The Marmite Alphabetacy 37


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The Marmite Alphabetacy 37

  1. 1.
  2. 2. Last time, Ichigo and Susan began their soul reaper training under the instruction of Ani Mei and soon became students at Shiz University. To Ichigo’s consternation, Ani Mei also enrolled and adopted a peppy student persona purely to annoy him, Ichabod became interested in a series of unexplained disappearances and received an anonymous email specifying a meeting place and time. Ichigo exorcised his first Hollow and revealed his motivation for training so hard. Ichabod was attacked by thralls, a zombie-like low form of vampire. When Ichigo, Ani Mei and Kennedy arrived, they were faced with the choice of either letting him become a thrall or allowing Kennedy to change him into a higher form of vampire. Despite Kennedy’s warnings of a hard, cursed existence, Ichigo chose the later option. It became apparent that Iago was the source of the email and had intended Ichabod to die (but only to the reader- dramatic irony, check me out :D) and, angry about Ichigo’s interference, he broke up Iracebeth’s relationship with Mitch Indie by telling her that he was cheating on her. It turned out that Mitch was a tool anyway, and their relationship ended with Iracebeth threatening to kill him if he ever came near her again. <br />
  3. 3. His family had told him time and time again not to feel bad about it- but how could he not? Ichabod looked guiltily up at the house as he approached; the house his parents were renting for him because he couldn’t face dorm life. If it had been a physical problem- if his condition had left him unable to control himself, he might not feel as pathetic. But it wasn’t and he didn’t. A problem like that, a problem people could see that would be far easier to explain. As difficult as the corporeal effects were, he could generally keep on top of them. And they were nothing compared to the psycho-emotional ones. He had given up hopes of University immediately after it had happened. How could he live in such proximity to so many others now? How could he ever be anything other than what he was? <br /> And yet here he was. It had all been arranged neatly and quietly with the University. They had been only too happy to arrange for his classes to take place after dark- Ichabod suspected that enrolling a vampire ticked a box on the University’s diversity register. <br />
  4. 4. Countless special arrangements were made for him in light of the extraordinary circumstances. Arrangements which certainly made things easier for him, and for which he was very grateful- but that isolated him even further. He felt sure that those around him must resent the exceptions that were made in light of problems that he often could not explain.<br />The rent for the decidedly comfortable residence- complete with windowless basement bedroom- was not extortionate, but enough to make up a substantial portion of the guilt that forever gnawed at him. <br />Then there were those that were to share it with him, who had sacrificed the excitement of the heart of University life in order to keep him company, to provide him an anchor in his segregation. His friends and family were heartbreakingly supportive, and though he knew that he shouldn’t, Ichabod often found that he felt like a particularly wretched charity case. Just once, he would like to be in a position to pity someone besides himself. To be the one giving support rather than receiving it. <br />
  5. 5. More than anything he wished he could pull himself out of his despair and self pity- it was not fair on those who he knew cared about him. His parents hated to see him so unhappy and were desperate to solve a problem that they couldn’t possibly understand.<br />And Ichigo... Ichigo seemed unable to forgive himself for that which was not his fault. Ichabod knew that he felt responsible and could not make him truly believe his gratitude for being saved from the horrific fate that would have awaited if he had not been changed. <br />But the pain of hurting those he cared about only sent him spiralling deeper into his misery. Surely they must be growing impatient with him? Frustrated with his inability to pull himself together- but he couldn’t, and he slipped further and further down. <br />
  6. 6. Ichabod had never taken much interest in cooking, but now, feeling a guilty obligation to his housemates, he had taken to doing making their lives as easy as possible during the hours of his activity-despite their protests- and that included making dinner. Now that he no longer required this form of sustenance, he of course found that he was rather good at it. In this alone, Ichabod rejoiced- at last, some way of making up for his inconvenience. <br />
  7. 7. “So it’s okay then?” he asked tentatively.<br />“There he goes again, with the nervous modesty.” laughed Woozle, the son of Heffalump and Xander and Ichabod’s cousin. “As usual, it’s scrum-diddly-umptious.”<br />“Yeah!” cried Adora Belle enthusiastically. “This is delicious! I’ve never had spaghetti before!”<br />
