The building was engulfed in flames; pitch black smoke rose up from the ashes. In front of me was a young boy. I couldn't make out his face, as it's blurry. I could make out his black hair with two little spikes on each side. Two…red? Looks pink-ish actually, antennae-like bangs from his forehead spikeying up. It's an odd hairstyle one would have.
Then again, I have strange hair also. A Faux Mohawk kind. I saw his red eyes glitter, his tears welled up in his eyes. I suddenly felt sorrow and pain. My hands felt damp and I looked down. There was blood that stained on my hands… Blood…I looked back up.
The boy was gone. Except he was now next to me, his head on my shoulder. I still couldn't see his face, he hid it away. I looked back down, there was splattered blood on the ground in front of me. There was a glittering silver object that had pierced us both.
Then it faded away, all of it faded away. I blinked back into reality. It was that vision again. I've always had that same vision ever since I was young. I'm now in high school. In fact, I was just sitting in homeroom that morning.
I'm mad. As in, a madman. Or maybe I was a madman born by mad parents. When I was a child, my parents went missing and I never saw them again. We were constantly moving from one place to another. From a few eavesdrops I've had done in the past, it was because of some stalking scientists who wanted our blood.
I didn't understand anything then, after all I was only a child. We always stood out in the crowd compared to others. We had light blue skin and odd 'birthmarks' straying all over our bodies. Contrasting eyes of golden and white. As far I could understand, we were just another 'race'.
Because of that, I was picked on and bullied at school. Everywhere I went, they would stare at me and whisper to others to stay away from me. I had been called various of names. That was my life. I was drifted out of my thoughts when the door opened with a loud creak.
I stared and stared. That had to be the longest minute of my life. A boy around my age had walked in, he has black hair with two little side spikes and couple of pink fore bangs sticking out to the air. He also has those red eyes that sparkled when the light hits them.
Everything seemed to have gone all silent, not even the sound of the footsteps was heard. He just kept a smile on his face as he approached to the front of the classroom. His voice was loud and clear, the only thing that broke the dead silence.
"Morning! I'm Yuma Tsukumo! Nice to meet you!" He grinned a little. I sighed and looked back down at the desk. Another new student or maybe an exchange student. I sighed again. Another to pick on me.
"Hey," I looked up quickly that I recognized the voice. The new boy was standing over me. I blinked and waited for it.
"Is this seat taken?" He pointed to the seat next to me which is empty. I blinked again.
"No," I replied. He backed away and took his seat. He scrambled through that little backpack of his, yet it seemed he stuffed too much stuff in it. Well, perhaps he was saving it for later. I slumped down in the chair, waiting for homeroom to be over.
"Hey," I heard Yuma whispered rather loudly to me. I blinked once more and turned my attention to him.
"What?" I spoke in a low voice. He just kept smiling, and giggled. I could see that he's a shy type, yet…approaching?
"What's your name?" He asked, I just stared at him. Why… I shook my thoughts away.
"Astral Asutoraru," I answered simply.
"I wonder if we have any more classes together, huh," He dived for his backpack again and scrambled around. I watched him; he really has…sparked my curiosity. No…it may be a trap. I did a breathless sigh, then a paper was slapped onto my desk.
I looked at the paper and back. Yuma was trying to figure out his schedule. I looked back at it. I didn't know why but I told him. "Math…Science…Gym," I murmured the names of the classes we would be having together.
He just grinned and laughed lightly. "That's great! I have four classes with my friend!" He grinned and rubbed the back of his head. I just stared at him. Did he just call me…no, no, this is all…damn it! What is with this boy? He's getting me all confused. Finally, the bell rang and I left as quickly as possible.
I didn't know what his deal was, but I know that I should just avoid him much as possible. As I headed to my science period after my second class, I saw Yuma talking to some seniors, two of them happened to be Kaio and Rikou. Those two likes to work together to trying to make my life miserable.
"Hey, bud. Help us dunk him into the toilets." Kaio chuckled, his best friend laughing with him at the idea. Yeah, they like to push new people to do the same. Every time.
"No." I heard Yuma say, I stared at the wall as I listened into the conversation. No one had rejected their mischievous ideas before. Hell, a freshman going up against the senior? This is going to be one bloody fight.
He just laughed it off, having something different set on his mind, "I'm sure you have something better to do than that! We could hit up the arcade and play some games. What do ya think?"
Figures, he'd made friends with them now. Although, that went without a fight. I guess I had a free day then. He saw me then, said his goodbyes to them as they walked off and came running up to me.
