From Hate to Love and Back Again

The Tale of a Tragic Romance Born out of Hate and Pain

…It could never last…

During-1

Kyoko, poor Kyoko, poor sad innocent Kyoko, ruined and degraded, how can she stand it, how can she bare to live with all her pain and suffering? After all that has happened to her, after all she has been through, how can she survive, how can she keep on going? Her strength is lost on many, because few people possess it at such simply astounding levels. They could never understand her struggle, and they don't want to, because they know enough to know that they'd rather be weak than live in torment for their strength; to die in pain is better to live in horror. Because, at least, when you are weak, you end it; but when you are strong, it ends you.

Kyoko doesn't see this as strength; she sees it as weakness, because that's what it feels like to her. How can such pain be strength, when strength should mean she can fight it and make the pain go away?

She is at a loss for what to do. Her friends are as well. Even her family is powerless to help her. They know not how to comfort or console her, how they may make the pain any less; they know not how they may make her feel better. Kyoko is very much loved, but she feels alone in her torment, because nobody knows what to do. They want to help, but they can't—they don't know how, so they avoid her, afraid of making it worse—which is unwittingly doing just that.

Am I so weak, so pathetic, so cursed that they avoid me to save themselves?

I deserve this, because I only spread pain, and they don't deserve to suffer for me.

Nobody is making it any better. Her friends and family are only making Kyoko feel worse—while trying to make her feel better—while Kyoko is trying to save them from torment—which is only plunging them deeper into it. By trying to help one another, they are making the other hurt more, which is causing them more pain, which makes them try to help, which only makes everything even worse by starting this whole vicious cycle all over again!

Idiots.

What is she to do? If she does not seek or find help, she will fall farther into despair, and even her great strength can only do so much. Sure, she's strong, but nobody's that strong. Fighting against your own power only means that you'll eventually lose and fail, just from exhaustion, if nothing intervenes. Of course, if someone would think for five friggin seconds they would figure it all out, and Kyoko might then have a chance of being reached before it's too late, but that doesn't seem very likely to happen anytime soon. Of course, if she finally gave in, lost, and fell into darkness, then somebody would put it together, but it would be too late then and guilt would cause even more pain, despair and death. How does one avoid such mayhem?

Just throw an intelligent man in, and you'll do alright. (Especially if he's hot!)

Kyoko often leaves her home and goes off, when she's not locking herself up. She doesn't want to hurt the others, so she removes herself in hopes of freeing them from her cursedness, so that she may prevent it from spreading. (I already explained why this was very bad and completely incorrect, but it's how she was thinking, and in her selflessness she was far more selfish than most humans can ever be—and they do it on purpose most of the time!).

Through most of the nighttime she cannot be found by anyone, for she sneaks out and does not return until near dawn. This return time has become steadily more reckless and cut even closer than usual, worrying everyone loads more; Kyoko no longer cares about her life, so she shows no particular care, which results in more anxiety for others, because she's throwing her won life around like an old rag.

Oh, and by the way, she's a vampire.

In general, when she sneaks off at night, she just wanders about in the darkness, alone and cold, left to her thoughts and miseries. It was only recently that she discovered a nice little, deserted place she can go to in the moonlight. Here she sits and dwells upon horrors most people would rather forget and allow to sink out of sight into the suppressed past. Not Kyoko. She wants to torment and torture herself, because that's just how her silly little mind has decided to work, as of recently.

This place is a small little park about five blocks distant from her house. During the day it is full of happy, playful children, but at night it is empty, quiet, foreboding and gloomy. A perfect place for Kyoko to slip steadily into darkness. She walks sluggishly, not really watching where she's going, finding her way through the bright night by sense and feel only. She stares down at the pavement, her hands in her pockets, and allows her mind to wander—she is hardly never not allowing her mind to do so, which makes her very detached and unobservant. She misses much, because she doesn't pay attention; this only feeds her desire to make her own self pay.

It's funny how I've gone from wanting him to pay to wanting myself to pay.

No, actually, that's not really all that funny, goddammit!