  8. 8. “You’ve never had spaghetti?” Flick, another of Ichabod’s cousins asked incredulously.<br />“Nope.” smiled Adora Belle. “At home we stick to the 5 main food groups: Cake, Ice cream, Chocolate, Sweets and Biscuits. That’s how Dad raised us- although Mum does occasionally let us have a packet of Walkers Smokey Bacon flavour crisps from her stash.” <br />“I still have so much to learn about you,” Flick sighed fondly as he caressed her hand.<br />
  9. 9. Flick and Adora Belle could have been made for each other- which funnily enough they weren’t! They were both actually born in game! *is proud of self*They’re both Romance sims but haven’t rolled any romantic wants involving other people yet and they both want to reach the top of the Athletics career track. <br />Flick is the youngest child of Hamlet and Gail. Adora Belle on the other hand is the child of my sister Bethan (AKA Dobby AKA Crypticnymph) and the sim incarnation of L from Deathnote (hence the diet) and is the eldest of their adorable fish children. <br />
  10. 10. They’re both insanely playful and active with results in lots of pillow fights and lots of... other playful activity...<br />
  11. 11. “It’s delicious Ick,” said Flick reassuringly. “You could do this professionally you know.”<br />“I don’t think many restaurants are willing to take on staff with such specific working hours.” he smiled sadly. Seeing that he had unintentionally ushered in an awkward silence, he quickly added “But we’ll see.” in what he hoped was a more light-hearted tone. “So what did you all get up to today?”<br />
  12. 12. “Your brother dropped by didn’t he Woozle?” said Adora Belle before slurping another fork full of spaghetti. <br />“How is he?” asked Ichabod.<br />“Oh Quartz is fine. He was on his way back from visiting Mum and Dad; apparently they’re planning another trip but he couldn’t remember where to... Seemed to think it didn’t have any vowels in the name though... Anyway, Dylan came over too, he says Isildur and Faramir might stop by tonight on the way to Merrow’s gig.”<br />
  13. 13. And, sure enough, they did.<br />“Aww come on Ick,” Isildur was determined to lure his brother out of the house. “It’ll be fun. You can go on stage with them if you like- we’ll get you a tambourine or something and you can just play along! It’ll be great!”<br />“Honestly, that’s really nice of-” he began.<br />“Plllllleeeeeeaaassseee Ichabod.” begged Faramir. “Just come and have a drink. It won’t be that busy or anything.”<br />“Maybe another time.” he smiled, feeling horrible for repeatedly turning down kind invitations and yet unable to stop doing so. “I’ve got loads of work to do.”<br />“One of these days,” Isildur sighed “We’ll find a way to make you come out.”<br />
  14. 14. “Alright kid, I’ve had enough. Stop following me.”<br />Iago was a little taken aback.<br />“Aren’t you impressed that I can see you?”<br />“No.” the man said bluntly. “So you can see spirits. So you can sense spiritual pressure. So what? Your spirit energy isn’t half of what it would need to be for you to be of any significance.” <br />“They don’t teach you manners in the Soul Society then?” Iago glared. <br />“How do you know about the Soul Society?” the soul reaper asked suspiciously. <br />“You’re not the first soul reaper I’ve met.” Iago drawled, as if the notion were ridiculous. <br />
  15. 15. The man seemed far more interested in Iago suddenly, even deigning to turn to face him properly. <br />“Who else have you met?” his tone was urgent.<br />“Oh, I’m significant now am I?” he spat.<br />“Have you seen this Soul Reaper?” he produced a small photograph.<br />Iago smiled. Could things really play into his hands so easily?<br />“Why? ” he said, savouring the word with immense satisfaction, his eyes gleaming. <br />
  16. 16. Ichabod very much doubted that they would, but appreciated their determination nonetheless. <br />“You take care little bro,”<br />“You too,” replied Ichabod as they said goodbye. “And say hi to Merrow for me.”<br />“Will do.” <br />
  17. 17. Ichabod didn’t really have much work to do. He didn’t even have a lecture that night, but he headed to the library, as he often did in his free time. He might as well try and get some extra studying done and besides, it was quiet.<br />One night, when reading a particularly engrossing book about a tiny blue bear set adrift on the ocean in a walnut shell, Ichabod was stunned to hear a voice addressing him.<br />“Excuse me?” <br />He looked up to see the speaker; a girl. A rather beautiful girl, noted a voice in his head. He stared at her. <br />“Do you mind if I sit down?” she asked nervously. <br />
  18. 18. Dazedly, he shook his head-or at least moved his head in a way to that effect. <br />“I’m sorry to interrupt your reading,” she said concernedly as she eyed his book. <br />“This?” spluttered Ichabod. “Oh, I was barely taking it in anyway.” he lied as she smiled in the same nervous way again. <br />“I’m sorry to have to bother you like this,” she began. “It’s just that- Well, my name is Katrina and I’m in the same biology class as you-”<br />Crap. He should have known that. Truth be told, Ichabod tried so hard to keep to himself that he barely noticed his peers. <br />His expression must have revealed some of this thought process because she hurriedly continued in an earnest tone.<br />“Don’t worry, I don’t expect you to recognise me or anything. I tend to just sit quietly at the back on my own. But I was just wondering if you could possibly go over some of the stuff we did about endocytosis on Tuesday? I didn’t understand it at all- it’s my fault, I wasn’t concentrating. But I really need to learn it and I thought you might be able to help me- if you have the time of course.”<br />“Er, yeah sure.” he stumbled “I’d love to- I mean, I’d be happy to help you if I can.”<br />“Thank you...?”<br />“Ichabod.”<br />“Thank you Ichabod.” she said, smiling less cautiously. <br />
