This was orignally written as a present of sorts to celebrate my 4th deviantART anniversary back in April. I figured it wouldn't hurt to add it here, too. It was also supposed to be a oneshot, but I've discovered that this is fun to write and it helps with writer's block.
I probably won't be updating this as much as Mabaka, but at least it'll keep me busy.
Readers new to my work, I'd suggest reading my original story before this one. You'll get the inside jokes.
As soon as the classroom was finally clean, it was like the running of the bulls for class 1-6.
No one in that class liked to stay after the day finished; well, there were few people in the school who didn't grimace at having to stay, but the class with the highest count of mad dashers was indefinitely that specific first year class . Everyone had better things to do – Usually sports, goofing off around the city, or hanging out with people from other schools. It varied from person to person. Most were just lazy and liked to sit at home doing nothing. Akemi Segawa? She just wanted to get the hell out of there.
Unlike her best friend Rie, who was studious and lively when it came to academia and the likes, Akemi dreaded every part of having to wake up at seven-thirty to go to Okashii High. The only thing she enjoyed was seeing her friends and boyfriend five out of seven days a week; although it was increasingly awkward during lunch, since her boyfriend was Rie's older brother and Rie loved to watch the two every waking moment they were all together.
"Hey, Akemi! Wait up!" Speak of the siblings, and they shall appear. Akemi turned her head over her left shoulder and saw Daisuke running after her. She flashed him a smile.
"Daisuke-kun! Classes treating you well? How've you been?"
"Been great, actually," Daisuke replied, coming to a stop beside her. "Except for my coach breaking his leg and all."
"Yeah... I heard. No kendo practice for the team or club for a while." Akemi raised her arms above her head, stretching them back. "I don't mean to sound, well, mean... But I'm kind of glad we don't have practice today. After that English exam, I'm wiped out. I don't think I could move around in that uniform if I tried. I'm gonna go home and nap." Daisuke nudged her in the arm.
"So I take it that means you don't want to go with me to the movies?" he joked with a grin.
"The movies?" Akemi hummed in thought. "Well, I guess my nap can wait a few hours. What did you have in mind?"
"How about that remake of Throne of Blood? I know it's not going to be as good as Akira Kurosawa's original, but it's probably still worth the-"
"Niiiii-saaaaaan..." A pair of fingers clutched Daisuke's cheek, cutting off his words. Rie stood on her tiptoes, and rested her chin on her brother's shoulder. "You promised to take me to the bookstore today! PCP's final volume came out two weeks ago and I still don't have it!"
"Leggo ob ai hace," Daisuke protested, trying to talk despite his sister tugging at his face.
"Not until you promise to take me today!" Akemi watched the scene in amusement.
"Uhh, Daisuke-kun? If you don't want your face to stick that way, I'd suggest taking her..."
"Buh wha abo ha moohi?" Daisuke tried asking. Akemi giggled at his muffled words.
"We can go another time. I'll just head home and take my nap like I originally planned." Daisuke nodded dejectedly. Rie smiled.
"Alright! Thanks for convincing him, Akemi-chan!" She took her fingers away from Daisuke's face, clapping in glee. Daisuke massaged his cheek with his palm, muttering something about sisters not acting their age.
"Err, sorry, Akemi..." he murmured. "Guess I'm not getting out of this one. How about tomorrow?"
"Mmm, I like Friday better," Akemi hinted.
"Come on, nii-san!" Rie tugged at her brother's arm. "I wanna get there before all the little kids do!"
"Whatever..." Daisuke waved back at his girlfriend as his sister dragged him off. Akemi waved back, laughing to herself.
"Oh, boy... What a pair they are," she joked.
Despite being tired, Akemi had it in her to run all the way home. It was excess energy she had left over from not having kendo practice.