The park wasn't very large in size, and the scale was for much younger children, but it was a perfect place for this vampiress. The merry-go-round creaked eerily, the swings swung menacingly and the trees rustled spookily; however, none of this frightened, bothered or even seemed to affect Kyoko. Most people would be scared, hysterical with fear, or at least wary, but Kyoko was not her usual all-seeing self. She was only vaguely aware of that around her, and she only dimly processed her own actions. It was a dull roar, with most of her senses and concentration focusing on the loud screaming that is her past.

She sits on the low to the ground swing, just like she does everyday, hardly noticing that she was no longer standing. Her eyes were blank, clouded, vacant—she was elsewhere, and the clouded quality of her eyes was more than enough proof of that. Her skin sagged, and her mouth hung open, just because she no longer paid attention to what she does and what happiness around her. She doesn't care, and that was reflected onto her appearance.

Her eyes drooped, and her vision became fuzzy—she hadn't blinked in a while (she'd forgotten to). She was no longer even sure of what she was seeing. She could tell it was dark, and that she was surrounded by a lighter darkness, and she was sitting…but there, off in the distance, she thinks she sees someone standing, just standing…he, if it is a he, is watching her, just watching…he hasn't moved, and Kyoko isn't even sure that what she was seeing was really there…maybe if she just ignores it it'll go away, and leave her in her torment and misery.

But it didn't go away. Curious, Kyoko attempts to focus, but she can't. After being so deliberately and very spacey for so long she can't really see clearly. She tries, but fails. She's still not sure, but she thinks it really is a person, a man, standing there. She isn't frightened—nothing frightens her any longer, because she is so lost in grief that there is nothing anyone can do to her, seeing as how death would be a blessing—so she just slipped back into despair, ignoring him, since acknowledging him would make him real, and she can only hurt people that are real.

But he doesn't go away, and Kyoko can't fall back into darkness. After such a long existence living within it, she can't return to it, and that frightens her. However little sense this may make, she feels afraid and vulnerable without its dark and icy clutches enveloping and controlling her. Without the darkness, the real world is really real, and it can hurt her, and she can hurt it. Without the dark, she is human, she is free, and she no longer knows what to do with freedom—she doesn't want it, and having it only makes her feel scared, lost and vulnerable.

Oddly enough, however, it also makes her feel better, but too much goodness can be bad—especially for poor, lost, sad, hurting Kyoko.

She looks so lost, so…gone. I don't think I'm too late; I hope I'm not too late; I better not be too late! If I am, I will get angry

The man began walking towards Kyoko, who was unresponsive—as usual. She hardly ever responds to anything anymore; the best you can hope for is for her to notice, although she never shows that she sees or that she processes anything, because she usually doesn't.

She did, however, notice this man walking towards her (she could tell that he was a man, even from a distance, because of her mad vampire skills, attributes, powers and senses). She watched him with seemingly unseeing eyes, her whole body perfectly still and rigid as she gently swung in the breeze, her hands gripping the chains so tight that her knuckles were turning white.

He reached her and stopped several feet in front of her, and even a human could see him loud and clear from such a close distance, because it was a waning gibbous moon, so the night was rather well-lit. And what a man was he! He was muscular, but not absurdly so. He was a little on the thin side, strong and agile. His face was handsome and blank. His light purple, lavender eyes portrayed no emotion—the most dangerous kind, for behind them could be kindness or cruelty, love or hate, danger or safety. His hair seemed black in the darkness, but was really just a deep, dark shade of purple—as was evident in the moonlight. He wore jeans, a black T-shirt under an unzipped black leather jacket and brand-new tennis shoes.

He just stood there, an unlit cigarette dangling from between his lips, looking down at Kyoko with what could have possibly been a look of pity, disgust, mild interest, sympathy, or a mixture of all four. He said nothing, and he was not even trying to be secretive about his actions—he just stood, well into Kyoko's narrowed line of sight, watching her, never blinking, never averting his glaze, never moving.

