A/N: Sorry for a late update, but my progress on this story is not going as planned. It was hard to write this chapter and I have a loose idea and outline of things I want to happen, I'm just trying to tie them all together in an interesting way. I have things tied together with Koko and the tenants but as far as she and the spirits are concerned, I only have a vague idea as of now. The next chapter will come easier since I have a little better grasp on things.
By: Melissa Norvell
Flight 2: Lost Soul
All of the tenants of Sakaraku gathered in what appeared to be a large office room that contained a coffee machine, couch and desk. Two identical twins with shoulder length, pink hair with small, high-set pigtails on either side of the top of their heads sat in tea serving positions on the floor. A tall man, with short, black hair, cat-like eyes and glasses, dressed in a business suit, leaned against the wall with one leg crossed over the other while Soma and a girl with lavender hair, braided and pinned up in loops and dressed in an elaborate lolita dress sat on the couch. Another girl with long, mid-back pink hair stood on the other side of the couch, dressed in brightly colored clothes that more resembled a stage costume then actual clothing line of any sort and Koko stood in the middle of the room, clutching her flask and stuffed animal close to her chest. She could feel everyone's eyes on her as she glanced to a black-haired woman in a pale blue, long, sleeved shirt that hung around her shoulders and a simple, long navy blue dress. The woman gave her a small, faint smile as she looked at her with calm, dark eyes. Koko took comfort in the small presence. Out of everyone there, she seemed the most understanding and down to earth.
'Wow…There's a lot of people in here…I wonder where Himitsu is. I don't really see him. Maybe he's late.' Koko thought to herself in slight worry and excitement. She couldn't wait to finally come face-to-face with the man she had wanted to help for so long and at the same time, the girl wondered about all of the new friends she would soon make. Nothing could be better than this moment, surely.
At that moment, her anticipation paid off as Himitsu strolled through the door, dressed in a black, sleeveless shirt, red head and arm bands and matching studded belt with black pants. Upon seeing the dark figure, Koko's brown eyes lit up in excitement.
'It's him…It's the guy I've visited so many times. It's so strange to see him, standing there before me. It's odd to see him from a human's eyes. He's even cuter from this angel.' The brown-haired girl smiled brightly as a flush came over her cheeks.
"Sorry I'm late," the green-haired man apologized to the room full of people. "I just saw the note on my door that we had a meeting." Just then, his blue eyes trailed to the girl as he walked up to her and pointed to her. "Who's the kid?"
"I-I'm Koko…Um…Nice to meet you," the girl bowed.
"I'm Tsukotsu Himitsu," the man introduced himself with a bow.
"While we're on introductions, let's all take turns telling her our names. It's good to get acquainted," the black-haired woman's voice was calm and nurturing, much like a mother figure of sorts.
"I'm Ookayama Chii," one of the twins popped up on the left side of her with a smile on her face.
"I'm Ookayama Choi," the other twin popped up on the right side of her in the same manner.
"We're twins!" The both said in unison as they got in front of her and took a bow. "It's nice to meet you and welcome to our apartments. We hope you like it here!"
Koko bowed in turn and smiled brightly. "Thanks."
"I'm their sister," the older, pink-haired girl walked up to her with a hand on her chest. "My name is Ookayama Natsuki. I hope that we can be great friends."
"Me too!" The girl beamed as she felt a dark shadow come over her. As she glanced up, her eyes met ones of steely bluish-gray.
"I'm Fukashi Tokumori…" The man in the glasses told her in a monotone voice. "Everyone just calls me Mori. You can do the same," he stared the girl down with a frown on his face. He was stiff in posture and seemed generally emotionless. The man was very intimidating and gave off a dark presence.
It shook Koko's nerves a little. "Um…Okay, Mori…Um…It's nice meeting y-you," she said awkwardly, even though he had given her permission, the new girl felt strange calling him by his nickname. 'He's so cold and he's not smiling…He seems so sad.'
When she looked into his eyes, she knew that people didn't get like that over night. Usually people with such cold eyes were pained in a lot of ways that they felt uncomfortable about saying in public. Koko cast him a worried look, above everyone she'd met so far; she wanted to do what she could for him the most of all.