Akemi's house wasn't exactly of the normal variety. It was actually a shrine that had been passed down through generations of the Segawa family. It was customary to live there at least once in your life, though this tradition had been broken by a few members - Namely her uncle Tsukkomi and his daughter Emiri – But it wasn't a strict rule of some sort. It's not like there was a punishment if you didn't take up residence there.
When Akemi saw the steps to the shrine in sight, she slowed her running down to a light jogging. She wasn't about to run all the way up there, after all. She was in good shape, but she was definitely not a huge athlete.
Akemi paused in climbing the stairs not even ten steps in; not from fatigue, but from confusion. Somewhere in the distance, she could hear thunder. Thunder wasn't exactly something out of the ordinary, but the sky was blue and there were no storm clouds in sight. The weather had been great this week, and there were no predictions for rain. Akemi raised a brow. Maybe there's just something wrong with my hearing.
Evidently, she was wrong.
She didn't even get to blink before something shot out of the sky and latched around her wrist. Akemi shrieked at the top of her lungs. At first it was from surprise; it soon became a scream of terror when the rope-like object began pulling her up from the ground.
Akemi quickly realized that she was getting further and further away from solid land, and that gravity wasn't an issue for whatever was trying to drag her. Out of fear, she closed her eyes tightly, not wishing to see herself fall to her death.
When she didn't die within the next minute, Akemi cracked open her right eye, wishing to see what was happening. Soon, both of her blue eyes were open and wide at the sight around her. Instead of a blue sky, there was a hazy purple-and-black cloud around that distinctly reminded her of a crystallized spider's web. Or a kaleidoscope with a very limited color range.
"Wha... Wha... What the- ! ?" she stammered. "What the hell is going on here!" She once again noticed her outstretched arm being pulled by a translucent rope, and swiftly went from confused to angered. "And what the hell is this stupid thing!" She used her free hand to attempt to rip the cursed thing from her wrist, unfortunately to little avail. She, for a lack of a better term, growled at this. "Come on, damn it! Let go!"
With one final tug, the rope broke away from her wrist, flowing back to wherever it came from. With a horrified dawning, she realized that she was heading in the same direction.
Suddenly, there was no longer color in front of her. Instead, there was a blinding white light. Akemi's mouth gaped. "Oh, shit!" she screamed. Not knowing what else to do, she put her arms in front of her face as a defense.
Akemi didn't need to look to know that she was out of that dark purple tunnel. She knew because she felt a breeze blowing over her again, as it had when she was being pulled from her property by the rope. In that bland kaleidoscope, there had been no wind whatsoever. With a slim hope that she was near her home again, she dropped her arms from in front of her. Immediately, her hopes were dashed when a forest-like area came into view.
"What the hell!" she shrieked again. "Where am I now!"
She had little time to think about it. Below her, she could see a person in midair just as she was – Only he appeared to have more control over it. While she would normally find a person flying to be strange, she wasn't worried about that at the moment. No, she was more worried over the fact that she was heading straight for them.
"Hey, you! Watch out!" The words barely made it out of her mouth. No sooner had the person looked up then Akemi unintentionally rammed right into him. Both flew to the ground from the impact, hitting tree branches clumsily on the way down.
A loud thud echoed through the forest as the two hit the dirt floor of the forest. Akemi struggled to catch her breath. Falling from a height would have killed a normal person, but she was miraculously okay. However, her whole body was aching and she could feel her eyelids getting heavy. Maybe now she was dying.
The last thing she consciously heard was someone asking her if she was okay. Everything went dark after and she was no longer able to listen or answer.
Ouch... What the... What's going on here? My head is killing me...
Akemi stirred in her sleep. She was barely conscious at this point, but this didn't make the pain she was currently afflicted with any better. It was mainly her head that the ache was focused on, giving her an intense migraine. Or maybe it was a concussion? When she tried to open her eyes, she found that it was insanely bright outside. It certainly seemed to be painful enough to be a concussion... And the light definitely wasn't making it any better. She moaned at this and shut her eyes again. Great...
