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 There's an Ace up my Sleeve

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VampireCat92
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 05, 2017 10:49 pm

Sawa had made good on her promise and met with Nhil at three. He seemed surprised at first, then extremely happy she came back. They made their way to the daycare that was run by Orion's school, keeping the conversation light like they had before. It was easy and comfortable. Neither were ready to share much personal information yet, and that was fine. School and work served for plenty of topic filler anyway.

Then they got to the daycare and Orion seemed to be waiting, because he practically bolted out of the building and to the gate, screaming his bother's name, and then he slowed and blinked in confusion, "You brought a friend, Nhil?" Orion gaped.

Sawa waved at him a little nervously, "Hi there, I'm Sawa. I guess you wouldn't know what I looked like just from texts, huh?" she winced.

Orion's face lit up and he bounced, finally getting past the gate and he shoved his hand towards her, "It's so nice to meet you, Sawa-chan!" he cheered, "Nhil gets so happy when he sees your texts! I'm glad you became friends with my brother! He really needed some!"

"Haha, he told me that. I'm glad we became friends, too. I had nothing else to do today since my other friends ditched me. I really wanted to meet you, so I made a deal with Nhil." Sawa shook his hand back.

"So are you coming back to our place with us?!" Orion bounced in place.

Sawa nodded, "Yup! Not inside, since Nhil's gotta do homework, but I'm at least going with you so I know where it is! Nhil said he'd try and set up a real study session for us!"

"That's awesome! It's about time, Nhil!" Orion beamed at his brother.

Nhil laughed, a light blush dusting around his cheeks. "I knew you would take her side instantly. I'm not as bad of a loner you make me out to be." He liked how Sawa interacted with his brother. She didn't treat him too much like a kid and responded to him easily enough too. He was used to other kids his age stammer or feel awkward around Orion since he was much younger than they were. It was annoying, though he had a feeling if he managed to get involved with Sawa's group of friends, there wouldn't be an awkward moment unless something happened.

"Well, maybe not!" Orion laughed and he reached for Sawa's hand, starting to drag her along the sidewalk in the direction he and Nhil took to get home. "You did finally tell me you're making friends at school, too! Ikki-san sounds like a nice guy, and Meg-chan makes sure your papers are top-notch!" He grinned wide.

"Ikki-san and Meg-chan?" Sawa blinked at Nhil, "You didn't name-drop what school you go to, but you did seem to recognize Meg. I've heard of her red pen of doom."

"She's a skilled editor but I think that comes from her work. I hear that she's part of a photo magazine who sometimes gets to do stories that go with the photos. Though that's all I hear. I haven't seen her work published." Nhil said modestly. "I only met Ikki a handful of times, but that was mostly hallway talk and a random question or two. It's a shame really, but we just never seemed to have time to actually sit down and talk. Perhaps maybe it's something I should attempt to do?"

"I think Waka-san has some of the magazines Ukyo and Megumi have their works published in!" Sawa looked at him, "I could always ask him where he orders them and buy a few. Seeing Ukyo's photography would be nice, anyway!" She hummed as she thought about what else he said. "I think it would be. Ikki's number of guy to girl friend ratio is awful. Besides, who wouldn't love to get to know Orion?"

Orion blushed but grinned at her, "I'm sort of the package deal aren't I?"

Sawa ruffled his hair making him laugh, "You sure are, but a cute package!"

"Most definitely a package." Nhil nodded, placing his hand on his brother's shoulder. "I have seen the number of women that Ikki's befriended over the years. Though I think that's due to having a sister rather than a brother. It'd be nice to talk to someone who is also a sibling. It's surprising the number of people who are only children."

"Sometimes people don't have the time for more than one. Meg's and Ukyo's travel. Hisako's are just always busy. Kazuko's live on the coast. Maya's live in the rich uptown, too. Shin's dad messed up, Kent's parents are workaholics, Ikki's mom's a doctor. Toma's parents I think are also usually busy. It's...so embarrassing I know all that." Sawa rubbed her face, "Mine are busy, too."


Last edited by VampireCat92 on Sun May 07, 2017 3:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 12:01 am

()

After breakfast and getting ready for the morning, Kent sent out his usual "Good morning" text to Kazuko before he started looking for the paper that he was writing. He knew that he would have to ask Megumi to double check his writing and he would have to ask Ikkyu to double check his math since they were both capable of it. He was confident in his math being correct, but he knew that Megumi was going to mark his paper up in red and he knew it was going to take about five months before he could actually look at the color without cringing.

He was quite honestly shocked when his phone vibrated quickly. Picking it up he blinked in surprise at the message that he received.

/Damn it, Kent! I need more than this!/ Kazu's text snapped, vague and angry.

Kent blinked again at the message. More than this? More than what? More than a good morning? Was she trying to seek conversation? Or was she trying to attempt to tell him that she was feeling lonely and wanted some company? He thought that they were doing fine. They had the same mindset about their careers and successes. Sure, they were at the party together, but Ikkyu would be strict about not calling that a date. A date would imply two or four. Not a bunch of people. Perhaps that was what she required. /Shall we meet somewhere?/

A moment of pause before she responded. /Yeah, fine. Where?/

/I'll meet you at your apartment./ Kent replied though he wondered where he had went wrong. Perhaps if he got to her apartment, and asked his questions, he'd be able to figure things out then.

~

Oh was he so wrong. The moment he got to her apartment, he saw Kazuko and instead of feeling happiness and all sorts of other chemicals in his head, he noticed that she had a...gloomy disposition. She was hunched in, not at all happy in any sense of the word and the moment he approached, he was glared at. "Did I do something?"

Kazuko ground her teeth and didn't immediately respond. She just took a deep breath and let out out slowly. She just wanted to curl back up in her room. Kent's text had made her /so mad/ and she was fighting now as she saw his face. His confusion made her melt a little, his face looking like a puppy's but then /that/ thought made her all sour again without further ado. Today was bad before she even woke up and that was never good. "No. Yes. I don't know. You busy today?" She snorted. What a dumb question. "More like /were/ you busy? You didn't have to come to me. I could've come to you."

He was getting more and more confused. "I didn't think it was right. And you were upset. Still upset." He corrected. "Have I been neglecting you?"

Kazuko narrowed her eyes at him, but she couldn't frown anymore than she was. She swallowed thickly and shifted, "Kind...of...?" she cringed at herself, "One date and the party. Texts from you, but nothing to go off of. No open invitation."

"I see. Come with me." Kent said and started walking. He remembered that he needed to watch his pace. He knew that his strides were long and that he could accidentally pick up speed without knowing. There were times where he would look back and Ikkyu and Megumi would just be walking at a chilling pace, only going slower to make him stop and wait. Kazuko was holding on her own alright, but...the longer they walked the more irritated she was getting. It was....worrisome. He was supposed to be fixing this.

If she lasted roughly fifteen minutes beforehand, she barely lasted seven this time before she growled at him, "What are we /doing/, Kent? You just need to walk and think or something? We going somewhere?"

"That was the attempt." Kent said, looking at her baffled.

"Okay, then where are we going? How far are we walking? Or if you need to think then let's find a /bench/ or something where I can sit and watch you pace around." Kazu's frown was turning into a scowl, but she was becoming more hunched in on herself. She was trying very hard not to let the pain show.

Kent shook his head from side to side and he turned towards her, arms folded. "If I did something wrong, then you should tell me straightforwardly instead of insisting that you beat around the bush. I asked you if I was neglecting you and you said that I was. I'm trying to guide you to the city, though if you want to go somewhere closer we could have done that as well. You just need to stop me."

"Uuuuugggggh!!!!" Kazuko threw her arms high into the air, stomping her feet as she turned back around, "Walking around aimlessly isn't how it's supposed to work, Kent! I don't want to sight see around the city right now! I'm going back home! You don't understand anything!" she was hurting him, she didn't need to see his face to know that, but she was irrational and ill-tempered right now and god it took everything not to fall to her knees and curl in a ball, wishing the world would /go away/.

Kent watched her leave confused and hurt. He didn't know what to do so he called the one person he could think of. He called Meg. When she picked up, he quickly said. "I have a dilemma. What do I do for Kazuko? She's angry and upset with me and I tried to get her to tell me information, but I don't know how accurate it was."

"You...uh...don't really have the best timing in the world?" Megumi's voice sounded breathless and she let out a squeak and she said something to someone on the other side. Probably Ukyo. "Call Sawa. She'll tell you everything." And hung up.

Sawa then. Kent sighed wondering how well this was going to go and called her. "Sawa. I need your help with Kazuko. She's angry with me and I don't have a clue as to why."

"Um..." Sawa sounded baffled by Kent calling her out of the blue. It took a second before she made a soft 'oh' sound, "Tell me what happened? Like, spell it out for me what you're having trouble comprehending."

"She told me that I was neglecting her so I attempted to take her out on a date. It would require some distance, but I believe she assumed I was taking her "sight seeing". She didn't have the patience for it and left." Kent explained.

"Beeeecause one she knows that's your version of a date, just walking without destination because that's what Ikki-san told you." Sawa sighed deeply, "Two, that was just a bad idea overall right now. Not that you'd /know/ that, but Kazu-kun didn't go running with me yesterday or this morning. Neither did Meg, but that is beside the point. I had figured, but that just confirmed it."

"...So then what do I do to fix this?" Kent asked, pinching the bridge of his nose.

"Just...pamper her? This only happens like, once ever two-three months so she'll really enjoy being coddled. Not to mention she had such a crappy month with her dog dying. I'm not all that comfortable being outright with it. Just call Meg. Bye." And she hung up.

Kent huffed, getting agitated. He called Meg. She was busy. However, he knew that once she figured out what was going on, he'd get more information. So he called her again and he cut to the chase, knowing that she probably had better things to 'do'. "What is Sawa talking about? What is going on? She's not giving me accurate information. All I know right now is that she wants to be coddled. What?"

Megumi laughed though it was still breathless. He wondered just /what/ he was interrupting, but decided /not/ to go down that rabbit hole. He doubted he actually wanted to know. "I thought Sawa would tell you. I'm sorry." She said sincerely. "Kent. Kazuko's on her period."

Oh. That explained so much. "I see..."

"So just treat her how Ikki sometimes treats me when I'm on the couch in your lab, curled up in pain and wanting to die. Not literally Ukyo!" Megumi hastily assured. He wondered if Ukyo was always terrified of her dying. Which...didn't make sense. Did Megumi tell him about her heart attack? Did she have a second one in front of him and that's why he was so jumpy? He pushed that aside. He had other things to worry about. "Tea, warm heating pad, just hold her. Movies! Watch the dumb ones, you're not supposed to use your head if you're in pain."

"Why couldn't you have given me this advice the /first/ time around?" Kent sighed.

"Uh....." Megumi sounded uncertain. "I'm trying to think of a way to say this without sounding like Hisako-"

"I'm hanging up now."

"Oh thank god."

~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 1:42 am

Kazuko didn't hide the fact she had forgone using a bowl and was simply digging ice cream out of her carton of ice cream, face red and eyes a little bloodshot, "What do you want, Kent?" she grumbled.

"Megumi and Sawa told me what was going on. I'm sorry that I didn't realize it sooner." Kent said, looking sad at the state of his girlfriend. "I wish you had told me so that you weren't walking in pain and constantly trying to hide tears. That's not what I was trying to do. Let me make it up to you. Correctly this time."

"It's...not the sort of thing you tell a guy about. As...um...natural? As it is? It's just...awkward." Kazu pressed her forehead to the door of her apartment, taking a deep breath, "I /am/ sorry. So how are you planning on making it better?"

"Megumi gave me advice, as well as I have seen her in pain constantly from her own. I'm fine with us doing our own thing and having an indoor date. I'm also fine with you choosing a movie of your liking whatever comforts you. Tea should be the first thing. Were you using a heating pad? It'll help with the cramps though if you don't have one, lying on your back with your legs propped so your lower back is touching the ground does wonders from what Megumi has done and told me from a long time ago." Kent said walking into the apartment. "Also, I'm not sure if you're the type who likes to be held during this time. Hisako refuses all touch unless it's extreme affection and that's only from Shin. Megumi turns into a cat."

"Megumi would be a fluffy orange tabby." Kazuko closed the door behind him and locked the door. It felt so odd with Kent in her place. There wasn't...a whole /lot/, honestly. Studio apartment with some books on her dresser, table in the middle of the room, TV in one corner, bed shoved in the far other corner. The curtains were drawn closed so it was darker except for the glow of her laptop on her bed where it seemed she also left a warm nest of blankets. "No heating pad...for being a survivalist that has anything you could imagine on hand...I'm...irregular. So I don't bother. I think about it when I'm on it but I don't go anywhere so I forget about it. I'll have homework to catch up on from school, too, but Mine or Sawa will bring it for me."

Kazu thought about what else he said, "Um...Are.../you/ okay with...contact?" she asked hesitantly. "You've been...pretty strict about the 'stages of a relationship' thing so...I dunno. We haven't even held hands or anything. I don't remember even seeing you without your damn jacket at the party. Even in the morning."

