A/N: Wow! 3 reviews?! That's way more than I hoped for! *dances* Alright I'm going to continue this story if people are actually interested in reading this junk. This chapter is also shorter than it was going to be originally because I figured it'd be more climactic if I left it there instead of my original plan. I thought it was getting to long.

Kizzy: No, she's just lazy. Don't believe a word she says. I'm sure you all are very smart.

Yami UG: Now she was tired Kizzy, be nice.

UG: Yami, if she was nice she'd be dead. But evil blond witches don't die do they? Believe me I know from experience.

Kizzy: Hn. tried to murder me with a Q-tip. She actually thinks the voices in her head are scared it.

Yami UG: Shh... Don't let her hear you. It's a nice little dilution she has. Keeps her from bugging Yugi and Yami.

UG: *mutters* next I will try spoons *cackles evilly*

Kizzy: Hn. Smart One she is.

UG: *finally hears whispers* where are Yugi and Yami (by the way I don't own them folks, but I need them just the same.)

Yugi: Here we are. *looks around* or here I am where's Yami.

UG: Don't need him yet, just you, gonna be a smudge of light-hearted lovey- dovey-ness in this chapter.

Yugi: *begins to sob from being separated from Yami*

UG: Don't worry, his part will come in later.

Yugi: *sobs harder*

UG: Err. well isn't this great. Maybe I need to bring in my angst muse to get you to listen to me.

Yugi: *stops crying and huddles in fear with other voices* No! Not Kouichi!

Yami UG: There's going to be angst in this chapter, hikari?

UG: A little, not enough to bring him in for but enough for a mention.

Yugi and Voices: *sighs in relief*

UG: Which reminds me. This chapter and the next few will be in the light- hearted side. You know, getting to know the characters and scenery. then it will get a lot darker and the rating will rise to PG-13. So please bare with me until then, I'm planting the plot right now. And I'm trying to get one more chapter out because after that I won't be updating for 2 weeks 'cause I'm going to camp. Don't yell at me if I don't though.

kastor: Thanks for being the first to review. You have no idea how happy I was when you did. And you think Dilly grabbed her from behind? Teehehe. just have to read for that. Does my story really seem like X-Men 2? Blah. such a bad sequel in my opinion. The first one was so good too. *shakes head* Ah well! It kinda does but it'll change. Lots of plot twists in store. It will be very different in the end. And do you know what's great?! I actually know where this is going now! Go me! Thanks for putting my story on your favorites and you said it was confusing? E-mail me and maybe I can clear parts up that I miffed.

Eiji Tunsinagi: I am different, aren't I? *giggles* And about Dillon having an evil plan, it's not so much an evil plan as that he has a plan. actually it's more of an idea really. But you have to read to know the rest! Thanks for putting my story on your favorites!

AetheraZip: *has anime dizzy eyes from being glomped* Wow. now I'm thinking about cheesecake. cheesecake *yami snaps her out of it* Oh yeah. You are not the first to say it's different and you certainly will not be the last. (I'm showing my best friend later, she'll probably say anything to me so I'll go away). And you are not a greedy *insert bad word here* for wanting me to review (I will later but I'm really busy right now. Kizzy: Right.) actually I'd be doing the same if I had time. Maybe we can discuss this over cheesecake. cheesecake.

Kizzy: *slaps UG*

UG: Hey!

Final note: I'm either going to do a series of long chapters or shorter ones, you decide. This chapter isn't as good as the last one so be nice. Now, its official, I have my new e-mail address so please do e-mail me at mgryffyn11@wmconnect.com

And now.

The Gray Area
By Unity-Girl

Yashi and I were both pulled backward and down violently. Acting on my first impulse, I screamed, or at least I tried to. A hand flew up and over my mouth, along with Yashi's, so I acted on my second impulse, I bit down, hard. The hand didn't move as I continued to gnaw on it. I noticed, next to me, Yashi was being faced with a similar problem. I inhaled so as I could try and bite the hand again and I stopped my action, teeth gently grazing the skin. I knew that smell.

