Day 50

"Vi undrarar ni redo alt vera med, armarna upp nu ska ni fa se, kom igen, hvem som helst kan vara med..." Twilight hummed. She stumbled over a few words once in a while, but hey, it was Swedish. What the hell did you expect her to do? She was barely fluent in English! "Dansa med oss, klapper era händer, gör som vi gör, ta nagrå steg at vanster, lyssna och lar, missa inten chansen, nu ar vi har med, caramelldansen..."

Twilight stopped because she had forgotten the rest of the words. Instead, she started humming the rest of the song. Not like any guys would bust into her room while she was humming... That would be a little disconcerting, mostly because Twilight hated humming and/or singing in front of people. She had thought about trying the dance to the song, but that would just be silly and stupid (personally, she thought the song should totally be on Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! mostly because America wouldn't put it on Elite Beat Agents unless it was translated. Crazy brutish Americans, eh?).

She wrung the shit out of her right wrist. This was why she wished she was ambidextrous with her writing. She could do most anything else with her left hand that she could with her right - except for writing and drawing. Well... she could do those things, but unless someone ever wanted to read her writing and find shape in her drawings, she needed to stick to her right hand.

Her journal lay open on the bed that was pushed up against the wall in her room. She'd filled as much in about the past few days as possible - her memory wasn't so good at the moment, and she needed to process everything that was happening. She had a strange suspicion that Arkieus was being... well, not himself. Of course, she was pretty sure the others were all having that same thought and it seemed almost too silly to write down, but she'd done it anyway. There was no way she would let it fall into her friends' hands, anyway. Well, except for Loaño, but only because Azreal was too good a person to let her look into anything she shouldn't.

It had been a strange night, really. The Sitans seemed both diurnal and nocturnal, either that or they simply chose between the two. Either way, they paced around the hallways or even opened doors to check on her and, she assumed, the guys. She had gathered that Sitans weren't really used to the concept of "personal space" but hey, they left her alone when she wanted them to, and at least they knocked. Tsukiyomaru, who was nocturnal anyway, was probably driven nuts by now, as the Sitan Norell (who apparently was given charge of them until Arkieus was done talking to his mother) had woken them up first.

Twilight had no idea of whether Loaño had come back to sleep or not. Her and Azreal's room was sandwiched in-between Twilight's and the boy's, so at least one of them would've heard, especially since Twilight had her insomniac episode last night until two in the morning. Somehow, at seven in the morning, she was more alert than before.

She ran a hand through her long hair. It was getting to be a nuisance. Perhaps it needed to be lopped off soon? It was getting warmer outside. Perhaps, but that was a matter for another day. There was really no one here to do that, so she rifled through her backpack for a hair tie. When she found one, she quickly pulled her hair back into a quick and low-hanging ponytail. She closed her journal and packed it away, and was about to leave when she ran headfirst into Loaño, who was coming in without knocking (of course).

"Ah...!" Loaño said, a rather delayed reaction to Twilight nearly ramming into her. She looked drawn and tired, as if she'd stayed up all night, but she was in pajamas, showing that she'd gotten some form of sleep last night. "You..."

"Who did you expect to see, Gilbert Gottfried?" Twilight answered sarcastically.

"Honestly, I could use a guy who talks funny at the moment. Mind if I come in?" Loaño groaned.

Before Twilight could approve, Loaño pushed her way in and flopped face-first onto her friend's bed. She unearthed a pillow and stuffed it beneath her neck and chin, her feet hanging off of the bed. Twilight blinked in confusion, shook her head, shut the door, and then sat down on the bed next to Loaño's head. Loaño was staring at the wall, her silver eyes blank.

"Uh... Everything all right?" Twilight wondered. She knew it was pretty obvious that something was up with her. Twilight just wasn't good with small-talk.

"What the fuck do youthink?" Loaño snapped angrily. "Arkieus is such a dick!"

"I know."

"More of one than you know." Loaño added. "He hates Az. Uhg! It's like dealing with two-year olds who won't share their toys."

"Why the hell would Ark hate Azreal?" Twilight wondered.

"It's because Az could've gotten away any time he wanted; but he didn't. Or something. I dunno, I was paying more attention to opportunities to hit Arkieus. I've probably punched him, like, twenty times in the past ten hours."

"Ouch." Twilight cringed a little. Deciding to change the subject to something hopefully less violent, Twilight asked, "Well... how did meeting Mother go?"

"That's even worse." Loaño complained. Twilight cringed. More violence, she guessed. "Good Gods, if you ever meet Mother in person, you really need to keep your guard up. If she catches you off-guard, she'll pound away at you until you're bathing her feet!"

"She can't be that manipulative!" Twilight gaped.

"I don't even think she realizes it!" Loaño said frankly. "But... Man, did she miss Az."

