[ ARASHI ]


penned by: aznchick
please do not copy, redistribute or plagiarise my fics
© 2002-2003 All Rights Reserved
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01. Normal

Two clandestine organizations, working on the same side, yet against each other.
Two chances to try and heal the seperation,
And two people who tried to make it right...
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Makoto was by all means just a normal girl. Nothing she did ever suggested suspicious activity on her part, nor did she seem suspicious. Her every act was somehow calculated into leading the typical common life of every teenage girl. She had the normal black hair, sparkling dark brown eyes that weren't remotely special in the least, and, like every other girl, a closet full of 'this season's clothes', hats, socks, belts, ties, and anything else you could think of. Her dad rarely paid attention to her doings, her mother was overseas all year long, and the only people she could really rely on were her friends. Perfectly, absolutely, positively normal.

Just... normal.

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BOOM!

"ARGGHHH!" Dakota shielded his eyes and kept running. Up ahead his teammates were already fighting. He was way behind. The warehouse was literally falling apart around them and there was NO way this mission would succeed. Even if he was new to this whole life-or-death mission impossible deal he could tell that much at least.

"DAKOTA! A LITTLE HELP!?!?!" Ecki yelled.

He ran faster, jumped and slammed his fist into the first opponent he could see. The man crumpled instantly. Dakota twisted around and smashed through the crowd with his blade in one motion. Someone swung a blade at him. Dakota arched back towards the ground and kicked his feet out. A snap and another soldier crumpled. He fought his way through, eventually coming back to back with Ecki.

"Where're the others?"

"Warehouse. There's more inside. Trying to figure out a-"

BOOM!

"-way to bring the whole place down instead. There's no way we can get this to work out right." He finished, grumbling. "Why'd Chief have to volunteer for this mission? If he let Blue Star do it then we wouldn't have had to work our asses off."

"Blue Star?"

KA-BOOM!

"DAKOTA! ECKI!!" a voice hollered in his earpiece. "Place is going down! We need backup RIGHT NOW."

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She stood in a line with the others, in front of the chief. It had been a while since Makoto had worked for Blue Star, but during that time, nothing had changed. They were still strict, still demanding...and still a part of her life. They stood in a file, eyes held respectfully straight forward to avoid any unintended impertinence. No one shuffled their feet, no one twiddled their thumbs or fidgeted in the slightest when in his presence.

"The last operation statistics were extremely successful." He began, "However there is another mission taking place at this exact moment, and Blue Star was not chosen for the job. Magnum was able to secure it first. Which means, they'll either screw it all to hell and manage to scrap by somehow, or fail."

He walked before them in a casual line, hand behind his back, stiff upright posture. "Expect a call sometime this week concerning another operation. I realize that having just completed an extended job and you may want to rest. However, current relations with Magnum are strained and we must take the next available opportunity to salvage the remains of whatever hell Magnum has managed to create."

He looked at them, at her, critically. "Do keep in mind that the mission comes first, always. Everything else is a diversion when you're on the job."

She bit her lip and echoed with the others. "Yes sir."

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"-AAAAAARRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

They jumped from the windows as the warehouse exploded into shattered remains behind. Smoke and fire filled the air as they landed somewhat hazardously on the ground. Dakota fell over on his knees, panting and trying to catch his breath. The peace soldiers would come soon. Already he could hear their sirens in the distance. But the warehouse owner would probably deny any wrongdoing. Why had they blown up the building again? Dakota couldn't remember. Something about the good of Magnum. For the good of their team.

Everything was aching. How early in the morning was it? About dawn. His eyes drifted towards the horizon. Or not. He didn't care. Everything hurt.

The squad leader helped everyone up and slowly, very slowly it seemed, they drifted back towards the city lights. Back to town. Back to a place where nobody knew anything about him and nobody cared and nobody wanted to. It had always been like that, hadn't it?

"Good job." Ecki said, "That was pretty good. For your first time."