"I...do you want me to take it off?" Kent asked looking hesitant. "I don't mind contact. I don't understand a lot about it. However, I seen the benefits it reaps for the women who are in pain. I understand that somehow our touch seems to bring comfort."

"Unless you're one of those magical people that never sweat, it'd be best if you do. Otherwise you're going to practically die in it if you...if you cuddle up with me. I /do/ have a fever on top of like, three heavy fuzzy blankets over there." Kazu shrugged, and she walked over to the table and capped the lid onto her ice cream. "I'll start tea. I already took painkillers, before you ask. I switch out three different kinds, two hours apart, but I'm kind of like Hisako and it takes at least three days before it even feels like it's helping."

Kent shrugged off his jacket and placed it somewhere so that he could get it later. He followed her back to the couch and helped her back into the nest. "From what I understand, Hisako has a very strange reaction to medication. What works on normal adults do not work for her. Morphine for example, Shin had to write on her medical records that they are not helpful and something stronger has to be provided."

"Oh, I heard about that. She becomes a talker and it doesn't knock her out I think." Kazuko nodded. Apparently she wasn't going to make tea. That was fine. "If you're not cool with...touch...then you can just...hold me from behind through the blankets? I'll kind of feel like Tohru from Fruits Basket but it's whatever. At least you're not making me leek soup."

Kent gently pulled her close to him, holding her like she requested. "Shin calls it a truth serum. Apparently any and all questions that are asked are answered in graphic detail. Toma has a list of black mail material as well as Shin on each other from the last time they were on it."

"Pfffftttt, that is so true. I don't think I've ever been, thank god. I have no idea what sort of mayhem would come out of my mouth if I did." Kazuko's face was so red by now, but by fever or embarrassment was hard to discern. Kent was hot as /fuck/ without his jacket, and this...this felt so /good/ and /right/ with him behind her. "You don't look so foreboding with your jacket off. Less like a towering mass of black and more of a human."

"Thank you?" Kent said, sounding a bit unsure. "I didn't realize that my jacket was intimidating. Neither Megumi nor Ikkyu have ever commented on it. Though they probably have behind my back. Ikkyu's more conscious of fashion than I am."

"Not your jacket itself, just how you wear it. You're so tall. Yet if it makes you feel comfortable, wear what you want." Kazu shrugged and she was feeling comfortable enough to lean back into him and she tugged her laptop towards her. Youtube was up and she had been watching dog videos. A pang hit her chest and she bit her lip before going to find something else.

Sawa did say that Kazuko's dog had passed away. Though that was months ago from what Kent understood. He knew better than to ask that kind of question why she was hurting and in pain. He didn't understand why she was still hurting over it, but...he also knew that this time of the month brought weird shit to the surface. He's seen Megumi cry over literally /nothing/. Ikkyu was a master at comforting. Kent wouldn't have a lick of sense of what to do. So instead he watched her surf. "Do you have a favorite comedy on here? Someone you watch frequently?"

"Y-Yeah..." Kazuko's voice wavered a it, but she clicked through her subscriptions and found something Kent wouldn't find /too/ dumb. She knew he didn't understand, and she didn't really know how to explain. As the long video she'd found ended she realized she'd started crying. "I'm just...really glad you're here." She told him before he could ask anything. She was sure she was expecting it, but she couldn't express the /relief/ she felt. "You don't get it. It's illogical to you. Just an animal, they die, right? It was /my fault/. Have you seen an animal run over? You walk the same road. You had to have..." seen the /blood/. "There's been...this huge weight since my dog died. It's so /quiet/. So god damn /lonely/ and I can't /stand/ it most of the time. I don't...I don't like...being /alone/."

"Then why didn't you ask for company? Any number of us would've stayed with you. Megumi thrives on that kind of thing and...despite that I'm still new to this, I don't want you to feel lonely or sad." Kent explained the best that he could. "You're right that I'm not...sympathetic enough to understand. But I know what loneliness does to a person. I seen it in two people that I care about. I don't want to see it destroy you."

"Kent..." Kazu sniffed and turned in her blankets to curl futher against him. She hadn't really cried about it /with/ anyone. She'd been putting on a brave face for everybody. This felt...good. Real good. To let it go and have a shoulder to cry on for once. Emotions were amplified due to her flux of hormones, but that didn't really matter. Kent was here with her, being a steady and sure rock as she broke down. The wracking sobs hurt her abdomen and it was a circle of pain, for at least half an hour, but he was quiet and let it happen.

A moment longer to catch her breath and Kazuko sniffed, "If I asked for...company...I'd have someone...here every night. I didn't...want to inconvenience anyone." She admitted softly. She felt so exhausted now. "I'm sorry...really sorry. I had the nightmare...about that...then you texted me and it's like...the hello without the 'how are you'. I was so...fed up. I never knew if it...was okay to respond or...awkward. It's just so...systematic. It felt like I wasn't worth the extra effort for more conversation."

"I just don't see a reason to text a conversation when calling or a face to face one is more convenient and I can see your face." Kent said softly. "I'm sorry that my texts weren't good enough. I didn't know. If it's you, I don't think anyone would have cared. We all look out for one another. Though maybe right now would be inconveniencing two of us. I had the misfortune to figure that out when I called looking for advice."

"Yeah...called Meg yesterday and she didn't even pick up, and today she was very quick after I told her what was going on. The extra dismissal sucked. I'm kind of sounding like a bitch, and I don't mean to. You're trying. I've only dated once, and that was a disaster. You've never dated either, that much is obvious." Kazuko rubbed her face with a sigh. "I want that tea, but I don't want you to move..." she whispered. "Might...fall asleep either way, really. Oh, you're going to be bored...you can use my laptop?" she offered absently, her body weight becoming heavier against him.

"Maybe, perhaps." Kent said softly, soothingly and watched her fall asleep against him. He was content to lean against her as well and closed his own eyes. A small nap never hurt.

()
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 6:15 pm


It had been a while since the three of them had hung out personally without school as a background setting. Ikki’s apartment was as clean as it normally was with a modern touch. The curtains were spread so that natural light could filter through. The trio sat in the middle of the “living room” at a small table with cups of steaming coffee between them. “I’m kind of surprised that Ukyo let you go.” Ikki teased his sister as she took a sip of her coffee. “He seems to be fond of stealing you away now that he knows what the forbidden fruit tastes like.”

“Why does everything you say to me always sound sexual?” Megumi asked rhetorically as she rolled her eyes. He wasn’t wrong though. Ever since Ukyo finally broke his will and took her for himself, weekends were more like holes in her memory besides a whirlwind of pleasure. Her cheeks stained pink, but she kept her composure. “I’m going to guess that you and Tsume haven’t even gotten far yet.”

“She told me that she wants me to give her permission to say my name.” Ikki said stubbornly. “I’m gonna find a loophole around it.”

“Oh god.” Megumi rolled her eyes. “It’s a name. It’s not going to kill you for her to say your name.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I do know that. She’s not a fae.” Megumi snapped, “She’s not going to use your real name and start making you do horrible things.”

“Quote on horrible.” Kent added.

“You two suck.” Ikki frowned deeply. “But really.”

“Ikkyu.” Megumi said promptly and she got a nasty glare in return. “Wow. Was that supposed to kill me? That was pathetic. Shin glares better than you do.”

“He has the face for it. I don’t.” Ikki grumbled, “But seriously, call me that again and you’re not going to live to see the next day.”

“How many times have I been told that?” Megumi asked dryly, taking a sip of her drink before turning to Kent. “Did you ever make any progress with Kazuko? I’m sorry that I was blunt that one time.”

“Wait what?”

Kent pushed his glasses up his nose, a light dusting of pink started on his cheeks. “It’s fine. I understood that you were trying to…” He trailed off and he shook his head. “Yes. Once I received the correct information that she was on her period, the recovery protocols were easy to follow.”

“Wow. Nice.” Ikki whistled and then frowned, “What do you mean “once you received the correct information”?”

“Kazuko refused to reveal that sort of information to me therefore I called Megumi. Megumi seemed to be in um…busy with Ukyo and directed me to Sawa who only gave me recovery protocols and not what exactly she was recovering from. I had to call Meg again and ask her for her advice.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” Ikki asked, pinching the bridge of his nose. The last thing he wanted to imagine was his sister getting it on with a friend of his. Though it was about fucking time. Honestly, he thought that since they were living together, that would have happened a long time ago. He wondered what had made Ukyo wait so long, but decided against asking. It was probably personal and really none of his business.

“Ikkyu, you were working.” Kent said promptly and Ikki sighed again.

Megumi took a sip of her drink, “I’m happy that you guys are progressing in some way or another though. I knew that you’d be able to take care of her since you two always took care of me.”

“Apparently men don’t do that kind of thing. She wasn’t comfortable in telling me that information because of that.” Kent explained.

Megumi blinked slowly. “What.”

“Not everyone is like us, Meg.” Ikki said kindly. “I have a mother for a doctor so I know just as much about the female anatomy like I know the male’s. Why do you think I carry the same things you carry in your purse? Female sanitary needs included?”

“I mostly do research and while I am naïve about the sex, I’m not naïve in how things work. I have seen you in pain before.” Kent explained. “It’s not dangerous or as exciting as people seem to think it is. Men I should say.”

It made her wonder if Ukyo ever seen her on her period, but she dismissed that thought entirely. He didn’t like seeing her in pain. He was also so…shy about things too. She doubted she’d tell him, in fear of embarrassing him or something. He was good at exploring her though. He wasn’t that naïve, so maybe he had. Maybe he knew. Maybe Ikki told him the same recovery techniques she told Kent. She didn’t dare want to ask though.

“Has anyone heard about Sawa and Nhil yet?” Ikki asked.

“Nhil’s been on cloud nine.” Megumi beamed happily. “He’s really excited. He’s going to try to make a study group so that he can be with Sawa. It’s hard to date during the school year for him, but Orion wants him to put in the effort. I guess she made a good impression on the guy.”

“Really? That’s good. So that means we’ll have two new people added to our group. How are we going to handle a kid? I know I can do just fine, and Kent’s good and I know you’re golden Miss Mother, but what about everyone else?”

That was a good question. Megumi already asked Ukyo that question so she was prepared for that answer, but everyone else? When was the last time she saw Hisako around a child or Shin for that matter? Toma would be alright, she knew that he could handle kids. Maya had the energy for it, so she was probably good too. But everyone else? She took a drink of her coffee.

“That’s curious.” Kent said, leaning his chin into his hand. “How would the rest of the group take to a child. A stranger’s one at that?”

“If it was one of ours, how would they react? That’s my worry.” Ikki said, but he looked thoughtful as well. “Toma and Maya should be alright with it. I’m sure they’d be fine with the addition. God knows about Shin and Hisako though. That’s…”

“A hazard?” Kent offered. “A ticking time bomb?”

“It’s something. Especially since I don’t know how they’d react to one. I never seen them around the playground before. It’s not something they’d do.” Ikki shook his head. “Kazuko? Tsume? Tsume has a huge family so children shouldn’t be trouble. I’m sure she’s used to them.”

“Kazuko’s a life guard so I’m certain that she’s talked to them before.” Kent looked thoughtful. “So perhaps we should only be concerned about Hisako and Shin.”

“Ukyo wants kids so, this could be practice?” Ikki gave Megumi a playful look.

Megumi’s cheeks turned red hot. She wondered when that little tidbit of information was going to be hung over her head. “He hasn’t even proposed to me yet. I think you’re thinking too far. Who said you’re not going to be first to give mom grandbabies?”

“With the pace that you and Ukyo are going?” Ikki said sounding doubtful. “Well. Maybe. He’s adamant about that spring wedding, so…”

“See?! You and Tsume are going to be first to have kids, and then mom’ll hound on me till my /wedding/ day. I’m sure she’ll make a speech and everything. “I want this many kids and ASAP”.” Megumi snapped her fingers to specify how quickly. “Ukyo’s going to feel so rushed and embarrassed.”

“Or he might think, “you know, my mother in law is right. I lived with this woman. I married this woman. Maybe it’s about time”.” Ikki teased.

“It would be interesting if Ikkyu has the first child, considering.” Kent said, a little amused. “Have you even planned to propose to Tsume yet?”

“I’m thinking about it. We’ll see.” Ikki assured, “There’s a lot of things that we need to talk about before then. Unlike this one over there whose going through this relationship faster than a race.”

Megumi opened her mouth to refute it, but honestly how could she? The timeline that she had for them was that they’d been together for months. Months. Probably less than a year and they were living together. Ikkyu and Kent didn’t know about the cycle. About how many times they lived and died trying so hard to figure out a way so that they both could live and be with one another. To them, maybe this was faster than a track race. To Megumi though, this was something deserved. Uki even said, they were /promised/ that they would live this time. If it was fast for everyone that was fine, she could live with that.

Tsume said it herself, Megumi lived day to day anymore. Months? Years? They didn’t exist to her. Just today. Always today. Too many deaths and a near one had ruined her thoughts of a future. Future was unknown and unpromised.

“Can I ask you two something?” Megumi asked after a moment.

Kent and Ikki both looked at her curiously.