I looked up only to be met with a metallic-y glare which (thank God) was directed at Yashi, who was struggling against the strong arms wrapped around the both of us. It was Dillon. I had given up trying to pry myself from Dillon's arms knowing that he wasn't going to hurt me (couldn't be sure about Yashi) and that it was a waste of anyone's energy if they tried to break out of his arms.

Yashi finally noticed Dillon and turned to give him a matching glare, which held a small trace of fear. Dillon had removed his hand from my mouth seeing the look of recognition on my face so I leaned over and whispered to Yashi.

"It's okay, he's my brother Dillon." At the he looked disbelievingly from me to Dillon but he did stop struggling. Dillon released him roughly, giving a final glare which read as 'I'll deal with you later' and turned to me, his gaze softening a bit. He gestured with a nod to the area in front of us. In my terror I had forgotten the situation at hand.

There was some sort of dark shape moving ahead of us. And it was heading closer. Dillon pulled the three of us down behind some brush for cover. A large black metal plate was hovering two feet off the ground. On it was a panel for steering and storing equipment and a man. He was dressed in a uniform matching his flying plate and with a white helmet and a pair of sunglasses on his head. His jacket was loose and wooly cotton with a small tin badge pinned to it that read:


The wind blew and his jacket lifted with it revealing a wide assortment of guns ranging from stun to instant death. I could also see a large pocketed knife. I shivered. I really wanted to be anywhere but there. The wind stopped and the artillery was hidden once again from sight.

I was clueless on how we were going to escape unscathed when Dillon kind of elbowed me. He gained my attention and was giving me a look which read 'well do something.' What did he want me to do? Run out laughing like I was rabid and foaming at the mouth and proceed to chase him away? Then I remembered I had super-powers. That's why I was in that mess.

Not only could I make people see things but hear things too. I figured hearing things would be appropriate for this situation. I had glimpsed, along with the weapons of death, that this Hunter had a small radio. That would do the trick.

My eyes fluttered closed and rolled to the back of my head of their own free will. I pictured this Hunter's radio in my head. I pictured it turning on and a mans voice vibrating through. I even got detailed and pictured the crackling heard typically on this device. I pictured each word carefully. After a moment I finished weaving the image and then focused on it to make it reality.

I opened my eyes to see this man listening to his pocket radio. I heard my orders to report to the western side of the forest. He gave an attentive nod to the speaker and, quick as a flash, was off on the dark floating plate. I could've had some real fun and had the Hunter actually meet someone where he was heading but there wasn't time to spare. As soon as the Hunter had gone, Yashi had rocketed off before us. Dillon gave me an odd look and I shrugged. Yashi really wanted to get home for all I knew. With an unspoken agreement we ran after him.

Yashi was running faster than ever now and, after what seemed like to long of a time, he stopped. I nearly ran into him while Dillon coolly walked up beside him. I was about to tell him off before Dillon could have a crack at it when I noticed the look on his face. It was one of pure horror. I followed his gaze expecting to see something terrible.

We were at the edge of a grassy unkempt lawn. Occasionally a rock popped up and, like at my new home, it was surrounded by trees. We were at the back of an ancient cluttered house, painted gray. There was a porch with the red paint peeling off and an assortment of plastic chairs and a green table. The porch led up to a glass backdoor, through which I could make out a television that was turned on and someone watching it. I saw nothing horrific about this scene but Yashi must have because he looked petrified. I was about to ask him what the problem was but he took off like a rocket toward the back door. Stupid kid. Dillon and I had come that far and had no choice but to follow.

We reached him as he threw open the glass door. He looked like he was ready for the fight of his life. He stepped through the door his fists raised and then slumped down against the doorway, taking deep heavy breaths, seemingly relived.