If Kyoko had been anywhere close to normal she would have looked up and glared at him, or demanded to know what he was doing, or gotten up to leave. She would have reacted in some way, less than some but more than others. But, as I have been stressing for a good long while, she is nowhere close to normal, so she just continued to sit, immobile, unrelenting, un-processing, un-acting, unmoving, un-Kyoko.

The man finally did something, after standing there for a long while, watching Kyoko for any signs of a response or any type of movement. He had much patience to wait as long as he did, but he seemed un-annoyed, possibly unphased by the wait or Kyoko's behavior. It was almost as if he was expecting this reaction, waiting for it to re-confirmed.

He knelt down, so he could see into Kyoko's eyes more clearly. They were a clouded blue-green, most unlike their usual cloudy yet still bright blue-green, lacking and without all of their normal life and spark. Her eyes are mostly always full of it, smiling, laughing, even getting angry, they are full of life and humor and happiness, but not anymore. He saw that, and he nodded sadly. It was just as he had feared.

It could be over, but then again—there could still be a chance. I can't tell, because of her eyes, but there may be a chance. I may have come in at just the right time before total failure, but chances of that are slim. Hopefully my luck is enough so that she can still be saved—because if she can't be, I might as well kill her know; it would be a mercy at that point.

He brought his right hand and only his right hand. Taking this one hand of his he gently placed his cool flesh upon her warm, throbbing temple. The feel of his cold skin on hers made Kyoko shiver, it was a much wanted relief, but even that reaction was minimal (even though it was impulsive and not purposeful). She felt a slight shiver up her spine, and her whole body shook slightly, but that was it.

It could be worse—but, then again, it could also be better. Much better.

He removed his hand, which made Kyoko feel a faint feeling of disappointment; it was so faint, distant and small that she wasn't even fully aware of it, but the fact that it was there gave him hope, because he did notice it. He noticed everything about her, even such things that she is incapable of noticing herself. One of his many talents and specialties is seeing in others what they cannot see, or feel, in themselves.

He knelt there, still watching the dull and distant and blank Kyoko, wondering seriously about what he should do next—he had to do something, problem is, what? She's responsive, just barely, mind you, but still responsive. She feels, although it's not very much. I can save her, but I must act fast, for it will soon be too late. Lucky for me I came when I did—although earlier would have been better.

Oh well, mustn't dwell on then, only on now. What am I to do to save Kyoko? She feels, she sees, she's still there, but she's gone at the same time. She's buried deep, and she doesn't want to come out, which will only make things harder, much harder. I could always make her come out, but that should only be used as a last resort. I don't want to damage her mind, only save her spirit, and some costs are too high—even for me.

Another of his talents is the ability to think and work fast in high-pressure situations—he has felt and been through worse, so his mind stays calm even in situations such as these. His mind works far faster than any humans, and he uses almost all of his brain—a feat no other being or race has ever been able to accomplish. Werewolves only use 15, vampires 25, and witches 33. He, however, uses 87, and that total keeps on growing as he grows older and wiser—it is a slow process, but it is completely worth it. (The greatest total accomplished before him was 77, but that woman was an enchantress, and she died right before she was able to advance even further—it was an accidental drowning, by the way, that caused her premature death). It's very much worth it, especially when you need it, especially when you have nothing else to do, especially when want it and can't do anything more worthwhile with yourself.

Especially when you're going to live forever.

He got it, and although it took a good bit of time in his head, in real time it was practically instantaneous. When your brain is so advanced, and so much put to good use, it works on a completely different time table. It works faster, so time seems slower, which means that time inside your mind doesn't go faster, but that outside time goes slower in comparison.

Yes, perfect, that should work quite nicely…I hope.

He reached out with both hands this time, his cold, smooth, pale hands, and placed them upon Kyoko's ivory throat. He gently but firmly closed his hands upon her throat, which held her in a firm, unbreakable grip that was still soft and sweet. He enclosed her throat, and she could feel the strength of his hands as they held her now fragile throat. With one quick squeeze he could snap her neck, she would have no time to react, it would be over just like that.

But, of course, he did not such thing to her.

He is here to save her, not kill her—at least, not yet. Not unless he can't save her, and death would be the best way to help her. Because if that became the case, he would of course free her, but he'd rather she lived and healed and didn't die.