"Miss? Are you awake now?" From far away, Akemi could hear someone talking to her. Out of curiosity, she tried to open her eyes again, more cautiously than the last time. As her eyes adjusted to the light, she realized that it wasn't as bright out as it had seemed; but maybe that was because someone was hovering over her.
With a yelp, Akemi instantly sat up and punched the person across the face. She regretted this almost as quickly as she had moved, as a whirl of nausea overcame her from the sudden change in position. She clutched her head in her hands, groaning loudly. "Oh, gods... My head..."
"Your head... Oww..." she heard a male voice moan with her. "You didn't have to punch me... I was just trying to help!"
Akemi looked up slowly, letting her arms fall back to her sides. As she took in her surroundings, a puzzled feeling passing through her. She was in a place she didn't recognize at all, but somehow by the books, clothing, and the bed she was laying on, she figured it must be someone's room. It probably belonged to the poor guy sitting on his butt beside her.
Akemi raised a brow as she got a good look at him. She had never seen so much blue on one person in her life. Blue pants, blue shirt, blue... whatever those things were on his lower arms. The only thing not blue was the headband; and the bruise on his face was sporting a nice purple.
"Aw, geez," Akemi murmured. "I'm so sorry about that! It was just a reflex!" The boy sighed, and shook his head.
"No, it's fine... It'll go away soon enough." Standing up on his feet again, he added, "I'm more worried about you."
"Eh?" Akemi blinked. "Me?"
"Yeah. Nasty fall, that was." He scratched behind his neck nervously. "You know, if you're gonna practice flying like that, learn how to keep yourself in the air. Or at least learn how to land. You crashed right into me, you know that?"
"I... what?" Akemi vaguely remembered crashing into some object as she fell... But what had she been doing in the air in the first place?
Oh, right. Some mystical rope or whatever had dragged her... And then she crashed into this boy.
"I, uh... Sorry, again," she muttered.
"It's no problem. I know how to take a hit or two. Besides, I'm used to getting hurt like that. Haha..." He grinned good-heartedly, Akemi's frown at that last statement going wholly unnoticed. "By the way," he began again, holding his hand out. "My name is Rokuro."
"Rokuro?" Akemi repeated. Kind of a hard name to say, but she wasn't going to mention that aloud at the risk of being rude. She stuck her hand out slowly, accepting the handshake from the stranger. "I guess it's nice to meet you. I'm Akemi."
"Akemi, huh?" Rokuro took his hand back, and sat on the edge of the bed. "So where ya from, Akemi?"
"Far, far away from here, I can tell already..." Akemi answered equivocally. "But I'm wondering how I got here in the first place."
"Here? I carried you here," Rokuro replied without hesitation. "You've been unconscious since we hit the ground. I checked you for injuries, but you didn't have that many. I thought you'd have at least a broken rib or something from the impact... Apparently the only thing you broke was your ankle."
"My ankle?" Akemi looked to the edge of the bed where her feet lie, and saw that her right ankle was elevated and wrapped in some kind of blue gauze. Blue clothes, blue bed sheets, blue curtains... And now she had cloth around her ankle in the same color. Blue seemed to be his guy's theme.
Ignoring the coloring, she attempted to bring her legs closer to her for inspection. The emanating pain was enough to stop her. She seethed, keeping her teeth together as so not to vocalize too much. Rokuro's brows furrowed.
"You know, you shouldn't try to move it while it's still in stage one. Don't you know that?" Akemi blinked.
"Yeah." Rokuro cocked his head to one side. "Actually, let me check..." Turning the other way, Rokuro reached for the blue cloth and undid it very carefully. He shrugged. "Well, I guess stage two now. That means I can heal you."
Akemi felt like inquiring about what he meant by that, but even she was beginning to think that she was asking too many questions. She figured Rokuro had to be thinking the same. It was embarrassing to be so clueless; but then again, she really had no idea what was going on.