I looked around the room. There was a boy, about my age, sitting on a leather couch and watching us with a quizzical look on his face. He looked about the same as Yashi, though his hair was shorter and his eyes looked.well.pure black if I didn't know any better. He smiled when he saw Yashi struggle to get up and walk over to him. This boy was cute when he smiled.

Yashi sunk down next to this new boy. It appeared he had lost some amount of energy from running, preparing to fight, and the obvious worrying he had been doing. This new kid put a comforting hand on Yashi's shoulder and gave an equally comforting smile. This smile had my stomach doing flip-flops; it was a nice feeling though. I snapped myself out of it. I didn't even now this kid or even where the heck I was.

"Where is he, Kaori?" Yashi asked. He turned his neck slowly to gaze at who, I presumed, was Kaori.

"Tokyo, he got the call this morning, went to talk about funding or something," Kaori replied. His voice made me feel strange again. It held an air of elegance but was laidback-not snobbish.

Dillon watched the scene with concealed interest; I am the only one able to boast to know how to read Dillon. He might have been interested, I didn't know why, but I was completely lost. I wanted to scream and force people to spill something so I would have some clue as to what was going on. I almost did, I never have thought things through, until I realized I didn't want to look like a whiny child in front of this Kaori guy. Who was he anyway? Yashi seemed to know him well enough.

"Why didn't you call me? Do you know how worried I was?" Yashi spoke again.

"I did call you. You were gone," Kaori explained, getting somewhat defensive, almost playfully.

"He did call, I answered the phone but you had taken Kari and gone," Dillon spoke up, slightly startling the two boys out of there private world. I was confused as ever. Then I realized what my 'bother' had just said.

"Hey!" I shouted making all three of the boys jump and Dillon flinch, "I came of my own free will. It's not fair to accuse Yashi, Dillon." I think I am the only one alive who is aloud to live after yelling at Dillon. But he was being so overprotective, as always. He ignored me, Kaori, however, turned an interested gaze on me. I almost giggled nervously when we locked eyes, thankfully I didn't. I would have sounded like such a prat if I did.

Dillon kept a steady glare over to Yashi who didn't bother returning it this time around. He sighed as though he was defeated and said: "We can talk about this later." Kaori gave a short nod. Yashi turned to me. "You can stay and talk to my little brother if you like, I'm heading to the kitchen to find something edible, I'll call if I do. Wait! Kaori was his LITTLE brother! They looked practically the same age! I'd been expecting a five-year-old! I nearly fell out of my seat.

"I think I'll come with you," Dillon said. That move didn't surprise me, most likely he wanted to make sure the food wasn't poisoned, that's just the way he operated. After he said this Yashi waved an impatient hand and went out the door beside him, Dillon followed.

I felt very nervous, and I was still standing. I surveyed my surroundings. I was obviously in the living room of Yashi's and Kaori's home. The television was large and on but muted, it had been since we arrived. The floor was a once-white carpet with an occasional red or blue splotch. Their were two small stone tables on which were large stone lamps. A jagged stone coffee table, littered with old magazines and, of course, two large squishy leather couches. On one of which sat Kaori. I really didn't want to be there.

Kaori gave me a friendly smile and motioned for me to sit down beside him. I shifted nervously on the balls of my feet, having an internal battle on whether or not I should. He gave a small laugh and said, "Go ahead, I really quite sure I don't bite." Well if he wanted me to.. I took a seat on the cushion next to his. Up close he looked like his brother, the darker, slightly shorter, more attractive version. I had no idea what I could say to him. I had so many questions and felt so confused. Was he like me? Could he do things he would be imprisoned for? What on Earth was going on?

He smiled at me. That pushed my confusion to the back of my mind. "So," he said, "My name is Imori Kaori, yours?"

"Err. Windsor Karissa, call me Kari though." Wow, that wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.

"'K,' Kari." He grinned. "So, where did you meet my brother?"

"Umm.by Ms. - I mean Akiko's house I guess. On the soccer field." I saw something in his eyes spark with interest.

