He looked at Kidd and reasoned, "But you don't need a medium on Earth – mum can do what I can do, and she's much better at it, too!"
Izumi raised an eyebrow and noted, "Didn' 'e say no complainin'?"
"Well, yes, but…"
"Then no complainin'," Izumi growled.
Nikolai closed his mouth and leaned against the back of the couch. He didn't look too happy about it but he, like any other sane person, was afraid enough of Izumi to shut up when told.
Kidd shifted on his feet – the truth was that he agreed with Nikolai on that point. A medium on Earth wasn't necessary because Solidad was staying here already. He had discussed it with her, though, and she flat-out refused to allow Nikolai to go to the other world. It took a few minutes of arguing before Solidad finally got her point through to him – she wanted Kidd to look after Nikolai. She wanted Kidd to make sure that he was safe, even if Nikolai himself didn't want it – because she couldn't. Not anymore. He was too old now to have his mother nitpicking over him, and it was much too stressful for her to worry about Nikolai being on another world and worrying about Kidd's safety at the same time.
He'd agreed with her point, though reluctantly – Nikolai didn't want another father, let alone him trying to take his father's place – and had switched him to be on Earth's team of defenders.
"We'll 'ave Tsukikuro backin' us if'n we need it," Kidd added, pulling out of his thoughts. "There're more cities on Earth 'an there are in the other world, so we're gonna need all'a the 'elp we kin get makin' sure 'ey stay intac'."
"So the rest of us are on the other world with Yuugata?" Hikaru guessed.
Nikolai looked to Loaño, who hadn't said a word during the entire proceeding. She was staring at Kidd, her eyes full of some emotion that seemed to be affecting her powerfully. Kidd frowned at her and sensed something awry going on in her mind. Yuugata seemed to sense it, too, and he glanced at Kidd with concern in his eyes.
Kidd took a deep breath and grunted, "On the other world wit' the Old Man are: Mattie, Izumi, Naota, Naitoryuu, Altaïr, an' Hikaru."
Altaïr narrowed his eyes and lashed his tail. He growled, "OK, I'm going to complain about this. You're sending me to the other world?!"
"Al," Tarot began. Fara looked at her father with her ears pointed upwards. Tarot put a hand on his arm and said, "It's Kidd's decision, not yours."
Altaïr bared his teeth and growled, his fur bristling, "I am not leaving you and Fara here."
"It's Kidd's decision and by Father Apollo you respect that, Altaïr!" Tarot shouted at him. Her brown eyes turned bronze and the temperature of the room rose a few degrees. She pointed a finger at him and snarled, "Don't you dare think that I can't take care of myself – let alone defend my own child!"
"Children, please," Coyote began sardonically from Izumi's lap. Altaïr turned to his father and grimaced. Coyote pricked both his ears and went on, "If I may… as usual, Altaïr, you're acting like an idiot."
Altaïr's grimace turned into an irritated smirk. "Please, father, enlighten me," he requested angrily.
"Pipin can most certainly defend herself and if you're worried about Fara, then worry no more – I will look after her myself," Coyote said.
Altaïr twitched and said, "That statement about Fara actually makes me worry more."
"Are you trying to defy me, boy?" Coyote growled. Everyone looked at Coyote and saw the aura coming off of him. "Do you think I wouldn't do whatever I had to do protect my own flesh and blood?"
Altaïr opened his mouth to protest, but then closed it. Atlas pointed out, "Al… we're needed on Earth. With you on the other world, the Assassin Order will no doubt lend you their assistance – they still practically worship you."
"We'll need all the help we can get," Yuugata reasoned. "That's why Naitoryuu and Hikaru are coming as well, to help us negotiate with the Draygoons."
Izumi grunted, smirking, " 'Ow ironic – firs' we git e'eryone all lovey-dovey wit' one another ta 'elp defea' 'im, an' now 'e's gotta 'elp us do it again!"
"You shut your face you…" Altaïr growled, "I don't even know what to call you at this point."
Izumi grinned, "Good."
"Hey, don't make fun of Izumi," Coyote said endearingly. He flicked his tail and added, "I've grown quite fond of her and her… talents."
"You just like her because she pats you on the head once in a while," Altaïr snorted.
"Are we done 'ere," Kidd rumbled. "Or are ya pups gonna keep fightin' like a bunch'a tailless idiots?"
Altaïr rolled his golden eyes and complained, "I don't like it, but I'll do it." He narrowed his eyes at Coyote and threatened, "If there is one scratch on my daughter that wasn't there before so help me I'll…"
"You'll what?" Coyote wondered.
