Snow-white memories - Part One
„Gary, how comes Sibi isn't with you?" Green's voice got nearly swallowed by her thick wine-red comforter she had put around her throat but which still almost went up to her nose. It was a chilly morning early in December, thus he could understand Green's choice of clothes, but Gary still had to question it a bit, since the temperature still hadn't dropped below zero; he himself hadn't bothered to wear a scarf – and Green not only wore a really thick one, but also warm gloves and ear muffs, as if she would plan on stomping through the deepest winter landscape, even though they only went to school.
„He said he was sick. Or in other words: he's skipping school." Gary helplessly shrugged to emphasize that it was nothing out of the ordinary for him.
„How comes he is skipping?", the Wächterin asked as they set foot into the metro, after Green had once again begged in vain whether they could simply teleport instead. What did one have an ability for when one didn't use it? But Gary couldn't be persuaded. He was of the opinion that it wasn't in the significance of teleportation and sometimes one should simply act as if one would be just a usual human being like everyone else – and on top of that he didn't want to be seen when he suddenly appeared out of nowhere on the school's grounds. Of course Green knew he was right; it still didn't hinder her from trying again and again and she was sure that she would still use teleportation in the face of all logic once she could call this ability her own.
„I can't tell you either. Maybe he simply doesn't feel like going to school", Gary replied as if this would be something entirely unusual and extremely strange in their age group.
„Makes sense to me. However he has also not visited me today's morning."
„Which indeed does not sound so reasonable", Gary admitted and tried to change the topic, since he suddenly had a slight hunch what Siberu's skipping could be about and even though he hadn't talked with him a lot in the morning aside from his little brother's announcement that he was ‚sick' and would have to stay at home because of it – both of them knew that was not even slightly the case. And now that he thought about it, the idea suddenly hit him why his brother was ‚sick' – could it have something to do with the padlock in Green's living room?
It would be no problem at all for Siberu to break it, much less getting into her apartment and he had plagued Gary the whole previous evening with weird thoughts about the sender of Green's letters and why she had to hide them so secretly. Gary wouldn't be surprised if his little brother was trying in this very moment to lift the secret…
„Regarding yesterday's evening…", Gary asked thusly to divert her attention from their actual topic into a direction which was way more interesting for him anyway and which was - strictly speaking - also way more important, Gary told his conscience.
Green looked at him and sighed when she saw his serious expression. Before she could answer she had to free her mouth from her scarf, since it was warm enough anyway in the metro – and also crowded, like any other morning as well.
„Gary, I already told you everything I know already. What more do you want to know?"
„So she didn't say anything about her identity other than her name?"
„No, she didn't. Like I already told you, that Timewächter was just bitching about you being my friends. Because of you being Demons and stuff", Green answered while rolling her eyes at it. She hadn't told Gary that the female stranger had told her she would never respect Green even though the 'rules told her to', since she had no idea what she could have meant by that.
To her it sounded rather out of context.
„It's understandable." Green looked up, woken from her thoughts.
„You think so?"
„Green, Demons and Wächter are at enmity since eternities. What we are doing now – having an amicable discussion – is basically nothing else but treachery."
„Treachery – towards who or what?", Green asked puzzled.
„Towards our races", Gary replied as if he had memorized it by word. Green's puzzled expression turned more serious upon hearing his words and she kept silent for a while, simply listening to the sounds of the metro, which was hurrying across the underground rails. She allowed the noise of the many people around her to consume her as well as the sounds from various music playing devices with earplugs sitting in people's ears and still emitting loud sounds. Only when the two of them left the metro and walked into the direction of their school, Green said:
„You are probably as much of a demonical careerist as you are in our class, huh?" Taken by surprise from the weird statement Gary stared at his companion, sceptically thinking about how he was supposed to interpret it. So it surprised him all the more to see Green's smile which got broader and broader the more she explained:
„You're always following the rules, no matter what they are. But don't worry. Should you be called to account for it, just say that I was simply too cute and you got persuaded by that!" Green laughed when she saw Gary blush at that and still laughing she left his side to run up a few steps of the stairs that were leading to the school's entrance. Taken aback the Halfdemon simply stood where he was instead of following her, not being able to understand how she could let the topic slide so easily.
„Are you coming, Gary?" But even though he couldn't understand her: actually, she was cute.
„Yes, I am on my way." That he had to admit.
„Isn't she simply the cutest thing you have ever seen?!" Gary may have admitted to himself this very morning that Green was somewhat and somehow cute, but he couldn't fully agree with his brother's opinion. He wasn't all that convinced by the cuteness of the girl he could see on the photo in front of him, since Siberu was waving with it in front of his nose. He had effectively managed to open the mysterious drawer and continued to spread its content in the living room of the brothers. A medial chaos had broken out, composed of a pile of photos and letters. Siberu directed his attention especially on the photos and after Gary was greeted in a stormy manner, he sat down on their couch to take a closer look at the photos, very conscious about this being a strong invasion of privacy – but technically speaking it had been Siberu who had committed this violation and he had dragged Gary into it by waving with the photos in front of his face. Principally speaking it was not Gary's fault, but Siberu's.
Ha, the spikyhead thought, he had definitely spent too much time with his brother and with Green. Their attitude towards rules started to rub off on him!