"Oh, on the soccer field? You play?"

"When I can." Great answer. This conversation was losing steam quickly. I tried to think of something else to say. "So, you play too?"

"Yeah," he said pulling on the long sleeve of his navy-blue shirt. I was spared the rest of the painful conversation when Yashi called us to dinner. Maybe there I could say something worthwhile.

Kaori got up first and I trailed after him into the dinning room.

It was a relatively spacious room with a wooden floor and polished table surrounded by four smooth chairs. It had a large light dangling from a golden chain above it. The table had been set with the food already on our plates and Dillon sitting at the end of the polished table. I saw why it hadn't taken Yashi to cook, he had made instant noodles. Kaori then took a seat and I took the one across from him, then Yashi joined us.

I felt like someone was watching me but each time I glanced up everyone was much more interested in there food, or in Yashi's case rubbing his eyes, must've been sensitive. I was already mystified by what had taken place between Yashi and Kaori and the stillness was making me remember that confusion so I would think about my confusion leaving me even more confused than before! Or something along those lines anyway. I finally began to feel uncomfortable with the silence of my comrades and decided I would be the one to make conversation.

"So, Kaori," I began putting my fork down. "Do you play on a team? In soccer I mean.

"Yeah, I was on the middle school one last year and I'm going to try out for the high school one, now that I'm a freshman."

"What's a freshman?" I asked, even more confused by what Kaori had just said than anything that had gone on earlier. Both Yashi and Kaori looked at me funny.

"It's the term used by high-school kids to refer to ninth-graders," Yashi said, scratching his eyes.

"Oh," I said stupidly. Now that was cleared up I wanted to know more about this high-school place and its soccer team. "Do they let girls play on the soccer team?"

"There's no reason why they shouldn't," Kaori said, smiling again.

"So do you think I can play on it?"


"Tell me more about high-school," I practically demanded of the two boys in front of me. I had never been to an actual school because Missy had taught me everything I needed to know. This place sounded curious to me.

"Well," began Kaori, more politely than ever now, "the two of us have never actually been were starting on Monday." It was Saturday night.

"You'll know more than you'll ever want to know about high-school," said Dillon. "You're starting at Montessori High on Monday."

"Really?!" I asked, very excited. A smile played on his lips.

"Yeah, with me, the exchange students, and the Imori brother's over there he said gesturing over to Yashi and Kaori.

I couldn't find any words to describe how delighted I was at this prospect of school, after all the unhappiness and confusion something I wanted was happening, so I let out a giggle which sounded uncannily similar to an evil laugh. They all watched me with amusement, I blushed.

"Hey Kari," Kaori said, I was feeling more embarrassed than a moment ago at the thought that he had actually heard that giggle, so I met his eyes timidly. He was grinning at me, a teasing look on his face. "Have you met Chelsea? She's Akiko's step-daughter and I know she lives at your new house. She'll be coming to school with us." Yashi visibly stiffened.

"No." I said carefully, watching Yashi who was busy; seemingly try to blow his plate to pieces with his mind, considering how hard he was staring at it. "What is she like?"

Before Kaori could answer Yashi exploded. "SHE'S AN UNCARING, SELFISH, BACKSTABBING SON OF A-"

"Yashi!" Kaori yelled over him. Yashi's now glaring eyes turned on his brother.


"What did Chelsea do?" I asked, interrupting Yashi's rant. Dillon had his eyes squeezed shut and his hands over his ears.

"She's his ex-girlfriend. She went out with him on a bet because the entire school knew he was pining after her. Not only that but she went out with another guy at the same time and almost blew Yashi's cover as a mutant."

"Whoa," I said idiotically, "that's really bad. I'm sorry Yashi." Yashi sat down with a loud thump, nearly banging his head on the table.

"You're not nearly as sorry as he's gonna be." He meaning Kaori.