She then felt a gentle hand on her shoulder and looked up to see the black-haired woman, gently smiling at her. "Don't worry, Tokumori just looks intimidating. He really is very kind when you get to know him."
"He looks…sad…" The girl spoke with concern. It was something that the woman didn't think she'd say. Her dark eyes widened slightly in surprise. There weren't many people who read into Tokumori's emotions like she did.
"Excuse me; I have to get back to my quarters. I have an important document to get finished," Tokumori attempted to excuse himself from the situation. If all that was needed was an introduction, then he had done what was asked of him to do.
"Hey!" Natsuki spoke up in an irritated tone. "You're supposed to stay here for the whole meeting. If we have to do it, you should too," she nearly made it sound like a chore, rather than a good time.
Tokumori stopped in mid-step and awaited further response.
"Koko just got here. It's rude to just walk out on her," Soma agreed with Natsuki, though in a much kinder way.
"Its okay, Mori. You can leave," Koko's soft voice seemed to make everyone stop and turn to her. "I don't mind. I was happy just to meet you." She smiled gently and let him know that she wouldn't be hurt if he left.
"Wait just one minute!" The lavender-haired girl stood straight up and demanded.
"What is it, Mikazuki?" Tokumori turned around to face the girl.
"We're all supposed to make a decision here," they couldn't possibly do a group activity without everyone being involved. It seemed wrong to make a decision without him there.
"What about?" The dark-haired man just thought that they were there to greet her and make her feel welcomed. Tokumori didn't know that there was more to the meeting.
"Something about a new tenant or something," Himitsu wasn't too sure himself.
"New tenant?" The black-haired woman had asked with a blink of confusion as she glanced to Koko. "You mean her, right?" Surely there weren't any more tenants that she didn't know about.
"It will just be temporary. I found her by the Tanaka Apartments. She doesn't have anywhere to go and I was wondering if she could stay here for a while," Soma spoke up.
"How will she pay rent? Do you plan on paying it for her?"
"I'll get a job!" The brown-haired girl spoke up with a bright smile. She didn't want Soma to be troubled with her living expenses. If she burdened her, then it would only cause her trouble and Koko was about healing, not destroying people's lives. "I can also help around the apartments. I'll work for the money in any way that I can. Please, I have nowhere to go."
"Well, you can always go job searching with me tomorrow," the green-haired man figured it would benefit them both if he just went with her instead of alone. He'd at least have someone to talk to along the way.
"Really?" She couldn't believe it! The very person that she wanted to spend time with wanted to spend time with her. Koko felt her heart flutter with happiness. "R-Really, Himitsu? That's…so nice of you."
"Yeah, yeah…" The man dismissed with a wave. "I'm looking for a job anyway so it wouldn't hurt much."
"You'll really help me find a job?"
"Don't look too deep into it, kid. We both need a job or we'll be on the street," Himitsu didn't know why it seemed to mean so much to her. It was just a job hunt. It wasn't like they were going on a date or something.
"We don't have an empty room, so you'll have to get a roommate," the dark-haired woman suggested. First of all, she had to find someone who was willing to take her in.
"But, my room is full," Natsuki replied. With her and her twin sisters, taking another person in would make it more than packed in her apartment. She didn't want to seem mean by turning Koko down, in fact, she felt bad that she did but nothing could truly be done about her situation.
"Yeah, we'll all be together in one apartment," the twins spoke in unison, also a little sad that they couldn't take Koko in. It would have been fun having a sister.
"She's rooming with me," Soma stood and placed a hand to her chest. "I found her, so she's my responsibility."
"What is she, your pet?" Himitsu asked. This entire time the cream-haired girl had been talking of Koko as if she were an animal instead of a human. It kind of irritated him to hear her being spoken about in such a manner.
"Pet?" Koko mimicked the last word in confusion.
"What?" Soma looked a little offended at his comparison. Koko was most certainly not her pet.
"She's old enough to take care of herself. You act like she's a stray dog that you took off of the street," Himitsu replied.
"Well, that was my plan in bringing her here. She can learn how to take care of herself so she can be out on her own if she has to be," the cream-haired girl's intentions were good. She didn't know why Himitsu failed to see the helpful aspects of her plans.
