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Reaping Clockwork: Chapter 19
A Liar's Truth

[Kao Mikasa's P.O.V]


Kao arrives at school early today. Yesterday's encounter with Cedric Carlisle makes her nervous. She barely catch a nap last night which is why she is now beaming with annoyance. Her usual scary aura has propelled to an indefinite level. What makes her even more nervous is the Movie Club meeting after school. Nothing much has moved after the last meeting, prompting the team to complete the script for the autumn festival which is in two weeks. They most probably ditch the whole project considering how bad things are within the team.

Kao ruffles her bangs, grudging. She looks around her. The class is half full but neither of her two best friends is in vicinity. Kay is infamous for being late to school but that doesn't explain Valerie. She totally forgot about Valerie! Kao immediately reaches for her phone. Speed dialling.

"Kao!"

She turns around to the familiar shouting. Valerie is standing at the door, eyes locked onto Kao. Oh my this can't be good.

Valerie: You little...!! How dare you!

Valerie springs up to Kao. Her face is red, nose flaring. She too has a shade of fatigue under her eyes. No sleep? Kao is tempted to laugh at the sudden realization of them two pandas beating up each other in the classroom. Kao quickly blocks Valerie's punch. It's a light punch. She might just want to talk after all.

Kao: Babe.. Calm down. We'll talk this out..
Valerie: Talk my ass!
Kao: Wait.. Wait.. Wait.. Let's go somewhere else.

[Karyn Faraday's P.O.V] -rewrite

Kay felt a jolt in her tummy at the sight of Kao and Valerie laughing like nothing is wrong with the world. A part of her wants to join the pair but another part of her just wants to throw a punch at those pretty faces. You horrible-self-appointed-heroes! I don't need your help. They give me nothing but greater despair.

With her left hand still in the arm sling, Kay struggles to keep her backpack on her right shoulder. No thanks to her overweight backpack of course. Why did I even bother bringing my whole library to school? Kay mumbles under her breath. In a sudden, the weight on her left shoulder disappears. She turns around in surprise only to see Jayden next to her.

Jayden: You little alien. Why is your bag so heavy?
Kay: Yeah? I'm carrying a dead man in there.

Kay's snarky response sparks laughter in Jayden which is more surprising since Kay didn't intend it to be a joke. His laughter which immediately sends the girls in panic mode quickly gains them unwanted attention. Kao and Valerie turns to see the commotion as Kay walks in the class with her white knight carrying her backpack. How majestic is that? Kay feels a sense of grandiose as the rest of the girls who usually takes turn taunting her now stand in awe and wretchedly jealous of her entrance.

Valerie: Kay! Why are you at school?

Valerie jumps to her feet and gives Kay a warm hug and a light peck on her cheek. There's an immediate response of disgust across Kay's face which she quickly tries to hide but somehow caught by Kao. There's something about Kay. Her spontaneous reaction is easy to read. That mere second of honesty is something she could never turn off entirely and that is the very thing Kao immediately observes.

Kay doesn't respond immediately. Instead she just takes her seat next to Kao. The silence must have been a bit awkward for the rest of them that Jayden pokes Kay's shoulder lightly. This kind of interaction is what pisses Kao off. Call it jealousy or anything but she hates seeing things like that.

Kay turns her face to Valerie. Smiling, swallowing her true feeling.

Kay: I was bored at home so I figure I better come to school.. Learn some stuff.. -smile
Valerie: Learn? Hah.. You little brainy monster.
Kao: Valerie..
Valerie: Yeah?
Kao: We were going somewhere to talk, remember?
Valerie: Oh.. Yeah.. Kay, do you want to get out of here for a while? We're going to the rest room. Wanna come?
Kay: Nah. I'll stay here. You guys have fun.
Jayden: You guys had fun in the ladies room? What is it with girl and going to the ladies room in a group? Sheesh.. -mumbles.
Valerie: Oh come on. We have a lot to discuss.

Kay lazily rest her head on the table, shaking her head refusing to go with the girls.

Kao: Let's go Valerie. Seems like Kay and Jayden got something to talk about.