  19. 19. “Ani Mei, you need a plan.” said Kisuke gravely. “You can’t just hope that this will go away.”<br />“Do you think I’m that naive?” Ani Mei sighed. “But what can I do Urahara? If you can think of a plan I’ll follow it.”<br />
  20. 20. “You have to do something.” he urged her. “You can’t just let-”<br />“Oh!” Ani Mei cried suddenly. “Susan” Ichigo! Hi!” <br />Urahara stopped talking immediately and turned, nodding briefly in their direction.<br />“Er, is everything okay?” asked Ichigo suspiciously. Even Mr Yoruichi (the cat) seemed to be trying to act nonchalant. <br />“Everything’s fine.” Ani Mei and Urahara said together. <br />“Right...” said Susan. “So...” she gestured to the ladder that lead down the dark cavity in the shop floor to their underground training space. <br />“Yes,” said Ani Mei. “Of course.” she headed calmly down the ladder and they followed her, leaving behind a frowning Urahara.<br />
  21. 21. To Ichabod’s great relief, he had been able to assist Katrina and she had thanked him profusely for his help. After that, they began to bump into each other more often- mostly at the library, but they also began to sit next to each other in the classes they shared. They got on well, very well in fact and, consequently, they got less and less done in their lessons. This of course meant that they spent increasing amounts of time in the library in order to catch up. <br />Within a few weeks Ichabod found that he felt far more at ease around Katrina than he did with anyone else. They had the same, shy, awkward nature and the knowledge of their mutual social ineptitude made it easy for them to talk to each other. She did not ask tactless intrusive questions about his condition, but nor did she skirt around it as so many others tiresomely did. <br />
  22. 22. Katrina did not actively dispense information about herself, but nor did she withhold it to any degree. Ichabod learnt that her parents had died when she was very young, the victims of a road accident. She had grown up with her Aunt, but she had fallen ill and Katrina became her carer. Shortly before she had come to University, her aunt’s health had taken a severe turn for the worse and she now needed full time medical attention. Katrina had told him of the guilt she felt for being unable to provide the care her aunt needed, although she knew that there was nothing she could do. <br />One night, shortly after rising, Ichabod was informed, with a wink, by Woozle that there was a girl on the phone who was asking for him. When he heard the distraught quiver in Katrina’s voice he feared that her aunt had passed away, but it was not so. It was the anniversary of the night on which her parents had died and her grief, combined with her fears for her aunt, had overwhelmed her.<br />“No, of course,” he said softly as her quiet sobs continued to carry through the phone, “I’ll be right over okay?” <br />
  23. 23. He had never been to Katrina’s home before. Like him, she lived in a private residence rather than a dorm- paid for by her aunt- for which she felt constant guilt. <br />Ichabod knocked cautiously on the door, unsure of how to help although he desperately wanted to. He was far more accustomed to being comforted that comforting others. <br />He waited and was considering whether to knock again when the door swung open. Katrina had a large wodge of crumpled tissues in her hand, most of which were stained by the run makeup she had wiped from beneath her eyes. <br />“Thank you,” she said quietly, managing a sad smile. “Come in”<br />
  24. 24. “You should have called me earlier.” he said gently, closing the door behind himself. <br />“I- I didn’t know when you’d be up.” she replied. <br />“Well I’m here now,” he said sadly as she wiped her eyes. <br />“Thank you Ichabod.” she said again, moving closer and putting her arms around him. “Oh I’m so glad you’re here.” Surprised by how un-awkward the hug felt, Ichabod was most disappointed when she pulled away gently. <br />
  25. 25. Katrina lead him around the corner into the lounge. She sat down on the sofa in front of the cluttered coffee table and Ichabod joined her. <br />“I’m sorry for dragging you over here,” she said, rubbing her forehead as though she had a strenuous headache. “I just didn’t know what to do.”<br />
  26. 26. “It’s fine,” insisted Ichabod. “I’m glad you called me- I mean, I’m obviously not glad that you needed to call me, but I’m glad that it was me that you called...” he trailed off. <br />To his relief Katrina laughed and he smiled back at her. She wiped fresh tears from her eyes, shook her head slightly as if to order her tear ducts back into line, and smiled at him. <br />“I think we need wine.” she said.<br />“That sounds like a very good idea.” he replied, standing up. “I’ll get it.” <br />“Thanks, third cupboard from the left.”<br />“So,” Katrina began once Ichabod had sat down once more. “You can still drink then?” Her voice seemed brighter.<br />“Yes, it doesn’t really do anything though. My body doesn’t take anything from it, so I can’t get drunk regardless of how much I drink.”<br />“It, passes through?” she asked with a smile.<br />“Something like that,” he smiled back. <br />