“When I had my heart attack…when I came back.” Megumi looked nervous at this. “Did you start thinking that I was rushing?”

“Through your life? A little.” Ikki said slowly. “You came back and you started acting like you had /this/ day. I mean, you were more content and happy than I ever seen you before and that’s good. I was afraid that…well…you were bitter in high school and you were slowly becoming happier in college. But something in Kobe or maybe it was the heart attack, I don’t know, changed your attitude and your view point so fast, I really did think you were possessed or something. You still treated me the same. You still roughhoused with me. But I couldn’t help but to wonder sometimes if there was something deeper behind everything. I gave up after a while. Especially after meeting Ukyo. Poor guy’s a danger and a menace to himself. But he makes life fun.”

“I don’t know.” Kent admitted softly. “I didn’t know you in high school though I have heard the stories of how you were. You and Ikki were a very unlikely pair, but you managed to be friends and then family within a span of a year. It’s all I knew. Your heart attack terrified me, as much as it scared everyone else. But Hisako said something to use in the hospital room that this was going to be the point of no return. I wonder if she knew that you were going to do that one eighty. You outstubborned both her and Shin about going to Kobe. And Hisako read your cards again and said that you were going to be fine. More than. We didn’t believe her, nor you since you never had that type of thought before. Honestly I believe we all assumed that you were going to remain single for the rest of your life.” He pursed his lips together. “Are you rushing through life? No. In fact, I think you’re trying hard to make up for the times where you didn’t enjoy it to begin with.”

“Well having parents like /those/, who would?” Ikki said darkly. “Never mind about them. You have mom now and me. That’s all the family that you’ll ever need.”

Whoa. Megumi stared at Ikki in surprise. She only heard him get this angry once before and that was when he found out about the fangirls using him and his three month rule and how he was trying to change that. He had punched and /damaged/ a wall. It sounded like he was pretty fucking close to doing it again. It made her wonder about her past, but she decided not to dwell on it. Those horrible memories could stay forgotten for all she cared about. If she was better like this, if her and Ukyo were happier like this, then she could sacrifice that.

Hell it sounded like Ikki would want her to.

“Let’s play a game, I’m bored.” Ikki said, standing up suddenly and headed over to the T.V.
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 9:41 pm

~*~

"Ikki walked you to work today, didn't he?" one of Tsume's coworkers confronted her.

Tsume felt the distaste radiate from her and merely sighed, "Yes he did, why?"

"Ugh, I heard those annoying little children screaming their fool heads off. They always crowd that man as soon as you're out of sight. It drives customers off, you know? At least he took them away quickly."

"Yes. How fortunate he's considerate enough to get them out of the vicinity as fast as possible." Tsume drawled, unimpressed, as she went about doing her thing for work.

"Why do you put up with that sort of thing? I would've dropped him like a hot potato. There's no guarantee a guy like that isn't cheating. Not with /that/ many women on his tail."

"He would /never/." Tsume hissed venomously and her coworker just arched a brow at her.

"Can you be /sure/ about that?"

"Of course! It's been four months, this is the fifth! You complained about the same thing when he first brought me to work. Can you just drop it?" Tsume ground her teeth together.

"Well. I'm just saying. He's obviously a playboy. Just be careful, dear." The coworker patted her shoulder and wandered off, leaving Tsume fuming. She wanted to text Ikki. He'd want her to share her concerns and worries, but she just couldn't bring herself to. He'd feel awful about causing her any sort of strife.

So instead she waited until she got off work and texted Megumi. /Want to catch a late-night movie or are you otherwise occupied?/

Megumi's answer came up quick. /I'm good. We can watch a movie. I can meet you there if you want./

/Would you? I have a vague idea of what I want to watch. Maybe action. I want to watch things blow up. That okay?/

/Something got you angry./ Was all Megumi wrote. /Action's good with me. Are you okay? We can talk more after the movie. We can be "dangerous" and not come home till late./

/Oh scandalous. You're gunna make Ukyo worry talking like that. The poor bby, what did he ever do to deserve you?/

Megumi's text was slower this time. It was clearly erased and typed out and then erased again several times before she wrote. /More like what did I ever do to deserve him. You're making me want to hide under the bed and this is MY HOUSE!/

/I'm grabbing a taxi now. You're such a baby, too, haha, ily./ Tsume was holding her sides as she was trying not to crack up laughing right there. Megumi was adorable. It would be good to talk to her about her issues after she was satisfied from watching a bunch of explosions.

~

"You reminded me of an angry kitten earlier it was adorable." Tsume teased Meg as they finally left the theater. It was plenty dark outside and getting on ten o'clock. "I vote an orange tabby."

"I'm a cat now?" Megumi was a little surprised at the comparison. "You asked the embarrassing question. Anyone would hide if they heard that question." At Tsume's raised eyebrow she corrected herself. "I will hide if I hear an embarrassing question." She amended. "I thought cats didn't give a care about the world. Are you sure you're not thinking of Hisako? I hear she makes an excellent lap cat."

"Cats have different personalities. You're stereotyping. There's demon cats and there's sweet fluff balls. Cats can also be aloof. I think you're the fluffy kitten no one can take seriously when they're angry because you poof out and you're just too cute." Tsume reached over and poked Megumi's cheek, "We can go back to my place, by the way."

"Oooh. I'm going home to a stranger's apartment." Megumi said lightly. "This /is/ an adventure I've been waiting for." She happily did a skip and walked with Tsume. "I only had one cat before." She admitted after a moment. She scratched her cheek. "Though that was when I became siblings with Ikki. Our mom has a sweet cat. She liked people. Other than that, I'm kind of lost when it comes to pets. I don't think we even talked about /having/ one before. Weird."

"If you and Ukyo got an animal or two you'd be getting threats that they'd be stolen from any or all of our group members." Tsume giggled and hailed down a taxi, "Would you get a kitten or an adult?"

"I think it depends on who needs the home more." Megumi said slowly. "Adult cats usually already have personalities developed and they're out of their crazy antics as kittens. Though, kittens /are/ adorable. And more energetic. You can watch them shape their personality and figure out what they need quicker and what kind of games they'd like." She tapped her finger to her chin. "I don't think anyone would try to steal from us. Ukyo's dark side would just get upset. Only the guys would be able to go head to head with him...besides Hisako."

"Oh geez that was a /joke/!" Tsume looked horrified, "None of them would /actually/ steal your pets! They'd threaten just to get a reaction, but would never really do it." She patted Megumi's head, "I think I'd get adults because they feel abandoned. Kittens do, too, but they get over it easier and more likely to get adopted because they're so cute. I've read some pretty heartwarming stories of people getting older babies and getting them to love again."

"Sorry." Megumi winced, blushing a little. "I'm kind of getting used to having a big group of friends so I'm used to a certain number of people making "jokes". I get when Kent's kidding even if people don't understand it and only me and Ikki do. Ikki's teasing is more obvious. Hisako, Shin, and Toma are easy too."

"My goodness. You need to loosen up a little." Tsume sighed at her, "Anyway. We'll be at my place soon and I'll make tea."

~

Tsume enjoyed the warmth of the tea in her hands as she sat with Megumi on her couch, and she thought about the movie night she had with Ikki. It had been nice to cuddle comfortably instead of having an arm rest between them or an empty space between seats. Now she could only sigh. "My coworkers got all on my ass about Ikki's screaming fangirls this morning." She finally explained.

"Scaring away customers and not bringing in a lot of profit?" Megumi asked, wincing a little. Boy did she know that. The fangirls only gave the Maid Cafe profit /and/ brought in revenue for only a certain amount of places. Mostly places where Ikki took them out to.

"I haven't had him walk me to work in a while, so I thought it'd be a nice little thing. I'll have to make sure not to request it again. It's so annoying, but I've already known this whole time and expressed that I understand the situation. I'm not about to go back on my word or anything. I don't want to make him feel like shit. He can't help it, after all." Tsume sipped her tea, but she was looking at it sadly, "That wasn't the only thing that pissed me off so much. My coworker suggested that he was cheating on me with I quote 'so many women on his tail'." She brought her hand up to do finger quotes.

Megumi couldn't help but to look hurt at that. She knew that. She knew /exactly/ what that felt like. And yeah, she had expressed to Shin that she'd wish that he stopped and when she found out about him being used, she couldn't help but to hide it away. But everyone always implied that and every time she stood her ground. Again, and again. She looked away and at her knees. Her lips pursed and she took her own sip of her tea.

"I won't...because I know what you say is true." Tsume told Megumi after a moment of silence. She reached over and placed her hand on her knee, "I know about Ikki's gift with his eyes. A lot of people believe in it, but Kent doesn't. I don't recall if Ikki's tried to use them on me before, maybe when I first started going to the Cafe? I know he got really infatuated with me after I told him I thought he had pretty eyes." She shook her head, "You're his sister, yes. So you believe his gift, don't you? Would it come as a surprise to you to say I also made a crippling wish when I was young?"

"I believe him." Megumi said softly, "and I believe you. You looked at me weird when I said that it was better to be run over by a bus than a train or something like that and said that it sounded like something with Hisako and past lives. But you did that same expression again with Ukyo when he said that you had to be careful of wishes too. You even agreed with him too about wishes and passed the game."

"I was a bit more snappy about it than I should've been." Tsume smiled sheepishly, "I was on my own red moon at the time. It's also why I passed out first. See. I made a wish to understand people. I wanted to know why people did the things they did. I wanted to be able to comfort someone without feeling like an idiot. So, yeah. At the party everyone's emotions were really high strung and I had to really concentrate since my hormones were wacky on top of it. Shocked I didn't cry once. A few times I thought I was going to, especially with Ukyo internally freaking out."

Megumi blinked, "Internally freaking out? Was it the death question? Or was it...um...me going into the bedroom on that dare?"

"Both. He's already so outwardly free with his emotions, but he felt the death questions down to his soul." Tsume hummed, "Then he was a bit depressing when he asked Hisako for a Death Drink. Jealous and upset he couldn't bring himself to do things like that with you himself."

"He is his worst enemy." Megumi sighed, shaking her head from side to side. "But I guess...um..." She scratched her cheek. "There's a reason for that. I don't know if you'll believe me, so I'll skip it. This isn't about me and Ukyo anyway. I'm sorry, I got curious. What this is /about/ is you and Ikki."

"Maybe another time you can tell me." Tsume nodded. "What were you so worried I'd dismiss you over?"

She ran her hand through her hair and she took a breath. "Ikki's wish was to be popular with the girls. But you and I aren't affected by his eyes at all. You probably aren't affected because of the wish you made. It counteracts somehow someway. As for me, I was...a very bitter person when Ikki met me. Super bitter. But he saved my life. I'm not talking suicide or death. I'm talking he realized that we were both lonely. You think those girls know anything about him? That he talks to them about his day? I can tell you right now that he has everyone's details about their life memorized, but not a single fucking fan knows that his favorite music is classical jazz and that he knows how to dance or that he is such a romantic that he cries at sappy movies. What fan is going to tell him that he'd be shot if it was a choice between them and me?"

"He keeps his emotions so in check and I was too muddled. Did he talk to you about that at all? I wasn't sure if I was...stepping out of line or if I should've played it safe and picked a different set of people to choose from." Tsume bit her lip, "That was the one question I was rather self-conscious about."

"He texted me about it since I was in my under the rock days." Megumi blushed wildly. "But um...he was very happy that someone saw me as worthwhile. No fan asked him about me when I had my heart attack. They...um...didn't care. I mean, they never have. I'm not really blood so they don't think I'm worthwhile. He was so thankful. He was thankful that you would save his family that you /cared/ about him enough to know that family was his thing. I told him that I was jumping in front of the gun to save him and he laughed at me. He said you'd shoot faster than I'd move. He was quite serious about it."

Tsume seemed to relax and smiled softly. He had been happy with her response. That was good. "I love that you're so close to him. I knew contacting you was the right choice. I really don't have anything to worry about, do I?" she sipped her tea again, "I'm glad I'm different than the rest, too. Do you have any advice you can give me? About anything?"

"About Ikki?" Megumi pursed her lips together in thought. "I know that he has a facade that he keeps up. But he'll let it down more. He teased me in front of you. I'm sure you'll see him with Kent as well doing their math puzzle roleplay larping thing. If he's really, really open he might tell you our background and will suggest meeting mom. He might talk about dad too and why he's not in the picture anymore." She swallowed thickly at that. "When he opens up, he bleeds. He doesn't...cry. He doesn't need to. You just see it. You'll see it. And you're going to wonder how on earth he's still alive with so much blood spilling out, but you're going to realize that he knows how to stitch himself up. He does a painful, terrible job at it, but you got to give him props. Mom taught us well. So my advice? Ignore what everyone says and your doubts. You proved yourself and I know that he's thinking about marrying you. You're it for him."

Tsume's eyes widened and her face flushed darkly. "I'll keep that in mind. I'll also make sure not to tell him you said that. He'll be upset his surprise was spoiled." She grinned at her, "This was a very insightful discussion. I'm really glad to have someone like you I can rely on when I'm at a loss. I've never really had that. Thank you, Meg."