"Yashi, you've been complaining about it more than usual lately and moping around the house because you have to see her again on Monday you needed a good rant to keep from running from her. And you've been acting way too serious tonight."

Yashi sighed in defeat, head still on the table. "I'm still gonna kill you."

"I'll lock my door." Kaori was smiling again. Seeing my apprehensive look he said, "Don't worry, his hormones are messed up and he does this every once-in-a-while. And the closest he's ever come to killing me was flushing all the toilets when I was in the shower." I nodded, vaguely disturbed by that news.

"Chelsea's a mutant like us?" I asked, feeling brave again.

"Yeah, she can control water," Yashi said, becoming more conversational. "Or else she'd be living with her dad in the US."

"Why?" Kaori and Yashi glanced at each other, than shrugged.

"Dunno, because, I guess, that Akiko thinks with the money she earns in Japan each year she's guaranteed some good security."

"Plus she enjoys helping us unfortunates and likes makes sure we don't toe the line to much," Kaori added in.

"Are there many mutants at Montessori High?" I asked.

"More than we know about most likely." Yashi said, rubbing his left eye. "But, yeah, there are some and anyone like us is going to know that you are."

"What?!" I asked, alarmed.

"They'll know because everyone around Kyoto goes over to Akiko's for cover at one point or another. They know she adores taking in stray freaks, that's why she started the whole exchange student thing, to protect us," said Yashi. I didn't like the term freak but I didn't argue about the name either. I was more concerned about the last thing he had just said.

"How does she know the kid she takes in is a mutant? I mean it probably doesn't say that on the papers you look at before you meet the kid?" There was a long pause and then:

"I couldn't tell you Kari," Kaori said, "but Akiko does have her ways." I was now getting the picture that this Akiko was some odd combination of a political activist, a saint, and a stalker. She did sound interesting though.

"Don't you think it's strange," Dillon said, spooking us all, he had been so quiet, "that we've never been given an official name, it's either dangers or mutants or freaks and that's just public talk not what we're called when doors are shut and locked." He had a point I guess but why was he bringing it up?

"Maybe," I said carefully. "What are you getting at?

"That maybe we're not really anything that we're being called. Maybe we're not mutants or freaks or dangers."

"What else could we be?" asked Kaori skeptically.

"Are you suggesting," Yashi said, half-joking, "that we're what? The remnants of an alien race or something?"

"No," said Dillon, who did not sound at all pleased with Yashi, "It's just, well, you never see any information on the Nuclear Year of Sunspots, do you?"

"Who ever came up with the name 'Nuclear Year of Sunspots' should be shot," muttered Kaori to himself, "what a stupid name."

"I know," Dillon continued, ignoring Kaori, "that a team of ten men from two countries went and investigated the site then left to go back home. No one in the public knows the name of the person who launched the missile or if the missile was even nuclear. We don't know anything about ourselves except the fact that we're hunted for being different. We don't even know what happens after they take you. How do we know they really do kill you?" After this their was an uneasy pause then I said,

"Well, what else would they do?" Dillon sighed.

"I don't know. but it all seems fishy to me." He sighed again. I smiled.

"You really need to get yourself a girlfriend Dillon," I said.

"I'll die first." Kaori, Yashi and I laughed, Yashi cut his off because he was so busy rubbing his eyes.

"Damn contacts," he said. "You guys wouldn't mind if I took them out would you?" I shook my head and Dillon kind of grunted. Yashi left the table, "I'm going to find some water to rinse my eyes out 'k? I'll be back in a minute." He went out a door. I turned to Kaori.

"I didn't know that he had bad eyesight," I said to Kaori. Then again I'd only known the guy for a few hours.

"He doesn't, they're color contacts, to change his iris's color," he said quickly and nervously.

"Why." I began but my voice died in my throat as my question was answered. Yashi had just walked back in, without his contacts, revealing what was behind them which was. nothing. Yashi's eyes were blank, completely white. No color whatsoever, not even a pupil.