„Is that really Green-chan?", Siberu asked and pointed at the photos that were scattered across the table, all of them showing a brown-haired girl. However Siberu's question had been hardly surprising: the little girl had nothing in common with the confident, always smiling Green both of them knew now. The eyes of the depicted girl were big and seemed to be unendingly deep; like an infinitive blue depth without a single spot of light that could illuminate it. Her expression was empty, her lips showed as little feeling as her eyes; rigid and blank little Green looked into the camera, as if she wouldn't notice someone was taking a picture of her. Her hair was shorter than it was today; the bright brown hair which barely reached her slender shoulders was braided into two plaits, which really gave off a cute impression especially because the ribbons were too large; but her face was so cold it was almost eerie. Especially taking into account that she couldn't have been much older than six years at the time the picture was taken.
„She must have still lived in Germany at that time", Gary established and added:
„In this orphanage here." Deep in thoughts he allowed his gaze to float over the table, where more and more photos showed the same motive, all of them with the same lack of expression. Not on a single one the little girl laughed. Sometimes she was sitting on a swing and stared into the sky without paying attention to the camera, on others she was lying on a white-sheeted bed, others showed her studying, playing with a ball – but even then she didn't laugh or showed any signs of enthusiasm – half-heartedly poking around in their dinner or stomping through the snow – and this last photo caught his eye in particular, since it made him remember today's morning. The girl on the photo wore a scarf of similar length to the one Green had pulled on and the big hat dropped into her face so much that her empty eyes were well hidden beneath it.
„How do you know all of that?", Siberu asked him with scepticism in his voice and when Gary looked up to him, his eyes told the same thing. But the older brother wasn't fazed by that and returned the look:
„Logical thinking, Silver. Before she came to Japan, she lived in Germany. Your Green-chan grew up in an orphanage; don't tell me you didn't know?" His older brother's choice of words seemed to delight him, since Siberu didn't stumble upon the fact that Gary knew something about Green he obviously didn't. Gary mentally shook his head; how simple it was to influence his little brother.
„I think Green-chan looks cute on those photos and stuff, but why does she look so…so…weird?" The first comment Gary had on the tip of his tongue had to be suppressed, because he had to think of their own shared childhood and the photos of it; Siberu had looked more like a girl on quite a lot of them – but that was a topic he didn't want to be approached on, since Siberu probably wasn't able to explain himself anymore why he had loved to wear little braids so much…
„I'm not able to explain that. Green and I don't have such a deep relationship that she'd entrust me with her past." Siberu seemed to rejoice about that too, since he grinned widely:
„Then maybe Green-chan will tell me about it!"
„Yes, naturally - that's also why you are forced to steal her mementos." He didn't reply to that, only mumbled something Gary chose not to hear. Instead of getting into an argument, Siberu now handed his brother one of the many letters with the words:
„You're surely able to translate them?" Gary accepted the letter with narrowed eyes, but didn't have in mind to read it, let alone translate it.
„Yes, I can translate German, but I don't have in mind to use my knowledge to invade Green's private sphere. That's really going way too far." Again Siberu didn't manage to reply since his brother interrupted him by continuing:
„Use your time for something better instead, because since Green doesn't want to talk to us about it, it obviously doesn't concern us and I am also not interested in whom she's writing with."
Though these were supposed to be Gary's last words, Siberu commented rather effectively on the statement of his brother:
„But it does interest you why Green-chan is making such a secret out of it." Gary blushed a little, since he had been caught red-handed. Yet he didn't give in and insisted that sole curiosity wouldn't permit such doings. To make a point that the discussion had come to a final halt he retreated into the comfort of his room along with his bag, to dedicate himself to his favourite occupation: studying.
And with this, the topic was ticked off for Gary for the time being: the letters - and with them Green and Siberu – were utterly forgotten in the stream of letters and numbers. Only when he set aside his books close to midnight, the thoughts rose up again, since Siberu hadn't cleared away his doings and so photos as well as letters were still spread in their living room. Gary sighed deeply, but didn't stop on his way to the kitchen to scavenge the fridge for a midnight snack. Giving it a second thought he opted for an instant coffee only instead and an apple for his empty stomach. While waiting for the water boiler to boil he caught himself peeking over the counter which separated the kitchen from the living room. The "pling" of the water boiler woke him from his thoughts though and the half-demon turned his attention to the soon-to-be coffee again. On the way back to his room he once again cast a glance at the chaos in the living room, which managed to lure him into stopping this time.
He took a bite from his red apple, his eyes locked onto the sender and before he knew what was happening he was already holding one of the letters in his hands. He didn't turn it around though, since his reason started to kick in again – he couldn't do this, it wasn't proper…
But he was not like his brother; he would keep the content of the letters for himself!
He would never ever abuse the newly found information…
And faster than he could blink, he had already opened the envelope and was just about to start reading, when…
„Caught you in the act!" Annoyed with himself Gary looked up upon hearing this voice and was not surprised to encounter a grinning Siberu, standing victoriously on his room's door sill. Fully aware that he had triggered his little brother's trap he couldn't deny his actions - and that irritated him to no end.
„If it's like that you can share your knowledge with me, right, Aniki?" Still having a grin on his face the redhead sat down at the table and piled the letters on top of each other, humming a cheery tone in the process. It didn't go without notice how amused he was over the fact that he had managed to set up a trap for Gary which had actually made him trip and fall in. Without making a sound Gary sat down in front of him and decided to simply endure it. Paying no attention to his delighted brother, he skimmed though the first letter - not without commenting:
„...what a scribble-writing...it's as if she was a 6-year-old."
„But you are able to read it, right?" Gary sent his hopeful brother a quick frowning look over the edge of the letter.
„If someone would not interrupt me all the time, it could even be possible."