Dakota grunted, not wanting to talk. They passed through narrow streets and wider pathways, quaint little avenues still in slumber. He wanted to fall...asleep...

The clock tower was ringing. What time was it? He glanced up. His eyes widened. "HOLY CRAP."

"Eh?" Ecki glanced over at him, but Dakota was no longer walking next to him. "Wha-?! Where're you going!?" Ecki yelled after his retreating figure.

"SCHOOL!" Dakota yelled, tearing down the street. "I'm gonna be late!!!!!"

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"Maaakkooootttooooo!!!" a voice shouted.

Almost instantly, a teenage girl peeked out of her bedroom window to the voice below. She was greeted with the sight of Kayt, her best friend, grinning up at her.

"Aren't you ready yet?!"

"Almost!" Makoto yelled back, pulling away from the window and the extraordinary sight beyond. The large city seemed to have been swept with a sheet of frost overnight. Already, smoke was rising from the gray pantile roofed chimneys that hinted at the cozy quarters inside. Fires roaring in their marooned corners of the living room.

It wouldn't last though, the snow. She could feel the warm rays of sun tumbling over each rooftop and chimney, in every crevice and most importantly the ground itself. It would all be gone by midday, but the frosty air would linger.

Makoto dropped the brush on her table and checked herself in the mirror one last time. She looked normal. Not the slightest hint that she'd been out since before daybreak, since before dawn, and that she'd spent the midnight hours training in the commons of Blue Star Facility.

Her father would never guess.

"Makoto!!"

"Coming!!!!" she yelled down to her father. "I'm-OMPH." She hopped around the room, trying to pull on her socks and failing miserably. Ah screw it. She made her way down the stairs, grabbing her book bag on the way and zooming through the usual early-morning routine. Grab the cup from the cupboard, pour a glass of orange juice, get a piece of toast, and if there's time-

"-Officials at the site say that the explosion was triggered on accident through a series of coincidences, although what these may be are not clear. The warehouse manager,Mr. Morse insists that the fire was not extensive and damages have been calculated to a total of half a million dollars."

"Half a million dollars-?!"

The anchorwoman smiled at her partner. "Yes, Dan. Apparently the warehouse is currently owned by Mr. Alta, and he was using it to store some unspecified materials from Oak Haven..."

Makoto paused. Glanced up. Her father was watching the news intently, obviously unaware of anything else in the room. He was like that in the mornings. Before he had his coffee. But even when he'd had his coffee he rarely seemed to notice her anyway.

"Dad?"

"Unh."

"Where is that?"

"... Warehouse 2 District?" He shrugged. "Where's Kayt? Don't you have school today?" The door beeped.

"Yeah that would be her." Makoto grabbed her book bag again and exited the house with only a vague "Have a good day sweetie..." from her father.


Frosty wind swept through the city of Noble, blowing long black hair in Makoto's face. She pulled it back in a ponytail and shivered.

Cold. Winter was coming soon. For now she'd have to put up with autumn first. Not that she was complaining. Autumn in Noble brought cherry wood and flame-colored leaves to the streets. Soft yellow foliage and the chill that meant the holiday seasons.

Finally, Makoto realized that Kayt had been talking. "-everyone's been talking about him over the weekend too. I wonder what classes he'll be in? She said he's really-"

"Who?"

"The new guy." Kayt said impatiently. "Umm....I forget what his name is. But supposedly they all say he's really-"

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Dakota kicked at a pebble in the road. He didn't feel like going inside the school. Morning had been hectic enough. His muscles were aching, his back was tired, his feet were killing him and he looked like crap. NOT in the mood for school...

Definitely not.

A small sigh escaped his lips and he entered the building reluctantly. ...Time for class, he thought gloomily. Time for the normal stuff. Time to face everyone and no one who knows me...no one who knows what I've been through.

Normal. Tch. Right.

Author's Notes: Thanks for reading, please review to drop any comments, suggestions, feedback (etc.) =]