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Misery Loves Company

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This article, Misery Loves Company, is property of Achrones150.

This article, Misery Loves Company, is property of Darknesslover5000.

What goes around comes around

A young girl with steel gray hair tied in twintails, and dark blue eyes was staring at the sky from the roof of her manor. She seemed to either have just woken up, or finished something rather exhausting.

"When is Dad going to visit again?" She sighed.

"When we least expect it..."

It was here that another teenage girl's figure had appeared to stand right beside her. Her appearance might as well have been a mirror; her white hair was laced in long twin tails. Blue and seemingly pupiless eyes looked mirthfully over at her sitting companion, a warm smile decorating the face.

"That sounds like him." Aoi smiled warmly at her sister. "I just wish he'd visit more often. It wouldn't kill him."

The other woman, known as Kyuui, turned herself to sit down on the roof. Her legs dangled off carelessly like ropes hanging off of the ceiling. "Don't worry." She assured. "Soon, he won't just have to visit, but he'll stay with us...this time..."

It was a year after their father's battle with their aunt. That very year, the man had willingly surrendered his intentions to his family in the hopes that they would understand through Midoriko's words. It was no surprise, shortly after, that he would come along to greet the family as a friend...not an enemy.

Flashback...

The door opened, and despite the fact that it was a warm summer's day, cold seeped into the house as Midoriko entered. She opened her mouth to speak. "I'm back!"

Unfortunately, Tereya was the nearest one to the door at the time, lying on the couch. And upon feeling the cold sensation... well, she wasn't exactly calm as she was before her daughter had entered. Instantly, she shot up, arms hugging around herself. "What in the holy hell....?!" She stammered. "Did you bring the whole North Pole with you?!"

Ahatake understood instantly. His precious daughter had reverted to her former personality. "What's up Mido?" He asked tentatively. Midoriko turned to him. "Father, I'd like you to stop going after Taiki." She said, her tone ice. Whatever Ahatake had expected to hear, that wasn't on the top of his list. He was speechless.

And whatever Tereya's comment was about to say, it was immediately shot to hell. Her eyes widened in considerable surprise. The invisible burden she had resisted on her shoulders was now lifted at her words - it was as if a pardon for her own crimes had been lifted.

Yet, her words were calm. "What happened, Mido?" She questioned, folding her arms across her chest and leveling her gaze into her daughter's eyes. "We want to know everything."

"Nothing really happened." She replied. "I sparred with him, he lectured me, we resumed battle. We we're about even and then he decided to tell me that his plans are "something I will appreciate". So I decided to sit back and watch it all play out. And I told him I'd tell you lot to back off."

"Sparred...?" That made Tereya scoff. "Is that why you're coming in with the Artic behind you?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Ahatake asked. "She's reverted to her former personality. Only it seems to have been upped a notch."

"I know that! That just means it wasn't just a simple spar!"

"Just stop going after him." Midoriko said airily.

Sighing, Tereya closed her eyes and leaned back in her couch. "Is that it? I'd have expected something a bit more drastic than that..." She mused. "Oh, well..."

"He'll be dropping in soon to visit Aoi and Kyuui." Midoriko said, walking upstairs. "At least I assume it'll be soon."

"Oh, it'll be soon all right..."

Behind the cold aura of Midoriko's wake, a familiar white-haired man was leaning against the doorway, eyes squinted shut, and his mouth set in a wide smile. Tereya's head immediately snapped up at the sound of the voice, eyes widening ever so slightly as she recognized who it was."

"Kaa-san....Tou-san...it's been a while!" He greeted politely.

"Perhaps sooner than I thought." Midoriko said looking at her brother. "Welcome back, Onii-san."

Hands slid into his pockets, the man didn't look all too concerned about the fact that they were once former enemies. After all, the words did come from his trustworthy sister. "Thank you, Mido-chan." He replied.

"They've agreed to stop going after you." Midoriko said with a cold smile.

"I heard everything outside. Your cold aura provides good cover over my reiatsu, you know."

"I'll remember that should you ever need my assistance." She replied and gestured upstairs. "I believe there are two people waiting to see you."