Kao grabs Valerie's wrist and sprint out the classroom leaving Jayden dumbfounded next to Kay. Kay smirks. Is that jealousy I sense? Sometimes you too can be read like a textbook Mikasa Kao. Kay got straight up again, hand rummaging her backpack.

Jayden: Did I do something wrong? -nervous
Kay: Apparently, everything..

Kay hands over the Encyclopedia of a Time Reaper to Jayden.

Jayden: What did I do?
Kay: Oh senior, you both are acting so naive.
Jayden: Oh, I'm naive now?

Kay smirks at Jayden. She's not in the mood to talk. Jayden stoops to her with a concerned look.

Jayden: I saw Jason leaving the hospital early yesterday. Did something happen?

Kay sighs. Yesterday. Yesterday is something she wishes to forget. She was so tactless. Now how would she ever face Jason again? Kay rests her head on the table, pillowed by her right arm. Jayden grab a chair facing Kay.

Jayden: You know Kay, sometimes you just have to let your guard down and talk about your problem to people. People who care.
Kay: Yeah? I don't want people to care. I just want to handle this on my own.

Kay's voice muffles as she hide her face in her arm.

Jayden: Your friends are very worried of you. We all were.

Jayden looks around. The eyes around are still pinned on them.

Jayden: Listen. Don't forget the club meeting this afternoon. We'll talk.
Kay: Can I not go? -shrieks lazily

Jayden ruffles Kay's bang as he got up.

Jayden: Jason wants to see all of us.

Jayden got up on his feet and leaves the classroom. Kay didn't even bother to wave good bye. She just lie there, thinking of a way to get what she need from Valerie. This is impossible. I should just go to sleep.

[Kao Mikasa's P.O.V]

Kao runs the water on her hand, roughly scrubbing her fingers. This is stupid. I'm so stupid for acting like this. Images of Jayden's laughing with Kay, his carefree interaction with her. Everything is mashed up like a big cliché. Kao immediately snaps out when she heard the flush. She turns off the tap, reaching for the paper towel from the dispenser on the wall. She sneaks at the reflection on the mirror to see Valerie walking out the bathroom stall.

Valerie heads straight to the wash basin, washing her hands carefully. When she finishes, she grab the silk handkerchief she kept in her blazer's pocket. Kao turns around, resting her body against the basin. She waits for Valerie to starts talking. Valerie seems less tensed.

Valerie: I'm still mad at you, you know. For ditching me like that.
Kao: I know. I'm sorry.. I just had to leave.
Valerie: You just had to leave? Oh wow..
Kao: You don't understand Val. Heck, I don't think I understand it myself.
Valerie: I know that you have a lot in your mind right now and me asking for your attention might seem a bit selfish but Kao, you practically shunning me out of your life. You both are.
Kao: No.. No, Val.. We're not shunning you.. -almost begging-like.

Valerie sighs. She turns around, copying Kao's stance. Arms folded, Valerie avoids looking at Kao. She's hurt. It seems.

Kao: I'm sorry Val. I don't mean to. I feel like you have enough trouble of your own to bother you with mine. I don't know why I feel so wretched lately. With Roderick gone, Kay acting up, I'm just.. I'm just too caught up. I can't handle Kay right now. I can't handle myself.
Valerie: You forget that Eric's my friend too. I too hate him for leaving like that. What happen to us Kao? We had so much fun together. Remember our Movie Club celebration? Your tea ceremony. That's two weeks ago. Just two weeks.We were so happy and suddenly everything just plummet into abyss.

Kao almost chuckle at Valerie's peculiar choice of metaphor. Very dramatic, Val.

Kao: You're right. I don't know. Ahh.. I'm so conflicted! I just.. Just run away from my fear I guess.
Valerie: Being 16 is too much for you huh?
Kao: Whaa? Hahahaha. Where's that coming from? Erie-chan you cheeky thing..

Kao laughs out loud. That was an unexpected comment coming from the Queen of rage. Valerie is holding her laughter, probably finding her response a bit too ridiculous for her chic image. She finally gives up and just laughing along with Kao.

