Chapter 3: New Arrival
Murmurs of voices ran through Yuri's mind. Not again, he thought. They were all debating about what to do with... Hikari?!
"Honestly we shouldn't even BE in this mess!" One said. Eight figures made out of shadow sat at a round table, arguing.
"Well maybe it's for the better! The boy needs someone in his life, after what happened..." A woman's voice trailed off.
"Shh! He cannot remember that! You know exactly why, Martha."
"Can't see why such a lonely person can't have a single friend in this world." Martha mumbled. The other voice, a males, sighed.
"I want what's best for him, believe me I do, but now is not the time!" He spoke in a raspy manor. A much deeper mans voice broke in.
"Perhaps we should all gain some sense and welcome our guest."
"Guest? What are you rambling about, Xion? It's impossible to have a guest here-" The raspy man cut himself off at the sight of Yuri. The shadow of the woman's voice, however, stood up and spread its arms out welcomingly.
"Good to see you at last, dear." Yuri felt stuck in the spotlight, struggling for words.
"W-who are you people, or should I say shadow things?!" Martha lowered her head.
"I'm afraid you are not able to see us in our normal forms just yet, Yuri. It's quite a shame." Yuri almost blurted in before the raspy shadow added: "You're in the dream world, kid. Once you see us in reality then we'll appear in this place. Until then you just have to deal." Martha shot him a dagger look.
"I suppose introductions would be in order then, yes? I'm Martha, that old coot over there is Willy, and Xion is the fellow with the deeper voice."
"I'm not old, Martha, the proper title is 'midlife'." Willy retorted. Martha rolled her eyes.
"More like midlife crisis, I'd say." Yuri couldn't help letting a small smile slip.
"If I can ask, what exactly is the dream world?"
"Oh? I thought you may have figured that much yourself, lad. This is the place where you come to while you sleep, hence the name. Us grannies are here to provide you with knowledge, or warnings of what could come to pass. Think about a rest stop on a long road trip." Yuri thought he saw Martha's shadows blurred face curve into a sweet smile. Yuri looked around the table.
"There are eight people here, you only named three." He pointed out. Martha's shadow smiled.
"Not even I know everything, dear." She chuckled. "You best run along now, I think someone special wants your attention. Everything will be more clear in time, Yuri. Farewell for now." She waved. Willy held up a couple fingers as to say "catch you later", and Xion simply nodded. Yuri felt himself being sucked out of the dream, inhaling deeply as his eyes flashed open.
He sat up, sweaty, and stared at his reflection in the bedroom mirror. The mix of shock and confusion looked strange across the usually collected face of Yuri's. He took a deep breath. In through the nose, out through the mouth. A memory shimmered briefly in his mind. Him as a young boy, crying from a nightmare, and someone right there for him. He looked up to see the persons face, but instead found himself enveloped inside a lab coat, eyes maliciously looking down on him. The thought evaporated away to nothing, and Yuri's breathing returned to normal. A playful knock came from the door.
"Hey, you awake yet? It's already noon-thirty!" Yuri had never felt so relieved to hear Hikari's voice.
"Well bust a move in there, I have someone I'd like you to meet!" Yuri stretched, letting out a small moan, yawned, and headed towards the door. Pulling it open, Hikari stood before him, sapphire eyes glistening with excitement. Today he was dressed in a simple button up white shirt with the collar flicked up, and jeans. Taking a look at him, Hikari shook his head.
"Well that won't do, not at all!" He whipped out another set of clothes from behind his back.
"But no worries, I got you covered. Now change, quick!" Hikari ushered Yuri back into the bedroom, clothes in hand, and closed the door on him. It took Yuri a second to realise what just happened. He gasped, and went back to the door.
"I can't just keep wearing your clothes! Give me back my old ones, you don't have to-"
"Hush, and change. I chose that just for you." Yuri could feel him pout even through the wall between them. He sighed, after this he'd get his regular clothes back, and maybe even... Leave. Hikari may not think that Yuri was a burden but the more things went on, the more guilt Yuri felt. These thoughts pondered around in Yuri's head as he pulled on a shirt. He'd have to tell Hikari he couldn't stay anymore, things felt a little to hectic for him.