"Hey! Dang, I keep getting lost in this school…it's so…confusing for a small school." I kept silent as he kept his mouth going for the rest of the day.
About a week had passed since I had met him. I sat on the bench by the water fountain out in the school's courtyard. I finished my lunch bentou and went to sit under the tree from the sun for the rest of the break.
I was calmly watching the white puffs of clouds pass over then something went right in front of my face, blocking my vision from watching the sky anymore. I had to blink to what was in front of me. It was a face, a certain face.
"H-Hey, sorry. I can't seem to stay on this tree." Yuma struggled to stay on the branches so he wouldn't fall off like he nearly did. He almost fell right on top of me. I didn't even notice he even climbed that tree.
"Why…why do you keep following me?" I asked when I sat up.
"Because you're my friend! I snuck out of class early to see you in lunch." I opened my mouth to say something but I closed it and stared at him.
"I…gotta go," I said quickly and gathered my things and ran off. I didn't know what was up with him. I just didn't want to know.
I stayed after school a few days later, I hung around at the small gym. I shot some hoops and made some baskets. Then the door slammed opened and a few seniors entered. They came closer and stood a few yards from me. I just watched them, I knew this was going to be another day.
"What you think you're doing, freak?" One of them snarled, he cracked his knuckles. I backed up a bit as they advanced on me. I felt pain. Everywhere. I was smashed into the wall, hit with basketballs straight at my head, and kicked right in the groin.
I lied sprawled on the gym floor, I was covered in black and purple bruises and scratches. Just as I was about to get pummeled again, somebody intervened in between me and the seniors.
"STOP IT!" I heard someone shout, I opened my eyes to see Yuma standing there with his back facing me. He was protecting me from them…Why… I kept staring with my mouth slightly parted.
"Why…why do you keep sticking up for me? You should have just-," I began. "I told you!" Yuma interrupted, his back still facing me. The boy continued, "It's because you're my best friend!"
I stared at him shocked. I…I didn't want to believe to what I was hearing.
"Your best friend? Ahahaha!" They just kept laughing and laughing, pretty hard too. Yuma just scowled at them. "You're in for a good joke, freshmeat."
"It's not a joke! He's my best friend, and that's that!" He shouted, he charged at them head on. He threw a punch at one of them who ducked.
"Hah! Fine then! We'll just punch you too!" He kicked him square on into his stomach and sent him flying a few feet. He got punched in the face and kicked in his sides.
I could only watch it all happened, I couldn't move or help him…even if I had tried to help him, it would just make things worse.
Another door slammed open, I squinted my eyes to see who was in the bright lit doorway. Second years Ryouga Kamishiro and Kaito Tenjo stood at the entrance.
"Quit it." Ryouga demanded, his death glare piercing their souls. They slowly dropped Yuma and backed away. "I-It's S-Shark a-and-"
"Get out of here," Kaito barked at them. Wasting no time, they ran away in fear. Ryouga came and helped Yuma up.
"Heh, thanks Shark," he grinned and fixed his school uniform.
"You alright, Yuma?" The boy nodded to Ryouga's question.
"I'll be okay, but he's the one that's hurt not me." He pointed to me, they looked towards my direction.
I bit my lip. Kaito stared at me and turned to Yuma.
"Fool! You're hurt too," Kaito scolded, he got up and walked over to me. "Come on, we'll patch you both up at Yuma's place." I shakily stood up with his helping hand.
We all went over to Yuma's house. Surprisingly, his family welcomed me and talked to me instead of kicking me out. They're such kind people. The whole time I had stayed over, Kaito had been watching me on every move and everything I did.
When Yuma's grandmother found out I had been living in a crappy apartment, she offered that I live at their house. I was hesitant at first, soon afterwards I took up the offer. I started living with Yuma since then; it had been only two weeks since I had met him!
Over the weeks I had lived at their house, I've grew to be closer friends with Yuma. I was now friends with Ryouga and Kaito. I got to know Yuma's grandmother, and his older sister, Akari. Although I had never met his parents, he had previously been told that they had been missing since he was young. A lot like me.
At school, most would usually avoid me because I hung around with the second years. I still get bullied on every once in a while. Everything seemed to be going wonderful then, but something turned my whole world upside-down.
First things off, I had discovered something new I hadn't before. A different type of thing. Whenever Yuma would talk to me, I would listen and watch him….as normal. But, I'd get…uncontrollable thoughts as if it has its own mind.
I get nervous on what to say and sometimes stutter. He would touch me, in a friendly way, and I would feel my heart flutter. Not to mention the erotic dreams too. I knew what it was then. But I didn't do anything about it. I tried to push it away.