Valerie: How nice if we can just laugh at everything.. Bad decision.. Wrong choice..

Valerie's complexion turns dark. Immediately her palm cup to her face. Her cheeks turn pink as her ears too.

Kao: Valerie.. Hey what's wrong?

Kao quickly turns to Valerie, holding her hand, peeking at Valerie's teary eyes. Valerie turns her gaze away, avoiding Kao's concerned look.

Kao: Look at me. Tell me what's wrong.
Valerie: This is so stupid.. Oh god, I shouldn't be crying..

Valerie tries hard to avoid looking straight at Kao. Kao on the other hand is determined to look only at her.

Kao: Val.. What's wrong? Tell me. I'm here for you.

It's a very weird thing to see someone as strong-willed as Valerie to succumb to her emotion. Kao cups her face in her palm, looking straight into Val's eyes. She sees that timid girl within that pale blue eyes. Kao sees the unmeasurable amount of  desperation in that eyes.

Kao: Is this about Luke? Give me the word and I'll beat him up for you.

Valerie chuckles. Her tears come dripping down. Kao pulls Valerie into her embrace, patting her head softly. Soft sobbing. Kao feels the warmth spreading from Valerie as they stands there within each other's embrace.

Valerie: Why am I crying for him, Kao? I know he would never feel the same way as I do. I know he would reject the proposal even before they even talk about it. I knew this. So why did I hope for a miracle? Why did I let mother to go with it? I'm so stupid.. I'm so.. stupid.
Kao: It's okay. Just speak your heart out.
Valerie: He breaks my heart, Kao. And he didn't even know it. Perhaps he didn't even care.
Kao: Why would you say that? You know how much he cares for you.
Valerie: Care? We're just business associates. The only care people have for me is business connection.

Kao holds Valerie away, just far enough to see her face. Valerie wipes her tears.

Kao: Business?? Valerie. Listen to yourself. You don't believe that.
Valerie: Is it not true Kao? The Killjoys joined our club because of the business potential we have collectively. Luke does not care for me. His family is even more so. It's all a façade. A mean of transaction.
Kao: Now you start sounding like my mother.

Kao reaches for Valerie's hand. She reveals Valerie's charm bracelet on her wrist.

Kao: You forgot about our friendship. Not everything in this world is about money, Valerie. Not everything is about corporate mergers. I think Luke understands this very well. You want to talk business? Let's talk business. People see your engagement as a paramount to Gevra Group power expansion. The Rockefeller would be crazy to turn it down. They're venturing into eastern Europe and this engagement is the biggest support they can have. You think Luke didn't know this? He's the next in line. He knows this all too well. Yet he turns it down. Why do you think that is?
Valerie: He's extremely stupid?

Kao controls her composure. Valerie is right on that department. Luke is very stupid to do that. Hah, that guy.

Kao: Yeah. That too but you're missing the point. Luke thinks highly of you. If he accept the proposal, he's throwing away his genuine feeling for you.Yes, he doesn't love you the way you want him to but that doesn't mean his feeling for you is worthless. Literally it worth the group's corporate margin should the engagement is successful.
Valerie: And that makes it okay?
Kao: I know you're hurt by his rejection. But you shouldn't see is as him rejecting you as a person, he's rejecting the idea of putting a price tag to whatever you two have with each other.Luke means well. You just have to see things from his perspective.

Valerie sighs. Kao thinks she gets it. She thinks Valerie always had understand it. She just needs someone to talk to her. Valerie calms down. She seems a bit more like her rational self.

Valerie: How would I know that?
Kao: Maybe, instead of running away from him, just give a chance to explain it to you.
Valerie: Really? You think so?
Kao: I know so.
Valerie: All right. I'll do that.. But only if you and Kay work out your issue.

Taken aback, Kao scoffs at Valerie sudden turn in their conversation.