The man looked at Koko with a frown, almost as if he felt sorry for her in a way. Koko couldn't tell what he was feeling. It was hard to read his eyes. In fact, he was the only person in the room whose eyes she couldn't read at all. "Yeah, whatever," Himitsu shut his eyes and walked out.
"Seems like he has high expectations for you," Mikazuki watched him walk out with a slam of the door.
"Really?" The happy girl asked in an unsure tone as she watched him leave.
"He's so strange," Natsuki commented.
"Why is he strange?" Koko looked back at the pink-haired girl in question.
"He just acts distant and then he speaks his mind at such random times. Then again, I don't really know him that well. I mean, he just moved here, what? A month ago?" She explained the strange man the best way she could.
"Really?" Koko wondered aloud as she thought to herself about the first time she'd seen Himitsu at the Sakaraku. 'Has it really been that long? It seems so short when they talk about it like that…Still, I wonder…' The girl tilted her head down in thought as a hand was laid on her shoulder, causing her to snap out of her thoughts and glance up to see a familiar face. "Soma?"
"If it's agreed, then I'll show her my apartment," Soma spoke.
"Well, do any of you have a problem with it?" The black-haired woman asked the group of people.
"My opinion on the matter is neutral, Rin," Tokumori was the first to reply.
"I think it'll be a great idea," Natsuki clasped her hands together. She couldn't wait to get to know her new roommate.
"Yeah, we'll make you feel right at home , Koko," the twins replied in unison.
"Thanks," Koko smiled at the people whom she would soon come to know, "I appreciate it. You all are so kind."
"Hey, welcome to our little…uh…family." Mikazuki held her hands out and gestured to everyone in the room.
"I guess you could call us that," Rin replied. "We are pretty tight knit here at Sakaraku. We're happy to have you in the family, Koko." Even she had to admit, the girl was interesting and with her around things seemed a little happier than before. Koko was a special person, especially to be able to read into Tokumori's feelings and make the assessments that she had.
Things were definitely changing, even though she had not been there but for a few moments in time.
The two soon retreated back to Soma's apartment, where they stood in the middle of her living room section as the cream-haired girl explained the house rules and informed her of things that she should know about the apartments and the tenants there aside from herself.
"Now, I want you to stay in here until I get back," Soma instructed the petite girl. "This is my apartment, where you'll be staying. I don't have an extra bed, so we'll have to share. I'm going to buy a few extra things and I'll be back in a while, please watch after it while I'm gone," the girl bowed.
Koko bowed back. "I will," she smiled.
"You can put your stuff down, you know," Koko was carrying a lot of things and she wondered how the small girl had that much arm strength.
The brown-haired girl felt a bead of sweat run down the back of her head. "Okay!"
"See you later," Soma bid her good-bye as she walked over to the door and Koko bid her good-bye with a happy 'see you' as the door shut and her companion headed off to buy some extra things from the store.
As soon as she was sure that Soma had left, she threw down her stuff on the couch, happy to have the weight off of her arms. The flask was made of thick glass and the stuffed duck was large. Both items were heavy but she didn't want to impose by laying them down wherever she liked.
As the items hit the couch, she heard a disgruntled 'ouch, damn it' in a rough, male voice.
"Hm?" She paused in mid-step as she was about to walk away from the situation but glanced over her should and turned around with her fists to her chest. "What was that?" The girl wondered as she leaned over to see the yellow duck, rubbing his head in pain.
"You could stand to be a little gentler, you idiot," the stuffed animal cursed.
"Who are you?" Koko asked.
"I'm Gakushi, your guardian spirit," the duck informed as he stood before her.
"Did you forget already?" The duck replied in irritation. "You're supposed to get the restless souls and heal people." He then walked over to the flask and gestured to it. "You put the souls in here."
"Oh yeah, I almost forgot," Koko had been caught up in meeting everyone at Sakaraku that she nearly forgot her current mission. "Where do we find these spirits?"
"Supposedly, they are around Sakaraku. They practically haunt this place, clinging to the sorrows that keep them bound to this world," Gakushi explained to her.