  27. 27. Eager to keep her distracted, Ichabod looked around the room. <br />“Can I have a look at your aquarium?”<br />“Yeah,” she said, almost happily “Of course you can.”<br />“Do they all have names?” he asked.<br />“Most of them, but some of them are too similar for me to tell them apart.”<br />PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE GRAVITY RESISTANT WINE.<br />
  28. 28. “You see that orange one there?” she said <br />“With the blue fins?”<br />“Yes, that one is Lady Gromit. And the sort of blue stripey one is Peston... That one’s Defindus and the one just behind him is Romandu.”<br />“And this red one?”<br />“Archimedes.” <br />“Of course.”<br />“Are you making fun of my fish naming ability?” she grinned.<br />“I wouldn’t dream of it.”<br />
  29. 29. His fish tank distraction scheme seemed to have worked; Katrina seemed far less troubled than she had done. Afterwards, she lead him upstairs, saying that she had something she wanted to show him.<br />She gestured to a painting hanging beside her bed and Ichabod stepped closer.<br />“That looks just like one of my Mum’s paintings...” he said slowly.<br />“That’s because it is one of hers.” Katrina smiled. “I couldn’t believe it when I saw it in a gallery. I still can’t believe Yaeko Nakamura is your mother for that matter.” her voice had begun to tremble once more. “You’re so lucky to have a Mum like her.”<br />
  30. 30. “Oh Katrina,” he said desperately. He had somehow forgotten how painful it was for him to see her so upset.<br />“I’m sorry,” she sobbed.<br />“Don’t apologise,” <br />
  31. 31. “Ichabod?” she said quietly<br />“Yes,”<br />“This is going to sound a bit odd, but would you stay here tonight? It’s just that I don’t want to be on my own.”<br />“Er-”<br />“Oh God.” she seemed mortified. “I can’t believe I said that. I’m so sorry. Please just forget that I ever-”<br />“No!” Ichabod cried, surprising both Katrina and himself with his volume. “It’s not that. Of course I’d stay. It’s just-”<br />“You don’t have to explain, I completely understand.<br />
  32. 32. “No,” he insisted. “It’s just that your house has way too many windows for me to be able to stay here all night. Sunlight and all that... Why don’t you stay at mine? It’s probably better for you to be somewhere different anyway.”<br />She hesitated.<br />“Are you sure that would be okay?”<br />“Yeah, of course.”<br />“Oh thank you so much Ichabod.” Katrina flung her arms around him again and hugged him even tighter than before. <br />
  33. 33. “If I had known that your house was this nice I would have invited myself over before now,” Katrina smiled, staring up the stars. Ichabod smiled. There had been no sign of any of his housemates when they had arrived. They had headed straight into the garden to take advantage of the unusually clear night. <br />Katrina looked around the garden.<br />“Is that a pool?” <br />“Er, yeah...”<br />“Can we have a swim?” <br />“Er, now?”<br />“Mmm hmmm,”<br />“Yeah okay then!”<br />
  34. 34. Ichabod assured Katrina that Adora Belle wouldn’t mind if she borrowed some swimwear, and they headed to the pool. Ichabod eased himself in whilst Katrina went for the braver route of entry. <br />When she resurfaced she was shivering.<br />“It’s-bloody freezing!”<br />“Well yeah, it’s January.” Ichabod laughed.<br />“I thought it might be a heated pool.” she explained through chattering teeth. <br />“What gave you that idea?”<br />“Well who the hell builds a non-heated pool in this climate?” Ichabod thought about this.<br />“You’ve got a point there.” he grinned.<br />
  35. 35. Adora Belle returned to find them playing video games in the lounge. <br />“Oh, Adora Belle this is Katrina,” Ichabod explained. This distraction sent his character crashing into a pine tree. “She’s going to stay here tonight.”<br />“Okies,” she smiled. “Would you like to bother some pyjamas or something? You must be absolutely freezing. Shame on you Icky, letting her catch her death in a wet bikini.” She winked and Katrina laughed. <br />“Yes please, that’d be very kind of you.”<br />Ichabod was horrified. “Oh Gods. I’m sorry Katrina. I wasn’t- I don’t really get cold anymore so I forget that other people do- I really wasn’t-”<br />Katrina smiled amusedly at him. “Let’s try that ninja pirates game you were talking about next”<br />“You should get changed too Ick,” said Adora Belle “You’ll ruin the sofa.” <br />
  36. 36. Sending Katrina upstairs ahead of herself, Adora Belle went in search of Flick who was wandering casually through the downstairs hallway in his underwear. <br />“Flick! I need you to hide Ichabod’s pyjamas.” <br />“Not that this is by any means the strangest thing you’ve asked me to do,” Flick replied. “But why?”<br />“He has a girl staying over!”<br />“Seriously?”<br />“Yes! Just a friend methinks, and that’s all she’ll ever be if she sees those appalling PJs.” <br />