The sharp comment couldn't divert Siberu's attention from the matter at hand this time.
„Good! Then fire away!" But his older brother hesitated. Should he really help his brother? He himself had already read half the letter…but when Siberu knew the letter's content as well, he could still use that to put the blame on him just in case they got caught.
Though his mood desired numerous sighs, he cleared his throat and started to read out his translation:
„Dearest Sister Green..."
„Silver, keep quiet! The walls are pretty thin after all – you don't want to risk Green catching on about this, should she still be awake - right?" This time he couldn't suppress his sighs.
„I'm not going to read it out with all the mistakes; there have been two in one sentence already…it reminds me of Pink. So be quiet while I read or I won't do it…:
"I hope you have it good in Japan. Everything is normal over here.
It already started to snow at the beginning of November. Yesterday it snowed so strongly we were not allowed to go outside! I was very sad about that…
I just love ice skating too much – like you know!
And can you imagine! We held a competition about who is the best at ice skating! The boys used it to show off as usual, but I was the winner!
Not so long ago new children came in, one of them was a girl from America (at least I think so…). She can't understand a single German word though…it's hard to talk to her, even the teachers have it hard to get to know her. But she is so pretty! I think she will find a new home soon because of it. I don't have new parents yet, but I also don't want to leave here. I just want to be with you. I miss you so much!
I have to stop writing now; we have to eat soon.
I happily await your reply!
With love, Kari"
There was a heavy silence between the brothers. Gary had noticed immediately that Siberu had been sorely disappointed in the letter's content; no drama, no horrible bitter secret.
It was nothing but a very common letter without anything weird about it at all.
„She does more mistakes than Pink...", Gary started to say to get a talk going, while his eyes focused on the scribble almost with disgust.
„A girl...", Siberu looked as if he was deeply in thought and didn't respond to his brother's words, while said one placed the letter down on the living room table.
„A correspondence with a German pen pal, most likely an acquaintance from the orphanage Green lived in once. That would also explain why the girl used the title „Schwester" for Green, even though she doesn't have a biological sister."
„And you're sure you got the content of the letter exactly right?" Sighing with a lick of annoyance Gary raised and noticed the same moment that Siberu didn't like that movement at all; he was already holding the other letters close, eager to have them translated by his brother as well. But Gary was quick to put that idea out of his head, just as quickly as the last remains of the apple landed in the bin.
„You'll have to trust me on this…or you can look up every single word in a dictionary yourself and I doubt you can even decipher this writing." Gary could see that he wanted to toss something in – most likely Siberu sensed that he was about to be rejected – and continued:
„And that's exactly what you'll have to do now if you want a translation for the letters, because I will go to bed now. So, 'Go-"
„But you just drank a coffee, that's the perfect beginning for a long night!" Sighing the one addressed shook his head and pushed off the edge of the kitchen-counter he had been leaning against earlier, in order to take the way to his own room.
„I did not say I would lie down to sleep now, but I will definitely do something else than helping you spy on Green." He could see that Siberu was about to interrupt him and took the wind out of his sails:
„One letter was more than enough. You're going to return the letters and photos tomorrow, without Green noticing any of it – and that's how we close the case, are we clear on this?" Siberu opened his mouth to talk back, but not only his brother's intonation but also his look was that of a big brother who had spoken his final words. Siberu was normally not one to bend to this look, but before he could counter in any way, Gary wished him a ‚Good night' and disappeared into his room.
The redhead looked after him for a moment, torn to and fro whether he should get on his brother's nerves long enough till he would give in and help him or really return the letters tomorrow, back into a closed off drawer he would not be able to access anytime soon. He gave the letters another look-over and suddenly a new idea entered his mind; a thought he exceptionally liked.
The much-vaunted power of caffeine had shown its effect, since Gary was only able to finally get to sleep around 3 o'clock – just to be rudely awakened mere three hours later; by fault of something else than his digital alarm-clock, which was in fact scheduled to ring one hour later and still calmly rested on his bedside cabinet, towering the whole pile of books.
Usually Gary wasn't terribly grumpy in the morning, but he did not really enjoy the shrill ringing of the doorbell either; especially not since he was only able to savour three hours of sleep. He just wanted to overhear the ringing sound and turned around in his bed again; but after it hadn't stopped ringing for a few elapsed minutes, Gary grumblingly rose up – cursing both his brother, who had not had mercy and opened the door in his stead, and the person crazily ringing on their door like a madman.
And when he saw Pink standing in front of the door he was only mildly surprised that she was the culprit. He forced himself to a friendly smile and was about to wish her a polite ‚Good morning', when Pink cut him short:
„I need your help!" These words - characterized by desperation - were strongly emphasized by her appearance, since her big blue eyes were swollen with tears and apparently she had been hurrying to get to him, since she had obviously forgotten to braid her hair like she usually did and on top of that she was still wearing her ‚Hello Kitty'-pyjama, provided with a hood with kitten-ears that were going up and down in the same rhythm Pink did.
„Well, what happened-"
„I really need your help very, veeeeeeeeeeeeery urgently!" Gary took a deep breath in order not to lose the nerves Pink was currently stomping upon, especially when she grabbed his arm and looked up to him pleadingly:
„It's really veeeeeeeery urgent!"
„It would help us move onwards quite a bit if you'd just tell me what this is all about!" Though showing his cooperation, he freed himself from Pink's clutching hug. Pink didn't pay any attention to that though, and finally did something else than pleading for help:
„It's about Green-chan!" The curiosity but also the concern reflected in his eyes instantly when he asked Pink whether she had gotten into a fight or was in some other kind of danger. The answer Pink gave him quickly calmed him down though:
„No, I think…I think she's sick."