"Well you'll be my sister-in-law." Megumi smiled warmly. "What are sisters for?"

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 9:42 pm


It was around midnight when Megumi’s phone started going off at the bedside table. Megumi had to wiggle her arm out from under her since Ukyo was clinging to her after a night of passion again. She looked at the screen and saw that it was Ikki’s name. Her heart leapt to her throat, he rarely called her this late at night. Was he hurt? Did something happen? Was it Tsume? All of these worrisome thoughts went through her mind as she pressed a button and placed at her ear, “Hello?” She whispered softly, to not wake Ukyo.

“I want to have sex with Tsume.”

He was drunk as hell and she wanted to blush madly. “What the fuck?!” She hissed into the phone and started working herself a little harder out of Ukyo’s hold. She knew she was waking the poor guy up, and she knew that he was going to ask questions later, but right now she knew that if she didn’t get away he was going to wake up with her yelling. “Seriously?!” She wandered into the bathroom to grab a robe to hide her naked body. Once she was wrapped she headed down away from the bedroom and into the living room.

“What I want mostly is for her to not say my name, but maybe I want her to say my name. I wonder if it’ll sound hot and sexy. Maybe breathless. Or will I hate it even more when it comes from her lips? What if I do hate it? She promised that it’ll be worth hearing, but I don’t know.” Ikki rambled. “We have so much in common, we have the same thoughts about a lot of things. I want her to be mine.”

A drunk Ikki was a sad Ikki normally. Very rarely did she get a drunk call from Ikki that wasn’t retrospective. It was kind of sad that this was the only time he let himself get down. Megumi wondered for a moment if she should get dressed and head over to his apartment. He shouldn’t be alone right now and he sounded like he wanted someone to hold. He couldn’t exactly call Tsume right now. He’d just embarrass himself and it was /late/ as fuck. Ukyo was in the room though, asleep hopefully or awake wondering about her whereabouts.

Lucky for her, a drunk Ikki was also a rambling one. Whatever silence she had, he filled up immediately. “It’s not just the sex I want,” he continued. “I’m certain, I’m certain that she’s it. She’s my shooting star. The star that I should have made a wish on and not the one in the sky. I want her to look at me, I want her to fall in love with me, I want her to be with me.”

Megumi’s heart clenched. Those were almost the same words, the same wishes he once placed on her shoulders. She remembered how sincere he was, and how he pressed his lips against hers. It was awkward thinking about it now, but…she understood. “So…why aren’t you telling her this?” She asked softly.

“I’m used to a time limit.” Ikki confessed. “Three months and you’re gone. Three months and that’s all I have. I know for the long time it was my fault I made that rule, but then when I found that it was the same rule the fangirls made, I was so tired. I don’t want to get my hopes up to have them crushed. Meg, Tsume could crush me.”

“She could.” Megumi said softly. “Just like Ukyo can hurt me.”

“Will he? Do you trust him enough not to?” Ikki asked quickly.

Megumi wondered how to respond to that. She looked over towards the bedroom where he was in. She imagined him over her, kissing her, holding her close. She recalled the many, many times she trusted him and many, many times he would use that trust to end her. To try to end a destructive cycle. Uki told her not to dwell on the past. That they were promised a better life, but he also told her that there were chances he could hurt her.

That Ukyo could hurt her.

“I think that’s it’s the trust that he can hurt me.” Megumi said after a moment. “And trust him enough to be a man and realize when he did. I think it’s trust that I know I can hurt him, despite all my attempts and all of my abilities not to. I think that he trusts and hopes that when I do, I make sure to clean up the mess that I made. That we both work together to recover. I think that you should know that yes, Tsume has the power to crush you, just like Ukyo does. I know I have that power over him and it terrifies me. But I don’t let that hold me back from loving him. It just makes me want to love him more. Do I make sense?”

“…and they said I was the romantic.” Ikki sounded weary. “I know I can hurt her. I’m sure I hurt her every day with the fanclub. I’m sure people tell her mean things without me knowing. I’m sure she doesn’t tell me about it, because she doesn’t want me to worry. Or for me to think badly.”

Megumi bit the inside of her cheek. “But she still loves you for it.” She assured softly. “She knows. She knows that you’re so kind that sometimes you don’t leave enough kindness for yourself. That you never want to make yourself out to be a bad man, because you’ve seen what bad men look like at school and our friends.” Shin’s father. Hisako’s parents. Her own. She rubbed her lips together. “You’re a good, good person Ikki. A bleeding heart. But you gotta save a little blood for Tsume. You gotta let her sometimes hold you and get bled on.”

“You sound like Hisako.”

“Hisako would probably tell you the same thing, word for word.” Megumi gently said, “Ikki, honey,” she paused. “You are a good man.” She said that with conviction. “You’re a good, decent man even if you think that you’re bad. You’re trying so hard and I’m so, so proud of you. I’m happy that you’re in love with a woman that looks at you and sees you. I’m happy that she loves you just as much as you love her. If she could hear what you’re saying right now, you wouldn’t doubt anything I’m telling you.”

“…”

“I love you Ikki.” Megumi said softly, “Tsume loves you too. You are /so/ loved and you make us /so/ proud. But you should probably stop drinking for the night. Go to sleep. Wake up hung over tomorrow and wonder why the hell you called me so I can laugh at you.”

“You’re the best sister.”

“I’m your only sister.” Megumi said, though her voice was thick. “Go to sleep honey. I’ll talk to you in the morning the minute I get up. I’m sorry I’m not there with you.”

“You’re fine. It’s fine. I think I interrupted you and Ukyo. Sorry. I didn’t realize that it was so late too.” Ikki sounded flabbergasted. “Where did it go?”

“The time or the drink?” Megumi couldn’t help but to tease.

“You’re a regular comedian.” Ikki shot back. “I’ma hang up now.”

“Yes. You do that. And lay off the drink and /sleep/.” Megumi warned. “I will call you and I will head over to your apartment if you don’t answer the phone.”

“Promises, promises.” He hung up.

()
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 11:11 pm

A week or so had gone by, and Ukyo had been watching the leaves closely. He made several trips to go photography hunting, and there were events going on for Autumn as well so he was able to make the magazine happy by catching photos of shops being set up and changing. Maybe they'd make a collage? That'd be fun. Megumi also wrote an article or two about the happenings and interviewed a few people their plans. Changes in menu and that sort of thing.

The Cafe was just starting to serve some nice pumpkin spice drinks and special caramel coffees and he was excited to see the peppermint and gingerbread flavors that were sure to come with the later holidays. Coffee wasn't the only thing getting limited time offers for autumn but there were sweet treats, too. All he'd lived through was August and he was honestly so very excited.

He wasn't sure what sparked it. He had been waiting, wanting the leaves to be full of gorgeous golds, reds, oranges and the occasional purple. Yet, as he was looking in his closet at the purple jacket he'd transferred the ring to, he reached for it and was putting it on before he could stop himself. He'd made her his spiritually and physically. Now he wanted to put the sparkling ring on her finger to show for it as well.

"Meg-chan!" he called into the bathroom, since the sound of the shower was off and the door was open to release a billow of steam, "Let's go on a date today! A real nice one!"

It sounded like he had a plan. Normally his plans were easy to predict, but this time it kind of threw her for a loop. A nice date. He sounded excited for it and it made her heart warm and happy. So, something semi-formal then. Probably a dress with an open jacket? It was getting colder outside, so maybe a dress with a longer skirt and a closed jacket instead. "Sounds like fun." She was a little nervous. Nice date. Maybe it's was his little way of celebrating that they made it through another month without killing each other? Oh that sounded bad. That sounded real bad.

"Take your time, there's no rush." Ukyo promised as he wandered around the room, making sure he didn't miss a thing. It felt odd without his long black jacket brushing at his heels, but it was nice, too. He felt light, bouncy, and went to go wait downstairs for her, thinking of the first place he could probably take her. If he couldn't have his full blown colorful leaves, then he'd wait for the sunset. No park. Lunch at a nice restaurant and then a movie? Maybe a good ol' walk around the mall or the city. See what they could find. He was feeling adventurous, so maybe no movie. Being cooped up on a nice day didn't sound like fun.

She wondered what was going on. She dried her hair with a blow dryer and left it the way it was and did a headband braid that she was custom to use. She found the dress that she was looking for and placed it on as well as the jacket. She took her time with her make up since she had a feeling that she needed to be /on point/ and not sloppy. Once she felt like she was ready, she headed out of her room only to frown. Where was it? She just...had it. She was certain it had been on the bedside table but...where? It took her an extra /ten/ minutes to find her phone (which was on the bed and in front of her fucking face) when she came across another problem. "Hey love?! Have you seen my purse anywhere? I could've sworn it was somewhere..." Oh yes that was helpful. She pulled her hair a little. How did she lose something like /that/? She was loosing her head.

Ukyo blinked at the stairs before he looked around the living room. He remembered when she came home she had been tired so she had...ah, yes. "You tossed it on the couch last night!" he held it in his hand as he went to the stairs, and he smiled as he saw her and how /gorgeous/ she was. "You were done with the day and didn't seem to care much."

Megumi smiled and practically ran down the stairs. "I forgot all about that." She said, taking it from him and kissing him lightly on the lips. "Alright. I'm going to guess that we're going to go on adventure of some sort. So I'm ready when you are."

"How hungry are you? I was thinking I could treat you and get your nails done? Would you like that? We can eat after, or we can eat before and then do that." Ukyo hummed thoughtfully.

Megumi's cheeks went a wild red at the suggestion. "You won't get bored?" She asked carefully. "I mean, if you're serious about it I don't mind. Not that you're not serious. Oh my god, words. Please work right now." She begged herself trying to stop her heart from beating out of her chest. Something was /seriously/ going down. "We can do other things too. I like it when we wander around. I know it feels aimless and stuff and you think I'd be bored, but I really don't mind walking around with you and talking with you and...." She felt herself sink. Why did she have to be a shy shut in /now/? It had to be because she knew something was up. She knew it was up and she was scared of it coming down. That had to be it. "You can ignore me and do what think is best too?!"

Ukyo leaned down and kissed her nose, "Take a deep breath. It's okay. No, I won't get bored. Is it so bad that I want to pamper you and do things you'll like? We can wander. More shops are putting their decorations up as it gets closer to Halloween. I know we've seen a lot, but we can take a train to another part of town. See what they're up to there. Find our own adventure."

"No." Megumi said, relaxing a little. "I don't know why the sudden panic." At least Ukyo knew how to get a grip on her when she certainly was losing it. How weird that this was an emotional rollarcoster and they haven't /left/ yet. "Let's get lunch and then let's get an idea of where to go from there." She gently shoved him towards the door. "Before I start panicking about something stupid again."

~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 11:31 pm

/Ikki...has Megumi been working too hard at school?/ Ukyo decided to text his...wow...soon to be brother-in-law while Megumi was getting her nails /and/ toes done. It had been fine so far, with their bellies full from a /fantastic/ lunch at a restaurant neither of them had been to. They had done what he said, taking a trip on the train to a random destination to see what they could find. Now they were in a credited salon place and Ukyo had been enjoying taking pictures everywhere as well. Good thing he emptied his card every night on the computer.

The response was a little slow and hesitant, but clearly suspicious. /I'm going to jump to the conclusion that something happened?/

/Just...little things?/ Ukyo sent and rubbed his chin thoughtful before he sent a longer text. /She's been rather tired a lot over the last several days. No. Not just because of me. Last night she threw her purse on the couch and then today forgot she'd done so and was looking all over for it. Then...she...well...realized she forgot her tablet at home just now./ She had been quite upset about it because with all the worry about him being bored, she had fumbled in her purse to give him her tablet to read or something on only to realize it wasn't there.

/That doesn't sound like her./ Ikki wrote back immediately. There was another, longer response that came with that. /I know that she took on being a tutor at the college and is helping people with their essays, but really whose going to use /that/ service very often?/ There was a pause and he wrote back. /I'm worried about that tiredness more than I about her forgetting things. I think that's a correlation, but...her being tired? The last time she got that tired, we had her move out of her apartment and into our home because she was killing herself. But school shouldn't be that much of a stress? She's not taking on too much I don't think? Unless something's going on at work? Did the work load increase over there?/

/Nothing we haven't been able to handle together./ Ukyo assured quickly. /Holiday changes and activities. Nothing major enough that would really exhaust her that much. I'll see if she's been feeling ill at all. It could be she's getting sick. It is that time of year, too. Any seasonal allergies she's never told me about? You have known her longer./

/No nothing like that. I mean, if she gets sick it's usually pretty quick and she tells you that she's not well. This might be stretching a bit, but...it could be her heart. We have started teasing each other more....and I don't hold back as much as I should./ Ikki sounded guilty.

/Now don't you go blaming yourself, Ikki./ Ukyo tsked through his message. /She's happy. If you want to blame anyone for strenuous activity it's me. It has nothing to do with you, I'm sure of it. Just keep an eye on her more at school. I'll do a little digging on my end./

Ikki sent a laughing emoji and then sent /Alright. I'll cool my worrying for now. You go enjoy your day and please, please, please propose to her soon?! You're killing me with suspense. Good luck <3/

Ukyo rolled his eyes. Ikki had /no idea/, but wouldn't he be happy to know that was his plan?