"I hope I get a better reaction outta them then outta Tou-san and Kaa-san." Taiki said, motioning towards his two parents. His footsteps carried him, however, past Midoriko and up the stairs in swift motions. "Negative, positive, I don't care..."

Midoriko laughed as she led him to a door where the sound of giggles could be heard. She opened the door to find Adela, Kyuui and Aoi in the room, Aoi hanging on her mother's back like an infant monkey, laughing up a storm. Kyuui was apparently in a panic, waving her arms in a vain attempt to get her sister to stop.

It was Taiki that decided to speak, leaning against the doorway in the same manner as before. "Oh, dear. Am I missing all the fun?"

The room had gone silent at the sight of the silver haired man. Adela was the first to speak. "Hello dear." She said as if Taiki had merely returned from a long business trip. "How are you?"

He had expected as such, and her tone lifted his feelings a bit. "I've been better." He replied casually and amiably. "More importantly, how are you three?"

"We're fine." She replied pleasantly as Aoi detached herself from her mother and began walking slowly towards her father.

Despite possible danger, Taiki continued to lean and watch as Aoi approached. Behind her, Kyuui had watched the both of them with wary eyes, fingers on her mouth out of nervousness. Though, his smile faded into a more thoughtful curve. After all, she hadn't drawn her Zanpakuto immediately.

Yet.

Then, in a move that surprised everyone in the room, she put her arms around Taiki, tears pouring down her face. "I'm sorry.." She muttered, and everyone knew she was referring to the time she had tried to wipe Taiki off the face of the Earth.

That made Taiki scoff lightly. "Stupid girl." He muttered, leaning over and wrapping his own arms around her gently. "What are you apologizing for? I'm the one that left you in the dark for so long. I'm the one that nearly ended your life. For that, I'm sorry."

Aoi looked up, with a large smile on her face, but it appeared she could no longer speak.

That's when Kyuui stepped in.

Before Taiki realized it, she had rushed forward and embraced the man in her own affectionate hug. "We missed you so much..." She whispered, her voice having cracked slightly. Tears were welling up in her own eyes.

Adela smiled at the scene. It seemed everyone was content.

Right at that moment, husband and wife had matching faces...

End Flashback

Aoi sighed and lied down on the ceiling, only to be greeted by the sight of Kyuui's rather large breasts. She spluttered as her face turned a brilliant shade of magenta and she sat bolt upright again. "So what do you want to do?"

That was when Kyuui started outright laughing, at the sudden reaction. The laughter was so hard, tears came from her eyes in a minuscule amount. "Kya Ha ha ha ha--!" Was all she could manage to get out, holding her sides. When she finally did manage to calm down, however, she raised a finger to wipe a tear from her eye.

"Aoi... you are so innocent, it's screaming cute..."

Aoi's face was still slightly pink as she spoke. "I was just caught off guard." She said sheepishly. "It's really odd though. Your chest used to be so small and now it's huge. Just like Grandma's."

"R...really?" Slightly taken back, Kyuui looked down at herself in an innocent, clueless manner. "Now that you mention it, they do stick out a bit more, don't they?"

Aoi laughed. "Like you have no idea." She sighed and took in a deep breath. She peered over the edge of the ceiling and saw a red haired woman in black clothing approaching the building. "Hey Kyuui, there's someone walking up to the door."

"Nani?"

A questioning look filled the white-haired girl's eyes. She maneuvered herself over to get a better view. "It looks like Akiko-san a bit..." She noted.

"Yeah." Aoi replied, squinting her eyes to get a better view. "Should we go down to check?"

"Nah... we should probably wait 'till the rest of the family get acquainted with her..."

"Alright." Aoi replied. "If that's the case.." She tackled Kyuui to the ground and locked her lips with hers...

"!!"

Family Ties

The door bell rang rather loudly and repeatedly, causing Ahatake to jump, ruffling his newspaper. "Who the hell?? It's 9:00 in the morning!" The doorbell kept ringing and Ahatake sighed and got up and walked to the door. He opened it and standing outside we're two nearly identical women, both with long red hair and pale skin, but the shorter with brilliant green eyes and the taller with darker, blood-red eyes.

