Shadows & Roses


I stood in the shower humming softly to myself. I had just gotten back from working out at the Haninozuka dojo with Honey, Mori, Chika, Satoshi, Taro, Isamu and Kaori. I was a little surprised that Honey had invited Isamu, Riku and Kaori but he had insisted that he wanted them to be around Taro as much as possible now that they were back in my life.

Overall it had been fun. Kaori had decided that she was going to be Taro's sensei and tried to teach him things. She hadn't realized that he was too little to really follow all the instructions she had given him. However it had been adorable to watch Taro and Riku follow her around like baby ducks. Once in a while they would do something that was similar to a kick but never really anything serious.

After the time at the dojo I had bid farewell to my brother and niece and nephew before heading home. Taro had conked out in his room the moment we'd arrived home and I had slipped off to my bathroom to get a shower.

Kyoya was back in London for a week working things out with Hamako for their divorce. She was more than happy that he had finally given it to me and had even sent me note wishing Kyoya and I good luck. He would be back the next day and I couldn't wait. I missed him like crazy.

Washing the last of the soap from my body and hair, I turned the water off and stepped out of the shower. I had just wrapped my towel around me when I heard my phone ring. Hoping it was Kyoya I hurried out of my room and answered it without looking at the caller ID.

"Hello?" I asked.

"Sora?" a familiar voice asked from the other end.

I frowned at the phone for a moment, "Kasumi?"

"Yeah. What's up?" she asked her voice upbeat and cheerful.

"Um…I just got out of the shower. What do you want? You never call me." I said.

She sighed heavily from the other end of the line, "Look…I overheard what you told Mother and Father the other day and I want to tell you that I'm proud of you."

I was stunned, "Proud of me? Why because Mother and Father are probably going to disown me and you'll get everything?" I asked.

"No! Because you know what you want and you're doing it! I…I don't think I could ever face Mother and Father like that. That's why I'm being forced to marry Chika. I don't love Chika, Sora. I never have and I don't think I ever will." she replied.

I started to say something but she continued.

"Look…I know that we haven't gotten along in the past and the reason for that is I've been jealous of you Sora. I always have been. You were always Isamu's favorite and Mother and Father always concentrated on what they thought was best for your before they even thought about me. I was angry for a long time. I never realized just how unhappy you were with everything. I know that I've done awful things to you in the past but I would love to have a second chance to make things right." She finished.

I stood there for a few minutes as I let her words sink in. Was she serious? She wanted to try to make nice after 19 years of not getting along? I was torn. I wanted to believe it but somehow I wasn't sure I should.

"Sora? Are you there?"

I jumped a little as I remembered that Kasumi was still on the phone.

"Yeah. I'm here. Look…Kasumi…I don't know what to say." I said sinking onto my bed.

"You don't have to say anything. Why don't you just meet me for lunch? Please?" she asked, her voice earnestly pleading.

I sighed and ran my hands through my still wet hair. I didn't want to believe her but some small part of my heart ached and longed to have Kasumi back as a sister. Sure we'd never got along as kids but both of us were going to be married women soon. Wouldn't it be better to try and work things out and be adults?

"Okay. I'll meet you for lunch. How does two at Yoshimo's sound?" I asked.

"Sounds great! I'll meet you there!" she said and hung up.

As I hung up I wondered if I had done the right thing. For a moment I considered calling her back and telling her to forget it but resisted. Instead I got up and dressed in a pair of jeans and a dark blue blouse before slipping into a pair of dark blue flats. By the time I did my hair and makeup it was nearly time to meet Kasumi.

I made my way down to Taro's room to check on him but found it empty. Walking down to Honey's room I found both of them asleep on the king sized bed. Honey was on his side with his arm over Taro who was curled up against him sucking his thumb. Wedged between the two of them were Usa-Chan and Inu. It was an adorable scene. I couldn't help but snap a quick photo with my camera before heading downstairs.

Grabbing a sheet of paper I scribbled down a quick note to Honey to let him know where I was before heading out. Twenty minutes later I was walking into Yoshimo's where I quickly found Kasumi.

"Sora!" Kasumi grinned.

"Hi." I said with a tight smile as I sat down.

"So how are things?" she asked.

"They're going good." I nodded.

"And things with your boyfriend?" she asked.

"Good there too. He's in London right now but he'll be back soon and then we're going to look at houses together." I replied.

"Great!" she smiled.

I nodded. For some reason this seemed normal. We ordered our food and spent the next hour talking about nothing in general. We probably would've talked longer if she hadn't gotten a text.

"Damn….it's Chika. I forgot that we have to meet up to pick out the flowers for the wedding with Mother. I'm sorry I've got to go." she said.

"No problem. I should probably get back home too before Taro starts to wonder where I am." I said.

We split the check before heading out. Kasumi had a car waiting for her and mine was parked a couple spaces from the restaurant.

"You know…this was nice." I said.

"It was wasn't it?" Kasumi smiled.

I started to say something else when suddenly a van screeched up next to the sidewalk. Four men in all black with Halloween masks jumped out. Before I knew what was happening they had surrounded Kasumi and I. My body moved into a defensive position and my hand began to reach for my purse. Hidden in the lining were a couple of Kunai knives. I always kept them there just in case however I had never thought I would have to use them.

However as my hand got close to the top of my bag one of the guys charged forward and grabbed it. I fought as hard as I could but it was wrenched out of my hands.

"Damn it…Kasumi stay close." I replied.

"O-Okay." she replied her voice trembling with fear.

A second later all four men converged on us. I fought tooth and nail against them, pulling out every trick in my book but it wasn't any use, they were still too much for me. One of them was able to get my hands behind my back while the other one grabbed Kasumi who began to claw at the arm of her captor.

Seeing her made me want to fight harder but thanks to the fact that they were bigger they began to drag me towards the van, tossing me inside. I tried to jump bck out before they could catch me but a second later a hand came over my face, pressing a cloth to my face. Suddenly everything became hazy and the last thing I heard before I went limp was Kasumi screaming my name.

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