Mitsuo is a promising martial artist and dating the most popular girl in school. Life seems perfect until his sixteenth birthday when he comes into his mother's heritage and his father's curse.
Author's Note: This is for all of you who have been patiently awaiting the new chapter of Winter's Child. Thanks as usual to my readers and of course the Big Closet team who work tirelessly to give us all a great place to post and read TG fiction. ~Amethyst.
Chapter 9: Cat Fight
“Do you two know each other?” I asked, a bit confused.
Mom only nodded at first and then she added coldly, “She’s my sister.”
I stared from one to the other as I tried to process this new information. Kasumi was my aunt? I was about to say something but Kasumi managed to speak first, “It’s good to see you again Yuki, I missed you. Wait, does this mean Miyuki is my niece?”
“No.” my mother said in a tone that could freeze the very fires of Hell. “You don’t get to call her that. You weren’t there when I met her father, you weren’t there when she was born, and you weren’t there for any of her birthdays or when she Manifested this week. You didn’t even know she existed until today, so you don’t get to pretend to be the loving aunt.”
Kasumi looked like she had been slapped with an eel or something she was so shocked and hurt. “What is your problem!?”
“You are,” my mom replied acidly. “I’ll protect these kids myself if I have to. I’m not going to let you walk out on Miyuki without a word like you did with me, or worse get them all killed with your recklessness.”
“I didn’t think…” she began to say.
“You never think!” Mom snapped, her voice rising in volume as she let what was probably years of pain out. “Most people would give some thought to how vanishing like you did might hurt the people who care for them, but not you! You let your emotions and your impulses rule you! You have no discipline! You never gave a thought to how much you were hurting your sister!”
I was staring at her in confusion. I had never seen my mother lose control of herself before. Jenny and Zoe were standing beside me and were actually starting to shiver from the cold emanating from her. I turned to see Kasumi actually crying as she headed through the door to the garage, not even bothering to shut it in her hurry to leave. I looked from Mom, to the door, and back to Mom and made a spur of the moment decision. “Okaasan, I think you really need to think hard about what you just said, and get control of yourself before you give someone frostbite, I’m going to go talk to my aunt.” Then I turned on my heel, grabbed my purse, and followed Kasumi through the door, slamming it behind me.
My aunt had opened the garage door and just finished putting on her motorcycle helmet when I walked in. She climbed on the bike and before she could start it I grabbed the helmet of from the matching white motorcycle that had been bought for me and straddled her bike behind her. “So, where are we going?”
“I’m leaving, you’re staying,” she replied crisply. “You don’t want to be around me right now; I might do something reckless and get you killed.”
“All the more reason for me to be with you,” I pointed out as I put the helmet on and placed my arms around her, refusing to budge. “I’ll be the voice of reason. You need to do something to let off steam, so let’s go and you can show me what you do for fun around here. Street racing? Underground Paranormal cage matches? I’m up for whatever you are so let’s do whatever will make you feel better.”
“Fine, hold on tight.” She muttered in surrender before starting the bike and taking off.
“You know,” I stated conversationally, “for such an impulsive and reckless person the thing that’s making you feel better is remarkably less than dangerous. Not that I’m complaining.”
“Sometimes you just need an ice cream sundae,” she replied before taking a spoonful of her strawberry sundae. She had brought us to a Baskin Robbins near the mall we were at earlier, and while it was a nice place and I was really enjoying my banana split I wasn’t kidding about my surprise.
“So here we are; two girls, ice cream, one of us clearly upset but not wanting to admit it. Help me out here, I’m still new at all this girl stuff, but isn’t this where you start to talk about your feelings? If that’s not what’s going on here I’m still up for the street racing or cage matches.” I offered.
She almost cracked a smile at that. “Okay, first you don’t have a license, and I can’t afford another speeding ticket. Second, the cage matches have rules against magic use and I don’t fight, so that leaves me out. Third, you forgot about the no rules Paranormal street fighting held at secret locations. We’d qualify for that, but it happens on Friday nights so we’ve missed it for this week.” I wasn’t quite sure if she was joking with all of that, but dammit now I was tempted to find out. I shoved that thought aside though as Kasumi sighed. “It didn’t happen like I thought it would in my dreams… It was supposed to be a happy reunion, but she… hates me.”