As soon as her throat was held in his grip, he closed his eyes and concentrated with all of his might. He had to, otherwise it wouldn't work, and it would probably do more harm than good if that were to happen. He closed his mind off to all else, and his sole concentration became Kyoko. He could only feel her over-heated skin against his icy-cold hands; he could only smell her deep and heavenly, soothing scent; he could only taste and see nothingness, as she was more important. He felt her hot blood beat within her veins at a sluggish, unworried pace. He was aware of her and only here—he saw only what was before him. He knew everything about her, and all thoughts of his own self were gone, as if they had never been there.

He steadily began to feed his cold, his calm, his energy and his life-force into the needy Kyoko. Her body readily and eagerly took it in. It wanted to live; it needed to live, even when Kyoko herself had given up. Color and stable warmth returned to her, and her body was healed. Her eyes no longer drooped, her skin no longer sagged, nothing was as it shouldn't be and everything was as it was meant to be.

But that wasn't all of the problem—not even nearly the half of it. Her body was healed, just as healthy as it was before she let herself go, but that does nothing unless her mind is fixed. If he leaves now she will look fine, but that's all superficial. It would only prolong her self-brought destruction. Without the conscious will to live, the unconscious need to do so means nothing, and he might as well kill her now if that's all he's going to do. The healing he did would unravel yet again were he to leave her to her own devices without healing her mind as well.

But, of course, he knows this as well, and he hasn't come so far, and done so much, just to leave now and allow it to unravel and go to waste. He did the first part, to ensure that he could try again, but he could do no more—for now. He wants to help more, but healing Kyoko as he just did took a lot out of him. Kyoko is strong, powerful and great—this means that she needs more to be brought back to normal from such a fall, so he was out of energy, and he can hardly stay conscious. He wants to do more, but his body won't let him try, because to try would be to waste the last of his energy, which would kill him and leave Kyoko to be reclaimed by the darkness.

He let go of Kyoko's neck, his hands numb. He couldn't control his own movements farther than pulling his frozen hands back. He had planned to leave to hide and rest, but he had not planned on using so much energy so fast—he had miscalculated the amount she needed, which means that he didn't have the strength to stand, much less to leave. He felt his eyes flutter, even the energy required to open them all the way lost on him. His heavy eye-lids closed all the way and he felt himself fall backwards, too heavy to remain sitting up any longer.

So…so tired…need…must sleep…

He couldn't hang on any longer; he eagerly allowed, even urged, the darkness to consume, envelop and take over his consciousness, just for the peace, quiet and rest it brought. Such things he wanted more than anything, and he got his wish…

Kyoko's eyes fluttered open, and that in and of itself was a great shock. She sat there dumbly for a while, unsure of what was going on and what to do. She felt free, unhindered, light. She no longer felt the darkness as she once had; it was still there, but it was buried, deep within her, allowing the light to reign supreme again. She was free, she could do as she pleased, and this scared her. She didn't know what to do with this new founded freedom, so she just sat there as she always would. Just sat there, almost wishing for this goodness to go away. At least with the darkness she knew what she was doing and what was going on. Now she was at a loss at how to react, what to do, how she was to act. She no longer knew any of that, for she was out of practice—it had been so long, it was like this world was a new one.

She then noticed the handsome man sprawled out on the grass in front of her. She vaguely recognized him, but couldn't tell from where. She then remembered that this must be the man she saw before, watching her. He looked so peaceful, sleeping there. She smiled, just watching him there. He looked so serene, so innocent, so calm, so sweet and so free. She felt this great urge, this leaping desire to lie down beside him, follow his example, to do as he did. It looked so nice, so comfortable, that she wanted to do it too. It was than that she realized what he must have done, saved her as he did, and a wave of gratitude washed up on over her.

He saved me…I don't even know him and he used his energy to save me, to bring me back…I wonder why…Is he alive? I'm afraid too much was taken out of him. Will he live? Is there any way for me to make sure he does, since he saved me and all? It is the least I can do…At least try to, anyway.