Kao: What issue? What about us? We don't have issue.
Valerie: Oh god! You're acting like I don't know you at all. You guys have been quarreling ever since Kay broke her arm last week. Don't deny it because it's so obvious. Just talk to her.
Kao: I talk to her? She doesn't want to talk to me. She's in her cave again. Can't you see?
Valerie: Just drag her out. Face the problem. don't run away. You've said it yourself.
Kao: All right.. All right.. I'll do that. Jeez Eri-chan. You're a scary gang leader.
Valerie: I'll do anything to keep us together, happy again. Even if it means I have to beat your ass to set things straight again.

Kao knows it's not just a fancy thing to say. She knows Valerie means it. She knows it too well. Which is why she really need to meet Cedric again. A lot of questions needing answers and Kao has a hunch that they don't have that much time.

***

[Karyn Faraday's P.O.V]

The club house is not as busy as before. Most of the club has slowed down the activity to give way to the seniors to focus on coming examination. The manga club on second floor right in front of them however, are filled with nerds playing dungeon and dragons, sketching manga, reading manga, dissecting manga.. Anything interesting you can think of. And the only wrong picture in that is Kay not a part of it.

Kay sighs as she continues her chores to replace the club door plate.The juniors are busy with the movie preview with Luke and some are working hard on script writing with Kao. She was supposed to help Kao with it but somehow she does not want to be in the same room with her friends, especially Valerie. The seniors like herself are busy doing chores. Useless chores. Replacing the door plate. I have one hand to work with, can't you guys think of something less challenging?

Kay plops to her bum, giving up after failing to keep the plate on the center of the door before nailing them down. Lying against the door, Kay feels heavy, a bit sleepy. The autumn breeze sweeps through the window on the left, running along the corridor until it escapes through the window at the end of the corridor. This is perfect for my afternoon nap.

As Kay almost snooze off to dreamland, a thin tall figure emerges in front of her. Her eyes catch a glimpse of the feet before she could shut her them. No shoes..I know one alien who has tendencies to lose his shoes. A smirk formed on her tired face. But she refuse to open her eyes. Part of the reason is because she is too tired to bother and the other reason is because she enjoys the company, no communication needed. She knows that perfume. The perfume that still sticks to her other uniform. That sweet bergamot and musk.

She feels the plate in her hand slowly taken away. A weird sensation crawls on her skin when their skin touches. Is it weird to feel this way about you, kid? Kay's mind flail weakly to sleep. As she about to doze off.. BANG BANG BANG!

Kay's eyes are wide open. The hammering on the door now banging through her skull. Immediately she faces upward, looking at Marcus who is hammering the plate onto the door. Kay is about to yell her infamous ranting only to be rudely intercepted by dust coming from the door frame.

"Ark!"

Kay squeaks. She quickly removes her round shaped glasses, rubbing her eyes. Marcus ignores her, fixated to his chore. Only after the plate is secured to place that Marcus grabs Kay's hand and brings her to the nearest restroom.

Without much concern on Kay's muffled mumbling, Marcus turns the tap on, cupping water in his palm before gently runs it to Kay's eyes.

Kay: No, I'll do it. Just hold my hair for me..

Marcus gathers Kay's black hair, holding them from the running water. He quietly watches Kay trying to get the dust out of her eyes. Splashing and rubbing. And splashing some more. By the time the nasty dust washed off her eyes, Kay is already drenched. Marcus pulls out a handkerchief he kept in his pocket, handing it to Kay.

Kay: It's not the one you use to blow your nose, is it?
Marcus: ...
Kay: Never mind. I'll use the paper towel.

Kay reaches for the paper towel but quickly intercepted by Marcus. With his left hand holding Kay's wrist, Marcus gently wipes Kay's face with the handkerchief in his right.

Kay: I'll do it myself -struggle
Marcus: Stand still..

Unlike his usual unusual behaviour, his voice is husky, stern and collected. Subconsciously Kay just abide to his order. She lets him touches her face. She almost feels embarrassed of his gesture but she reminds herself, "Marcus is just a kid. This is no more than a guy's move to makes you feel overwhelmed."

"What are you guys doing?"

Kay turns to her left. Jayden and Jason are looking at her, confuse and some-what enraged. Automatically, Kay shoves Marcus away. Hurt by the sudden rejection, Marcus places the handkerchief and Kay's glasses in her hand and left the restroom. Jason later follow suit. 