"Are you done yet?" Hikari's voice moaned. Yuri pulled open the door again, quicker this time. Hikari, who had been leaning on the door, stumbled and regained his footing.
"You could've given some warning." He brushed a lock of hair out if his eyes. Taking a step back, Hikari smiled and gave Yuri a thumbs up. This time Yuri wore a black t-shirt, with dark jeans, and a black denim jacket to piece the look together.
"Bit dark, don't you think?" Yuri mumbled.
"Much better, now come on! She's probably tired of waiting by now." Being dragged, and ignored, once again, Hikari took Yuri by the hand through hallways until they reached the main living room. Leather couches faced a huge, flat screen tv, with countless movies piled next to it. Everything from 'Lady and the Tramp' to 'Hannibal' was arranged on a painted black, wooden bookcase. A young lady, perhaps in her thirties, sat in a chair, holding something small- and moving. She had long, bright red, curls that dangled down to her stomach. The woman wore a fancy, red hat to match her dress, which came down to her knees. A gold belt went around her waist, bearing the name 'Treaders'. She smiled at Hikari, and surveyed Yuri through green orbs.
"Mother!" Hikari let go of Yuri to squeeze the woman in a hug. "I've missed you!" The woman laughed, and spoke in a slightly French accent.
"Ah, Hikari! My boy, how you've grown!" She ruffled his hair. "And what's zis? You even have a little friend, how sweet!" Hikari beamed.
"I brought him in last night, Mother, and now we're the best of friends, right Yuri?" He looked to Yuri, who smiled faintly and nodded. Hikari's mothers smile slightly faltered. "Last night?" Hikari looked at her.
"He needed me, Mom, he needed help and I was the only one who could do it." His mother sighed. "I'm just glad nuzzing terrible happened to you, what would I do without my baby boy?" Hikari flushed a faint pink. "Mom, you're embarrassing me!" His mother laughed again. "Ah, but you love it! But, anyway, ze reason I traveled back here was zat I have somezing for you. She held up the small little ball. "Eet is one of the new creatures from work, and zere was one too many, so I brought you one, Hikari!" The fluff ball uncurled, revealing a baby fox, it's orange fur seemed silky smooth, Yuri thought. The most surprising thing, was when the fox yawned, and outstretched a pair of wings that had been folded onto its body, like paper. Hikari gasped.
"Mother, what is it?"
"Eets a fox, dearie, with a minor adjustment. Is eet bad?" She frowned, pouting slightly. Yuri figured out where Hikari got that from, for sure. Hikari looked at his mother in astonishment.
"Bad? It's amazing! Mother, it's simply marvellous!" His mother smiled.
"Zat would be a 'she', I would zink." Hikari held up the winged fox, looking it in the eye.
"Seika. I- I'd like to call her Seika." He stroked the little foxes head gently, causing Seika's eyes to close, savouring the moment.
"Seika eet is, zen." His mother smiled, almost longingly. "I'm terribly sorry, Hikari, but I must be going back to work now. See you soon, love." She kissed Hikari's forehead. Hikari seemed a bit deflated.
"Alright, love you."
"And I love you, more than you will ever know." She walked towards the entryway, and stopped.
"Oh! Before I forget, Yuri, was eet?" Yuri felt his insides freeze. Was he in trouble for something, or did Hikari's mother suspect him for...
"Please take care of Hikari for me. He can be a bother, but don't give up on him too quickly. You're all he has, right now." She frowned again, as if a rather troublesome thought had occurred. Yuri vaguely wondered what could cause someone as rich as that dismay? But the look was gone as fast as it had came. With that, she exited the room. Hikari came up to Yuri.
"Would you like to hold Seika?" He offered. Yuri's hands shook as he reached for the little fox. He felt the warmth of her small, tender body rest against his arm, and instantly relaxed. Yuri smiled. We're a lot alike, you and me, he thought. Both of us are different, though you seem to be more cute. Hikari noticed Yuri's contentment with Seika, and said; "You two could hang around each other for a while longer, if you'd like." Yuri made eye contact with him.
"I couldn't do that, she's yours after all." Yuri felt heat creep up into his face. Pushing Seika towards Hikari, he was surprised when Hikari laid a hand over Seika, stroking her, and smiled.
"She's ours, Yuri."