~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Sun May 07, 2017 11:42 pm

"I'm going to turn into Kent and start counting the number of times you say 'it's weird' soon!" Ukyo laughed at Megumi as she stared at her nails again.

Megumi laughed a little, a small blush on her cheeks. "Mom would be disappointed I said that as many times as I have." She agreed, lightly laughing at Ukyo's joy. His smile was infectious and it always made her pleased and warm. Like she did something right. Like they were doing something right. "Do you mind if I ask who you were texting at the salon? You looked troubled. Did something happen back home?"

"Just Ikki, asking questions. He knows you best." Ukyo admitted. He wasn't going to lie to her. "It's just so...unusual for you to forget things. Have you had a fever you won't tell me about? Sick at /all/?"

Megumi placed her wrist on her forehead, and shook her head. "No I'm normal temperature and I'm feeling fine. Happy. Excited. A bit nervous. A little fatigued, but easy to ignore. I'm not feeling like we should go home or something. Wasn't it just the once that I forgot stuff? Just today?" Oh god if she was forgetting things all /week/ that'd be bad. She shouldn't be getting amnesia. Regulus promised that their bond /didn't/ work that way since he /technically/ wasn't /bonded/ to her. It was a temporary, emergency bond. She wished he was around now. He could solve this.

"Um...I've been chalking it up to tiredness, and also due to me...distracting you. Anyway...it wasn't the first time you forgot your tablet. That's only the third time over the course of five days. You've forgotten to send yourself information as well so you can work on it in length on your laptop. Ingredients here and there while cooking." Ukyo then remembered, "Or crankiness on the other hand and not /wanting/ to cook. Uki's cooked a lot of meals lately. Not that he minds, he...likes...feeding you. Still. You have been getting a little snappy here and there and I thought you were...but it's not for a little while is it? Next week?"

"I think?" Megumi winced, she was not the person to ask that question. Even if it was her body, she was the /worst/ at keeping track. Probably on par with Maya unless that was the one thing that she kept organized and tracked. She felt a little guilty, she hadn't realized that she had been getting upset, or neglectful. She sighed softly. Jeez what was wrong with her? Was it really because of tiredness and fatigue? She didn't have chest pain, so...she tentatively ruled that out. Forgetting. Tiredness. "Amnesia?" She asked of herself. She fainted during memories, could it be she was slowly losing hers? Regulus promised they'd be together, but he never said /how/ and...no. No that wasn't it. Regulus also said that she would had the advantage of remembering everything this time. Every life. But was it possible that she was overloaded on memories and therefore, some temporary ones needed to go away? "No that doesn't make sense." She frowned. "That's not right."

Ukyo shook his head and he reached around her shoulders, holding her close and he nosed her hair, "It's okay. We don't have to worry about it right now, I promise. Today is supposed to be a good day. I didn't mean to make you worry, sweet love. Let's try and find something else we can do to take your mind off of it? You at least keep a notepad in your purse if you get struck with any ideas."

She leaned into his hold, but the worry was still there. She decided to push it down. What did it matter, in the end? If she collapsed, he'd catch her and everything would be solved. Or not solved. Or partially. No wonder he wanted to take her out. Here she had been worried about ulterior motives, but...it was out of concern for her health. It made her feel loved and a little guilty. She /needed/ to get her head in the fucking game somehow. She'd work harder at it. "That is true. I do get struck by inspiration, especially when you're around."

Ukyo chuckled softly, "You give me inspiration as well. I /do/ take pictures of you all the time." He kissed her temple, "Let's enjoy our day."

~

Megumi was easy to please, which is something Ukyo had going for him. After the nails which was a little out there but he liked how pretty they looked, they window shopped the stores they went to. They were careful not to get too many knickknacks, one or two things here and there, since they had to take it all home. Just as Ukyo noticed the sun was setting, he decided to do that. The train-ride was peaceful, she fell asleep on him for a quick nap and it was the cutest. He really did love her. Then, he took her on a detour on their way home, walking the path with the overpass and they could see the wide sunset sky. "It's been a month and a half, and it's been hard to believe this is an October sky now." Ukyo said softly as he admired the view. Their house didn't require them to take this path anymore, and it was starting to feel nostalgic.

Megumi pushed her hair out of her face as she looked at the scene that laid out before her. The sun was painting the buildings in bright golds and reflecting colors on the windows. There were shadows that were overcast on the streets. Cars were already turning their lights on. She leaned against the railing with her hip, one of her hands held onto it as she gazed out. It was a beautiful October. It'll be a freezing winter. It'll be snowing and white. Depressing to some. But it'll be a season she hadn't greeted in forever. It made her tear up a little. A month. They made a month. An /actual/ month. "It's been crazy." It was the only way to sum this up. "It's still crazy. We're still on a rollarcoaster, we're just on a different ride."

Ukyo made sure the shutter was off before he snapped a picture of her and placed his camera back in his pocket. Taking a deep breath, he pulled the ring from his jacket pocket and fished the tiny little box that was Alice in Wonderland themed from one of the bags. It was so simple, but he loved it. Setting his bag off to the side once he put the ring inside, he got closer to Megumi and took a deep breath, kneeling down. "Megumi...sweet love of mine..." he called to get her attention, voice weak with nerves.

Megumi turned around, a smile on her face when he called her his. However, the smile faded slowly as she saw him down on one knee, a beautiful Alice and Wonderland box in his hand. Her heart stopped in her chest and she felt a wave of vertigo flush through her. She was kind of surprised that she didn't lose her balance, but then again she was still holding on to the railing.

"I love you." It was the first thing that fell from his mouth and he felt his cheeks tint at her expression. "Megumi, I love you so much. I know you've loved me since you first saw me in Kobe. I'm sure I've loved you since then, too. I know I fell in love with you for sure when I found you here again, helping me because I was lost. Again and again, every time I saw your face. We were getting so close, just dating and then you were taken from me. I couldn't live without seeing you. I was surprised I even left your room in order to see that shooting star. It physically pained me not to be by your side. Then you died, and the cycle began. Over and over. Almost so many times, but then one of us would perish and the cycle would begin again. Even if it was just me. I don't even know if you survived those worlds where you with Toma, Shin, Ikki, Kent. You were happy at the time. That was what mattered. Then we made it. I stabbed myself in the heart, a fatal wound, the first time I took my life of my own accord. You and I both made it passed midnight and the cycle was broken."

Ukyo thumbed the box, taking a breath, feeling his whole body shaking. "I was so scared when we woke up here. Then it sunk in it was September. Regulus promised we'd be okay. Now, a month later and it's all I can think about. Being with you. Finally. Forever and a day. Maybe once we finish out our lives here we'll be granted eternal life as spirits, since we know heaven does exist. I can see you as an Angel. My angel. My love. I literally cannot be without you, Megumi. Please." He finally popped the lid and held it out to her, "I want to go through the whole process. Wedding planning, big venue with our friends and family and their family if they so want. It was going to happen, but I want it to happen sooner rather than later. Be mine. Officially."

As he spoke, her hands came up to her mouth to hide her surprised expression as she listened to him. When he was done, she noticed that her cheeks were wet with tears. She didn't even know she moved. All she knew was that she was on the ground in front of him and she was hugging him, tears falling down her face. "How could I say no?" She asked, her breath hitching. "I love you. I want to marry you. I will marry you. My light. My only. Yes. /Yes/."

Ukyo felt his own tears spring forward and he wrapped her up in his arms, shifting so he was sitting and just /holding/ her, tightly and close. He breathed her scent as his nose was buried in her neck and her hair. It tickled, but he didn't move as they both cried long enough for the sun to set a little further. Slowly he pulled away as there was still light and nudged her so he could take her hand, pulling the rings from the box and sliding them on, his heart jumping to his throat at the perfect fit. Then, at the wedding, he'd give her the third piece Hisako was holding onto for him, blessing for him like she had these. "They look perfect on you. You should take your phone out and snap a picture to mass send to everyone.""

Megumi wiped her eyes again, laughing a little. The rings were so gorgeous and it made her heart swell to know that she was now promised to him. There was no threat of another. There was no....anything. She was his. She was going to be /his/ in more than just a physical and spiritual way. "I love you so much right now." She laughed a little, her breath hitching. "I don't even know if I can hold my phone steady. Hang on." She dug through her purse /thankful/ that the one thing she didn't forget today was her phone. She wiped her eyes again, fucking emotions, and carefully took a picture of the rings and sent out /I said yes?/

Ikki was the /fastest/ /FUCKING FINALLY! Congratulations! I love you guys!/

"Ikki's....really happy right now. I think I made his night." Megumi showed the text to Ukyo.

Ukyo cracked up a bit, grinning madly, "In fact, he even texted me earlier saying I should hurry up and propose. I didn't want to tell him he was right."

Megumi laughed, "Oh god. He's so impatient. I bet he's been waiting for it since we moved in."

"I wouldn't doubt it." Ukyo rubbed his face and hers, kissing her sweetly, "Let's go home."

()
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Mon May 08, 2017 11:03 pm

When Tsume woke up feeling like /absolute shit/, all stuffed up and nasally, her head throbbing, Tsume knew it was that time of year to escape over to her parents for a week while it passed. Stupid seasonal allergies. She didn't want any of her friends to see her like this. It was the worst because she was so used to feeling their emotions. While on her period, emotions were haywire. When she was sick? She might as well had never made the wish and it was scary and not cool. The only people she could handle this for was with her mother and father, so after going to the school, sneaking around so Ikki or the others wouldn't catch her, she got homework for the week and also went to the doctor, getting a notice that she would be back to work as soon as she was feeling better.

Calling her mom, she let her know of her arrival and packed a big bag. The medicine her doctor gave her was barely starting to work when she got there, and she barely said hello before going to pass out in her old room.

It took about three days total before she felt human enough and her parents got her to have dinner with them. Afterwards, she sat in the living room and watched the TV until her mother came in. Immediately, there was a change in the atmosphere. She didn't /need/ her power to tell her mother was about to start her usual tirade. "Mom..." she tried to stop it before it started, but she wasn't going to be so lucky.

"Now, Tsume, how long before you're going to finally move back home for good? You don't see us very often except for holidays or when you're sick anymore. How do you think that makes us feel?" her mother huffed, "You really should transfer back. We can find a college that offers the same thing as over there."

"Mom! It's barely begun this school season and this is my last year! I'm not about to transfer right in the middle of it! That's a lot of unnecessary complication I /don't/ need!" Tsume groaned, "Why? Why do you do this to me every time?! I have friends! A lot of them! They'd miss me if I just up and left! Hell, some of them have already texted me asking what's up."

"So? You can make new friends here. They don't matter. We can deal with the complications of moving. Your father and I have connections."

"So? So?!" Tsume stood up, "Are you /kidding/ me?! They don't /matter/?! They matter to me! What is /with/ you?! You let me leave and then immediately you wanted me back!"

"Your father is the one who convinced me to let you go, to experience new things. I never wanted that. I gave you a chance to find a good man you that could bring into the family and it's been three years! Your cousin got married before you and he's younger than you!"

"I know that! I was so happy for him! I wanted it, too! You don't have the right to rush me and force me to have grandchildren for you to fuss over! A wedding you can go all out over! Why can't you just let me live my life? What does it matter if I find a good man, anyway?"

"He has to have a good head on his shoulders and a life ahead of him so he can take care of you. Obviously. You're being obstinate." She huffed at her again, "I will begin arrangements for you to come back within this next week. You've had enough time frolicking about. It's time to try and focus on your life."

"I am focusing on my life! I have a boyfriend!" Tsume fumed, "You will do no such thing! You will leave me alone!"

Her mother's eyes went huge, comically so. Then she turned sweet. It /sickened/ Tusme. "Oh? Why didn't you say so in the first place, dear? We could've avoided this entire confrontation. What's he like? /Is/ he a good match for you?"

"That's none of you goddamn business now get out of my way. I'm leaving immediately." Tsume stormed around the couch, avoiding getting close to her mother and stormed off to her room. She barely managed to zip it up after stuffing all of her supplies into it, but she did manage to find her father in his study.

"You are your mother's daughter. So ferocious and stubborn." Was all he said, a sigh following. "I hope this man makes you happy, Tsume."

"He does, papa. Thank you." Tsume kissed his cheek and hugged him before she left out the front door, knowing her mother would think she would head to the back to sneak out.

She passed out on the train, barely waking up for her stop. She was exhausted after that. She shouldn't have gone. Honestly, she believed she was going to her home when she realized the doorstep she was standing on wasn't that of her apartment complex. Blinking, delirious, she rang the bell, glad it wasn't Hisako's place.
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Mon May 08, 2017 11:40 pm

Megumi was the one that answered after a moment. They weren't really used to hearing the doorbell since Hisako just wandered in like she was the queen and all the guys besides Kent and Toma even bothered, but they rarely showed up unless it was with the usual crowd. But for her to see Tsume standing there, bag in hand and looking miserable was enough for her to move out of the way and gesture her inside. "I don't like that look." She said after a moment. "I'm going to make tea. Here put your bag over here." She helped Tsume move it so that no one would accidentally run into it and headed towards the kitchen to make tea. "Where is..." She muttered to herself as she looked through the cupboard. She found a list attached to the door and she looked at it before nodding her head. "So we do have it, I'm just a blind bat." She found the tea flavor she knew would be good and started working on boiling water and finding good tea cups.

