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A Purity Short: The Fairy Tale

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*The Fairy Tale*
**A Purity Short** 

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~~Prologue~~
~There She Goes

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:September, 2056:
:University of Edinburgh:
:Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

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Izayoi Morio glanced up from the dog-eared copy of Othello, leaning back in his chair at the large oak table in the center of the library and tossed his glasses down on the inked-over pages of his notes.  ‘Why I agreed to take a stupid literature class when I’m studying to design cars is beyond me,’ he grumbled, rather proud that his already sound grasp of the foreign language was getting better and better every day.

He sighed.  He knew why.  The student advisor he’d spoken with when planning his course schedule had suggested it since Morio originally hailed from Tokyo, Japan.  She’d maintained that the lit class would help him get a better grasp on English—not that he had that bad of one, to start with.  He had relatives who lived in the States, an aunt and might-as-well-be aunt who were native English-speakers, as well.  No, Miss Hevershem had insisted that Morio spoke the ‘bastardized’ version of English, and that was why he’d agreed to take the kami-forsaken class.  ‘Someone,’ he thought darkly, letting the book fall onto the table, ‘ought to tell Miss H. that more people speak bastard than they do Ye Olde English . . .’

Drumming his claws on the thickly varnished oak table, he shifted to the side, drawing his feet up and dropping them on the chair beside him, ankles crossed, rereading the same paragraph about ten times before giving up with a pronounced snort.  Dropping Othello onto the table, Morio glanced around, pasting on a lopsided grin as he caught the disapproving look he garnered from the old librarian sitting behind a desk where she peered through the holographic computer screen to pin him with her eagle-eyed stare.  Intercepting his grin, the librarian narrowed her eyes in silent warning, and Morio heaved another sigh before digging his laptop computer out of his knapsack.

“Excuse me.”

Morio glanced up and blinked as his eyes locked with the deep silver gaze of the girl who was standing beside the table.  Untangling his legs, he slowly stood, offering the girl a slightly hesitant smile and a polite bow.  She tucked a long strand of chestnut brown hair behind her ear and cleared her throat, hugging a stack of books against her chest as her cheeks pinked, hiding the dusting of soft freckles that spanned the bridge of her nose.  “No, please . . . excuse me,” he insisted as his brain slowed to a crawl.  ‘She’s . . . youkai . . .’

“That book,” she said, her voice soft, smooth.  “Are you using it?”

Morio shook his head without bothering to look at the book in question.  “No, no . . . help yourself.”

She nodded brusquely, pausing long enough to retrieve the book before casting him a tepid little smile.  “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” he assured her.  She started to turn away.  Morio’s hand shot out, catching her arm to stop her.  “I’m Morio . . . Izayoi Morio . . . err, well, Morio Izayoi, I suppose . . .”

She shook her head and scowled.  “Japanese?”

He nodded.  “Yes.”

“Thank you, Morio Izayoi,” she allowed, breaking into a real, if not small, smile.

He grinned back, bemused, and she pulled her arm away before turning to leave once more.

“Wait,” he called after her, earning himself another formidable glower from the librarian.  He ignored the look as the girl stopped but didn’t glance back at him.  “What’s your name?”

“Why do you need my name?” she countered.

He shrugged.  “Let me guess . . . your name’s Angel because you had to have descended from heaven.”

She rolled her eyes but her smile didn’t disappear.  “No.”

“Bunny?” he tried again.

“Bunny?” she echoed, shaking her head since she didn’t quite understand his rationale.

His grin took a turn toward the cheesier side of things.  “Yes, Bunny—because you’ve hopped right into my heart.”

She wrinkled her nose but her eyes sparkled.  “Oh, that one’s bad,” she informed him as her smile widened the tiniest bit.

“I could go on,” he offered.

“Keep them to yourself, please.”

Morio grinned.  “Then tell me your name?”

She didn’t look like she was going to tell him.  Biting her lip, she glanced around as though trying to decide whether or not she was being watched.  “Meara,” she finally said.

He grinned.  “Meara?  That’s pretty . . . I like it.”

She didn’t answer, but she did giggle softly as she headed for the checkout station with the pile of books.

Morio hurriedly shoved his things into his knapsack and slung it over his shoulder as he strode after Meara.  He stood back to wait while she checked out the books.  She blinked in surprise when she turned around, only to come face to face with him once more.  Reaching over, he carefully took the stack from her, and while she looked like she might protest his unnecessary assistance, she didn’t voice her objections as he led the way out of the library and onto the sidewalk.

“I can carry those, myself,” she pointed out reasonably, tilting her head to avoid the wind that blew her hair into her face.

“That’s okay,” he assured her.  “I was just heading that way.”

Meara frowned and shook her head.  “What way?”

He chuckled softly.  “Whatever way you’re going.”