I tentatively reached over and covered her free hand with my own. “She doesn’t hate you, she just has a few years of repressed feelings to sort through I think. I’ve never seen her lose her cool like that, talk about giving someone the cold shoulder.”
“Me either,” she admitted. “I was the last of our mother’s children before she met your Grandfather, had Yuki, and decided to live the rest of her life as a regular human. When Yuki was ten Mom decided to tell her about our history and give her time to accept the idea that she would be Manifesting when she was sixteen and all the baggage that would come with that. I had kept in contact with Mom and she asked me to train Yuki in her place when the time came, since she had no desire to feed on heat or use magic again herself. So I came to live with them and tried to be a good big sister until Yuki Manifested.”
Something suddenly clicked in my mind. “Mom had a photo album of herself with another girl who looked like you that she kept hidden away, it’s probably still at home in Japan. I always assumed the girl was a cousin or friend or something, but it never occurred to me that she was the same age in all the photos while Mom kept getting older.”
Kasumi’s eyes lit up a little at the mention of the book. “Maybe she doesn’t hate me after all if she kept that album. When I met her Yuki was definitely her father’s child, she took mental and physical discipline and the way of the sword extremely seriously. We were polar opposites; she was extremely mature and disciplined for her young age, while I was much older, but impulsive, reckless, and carefree. Despite our differences we became very close and spent all our free time together, she even tried teaching me to fight, but I just didn’t have the interest in it that she did.
“Mom and Grandfather are really close,” I agreed. “He told me once that he knew she was going to be his only child and that he would never have a son to carry on the family blade and our history of martial arts so he trained Mom against tradition. I think she wanted to prove she could be just as good, if not better, than any boy so Grandfather wouldn’t be dishonored.”
“Anyway,” Kasumi continued, “Yuki and I became very close and we weren’t just sisters we were best friends too. Our opposite natures actually complimented one another. My impulsiveness encouraged her to do things she would never try otherwise and her maturity kept me from getting into too much trouble. Her sixteenth birthday happened during summer break and that was fortunate for two reasons: Her school would have never thought the mature woman Yuki had become could be a sixteen year old girl, and it gave me time to train her in Ice magic. She applied the same work ethic she had shown in the martial arts to learning Ice magic and learned everything I had to teach quickly and it was planned that we would both go to a private school specifically for Paranormals in Switzerland when the new school year started there.”
“That’s the school where she met my Dad,” I pointed out. “So if you two were so close, what happened? Why did you leave?” I asked.
“There are two big mistakes that Yōkai who don’t age and look as young as I do can make,” she told me sternly. “One is staying in one place for too long and the other is attracting attention to yourself. I did both. I stayed with our family for six years not aging a day because I was feeding on heat and using magic the whole time. When Yuki was in school or training with her father I would go to the rougher parts of Tokyo to find a bit of fun and find a good looking boy or two to sate my needs.”
I rolled my eyes at that and muttered “Well I can see where my mom got her openness from.”
“Don’t give me that look, our needs are part of who we are, and you’re probably becoming well aware of that by now,” she replied. “At least I made sure to use protection, which is more than most of our kind can say. That is one thing I am not reckless about. Teenage mothers tend to get a lot more attention than I need. I failed to notice the ‘reputation’ I was getting and I had sex with the same guy twice.”
“What, you mean you were getting into a relationship?” I asked a little bit confused.
“No,” she stated with a firm shake of her head, “I slept with the same guy and fed on his body heat twice… five years apart. I didn’t recognize him, but apparently the second time in his life of being left freezing cold after sex caused him to remember the first time and realize that I was the same girl. Rumors started going around about me, getting worse with each telling, and near the end of summer break a group of Yōkai Hunters came after me.”
“So you ran,” I concluded.