„Okay, so it's no urgent situation of danger. Wait, I'm just getting dressed…" The last words got skilfully ignored by Pink when she snatched his arm again and tugged Gary through the staircase to the flat next door, only wearing his blue pyjama. When they had reached it, she pointed towards the door of Green's room, as if Gary would not know where it was located. Without another word she squeezed a clinical thermometer in his hand and pushed him in the direction of the door.
„Pink! I can walk on my own!"
„Gary? Is that you?" The same moment Green appeared in the doorframe and gave him an astonished but also a bit frightened look - likewise wearing her pyjama - Pink disappeared into her own room and left the two of them alone in the living room. Gary threw the clinical thermometer towards Green and she adeptly caught it, but before she could say anything he asked her:
„So Green, why do you want to skip school?" Without turning the slightest shade of red or betraying her motives in a different way, Green perfectly replied:
„I don't know what you're talking about. I don't commonly skip school."
„Then you obviously followed Silver's example, but without learning all the tricks. You should pay attention to the display of the thermometer before you show it to someone else, because I am seriously doubting you're having 51° C fever." Now Green couldn't get around blushing a little when he caught her so red-handed, but she chose silence over replying.
„We're not having any exam or the like today. What keeps you from attending classes?"
„That's none of your business." Boldly she crossed her arms in front of her chest and educed a pair of raised eyebrows from Gary with it. He felt like a father who had to remind his bad-mannered daughter that she had to bear responsibility; responsibility for herself and also that it was not proper to fail to appear at school.
„I'll visit you later to get the homework." These were apparently supposed to be Green's last words, since she turned around and away from Gary and was about to retreat to her room when Gary interrupted her plan:
„Green, that is…" But before he could even start his lecture, she cut him short:
„Gary, I told you it's none of your business." And along with these words Green disappeared into her room and left Gary to stand alone in her living room; and he was certainly not in the mood to follow her up on this.
Instead he walked back into his own flat, in which Siberu just emerged from the bathroom and was brushing his hair. He noticed Gary's bad mood and obviously wanted to comment on it, but his brother beat him to it, since he noticed something on Siberu which didn't exactly brighten his mood: he was not wearing his black school uniform, but his free-time clothes instead.
„Don't tell me you're also planning on not showing up at school today?"
„Why do you say ‚also'?" Gary had not in mind to lead the same discussion again and thus just shook his head at a loss, but also a bit upset. Before he walked to his own room to dress into some decent clothes, in his case his school-uniform, he said:
„You can ask Green yourself, she's also afflicted with acute sluggishness." For Gary the whole case was over and done with, shelved away – he didn't want their inappetence to spoil his day along with the classes. The thought that both of them hadn't acted out of sheer dullness never occurred to him; at least not in the first half of classes, but when Sho approached him in their lunch break in the middle of the library, asking where on earth Siberu and Green were. The one addressed sighed, but replied that Siberu was sick. He was just about to declare Green sick as well, when Sho interrupted him:
„And Green surely told you she's feeling ill, right?" With surprise Gary looked at her, but she didn't meet his eyes, looking out of the window Gary only gave a fleeting look. It was still snowing outside; it had started at night and covered Tokyo in a white dress. He deemed Sho's look way more interesting than the snow, since it hadn't often happened that she was being serious. She noticed his interested look and turned away from the window with the words:
„Green doesn't like snow." With that Sho turned her back on him and was about to disappear between the bookshelves, when Gary stopped her:
„What do you mean with that?" Only for a short moment the redhead stopped in her tracks, seemed to think for a while whether she should tell him or not. In the end she implied a shrug with her shoulders and said, without turning around to him:
„Yes, what exactly do I mean with that…she never told me about it. Maybe you'll be lucky enough?"
No matter how long Gary gave thought to Sho's words he couldn't find an answer to what could lie beneath them, just like he had no idea what Green was up to, since he didn't think it was mere aversion to classes. There had to be some other meaning to it.
Gary raised his head to the white sky. It had stopped snowing by now, since it had gotten colder. Did Green's behaviour really have something to do with the snow? He could hardly imagine it.
Still shaking his head he entered the apartment building after school, took the post out of their post-box and walked up the stairs to drop his bag in the middle of their living-room and go look around for his little brother, who apparently was absent. Once more he shook his head and went into his own room to change his clothes. He didn't waste his thoughts on where his brother could be, since sudden disappearances were not rare for him and Gary was long since used to them. He would manage to return.
Just when he had pulled a black simple pullover – his preferred everyday wear – over the head, the doorbell rang and the good senses of the Half-demon revealed him that it was Green and so his curiosity started to arise anew.
When he opened the door, the first thing that surprised him was the wide smile which graced the face of the Wächterin; after all the last words she had directed at him had been rather rough and anything but friendly. But giving her a second look there was something that caught his eye which surprised him even more: even though Green lived just a door away from him and thus only had to take a few steps to get from one flat to the other, she had not only dressed up with a jacket, but also with a scarf.
„Hello, Gary! I wanted to pick up my homework, can I come in?" And without giving him any chance to answer Green pushed past him into the flat. While he shot her a doubting look, he closed the door behind him and evidently Green noticed his look, because she explained with impatience:
„It's cold outside. The heater in the staircase must be broken."
