A few weeks after Eric joined us a small incident occurred.
Another stray walked trough the doors of Homra, Basashi.
I was out walking with Fujishima, Anna, and Tatara when we came across an odd thing in a city like ours, a horse. It wasn’t everyday that we came across a friend like this. He immediately captivated Anna, her eyes sparkled like never before and that made me just as enchanted. We all walked back with him and pleaded Kusanagi to let us keep it, that is without showing him exactly what we wanted to keep first. He agreed, thinking it was just a cat or a dog, but then we brought him in…
“A horse!? We can’t keep a horse!” Kusanagi screamed. “Put it back where it belongs.”
“But you said that it was just fine.” Anna gave him the puppy dog eyes and I joined in.
“You agreed Kusanagi.” I added. He let out a sigh and I jumped in the air with glee. Whenever he sighed like that it was an obvious sign of him giving up. Anna and I danced around in victory. I got the horse a large bowl of water and wrapped a red scarf around his neck. “Now he is officially one of us
“You know you don’t have the authority for that, Akane. Only Mikoto can decide that sort of stuff.” Kusanagi said.
“But it’s a horse. Can’t I have authority on deciding if animals can be apart of the clan?” I pouted.
“Nope, sorry.” Tatara said. I let out a sigh, but I didn’t take the scarf off.
Mikoto started to walk downstairs and I felt my heart race as he drowsily stumbled over, yawing as he lifted his shirt up to scratch him stomach, and sat down at the bar next to the horse without even noticing. I felt a smile tug at the corner of my lips as I watched him.
“My head hurts.” He said as be leaned his forehead against his palm. “Water…” He finally noticed the horse drinking out of a bucket next to him, I held in my laughter as I poured the glass of water for him. He looked over at Kusanagi who sat on the other side of the horse, drinking Whiskey way to early in the day. “Why did a horse end up here?”
“That aside, how?” Kusanagi said, obviously stressed. “Just from where did they get the idea to pick up a horse… do we only have no one but idiots here?”
I set down the glass of water and he looked up at me as I grinned at him like the idiot Tatara.
“Now, now isn’t it a good horse? See, it has pretty nice fur.” Tatara said.
“I don’t need your comfort.” Kusanagi grumbled.
“Mikoto.” He looked over and there Anna stood, with her eyes sparkling and her cheeks blushing. I felt like I just died from her cuteness. “Name it!” She exclaimed and I lit up as well. I didn’t even think of a name and for Mikoto to think of one was just perfect. He thought for a moment and looked over at the horse.
“…Is it a boy or a girl?” He said.
“Boy.” I stated, our eyes sparking and we waited for the perfect name to come out of his mouth. He thought for another minute and the horse looked over at him.
Anna, Basashi, and I were overcome with shock. He had named our beloved clanshorse after a meat dish.
“What were you going to name it if it was a girl?” I exclaimed.
“What a sharp sense.” Tatara said.
“Roast thigh and fillet. All parts come in a complete set. Today’s a feast.” Kusanagi darkly commented. Anna and I furiously shook our heads in disagreement.
“By the way… that horse…” Mikoto said. “Is not a normal horse.”
Suddenly wings erupted from Basashi and Anna, Kusanagi and I stood in surprise as we realized it was a strain.
“Animal strain’s exists?” Kusanagi looked over at me and I stood in utter confusion.
“Like I would know!”
“It’s so pretty.” Anna said. I looked over at her and then back at Basashi and I realized that she was right. He really was beautiful.
“…It somehow made a disgusted face, didn’t it?” Yata said.
“Yeah.” Kamamoto said.
Mikoto was staring at the horse and suddenly his stomach growled. Tatara and I looked at him in confusion.
“King? Do you seriously just look at it as Basashi?” Tatara asked and I couldn’t help but laugh. Tatara looked at me like I was crazy, but I found everything about the situation hilarious. I don’t know why, but I was suddenly just so happy. .
“…Anna.” Kusanagi said as he laid his hand on her shoulder and smiled. “Basashi is not a little kitty you can keep shut in such a small place. It’s sad, but let’s let it fly away to the skies, okay?”
“You’re going to try and get around her, eh?” Tatara said.
“A horse strain… what are you going to do with it?” Dewa said.
“I guess it’s bad.” Fujishima said. “To keep a strain.”
“Not that! It’s the horse part of him hat’s bad!” Dewa said. “Don’t just pick up all sorts of things!”
“I suppose you’re right since we kept Akane.” Fujishima said.
“What do you mean kept?” I exclaimed. I glanced over to see Eric was just sitting quietly on the couch observing us.
“No, no it’s when the horse breaks down, it should be that.” Chitose said.
“But he’s our friend! We can’t just dispose of him just because of his race!” I exclaimed.
“He’s a horse!” Dewa exclaimed.