"What'd she do?"

"What any mother does - hug him, ergo me, until they can't breathe." Loaño sighed. "Arkieus being an ass and Mother being manipulative aside, this place isn't that bad... Who knew America had class?"

"Heh, that's what we do - we surprise and amaze." Twilight admitted. For a moment Twilight had almost completely forgotten that Loaño wasn't American to begin with. It was easy to forget, since Loaño spoke English so well.

"And then you get fat." Loaño chuckled.

Twilight rolled her eyes. "How's Az holding up?"

"I have no idea. He's been sleeping off his brother and his mum for the past five hours. I've been stuck on my own since. I couldn't sleep for shit last night."

"Neither could I." Twilight added. "I dunno what it is about this place. It's so..."

"Fucking weird?"

"Yes."

"I know what you mean, and I'm actually one of those buggars! They treat me like I can't walk on my own two feet or something." Loaño grumbled. "I hate that."

"Independence is a hard thing to let go." Twilight agreed. "Honestly, I'm enjoying this a little. You know, despite the imminent threat to humanity and whatnot - I don't have any parents bossing me around." Too late, Twilight realized that what she said might've been offensive in some way to Loaño.

Loaño shifted to lay on her back. "I miss Kidd." She sighed. "He wasn't overbearing, he wasn't paranoid, and he never really cared if I got into a fight, but man he's a good guy, you know? He's with you when it counts."

"That's good." Twilight chimed.

"He's not trying to take their place, you know?" Loaño continued.

"He knows he never will." Twilight smiled.

"Oh, yeah... Mother wants to have you for dinner." Loaño said as if it were an afterthought, staring at the ceiling like it was suddenly incredibly interesting.

Twilight blinked in horror.

"No, you dolt!" Loaño punched Twilight in the arm. "She doesn't want to eat you for dinner - she just wants to have dinner with you."

"J-Just me?" Twilight wondered sheepishly, rubbing her shoulder.

"Hell if I know. If you're uncomfortable with it, bring your posse. Mother seems like a person who enjoys company. Either way, me and Az will be there."

"They're not my posse..." Twilight defended rather weakly. "If it's dinner with Mother, then Arkieus will be there..."

"Yeah. Totally looking forward to that." Loaño rolled her eyes flippantly.

"I... I'm not sure if I should be flattered by the offer, or..." Twilight hesitated. At first glance, any sort of meeting with Mother seemed like the perfect chance to demand they leave the planet as soon as possible. But when Twilight thought it through, she could only see it ending badly for her, even with her friends involved. She knew Azreal would be on her side, but she wasn't sure if she should treat Mother as a neutral party or not. Either way, she was badly outnumbered in the grand scheme of things, being that there were at least twenty-or-so Sitans on staff here; discounting Azreal, who was on their side anyway.

Twilight fell backwards onto her bed, perpendicular to Loaño, and groaned, "Politics suck."

"Yeah. How do you think I feel, eh?" Loaño said quietly. "Either way, it's just dinner. She wouldn't try anything then, since it's a celebratory thing."

"Celebratory?" Twilight wondered.

"She just got her son back." Loaño smirked. "She's having a nice dinner to celebrate it. She wanted to wait until you guys were all rested up before she had it, though. Plus, Az put in a good word for you guys. At least, I think he did. Not sure."

"Regardless, it'd be rude not to attend..." Twilight murmured. "I'm afraid I don't have the right attire for such an occasion. Frumpy casual doesn't raise good opinions of Earthlings."

"The fact that you're American doesn't raise good opinions." Loaño scoffed. "Just take off the sweater. You'll be fine. Why dress like what you're not?"

Twilight narrowed her eyes. "Hmm... If Arkieus is there, perhaps I should keep the sweater. I'd get pneumonia from sitting anywhere near him."

This caused Loaño to burst out laughing, despite the fact that she didn't understand the reference to the old singer that Twilight's mother listened to on casette. Twilight couldn't remember the name, but she knew that it was appropriate to say, since Arkieus did seem cold and he was an asshole.

"I'd be more worried he'll pull a Matt Engarde on us and completely switch personalities." Loaño said quietly, seriously. "In the elevator, while you were all gone... I just wanted to kill him then. It was like he was dangling something in front of my face, knowing I'll never get it."

"I'm aware." Twilight mused. But... Az showed me such a nice version of Arkieus. When did that change?She wondered, thinking back to when she was rendered comatose. Young Arkieus seemed so innocent... what had sparked the change into who he was now? Just another mystery, I guess... I'll solve them all eventually, like Professor Layton. Holy crow, two different video game references all at once. I really need to get ahold of that.

Maybe Az was trying to let me form a good opinion of Arkieus...? The thought seemed plausible. Why else show her a young, happy Arkieus? Why show her the Arkieus at the police station, full of only good intentions for his older brother?