She nodded sadly. “I didn’t want to draw attention to Mom or Yuki so I left Tokyo to protect them until I could be sure it would be safe for me to return. I traveled around North America and Europe, working for various Paranormals who needed my skills and kept honing my Ice magic, but those damn Hunters were always close behind, and I don’t like to kill unless it’s absolutely necessary. Fifteen years ago they died when they followed me through the Himalayas and pissed off a pack of Yeti. I thought it would be safe to return home and I called to let them know, but Mom told me that Yuki had married a Cursed man, was working for Department Nine, and had an infant son, which I assume was you. She said that they wanted to raise the child as a human until he Manifested so since I didn’t want to ruin that for her, by showing up and probably making all of your lives complicated or possibly endangering you all, I decided to just stay away. I asked Mom to keep quiet about me calling and decided to keep traveling until you were closer to Manifesting. How is Mom by the way?”
I mentally cursed. She did not need to hear that Grandmother was dead right now, not after the fiasco with Mom. I gently squeezed her hand and felt like the lowest life form on Earth as I told her, “She died a few years ago. Mom says it was Hunters.”
She clenched her fist tightly under my hand as she dropped her spoon. “I...” she began to say before she was too choked up from the news. Tears were running freely down her cheeks when she managed to speak again. “I… should have been there. I was traveling Japan, trying to work up the nerve to call Yuki and see if she would be okay with me visiting when I heard about the Hunters enslaving Yōkai in Hokkaido…”
“And that’s when you were caught and bound,” I finished for her.
She nodded as she started wiping her tears away with a table napkin. When she pulled the napkin away her face was a mask of pain and grief. “After Gina freed me I was a mess, I couldn’t let Mom or Yuki see me like that. Gina brought me here, started giving me odd jobs to keep me busy, and sent me to a counselor at the PDA office. I’ve been doing that since… trying to come to terms with everything my mistress did to me, and had me do to others. When I wasn’t doing work for Gina or seeing my counselor, I was mostly just hiding in the apartment Gina put me up in, avoiding people and other Paranormals. It wasn’t until she had me start going to school and watching Zoe eight months ago, and then Jenny as well, that I actually started getting out and having some semblance of a life again.”
We finished our ice cream in silence and were about to leave when my phone rang. I sighed when I saw my mother’s name on the display, but picked up anyway. “Moshi moshi,” I said after connecting the call.
“Are you okay Miyuki? Where are you?” she asked.
“We’re both fine Mom,” I responded, stressing the one word. “I wanted to do some cage fighting, but she wanted to eat ice cream so we just finished doing that instead. Kasumi isn’t the reckless aunt you told me about. Oh wait, you didn’t.”
“We didn’t want to tell you about the Paranormal until you Manifested,” she pointed out.
“You could have just told me you had a sister you hadn’t heard from for a while, that wouldn’t have told me anything,” I retorted angrily. “The last thing I would have thought is ‘I have an aunt? I wonder if she’s human or not.’ That is not what I’m angry about though. The one time you let your emotions rule you and it’s at the worst possible time. Do you have any idea what she’s been through? Why she left without telling anyone in the first place? And on top of all that I just had to tell her about Grandmother.”
“Miyuki, please, I know that I overreacted, but it hurt me a lot when she left with no word and never came back,” she replies in a sad tone. “I was afraid she had died, and then she just walked in like she was happy to see me, how would you have handled it? Gina told me she’s been through a lot, but she won’t say what. I wanted to see if you could convince her to come back here so we can talk. I don’t think we should have this kind of talk over the phone.”
Everything about this situation was pissing me off, but if I wanted it to be resolved they needed to talk it out. “I’ll try, but you are going to damn well sit there and listen to the whole fucking storrrry before you pass judgment orrrr even say anything about it. She doesn’t need a rrrrepeat of what happened earilerrr. You two can discuss it all you like aft…”
I was interrupted by Kasumi grabbing my phone and shoving my motorcycle helmet over my head and I yelped a bit as it hit my nose on the way down. She quickly spoke into my phone, “Sorry to interrupt, but we’re having a slight emergency here; I’ll bring Miyuki home as soon as I can.” Then she disconnected the call, shoved my phone in my purse, and took off her jacket while taking nervous looks at the man half asleep at the counter and the rest of the nearly empty ice cream parlor. Another quick look around before she slapped down the visor of the helmet and instructed me in a hushed tone, “Put your hands in your pockets and keep them there until we’re on my bike. I’m going to wrap my jacket around your waist; we need to try to keep that tail hidden.”