"My parents know I have a boyfriend." Tsume said as she heard Megumi's footsteps get closer. She had curled up on the couch and her eyes were red. Not from crying, thankfully. She was so used to the bullshit and drama by now, but her allergies made her rub them a lot. She knew water was boiling. "I went to my parent's place like I usually do when my hayfever hits me so I could suffer more or less in peace. I didn't want you guys to fuss over me..."

"I'm going to guess that didn't go down so well." Megumi said as she sat down next to her. She touched her shoulder, not really knowing if she should go for a hug or not yet. Sisters they might be one day, boundaries were still needing to be talked about among other things. "Do I need to go egg their house? I've done worse, but I don't think Ukyo will let me do anything too strenuous."

"No. I love my father, he doesn't deserve it. It's just...my mom...Ikki chuckled at me when I complained, but..." Tsume sighed and explained to her the whole situation and by the time she was done, the water kettle whistled.

Megumi took that as a welcome distraction and went to pour them the tea. She remembered to set the timer so that the tea would brew and waited. While she did that, she gave herself that time to think of a response. Once the tea was brewed she threw away the bags and walked over carefully to the couch, pressing a mug into Tsume's hands and sitting back down. "How messed up." Was the first thing that she said. "To be forced and marry someone, I can't imagine that type of pain. I also can't imagine how lonely your mother's life is, to assume that friendships are less than relationships. I'm sorry my brother laughed at you. I'm sure he didn't understand the depths. He would find this insulting, I find this insulting."

"My mother's the stricter of the two. I like to think I'm a lot more like my father. Except when my temper gets out of hand. Then I'm my mother." Tsume sighed and pushed herself to sit up, cradling the tea like it was a lifeline, "I didn't mean to come here, really. I was just going to go home and wallow. I'm glad I did, though. If I'm inconveniencing you I'll make it up to you later. I just...my ability is severely dampened and it scares me which is why I go to my parents' place for a week until I feel better."

Megumi gave Tsume a look. "Family is really important to me and to Ukyo." She said to her, grabbing her wrist that was holding the mug. She was careful not to make it spill. "You're not inconveniencing us. I'd rather you here and miserable on our couch, than at home where we won't know if you're okay or not." She felt like crying. She's been crying at the drop of the hat it was starting to get annoying. "If you need a safe place to be scared in, then come here. Our door is always open. You're going on the list of people that don't have to ring the doorbell. This is your home too."

Tsume laughed softly and nodded, "Will you call Ikki and tell him? I'm not too sure he'll understand me on the phone, anyway. I want to see him. I didn't like being so far away from him. Do you feel like that with Ukyo?"

Megumi took a sip of her tea and set it down on the table. Her phone was...somewhere. "I never want to be apart from him again." She admitted, knowing that she was probably being too honest here, but she couldn't help it. "Not when he's never been apart from mine from the get-go. Where's my phone? Oh jeez....where did....bedroom?"

"I saw the text about your engagement while I was out. Congratulations." Tsume smiled as Megumi started looking around for her phone. She settled against the cushions and sipped her tea, just...relaxing and closing her eyes...

~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Tue May 09, 2017 12:20 am

Ikki was kind of surprised when he saw Megumi's name on his screen when she called him. He was expecting Tsume, but his sister would do. "Hello?"

"Tsume's at my place, really upset if you want to play good boyfriend and comfort her. She's also sick with hayfever." Megumi said, not even cutting corners.

All Ikki heard was that Tsume was upset and sick. "What's her temperature like? Is she hydrating? I'm coming over there. Make sure she's resting. Who upset her? Do I even want to know?"

"She doesn't even know what you're capable of!" Ikki threw one of his hands up in the air as he started searching for his wallet. Should he grab his sunglasses? No, what if the fangirls decided to find him and try to get in his way. Maybe he needed something more powerful than-

"You are NOT wearing a mask!"

"What are you a mind reader?!" Ikki demanded, a bit shocked that Megumi caught on so fast.

"When it comes to you I'm a natural telepath and you are /not/ embarrassing the family house." Megumi snapped.

Ikki could hear laughter coming from the other end of the phone. "Is that Tsume? Let me talk to her!"

"No way! Not till you swear to me that you're not going to do something epically humiliating and bring me shame."

"Honey," Ikki's voice dripped with sarcasm and dryness. "You are the shame."

Megumi let out a gasp. "Let's see if I let you into this house then."

The laughter turned into coughing, and a hoarse, scratchy voice called, "This is better than TV!"

"I'm glad we can provide entertainment." Ikki and Meg said together at the same time.

"I'm going to head over there. She sounds bad. I don't like that cough. Do you need me to grab medicine? Do you even /have/ any for those coughs?" Ikki continued.

"I should, somewhere...." Megumi faltered.

Ikki hated this. Megumi's memory wasn't as reliable. She forgot the littlest to the biggest things and having her along with a sick Tsume inside one house, he worried about what that could be. Her forgetfulness was worrisome, her tiredness even more so. He was half-way tempted to have Ukyo just admit her to the hospital, but right now Meg wasn't the leading concern. "I'll be there in a few clicks. Give Tsume my love."

"Give it to her yourself." He could hear Meg's eye roll in that.

~

Laughing and coughing had made Tsume tired again, on top of the medicine Ukyo brought her from the bathroom and Megumi kept tea in fresh supply, reheating her cup if she left it to get cold on the coffee table when she fell asleep. She was just starting to drift when she heard the door close. Of course Ikki would just barge in. "I'm not dying. No need to slam things." She croaked, cracking a swollen eye open.

"Oh if you were dying he wouldn't be slamming things." Megumi offered as she watched her brother nearly throw himself onto the couch. "He'd just be furious."

"You shut up." Ikki pointed at her before turning to Tsume. "How are you?"

"I feel like crap...but better now I can see you. Though I realized I'm not very pretty right now. I know I look like how I feel." Tsume pouted, but she smiled sincerely at him. Her eyes were blurry, but his face was so clear.

"Fishing for compliments?" Ikki teased her as he brushed her hair out of her face. "You know you're beautiful to me even if you are a mess."

Megumi rolled her eyes and quietly walked out of the living room to the kitchen. They didn't need her extra commentary.

"You'd be whining, too, crying that your beautiful face was ruined if you had snot all over it." Tsume teased him, but she leaned into his touch. "Your hand is cool...it feels good. This fever is a beast."

"Meg told me that you were upset though she didn't go into much detail about it too. The added stress isn't helping." Ikki frowned as he rested his hand there. "I'm glad you came here instead of going straight home, though you could've come over to my place as well if it wasn't too far for you."

"Kinda just...ended up here? It was unintentional. I don't even remember it. I just remember the train station and then Megumi's door." Tsume shrugged, "I have medicine my doctor gave me, but Ukyo gave me some, too. If you're wondering. About...why I'm upset..." she furrowed her brows and her lips down-turned, "Remember when we talked about our moms?"

"Yeah." Ikki said softly. "Did your mom say something about me? About us?"

"Actually...she was /threatening/ me, saying she was going to use her connections to get me to transfer schools, and told me to transfer my job, too." Tsume took a deep breath, "She said my friends didn't matter, that I could make new ones, and it was time I stopped /frolicking/ and focus on finding a man to take care of me. I had to...tell her about you. She got all sweet on me and tried to ask me questions and I just left."

Megumi mentally prepared herself to actually step in if she needed to. She knew that Ikki had a temper. His fuse was long as fuck, but there were certain things that set it off. She walked out of the kitchen and leaned against the wall, watching this.

Ikki's expression turned cold. "Is that so?" He knew his sister was waiting for an explosion and he'd give her one later. Right now, his focus was Tsume. "I knew that they were pushing you, but I wasn't expecting /this/." He closed his eyes and swallowed his anger. He could lash out later. He could lash out so much later. "You're out of that household now and you're in a better one. At least /here/ you can focus on things that actually matter to you, than some sort of fantasy."

"My father was happy for me, said he hoped you make me happy..." Tsume whispered. Her abilities were fucked, but she didn't need them. His eyes were expressive enough. His jaw even ticked and his voice pitch changed. She was sure if she was top notch that she would be staggered by it. "You do make me happy, Ikki. I'm glad you're here." She brought her hand up to caress the one he had on her cheek.

Thank god Tsume knew how to calm a raging fire, otherwise, Meg thought she was going to have to try to fight fire with fire. Mentally exhausted, she went back to her hiding hole. Disaster avoided for now.

~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Tue May 09, 2017 12:56 am

It was basically a family night sleepover, as weird as the title was. Tsume was in the guest bedroom that Meg and Ukyo had, and Ikki was going to take the couch even though Megumi just rolled her eyes at him for it. She did that a lot with him, it was kind of funny. Since Meg and Ukyo (Uki, Ikki reminded himself) helped cook dinner, Ikki had offered to wash the dishes and was doing so mindlessly. The moment he finished and wiped his hands off, he turned to see Megumi leaning against the island counter. "What?" He snapped.

"You are so angry it almost hurts." Megumi said, leaning a bit further. "And you need someone to lash out on. You won't do it to Tsume, she's sick. You won't do it to Ukyo, you care too much about how he feels."

"I'm not lashing out on you either." Ikki turned back around. "Not when you're-"

"We don't know what I am. Ill? Dying?" She watched Ikki's shoulders twitch. She knew she hit a nerve there. "You need to talk to someone, Ikki, and no one here is going to be a better listener than me. Unless you want to try brother to brother bonding with Ukyo. I'm sure he'd appreciate that."

Ikki gritted his teeth and turned around. "Don't play coy."

Megumi pushed herself up and tilted her head at him. She knew she got him now.

He looked at her furiously for a few moments that stretched into minutes. "Her mother reminds me of yours. Only worse because she's actually in Tsume's life, she's just trying to sabotage from the inside. What parent /does/ that? Friendships don't matter? What on earth does she think a family is? A stranger in your bed?"

"Something like that, I'm sure." Megumi said softly.

"It's sick." Ikki spat. "It's so sick it makes my stomach clench. She's happy with anyone, anyone at all and she doesn't care what her /daughter/ thinks? Until of course she finds out that she already made her decision? Then it's /okay/?! Seriously? I get that Tsume is the only child, and I understand over-protectiveness, but this isn't overprotective this is /selling/ your /child/ to the /highest bidder/. That is just as bad as being /abandoned/. I thought I saw /enough/ with your creatures we call "parents", but no. No. Tsume's mom is just icing on a very fucked up cake."

Whoa. Creatures? "Does that make Tsume's mom a witch?" Megumi asked casually.

"I wouldn't dare insult Hisako's magic by putting her in that category." Ikki shook his head. "No, she's worse than that. I'll think of something when I have a clearer head."

"I'm going to look that woman in the eye and tell her that while I love Tsume with all my heart and soul, I'm going to make it very fucking clear that she's not going to be putting that type of thought into our /child's/ head. Like no. No. I'm never /ever/ going to rush them into loving someone or having kids or anything like that. It's not a fucking race. It's not whose going to get more. I tease you about it sure, but that's because we're different. You /know/ that I'm not actually challenging you to a goddamn race. We're going to better than them, Meg. You and me and Tsume and Ukyo. We're going to be so much better because we know something they don't and that's how to /fucking love someone/."

Megumi really wished that she wasn't so easy to set off into tears, but that last part was enough to make a few fall down her face. Ikki's anger sapped away almost instantly and he quickly got to her side. "See? I knew I should've stayed quiet. I hurt you. I'm sorry."

"You didn't hurt me. I'm just...really easy to set off right now and what you said is true and is right and I want that." Megumi explained as she wiped way her tears. "I know you're suffering and I know that this is upsetting because this is another girl you love who has horrible parents, but at least it's just the one right? At least you have one other parent that you two can lean on. We're good with single parents. Just pretend she doesn't exist like you pretend my parents don't exist."

"Creatures. They're creatures. We talked about this." Ikki said, though his concern was showing. He helped her wipe away her tears. "You have a /parent/. Maybe I should pretend they're dead." He mused. "Like, I can pretend Tsume's mother is the wicked stepmom and easy to ignore and your parents are like...my mom and we stop mentioning them all together and you're actually my sister and stuff."

Megumi let out a choked out laugh. "I don't think that's how life works."

"Then you live a really boring life." Ikki poked her cheek. "What's with the lists on the cupboards?"

"You get angry and then you get curious. Can you pick something and stick with it?" She laughed a little. "It's our way for me to remember what's inside what cupboard so I'm not taking everything down and putting everything back up."

"Sorry I needed the change in conversation. I don't know how long I could keep going." Ikki admitted and sighed softly. "Also I /was/ curious."