  37. 37. “You mean the teenage mutant ninja turtles ones?”<br />“The very same.”<br />“They’re not that bad! Pretty damn cool in fact.”<br />“Yes, but they’re not exactly seductive are they?”<br />“When we met I was wearing a ‘Frodo Lives!’ T-shirt, metallic gold shorts over cerise tights and cowboy boots with light up heels.”<br />“Exactly! Not everyone can have your beguiling sense of style Flick.”<br />“Right.”<br />“Or your natural charm and charisma for that matter.<br />“That is true...”<br />“So just do it okay? The game is afoot!”<br />“What?”<br />“Nevermind. GO GOGO!”<br />
  38. 38. “So what can I get you? A lacy negligee or a cute and cheeky t shirt and shorts combo?” <br />“Er, do you have any regular pyjamas?” Katrina asked nervously. <br />“Oh yeah, I’ve got plenty of those too.”<br />
  39. 39. “Flick, have you seen my pyjamas? I can’t find them anywhere.”<br />“Hmmm... Let me think.” Flick tapped his chin ponderously. “Nope I don’t think so Ick. But you can borrow a pair of mine if you like. ”<br />
  40. 40. It was quite a while before they tired of Ninja Pirates 5: Return of the starfish.It turned out that Katrina was far better at it than Ichabod and she unlocked levels he didn’t even know existed. <br />
  41. 41. They talked about everything and anything until Katrina could finally no longer keep her eyes open. It was nearly sunrise anyway, so Ichabod decided to have his equivalent of an early night. He’d been heading to prepare a bed for himself in the room next door when Katrina had called him back. He had assured her that it was no trouble at all, but when he turned away again she grabbed his hand.<br />“Please.” she had said, her eyes wide and earnest. “You make me feel safe.” <br />Ichabod fell asleep quite a while after Katrina. It was only when a voice from somewhere in his brain told him that it was decidedly creepy to watch a girl sleeping and that the sun would rise soon anyway that he made any attempt to drift off. <br />
  42. 42. Ichabod awoke the next night to find that Katrina was no longer there. This was of course to be expected- normal people didn’t sleep through the entire day- but he couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. <br />He could here voices from the floor above and so he headed in their direction. <br />“Good evening Icky,” Adora Belle said happily. “Look who’s here!”<br />
  43. 43. For all he knew Adora Belle could be holding some terrified Jehovah’s Witnesses hostage- again. (they just weren’t used to people actually inviting them in rather than turning them away and didn’t know how to cope) <br />But that wasn’t the case today.<br />“Hi Ick.” smiled Katrina. “I’ve sort of invited myself over again. I hope you don’t mind.”<br />“No, of course not!” he spluttered, feeling a goofy smile spreading across his face. “I’m really glad you’re here.”<br />
  44. 44. “As am I.” said a voice from around the corner. Ichabod had been so fixated on Katrina he hadn’t registered anyone else’s presence. But now he saw that, besides Adora Belle, Flick and Ichigo were also there- not forgetting of course, Isildur who grinned at him from his corner chair. <br />“I can’t believe you haven’t introduced me to the lovely Katrina before now Ichabod.” he said, standing up. “<br />I hear she stayed here last night...”<br />If it had still been possible for Ichabod to blush, he would have done so.<br />“Oh leave him alone Isildur.” said Ichigo with a small smile. “It’s nothing to do with you is it?” <br />
  45. 45. “Au contraire my dear brother.” Isildur continued. “It is in fact everything to do with me. Katrina, my band has a gig tomorrow night and you know what an awkward bugger Ichabod is. You’ll come and keep him company won’t you?”<br />Ichabod glared at him from behind Katrina, but Isildur’s grin just widened. <br />“Yeah, I’d love to come!”<br />“Awesome.”<br />
  46. 46. “Well it’s probably time for us to be going.” Ichigo said rather sternly as he gave Ichabod an apologetic look. “Right Isildur?”<br />“Oh but we haven’t heard how they became friends yet!”<br />“Isildur.”<br />“Fine.”<br />“It was nice meeting you Katrina.” said Ichigo as he laid a hand firmly on Isildur’s shoulder. <br />“Yeah,” Isildur was still grinning. “I’ll see you both tomorrow night!” With a wink in Ichabod’s direction Isildur allowed himself to be steered out of the door by his brother. <br />
  47. 47. “Actually, I should get going too,” said Katrina. “I have tonnes of work to do. I just wanted to thank you for- well, for everything.”<br />She took his hand in hers and squeezed it gently.<br />“It- it was nothing, honestly,”<br />She smiled.<br />“Well, I’ll see you tomorrow then I guess.” she let go of his hand and he followed her to the door. “Email me or something,” <br />“I will,”<br />At the doorway, Katrina leant forward and kissed him lightly on the cheek. She began to blush.<br />“Goodnight Ick,”<br />“Goodnight,” he called after her. <br />
  48. 48. He closed the door and returned to the lounge, smiling in a dazed sort of way and found Flick grinning broadly at him, eyes wide.<br />“Oh Icky you’re so fine, You’re so fine you blow my mind, Hey Icky, Hey, Hey, Hey Icky!”<br />“Shouldn’t you be getting to bed?” he asked dryly. Upon which note, Adora Belle leapt up to stand beside her boyfriend. Together, they sang:<br />“Oh Icky What a pity you don’t understand, You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand, Oh Icky you’re so pretty, Can’t you understand? It’s guys like you Icky, Oh what you do Icky, do Icky, Don’t break my heart Icky.”<br />By the time Adora Belle finished her cartwheel, he had already headed downstairs.<br />