Rokuro slid off the bed and knelt down beside it so that he was less awkwardly-positioned. Taking the blue cloth away slowly, the boy put it to the side and let his hand levitate over her purplish appendage. Akemi felt another question coming on, but she didn't get to voice it. Rokuro looked like he was trying to concentrate on something. She wasn't sure what exactly, but she was too curious to distract him.
Akemi heard Rokuro whisper something beneath his breath. It didn't sound like Japanese; or any other language she'd heard of, for that matter. As he whispered, he placed his hand on her ankle with much care.
Suddenly, his hand adopted a soft, blue glow. Akemi didn't even note the overuse of blue this time. She was busy staring, mouth ajar, at the light that had begun to creep from Rokuro's hand to her bruise. A sense of warmth radiated from its light, not making the girl any more comfortable with what was going on. As the heat dissipated, the glow receded and eventually disappeared. Rokuro took his hand back. He surveyed her ankle, head cocked to one side, and finally smiled.
"Well, there's no more swelling or bruising," he said. "I'm guessing you're fine now."
Akemi nailed Rokuro in the chin with the foot he had just healed.
Rokuro bolted back from shock, staring confusedly at Akemi with wide, gray eyes. The kick hadn't affected him so much as the shock had. "Wh-What was that for? Didn't it heal right?" Akemi was staring with a matched expression, backed up against the wall near the head of the bed. With her body pressed desperately against it, it almost looked like she was trying to phase through and run away.
"What. Are. You?" she managed to ask, still scrambling in a futile effort to back up some more. Rokuro frowned.
"Huh? What do you mean 'what am I'?"
"I mean, what the hell are you!" Akemi screeched. "What kind of normal person's hand glows and automatically fixes a fracture!"
"Um... Mine?" Rokuro scratched behind his head nervously. "Granted, I only learned how to do that recently, but I don't think I did that bad, considering you can kick me like that and still be fine... What's going on, Akemi?"
"I'll tell you exactly what's going on!" Akemi huffed. "I got pulled into the sky by some demented-looking rope, fall to what should have been my death, miraculously survive that ordeal, get my ankle fractured and then healed instantly by some stranger-!"
"I wasn't the one who fractured your fibula," Rokuro pointed out flatly.
"Ugh!" Akemi threw her hands up in the air exasperatedly. "My point is, I have no idea where I am, who you are, or what the hell is happening to me! Where am I to begin with!" After her tirade was done, Akemi took a deep breath and sank against the wall, her muscles visibly relaxing. "For the love of god... What is going on here...?"
Rokuro, with some rather careful judgment, thought it safe to get closer to the girl again after she was finished. He picked himself up from the floor, and positioned himself on the bed so he was still facing her. Then, he spoke. "Akemi, if there's one thing we share in common, it's that we don't have a clue about each other... Or what our stories are," he began in a level tone. "So I'm going to try to answer you as best as I can. Try not to interrupt or explode again, okay?"
"Only if you stop talking to me like I'm a misbehaving toddler," Akemi snapped irritably. Rokuro took no offense to it. He simply sighed and began to attempt to piece some of the puzzle together for her.
"Okay... Like I said, my name is Rokuro. I'm sixteen-years-old, and a student." Akemi rolled her eyes at the introduction. Rokuro ignored her. "That should explain who I am, at least. As for what I am, I thought that that would be obvious. I'm a wizard. Type One, to be exact."
Akemi stared at Rokuro disbelievingly. He echoed the look with one of his own. After a full minute of silence, their staring contest broke with Akemi's sarcastic laughter. "Oh, ha, ha! Very funny. Nice try, but I'm not that stupid. I can see you like to make fun of people as a hobby. Either that or you're crazy."
"I'm not crazy," Rokuro said, giving her a skeptic-like grin. "Right now, you're the crazy one."
"Oh, come on!" Akemi folded her arms tightly. "Do you honestly expect me to believe that you're something straight out of a Western legend?"