Megumi sighed and then wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tightly. Ikki tightened his grip. He was thankful that even if "life didn't work that way", Meg was his sister and Tsume was his girlfriend. Fucked up parents or not, Ikki knew that he was a lucky son of a bitch to have them both. Just like he was lucky to get a brother-in-law in Ukyo. At least he could /count/ his blessings. Tsume's mom? Megumi's creatures? He doubted they even knew what it looked like.

()
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Tue May 09, 2017 2:11 am

It’s been a week since the proposal, but it’s been also another week of emotions not working, forgetting things, and now more recently feeling sudden waves of vertigo just suddenly crash on her. The first time had been when he had pulled out the ring box, but the second time and the third time had all been at school. The fourth was when she was heading down the stairs in her own home when she suddenly had to grip the railing half-way down and try her hardest not to fall.

She was kind of thankful that Ukyo only caught the tail end of that. But his concern was growing too. More often than not, she saw him text Ikki, asking for his advice or perhaps if her symptoms were getting worse at school. She was kind of thankful her grades weren’t suffering and her work wasn’t either. However, she was also getting worried, and scared.

The first thing she did was try to research her own symptoms. A lot of it was accompanied with a fever, but she didn’t have one. She tried other avenues, but they all were telling her things she didn’t think were quite right, since she didn’t have anything else wrong. No pain, no aches. No bleeding.

Bleeding. The moment that thought went through her head, she remembered Ukyo asking her when she might be on her own period. He had assumed this week, but…

She wasn’t bleeding. She could have been scheduled to have it a long time ago too, and never had it then. When /was/ the last time she bled? She couldn’t ask Ukyo that question, that was embarrassing and he probably wouldn’t even know. They were world jumping back then.

Could it be possible though? That made her heart clench and her stomach turn nervously. She knew that tests were starting to become a little more accurate. She also knew that they were starting to be able to detect earlier so that a woman would be able to know sooner when or what to do. She thought about getting one herself, but doing it alone made her want to hide.

Hisako would be a support, but she was working. Ikki wouldn’t mind helping her out, but she worried about what he might think of her. Would he think that this was too fast? Too soon? She didn’t dare think about Ukyo, for what if he had the same thought? Sure, they talked about children and wanting them. But what if he assumed that was /far/ into the future? What if he was waiting till after marriage or after some big milestone like the romantic that he is?

Oh god she fucked this up.

She found her phone quickly enough this time since she got into the habit of carrying it with her /every/where and called the one person she knew she could trust.

~

"It's a good thing we grabbed a couple. They often work best right in the morning, but you can take one now and it won't hurt." Tsume soothed Megumi as she looked in the bag. She'd asked Ikki to take Ukyo out somewhere for some private girl time with Meg and he'd jumped on it in no time flat. The trip to the store had been an interesting one, but Tsume wasn't going to press or ask questions until she was ready to talk.

"Right." Megumi said swallowing nervously. She felt bad for Tsume. She knew that her emotions were all over the place and hard to name. She didn't even know what kind of result that she /wanted/. Positive? Negative? She was thankful that Tsume was with her, even though she was certain she was suffering from a headache right now. "Thank you for helping me." She felt her voice catch. "I'll just...wish me luck?"

"Of /course/, sweetie. Deep breaths. In, out." Tsume tried to protect a wave of calm, but she was still trying to recover so it was small. "It's all going to be okay, no matter what."

"In and out." Megumi echoed and followed the breathing pattern as she made her way to the restroom. It took a few moments, and a little longer since she didn't know if she really wanted to see the result, but...she turned the test over in her hands and she felt the world both plummet to the ground and she felt high on cloud nine and she wasn't sure /which/ was more terrifying. She bowed her head and tried to follow the breathing pattern that Tsume told her to. In and out. In and out. She tossed the test away and washed her hands. In and out. The moment she got back into the living room, and saw Tsume there, she felt her eyes water. She felt like she was an insecure teenager again who was finally after years of searching given a place in the world. She sat back down next to Tsume. "What are they going to think of me?"

"Just because it's unplanned, doesn't mean it's unwanted." Tsume shushed her softly and brought her into her arms. Slowly she rocked her, stroking her hair tenderly, "Ikki and Uki are probably going to go awol trying to make sure you're safe through the whole pregnancy. Ikki and Ukyo are also probably going to lose their minds in euphoria at the same time. All in all, Ikki will no doubt plan the baby shower slash gender reveal party. There's no way you're going to make it nine months without finding out the gender."

Megumi let out a laugh because yeah, Hisako might throw the best parties, but Ikki would have a plan for this one and would /fight/ for it. Ukyo would probably be happy, but what about Uki? She couldn't exactly ask about that, but that's alright. She hugged Tsume back. "You don't think it's too fast? Too soon? Too...something?"

"It happens, sweetie. Too fast or too soon doesn't matter anymore. Thinking into the future doesn't suit you. You have so many friends and family and they're all going to take care of you." Tsume twirled her finger in Megumi's hair, "Now that you know what's going on, are puzzle pieces coming together and you're feeling better that you know you're /not/ dying?"

"I mostly said that to get Ikki to shut up." Megumi said, her cheeks flushing. "But....it's a lot better than most of the scenarios I came up with. I'm sure it's a /lot/ better than the ones /Ukyo/ came up with." Heaven forbid Ikki coming up with a few himself, and making it worse. "Um...can I ask you to keep this a secret for now? I want to tell Ukyo and Ikki on my own. They deserve to hear this from me."

"Not a problem. They can both relax once you do. Let me guess, you'll probably wait until Halloween for the massive reveal?" Tsume grinned.

"Why not?" Megumi laughed a little. "Hisako needs to stop being filled with doom and gloom. So if I steal her thunder for five minutes, I'm sure I'll be forgiven somehow. She can't poison me though which is wonderful."

"No Death Drinks for you how tragic." Tsume snickered, "You should make a list of things to ask yours and Ikki's mom. I don't know much about her except that she's a doctor so she's going to be the best advice ever."

"I'm sure I'm going to get that list answered before I even write it if Ikki beats me to texting mom after I tell them." Megumi smiled warmly. "Thank you, Tsume. For being here with me and supporting me."

"I'll help you the best I can, too. All the free massages. Might use you, Ikki, and Ukyo as my guinea pigs for what I learn at school." Tsume winked at her and she stood up, "Is that all you need me for, sweetie?"

"I can do the rest on my own. And if I panic I'll text you and you can laugh at me." Megumi promised. "Ikki's going to love that massage though if you offer it to him. Especially if it comes with a "Happy Ending"."

~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Wed May 10, 2017 11:10 am

Ukyo had enjoyed his impromptu day with Ikki, showing each other their usual haunts and some of Ikki's fangirls tried to get in his space, but Ikki easily told them off saying Ukyo was recently engaged and they were celebrating. Now he was home and enjoying himself, making a simple dinner that didn't require Uki to take over. He was glad Tsume was feeling better and no longer in their house, leaving it back to just him and Megumi. He liked Tsume, that wasn't the problem. He had just been worried about Megumi getting actually really sick. With all this forgetting, it was so strange and it worried him. Worried Ikki and Kent, since Kent had to hear about it through the grapevine and then see it for himself when she hung out with them.

Now, he slid the last grilled cheese onto a plate and heard Meg walk in. Turning everything off, he turned to her, smile wide, when he lost it instantly at her nervous expression. "What's wrong, sweet love? Are you okay? Did something happen today with Tsume?"
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Wed May 10, 2017 11:29 am

She wished that she had a better grip on her expressions, because she hadn't wanted him to worry. But just thinking about telling him was like asking her to go on stage and make a speech. Well, at least she knew how to handle a panicking Ukyo. "I'm alright." She promised as she walked over to the stove to grab a plate. "I'm just...a little stuck. Did you and Ikki have fun? I know he can be a little much."
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Wed May 10, 2017 3:55 pm

So she wanted to talk to him but didn't know how? Okay, he could deal with that, even though he was still concerned. "We had a lot of fun. He was a little regretful a lot of the places he took me were places he takes his fangirls, but I enjoyed myself. I showed him my favorite photography spots, which he fawned over. I don't get to do that very often. We talked about you, and Tsume, and what you two could be doing. I wasn't surprised to see the snacks in the cupboard and fridge so I know you two went to the store."
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Wed May 10, 2017 4:44 pm

Megumi laughed a little, "We thought that hanging indoors and watching movies was a good idea for fun." She was happy that Ikki had a good time and that they both were able to click. Though she was certain that a lot of that conversation was out of worry and concern as well, and both trying to assure the other that certainly since Tsume was there, everything would be okay. She took her plate and headed to the table and sat down, him following the suit. "Do you mind if I ask you a question? About your family? Like what your mom's like, or your dad?"
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 12:05 am

"My mother's the reason for all the travelling. I've never had any malice towards either of them, even though I know Ikki thinks it's abandonment." Ukyo said first, slowly, "I learned quickly not to keep friends, though made friends in the moment and enjoyed the time I had with them, making it clear I might move again. Which is why I've been so happy to become a part of your family." He scratched his nose, thinking, "My father's camera was mainly meant for quick snapshots. He didn't really care about photography, just memories. I understand that concept, too, and tried to make a few scrapbooks but they always got lost in the moves and I couldn't keep up with them anymore. I just started keeping them on my computer and that was that. Still. My parents were-are good people. Busy, but good."

"They might. It's quite possible. I can send them an invitation, and if they can't they might at least send gifts." Ukyo hummed, tapping his chin.

"I hope I get to meet them." Megumi smiled brightly. "They do sound like really good people. It'd be nice to know them as family too and maybe Ikki can ease up meeting them. He's met mine, so...there's a reason for the hostility." She wondered how she should lead into this. There...really wasn't a good way. She didn't want to come out and say it either. She wanted...to give him what he gave her. Sometimes he just came out and said it, but sometimes he had a romantic side...and this...needed a bit of a romantic side. So she thought.

Ukyo worried his lip at her silence, but his food was getting cold so he got some ketchup from the fridge and took his plate to start eating. He was rather confused, and his stomach twisted. She seemed okay. Happy, albeit nervous and uncertain. So much had been going on and he and Ikki had admitted to each other that the sudden girl day didn't sit right and was very odd. He didn't want to push her, but he just...

Uki made a grimace as he came forward and rubbed his face, "If you make him chew on it any longer he might break a few teeth."

"I'm sorry?" Megumi scratched her cheek. "That wasn't my intention. I mean..." She huffed out a breath. "I'm going to tell you guys. I am. You just...have to give me some time to figure out /how/. I don't...this is huge and a little scary, but I don't want it to come /across/ like that."

"/Are/ you /really/ okay?" Uki blinked slowly at her, tearing a bite off of the grilled cheese in his hand. "You and Tsume still fine? If it's so scary then am I right to be freaking out a bit?"

Megumi took a breath and let it out slowly. She took a bite of the sandwich, not minding that it was a little cold. It tasted better that way in her opinion, even if he thought she was weird. She set the sandwich down and spoke. "I can name four times you changed my life and I can only recall two, maybe three I changed yours."

Uki didn't say anything, just ate quietly and watched her expectantly, eyebrow raised.

"The first time you changed my life was in Kobe and I'm not talking about how I instantly fell in love with you." Megumi smiled a little as she took another bite to eat. "I'm talking about the way you spoke about your past to a complete stranger. You literally poured your heart out and was vulnerable to someone that you didn't know. It was a beautiful, yet terrifying moment I had ever seen. Which is why when you...open yourself up and I see it and I know...I kiss you." She blushed a little. "A little out of protectiveness because I don't want someone to see it and use you, but also out of love, because you're so strong to be able to do that. I'm more of a...happy cynic Kent and Hisako would call it. The second time was when you decided to date me, that's obvious. I'd say the wish changed my life, but...I think it was when you told me you loved me forever. That's what changed it the most. The fourth is obviously when you proposed to me. Though I'm wondering where you stand with it all, but...that's another story."

"I feel as though I should've switched back, but it's sweet to hear and he can hear you now, better than before, anyway." Uki told her carefully.

Megumi frowned, "Well...it's for the both of you really. Because this might be the first time I'm changing yours and the fourth time I'm changing his."

She took bit her lip, hard. "I know you're a survivalist. I know he's the sweetest. I know you're protective over me and over him. I know that he's clumsy and a little terrifying with how he doesn't pay attention to his surroundings. I know about your devotion to me." At this she swallowed. "You can no longer die for me, either of me."

"That's quite a declaration. Wasn't that an understanding we came to?" Uki asked, brows furrowing now. "You're leading up to something, but now /I'm/ quite concerned."

"You kept freaking out over the death questions and you even said what you would do if it was me or you or something." Megumi pointed out, "It is what we agreed, but if I die before my time you have to stay around. Just like when you die, I have to stick around. We..." She stood up and she walked over and sat down next to him. She was scared, she was terrifed. This could go wrong. This could go so wrong. But she grabbed one of his hands and placed it against her womb. "I'm pregnant."

Uki froze, his eyes going huge, before his expression went completely blank.