“Tail? What arrre you talking about? I’m in my human forrr…” I stopped mid-word as I looked down at my long slender hands, which were now covered in white fur and tipped with sharp looking claws. Those hands practically flew into my pockets as Kasumi tied the sleeves of her jacket together below my midriff, leaving the rest to cover my backside down to my knees. Once that was done she was behind me, pushing me along to the entrance as she tried to keep her own body between me and anyone who might be looking at me from behind.
We got outside where it had started snowing and a few centimeters of it were already evident on the sidewalk. “Thank Takaokami, it’s snowing,” my aunt muttered. “I can’t drive the bike and concentrate on magic at the same time, I should have had her send someone with a car. Now would not be a good time to be stopped by the cops. I’ll call Gina and then use the snow blind spell to keep people from noticing you while we wait, just to be safe.” She took her own phone out of her purse and after finding Gina’s number she pressed the screen to call her. “Gina, I don’t think I’ll be able to get Miyuki home without attracting some sort of attention. She’s got a helmet, but she could still attract a lot of attention if we get stopped or have to wait too long at a red light. Okay great, we’re outside the Baskin Robbins on Boulevard des Sources, we’ll see you soon.”
Once she placed the phone back in her purse she took a quick look around and began to concentrate. I could feel a sort of tingle in the air as falling snow began to swirl around my body, until I and everything I was wearing was completely covered. “Gina is sending Hans in the Hummer, don’t move a muscle until he gets here if you can manage it,” Kasumi whispered as she leaned against the wall beside where I was standing. “The spell will reflect everything around you onto the opposite side and make it look like nothing is there, but if the snow is shifted the spell will break.”
I called upon all my years of training to remain perfectly still as we waited, but it was nearly twenty minutes before the Hummer showed up. Once we were certain nobody was watching I shook off the snow and practically leaped into the back seat of the vehicle when Hans came around and opened the door. Kasumi climbed in behind me and shut the door as Hans began doing something with her motorcycle. “Okay Miyuki, you can breathe now that you’re safely hidden behind tinted windows, and as soon as Hans finishes securing my bike in the rack we’ll be on our way. I know you’d probably like to try to change back to your normal form, but I think you should wait until Gina gets a look at you, just to be safe. Unexpected transformations could have unexpected effects.”
I nodded and sighed as I stared at my furry hands again. “Could this be what Selena meant when she asked why I only use two of my forrrms?”
“I suppose it’s possible,” she agreed as she gave me a concerned look. “It could just be another form you can naturally take, but I don’t want to take any chances until Gina can have a look at you. Let’s try to keep our minds off it by talking about something else for a while. What do you think of the Humvee?”
“I’ve neverrr seen one up close before coming herrrre,” I admitted. “Is it rrrreally a militarrry model?”
“Sort of,” she admitted once Hans had climbed in the driver’s seat, buckled up and started the engine. As Hans started driving Kasumi went on to explain, “Gina bought this directly from the company, but asked for some modifications from what they offer for the military models. She has a lot of contacts and you don’t want to know how much she paid to get this modded. Most Humvee’s are built with specific purposes in mind like communications, assault, or the ability to take a beating. This one was modified to be multipurpose. It’s EMP resistant and has the hitch mount motorcycle rack, bulletproof windows, HArD Kit, the winterization kit, an auxiliary fuel tank, and both mobile Wi-Fi and a Harris Radio system for communications. The only thing she couldn’t get put on it were weapon mounts.”
I shook my head as I contemplated all of that. “You’rrre rrrright, I don’t want to think about how much that cost.”
“And then there’s the protection spells she put on it. Gina is taking your safety very seriously,” she said as she looked out the window.
For a time I didn’t know what to say. Finally I asked hesitantly, “So… arrre you feeling any betterrrr now?”
Kasumi’s initial response was a sad sounding sigh. “I guess so, though your problem was distracting me from it a bit until now. I just can’t believe Mom is dead, and I’m really nervous about talking to Yuki. I don’t know what to say, I can’t be sure how she’ll react.”