  49. 49. “Hi Iago,”<br />Receiving no response, Ani Mei tried again.<br />“I’m making omelettes, would you like one?”<br />“I don’t have time.” he said without pausing or even turning back. Ani Mei frowned. Iago had never been especially pleasant to be around- but lately his behaviour had become increasingly strange. Sensing something suspicious, and unable to prevent her soul reaper training from kicking in, she had begun to keep a close eye on him whenever she could- even following him on one of his mysterious night time excursions on one occasion.<br /> She had assumed that, once out of her Gigai, he would be unable to see her- but she had been wrong. Less than five minutes after leaving the dorm, Iago had halted mid-step and turned to face her. Ani Mei had conjured a cover story quickly; she was on her way to visit Ichabod. But they had both known that this was a lie. <br />It was only later that she remembered what Ichigo had told her years before. Iago could see spirit beings, just like his twin although he could not interact with them in the same way. Although, Iago had never shown the slightest interest in his gift, Ani Mei suspected that the resentment he so regularly spewed at Ichigo was , at least in part, due to his twin’s superior powers.<br />
  50. 50. Ichigo had also noticed a change in his brother’s behaviour, but, in his opinion, he was not the only one acting strangely.<br />“Ani Mei, are you alright?”<br />“What do you mean?” she asked, setting the plate down in front of him.<br />“You just... Don’t seem quite yourself lately. It feels like you’re worried about something.”<br />“Really,” she said dryly, unimpressed.<br />“Yeah... And what’s with all the cooking? Is it some kind of anxiety management thing? It’s like you’re trying to take your mind off something...”<br />“Eat your omelette.”<br />“And that’s another thing- it’s always omelettes god-dammit! What’s with-”<br />“I’m GOOD at making omelettes.”<br />“That’s not the point!”<br />“Just shut up and eat it or I’ll make you eat the plate too.”<br />
  51. 51. I felt the need to share this. <br />Ani Mei really won’t stop making omelettes spontaneously and I think the cafeteria guy sees her as competition; he’s started making them all the time too. <br />Weeks and weeks of cereal and mac ‘n’ cheese and now, omelettes galore! <br />Maybe there was some kind of offer on omelette mix... Can you even buy omelette mix? Omelettes are a mysterious thing to me.<br />Incidentally, I don’t think I’ve ever typed, written or said ‘omelettes’ as much as I have on this slide- and I doubt I ever will again. <br />
  52. 52. Whilst I’m completely off topic, I’ll share this picture of Officer Whatsherface arriving to break up a party AFTER it ended. And it wasn’t even a little bit after it ended. It was at least 5 hours before she turned up. <br />Anyway, let’s return to that carefully planned plot *cough*...<br />
  53. 53. “So you can move in whenever you’re ready then Martin” Flick smiled.<br />The aforementioned Martin was, thanks to an ad in The Gotham Times, their new housemate. They didn’t need a housemate per-se, but they had a spare bedroom so what the hell. Plus, the income generated might help to combat Ichabod’s guilt. <br />“That’s great,” replied Martin happily. “Thanks very much.”<br />Martin was studying to become a doctor and had been looking for a place to rent for the last few weeks. He was a nice guy, quiet but funny, with a comforting presence. He’d been wholly unfazed when they explained Ichabod’s condition to him and expressed sympathy as they told him of the difficulties Ichabod faced. He simply said that he was looking forward to meeting him and getting to know them all. <br />
  54. 54. “If you’re interested, we’re all going to a gig tonight.” said Woozle, flashing a friendly smile. “You should come!” <br />“Yeah!” chimed Adora Belle. “Our cousins are in one of the bands!”<br />She paused for a moment. <br />“Well not our cousins of course. I mean Flick, Woozle and Ichabod’s cousins: Isildur and Faramir. Well, cousins/brothers. They’re not my cousins obviously- but I’m dating Flick so they’re sort of my cousins too. Although my mum came second in a bachelor challenge involving theirgrandad, so we kind of nearly are related...<br />
  55. 55. “Sooooo...” said Woozle, turning away from Adora Belle and back to Martin. “Are you up for it?”<br />“Yeah, that’d be nice. Thanks for inviting me.”<br />“Don’t thank us until you know whether you know whether you like the bands.” laughed Flick. <br />
  56. 56. Pictures are flashed across the floorAnd I was just waiting for your callThese pictures that hang from every wall<br />You're gonna lay me downYou're gonna break me down nowYou're gonna lay me downYou're gonna break me down And then you'll see the city crawl<br />Whispers that move across the airAnd I was just waiting for you there These whispers that come from everywhere... <br />
