by C. M. Lacey
Without her wings, the Oni was just a normal human. Just like how Izanami warned Tatsuya on Hato's mortality should she remove her wings, the same applied to the Oni. She only had months until she would die and she'd spend that time in prison. After the Tennyo Charm had come into effect, people on the beach saw the human version of the Oni attempt to stab Ayumi and Hanako with a knife. If that wasn't enough, the police had discovered the real Nami dead in the Oni's living area. Tatsuya technically never met the real Nami. This whole time it was the second Oni waiting for the right time to strike. Unfortunately for her, it seemed that Tatsuya had the last laugh.
In terms of his relationship status with both girls, that was put on hold. Hato and Karasu spent the rest of the day teaching them how to use their half-tennyo abilities to morph their appearance just enough to get rid of the two-toned hair and eyes. Because they didn't have two wings, they couldn't do much else but appear as they normally did, though Ayumi swore that she made her boobs slightly bigger, which she hadn't.
While this was happening, Tatsuya spent most of the time explaining over and over on what happened when Izanami stopped time. He had decided to kept silent about Hato and Chika's future, as well as the conversation they had about having a polygamous relationship. Such things seemed unimportant when four of them nearly died that day.
On the bus ride home Ayumi and Hanako both seemed to be in their own world, thinking about their new status as half breeds. He could relate. Once he wondered if they shared a connection like he had with Karasu and Hato, but when he tested out his theory by bashing his hand against a handrail he realized that wasn't the case. He assumed that since his wings were always physical and not spiritual that the half-life didn't work in that manner. Even so, he could see that the two of them were looking at each other differently, as if they had a connection. He wondered if they three of them had one now. It was hard for him to know, as he felt he had one with both girls before joining his life to them.
When they all got off at the same stop, he was about to walk the two of them home when Ayumi raised her hand in protest. Without saying another word, she grabbed Hanako's hand, and took off in a run. Hanako ran with her, but not without turning back and giving him one last look. She seemed just as confused as he was, but she followed Ayumi anyway, leaving the four behind. He was about to go after them, when Chika held his arm and shook her head. He knew she was telling him that they needed to be alone.
"Well, I guess we can let up on guard duty for a while." Karasu yawned. "Although, if you think about it, we completely failed today."
"You did everything you could have." Tatsuya reassured her when he saw Hato looked ashamed. "You were asked you to look after me, and that's what you were doing. No one could have expected the Oni to attack them of all people."
"Thanks for all your help." Chika smiled at the Tennyo, clinging to Tatsuya's arm. She was feeling scared again on having almost witnessed her brother die again.
"I only wish I could have done more." Hato told Chika with shame in her eyes. "I was standing right there, I could have acted faster…"
"Don't blame yourself Hato-san." Chika said, still gripping his arm. "You got to her first and… you were going to kill yourself for my brother, weren't you?"
So Chika had seen it. He didn't know how. At the time she was bawling. Perhaps she had pieced it together from the events that took place after the police took the Oni into custody. If she hadn't, Hato's face revealed the truth. Once again she looked embarrassed.
"I only did what Tatsu-sama would have. He did the same for Ayumi-san and Hanako-san, afterall." Hato pointed out in a stuttering voice.
Chika looked at her with more admiration than she ever had before. "You care about him a lot don't you."
"Him and you." Hato was looking at her feet. "Should he die, what would become of Chika-sama?"
"Hato…" Chika blushed.
Karasu clicked her tongue. "Well… that makes me look like an asshole, now doesn't it?"
"What do you mean?" Hato turned to Karasu, her shyness fading, being replaced by annoyance. It didn't take much for Karasu to get under her skin.
"Here you are playing the martyr making it sound like I was just standing there not doing anything. I would have done the same thing, you know."
"I apologize, but I was not concerned for your feelings. Not everything has to do with you."