“Just tell herrrr everything you told me, frrrrom why you left to how you ended up herrrre,” I advised her. “If I know my Mom, the worrrst that could happen is she would go back to Japan to cooly and calmly errrradicate that entirrre clan of Hunterrrrs, including Kei’s parrrents. I doubt she’d go that farrr though, she’ll prrrobably just get verrrry prrrotective of all of us.”
When we arrived home Hans had us go inside while he put our helmets and Kasumi’s motorcycle in their spots. I gave my aunt her jacket back and we headed into the house where Mom and Gina were talking in the living room. At our approach both women looked up and while Mom’s eyes went as big as saucers, Aunt Gina merely looked curious and perhaps a bit concerned. “Miyuki! What’s happened to you?!” Mom blurt out.
I winced at her reaction, was I deformed or something? What if I'm not sexy? I need to feel sexy! How could I be sexy with fur? What if I was stuck like this?! How could I live a normal life?! I knew I wasn’t human before this happened, but what if I couldn’t even appear like it anymore!? I began to have trouble breathing at that line of thinking and Aunt Gina hurried to take my hand. “Yuki, you and Kasumi are long overdue for a talk; you can’t do anything for Miyuki right now and I don’t think there’s any cause for concern anyway. I’ll take Miyuki to her room so I can run some tests on her while you two discuss what you need to.”
“But she’s…” my mother began. “What if someone saw…”
“Don’t worry Yuki, I brought her here because if anyone can figure out what’s going on with her it’s Gina,” Kasumi said. After a moment’s hesitation she took her sister’s hand and began pulling her toward the kitchen. “I made sure nobody noticed her change, there was hardly anyone there, none were looking in our direction, I covered her most distinctive features immediately, blocked her from other peoples’ view until we were outside, and then placed a concealment spell on her when nobody was looking. Believe me, if anyone saw we would have known about it, so let Gina have some space to have a look at her.” Mom reluctantly let herself be led away as Gina pulled me along towards the stairs and my room.
We arrived at the top of the stairs and Kei nearly ran into us, he was in such a hurry. I don’t think he even gave me more than a passing glance before hugging me tightly. “Damn Miyuki, I was so worried when you and Kasumi stormed off like that, don’t worry me like that again.” Then he turned his head toward me to kiss me and blinked in surprise, “Whoa… that’s a new look for you, does this have anything to do with what Selena said?”
I hugged him back tightly before shrugging, “I’m not sure yet, Gina’s going to run some tests I guess. Could you give us some time alone please? I’ll let you know when we’re done.”
“Are you sure you don’t want me with you?” he queried in concern.
“She’ll be fine, and the sooner we’re done, the sooner you can see her again,” Gina put in.
“Jā matane,” I replied nervously as I opened the door to my room.
When we entered my room Aunt Gina put a gentle hand on my shoulder and guided me to my vanity. The girl looking back at me would have even more trouble passing as a human than Jenny. Sure my body was still mostly human, but I was like some blending of my Yuki-Onna and snow leopard selves. My body was slightly more slender than usual and had the powerful yet sleek muscle tone of a hunting cat. Over those muscles my whole body and face were covered in white fur with black rosettes. If I added that to my claws, that long tail swishing behind me, and my face and I could never be mistaken for human. The face was vaguely human under the fur, but with a kitty nose and mouth, large sharp canines, whiskers, large ice blue eyes with slit pupils and round white leopard ears high on my head, sticking out from my long black hair like bright white satellite dishes, nobody was going to miss those.
Understandably I began to freak out again, so much so that I was having trouble breathing. “Calm down Miyuki, you’ll be fine. I will cast some scanning spells just to be sure, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I’m pretty sure that this is just another aspect of who you are now and you can change back on your own when you want.” As Gina spoke there was a tingling sensation where her hand was touching my shoulder and I could feel myself starting to relax.
Once I could breathe again I gave the Kitsune a long look. “You knew this was going to happen.”
She shook her head and replied, “Not precisely. Time is not linear Miyuki, and I see flashes of possible futures, the most likely ones, but those can change based on the decisions we make, others make, and random acts of nature. So I try to guide things to the best possible outcome and hope that things I have no control over don’t screw it all up. I did foresee this possibility among others before you Manifested, but I couldn’t be sure which outcome would happen until it was almost upon us.”