I thought probably I was scared. Scared of what the others would think, scared for Yuma. I was scared of falling in love. With him. I have no idea how many times I've told myself how much of a freak I truly was and cried quietly to sleep.
Yuma somehow was able to tell. I…don't really know. That boy…is odd.
"Hey Astral," Yuma called out.
I was in my room, I looked up from where I was sitting on the bed to see he had walked in. I felt his crimson eyes stare straight into mine, as if…as if he's searching for something. I shifted under his gaze.
"W-What is it, Yuma?" I felt myself getting nervous and my heartbeats sped up quite a bit. Yuma walked over and sat down on the bed next to me. "Is something wrong?" Yuma asked.
I wanted to say no, but that would make it too obvious that there was something.
"…Why do you ask that?" I said. I bit the inside of my cheek.
"Well…you…you've been talking in your sleep…" I froze and stared at him. What had I said in my sleep…? I hope...I hope not…
"I…What did I say?"
"Nothing too horrible but…about being a freak or something?"
"Astral, if there's something wrong. Tell me, I'm…I'm your best friend, right?" The boy beamed a smile on his face, lightening up the atmosphere. "I…don't know…" I whispered and closed my eyes to relax myself. "I'm just like what everyone says, a freak, a mutation, a-"
"But you're not!" Yuma said quickly, a little too quickly. "You are not a freak or any of that! You…You're like us. You can do things like us, what's so different about you and us?"
"Yuma…" Just by talking to Yuma…I felt I really belonged, for once.
"Just ignore them, you are who you are."
"Just…why do you care about me so much…in the first place?" I quietly asked, I stared down at my hands. I looked up when Yuma put his hand on my knee. Not saying a word, he leaned in. I never thought this would ever happen. Nor would I have a chance like this at all.
I stared at him in shock, I couldn't move. My heart skipped a few beats. I could feel his soft, warm lips on my icy ones for a short moment. I backed away thus ending the kiss.
"Y-Y-Yuma, what…" My face flushed, heck, I could feel the tips of my ears burn. Yuma leaned back, his hand was still on my leg but I didn't pay much attention to it.
"I was kinda hoping you'd spill it out, but…"
"Err, kind of, um…"
"Afraid?" I nodded and told him of what had been on my mind. He sat there and listened to what I had to say like any friend would. He comforted me when I needed comfort. I felt that we had completely gone on a whole new level of friendship.
Several months later, I was walking home in the drizzling rain from running a few errands for Grandma Haru. When I arrived, Kaito was sitting on the front porch, drenched from the rain.
"Kaito? What are you doing out here?" I asked, he looked up at me with dull grey eyes. I led him inside. He didn't want anything, just a relaxation on the sofa would be enough.
"Astral. I have to tell you. I have…some news." He said after some time of silence.
"News?" I was curious to what it might be. With the serious and down look on his face, I could just tell this isn't going to be any good.
"It might be a lot to take in…whether it seems good or bad is up to you…"
"…What's the news?" I said in a low voice, a part of me is afraid to know but…I just have to know.
"My father…is the head scientist that is trying to promote research on beings like you…" Kaito informed, I widened my eyes a little by the piece of information.
"I was ordered to find you and capture you but…since you were Yuma's friend and my friend, I couldn't bring myself to do that," he sighed desperately and put his face in his hands with each of his elbows settling on his knees.
"Your parents…I know what happened to them."
Don't tell me…
"…What happened to them?"
"They were captured and taken as lab rats…" I could only stare through the air, at nothing, at the wall from shock.
I couldn't believe it.
"They're not here now, they've gone…"
Some tears flowed down my icy-blue skin, down on my cheeks to the jaw. I said nothing. Kaito continued, "Astral, for your own sake. You have to run, get out of here. This isn't the world you have to stay in much longer. I don't want to see you go, but…if it'll make you happy then I just know that I could save you from misery."
I wiped away the tears with my free hand, trying to calm myself down. "They're on the move, right now to continue their research. Astral, please…take my warning and run. I suggest taking Yuma with you."
I've shed and wiped away the remaining tears. It was a lot to take in alright. At least…at least I have a better place to go to now.
"Kaito…Thank you." That was the last words he had heard me spoke to him. That was the last time I would see him. I knew I wouldn't be able to see anyone again now. I ran out of the door into the pouring rain.
I kept running and running. I didn't know what to do. I needed a plan.
Then I had some plan in my mind, I walked little ways around the town before searching for Yuma. It was late evening, seemed night because of the pitch black clouds and the rain.