"Legend? How would I be a... I fail to follow." Rokuro put his hand to his chin, his elbow resting on his knee. "Maybe you did suffer a head injury after all."
"A... head injury," Akemi repeated quietly. She let her arms fall back to her sides in defeat. She rested her head tiredly against the wall. "That's probably it. I've hit my head, and I'm now somewhere in dreamland while suffering from a concussion. It's the only explanation." It is odd to be feeling pain in a dream, though... Akemi thought.
"I'm thinking I should get you home," Rokuro said, playing with the bed sheets with his other hand. "You'll probably be better off there."
"Home... That sounds good right now..." Akemi sighed. "Come to think of it, I wanted to take a nap..."
"Alright, then. Just tell me where you live, and I'll take you there."
"... ... ... What's that?"
"Eh?" Akemi lifted her head up. She caught a purely puzzled expression on the so-called wizard's face. "Whaddaya' mean?" Rokuro's head was once again leaning to a side in confusion.
"Where is this Nerima place exactly?" he inquired. "It sounds like a Japanese name, but there's nothing like that in our sect... Maybe in the Chinese one?"
"What the hell are you going on about now? I'm not Chinese, you idiot. Do I look like it to you?"
"No, but I'm told that I can be extremely unobservant of my surroundings at times..."
"Ugh. Kill me now."
"I'd rather not, if it's all the same to you." Rokuro pursed his lips. "So, uh... Again... Where do you live exactly?"
"Japan... Tokyo... Nerima District. Got it, weirdo?"
He didn't even hear the insult. As soon as she said the name of her birthplace, Rokuro had scooted back off the bed and against the wall opposite to Akemi's. His eyes were wide and full of what could only be described as complete and utter fear.
"J-J-Ja-Japan?" he stuttered fearfully. Akemi cocked an eyebrow at his behavior.
"Uhh... Yeah? Why?"
"Y-You don't mean... You're from Earth?"
"... Yes?" Rokuro tried backing up some more, to no avail. One could easily see a bead of sweat rolling off his temporal.
"D-Don't tell me you're a... You're not a human, are you?"
"Duh, genius. Now, are you gonna help me, or-?"
Akemi jumped at the earsplitting curse that mimicked her previous one to a T. Rokuro was no longer backed up against the wall like a helpless prey. He was now pacing the room at a speed that left Akemi wondering how the floorboards hadn't been sanded down by now. She also caught some of his mutterings that he was spewing to himself not-so-silently, though not from trying to. Rokuro shook his head back and forth, showing no signs of calming down anytime soon.
"This... is so, so, so not good... What am I gonna do now... Can't just leave her... But she's a human... Shouldn't be risking my life for someone I don't even... Argh!" Rokuro paused in his pacing and began hitting his forehead against the nearest section of the room's walls. "This is what I get for trying to be a good person!"
"Hey, stop that!" Akemi jumped up from the bed and ran over to the boy, grabbing his shoulders and pulling. "Quit hitting your head like that! You'll hurt yourself!" Feeling her hands on him, Rokuro instantly spun around and backed up. The previous look of terror in his eyes had returned.
"This... is not good." It was the only thing he could muster up to say.
"Uh, yeah. I got that from your mad pacing back there," Akemi replied sarcastically. "Now, do me a favor and tell me what you're blowing a fuse over." She poked him in the chest for emphasis. "Before I get mad, preferably." Rokuro flinched at her touching him.
"I... Um... Fine. But... Can you back up please...? You're making me nervous."
"Why? Because I'm a human?" Akemi checked cynically. Rokuro licked his lips, trying to get rid of the dryness.
"N-No... My best friend tells me I can be shy to a fault at times... ... ... This is one of those times." Akemi blinked. Oh. This was a separate issue for him altogether. She snorted, taking a step back. What is he, scared of girls? Ha!
"See? I'm not close to you anymore," she pointed out. Rokuro looked at her dryly.
"Now you're the one treating me like a toddler… But, the topic digresses."