“Selena said I’m a Fusion, is that trrrrue?” I asked as I tried to get used to what I was seeing in the mirror, it might not be so bad as long as I could change back.
“Selena is very good at seeing the nature of things; I was hoping the girls would take you to see her,” she admitted. “If anyone would know a Fusion it would be her. I prefer to think you are unique. Your two natures and all the abilities of each have indeed fused into one whole, but you are more than that and as you can see by looking in the mirror you have new abilities as well. You should not mention being a Fusion to other Paranormals, it could make them fear or distrust you.”
That confused me for a moment, but then I figured that even Paranormals are all human at heart and humans fear and hate what they don’t understand. “What should I tell them then? Should I say that I’m Mixed?”
She shook her head and smiled at me. “No, because that would be a lie and I will not encourage you to hide who you are from those who should try hardest to understand you. The truth is that you are a whole new species of Paranormal, so if they ask tell people that your species is from Japan and very rare. Let’s call you a Yuki-Neko. We will need to change your records to reflect this at the PDA and your school though.”
“Yuki-Neko huh? I guess snow cat is as accurrrate as anything else. Can I try to change back now?” I asked, itching to see if I could do it.
“You may if you wish, but we will need to do some testing to see what all your forms are fully capable of at some point. I think though that you might want to show Zoe and Jenny this side of yourself, don’t worry about your parents and Kasumi though, I will explain to them what this is about and assure them that you are purrrfectly healthy.” She said the last with a smile and a wink and leaned forward to hug me.
I returned the hug and rolled my eyes. “That was a horrrrrible joke, but thanks forrrr being herrrre forrr me. Beforrre you go and I call Zoe and the otherrrrs in herrrre though; could I ask you a question?” When she nodded I continued on to ask, “Why didn’t I change into this forrrrm earrrlierrr?”
She considered the question for a short time before responding. “I suspect it was because on that first day you displayed your father’s legacy first and then you were concentrating on being human specifically, not just changing form. I believe that you need to be thinking of a specific form to take it and since you had no reason to believe that you even had a third form until now you had no conscious reason to change to it. What was happening when you changed, when did you notice it?”
I thought back to what had happened at the ice cream parlor, but try as I might I couldn’t remember noticing the change myself. Finally I admitted, “I didn’t notice it. Kasumi did and she had to point it out to me. I was so frrrrustrrrated at the time because of everrrything that has been happening and the way Mom trrreated Kasumi, when she had good rrrreasons forrrr what she did. Surrre she might have done a few things differrrrently but she was being rrresponsible and herrrr hearrrt was in the rrrright place forrr the most parrrt.”
“You’re like Yuki,” she explained with a smile. “You think things through and don’t let your emotions rule you very often. That’s probably a good thing since I suspect that extremely strong emotional reactions might trigger you to change form unconsciously. You’ll need to be especially careful about that because all three of your forms are so natural to you that you don’t even notice the change from one to another. In this case you were frustrated by being in the middle of a situation that was hurting all three of you; one you had no idea how to resolve yourself. That frustration needed a release you were unable to give at the time so you changed to a form that reflected that confusion and frustration.”
“Well that’s a damn good rrrreason to keep my angerrrr underrr contrrrol,” I muttered. Then I tentatively asked, “Will Mom and Kasumi be… okay?”
She gave me another hug as she replied, “I think they will, many of the possible futures point in that direction right now, but that’s really up to them isn’t it?” Then she left the room, leaving me alone with my mirror.
“Wow, and I thought I stood out in a crowd,” Jenny said with her eyes nearly bugging out of her head as she stepped into my bedroom with Zoe and Kei. After ten minutes of debating whether I should I had sent my thoughts out to Zoe, and after giving her a brief explanation of what had happened, I asked her to call the others and come to my room. The half Nymph shook her head in awe. “At least you can change back to human… you can change back right?” The last was added hesitantly with a look of uncertainty on her face.
“We think I can,” I told her and she breathed a sigh of relief. “I just thought I would show you beforrre trrrying that.”