But where can Yuma be? I couldn't find him. I just needed to find him as soon as possible. I sat on the wet bench by the water fountain in the school courtyard.
I heard the water splash on the sidewalks, footsteps grew closer. A tall figure stood in a dark purple and black trench coat. I could recognize the deep blue eyes shining. It was 'Shark'.
"Ryouga…!" He kept a stoic face and turned around, as if he could read my thoughts.
"I know where he is," he said and walked towards the other section of the school. I followed him. He led me to the small gym where I would sometimes hang out at afterschool.
"Ryouga…I'm sorry." I mumbled out loud, I was going to take his friend away. He is indeed one strange guy I wouldn't ever understand.
"You have nothing to be sorry for. Just go." Ryouga then disappeared into the rain.
I raced down the hallway, opening every door to find him. He had to be here somewhere… Then I found him at the pool.
"Yuma!" Astral shouted as soon he saw him. Yuma blinked and turned to his boyfriend.
"Astral? What are you doing here?" He asked and paused to have a good look at the boy's face, "Astral? Have you been crying?"
A towel and a pair of clothes were thrown at Yuma. Yuma stared at them confused, as he had no idea what was going on. "Put them on."
Yuma got changed out of his swim trunks and put his usual clothes on. Astral grabbed Yuma's wrist. They ran out of the school and into the streets. The rain had started to move away, leaving the roads to be flooded.
"What's going on? Where are we going?" Yuma shouted after him.
"Just…come with me!" They continued to run, Astral found the trail into the small woods and ran in that direction. He let go of him once he found an old building on the other side of the woods. Astral ran inside of the abandoned place.
"Astral!" Yuma called out again, following him inside. He caught up to the blue-haired boy and peered around. It was dark and dry but somewhere in the building, it reeked of chemicals.
"What's this…?" Yuma asked when he noticed a few holes in the floor that seemed to be made by some sort of knifes or swords. He looked up when he got no response. Astral just stood there with a distant look, his mismatched eyes shone from sorrow.
"Astral…What are you…" Yuma could feel something was going to happen, in an intense atmosphere.
Astral seemed to be on edge, his hands shook. "If I just keep on living…They would still come after me, I'd rather rest in peace than suffer in the damn lab." Astral spoke softly.
Yuma stared at him for a long moment. "…Astral…I-You….D-Don't-," Yuma paused, trying to find the right words in the situation, "Don't go without me…I know I might seem selfish but…"
"Who said I am doing this alone? I didn't plan on going alone, Yuma." He stared down at the ground; he clutched the sides of his pants with his hands to stop trembling.
Yuma widened his eyes as he took in what he had meant. "Astral, are you-…" Yuma trailed off. "I just hope you would go along with it and…go with me…"
Some silence passed between them. "Astral," He said, breaking the silence. He forced himself to smile a sad smile, "I'll go with you. I'm just glad it's been one year already today."
"Astral, did you forget? Today is the day that it's been a year when we first met."
"Y-Yuma I…I'm sorry…I didn't…" Astral felt his eyes water, he let them flow over his face once more.
"I can't imagine any other day." Yuma whispered, he closed his eyes for a brief moment and looked back at Astral. He stared as if some familiar sense was tingling.
"This is….strange. This is just like my dream I've had all my life."
"You mentioned about some vision you had in a burning building, right?"
"…" Astral said nothing, he stared dumbfounded and slowly turned around. He reached into the pocket of his pants.
"Scary…to think this was our destiny…" He muttered to himself sadly, and then widened his eyes to what Astral had pulled out. He held a lighter and matches in his hand.
"A-Astral…" He managed to choke out, he felt his eyes sting. "I'm sorry Yuma….I…I'm sorry." Astral lit up some matches using the lighter and threw them at the walls of the building. They watched the fire quickly climb the walls.
"It's the only way they won't get my body…better ashes than a simple….tragedy," Astral said to Yuma, he turned around to face him. He then threw the lighter across the room, letting out the remaining flames.
"But…I…-" Tears filled his red eyes before spilling over to his cheeks, leaving wet streaks to his jaw.
"We won't be burned alive." Astral reassured him, he felt a bit relieved. He walked up to Astral and hugged him tightly; he rested his head on his shoulder.
"I pray that," Yuma spoke softly and smiled. Astral could even feel his face muscles move so he could tell he was smiling. "That we will meet again after this, Astral Asutoraru."
"As long as we live on, to the other side. I will..," The remaining tears was shed, Astral couldn't help but smile. He whispered loudly into his ear, "I love you, Yuma Tsukumo…"
"I love you, too." Astral closed his eyes and triggered the trap, the blade came swiping through the air.