"Akiko...not to be rude but..who the hell is this?" He gestured to the red-eyed woman.

"My mother." Akiko replied grimly as they entered.

The woman spoke. "I'm Asami Yau." She said, staring coldly at Ahatake. "You look a lot like him."

"I'm sorry?"

"Kaemon." She replied shortly, as she walked around the room. "You look alot like him."

"He's my dad." Ahatake replied, bewildered.

"I see." She replied, giving Ahatake a cold, appraising look. "And where is your father?"

"Upstairs." Ahatake replied meekly and the woman strode past him.

"What was that about?" Ahatake turned to his sister.

"Mom isn't too happy with Dad.." She replied. "You know..for leaving her in favor of your mom."

Ahatake sighed and muttered in what sounded like insults in German under his breath.

In a chair, legs crossed in a ladylike fashion, and hands on her knees, Tereya had observed the whole thing seemingly in a formal manner. Yet, her expression was one of blinking curiosity. "Wonder what's gonna happen..."

Ahatake didn't answer, as he was still muttering rapidly and the only intelligible words were the names which he spoke in Japanese. But he needn't have answered anyway, as a shrill voice was soon heard and it rattled the very walls of the house.

"LEFT ME FOR A HUMAN-!"

The voice effectively stopped Ahatake's mutterings, and he was wide eyed.

"-WRING YOUR NECK-!"

Putting on a small smile, Tereya placed her hands behind her head and leaned by in her chair, obviously pleased by the sounds of anger coming from upstairs. "Ah...such music brings wonders to the ears..."

"-ANY IDEA HOW I'VE BEEN FEELING-??!?!?!"

Akiko shuddered. "Poor Dad."

"He'll be fine. Unless of course, he comes out bleeding like a shot gas tank...."

"With mom in there he probably will."

The shrill shrieking continued, though it seemed to have reached a pitch at which only dolphins would even be able to hear it. It seemed she had been wanting to let all this out for ages.

"Still..." A slight look of annoyance came across Tereya's face. She raised a pinky to stick into her earlobe. "That shrieking could be done without...it's a pain to my head."

Ahatake laughed as the noise subsided and footsteps could be heard as Asami walked down the stairs. She looked furious and her hair was bushy and sticking out in places.

"Super Saiyan..." Was the first thing Tereya thought of when she saw the scorned woman's appearance. But she remained silent, eyes closed in a rather comical manner.

The woman took out a brush and began to straighten her hair. Akiko spoke. "Um...mom...so...what happened?"

The woman did not answer immediately, first straightening her hair back into it's former style. "I just had to get that off my chest." She sighed. "The bastard. No one leaves me for a human."

"Uh...technically he was with my mother first." Ahatake said. In an instant he knew it would have been better just to keep quiet as the woman's fist collided with his gut.

Despite the fact that she wasn't too sympathetic towards the Kurosaki at that moment, Tereya decided to speak up. "Oi, oi... care to watch your temper? That's my husband you just punched the wind out of."

Asami turned her cold stare toward Tereya. But all she did was speak. "Be quiet girl." She turned on her heel and strode out of the house, leaving Ahatake to regain the breath that her blow had knocked out of him.

"Akiko...why did you bring her here?" He asked, breathing hard.

"She told me to." Akiko replied sheepishly. "I still have to do what my mother says."

"It makes me glad I don't have my parent's around." Tereya said dryly. "That makes two Midorikos that I know..."

"She makes Midoriko look sweet." Ahatake muttered, slumping down back into his chair, not even bothering to move the newspaper.

"I don't need to ask this..." Tereya turned her eyes towards her husband once more, an eyebrow raised. "But are you all right?"

"It'll take more than that to make me actually hurt." Ahatake replied. "She only knocked the win out of me. She could have done much worse if she had wanted to."

"Well, if your father survived, it can't really be that bad....can it?"

"Maybe not." Ahatake replied.