"You know damn well I was the one who gave Tatsu-tan my wing first… now you're trying to get the spotlight because you can't stand that I did something so selfless!"
"That was a long time ago, Karasu!"
"Yeah, well don't forget I was-"
"Ladies!" Tatsuya silenced them. "Do you always have to fight like that?"
"It is she who starts it!" Hato pouted.
When the Tennyo left them at their house, Tatsuya had a time of prying himself away from Chika long enough to take a bath. She was back to feeling insecure. He had almost died 3 times in the last few of weeks, and this last one she was saw first hand. Even in the bath, though, he thought he heard Chika creeping around the door. She'd be extra snuggly that night.
Once alone he took the time to take out his new set of wings and look at them in the mirror. He couldn't help but think they were marvelous looking. He wondered how he was able to summon the first pair out when he needed them at the beach. He was so scared for Hanako and Ayumi that he just thought them out, as if he knew how to do it all along. But now that he was thinking rationally, he shouldn't have been able to do it. Yet since he had done it once before, it now seemed easy, but the first time they came out from panic.
Retracting his wings before he left the bath, he decided that once school was over the next day, he would ask Karasu for flying lessons. It had to be amazing if she and Hato went on and on about it. When he opened the bathroom door, sure enough, Chika was loitering in the hallway pretending she was looking at a family picture.
He walked over to her and gave her a hug, knowing she needed one. She embraced him back, leaning her head against his. He felt he needed to cheer her up somehow, so she didn't go to bed scared. After some consideration he thought of something.
"Did you hear what Hato-san said before?"
"She was worried about you if I died."
"Oh. Yeah." Chika pulled away, her cheeks blushing. "She was just being a guardian angel is all…"
"I don't know. That sounded more like she was thinking about you than she was thinking about me."
"Stop it." Chika smirked a tiny smile. "You're teasing me."
"No, I think I'm right. She's a pretty straight forward person. She wouldn't have said something like that unless she meant it."
"She did seem a bit embarrassed, didn't she?" Chika's smile became a bit bigger. "So you really think she wanted to risk it all, just for me?"
"I think you played a major factor in her decision." Tatsuya nodded. "Maybe your crush isn't so one sided."
That did the trick. Chika seemed to be glowing after that.
The next morning Ayumi wasn't waiting for them like she normally did, so Chika and Tatsuya walked to school alone. He was wondering if her sudden departure the day before had anything to do with it. He would have asked Chika about it, but once Karasu and Hato showed up from the sky, she couldn't be bothered. She was smiling at Hato, her cheeks pinker.
When they arrived in homeroom, Tatsuya really started to worry. Neither Hanako nor Ayumi were present. Perhaps the two of them were still in shell-shock from what happened. That wasn't unreasonable. They both nearly had died, had their whole bodies converted into Half-Tennyo, and nearly watched the person they liked die in front of them. When classes started, the two never showed up.
He had to eat lunch with Karasu, which was slightly awkward. She wasn't in the best of moods, as she normally ate with Hato, but it seemed that Chika had chased her off. Tatsuya didn't mind. Not that a cranky Karasu was good company, but he enjoy the show his sister and Hato were giving him. On watching the blonde Tennyo loosen up and smile as soon as Chika joined her, he knew that Chika's fate was safe. Eventually Hato would fall in love with her, it was written all over her face.
After school Tatsuya had forgot about asking Karasu for flying lessons as he was still worried about what became of Ayumi and Hanako. He'd have to visit their homes and see if they were okay. However the problem with that plan was that they lived so far a part. By the time he finished visiting one, it'd be late by the time he made it to the other girl's house. Fortunately, as he exited the school gate, he realized that this little issue was solved for him. Waiting for them to exit were both girls.
Chika waved at Ayumi, then took a quick glance at Tatsuya. Suddenly she grabbed Hato's hand. "Hey, let's hang out at your place."
"If you wish?" Hato looked confused.