She stood up shakily, still not too strong or steady on her feet. She took a deep breath to stave off light-headedness. Once everything stopped spinning, Kyoko carefully took a step over his still body; careful to take it slow and make sure she doesn't fall over and hurt herself or her sleeping savior. She knelt down by his side, a horrible feeling in her stomach making her feel like she was about to vomit. Bile rose in her throat, but she fought back the increasing urge to let the contents of her mostly empty stomach come up and out.

Once she had succeeded in halting such unpleasantries, Kyoko turned her attention to the unconscious man, the reason she was on her knees, to try and save or help him and any way she can. She was afraid that she was still too weak to do much, but she was going to try, and nothing would stop her from at least attempting to repay this kind stranger.

Have I met him before? He seems oddly familiar, I just can't put my finger on it…Ah well, probably just that he reminds me of someone. I can't know him, I just can't; it's most impossible.

Kyoko put her now warm, but still not hot (for the cool night), hand on his forehead to feel for his temperature. He was just warmer than cold, but that was to be expected. Who knows how long ago it was that he fell to where he know lays—it was just the cruel night that took away all of his heat and warmth. She also checked his pulse—being a vampire, Kyoko is an expert at judging health via how the veins act, react and work. His pulse was steady, and nothing seemed to be so wrong with it that it was irregular or anything like that—so that's good.

She decided that the best thing she could do for him at this current place and time, without knowing any more about him or his condition, was to keep him warm, but not overly so, and wait for him to wake up—she had enough time to wait for a little while. Hopefully he would come around before dawn; so that she could properly thank him before the need to escape the dawn's light overcame her wish for expressing her gratitude.

She folded her legs up under her and made to try and get herself as comfortable as possible. Dawn was a good ways away and this man didn't look like he was going to wake up anytime soon—if at all before the sun comes up. She straightened him out and made him as comfortable as she could manage. He seemed just fine but for the fact that he was unconscious and too cold for comfort. Considering what Kyoko herself is wearing, there is nothing much she can do. She could give up her thin grey silk jacket up, but it would do him little good, and for her it would only be murder.

Things had reached their maximum cold, which means that the dead of night has settled in. The stars were perfectly visible now, and the moon cast an odd, shimmering light upon everything. To pass the time, Kyoko looked around and took in the beauty of the calm, mystical night. Its little wonder vampires have taken to the night, what with humans plaguing the day and poisoning their world—which is, in turn, the world of all others that live here. At night the moon shines and glitters; the trees shine with it's light; everything's beauty increases and multiplies at night, if you know what your looking at—as no human has ever been able to do, mostly because they don't try, the nasty, filthy little vermin.

The man stirred, which frightened Kyoko because she hadn't been paying attention. He moaned and shivered, causing Kyoko to jump and almost shriek—she had been lost in not-so-bad thoughts as she has been known to dive into, but they weren't quite happy either. They were a bit pleasant, a bit unpleasant, but considering the condition she was in no to long ago, it is a major improvement.

Realizing it was only the unconscious man she calmed her beating heart, scolding herself for being so silly. She's a vampire—nothing should scare her, especially not in the world of night! Usually she is very brave and fearless, but she was a bit vulnerable after just being freed, so she is an exception—for now.

Upon waking up, the man had opened his eyes, but his vision was blurry and none too reliable. It had also made him near-sighted. Everything was watery, and he could only see things that were absurdly close to him. The only thing he could see properly and process upon awakening was Kyoko—which is far better than he's ever been able to do, just about.

He didn't recognize her as Kyoko at first, because he had only seen her once, and that was before his eyesight got messed up, and when she was messed up. Now she looks tons better, although none of what he did was really superficial. She looked a lot better, and he almost didn't realize it was Kyoko. (He had passed out before getting a really good look at his handiwork).

Her skin was smooth and pale, like the moonlight, which was to be expected. Vampires are deathly paled creatures, unless they had been black when they were humans, or unless they are only half—when a vampire is born only half (through parents and thanks to genes) they can tan, just not very much; they have less of the weaknesses of their vampire brethren, but also less of their strengths.