Asami was standing outside on a cliff that overlooked the rest of the area. The wind was blowing a gently breeze that caused her hair to whip around her. Though her face was blank it was obvious she was troubled. "That jerk..proposing in the middle of my yelling at him.."

"Hi!"

To her troubled ears, a cheerful voice found its way in. Then, its owner's head appeared over Asami's, a figure leaning over her. A smile and blue pupiless eyes, along with loose white hair obviously meant it was another female.

Asami's eyes widened as another girl with steel-gray and dark blue eyes appeared next to her. "Hi." She echoed her sister.

Caught off guard, Asami was speechless.

"We're the granddaughters of your half-son." Kyuui introduced herself and her sister. "Kyuui and Aoi. Sorry if we..." She cleared her throat a bit, raising herself up to a standing position. "...scared you a bit."

"No, I just didn't expect to see someone out here." She replied. "My name is Asami Yau. I suppose I am your great-great-aunt."

Kyuui chuckled a bit. "Well, great-great-aunt, I couldn't help but notice you were a bit troubled... that, and your plane-loud screaming..."

Asami chuckled a bit. These two seemed to amuse her more than the rest of the family. "I'm fine. Furious with your great-grandfather, but it's nothing you two need to trouble yourselves with."

"Of course it's something to trouble ourselves with."

Kyuui sat down beside her, legs stretched out and crossed. Her hands were on her lap, and she was sitting right beside Asami. "After all, you all the people we treasure the most. It's only natural for us to worry about a member."

"Still it's nothing you need to know about." She said as Aoi sat next to Kyuui and the sun began to set, bathing the scene in crimson light. "Not yet anyway. I'll tell you all later, maybe in a few days."

"I can live with that." Kyuui said in resolution, putting on a smile that would put her dad to shame.

Asami smiled as well, an uncommon action for her. "I assume we should go inside then?" She gestured towards the manor. "I will be staying with you all for awhile."

"We don't have to..." Kyuui said, smile fading a bit as she looked over at her great-great-aunt in question. "If you wish, we could stay out here for a little while..."

"Alright." She replied as she sat down next to the children. "We will need to go in before it is time to eat however."

"Right..."

"So since you have me out here," Asami smiled. "What is it you want to know?"

"To start off."

At the question, Kyuui squinted her eyes shut. "I, for one, would like to know more about you. Knowing names only wouldn't be much, would it?"

"There isn't much to know about me." She replied. "But I guess I'll let you know the basics. I was a former Shinigami of the Gotei 13. I eventaully just got tired of it, so I came to live in the World of the Living, where I resided in a Gigai. I eventually met Kaemon, and I fell in love with him. He left me however, shortly before I had Akiko."

"Hmph!" In a huffing manner, Kyuui folded her arms across her chest. "I hope he didn't leave just because you were having a kid!"

"If that were the case, he wouldn't have stayed with your grandfather's mother." Asami replied dryly.

"Then why'd he leave?" Kyuui leaned in curiously. "If he loved you so much, then why didn't he stay with you?"

"Maybe he couldn't handle your beauty." Aoi said, grinning and it forced Asami to laugh.

It was a joke that made Kyuui laugh heartily as well. "Oh, that's right!" She added. "Men act like putty when they're near a beautiful woman. Think he might have been a bit shy?" The simple thought of the rough and tumble great-grandfather acting in a shy manner made her laugh even harder.

Asami considered it and the very idea that Kaemon thought her more beautiful than that wench he ran off with was rather comforting. "That may very well be the reason. He proposed to me while I was yelling at him you know."

Kyuui stopped laughing when she realized her joking remark may have been accurate. She turned her head, a surprised expression in Asami's view. "Wouldn't that mean he was scared of you beating him to death?"

Her remark immediately made her body wince. "I'm sorry if I sound negative, but..."

"I don't think so." Asami replied. "I've never know Kaemon to fear anything."

"Then... I think he was trying to be honest with you..." Kyuui's negativity faded, the smile returning to her face once more. She tilted her head to the side. "Maybe you should go to him and hear him out yourself?"

Asami thought about it. The area was bathed now in the soothing light of the full moon. "I guess I should. But not until after I've had something to eat."