/'Why did you do that? What the hell? You should've shoved me forward, or stayed, or something! You're going to make her think this is bad! Uki!/

/We should've seen this coming! Everything...it all makes sense! A month...a month and a half, and she didn't show /any/ signs of being on her time and here we are about to have a child because we weren't paying attention!/

/What matters most is whether or not we want it!/ Ukyo took control long enough to surge into Meg and wrap her up tight, "Hang on...just...gimme a sec..." he said hoarsely, freezing up again.

/No wonder she's been so damn terrified! We're a mess! We're not stable! I'm not supposed to even /exist/ but you're so harebrained she's the only one that matters! Your mind broke and boom! We were doing better, but now this?! There'll never be a chance for you to be normal, Ukyo! We've been having to take care of her lately and now we'll have to take care of a child. How are we supposed to raise a child with you switching back and forth all the time? 'Oh that's just how he is'? What about when they get older? Start figuring out the lies and the truth?/

Megumi had a feeling that they were fighting about it now. She wondered who was on what side. She knew that Ukyo's hug was supposed to be assuring, supposed to be grounding, but it made her worry. She wrapped her arms around him and bowed her head against his shoulder. She knew, she knew that what she was doing was cruel to them. She hoped that one of them would talk to her about it, but right now it felt like the two sides needed to come to terms with it before they could come up and talk to her about what they should do.

/We'll be fine! We...if something happens we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. We can.../

/We can what? Pass them around the group? Shove them onto Ikki or Tsume for a night?/

/I was going to say we can do this! You're a part of me and you didn't even guess that? If anybody takes them it'll never be forced!/ There was a pause as sparks flew in Ukyo's brain and his outward body shook hard. Then he sagged and swayed as Ukyo won out and he tightened his grip on her, a huge breath escaping. "I have the /worst/ headache after that." He groaned.

"I'm really, really sorry." Megumi said softly, hugging him close to her. "I knew that I was going to throw one of you for a loop."

"Both, technically, but...we both agree that we want the baby. He never suggested otherwise. What he was so forceful about was...the...mental instability." Ukyo murmured.

Megumi pulled away, watching him worriedly. "What about it?" She asked softly, cupping her hand against his cheek.

"Let's...sit down...and I'll explain what just happened." Ukyo kissed her forehead and gripped her arm a bit, before returning to his seat. After a few good breaths, he laid it out.

"See that was the panic I was bracing for." Megumi admitted, placing her hand against her face and sighing loudly. "I'm kind of surprised that it was Uki out of the two of you that went off the broom's handle. I'm so used to you, I'm a little shocked."

Ukyo rubbed his neck, "This cycle of panic is a little ridiculous. I'm glad things have been sorted out a little, though. You can go to the doctors and we can get some basic tests done or something? Isn't Ikki's mother a doctor? It'd be good if she knew and can guide you though this. When were you thinking on /telling/ Ikki? Tsume obviously knows."

"After telling you. Maybe when I get a hold of him next, make a day out of it." Megumi smiled a little, though she was kind of relieved. "I'm sure the moment I tell Ikki, he's going to be blasting a text to mom and then we'll have a surprise guest and it'll just go down hill from there." She made a soft gesture of a stone rolling before she paused. "You know the kid's going to love the both of you and they're not going to care about the technicalities."

"Day to day, right?" Ukyo reached for her and took her hand tightly in his, "We can do this. /I'm/ excited. I am. I'll have that happy freakout later when it really hits me. I'm sorry it's sort of subdued right now." He laughed softly, "You know there's going to be a bet on the gender, right? I'm happy with whatever, I told you, but I really hope you don't have twins."

"You're going to jinx it and I'm going to laugh at you if we do." Megumi laughed lightly before she hugged him tightly. "I love you. I'm so in love with you. I'll love the child or children just as much. I'm glad you're not upset about it, and that you are happy about it." She placed her head against his. "It doesn't matter that it's subdued, I know you're happy and that's enough for me, love. Thank you."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 12:19 am

Ikki was concerned. Well, when it came down to his sister and her “illness”, concerned only covered just the half of it. She didn’t seem to be too worried, but she seemed to be nervous. She dragged him around, trying to find things that were fun to do. They did the arcade, they went to karaoke, and she hung out with him as he showed her some places that he found around the city that his fangirls explored. By the time dinner came around, Ikki was more than suspicious. The last time she dragged him around like this, she was trying to distract him from going home because his mom had planned something huge. He wasn’t sure what was going on now, considering that they were out of the house and he had no intention of going home soon.

“Okay spill.” He said as he picked up his glass of wine and took a sip of it.

“Spill?” Megumi blinked at him over her menu.

“You’re not drinking wine, you’re drinking water, and you’re pondering over that menu like it just gave you a riddle and I know you’re easy.” Ikki frowned at her, setting his glass aside and giving her a look. “So what’s going on?” His eyebrows furrowed.

She took a breath in and let it out slowly as she folded the menu up and placed it to the side. She placed her hands on the table and she started fidgeting with her fingers. Ikki braced himself, knowing that what she was going to say was going to be hard to hear. He placed his menu aside as well, already knowing what he wanted.

“I’m sorry that Tsume asked you to distract Ukyo for me while we had our girls’ day. I just…” Megumi bit her lip. “I didn’t want him to…”

“Panic.” Ikki finished softly. “No I understand. Did…” He pursed his lips together. “What did you find out?”

“I can’t have alcohol anymore and soon enough I can’t be roughhousing with you too.” She replied, gripping her hands together. “I’m-“

“It was your heart after all, wasn’t it?” Ikki already made his conclusion. “I thought so. Ukyo and I had thoughts about it and I remember the doctor saying that just because it was a freak thing didn’t mean that it couldn’t happen again or that something could be worse and expose itself. I know Ukyo has been…enthusiastic since making you his, but…”

“Wa-wait a minute!” Megumi quickly grabbed Ikki’s hands and gripped his wrists. “No, it’s not like that.”

“What?” Ikki blinked at her.

“It’s not my heart. I’m okay. I’m going to be okay.” Megumi hoped that the assurance was enough. “Ikki…I beat you in giving mom grandbabies.”

“What?” Ikki’s voice went up. “You’re?”

“Yes!” Her cheeks flushed a bright pink. “I don’t know how far along. I’m thinking that it’s been a few weeks, give or take.”

“That’s…” He stood up and he went to her side, gathering her in his arms and holding her close. “My god, I’m going to be an uncle. I never…”

“Thought you’d get that?” Megumi teased, holding him back, tears threatening to spill.

“Basically.” Ikki agreed, pulling away from her. “How did Ukyo react?”

“One of them panicked completely. Worried about what they might be to the kid.” Megumi said softly, rubbing her lips together. “They want the baby. But, they’re worried about how they’re going to be perceived.”

“How’s the kid going to perceive me?” Ikki pointed out. “They’re going to ask you questions about why I’m surrounded by women and yet go home to Tsume.”

“And I’m going to have to explain that you’re special and that they’re not going to do what you do.” She smiled a little as she took a sip of her water. “I told Ukyo that the kid’s going to love him regardless. The both of him and they’re not going to care much.”

Ikki smiled softly, “Is he still panicking about you guys having twins?”

Megumi laughed lightly, “Is that his biggest fear? Really?”

“Twins run in our family.” Ikki pointed out. “Well, genetically mine, but…”

“You probably just tripled jinx me. Then Hisako’s going to say something. And then I am going to have twins and then the world’s going to collapse because Ukyo can’t handle that.” She couldn’t help but to snark.

He laughed, taking another sip of wine. When the waiter came, they ordered their food and turned back to the conversation at hand. “What are you hoping for?”

“Gender wise?”

“Yeah. Or don’t you care?” He tilted his head curiously.

“Hmm. Ukyo doesn’t care much. Uki doesn’t either, though I haven’t talked to him since the bomb dropped. I think he’s terrified of me now? Or maybe he’s trying to put distance between us? I have no idea honestly. But for me? Hmm…I wouldn’t mind a little girl.” She said, a light blush on her cheeks. “Ukyo’s good with me, and he has a gentle way of loving.”

“That he does.” Ikki agreed softly.

“I can see a little girl thriving underneath his care. I don’t know about a boy. I think we’re too gentle.” Megumi pursed her lips together.

“Nah. I think you’re the one that’s going to handle him or Uki for that matter.” Ikki laughed. “A girl huh?That’d be nice. I wouldn’t mind if it was a girl. Girls if possible.”

“You and Ukyo. I swear.” Megumi sighed, rolling her eyes up to the ceiling.

“You know who would be super excited about this?” Ikki asked as he pulled out his phone.

“No, who?” Megumi already had a feeling. “Mom?”

“Mom. I’m gonna text her.”

“You do that.”

“I’m gonna tell her we’re betting twins.”

“Why?!” Megumi bowed her head to the table. “Stop jinxing me!”

“It’s fun. And I like torturing Ukyo. I want to see his head go off when he finds out that I was right.” Ikki grinned mechanically as he sent the text. “Also, mom’s reaction is going to be priceless.”

“Oh my god, I’m in hell.” Megumi sighed softly. “I’m in hell.”

“Next time do protection and we won’t have this problem.” Ikki teased.

“We thought we were? I guess? I don’t know. I just know that it was a heat of the moment and then boom.” Megumi did a gesture and then paused. “So do me a favor actually. Don’t mass text everyone.”

“Huh? Why?”

“We’re going to break it to them at the Halloween party.”

Ikki’s eyebrows went up. “You’re going to steal Hisako’s thunder. Is that /wise/?”

“Like you weren’t planning the baby shower and stealing /that/.” Megumi dryly pointed out. “I think it is.”

“Whose actually doing the announcement?” Ikki placed a hand on his chin and leaned on his elbow.

“Uh…me I guess.”

“Oh that’ll be fun.” Ikki snorted. “We’ll see.”

“We’ll…see?” She didn’t like the sound of that.

“Yeah. You hate the spotlight. I bet you’re going to either hit the floor or run away.” Ikki grinned.

“Why do you bet /against me/?!” Megumi glared at him.

“Because it’s fun and because I like seeing your reactions. I only bet against you on things I know you’ll lose at. I never betted against you during a race.” Ikki assured.

“Wow, I’m so comforted right now.”

“You’re so loved too.”

“Sure, sure.” Megumi sighed. “When I get home and check my phone mom blew up, I’ll remember those words. “You’re so loved” when she’s freaking out.”

“So glad you were first.” Ikki held his wine glass up and they clinked their glasses even though Megumi gave him a look, but there was happiness there and Ikki was pleased that she wasn’t too upset with him.

He was still going to bet on the twins though.
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 1:40 am

~*~

(ok I know I IMed you but whatev XD)

Tsume had closed her homework book and putting it all in her bag for Monday when her phone jingled on her table with the custom jazz song she'd found. Ikki. She'd turned her phone on silent until a minute ago so she could be in peace, but she wasn't expecting a call so soon. She had just checked for messages, too.

Wondering what could be going on, she scrambled over to it and picked it up, pressing it to her ear when she answered, "Ikki? Are you okay?"
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 7:44 am

"Meg's pregnant!" Ikki said, sounding torn between excitement and some other emotion that was hard to identify. "I mean, you probably knew it. We all thought that the girl's day was weird, but...it's whatever. She's expecting, and I'm betting twins and oh my god it's going to be amazing. It's going to be so cool..." He trailed off. "I don't know if I can handle the responsibility."
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 8:33 am

"It almost sounds like you're the father..." Tsume drawled but she sounded amused as well, "You know the child or children is /their/ responsibility and you're the moral support, right? Yes, you're Uncle Ikki but they know you have your own life and won't force you to do anything. Besides, you have nine months to come to grips with this."
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 8:48 am

Ikki sighed, though it didn't sound sad nor exasperated. "That's too long." He sounded like a put out child. "But I know. I know I gotta wait. I'm sure Meg won't fair much better even if she does have the patience of the saint. Though I think that's only for Ukyo's benefit. She never had any patience for me. But Tsume, look at the big picture. We can practice with them. We can make awesome parents before we're parents. Who gets that kind of head start? We gotta be responsible. I want us to be the best." He trailed off. "I was just teasing, but it makes me wonder, you know? What kind of uncle will I be to a kid who only sees me surrounded by women? How am I going to tell them that I made a wish? Not many people believe me, and if they ask Meg, they'll think she's lying...and I don't want them to think her a liar. She never lies unless it's to rile up Ukyo, but that's mostly out of fun and she's quick to admit when she's just teasing. I know they won't think anything bad about Ukyo. They'll grow up with him like that. But I'm sure they'll ask questions about me. About my loyalty. I hate questions like that, but they're not gonna understand, Tsume. They'll be children, too curious."
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PostSubject: Re: There's an Ace up my Sleeve   Fri May 12, 2017 10:54 am

Tsume sucked in a breath and closed her eyes. She pinched the bridge of her nose and breathed even for a second. This got real heavy real quick. "Ikki...would you like me to come over?" He was bouncing between emotions way too much. Talking with a drunk usually went in circles, too, so being there with him would be best. "I know you're going to offer to come get me. How about we meet halfway? I'm going to grab something so I can sleep there, and you need to clear your head a bit."
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