Her eyes, he had not been able to see in all their beauty only a little while ago, were now alive and pulsing with life and love for it. They showed her strength, her beauty, her great spirit and her lovely soul. They show how human she is, and how wonderful she can be. They showed all the good, and none of the bad, because what little there is couldn't filter through all of the goodness that would rather present itself through such an easily accessible and readable outlet.

Her hair was full and shiny now, falling down past her shoulders in delicate waves of the purest, blondest color for hair that he has ever seen. She wore no make-up or jewelry, but she was still very easily the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. It was like having an angel looking down upon him, which is a compliment he rarely gives and should be taken very seriously. When he thinks it, he means it. He has seen angels, and few humans—or even vampires—have ever achieved that level of beauty, but this one has, and he recognized it immediately.

Once Kyoko saw that he was awake, she smiled a beauteous, angelic smile. She was happy, and her smile lit up her whole face with it. She edged closer to him, for this is the moment she's been waiting for. He said nothing, but that was to be expected, after such an ordeal, waking up and being greeted by the very stranger he had saved.

"Hello," she whispered, in case his hearing was messed up a bit, in which case loud noises could hurt his overly-sensitive ears. She was right, and he was grateful. Even her soft voice hurt a little, but it was nothing to what loud noises would do.

"Hiya," he croaked, trying to smile. He was still drowsy, but things were coming into focus, allowing him to better gaze upon the beauty before him. And to think that her condition had reduced her as it had, and she had been a wreck only just recently. She would still be like that, and she would've perhaps been lost. That was all the thanks he needed—knowing what he did and seeing his results, how much of an effect they've had, and how life will be for many people now that he had done it.

"Thank you," she whispered, her heavenly soft voice gliding through the air into his ears, a perfect sound penetrating his mind and making him go numb from pleasure and appreciation for her all-around beauty.

He smiled back at her, to show that he was still breathing. "Don't mention it—the fact that you're on your way to getting all better is more than enough of a thank-you in and of itself."

Kyoko blushed bashfully; he smiled at the newfound redness in her cheeks.

"Just make sure you get better and don't go back to being like that, because then all of what I did will be for nothing, and I won't be able to help. I want you to make the most of my gift to you, alright? Do you promise you'll do that—for me?"

Kyoko nodded slightly.

"Good girl. Just make sure you keep that promise—not just for me, but also for your friends and family. They're very worried, you know, and if you go back into that bad place, you may never come out again, no matter what I or anyone else may try to do."

He did not wait for a reply. Instead he pushed himself up into a sitting position, his weakened limbs shaking uncertainly as he tried. He had just about no energy, and this was quite evident to him. How did I awake? She must have accidentally transferred a bit of her newly awakened energy into me—how nice, even if it wasn't a conscious effort. Such a beautiful woman, so very, very beautiful…

His head swam and his vision blurred. His stomach growled, upset, and he felt like he was about to faint again. He wobbled shakily and would have fallen over had it not been for Kyoko. She saw that he was about to fall over, and she sensed his queasy light-headedness. Quickly she acted, her reflexes being so fantastic (she is—after all—a vampiress!). She caught him just as he was about to fall. He felt a wave of gratitude wash over him, although he was still feeling too shaky to be wholly appreciative of it.

"Than…thank you…" he whispered, trying—and finally succeeding—in expressing his thanks. Once he had succeeded he felt even worse, physically. But then he saw her face brighten up, and she looked radiant, even better than before. She almost looked like she was back to normal, her old self. That filled him with an odd warmth which made it all worth it, no matter the after-affects of his difficult, draining kindness.

She stood up and offered her hand to him, to help him to his feet. He took it, smiling the best that he could, and let himself be pulled up. His head swan and he felt like he was going to fall over again, but that feeling soon subsided. She never let go of his hand. Her pale, warm hand felt extremely smooth and pleasant to the touch within his. He felt invigorated just be having this angel (who was really and technically a demon) here with him—he could remain like this forever.