"Good idea..."

Seeing the night around them, Kyuui slowly stood up. "It's getting quite late, and the dinner's probably already started...." She noted, turning around and motioning for he sister to follow. "C'mon. They're probably wondering where we are by now..."

Aoi kept pace with her sister and aunt, as the smell of food wafted from the inside of the house. To Aoi's nose, it smelt European, whatever it was.

Around the corner, Tereya had finished setting the last plate down before sitting herself in one of the chairs in the dining room. "You know, for once, the fact that we have a manor for a house has proven to be not so useless after all..." She said, an unlit cigarette in her mouth.

Ahatake laughed and then sighed. "We're about to eat Tereya, put that thing away." He gestured to the cigarette.

"What? It's unlit, anyway..."

"Like I give a damn, you're not having cigarettes at the table." Ahatake sighed. "Now I know what you need for Christmas. A therapist few thousand volts of electricity every time you try to have a smoke."

"Tch..." Tereya closed her eyes and raised her head slightly in a slightly proud manner. "You shouldn't speak that way to the person who slaves over a hot stove, Mr. Prone-to-Diabetes."

Ahatake ignored her and looked around the table. To the unsuspecting person it would look as if they were having guests from many different countries paying a visit. There was food from Europe, such as Fish 'n Chips and Yorkshire Pudding, then American food like fries and hamburger's, Chinese Chow Mein and Orange Chicken, and then food from Japan like bowls of rice, ramen noodles, Tamago kake gohan, and Manjū among other things. It seemed as if Tereya had really outdone herself.

The door opened and Asami entered, followed by the twins.

Immediately, Tereya turned her head to the side and spit the cigarette out, landing it straight into the nearest trash can. "Welcome to the Kurosaki buffet..." She said in a sophisticated but joking manner, spreading her arms out welcomingly towards the food. "Please enjoy yourselves..."

"Oh--!" Kyuui's eyes immediately fell upon the food. "Wow, Baa-san! You outdid yourself!!!"

Aoi's eyes widened at the look and smell of the food. "Thanks Grandma." She said walking around the table.

"Don't mention it." Tereya replied modestly. "I felt it was a good day to cook it..." She looked around. "So, everyone here?"

Asami strode around the table, looking at the food. "Where's Kaemon?"

"Upstairs, having Akiko fix his broken arm." Ahatake replied.

"Ah..." Tereya once again turned her attention to the food before her and her family. "You think we should wait for 'im?"

"No need." Kaemon's deep voice sounded as he descended the steps followed by Akiko. He was flexing his arm. It seemed to be as good as new.

Tereya smirked. "Good to see ya, old man. Now, if you'd be so kind to sit down, we can start gettin' rid o' all this..."

Kaemon smiled and took a seat, surprisingly enough, next to Asami. Everyone began reaching for food and chatter instantly filled the room.

"So, grandma..." Was Kyuui's first words of the conversation. "How'd you learn to make all this. It's quite..."

"Foreign?" Tereya finished. "Yeah...it pays to have a brother with a lot of knowledge 'bout culture. Considerably, I only do this once or twice a year to keep the tradition from getting old..."

Aoi grinned. "Well it's really good Grandma." The only Kurosaki family member's absent from this happy gathering were Midoriko, Taiki, and Adela, but this didn't seem to bother anyone.

"A compliment? Coming from you? I'd say that's quite an accomplishment for me..." Tereya commented.

"Better believe it." Ahatake chuckled, eating roast potatoes.

Tereya raised a hand to clear her throat, eyes drifting to the mother of Akiko. "Asami. Might I ask what the reason was of you coming here? Besides the obvious husband beating..."

"That was the reason." She replied. after swallowing a bit of rice.

"And yet you're staying for.... how long?"

"I'm not sure." She replied in a tone that plainly told everyone she was not leaving soon.

The evasion made Tereya roll her eyes, but she relented. "All right, then. Do I have to start bringing First Aid kits now?"

"It'd be advisable." The woman replied again after swallowing bits of food.