“It’s not like you’re ugly or anything, quite the opposite actually, you’re still sexy as hell, but that form is going to get attention. But then you would have my attention in any form,” Kei offered as he moved over to wrap his arms around me and give me a kiss.
If I had harbored any hopes that this form might make me less horny, his touch and kiss dashed them as my nipples stood up and I could feel a warmth growing between my legs. If Zoe and Jenny hadn’t been in the room I might have done something right there and then. Not that they probably would have minded much from what I knew of them both. I quickly turned my mind away from such tempting thoughts. “It looks like Selena was rrright about me being a Fusion. Though Gina thinks I’m morrre of a new species of Parrranorrrmal. She’s calling me a Yuki-Neko.” At Zoe’s mental giggling I agreed, “I agrrrree it’s a silly name, but it’s Japanese and fairrrrly accurate.”
The mermaid was still giggling as she explained, ~It wasn’t the name. I’m so sorry for laughing Miyuki, I think your new form is beautiful and kind of awesome, but I was wondering if you could do something for me… could you please say ‘roll up the rim’?~
I stared at her in confusion. “Rrrrroll up the rrrrrim?”
The mental giggling intensified and at my frown she at least had the good grace to blush in embarrassment. ~Sorry Miyuki it’s a Canadian thing. As an apology I’ll take you out for a coffee and a doughnut, my treat. Let’s see if you can change back now.~
I focused my attention to appearing human again, thinking about my familiar pale fur-less skin and more normal features. I kept my eyes on my hands and to my great relief the fur began to fade and my claws began to retract into my fingers, becoming normal looking finger nails. A look in the mirror showed my ears becoming more human and moving back to their usual position as the tail behind me shortened. Within a minute I was back to my ‘usual’ self. “Oh thank goodness that worked,” I said breathing a sigh of relief.
“That looked pretty cool, we should record that someday. It’s a lot like how Zoe turns her tail into legs,” Jenny said with a grin.
After that we talked about the possibilities for my new form and the problems that could be presented by changing in extreme emotional states and not seeming to notice. The others promised me they would keep an eye on me to let me know so I could either stop the change or find a hiding spot until I could reverse it. We weren’t so worried about at school, apparently stuff like that happens there all the time, but having it happen in a public place among the humans would be very bad. It looked like I was going to be needing training in more than just combat and magic.
There was a knock at the door and Kasumi poked her head in, “Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to say thanks for being there for me earlier Miyuki.” When she caught sight of me she smiled. “It’s good to see you looking like yourself again, though from what Gina said that other form is just as much you as the one we’re all used to. Yuki said dinner will be in just over an hour and after that you’ll be having magic lessons while the rest learn the basics of martial arts.”
“How did things go with Mom?” I asked hopefully.
“Better than I thought,” she admitted, “we had a long talk about things. You were right, once I told her everything she was more concerned about me then resentful of me for leaving and she’s definitely feeling really protective of me. Your father and I had to stop her from doing something rash; it’s kind of weird having our positions reversed.”
“I’m so relieved,” I said after letting out the breath I had been holding. “Are you going to stay for dinner?”
She shook her head. “No, I need to go back to my place and get a few things. Yuki and Gina want me to move into the extra room here.”
“That’s great, but why? I mean why now?” I asked. “Not that I’m complaining, I really want to spend more time getting to know my aunt. Is it for the whole bodyguard thing?”
She shrugged as she stepped further into the room. “Gina offered to let me stay here when she first brought me to Montreal, but I felt like I would have been intruding. Now Yuki’s all protective and wants me with the rest of the family. She wants us to make up for lost time I think, there’s the ‘bodyguard thing’, and there’s another reason as well.”
“What’s the other reason?” Kei asked from behind me.
“Yuki figured that she was going to be keeping pretty busy training the three of you in martial arts and all four of you in various weapons and other combat stuff,” she answered before turning back to me. “I also think Yuki is trying to put the past behind us and show me that she wants us to be close again, and wants me to be close to you too. I have learned a lot of Ice magic techniques and spells in my travels that Yuki isn’t familiar with, and since I taught her in the first place she asked me to teach you Ice magic. You wanted to spend more time with me? You’re going to get your wish, beginning right after dinner.”
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