„You're wearing a jacket and a scarf; I think you'll survive it." For a short moment the two of them looked at each other without speaking a single word, until Green's eyes narrowed a tad and Gary was already preparing himself for the discussion that would surely follow - but didn't. Instead she put on a smile again and this time its falseness was more than easy to catch up on; it was simply not possible to not see it.
What was this riot from her side good for? It couldn't really have something to do with the snow and the accompanying cold…or could it? It was very easy to see that Green did not like the temperatures all that much, but such behaviour only because of low temperatures?
„What's wrong with you, Green?" Gary didn't know whether it would be useful to directly confront Green with it, but he was simply too curious and unlike Siberu he didn't like the way from behind. He preferred to get information directly from the source.
But it was apparent Green was not a bubbly source that would eagerly come out with information. Her smile didn't waver, but it turned a bit stiff when she answered:
„I don't know what you're talking about, Gary. It's just that I'm not feeling so well and the low temperatures don't do my immune system good."
„You've got an excellent immune system; you weren't sick so often."
Green raised her eyebrow in a puzzled manner and said with a grin:
„Ah, you know that? Did you keep a record or what?" Immediately Gary turned his face away from her, but his blush didn't escape Green; apparently he felt embarrassed about knowing when she had been at school and when she hadn't. Grinning about that Green felt the issue was resolved and was about to return to her homework but Gary obviously had an objection against that. His cheeks still showed signs of a slight red glow, but his face nonetheless held a certain sincerity when he looked at her again and asked her:
„Didn't you tell me you'd trust me?" The grin on Green's face disappeared when he used this unfair weapon against her; a weapon she had pointed at herself when she had agreed to the action involving trust. She already felt regret soaring up.
But why? She knew that trust also meant to risk something and that telling of each one's secrets was a part of it as well. Honesty was a base of trust – but Green wasn't ready to go that far yet. It was a new area for her and she didn't dare to take this step.
„My past is nobody's business. I'm also not questioning yours." Her answer came across rougher than she had planned to, since she in fact wasn't irritated about him questioning her. Maybe she was more irritated with herself than anything…
After keeping silent for a short while, looking into a different direction, Green looked back to Gary, who was likewise silently watching her. He didn't seem to want to question her any further; she could see that in his eyes, but there was more to it…
„ANIKI! I'VE GOT IT! ………….. Green-chan!?" Right at the spot both Gary and Green reeled around upon hearing that voice, which belonged to a person suddenly standing in the apartment's door. Gary immediately turned wary when he saw his little brother in the doorframe; especially when he noticed that he had something in his pocket. The weird feeling that yesterday's fuss wasn't over with creeped up on him. But Siberu was wary as well, yet for an altogether different reason: he didn't seem to miss the tension between Green and Gary. He could not judge what had provoked the tension, but it was not at all to his liking, since his trail of thoughts of course led into a totally different direction than what he had intended to do:
„Am I interrupting something?" He didn't have to explain himself one bit, it was all too notable what he was implying and instantly the blush on Gary's face got new fuel to darken again. Quicker than Green could even react, Siberu had wrapped his arms around her from behind, and squeezed her against him while saying:
„No worries, Green-chan! The bad thoughts are going to disappear in a second, just relaaaaax, everything will be fine again, since I am here now."
„Eeeeh, I think you misunderstood a little something, Sibi…" Gary shook his head and shot the ceiling a few looks, before he turned around and disappeared into his room without another word: obviously this went too far for him, Green thought – or could it be that she had hurt him?
„That guy can't simply escape from me! You just wait - that will have consequences, Aniki…!" The girl in his arms decided in the mean-time that it was for the better to simply let the redhead dwell in what he believed to be the truth. It was easier to simply make him think that „something" had happened between Gary and herself than to tell him the truth. She had no need for one more person who would pester her with questions. Instead she freed herself from his hug with some difficulty and kept a safe distance of a few meters, what Siberu didn't seem to enjoy much. Even so he quickly put a grin on his face again and in order to talk her into staying for a bit longer he asked her why she was in their flat in the first place – she would hardly appear here because of Gary after all, he said with a meaningful grin.
„No, I just came here for homework…nothing else."
„Is that so. Homework", Siberu replied a bit upset; apparently he had been thinking she would answer that she had come for him. But instead of being daunted by her answer, he countered:
„How does it sound if we do them together?" Every single alarm bell inside of Green rang when he said this sentence - emphasized with a wide grin – because even to her it was obvious that he didn't take an interest in homework at all. But instead of letting it show she grinned as well when she refused with a 'thank you'.
„Thanks, Sibi, but even though Gary is quite the bore, I prefer to do my homework with him."
„Well, with me homework is surely more…entertaining."
„Sibi, say, how old are you actually?" His grin disappeared when she voiced that question and with surprise he asked what suddenly made her ask this.
„You're fourteen, right?"
„You're really way too premature; your intonation of „entertaining" was very suggestive."
„Hahaha, yes, I probably am! It must have something to do with my demon blood." The redhead's grin got broader while he giggled to himself; apparently he took it as a compliment, which hadn't been Greens intention. She decided it was better to head off now; especially if Gary should decide to leave his room, since she had no wish for a second round of that talk. Surprisingly Siberu beat her to it:
„I'll give you your homework tomorrow then, okay? Done, of course…" In that moment the one addressed didn't give it any further thought and embraced the opportunity grateful. With a beaming face she said:
„Great! Thanks, Sibi! You really are the only one I can rely on!" Siberu's smile got even happier when he got praised in such a honourable manner, and he kept it in place until Green had said her goodbyes and left their apartment. But just when the Wächterin had closed the door behind her, the same smile vanished into thin air and in its stead a mischievously triumphant smile appeared when he proclaimed:
„Aniki…I want a statement from you!" He left these words disappear into the silence of the room, well aware that his brother had heard him without any fail, turned away from the door and leaned against their couch, looking into the direction of Gary's door, to add:
„Or I won't tell you what I spied out…"
Siberu knew his brother's curiosity well enough to elect himself as the safe winner. Of course Gary, as a good observer, had noticed him hiding an object in his pocket. That fact along with Silver's absence on this day and on top of it the notion of Green's mysterious secret got him out of his room quickly – still a bit ill-humoured though, because he was well aware of his humiliation.