“Come, Anna. Let’s say goodbye to Basashi, okay?” Kusanagi said.
“Do you have a place you want to go?” Anna asked the horse.
Basashi suddenly started to flap his wings, destroying the bar. I stood by Mikoto and watched as the bottles of alcohol flew across the room and shelves started to fall.
“…This is getting dangerous.” Yata said.
“…It is, right?” Kamamoto said.
A bottle of rum came flying my way and right when I was about to duck, Mikoto caught it and set it on the counter as if it was nothing. I looked over at him and he just sat there drinking the rest of his water.
“Alright, Anna! Let’s go for a walk!” Kamamoto said as he grabbed Anna and started to run out with Fujishima and Basashi behind him. “We’re going for a walk!”
I looked over and Kusanagi was exploding with anger.
“Wait for me!” I exclaimed as I started to run after them, but Mikoto grabbed onto me. I looked back in surprise and he didn’t even glance at me.
“The blue’s are going to get involved soon.”
I knew that he was just trying to protect me from the blues, but as I sat next to him at the bar with Kusanagi giving me evil eyes I also knew that I was going to have to clean everything up and that the alcohol would come out of my pay. I slumped over and poured myself a drink when Kusanagi threw a broom at me. He kept spouting nonsense about how I’m Anna’s womanly role model so it’s by default all my fault.
I let out a sigh and went on to work with Tatara and Kusanagi, while Mikoto, Shouhei, Yata, Chitose, Dewa and Bando sat around.
“I don’t see why it matters if the blues are out there.” I said to Mikoto as I swept the last of the broken glass. “I mean it’s not like their going to try anything. You said I was apart of the clan so they can’t touch me, right?”
“I don’t trust them.” He said, sitting on the couch without a care in the world. I looked over at him and furrowed my brow.
“…You know… since there are blue clansmen then there is obviously a blue king…” He averted his eyes from mine and I stood up straight. “What exactly is your relationship with him?”
Kusanagi’s phone rang and it didn’t seem like good news. He walked over at Tatara and I with a concerned expression.
“It seems that Basashi ran wild while Anna was still sitting on its back.”
My eyes widened in surprise and I looked over at Mikoto.
He let out a sigh. “…Lets go get her back.” Everyone ran out of the bar to go and help expect for Kusanagi, Tatara and Mikoto. I was about to go with the rest of them, but Mikoto stopped me once again. “I told you, I don’t want you anywhere near the blue’s.”
“This is Anna we’re talking about! Do you really think I’m just going to sit here on the couch with you and wait while everyone else is out there doing something? I'm more than just the waitress; I'm apart of this clan. I'm not just some good little girl that follows you around!"
He took a hit of his cigarette. "… Who said you were ever otherwise?" My eyes widened in surprise and my cheeks began to burn. He pushed himself up, grabbed my hand, and walked out with me close behind. My heart raced and his hand gripped tighter around mine. His warmth radiated as we walked together at a rather slow pace to go and save Anna.
He just does whatever he wants… and he was pulling me around for the ride.
We walked in silence, but it felt like the sound of my heart beating was filling it. I wonder if he can hear it… I wonder if he can feel the sweat between my fingers, if he can sense the blood rushing to my face. I wonder if he has any idea about the effect he has on me.
We finally arrived in the middle of a highway. I was nervous that there might be passing cars to come and run us over, but the whole thing was empty, like someone had closed the road. We stood there for a few minutes as he smoked the rest of his cigarette, my fingers still intertwined with his.
And then there she was; Anna sitting on Basashi as he galloped over our way. Basashi suddenly stopped in his rampage when Mikoto let go of my hand, as if his menacing air that he gave off to the unfamiliar had suddenly come back.
“Mikoto…Akane…” Anna said.
“Thank God you’re alright.” I smiled. Mikoto let out a sigh.
“Don’t cause us anymore trouble.” He said as he laid his palm on his forehead.
“Mikoto… listen…” Anna said; she was obliviously embarrassed by the situation. It was the first time I had seen her like this.
“So, what do you want to do with it?” Mikoto said. I looked over at him and I felt a smile tug at the corner of my mouth.
“I want to let it go… where it wants to go.” Anna said. I looked up at her and we waited as Mikoto inhaled his cigarette and then grabbed onto the rope from Basashi’s harness. He started to walk and Basashi obediently followed. I walked at the horse’s side. “…Thank you.” Anna glanced over, noticing someone on the bridge above us. I noticed him too confused as to whom it might be. “Mikoto… don’t look, or the sly one will attack.” He was wearing the blue’s uniform and he looked over us with confidence. I thought, maybe… could it be the Blue King? Mikoto didn’t look, just as she said not to. He just took another hit of his cigarette and walked along.