"In present company, it's not appropriate for me to say," Altaïr snarled. "But you'll find out."
Tarot rolled her eyes and motioned for Kidd to carry on. Just as Kidd was about to open his mouth to keep on speaking, Cody leaped down his throat and choked him on his own words.
"Wait – that's no everyone," she said, blinking blindly at Kidd. "Where's Lo going?"
"Yeah," Nikolai added, "you didn't mention her at all."
Loaño blinked evenly at Kidd as he met her eyes. He stared at her, trying to form words in his mind. The others stared at him, awaiting his answer. Kidd blinked at Loaño, and she blinked back. Whatever was worrying her, he sensed it wasn't something that could just be passed away like nothing. She was so obviously hiding something, and only someone who knew her for as long as he did – or knew her father as well as he did – could understand that. She hid it well, but not to him. Never to him.
"Well…?" Nikolai asked.
"I don' know," Kidd replied.
"You don't know?!" Shinji gasped. "But I clearly stated on my version of the list that Loaño-nesama would be best placed -"
" 'S real 'ard ta make somethin' even when ya got an odd number'a people," Kidd went on, barreling over Shinji's statement before he could finish. He knew exactly where Shinji had suggested placing her; but he hadn't felt right saying it. "There're thirteen'a us doin' this. I figur'd out twelve… an' it lef' you, pup, wit'out a place ta go."
"It's not like I haven't ever been in that situation before," Loaño replied carefully.
"Well, technically speaking, Ookami-niisan, there are fourteen of us," Mattie pointed out. She touched two of her fingers together nervously and added, "But we can't very well separate Loaño-nesama and AA-senpai."
"So let her decide for herself," Coyote put in. He glanced at Loaño and said, "Let her choose – it's probably for the best that she picks for herself."
"Wait, why does she get to do that?" Hikaru wondered. "Why don't we?"
"Shut up, that's why," Coyote growled.
Hikaru narrowed her eyes at him and lurched forward to strike Coyote, but Izumi raised her metal hand and grasped Hikaru's wrist tight in it like a vice. She narrowed her eyes and drawled, "Ya don' wanna do 'at."
Loaño shook her head and added, "You really, really don't."
Izumi let go of her and Hikaru flopped back into her original space by Naitoryuu's side. She crossed her arms and glared at Coyote, electricity sparking in her eyes. Naitoryuu sighed and said nothing.
Coyote stood up from Izumi's lap and looked at Loaño, "Decide for yourself, Loaño. Wouldn't it feel nice to do that for a change?"
Loaño's eyes widened at him. She swallowed and seemed deep in thought. After a moment, she looked to Yuugata and asked, "Can I talk to the Balance Scale?"
Yuugata looked astonished. In fact, so did most everyone else – after what the Balance Scale had put her through not all that long ago, everyone was shocked that she would want to speak with it again. He sputtered, "W-Why're you asking me, little one?"
"You're its Guardian," Loaño reminded him. "I need to ask you first."
"Well, yes; of course you can, little one," Yuugata told her. "But… why?"
Loaño looked at everyone else. There was not one being that her silver eyes missed. She bit her lip and then looked back at Yuugata. Fists clenched, she said, "There are a few things I'd like to talk to him – it, whatever – about… including this."
"This should be a decision you make on your own," Coyote reminded her. "Don't let the Balance Scale influence you in this."
"I'd just like to ask for some advice, that's all," Loaño reasoned. "I won't let the Balance Scale influence my decision – I just want to know what it thinks I should do… because I don't."
Yuugata nodded and said, "Very well, little one… come with me." He took her hand in his and led her through the others and up the steps.
When they were gone, Altaïr grunted to himself, "She's getting more like Az all the time…"
Kidd frowned and sighed. He went on to say, "Coyote is gonna send a few'a 'is Gods wit' you ta the other world. I don' know which ones ye' – we're still workin' 'at out."
"Amaterasu is going for sure," Coyote told them. "She won't let me convince her otherwise. With Yamata no Orochi on the loose, she's like an entirely different sun Goddess…"
"Lady troubles, Father?" Altaïr mocked, his tail flicking back and forth.
"Shut up before I claw off that smirk I birthed you with," Coyote snarled.
Kidd looked up at the clock. It was well past midnight. He took a breath and said, "Git some sleep, guys. We got six days 'till we gotta face 'is. We ain't gonna waste it."