She led him over to the tree, so he could stand with its support, and he did not resist. He would have done anything for Kyoko at this particular place and time. He leaned on it and had to agree that he did feel better because of it. His headache dulled to a slight throbbing within his sore temple. His mind cleared and his energy returned a bit. He felt better, but he still wasn't completely healed—that's to be expected.

"Are you alright?" she asked, her soft, sweet voice lovely to listen to. He smiled as he was captivated by, dwelled upon and absorbed the sound of her melodic voice. It was like music to his ears, soothing, calming and pleasureful all at once. She looked and sounded concerned, so he smiled to show her that he was fine, and stop her worrying. He hated seeing her filled with such an unpleasant emotion.

"I'm fine," he said, his voice hardly louder than a weakened breeze. Kyoko was able to hear him just fine, because of her sharpened senses. He just wanted to lean on the tree's bark, hold her hand and listen to her voice for eternity. But that was not possible. The sun was due to rise shortly, and neither of them could be out at that time.

"Thank you, again," she repeated after a long silence. She was gazing at the moon, and he had his eyes closed. He enjoyed the feel of her skin on his, and secretly, she did too.

"It is you that should be thanked," he corrected, strength and volume returning to his voice, no longer weak or unsure or too painful to be heard clearly and easily. He kept his voice low on purpose, to maintain the night's miraculous peace, and because loud noises still made his already hurting head throb even more, although that dulled in time as well.

She smiled her gratitude, and he felt an odd feeling swelling up within his breast. He felt like he could fly over the highest cloud, soar over the very sun, swim in the deepest ocean and live and move on forever—just on her smiles and words. It was an enlightening, invigorating, wonderful feeling, one that scared him slightly, but only because he didn't now what it was, wasn't used to it and felt vulnerable for the overwhelming feeling it installed within him.

How is it possible that this vampiress installs such an emotion within me, a feeling that renders me weak and defenseless, when I—Izumi Fuuka—can fight any being and destroy any beast? Through my life I have killed and felt pain and been tormented, and been strong through it all, but this woman's touch and voice defeats me! How? How can that be so?

"What's your name?" he asked, curious. He didn't know it, but he wished to, so that she would not be lost to him forever after this wondrous encounter. He couldn't bear to never see her again after tonight—it just wasn't enough.

After a moments pause, in which he thought she had not heard, so he was about to repeat the question unnecessarily, Kyoko spoke up, saying, "My name is Kami Bara." So she had heard, but what was that pause for? To finish a thought? To remain undisturbed in some admiration of her surroundings? Or to decide what her answer would be? "What's yours?"

He thought for only a second before replying, "Akito Mikiko is I."

She laughed.

I couldn't tell him the truth—that goddamn evil bastard is still at large, and I can no longer fling my true name about as freely as I once had. I doubt this man is a threat, or dangerous in any way—he has, after all, just saved me—but I must be careful with all whom I may meet. Even if the one with which I speak is safe, there may been those watching uninvited.

She is still after me, that vicious woman—if I tell my name to all I meet, she will eventually find me. I want to tell her, but if I lie once I must lie more, and I might as well start from the beginning—for if I do not, she may find out, and never speak to me again, and that's the very last thing I want.

"Paper Rose?"

"Yes? Got a problem with it?"

"No—of course not. I think it's beautiful."

"I don't."

"Really?"

"Yeah—I hate it."

"Well, true beauty is obvious to all, except the one person who possesses it. People are hardly ever able to see the true beauty in themselves; they usually either enlarge it or diminish it. I prefer they who are modest to they who are vain. They are more beautiful that way."

Kyoko blushed. Izumi smiled. How sweet…

I must say the following before continuing—hopefully it is short enough to avoid ruining a good thing (it will not be repeated): I own Kyoko and Izumi, yet I don't. My friend, Rose of Battle (as she is known on FictionPress, aka here) technically owns them. She first came up with them, as can be seen in her Under the Darkness Yu Yu Hakusho fic on FanFiction, under the penname kuramagirl44. But, I own them as well, for I own these versions. She owns the basics, which I took, changed, added to, and made a story about. She cannot stop me using them, but it is not plagiarizing, for we are friends and she doesn't mind…

At least, not really (I don't think)…