“Mikoto!” Yata exclaimed as he ran over with the rest of the guys behind. “You’ve managed to catch Basashi? As expected Mikoto is awesome!” He laughed.
I saw that Bando was injured and I ran over to his side. He was unconscious on Kamamoto’s back.
“Basashi got him pretty good. You think you can help him out?” Kamamoto asked.
“I’ll try.” I gently laid my hand on his face and concentrated, but it didn’t seem to do any good. The redness was still there and I’m sure the pain would be too when he awoke. “I…I’m sorry… I don’t know how to control it yet…” I said. I felt like a failure once again, that the “someone” I thought I was, finally, was just a dream.
“It’s alright.” Kamamoto said. “You can try again later.” He tightened his grip on the unconscious clansman. “See you back at the bar.”
I nodded my head and made my way back to Mikoto’s side as we went wherever it was Basashi so desperately wanted to go.
We ended up outside of a church on a farm. A wedding had just ended and everyone was celebrating. I awkwardly stood next to Mikoto as I thought of Tatara and how much he would be teasing me about marrying Mikoto right then. That guy… what a fool.
We stared out at the scene before us, a bit confused as to why the horse wanted to come in the first place.
“What?” Mikoto finally said.
“…This is the ranch it was at before.” Anna explained. “That bride had been taking care of it all this time, he says.”
I never knew Anna could talk to animals… or was it just the fact that Basashi was a strain?
“So it wanted to come back to her?” Mikoto asked.
“No.” Anna shook her head. “Because she’s marrying, he wanted to see her in that state.” She touched his mane to comfort the horse. “It’s no longer needed in that place, and I think it’s… because it’s a strain.”
For some reason I felt like that it always came down to the fact that we were strains. The fact that I fact that I was a strain I couldn’t go on the front lines and had the threat of capture hanging over my head, the fact that Basashi is a strain he can’t be with his owner anymore, the assassin girl was strain and she felt like a monster, and that Anna was a strain and she had to try her best to control all of her emotions.
Maybe being a strain isn’t something you want to be; maybe it’s a curse.
If I wasn’t a strain, if I wasn’t deemed with this curse… I never would’ve met Mikoto and become apart of Homra.
I looked over at him as he watched Anna and I felt something rise up in my chest.
Maybe the title of strain isn’t all that bad.
Mikoto lifted Anna off of Basashi, “You’re satisfied now, aren’t you?”
I could hear the tapping of her heels as the blue woman approached us with Kusanagi and Tatara following.
“It’s been causing quite some trouble, but it’s all fine now, right?” She said. “In consequence with the authority of Scepter 4 I shall deal with that special ability creature over there.” She walked past us and over to the horse.
“Ah… No!” Anna exclaimed, still being held by the back of her dress by Mikoto.
“You can’t! He’s one of us.” I said, hugging onto Basashi. “He’s a red clanshorse!”
“When did I agree to that?” Mikoto said.
“I don’t care if you're the king or the joker, he’s one of us no matter what you say!” I said, clutching onto Basashi’s mane.
“Joker?” Mikoto said.
“I’m sorry Akane, but we can’t keep him.” Kusanagi said.
“Come on.” Mikoto grabbed my hand and pulled me away from Basashi. I didn’t protest since I knew that no one would back me up. I suppose it was rational of them, but I didn’t want to be rational about the situation. I wanted to make Anna happy.
“First of all, I would like to hear its name.” The blue woman smiled.
“Hm?” Mikoto looked over at Basashi who was blushing almost as much as me. That horse… he was something.
“It’s name is?” the woman said.
“Ah… Basashi.” Kusanagi reluctantly said.
“…What was it again?” She asked, irritated by his answer.
“It’s Basashi.” Kusanagi forced a laugh.
She let out a sigh and pressed her fingers on the bridge of her nose in frustration. “…As expected, that's a name only a barbarous group can come up with… no choice then, I shall fix it.” The horse straightened up in surprise. She gazed up at him and smiled. “Well, since you… have white and beautiful wings… White Bean Paste Stewed Tofu.” The horse didn’t seem pleased.
“…What?” Kusanagi said.
“From now on, you’re White Bean Paste Stewed Tofu.” Her eyes sparkled and the horse slumped over.
“…What a sharp sense…” Tatara said almost sarcastically.
We all looked out onto the wedding. Mikoto set Anna down, but he still held onto my hand. I felt my cheeks burn as we watched the happy couple together.
“Perhaps that will be you two one day.” Tatara said as he walked up next to us. My eyes widened in surprise and I let go of Mikoto’s hand.
“No, no don’t say such frivolous things Tatara.” I said waving my hands in front of me for emphasis I was obviously flustered beyond control.
“Hm?” Mikoto looked over at us.
“When that day comes, let me be the one to marry you, alright.” Tatara smiled.
“Who other than you even said that day will come?” I exclaimed.