  57. 57. Martin did indeed accompany me them to the gig. They arrived late, because Flick misplaced an earring, and missed the first band but were in time to see Tickled By Needles, a band fronted by Merrow, Isildur’sgirfriend. <br />
  58. 58. Just half an hour after arriving, Martin became very glad that he had tagged along.<br />He and Benedict* hit it off instantly much to the surprise and delight of those around them; Benedict had never shown any interest in dating anyone until now.<br />*Gail and Hamlet’s son, the cousin of the main legacy kids and brother of Faramir, Flick etc. (there are too many kids this generation!! But I love it)<br />
  59. 59. ...I could live a little better with the myths and the lies,When the darkness broke in, I just broke down and cried.I could live a little in a wider line,When the change is gone, when the urge is gone,To lose control. When here we come.<br />Tickled By Needles finished their last song to loud applause and cheers. <br />“Ok!” Merrow cried. “Thanks for being such a fantastic audience!”<br />There were further cheers.<br />“So next up we’ve got three gorgeous boys who go by the name of The Dunedain!”<br />More noise from the crowd. “Seriously, they’re brilliant- but then I am biased. See you next time Gotham!”<br />
  60. 60. Don't believe what they sayWe're dead flies in the summertimeThey leave us all behindWith duck tape scars on my honey <br />They don't like who you areYou won't like where we'll go Brother protect me nowWith blood they wash in the money<br />
  61. 61. You don't believe GodI don't believe in luckThey don't believe in usBut I believe we're the enemyYou don't believe GodI don't believe in luckThey don't believe in usBut I believe we're the enemy<br />Right now I'm sick down from the bones to the other sideRed-mob, We insects hide King rat on the streets in another lifeThey laugh, we don't think it's funnyIf what you areIs just what you ownWhat have you become When they take from youAlmost everything...<br />
  62. 62. “So is Iago here?” Katrina asked Ichigo, having to shout to be heard. “I still haven’t met him. Come to think of it, I haven’t met Iracebeth properly either. I just bumped into her and, er, she wasn’t in a very good mood...”<br />“She rarely is.” said Ichigo “Since she broke up with Mitch she’s been even worse. And not having met Iago is nothing to be disappointed about, trust me.”<br />“Is he really that bad?”<br />“Yes.” he said flatly. “But he wasn’t always. He was pretty sweet as a kid actually. Now, however, he’s a complete and utter-”<br />
  63. 63. Perhaps fortuitously, at that moment, as the current song ended, Isildur asked for the attention of the crowd.<br />“Alright, so this next song is dedicated to someone very special; the girl who managed to put a smile on my little brother’s face for the first time in years. Our girl is far more awesome than the lyrical one- but hey, we didn’t write the song. Let’s GO!” <br />
  64. 64. O, Katrina! Why you gotta be mean?You saw a highway down in New OrleansI can't believe what I saw on the telescreenO, Katrina! Why could you be so mean?<br />Once again, only mere biology stopped Ichabod from turning scarlet. To his relief, Katrina laughed. She turned to him.<br />“Dance with me,” she smiled as the song gathered pace.<br />“But- I can’t dance-”<br />“What? And you think I can?” he returned her wide grin and took her hand. <br />“Ok then,”<br />
  65. 65. O, Katrina! O, Katrina!O, Katrina! O, Katrina!<br />O, Katrina! O, Katrina!Why you gotta be meanO, Katrina!Why you gotta be...<br />
  66. 66. “They make a good couple don’t they?” <br />Ichigo spun his left.<br />“When the hell did you get here?”<br />“Nice to see you too.”<br />“you know what I mean.” said Ichigo “I’ve barely seen you the last few days, where’ve you been?” <br />“You know as well as I that university life is incredibly busy Ichigo. There’s lots for a peppy college student such as myself to do.”<br />“Ok. Cut it out. What’s going on Ani Mei?” <br />
  67. 67. “Nothing’s going on,” she replied calmly.<br />“Like Hell. Tell me what’s wrong.” he scowled.<br />“For God’s sake Ichigo-”<br />“TELL ME.”<br />“Girl stuff.” That’ll shut him up. Thought Ani Mei. And it certainly did-as it does most men. <br />“Er... is there anything-?”<br />“No.” <br />
  68. 68. “Look Ichigo,” she began with a sigh. “You don’t have to worry about me. I can take care of myself. I want to make sure you know that. I can handle my own problems okay?”<br />“Ani Mei-” Ichigo could not help but feel that there was a dimension of the conversation he was failing to register. <br />“It’s really nice of you to be concerned, but it’s my problem and I’ll deal with it.”<br />Ichigo said nothing but continued to stare at her. She smiled and stood up as the band began a slower, melancholic song.<br />“I’m going to head home, I’m not feeling too well.”<br />“But you only just got here!” she gave a sad smile. <br />“Goodbye Ichigo.”<br />
  69. 69. Like two ships in the night,<br /> We're colliding and sinking, <br />Into the black sea of our love.<br /> We navigated past the point of logical thinking, <br />Lost sight of the stars up above.<br />Now my heart is a mess.<br /> Murder scene in my chest, <br />Not a clue how you got through the door. <br />But I'm glad that you came, <br />No regret and no shame, <br />As I'm lying here dead on the floor. <br />