Before Gary could get his curiosity satisfied Siberu used the situation to his advantage by addressing a different talking-point first:
„So, spit it out; did you really follow my example or not?" Gary had just as little desire to tell Siberu the plain truth as Green had had before, since he wasn't sure whether he should share the information he had gotten a hold of today with his brother – or more the speculations, since it wasn't exactly confirmed material. Siberu would most likely give him just as much of a doubting look than what Gary thought about this problem. Since Gary was leaning against the window and looked outwards, he noticed that it had started to snow once again. Did that mean Green would not attend school another day? What kind of excuse would she think of this time?
„Hey, I'm talking to you."
Gary's eyes reluctantly shifted away from the window and towards his brother.
„I've long since learned to ignore your witless jabbering." And Siberu had learned to ignore his objections and attempts to change the subject. Confident in his victory he braced his hands into the hip and said:
„You can surrender yourself; you don't have the skills and abilities – let's not talk about the looks! – to be on a par with me. Also, let me tell you one thing: Green-chan is mine, understood?" Exhausted Gary sent the ceiling a look and decided not to defer to it.
„Nice - since we should have checked that subject on our list now we can finally proceed. What did you find out?" The redhead quickly thought about elaborating their previous discussion, but the words sparkled on his tongue and he wasn't able to withhold them any longer, so he told his brother what had happened two hours earlier.
Said two hour earlier, Siberu stood at the other end of Tokyo amidst the subtle snow flurry, which was busily painting the streets white and dip-painted the many big houses around him like a scenic winter landscape, slumbering without disturbance far away from Tokyo's tumult and chaos. Siberu pulled the black hood lower to hide his face while he was looking for the house - or more so the villa - that was on his list today. Technically he didn't mind the snow, but the climate still bothered him at the moment, since his hair was too precious to him.
In front of a big house that had obviously been built in a western style, Siberu came to a halt; not because his sixth sense told him that there was a lot to get a five finger discount on, but because of the golden clock-face which emerged from the snow – telling him that this was the house he was looking for. Just to be entirely sure he wiped the remaining snow off the house sign and a name resurfaced:
Exactly the name he had been looking for.
But instead of operating the bell he acted as if he was admiring the house and walked away as if nothing had happened. Only when he had seen a few other people walking past the high front gate from a safe distance, he decided that the camera located on the house's fence had seen enough. He teleported behind the fence of two meters in height and pressed against the left wall of the house, in order not to be seen. Since he didn't know the house's inner structure, it wouldn't have been wise to directly teleport into it, since he could have collided with something. The window on his right was dark and when he peeked through it, he noticed it was a small room only filled with clocks. Since he didn't deem them to be dangerous he teleported into the room and got promptly greeted by the ticking of many, many timekeepers.
Large, small, modern, ancient; anything that could be counted as a clock seemed to be collected in this room, organized and cared for, if the lack of dust was any indication. But instead of showing his respect for the collection, Siberu was going crazy by the constant and intrusive ticking of the many clocks. Not losing any time he put his ear against the only door he could make out and soon learned that the hallway lying behind it was void of people. Not only his hearing told him so, but also his demonical instincts: the clock collector's aura resided on the second floor. Happy to leave the room behind he quietly slipped out of the room into the sparsely illuminated hallway.
The house made him think of a European ghost house; dark, oppressive and anything but welcoming to guests. What would he get to see next? A torture chamber?
Siberu had to suppress a laugh when he allowed his imagination to run wild and continued on his quest, searching for what he had come to do. Though he did have to admit that many of the things that were located on the shelves and commodes looked worth quite a bit and the ancient clocks he had seen in the first room definitely meant a good amount of money. But no! Focus, Silver, focus!
It was out of the question to lose sight of his goal! It was about Green after all!
Just when the illegal visitor was about to turn towards the next room he heard footsteps coming up, footsteps that were definitely way closer than he had assumed – and on top of it there was not only one aura, but two.
„And I'm telling you, Asuka, my sixth sense never fails me!"
„DON'T YOU DARE! My name is Kaira. K-A-I-R-A, got it? NOT 'Ai-chan'! How many times do I have to tell you?!" The one talking and the one snarled at turned the corner the same moment Siberu managed to hide to safety. Without any fail the redhead could identify the one girl as Kaira, but the other female accompanying her was not in his books and he was sure that such an exotic look would have been kept in good memory: her ice-blue hair, which was tied into a ponytail, was a perfect contrast to her tanned skin and her clothes did well to underline the contrast even more, since they were purple in colour and didn't fit their current wintery season, since both her top and her short shorts looked as if she hadn't noticed the snowy weather outside.
Admittedly she was way older than him, yet that didn't stop him from grinning because of her appearance, since she didn't look bad at all. Especially her curves were…favourable, contrary to Kaira's, who could be described as wiry and didn't emphasize her body at all. The unknown girl Kaira had referred to as 'Asuka' crossed her arms behind her head and grinned.