He walked back over to the table, without looking troubled, and sat down in his chair, like having no real eyes was completely ordinary. He began to eat again and Kaori gave a nervous laugh. I glanced over at Dillon who, I was happy to say, looked a little startled with Yashi's new look.

"Um. Yashi?" I said attentively. He looked up, turning those blank eyes to mine.

"Yes Kari?" he said as politely as Kaori.

"Well. your. eyes. they don't have any color." I felt a little strange about the whole situation.

"Oh these?" he said coolly, though I thought I detected a hint of fear in his voice. "I was born with eyes like these, guess its part of my mutation, I can see perfectly well out of them, it's just." he trailed off. "Well I don't really want anyone showing up to my house, forcing me into a blood test and then taking me away just because my stupid eyes give me away. So I ware contacts or when they become to itchy I ware sunglasses."\

"Really?" asked Dillon, for some reason intrigued, "They can really spot you and have you tested for being a mutant just because you have funny eyes?" And I knew he was thinking of his own metallic ones.

"Yep, at least in Japan they can. Kaori here is lucky because people fool themselves into thinking his eyes are a really, really dark brown," said Yashi.

"So they're actually black?" I asked. Kaori nodded. The question about the brothers that had gnawing at the back of my mind burst out. "What are your super powers? I mean." I blushed, "What are your abilities?"

Kaori smiled while Yashi sighed. "Guess we should show you," he said. "Kaori? The lights if you please?" He kind of nodded and the lights went out. A moment later there was a warm glow coming from Yashi's direction. It took me another moment to register the fact that the warm glow was Yashi. He was glowing! His entire body and clothes were bathed in a soft milky light. I was grateful for the softness, I hated bright lights.

Yashi was kind of smiling at me and Dillon. "I can control light," he said, "and this was the first thing I learned how to do when I was little. My nightlight went out and I hated the dark." He was giving us all a genuine smile now and I could make out Kaori smiling back. "I can do more," he said, "but I don't want to waste energy." He went out like a candle and the lights mysteriously came back on, making me wince.

"You're turn, Kaori," said Yashi. Kaori smiled.

"Alright, everyone please turn to your left." I did so, however hesitant. What I saw was the wall and Kaori's shadow. His shadow was waving at us; the actual Kaori was not moving but watching his shadow pleasantly. Kaori turned to look at my surprised face, Dillon's neutral expression, and Yashi who had a look on his face suggesting he was rolling his eyes. "I can control shadow and darkness," he said watching me.

"That's neat Kaori." And I truly thought it was. He gave me a lopsided smile which made me feel like melting. I really didn't care at the moment that the line was such a cliché from romance paperback novels. Alright I felt fuzzy inside, that better?

"And what can you and Dillon do, Kari?" Kaori asked politely.

"I can create realistic illusions with my mind. And Dillon can control metal," I answered. The brothers both nodded.

"It came in handy too," said Yashi, turning to Kaori.

"Huh?" he said cutely. "Why?"

"Because on the rush over here we came face to face with a seemingly well equipped Hunter and then Dilly over there," Yashi said, pointing to Dillon who locked like he was about to tear his head off. The nickname was really catching on. "sprung out and grabbed us both and was planning to kill me for inviting and taking Kari to dinner. He looked at her and some silent conversation passed between them and Kari closed her eyes and the next thing we new the Hunter was told on his short-wave radio to head to the other side of the forest. I knew she did something."

"Wow," Kaori exclaimed clearly impressed. "You came face to face with a Hunter, Kari, and you didn't panic? I know I would of," he said grinning. I blushed.

"Wait," said Kaori, looking at his brother, "how did you know Dillon was one of us?"

"Well," Yashi said slowly, "I didn't but she told me," he gestured to me, "that he was her brother so I figured he must be okay." Kaori gave Yashi a sarcastic smile.