"But...then again, we have Akiko, but I don't think she would constantly wan--"

RING!

"Aw, freak..."

Despite the replacement of what would've been an inappropriate word, Tereya still looked quite annoyed at the sound of the doorbell ringing. Slowly, she stood herself up and pushed in her chair, walking over towards it. On the way, she grabbed her sheathed Zanpakuto and secured it to her waist.

Just in case it was someone she didn't like.

Ahatake sighed. "Is it another family member who wants to cause physical harm to us?" He asked.

As soon as Tereya opened the door and checked who it was, her response came out: "Nope. Even worse..."

"Good day, miss..."

It was a man that was in his twenties. Due to him having his eyes squint shut, and a smile that seemed to be plastered onto his face, it was difficult to tell what exactly his feelings were at the moment. Long black hair was tied in a ponytail, and his outfit was rather informal: a blue uniform that feudal police would wear. In his hands, he had a large wooden box.

"Don't mind me, I'm just a door-to-door seller trying to make some money..." He joked.

Ahatake called out. "We don't want whatever you're selling so hit the road Jack."

"Oh..." The man couldn't help but look a little disappointed. "In that case..." He backed away and turned around, ready to leave when an arm reached out and a hand gripped his shoulder. He looked back in surprise to see Tereya's deadpan face.

"Humor me. If I said yes, then what're you selling?"

At that moment, a smile returned to the man's face, and he turned back around to set the crate on their porch. "Medicinal herbs. They're good for the season... I hear it's quite disease-ridden this time of year..." He explained.

Tereya looked on skeptically. "All right... how much is it gonna cost us?"

"Each one costs about 150 yen, so..."

Ahatake sighed. A peddler out this late at night? He'd probably regret it later but.."Why don't you come in?" He called from the kitchen.

"Oh, no, no, no....!" Surprised, the peddler raised his hands up in a protesting manner. "I don't intend to stay, and I have to keep moving. It's a job trying to get these sold..." He looked over towards Tereya. "So... do we have a deal?"

After a moment of silence, Tereya sighed heavily. "Fine." She put on a smile of her own, reaching over with one hand. "It's a deal."

Looking quite pleased himself, the peddler reached over to grasp her hand in a firm handshake.

But the moment he did, he could feel a much colder aura from the woman. For the first time, his eyes opened up to stare at her expression once more. What shocked him was the fact of her eyes; no longer were they looking down with indifference, but now they held quite a murderous intent into them. "Nani...?"

"You know, there are some people who believe such things represent the soul. Others say that gods are the representation for all mankind. However, there is only one thing that represents my soul. His name is Shiva, god of destruction... and for your lies, he's looking pretty pissed right now..."

It seemed to startle the peddler a bit. "What do you mean--"

Sliding her hand, Tereya allowed the peddler to view his own palm - or more preferrably, the pressed-in marks that decorated its middle. "What's a simple peddler doing with sword hilt calluses? These aren't the hands of a pharmicist at all... but rather someone who's been waving blades around for a pretty long time."

Her eyes narrowed slightly. "So, how about you start talking about who you really are?"

Two's Company, Three's A Crowd

Ahatake got up from the table and walked out to the door. "Tereya, your taking too long just to buy something you know."

That was when the peddler chuckled, amused by Tereya's accusing statements. "You're quite sharp, miss." His own yellow eyes narrowed to a more darker look, and he straightened himself up to stare evenly at her. "Something I'd expect from a Vizard."

Then, his hand raised up, revealing a hidden dagger in his pocket. With a swift motion, he brought it up in a backhanded position, closing the distance between himself and Tereya. Tereya's eyes widened in shock, but she acted instinctively to raise her own arms up and block his wrist, saving herself from a lethal stab wound. Her hand gripping tightly, she gritted her teeth and narrowed her eyes in a furious glare.

"Who in the hell are you...?!"

"He knows.." Ahatake eyed the man suspiciously and was shocked when he actually felt the man's spiritual pressure. It was very similar to their's. He concluded that this man must be a Vizard as well. When Ahatake spoke it was with all the politeness he could muster. "Sir, i am going to have to ask you to leave my property."