"What the hell are you thinking about?" Loaño wondered. "You just... zoned out for a moment."

Twilight shook her head back into alertness. "Er... nothing important."

"Last time you said that, you were hiding the fact that I was about to become Azreal's personal marionette." Loaño retorted sharply. She blinked, as if waiting for Azreal to reply, but then sighed with relief that he couldn't hear her right now.

"Yeah... sorry about that. I didn't think it'd do any good to tell you then." Twilight sighed. "I'd just figured it out myself. S'not like you regret it though, right?"

"No. I don't." Loaño replied truthfully. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime exprience. And at least I get to be in control when it matters." She sat up and stretched. "As terrible and worn-out as I feel, I guess I feel all the more better for all of this. If I can help save the world, then I'll do whatever I can to do it. Good resolve, don'tcha think?"

"Could have a little more thought put into it..." Twilight suggested blandly, waving her hand to show that it was balancing on the fence that bordered cool and corny.

"Oh, posh." Loaño scoffed.

"Anyway, if you're so worn out, go to sleep already." Twilight insisted. "It'll do you no good to just wear yourself down further. As much as I'd laugh at you flopping down in your food later, I'm sure Az wouldn't appreciate it."

"Come on, I'm not that -- " Loaño's retort was cut off as she suddenly flopped down on the bed and started snoring lightly.

Twilight made a circle in the air with her pointer finger, smirking. "Ker-plop."


"Do I even want to know what happened in here last night?" Twilight wondered aloud.

The boy's room was a mess. It seems that it didn't take much to mess it up, either. Tsukiyomaru was still asleep, the night-owl he was, so only Kira and Ghost were awake at the moment. Twilight left Loaño to sleep in her room, so she went to talk to the guys while she still had time to mentally prepare herself for this dinner appointment.

"What can we say? Men aren't as neat as women." Ghost explained lamely.

"That's a terrible excuse." Twilight pointed out. Honestly she expected some sort of lewd joke from Kira at this, but he kept it to himself since Twilight didn't look like she was in a joking mood.

"Works, don't it?" Kira shrugged.

Rolling her eyes, Twilight muttered, "If you call that working..."

"Anyway..." Ghost interrupted before a fight broke out. "What do you want, Twili-chan?"

"I'll put it bluntly - Mother wants me to come to dinner." Twilight explained. "But!" she snapped as the two boys looked ready to protest. "I'm bringing you guys. There's no way I'm going in there without someone to hide behind if this gets nasty."

"Thanks. We're just cannon fodder to you..." Kira whimpered.

" 'Friendship' is synonymous with 'cannon fodder'. At least in Tsuki-kun's book it is." Twilight scoffed. "I don't think it'll be that bad, anyway. Az wouldn't let it escalate to anything more than yelling. It's a celebration for her; she just got her son back and I'm sure she'll be in a good mood."

"If she's anything like Arkieus, then who knows what mood she'll be in." Kira rolled his eyes. "Perhaps she woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and feels like implanting us with Sitans?"

Twilight folded her arms and glared at them. "Seriously. You're taking the pessimistic route with this one? Jackasses, you're my friends! You're not supposed to abandon me to aliens. Or anything, for that matter."

"We acknowledge that." Ghost replied evenly. "Just... it seems like too risky a move, Twili-chan. What if something does happen that puts us all in danger? There's nowhere to run."

"Screw running!" Twilight yelped. "We made it this far, why turn back with our tails between our legs now? This is our chance, guys! Who knows when we'll ever get another one?"

"Our chance?" Kira repeated. "Our chance for what?"

"Our chance to save the Earth, dammit!" Twilight exclaimed. "If we don't do it, who knows when another human will get this close to doing it?"

Ghost sighed. "You know, there is a point there. We are a lazy species."

Kira mulled it over a moment before saying happily, "We'll do it, Twili-chan! We'll come with you."

"Good!" Twilight smiled. "Now, where's that air horn? We need to wake up Tsuki-kun."

"Oh, that..." Kira sweat-dropped. "Tsuki-ouji broke it after he used it on me..."

"Great... conventional methods, then." Twilight groaned. "The air horn would've been more fun..."

"Hmmm... and Tsuki-ouji sleeps like a log otherwise..." Ghost lamented. "What will we use?"

Twilight smiled. "Get me some water - I'll take care of the rest."

"Woo water antics!" Kira cheered.

"Yeah, so hurry up; it's getting late." Twilight ordered bluntly. "I'd like all of you idiots present."

"Why are you being so mean this morning, Twili-chan?" Ghost wondered quietly.

"Lo's bad mood rubbed off on me." Twilight shrugged. She pointed at them angrily, "Now get moving!"