She blinked as though she were trying to decide if he really was being serious or not.  In the end, she choked out a little giggle as she brushed her hair back out of her eyes again.  “Oh, my God . . . that was one of the worst pick-up lines I’ve ever heard.”

Morio chuckled and fell into step beside Meara.  “I’ve got more.”

“I’m sure you do.”

He wasn’t daunted.  “You want to go out sometime?”

“Nope.”

“Your parents told you not to talk to strangers?”

“Nope.”

“You already have a boyfriend, Meara?”

“Nope.”

“Then it’s just me?”

“Yes.”

“Careful . . . you’re crushing my heart.”

She laughed then smashed the back of her hand over her mouth as though she hadn’t wanted to give in to her amusement.  “I’m sorry, Morio Izayoi.  I’m busy.”

He heaved a melodramatic sigh then darted off to the left, carefully plucking a late summer flower from a carefully-kempt garden.  “Here,” he said, jogging backward in front of her as he extended the blossom.

“You shouldn’t be stealing people’s flowers,” she admonished.

“Yeah, I know.  I was improvising.”

She pursed her lips in an attempt to keep from smiling.  “No, thank you.”

“But I stole it for you!” he insisted.  “You have to take it.”

“Why’s that?”

“I committed a felony, just for you: flower theft—grand floral larceny . . . the petals made me do it.”

Again, she rolled her eyes, but she reached out and took the flower, bringing it to her nose and breathing deeply before handing it back.  “I’d rather not be an accomplice, thank you.”

“Do you have a surname, Meara the Beautiful?”

She leveled a no-nonsense look at him.  “Do you say that to every girl you meet?”

Morio shook his head and grinned.  “No . . . in fact, I’ve never actually said that to anyone else, ever.”

“Really.”

He winced at the apparent disbelief in her tone.  “Really . . . absolutely.”

She stopped, and so did he.  Crossing her arms over her chest, she cocked an eyebrow and slowly shook her head.  “I’m not interested, Morio Izayoi.  If you’ll return my books . . .”

He sighed then nodded though his smile didn’t fade completely.  Opening the first book in the pile—Twenty-First Century Sculpture: A History—he carefully slipped the stem of the flower between the pages and closed the book again.  “I’ll give back your books if you tell me your last name, Meara,” he offered.

Meara stared at him, and for a moment, he honestly had to wonder if she was going to kick him in the shin or worse.  She sighed, too, and shook her head, unable to mask the hint of amusement in the depths of her silvery gaze.  “MacDonnough,” she said, holding out her hand.  “Now can I have my books back?”

Morio handed them over, smiling to himself when she didn’t try to give the flower back.  Holding the stack of books against her chest, she shot him one last glance before turning on her heel and sauntering away.  He watched her disappear into Feighleigh Hall—an all-girls’ freshman dorm—as a slow grin widened on his face.

“Meara MacDonnough,” he murmured.

Stuffing his hands into his pockets after readjusting the knapsack he had carelessly slung over his shoulder, Morio shuffled back along the path, retracing his steps as he headed home.  He didn’t notice the first droplets of rain that splashed down on him.  No, there wasn’t room for anything else in his mind aside from the flashing silver eyes; the brilliant smile of Meara MacDonnough . . .

 

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Meara dropped the stack of books onto her desk and slowly shook her head, a soft giggle escaping her as she stared at the flower sticking out of the book.

Morio Izayoi . . .’

She knew that name—Izayoi.  Who of her kind didn’t?  All youkai knew the story of InuYasha Izayoi and his mate, Kagome . . . the angry hanyou—the hanyou of legend who had slain Naraku so long ago.  Even then, it was common knowledge that the hanyou of legend was the half-brother of the Inu no Taisho, Sesshoumaru and if that were true, then this hanyou—Morio Izayoi—he was related to them all, wasn’t he?

Carefully extricating the flower from the book, Meara brought it to her nose and inhaled the fragrance of the bloom.

He’s cute, isn’t he?

Meara sighed, tilting her head to the side as she stared at the flower, as she carefully traced the delicate edges of the outer petals.  “Cute . . .”

Somehow, ‘cute’ didn’t seem to accurately describe the hanyou, did it?  No . . . ‘cute’ was definitely an understatement.  There was something about his eyes—so warm, so friendly—that made her want to forget all about every single thing, and how could that possibly be?  She’d talked to him for maybe half an hour, if that, and he’d been nothing but an outrageous flirt.

A cute as sin outrageous flirt.’

Her smile widened at the rueful sound of her youkai blood’s voice whispering in her head.  ‘Morio Izayoi . . .’

The beautiful peach dahlia drew her attention once more as her smile faded.  No, it just wasn’t a good idea.   Better to push all thoughts of Morio Izayoi from her mind wasn’t it?  Better not to think about him . . . wasn’t it?