Sad brown eyes glanced downward.
"Then that is what we shall do," Koko then closed her eyes and smiled warmly with a hand to her chest. "I'll put these souls to rest in a happy way. When they finally go and leave this world, I want all of their sorrows to be gone and the last thing I want to see is a bright smile on their face and peace in their heart."
"Well, we can't do anything sitting around here," the duck complained.
"But, Soma told me to watch her apartment while she was gone," Koko had a conflicted expression on her face. She had to do her duty, but she also had to keep Soma's apartment safe while she was gone. She was trusted with that job and she didn't want to let her new friend down.
"The apartment will be fine. We're on a mission here," Gakushi pressed.
"Don't forget what Tsubame said," the duck reminded.
"This is exactly why I'm here, to keep you in line. Come on," Gakushi hopped down from the couch.
"Oh-kay…" The brown-haired girl sighed. Her passive nature wouldn't allow her to fight back. She knew that it was important that she caught the souls or she wouldn't continue to stay human. Koko just hoped that Soma would forgive her if she didn't manage to make it back before she returned from the store.
"Take the flask too."
"Right," the girl grabbed the glass object, then looked a little concerned, "but Gakushi, how will we find a spirit?" She didn't know the first thing about seeing spirits, much less catching them.
"I can sense one nearby," the duck's expression became serious, just before it lit up in surprise as he was lifted into the air. "Whoa! Ah!" He yelled as he was lifted and held up to the smiling girl's face.
"Since you're so little, I'll carry you."
"This is humiliating," Gakushi dead panned as the girl walked outside and closed to the door, leaving it unlocked so she could easily go back inside. As soon as she took a couple of steps to the right, Gakushi's head quickly turned to the same direction, where he saw the faint image of a small child dart around the corner of the building.
"Where?" Koko glanced around in confusion.
"Around the corner, let's go," the duck commanded as the girl stood here, peering down the hall. Was Gakushi sure about this? She didn't really see anyone. "What are you standing there for? Come on! He's getting away!" She then heard his yelling, which snapped her out of her gaze as she nodded and took off running. She wasn't really sure where she was going, but she didn't have much of a choice but to depend on Gakushi's guidance to lead her in the right direction.
As she turned the corner, she saw what looked like a small boy standing in the middle of the hallway. He had short, brown hair and wore the expression of a deer caught in the head lights of a speeding car.
"Wait!" Koko called out. "I just want to talk to you!"
The boy took off running down the hall. He looked scared to death of her for some reason. If she could only catch him, then she could ask him why he was so frightened of her. She sped up her steps as she ran full speed at the little boy, who turned the corner swiftly as they ran out of the building and onto the wooden walkway. Her footsteps clattered against the boards below her feet as the boy ran towards the stairs.
As he neared the stairs, his image faded at the top at the last minute. The girl dug her heels into the ground but all she did was slide.
"Wait!" Koko called out as shock lit up on both she and Gakushi's faces.
"Stop you idiot!" Gakushi cried.
"I'm trying but I won't make it in time," the girl tried to dig her heels more into the ground but nothing was working. If she didn't stop soon, then she would tumble down the stairs.
"Turn sideways or something!" The duck shouted out random options, whether or not they worked.
In an attempt to stop, Koko turned her feet sideways in hopes that it would cause her to stop quicker to avoid her fall, but then something we terribly wrong. The girl's foot turned on its side which caused her to come crashing down and falling from the top stair. As she put her arms out in a desperate attempt to catch herself, she released both Gakushi and the flask.
"The flask!" The duck cried out as he leapt through the air to get the glass item. If it broke, then their mission would be over for sure. He managed to catch it and land on one of the stairs, then he turned around to see Koko's form, sailing through the hair as she missed all of the stairs as her form went down.
"Koko!" He called out but the girl's body had already made contact with one stair and then skipped the remaining ones as she landed on the boards below on her side.
The duck desperately hopped down the stairs with the flask in his wings as he hurried to the girl's side. "Koko! Are you alright? Are you hurt? Speak to me!" Gakushi looked into the girl's face. Her eyes were closed and she didn't move.