"Coming, Kara-chan?" Chika looked at the other Tennyo.
"No, someone's got to watch over Tatsu-tan." Karasu pointed out.
"He can fly now, can't he. I think he'll be okay." Chika said.
Tatsuya was about to correct her, but realized that Chika was trying to give Ayumi and Hanako some alone time. So he turned to Karasu and gave a shrug. He could tell she hated doing it, but she also wasn't so clueless that she couldn't read the situation. Looking at Ayumi and Hanako, Karau rolled her eyes and walked off with Chika. Once the three had disappeared he was alone with them.
"Come this way." Ayumi ordered, and started walking. Hanako and Tatsuya followed her.
It took a moment, but he realized they were on the trail leading to Ayumi's house. He looked at Hanako for any clue of what was going on, but she was avoiding his eyes. So they walked in silence. From Ayumi's body language, he could tell she was nervous, and Hanako own stature showed him that she was just as anxious. The way they were acting made him believe that the subject of who was dating who was going to be brought up again. He could just feel it.
He started to second guess this theory when they neared the place where Tatsuya had died before. Ayumi stopped, and looked down. She was standing on the very spot she was when she kneeled over his body. It was only then did she turn around and look at him. Even though he was sure that his relationship status was going to be brought up again, perhaps they wanted to talk about the half-life they all now shared first.
"Yesterday…" Ayumi started. "…when you were about to die, what where you going to say?"
So he was right the first time. It really was about his feelings. Hanako's whole body shook visibly. She clinched her fist, as if preparing for the worst. Ayumi looked the stronger of the two, but her eyes gave away how scared she was. He opened his mouth, intending to answer them, but nothing came out. They wanted him to choose right then and there, didn't they? How could he possibly tell them what he really was going to say now?
"Tatsu-chan…" Ayumi blinked. "You're sort of killing us. Why won't you tell us?"
He couldn't look her in the eyes. He didn't want to see her cry.
Hanako breathed in sharply, then looked at Ayumi. All at once Tatsuya could tell that she read him. She seemed to realize it before her rival did. "Ayu-chan… that's because he's in love with both of us." She turned to him, looking at him with concerned eyes. "That's true, isn't it? You couldn't choose, even when you were faced with death."
"I'm sorry." He looked at the pair of them. "I know that's not what you want to hear but-"
"You're such a loser, Tatsu-chan." Ayumi gave a groan. "You're really going to leave the decision up to us, aren't you?"
He didn't know how to respond to that so he didn't. What was there to decide? He knew he couldn't dump either of them. I was too attached to the pair of them it just was't in him to do. He knew it wasn't fair. He knew it was selfish of him. But he didn't want to lose either of them.
"Ayu-chan, you can have-" Hanako started but Ayumi interrupted.
"Kida-san, you should take-"
They stopped and looked at each other. Despite their rivalry they laughed at the other. It seemed in this issue they were thinking a like. Both giving him up for the other. Izanami had been right about that.
"Ayu-chan…" Hanako started again. "You're his childhood friend. I always was going to be a diversion until you and Tatsu-chan got together. We both know that. I think it should be you who goes out with him."
"No. He really likes you. And you're literally the perfect girl for him. I was starting to lose to you anyway. What kind of friend would I be to deny him happiness?"
"Please Ayu-chan, this is hard on me-"
"Idiot, I'm giving you my blessing." Ayumi said with a pained voice.
"You shouldn't deny yourself happiness, Ayu-chan!" Hanako argued back.
"Well, if you don't want him, I'll take him." Karasu's voice came from behind them.
Everyone jumped. How long had she been there? Despite her sudden appearance Ayumi and Hanako recovered quickly. "No way!" They protested.
Karasu blew a raspberry. "Then why don't you both just go out with him?" Echos of what Izunami said rung in Tatsuya's head. These spirit creatures really didn't get humans at all, did they?
"What?!" Ayumi and Hanako exclaimed from the absurdity of Karasu's statement.