„I'm so sorry…Ai-chan. It sounds way cuter; I don't know what your problem is. And until you've beaten me I still have the right to call you whatever I want!" To underline her words she gave Kaira a wink and continued, while her companion apparently fumed with rage upon having to remember it.
„There still was no need to wake me up just because of your sixth sense…after all I designed the security precautions and with that your house is absolutely burglar-proof!"
Siberu hadn't realized any of that…
„Excuse me?! You slept while I was busy breaking the high score?!"
„Yes, because you won't beat mine anyway! So I permitted myself to sleep a bit…I'm so exhausted, you can't believe it! I shouldn't have pulled an all-nighter…"
These words were underlined by a heartfelt yawn which did its best to show her tiredness.
„Are your new security precautions also demon-proof?!"
„…my new system is, since it comes with a binding spell of banning. But hey! Ai-chan, do you have some Pockys left? Those with strawberry-flavour? I love that stuff…you can have the ones with mint all to yourself if you want!" Neat change of topic; in any case she urgently had to install an update, if Siberu having no problem to get in was any indication. While Kaira was busy shouting at her friend that she was going to eat her out of house and home, the redhead had finally located what he had been looking for the entire time. The only problem was the object's unfavourable placement: it was secured to Kaira's wrist.
But he couldn't have expected it to be any other way…well; it was a hindrance, but none he couldn't take. Hurting them was no option, and he didn't think it would give him too many plus points with Green either, which he could do without. Aside from that it would have been a waste of good looking girls…so he picked the painless version; one of the easiest techniques, but also one the most useful ones: a sleeping-spell. Simple. But brilliant.
The girl that had been exhausted from the start drifted into the realm of dreams first, with an almost grateful smile. Kaira put up more of a fight, but after short resistance she followed her friend. Content with his work Siberu came out of hiding and eyed his victims with a grin, before stooping over Kaira.
„Thank you, I'm just going to borrow this for a bit!" Along with these words he loosened the wristwatch from her wrist, which already turned out to be nothing like a usual wristwatch on second glance: the top clock-face looked entirely normal aside from additional roman numerals below the usual European numerals. However, this clock-face could be thrusted aside and an adjustable digital display surfaced simultaneously below. It didn't only show the current time, but also the current human year and date. Still, this was not the last clock-face and below it there was yet another and beneath it yet another, which was the last small, round disk. Siberu had barely uncovered it when a small hologram of the world visualized on top of the clock, showing his current position in Japan.
„Wow cool!", Siberu exclaimed flabbergasted upon holding this little technical masterpiece in his hands, which showed worked-out craftsmanship and fine sense for ornaments as well. Even though he didn't have the same pronounced curiosity for these things his brother did, something still moved him and he curiously touched the red mark shimmering above Japan and moved it across the little globe without giving much thought to it. Grinning like a small child the redhead let go of the little dot-mark when it was just on top of what appeared to be Siberia. He was just about to coffer the watch in his pocket when it started folding up on its own and vanished – together with Siberu. Even before he could open his eyes he could instantly feel the harsh cold change in temperatures and when he opened his eyes to look around, the white sight underlined the coldness some more: snow as far as the eye could reach – and in this fortress of snow that wasn't very far.
„What the fuck!" Cursing wouldn't help him at the moment, but teleportation luckily did - he could well do without the damn clock. Back in Tokyo he breathed in relieved; Siberia was surely not going to be his destination for the trip of a lifetime. But at least he had found what he was looking for; he believed – or moreover hoped – that through changing the digits on the digital display as well this little clock could be used as a tiny time-machine.
Said clock was now subject to Gary's scrutinizing look. He wasn't sure if he should trust his brother's words; he knew for a fact that Timewächter were able to travel through time in any way they wanted, but he had also heard that there were very strict rules and limitations they had to abide by. But neither his brother nor he were Timewächter, so the thought of travelling trough time didn't please him at all; especially because he didn't share Siberu's enthusiasm. Said one was contently and calmly sitting on the couch, busy blow-drying his hair after the Siberian snowstorm.
„And you really think you know how this thing works?", Gary asked after placing the wristwatch on the table and sceptically looking at Siberu.
„Yes, I'm sure of that! You can push the clock-face aside. Below it there's a digital screen with-"
„Thanks, I already figured that out", the older of the two replied when he had examined the clock a second time after hearing Siberu's explanation, this time paying close attention to the clock-face.
„Say, Silver, how did you get the idea anyway to steal this clock?"
The one addressed shot him a confused look.
„Well, Green-chan told us this fury is a Timewächter, so..."
„I didn't refer to that." His eyes got strict when he shot his brother a sharp look:
„Do you realize that you robbed off a Wächter, and that this can lead to huge problems? Wächter are linked to their weapons – and if this here turns out to be a weapon, she surely noticed by now that her wristwatch is missing. Timewächter are not to be underestimated, which we had a first-hand experience of yesterday…"
„Don't sweat it, I totally have the situation under control!" Sceptically the older brother's eyebrows raised a bit, smelling danger and trouble once Siberu claimed to have control over something.
„This thing here...", Siberu began and pointed at the wristwatch:
„…is a time-machine kind of thing, and with its help we go back in time to-"
„Yes, we. You can't fool me, Aniki! I know that you are just as interested in Green's past as I am, so listen to me! After that we go back to the point in time where I stole the wristwatch and reverse it. Tadaaaa!"