“I thought you were going to the library.”

Blinking away the remnants of her silent musings, Meara glanced over her shoulder in time to see her roommate, Iona as the latter stretched out in her wooden desk chair, hiking her foot up onto the desk and leaning forward as she shook a bottle of bright pink nail polish.

“I just needed to get a book,” Meara replied, twirling the flower in her nimble fingers.

Iona flipped a long strand of ash blonde hair out of her face and stopped short, narrowing her gaze on the flower in Meara’s hand.  “Interesting . . . where did that come from, may I ask?”

Keeping her eyes fixed on the delicate petals, Meara willed herself not to blush.  Iona didn’t miss much. It might have had something to do with Iona’s uncanny sense of vision since she was a white-tailed eagle-youkai . . . “Someone,” she replied as her smile returned.

“Someone?” Iona echoed.  “And does this someone have a name?”

“He . . . probably does,” she said, carefully keeping her tone of voice level—careful not to let any emotion slip.

Iona wasn’t ready to leave it alone, though.  “Someone gives you a flower and doesn’t tell you his name?  I’m not buying, you ken?”

“Maybe you’re not,” Meara went on, dropping the flower on her desk with a shrug.  “It doesn’t matter, anyway.  I’m here to study; not to spend all my time dating odd men who steal flowers out of perfect strangers’ gardens.”

“Wow, you’re a tough one, Meara,” Iona went on with a sad shake of her head.  “Dating a guy doesn’t have to take center-stage.  Look at you!  You’re nineteen years old, and you still haven’t been on a single date, ever!  It’s just wrong, I’m telling you.”

Meara grabbed the book she’d checked out of the library and flopped down on her twin sized dorm room bed.  “It wouldn’t be a good idea,” she mumbled under her breath as she opened the publication, wishing that Iona would figure out that Meara just didn’t want to talk about this.

“Why is that?”

Meara heaved a sigh and snapped the book closed before slowly shifting her gaze to her lifelong friend’s familiar face.  “It just wouldn’t,” she insisted.

Iona swung her foot off the desk and stood up, wandering over to perch on the edge of Meara’s bed.  “What aren’t you telling me, Meara MacDonnough?” she demanded.

Meara drew a deep breath and let it out in a heavy rush before pushing the book away and sitting up, hooking her hands around her ankles and resting her chin on her raised knees.  The sun was just starting to set outside, and she watched as the orange rays streamed through the window—odd for this time of year and proof that it didn’t always rain in Great Britain.  The orange looked like fire, and on the edges of the fire were streaks of brilliant gold—gold that reminded her of those eyes—those startling, beautiful eyes . . .

He smiled so easily, didn’t he?  He smiled, and he made her want to smile, too . . .

There was some intangible quality that he possessed; something that made her wish that things weren’t quite so complicated.  She had responsibilities, after all, and those responsibilities . . .

She sighed.  Those responsibilities didn’t include a shockingly handsome Morio Izayoi, and it didn’t include his smiles . . . or his ill-gotten flowers . . .

Do you have a surname, Meara the Beautiful?”  His voice had been soft and tinged with a husky sort of quality that brushed over her skin much like a physical caress.  The results had been devastating, weakening her knees as well as her resolve as she’d struggled to hold onto a modicum of her composure.

Do you say that to every girl you meet?” she’d asked, inflicting enough boredom into her tone to make her appear to be more nonchalant than she was actually feeling.

Morio shook his head and grinned—a dangerous grin: a grin that could easily melt her heart and make her forget about every single thing in the world so long as he was smiling at her.  “No . . . in fact, I’ve never actually said that to anyone else, ever.

“Yoo-hoo . . . earth to Meara . . . come in, Meara . . .”

Shaking off her silent musings, Meara pushed Iona’s hand away from her face with a giggle.  “Stop that,” she chided.

“Tell me what you were thinking about?”

“Not a thing,” she lied.

“So what’s really bothering you about this guy?” Iona asked, staring at her claws as she carefully filed down the tips.

“Nothing,” Meara maintained stubbornly.

“Don’t give me that.  I know better.”

She sighed.  She never had been able to put anything over on Iona after all.  “It just wouldn’t work; that’s all,” she insisted as she rolled off the bed and headed toward the bathroom to take a shower.

“Meara . . .”

Stopping on the threshold with her hand poised over the light switch, she felt her shoulders slump as a sense of resignation seeped over her.  Some things, she decided, were doomed before they could even begin.  Any kind of relationship with Morio Izayoi?  That was simply one of those things, wasn’t it?  She knew that, certainly.  She knew it as well as she knew her own name.

“Meara?” Iona repeated softly.

Meara turned her head but didn’t dare look at her friend.  “He’s hanyou,” she admitted.

Then she walked into the bathroom and closed the door.