"Both of you be his girlfriends." Karasu elaborated in an exasperated voice. "You both like him, he likes the two of you, you all share a half-life which means you're connected anyway; so I say go for it."
"But that's crazy!" Hanako said. "Isn't it Ayu-chan?"
She didn't answer. She seemed to actually be thinking that over. Tatsuya was shocked. Then again, he shouldn't be. Ayumi always was one to go for unconventional plans. Afterall, it was her idea for him to date Hanako on a trail bases. And hadn't she already been in a semi-multiple relationship with him and her ex. Sure it wasn't physical, but Tatsuya knew he filled in the voids that Kouji couldn't. Still, for Ayumi stop and think about it made his jaw drop.
"Ayu-chan, you're considering it?"
"It makes sense…" She looked at him. "W-What do you think Tatsu-chan? Is it really that weird dating two girls?"
"The two of you don't get along though…" Tatsuya reminded her.
"Only because we were jealous that the other was stealing your time. But… in this type of relationship it wouldn't be like that. See, if she had you on Saturday, I'd be okay because I knew I had you on Sunday. Hell we could even double date if we wanted."
"I don't know." Hanako looked uncomfortable.
"Put aside the strangeness for a second and think about it practically." Ayumi said as if that made any sense. "I'm not giving up on him, and you won't either. So we're always going to butt heads in the end. But this way we're agreeing to share. We just have to work out how we're going to do it."
Hanako looked slightly embarrassed but she started adding her two cents. "Well… we could come up with a schedule, and adjust it should problems arise."
"See, she's into it." Ayumi turned back to Tatsuya, pointing at Hanako.
"I didn't say I was!" Hanako protested, but added on. "I mean, isn't sharing Tatsu-chan…isn't that kind of… kinky?"
All three of them must of thought of threesome scenarios. Even Ayumi looked embarrassed at that. But there was something else odd about that. They all had thought of the same thing, and all of them seemed to consider it sexy, not gross. Even if they were embarrassed by their own thoughts, he knew they all thought the same thing.
"The way I see it…" Ayumi started once more. "…it's not that strange. Chika fell in love with a Tennyo… a freaking Tennyo! The three of us almost died due to supernatural causes. An Oni stabbed me with her horn! Plus all of us are half-breed creatures now. So when you really think about it, being in this type of relationship is the least weird thing that our lives have become. So I have a boyfriend and a sister-girlfriend. Big deal."
"Are you sure about that?' Tatsuya asked.
"Are you?" Ayumi returned the question to him.
He just looked at Hanako, wondering what she thought. But she had dimples on her cheeks. "A sister-girlfriend huh?" Somehow Ayumi's argument had gotten to her. "Okay… I'll go along with it, but only if we test the waters out for a month. If it doesn't work, then we decide for real. Like play rock-paper-scissors or compete on who has the biggest breasts."
Both Ayumi and Tatsuya laughed at that last one. He his whole stomach felt like butterflies now. Two girlfriends? There was no way this could work. Like all of Ayumi's plans, this was so out there. But it seemed like Ayumi and Hanako were getting excited. Already the tention surrounding them had disappeared now that they were both getting what they wanted. This really was going to happen. They really were going to do something this insane. And even though he was allowing them to take the blame for this, be knew that he was going to go along with it. Deep down, he wanted both of them. He just dreaded telling Chika this. She'd flip her lid.
"So two girlfriends, huh?" He looked at both of them. They seemed to have some kind of competing spirit surround them now. Apparently this wasn't just going to be an agreement. They still were going to fight over who would be his favorite. But the teenager inside of him was thrilled. After all he had been through, why not? This was Ayumi's idea anyway, so they couldn't blame him when it failed.
"Hey, as long as you're up for something like that, let me join in." Karasu chimed in, reminded them that she was still there.
"No way!" Ayumi and Hanako shouted in unison.