"In due time." The peddler replied calmly. "There's just some business I'd like to tend to before I go..."

Abruptly, his other hand shot up, and Tereya was forced to let go of his knife's wrist to avoid the punch. Without hesitation, he came up at her, throwing a set of three punches that came from three directions: left, right, and middle. The first ones she was able to dodge, but the last one, in an act out of intelligence, she raised her arm up and smacked it away. Then, she dove under his guard, sliding her leg and kicking him in one of his ankles in order to make him fall to one knee. His knife cluttered to the ground.

He was now exposed.

Grinning, she raised one fist and struck the peddler in the face with it, forcing his head to turn sideways. "For someone aiming to kill, you sure are bad with your fighting skills." She mocked.

But her expression would once again change to shock as he saw his eyes drift towards her again, no pain or shock having came through his eyes. Despite the fist buried into his jaw, he was smirking. "For someone of immense strength, you sure put little into that attack." He countered.

Then, in a swift motion, he grabbed her wrist, jerked her forward, and raised himself up, his head slamming into her chin in a brutal manner. The blow stunned her, allowing him to headbutt her into her nose. As she staggered back, he kicked up his knife and rushed towards her again.

And before she could realize it, he had grabbed her wrists with one hand, pressed her against the wall, and drove the blade straight into the liver, ripping out and stabbing it in for three consecutive times. She could only gasp in pain, but he left the blade buried in her gut, her blood dripping from the hilt.

"Son of a...bitch...!" She groaned, a trickle of blood coming down from the corner of her mouth. "Those moves...why are they so familiar now...?" She couldn't help but think to herself.

"Should I help you out?" Ahatake asked, his hand crackling with the energy to perform a cero.

"Don't try it."

The man's narrowed eyes looked over at Ahatake, not moving from his position. "Fire it, and you might as well be killing both me and her." He said bluntly. "Sure you want to risk it?"

Ahatake sighed. He could just move behind the man a decapitate him. It didn't seem impossible and he'd be giving him a free pass to join the Headless Hunt. But there was always the possibility that he wouldn't be able to move fast enough.

"Didn't think so."

With that, the man ripped out the blade and allowed Tereya to fall onto the ground. Weakly, she looked up at him as he loomed over her, a mix of fury and pain on her face. "You..."

The man smirked. "Yeah... me... Tereya."

With that, he raised his foot up and brought it down upon her head, forcing her into the realm of unconsciousness. Then, he turned around and walked straight out the door, without a pause to look back at Ahatake.

Ahatake however turned his attention on him now that he was safely away from his wife, and with a CRACK! like a whip, appeared in front of the man. "What in the seven hells was that about??" He asked furiously.

"Oh, so now you're pissed?" The man questioned mockingly, a sneer crawling across his face once more. "Didn't want to look like an animal in front of a female, I suppose..."

"I didn't want to blast my wife to smithereens." Ahatake replied harshly. "Now who the hell are you?"

The man's eyes widened at the revelation, and it almost appeared as if his mouth was gaped open for a moment. But, in quick retainment of his composure, he narrowed his eyes again and frowned. "Your wife can tell you that when she wakes up. Now, please step aside." Although his voice was rough, his tone didn't sound sarcastic when he said "please".

Ahatake's hand glew red and it crackled with lightning. "What makes you think I'm letting you go?" He asked, placing his hand in front of him. He launched the cero.

The resulting explosion caused the earth to kick up around them, an outward cloud of black and dusty smoke erupting into the air. The attack seemed to have worked, as there had been no sound of a Flash Step getting away from the immediate vicinity.

However, when the smoke cleared, the peddler was still standing, one of his hands emitting a gray line of smoke. "Tch... so annoying..." He muttered, glaring down Ahatake with his pale eyes. "Tereya's going to live, so how about you get out of my way?"

"Remarkable endurance.." Ahatake scowled. "Fine, ya long haired bastard, get out of here."

"Thank you."

With that, the man stepped past Ahatake and walked away, off in another direction.