  70. 70. I took a blind leap of faith, <br />that’s now crashing and burning, <br />With my heart fast asleep in your bed. <br />I got on the ground safe <br />But with my insides turning, <br />And a picture of you in my head. <br />As I wandered away deep in shock and dismay,<br /> In a daze, just repeating your name. <br />Well the fact of the matter is both our hearts shatter<br /> way too goddamn easily... <br />
  71. 71. When you asked me if I'd stay forever, <br />Guess you meant just for the week. <br />We felt so good together,<br /> It was way too good to be. <br />When I left you there early that morning, My darling,<br /> I told you that I'd miss you so.<br /> I got on that plane with my heart soaring,<br /> But now it's falling like snow... <br />
  72. 72. “That’s it.” he said angrily.<br />“Begging your pardon dear cousin,” said Quartz, bemused as Ichigo stood up suddenly. “But that’s what? And what is that?” <br />“I’m going to find out what she’s not telling me.”<br />“Okkaaaaaaay...” he took another swig from his beer. <br />“Everyone has secrets but if she’s in trouble then that’s not how it works. I’ll track her spiritual pressure.”<br />“Right...”<br />And without another word Ichigo strode away, leaving Quartz thoroughly confused.<br />“Well Bye then,”<br />
  73. 73. “I’m ready.” Ani Mei could not bring herself to look at them. Instead, she stared unblinking at the canal side footpath.<br />I was foolish to even try to put this off.<br />“Your behaviour will not be taken lightly,” said the red haired Soul Reaper whom she knew to be Renji Abari, the lieutenant of the 6th division of the Gotei 13. His captain, Byakuya stood behind him, silent as always. “You should just be grateful that we’ve been sent to deal with this instead of the Execution Squad.” he continued. <br />“I have been in this world too long.” she said, without looking up. <br />
  74. 74. “What the hell is going on here?” Ichigo growled, eyes narrowed in anger but unmistakably confused. <br />
  75. 75. Ani Mei’s heart filled with dread at the sound of Ichigo’s voice. She had hoped that if she went quietly, that would be enough for them. That they would be satisfied with punishing her alone. <br />“Why did you come?” <br />“So this is the human is it?” interrupted Renji with a sneer. “ReallyAni Mei?” <br />“Hey,” Ichigo yelled. “Back off jackass, we’re having a conversation here.”<br />
  76. 76. “Ichigo, you shouldn’t have come.” He had never seen Ani Mei like this. She wasn’t just upset, she was scared. “Go home.”<br />“What, and leave you here with these bastards? Not bloody likely.”<br />“Ichigo, you need to LEAVE.”<br />“Well I’m not going anywhere so someone better tell me what the hell is going-”<br />“Enough.” <br />The other Soul Reaper spoke at last, and promptly vanished. <br />“Ichigo look out!” cried Ani Mei, but it was pointless. Byakuya had struck before he even heard her warning. <br />
  77. 77.
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  79. 79. “ICHIGO!”<br />“It is done.”. Without looking back and without emotion, Byakuya walked past Ichigo’s collapsed form to stand beside his lieutenant once more. “We will leave now.”<br />Ani Mei did not move. <br />“The Captain said we’re leaving.” said Renji gruffly. Ani Mei closed her eyes and slowly turned away as though it caused her physical pain. <br />
  80. 80. “An-Ani Mei,” Ichigo had somehow managed to push his bloodied body up from the ground but she did not stop or turn back until he called her a second time. <br />At this, Ani Mei turned and, though her voice was stronger -even angry- when she spoke, she continued to cry. <br />
  81. 81. “STOP!” <br />Ichigo stared at her as he struggled to prop himself up from the ground.<br />“If you take one step, or make any attempt to come after me,” she shouted. “I will NEVER forgive you.”<br />She turned away again and Ichigo’s arms collapsed beneath him, he hit the ground with a dull thud and for the first time realised the severity of his injuries. <br />“You’re gonna die kid,” said Renji “Why don’t you stay put and live a couple of minutes longer?”<br />But had Ichigo lost consciousness before he had even finished the sentence. <br />
  82. 82.
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  84. 84.
  85. 85.
  86. 86.
  87. 87. “Well what do we have here?”<br />
  88. 88. That’s all folks. Yet again, I have set myself down plotlines without reeeally knowing where I’m going to end up. I bet that’s comforting to hear as a reader. <br />So this was the first chapter in a while that wasn’t entirely Ichigo-centric. I feel really bad for the other three kids, but when you have brothers as awesome as Ichigo and Ichabod...<br />Oh, I would like to point out that, in the last few shots, it was raining, but it decided to be invisible rain. -_- <br />I’d like to thank Ani Mei for letting her simself by abused by someone who hasn’t a clue what she’s doing, and the rest of you for reading. <br />Not my best chapter (I hope), but it’ll have to do. <br />Happy simming!<br />Merrow’s songs: <br /><ul><li>pictures- doll and the kicks
  89. 89. She’s lost control- joy division</li></ul>The Dunedain’s songs<br /><ul><li>DESTROYA- my chemical romance
  90. 90. O Katrina!- The Black Lips
  91. 91. Dead on the Floor- Alkaline trio</li>