"Gee, and you're the one always telling me not to trust or go near anyone. Tsk tsk big brother." Yashi slapped him over the head.


By that time we all had finished our noodles and Yashi and Kaori cleared away the tables. It was 7:30, enough time to stay and chat politely for a half an hour. I asked Dillon while the brothers were away, he agreed. Dillon had asked Yashi if he knew anything about computers so he had taken him to the den for a look at his old one. Kaori took me upstairs to look at old soccer cards and posters he had in his room. He smiled as we reached his door upstairs and turned the handle.

His entire room was covered with a variety of posters and snapshots and they just weren't of soccer teams either. Favorite bands, sports teams, and even some diagramming cars. Besides the messy assortment of posters over the walls, his room was perfectly clean, not one spot of dust on his aqua carpet. His navy bed was made with hospital corners and the desk was arranged into small work sections. He had a large curtained window opposite the door and nightstand beside his bed with a lamp on top and books and photo albums beneath. Kaori was standing beside me, fiddling with his pockets nervously, waiting for my opinion I guessed.

"It's a whole lot cleaner than my room, I haven't even unpacked yet. And I love your posters," I said, hopefully giving him what I considered a sincere smile. He looked reassured and pleased I was happy to say.

"Well. I do like to collect junk, only this stuff doesn't get thrown away because it's on the floor." He grinned. "C'mon I'll show you my cards." He walked over to his nightstand and pulled out a photo album, I followed him cautiously. He sat down on his bed with the album and motioned for me to sit beside him. I did not hesitate this time. "This is ware I keep my cards," he said smiling as I sat beside him, pointing at the book. In no time at all we were pouring over the book, him telling me thoroughly about each player and me listening attentively. We went through the cards quickly and I began to look at the snapshots hanging on his walls. They were all of him and Yashi, no one else. That made me wonder.

"Hey, Kaori?" I said.

"Yeah?" he answered me, smiling.

"Where are your mom and dad? Why weren't they here tonight?" his face fell.

"Oh. um. they've been dead ever since I was little," he answered uneasily, avoiding my eyes and tugging on his long sleeves. I gasped both inside and out.

"Oh my God! I am so sorry! I shouldn't have said anything. I'm really sorry!" I felt absolutely terrible and more embarrassed then I had in my entire life. Kaori just waved a hand to make me stop; the hurt look on his face remained though.

"Forget about it, it really does hurt more than it should, I know." I felt awful and I wanted to comfort him but I didn't know how.

"So who takes care of you and you're brother than?" I nearly hit myself for asking. He visibly winced.

"My older brother Shinto, he's in his late twenties" he replied forcefully. I wanted to find some way out of the conversation but I was stuck. Kaori obviously didn't want to talk about any of it. I think he must've known what I was thinking because the next thing I knew he was smiling at me. It seemed genuine but it was most likely forced.

"I told you not to worry didn't I? Or am I just loosing my short-term memory early?" he said teasing me and elbowing me gently. That and me smile, and blush.

"Yeah," I said, "so how much older is Yashi then you?" I asked. I could see he was visibly relieved at the change of topic.

"Just ten months but he likes to hold it over my head that he's older and he treats me like a kid. Because the close age we're in the same grade too," he said smiling. I smiled back, I was thinking of something else to say when Dillon called me down, we had to leave. I trudged downstairs with Kaori to in tow. Dillon and Yashi were speaking civilly at the bottom.

"So how long would you have to do that in order to pay for the system?" Dillon asked him.

"Depends on which one you get and if you want a good back-up system for hacking or not," said Yashi, who was leaning on the staircase. Their conversation stopped as soon as we reached the bottom of the staircase.

"We're taking the long, non-dangerous way home," he said to me, smirking at Yashi. "You know Kari? The road?" He was doing this more to annoy Yashi than for my benefit. Yashi glared.

"I needed to get home quickly," Yashi explained. Dillon's smirk grew larger.

