Chapter Nineteen: Symphorophilia:

March 1st, 2010.

6:45 p.m.

Tsuzuki had a little shopping to do. Solo shopping for the wedding, that is. He had Anna's bridal kimono and accessories. He had gotten his clothes and bought the rings. Now, what's next? Every wedding needed a cake. Tsuzuki already had the perfect place in mind. He purchased Anna's birthday cake from Fairy Kiss Bakery. The shinigami already knew the girls there. They got along rather well in those short moments together.

Must… go… inside…

"Eat me!" the cakes cried. "Eat me! Eat me!" Drool touched the glass just like last time. The cakes and sticky buns held him hostage where he stood, but, he needed to go inside. I've got to go inside, the shinigami thought. I've got to. I've got to!

Inside, the two ladies watched Tsuzuki drool over the cakes. The younger of the two nudged her sister's arm.

"Same guy with his fiancée?" she whispered.

"Yep," her sister said, nodding.

"Shall I go get him?"

"Go ahead." Her sister walked outside to the sweet-loving man.

Tsuzuki battled a losing war with his sweet tooth when he felt a tap on his arm. The shinigami leapt up with a yelp. The teenage girl smiled at him.

"Hi," she said. "Again." Tsuzuki blinked at her.

"Oh, it's you," he said. The girl looked at him curiously, tilting her head. Tsuzuki mimicked the look on her face.

"What?" he asked.

"You're alone?" she asked.

"Huh?" the shinigami asked. "Oh, why yes. She doesn't know I'm here, in fact." His young friend looked intrigued.

"Oh, are you here for the…" she began to ask.

"Yes, I came for the cake for our wedding tomorrow," Tsuzuki said. "Are you still open?" The younger girl perked up at the word "wedding."

"Come with me," she said. Tsuzuki gleefully followed her into the store.

October 7th, 1966.

Hotaru had gotten rather used to having her new butch friend around. For once since she had ended up in Hell, someone treated her like a person. Emiko did a good job protecting her from the perverts in the second circle of Hell and Hotaru felt at ease around her. One day, she turned to her guard and friend.

"I don't get it," she said. Emiko gave her a puzzled look.

"Don't get what?" she asked. Hotaru took a sip of the fresh sake her friend had brought her from the surface.

"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asked. The other woman gave her a little smile.

"Because you're letting me," she said.

"But why?" Hotaru asked. Emiko swirled her beer bottle in her hand.

"Truth is," she said as she looked out on the barren wasteland. "You remind me of someone I know." Hotaru leaned in with big eyes.


"A forbidden love."

Hotaru really had to know now. "What are they like?"

The butch demon chuckled. "Innocent."


"Pure as the fluffy clouds in the sky. Her smiles ate up my loneliness. Her voice made me feel free again." The glow in the butch demon's face began to die. "But, I couldn't touch her."

"Why not?" Hotaru asked. Emiko lowered her beer bottle and turned to the former sales clerk. Hotaru had never seen her look so miserable with her eyes before. Emiko looked ready to cry.

"I'd taint her!" the butch demon said in a choked-up voice. "We are poison as demons. Everything we touch turns to rot. I can't let her turn into waste because of me!" She buried her head in her hands and groaned. Feeling pity for her, Hotaru rubbed her back. Though she was straight at the time, the former store clerk felt that she had to stay by her friend a little bit longer.

April 11th, 2010.

Hotaru sighed as she watched Akira-kun sleep in his crib in her room. Being a mother is good and all, but… Hotaru rolled over onto her back. I'm so lonely, she thought with a sigh.What will I do? I've been in a relationship for so long that I don't how to date again! What will I do?! There came a knock on her door.

"Yeah?" she asked.

"Hoto-chan?" Mike asked. "You okay in there? You've been kind down lately. Can come in?" Hotaru rolled her eyes to the ceiling.

"Whatever, sure," she said.

"Excuse me," the American man said. Hotaru watched as he slid open her door and gave him a little wave.

"Yo," she mumbled. Mike shook his head.

"Oh goodness," he said. "This won't work." He pulled up a chair next to the bed. "Talk to me here. What's the matter?"

Hoto-chan frowned. "I miss Emiko-sama!" she wailed.

"Yes, I know," he said. The loli demon rolled over onto her stomach.

"I'm so lonely," she said. Mike gave her a puzzled look.

"Well, don't you have a vibrator or something?" he asked. Hoto-chan hit him on the arm.

"Ow," he complained.

"Not like that!" Hotaru snapped. "I miss someone to cuddle with, someone to talk to and all that relationship stuff, you know?"

"So, which gender?" he asked.

"What?" she asked.

"Do you want a man or a woman?" he asked. Hoto-chan's face went blank.

"Oh…" she mumbled. Hotaru buried her face back into the pillow. Mike leapt out of his seat.

"What is it now?' he asked.

"I don't know!" she wailed.

"Huh?" her housemate asked. Hotaru lifted her head.

"I was with men before I died!" she wailed. "Emiko-sama's the only woman I've ever been with! And now…"

"You don't know what you want?" he finished.

"No…" the loli demon whimpered. She buried her head back into her pillow. Mike patted her on the head.

"There, there," he muttered. An idea suddenly formed in his head. "Hey, why don't I find you somebody special?" Hotaru looked up at him.

"What?" she asked in disbelief. Mike threw up his hands.

"Why not?" he asked. "You're pretty lonely and need someone to love again." The look in her eyes didn't trust him by second nature.

"Don't worry," he said. "I won't hook you up with a pervert. They will be good and single!" Hotaru narrowed her eyes at him.

"Promise?" she asked.

"Yes!" Mike insisted.

"You better!" she said.

"Oh, I will!" he said. Too bad that's all he had planned out. Oh boy, the man thought as he forced himself to grin.

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