Ahatake sighed and walked over to his wife, and picked her up. He walked into the house and past the kitchen, where Kaemon was reading Death Omens: What to Do When You Know the Worst is Coming and Asami was scowling at him. Ahatake motioned for Akiko to follow him and she did, as Ahatake lied Tereya on the sofa. "Can you heal that stab wound?" Ahatake asked.

"In no time flat." Akiko smiled and Tereya's wound was enveloped in an orange-yellow barrier and sealed in seconds.

At that moment, Tereya's eyes began to flutter open. However, her bangs covered them, and she didn't bother to move from her position just yet.

"You feeling okay?" Ahatake asked gently.

WHAM!

He got his answer.

Tereya's fist had struck and broke the table beside them in two, and it fell in pieces under the strength that had been forced down upon it. She didn't say a word, but she sat herself up, stood up off of the sofa, and briskly walked off. That could mean only one thing.

She was a very angry woman.

"She's feeling fine." Ahatake said meekly as he returned to the kitchen where Aoi and Kyuui were still eating, and Kaemon deeply immersed in his book.

"Grandfather...?"

Having heard the loud noise, Kyuui was naturally concerned. After finishing the last bite of her food, she set the utensil down and looked over at Ahatake. "What happened?"

"Your grandmother and the peddler had a little disagreement." Ahatake told her, starting to eat treacle tart. "It's nothing serious."

"Oh..." She said nothing afterwards in related to the matter. She didn't want to push any matter that didn't seem serious, after all...

Dinner was finished in quiet and Ahatake told Aoi and Kyuui to go to bed.

"Yes, sir..."

After bowing respectively, Kyuui gently gripped her sister's hand and headed upstairs. Pretty soon, she was out of sight.

Ahatake sighed and walked upstairs. "Akiko, tell Tereya I'm going to bed."

"Alright." Akiko replied.

Asami cleared her throat. "Kaemon...follow me.." She hissed and she walked outside.

Kaemon followed, looking slightly apprehensive.

"So..." As they headed upstairs, Kyuui looked over at her sister in wonder. "What do you suppose happened back there? A little argument doesn't fit with our grandmother at all!"

"Yea, probably something more brutal." Aoi replied, remembering how her Grandma has Cero'd her. "Bet she got into a skirmish and got her ass handed to her."

"I wonder who the peddler was..." Kyuui muttered, mostly to herself. "His spiritual energy was just like ours..."

"Nah, a bit more like Grandma's." Aoi replied. "We're not Vizards remember?"

Kyuui couldn't help but laugh sheepishly, reaching behind her to scratch the back of her head. "Oh y-yeah... I forgot...silly me!"

Aoi laughed and she opened the door to their room and she immediately began to change into her black pajamas. "Wonder if we're in for another battle?" She said, pulling a shirt over her head, after discarding her bra into the hamper.

"I hope not..." Kyuui muttered, following suit. Only her own pajamas were gray. "Especially when whoever beat Grandma so quickly's involved..."

"But we have Grandpa, Great-Grandpa, and Great-Great Aunt around too." Aoi replied. "Who can get through them?" Aoi would not have been asking this question had she ever met Seireitou.

Sighing, Kyuui allowed herself to sit down and eventually lie on the bed, closing her eyes out of thought. "Yeah... I guess you're right." She agreed, slipping herself under the covers.

Aoi jumped onto the bed, her pajama top flying up for a moment as she hit the bed and buried her head in. "SO SOFT AND RELAXING!" She said, her voice muffled.

A devilish grin came across Kyuui's face. Then, raising herself up, she reached over, flipped Aoi onto her back, and pinned her down. Her fingers were on a rampage, tickling the girl mercilessly. "Now is it soft and relaxing?!"

Aoi started cackling with laughter. "S..st..stop Onee-chan.." She said, breathless with laughter.

Thankfully, Kyuui proved to be merciful, as she relented her tickling assault and got off, flopping herself down on her side. "All right... that's enough playing for tonight. G'nite, Aoi-chan..."

Aoi wrapped her arms tightly around Kyuui as she closed her eyes. "Good night, Onee-chan."

The End

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