Suddenly, a blue hue appeared before her as the form of the boy stood before him with a concerned look on his face as he took an unsure step towards her.
"Um…Miss? Are you okay?" His small voice asked. "Please be okay. I didn't mean to hurt you." The spirit apologized upon not seeing that the girl wasn't moving or responding to his words. He began to weep as he put his fists to his eyes. "I'm sorry."
Brown eyes slowly fluttered open as Koko regained her consciousness. The girl's back and side ached from her fall as she slowly sat up as Gakushi ran over to her.
"Koko! You're awake! Are you alright? You had a pretty nasty fall," the duck was worried for her.
"It hurts a little but I'll be fine-" She stopped in mid-sentence when she saw the weeping ghost in front of her. "Hm?"
The kind girl reached up and made a gesture to wipe the spirit's tears, even though she knew that she couldn't but the gesture itself was to show him that she was alright and she didn't feel bitter towards him at all for what had happened.
Upon receiving such a touch, the spirit froze.
"Please don't cry."
"I didn't mean to hurt you," the boy sniffled.
"What is your name?" Koko sat her hand in her lap.
"My name is Satoshi and I'm trying to look for my mother. We got separated after I died and I miss her. I feel so alone," the spirit explained.
"Did your mother die too?" The girl asked.
"Yes, but I don't know where she is. I've been calling and calling for her but I can't find her. I'm so lonely and sad and scared," his trembling voice was enough to bring sorrow to Koko's heart. She could feel the wave of pain that radiated from his form.
Koko embraced the spirit. She knew that the dead could feel the presence from another, even if they had no solid body to feel the warmth of a hug. "It's alright, Satoshi…I'll help you find your mother."
"You…will?" Satoshi replied as the last of his tears stopped.
"Of course, I just know that she's on the other side, waiting for you with open arms but you have to be willing to go there to see her. Don't be scared. I'll be here with you, holding your hand," the kind girl offered with a comforting smile.
"Really?" She could tell that the boy still seemed a little scared but held her hand all the same.
"Now!" Gakushi uncorked the flask as it released a cloud of glittery dust into the air, which spread throughout the room and bathed everything in a whimsical, pretty dust and Koko's form glowed a white color as she leveled the ghost with a calm smile and kind eyes.
"Don't be scared. You're going to see your mother now, on the other side."
"Will she be waiting for me?" The boy asked uncertainly.
"Of course she will be there. Just keep faith," Koko replied gently.
"What if I don't find her?" Satoshi's expression lit up with fear at the very thought of being trapped on the other side, not being able to find his mother. It scared him more than anything to be alone.
"Then I'll find her and bring her to you, I promise. Just wait for her and be strong," the brown-haired girl made it her personal vow to retrieve his mother's soul, if it happened to reside in the world of the living.
"Okay," Satoshi smiled, filled with peace and a little uncertainty but the thought of seeing his mother again filled him with a sense of happiness. He trusted the girl's kind words and would wait on the other side for as long as it took, until he could one day see his mother again. "Thank you, Miss Koko."
"You're welcome, Satoshi. I won't let you down," Koko told him as his form turned into streams of ghost particles that were sucked into the flask as the inside of it glowed a pristine white and the cork was placed back onto it.
"There you go. Your first spirit successfully captured," Gakushi declared proudly.
"He was frightened," Koko placed a hand to her chest and held her wrist. The girl closed her eyes and tilted her head downward. "I hope that, one day, surely, he will find his mother…and I just know that she'll be waiting for him with open arms so full of love."
"Do you think she's still around Sakaraku somewhere?" Gakushi asked.
"If she is, then I'll do my best to reunite them and Satoshi will no longer be alone," her soft words were her solemn vow. Beyond anything, Koko would make sure that she could aid the spirits as well, and one day see the dead smile.
To Be Continued…
A/N: Now that I'm typing this out all at once, I think I did a pretty good job considering it took me two weeks to write this and I did it chunks at a time. The next chapter will come faster, since I nearly have it done.
It's kind of nice to write something that isn't so dark. It kind of cheers me up to write about this kind of thing, especially because I just found out three people are dying around me. It's kind of a comfort to write on something like this.
Well, please enjoy and review!