„Aside from the fact that I class your plan as questionable…neither of us have the right to nose around in Green's past. If she doesn't want to tell us on her own accord, we have to accept that." The other one rolled his eyes.
„Uh, exactly, we accept it." A short silent break followed, in which the two of them locked eyes with each other and it dawned on Gary that he didn't have in mind to accept it - just like Siberu. But contrary to Siberu he was well-educated and his moral forbid him to invade someone else's past. Especially since this person had made it more than clear that she didn't want anyone else to know.
While Gary was now fighting with his morals and curiosity, Siberu had vanished into his room for a short while, along with the wristwatch. When he emerged along with it in the living-room, he once again asked his brother whether he wanted to accompany him, adding that he would also go on his own if he needed to.
„I told you already it's a ‚no'! Green would kill us!"
„Yep, she would hunt us down with more than a „Light Spirit"…but what the eye does not see, the heart does not grieve over, right?" Gary continued to struggle with himself, but now because of the thought that he could hardly allow Siberu to go on such a dangerous journey on his own. That idiot was way too hasty, was acting way too ill-considered and on top of that wasn't even aware of the dangers a journey through time brought along. Gary couldn't let Siberu go there on his own…or was this merely an excuse to accompany him?
While Gary was still busy fighting with his conscience, the redhead modified the time dates on the clock and suddenly proclaimed with joy:
„So, here we go!" Gary, who was suddenly roused from his train of thoughts, didn't manage to free himself from his brother's grip when said took his arm in a tight hug. All words of protest also disappeared, lost in the sea of time…
Gary was fighting for air - which was soon proofed to be a dead issue, since his brother was lying on top of him. It didn't take long before he was nudged aside though without consideration for the redhead, since Gary was everything but fond of his sudden decision.
„I didn't even agree on this!"
„Well, you're not going back anyway, so deal with it", Siberu replied annoyed, but not because of his brother but because of his hair – which was once again done for, even though he had just done it again. And again because of snow! Did it conspire against him?
In the meantime Gary decided to calmly assess the situation and keep a level head. It was dark around them since the clouds hid the moon, but thanks to his demonical blood Gary could still make out the silhouettes of fir trees that were surrounding them and were just as much covered in snow as anything else in this forest. Quietly the snow fell down from the sky and had ensured that the forest's ground was hardly distinguishable, since the snow was 20 – 30 centimetre in height. It was bitterly cold and they were in the middle of nowhere.
„Silver, where are we? And even more important: what time are we in?" The one addressed rose up and followed his brother's actions suit by also looking around for a moment.
„Well yeah…as to where we are: … somewhere in Germany."
„No shit, I wouldn't have guessed. Could you try to specify a bit? Maybe the federal state for example?" The whole situation was typical for his brother and the exact reason why it maybe wasn't all too bad that Gary was present in this headless mission: it was Silver's manner to run around without a plan and to rely on others doing the thinking part for him.
„What's a federal state?", Siberu asked in confusion and added:
„Ah, I don't know and it doesn't matter anyway."
„Does the principle of contingency apply to this thing…?"
„No! We're one hundred percent at the right place and time!"
„Great. Next time I'll do the planning. And what year is it? That's something you ought to know now."
„It's Christmas 1994, two weeks previous to the first photo. Content now, Anik-" The redhead chocked on his words since he tripped up on something he hadn't seen in the white mass of snow and fell head first. Cursing loudly he stood up again and cleared the snow off his clothes, while Gary rolled his eyes with a grin.
„Silver, I don't want to call you being a demon in question: we do have the same good eyesight, or am I mistaken?" Instead of answering right away, Silver accusingly pointed at something that was nearly completely covered with snow and hard to see because of that.
„I just fell over something, you see?! It could have happened to anyone, especially when everything's full of snow like that, okay?", Siberu justified and was about to take his anger out on what he thought to be a trunk, when his brother stopped him.
„That's no „something", it's a „somebody"."
„Winner! Once again, hahaha! Oh, that reminds me I wanted to tell you a little something, Ai-chan!" Consequently the blue haired girl let go of the controller she had just used to wrap up the game to her own advantage and she proceeded to stretch on the pillow like a cat would, before she reached out for one of her beloved Pocky-sticks with strawberry-flavor and watched Kaira with obvious amusement, who raged over her seventh defeat in a row.
Her eyes never left the screen in front of her when she replied:
„Once again; I can't believe it! Damn, what are you doing!? Are you cheating and just forgot to tell me – is that what you're playing at?"
„I don't need to cheat, my calculations would never fail me anyway. No, I meant that your sixth sense did not fool you earlier." That remark quickly rendered the screen uninteresting and slowly Kaira turned her head to face the grinning girl beside her.
„Say what?! So I really didn't imagine the aura and your system is anything but reliable?!"
„You don't have the new system. After all you're not paying anything for it, and the materials are not for free as you know! And why I didn't tell you about it? Well…that's because…"
Filled with determination she shook up any tiredness and jumped up, her thirst for action obvious:
„Because I intend to test my new searching-system! That's 'cause the visitor insisted on borrowing something…yes, he has your wristwatch. The thing on your wrist there is a well done imitation." At first Kaira shot the watch on her wrist a horrified look and then directed her attention back to Asuka, who explained with her index-finger raised up into the air:
„That's a totally common watch, clouded with illusionistic magic. Our little visitor knows a thing or two." Instead of losing colour, Kaira pulled herself together and decided to keep all discussions for a later date.
„Let's go and take my watch back! And I hope for you that your searching system works as regular and reliable as clockwork."