"Yes, yes it does. Now, spill it."
Rokuro exhaled slowly, slipping his hands into his pockets so his unintentional guest wouldn't see them fidgeting. "Oh, boy... Where to start... Okay." He shook his head to clear his thoughts. "Akemi? I'm going to be extremely straightforward with you. This isn't Earth. This is the second dimension – My home, Mahokkai. It's where wizards, witches, and other practitioners of magic live." Akemi's wide eyes correctly conveyed her surprise. That was not the explanation she was expecting.
"Magic?" she repeated. "You're telling me that you can actually perform legitimate magic?"
"Well... Check your ankle, if you want some tangible proof of that." He had her there. There was no way that a fracture could've healed so perfectly in mere seconds. Magic was as close to an explanation as anything.
"... I suppose you're right..." Akemi muttered. Rokuro sensed that that was a convincing enough argument, so he continued. His hands continued shuffling in his pockets.
"Anyway... Listen, believe me when I say, I have nothing against humans." Akemi's gaze was skeptical. Rokuro was beginning to get used to it. "I know, I freaked out. Just do me a favor and listen, okay? The other dimensions can't stand humans; hate them fervently, in fact. Mahokkai probably has the strictest rules out of all the worlds. Just by talking to you I'm risking a couple years of torture. Actually associating myself with you, taking care of you... I'm as good as dead if the royals find you and connect you to me."
"Then why are you here?"
"This is my room."
"No, you idiot! I meant, why are you standing here talking to me?" Akemi asked dreadfully. The fear she had seen in his gray eyes before... He wasn't afraid of her. He was afraid of being killed. "Why are you bothering if there's a chance you'll be... You know...?"
"Because I'm too much of a nice person, damn it," Rokuro growled to himself. As he thought more about this response, his expression softened. "I guess I'm not wired like the rest of my world. They hate humans even though ninety-nine percent have never even seen one; but... You're not so bad, as far as I can tell." He shrugged. "Except for hitting me a few times, you're pretty okay."
"I keep telling you, I'm sorry for hitting you."
"I know, and it's fine. I heal fast. See?" Rokuro pointed to his cheek and forehead. "No bruises anywhere." Akemi stared at him in continued disbelief.
"Hey, you're right..." She eyed him knowingly. "Let me guess. You heal fast because you're a wizard."
"Right on the mark." Rokuro smiled at her. She would have done the same, except a large yawn stopped her midway. She rubbed her right eye with her wrist.
"God damn," she cursed. "I really need a nap. This has been a tiring day."
"You can rest if you want," Rokuro said, motioning to the bed with his head. "I won't bother you." Akemi fiddled with her skirt idly.
"But that's your bed."
"So? I don't care. I'm not using it at the moment. Besides, you were sleeping in it for about two hours before you woke up." Akemi's face tinted the barest shade of pink at this.
"Two hours? Geez..." If I find out that he was staring at me like a creeper for that long, I'll punch him again. And this time, it'll be on purpose. She threw a side glance to the bed again nervously. "You sure it's okay for me to...?"
"Like I said, I don't care." Rokuro shrugged. "Besides, I have to go out for a little bit. Need some stuff for a project."
"You're leaving me here alone? I could have a concussion like I suggested before, you know. Plus I'm in a place that I know nothing about. How irresponsible of you, Rokuro-kun."
"I'm not leaving for that long!" Rokuro added quickly, a little louder than he intended to be. "The area I need to go to isn't too far from here! Don't worry about that!" Akemi smirked to herself.
"Wow. It doesn't take much to get you riled up, does it?" The wizard boy frowned in perplexity, his eyebrows furrowing together.
"Wait a... ... You did that on purpose."
"You're a strange person, Akemi."
"I don't need to hear that coming from you, wizard boy."
And so this crack-based idea begins. I'm not going to bother putting cultural notes down because I'm tired as hell and I don't want to. If you've read Mabaka, you should be able to read this without getting overly confused.