"Yes, and was all in vain, wasn't it?" Dillon said in an airy voice. Yashi looked to be shaking with fury and there was a slightly astonished look to his face, however hard he was gritting his teeth. He seemed to be trying to contain himself from killing Dillon, who would have, of course, taken him down before he could flinch.

The four of us walked to the front door. Dillon opened the door and walked out quickly, I trailed behind. I looked back at the doorway where Kaori and Yashi (at least I think he was, I really couldn't be sure) were watching and waving goodbye to me, Dillon was already half-way down the street. I waved back, my eyes lingering on Kaori, and with a final glance I dashed after Dillon.

"So, Dillon, how are we getting home?" I asked



We had walked for about fifteen minutes when I heard him muttering under his breath.

"Hack in. Why they call it Ecilla 3. 3 is something." was all could catch. I shook my head.

"Can't you even think about something pleasant?" I asked him, interrupting his thoughts, "Like what happened to us tonight? That's the greatest thing to happen to us in months." Dillon smirked.

"You like Kaori," he said simply. That got me flustered.

"So?!" I nearly screamed, causing him to flinch. Then I nearly smacked myself for the second time that night having just realized what I admitted. He smirked.

"He's sweet and cute," I said, trying to explain myself. Dillon rolled his eyes.

"There are two kinds of girls in this world: either boys are sweet and cute or hot and sexy." No wonder he didn't make friends easily.

"To the extent of your knowledge anyway," I muttered, but he heard and smirked even more.

We were silent the rest of the walk home. Except when I heard him mutter to the wind.

"Wearing long sleeves in this heat, they're hiding something." But I think he wanted me to hear that. And I instantly thought of the Imori brothers.

* * *

Yashi closed the door and sighed.

"You going to yell at me now?" Kaori asked.

"Yell, no, discipline, yes," said Yashi looking angrily at his brother.

"Yashi, I checked to make sure Shinto wasn't home," Kaori explained.

"That's not the point; you are supposed to wait for me to come home! There is safety in numbers! Why else do you think I brought those two home?!" Yashi roared.

"Good conversation?" Kaori half joked.

"That's not funny! And how did you check to see if he wasn't home?!"

"I used my shadow and found a note, I tried to call you," Kaori said, looking uneasy. Yashi looked madder than ever now.

"Why on earth did you do that?! Do you know what would happen if he found out we were freaks?! The only reason he keeps us around now is because he gets a paycheck from the government every month! If he told he would be paid far more than that! He doesn't care at all about us! Why do you think we have these scars and bruises on our arms?! Because we ask him to abuse us?!" Yashi sighed in exasperation and slunk down on the wall. "You're my little brother, Kaori; I'm supposed to take care of you. Shinto goes after you more because of the combination of you being younger and such a pacifist." He put his head in his hands and sighed again, heavily. Kaori put on a brave smile.

"Alright, alright," he said softly and smiling, crouching down beside his fallen brother. "I'll be more careful. Okay?"

"Okay." Yashi smiled, than said, "You have a crush on Kari," he said teasingly. Kaori blushed lightly.

"What makes you say that?" he asked. Yashi grinned.

"You kept staring at her with this dreamy expression throughout dinner," he said helpfully. Kaori was blushing heavily now.

"Well," he said, trailing off, "she is cute when she's confused and she's on the innocent side," he admitted quietly. Yashi smiled.

"Knew it," he said.

"So what were you and Dillon talking about while we were upstairs," Kaori asked, changing the subject. Yashi's smile widened.

"Sorry little brother but its top secret." Kaori pouted. Then Yashi said, "Well now that we actually have a night to enjoy ourselves how about a movie?"

* * *

Dillon and I had just reached the end of the extremely long driveway leading to our house when we saw the same bus that had brought us here was backing up to leave again. Someone else had just arrived. We both ran to the doorway as the bus pulled away. Dillon through open the door.

There was a lady standing in front of us, watching us and smiling insanely.

Not The End.