Jayden: Err.. What were you two doing in the men's room?
Kay: It's the men's room? Hah.. I should have guessed.

Kay wipes her glasses with the handkerchief while heading to the door. Jayden is tailing her, still waiting for an answer. They are heading to the movie club room.

Jayden: If I don't know you better, Kay, I'd say you're a player.
Kay: A player? Hah..
Jayden: Yeah.. Suspiciously wiping each others face in the men's room.
Kay: Okay. first of all, He wiped my face. I didn't wipe his face. Secondly, I didn't know it was the men's room. And lastly, he was just trying to get the dust out of my eyes.
Jayden: Eyes? - stooping at Kay's eye level to look at her reddened eyes- Hah.. That looks nasty.
Kay: Careful. Kao might misunderstand this again.

Jayden springs away.

Jayden: What misunderstanding? -awkward chuckle
Kay: For someone share his deepest secret with me, you are unbelievably naive to act so oblivious about what I'm talking about.
Jayden: Hey..
Kay: Be honest with me. You feel something for her right? Don't even bother to deny it. It's so obvious.
Jayden: There's no hiding from you, is there?
Kay: My point exactly. Why don't you just confess to her then?

Kay stops by the window at the end of the corridor, resting her back on the ledge. Jayden runs his fingers through his black hair. Sighing.

Jayden: If I confess, what then?
Kay: What do you mean what then? Get married? Hahaha..
Jayden: I don't think it would be wise for me to marry anyone.

Kay almost laugh at Jayden's statement if it's not so true at the same time. He is taking this way too seriously. His gaze runs far beyond the labyrinth, the Swan Lake.

Kay: Senior, I'm not saying this because I'm trying to make you feel better but I don't think you are cursed.
Jayden: That's a shock.. -sarcastic- You're not the first to say that. Them guys, they don't really believe it until one day they see it with their own eyes. You were lucky that day I didn't kill you.
Kay: No, really. Just listen to me first. Reaction to blood is actually very common. Everyone has it. I have it too. But the normal reaction is that your body will lower down your blood pressure to reduce blood from flowing out. Your case however..
Jayden: The sight only elevate mine. I have no control over my action after that. My mind just went blank. Can't you see? This is not a simple case of hemophobia. It's a curse. More than a century old. Not trying to demotivate you or anything, but it's impossible.

Kay pause for a while, thinking of the most convincing way to make Jayden understand. The thing she read about Jayden. The thing she knows about him. It's not fair for him to continue being afraid of the things he does not fully understand. Her conversation with Sebastian only reconfirm her theory. Mind over matters.

Sebastian: Why would you need Young Master's Xu record?
Kay: Curiosity.. And I'm bored.. Just get me the thing.
Sebastian: It's not easy but I can get it for you.
Kay: Another thing.. Will Jayden ever cure his blood lust? In the original future that is..
Sebastian: He did, actually..

Kay turns to Jayden, looking very determined. Of course, to Jayden's eyes she is just a little girl with innocent haircut and funny glasses. Jayden sighs. In fact, that's the only response he has for almost everything.

Kay: You know senior, I think you're just afraid.
Jayden: Afraid?
Kay; Yeah. You said it yourself. It's part of being a Xu. The first born will bear the curse. You are afraid of being cured. You're afraid that you will no longer be a Xu.
Jayden: That's stretching it too far, kid. It's not that..

Jayden scruffs his hair. Again with the sighing.

Kay: Yeah? Is it though?
Jayden: Well maybe.. A bit. Still, it doesn't change the fact that it can't be cured.
Kay: Tell me, Senior. When was the first time you reacted to blood in such manner? Do your parents know about this?
Jayden: It started last year. I haven't got the time to tell them.
Kay: Does it always start at that age?
Jayden: It depends. My dad got it earlier.
Kay: Does he still have it? The curse?
Jayden: Nope. It's transferred to me. Only one will bear the curse at one time.
Kay; Interesting. So the only cure you know is by transferring the curse to the next generation? Easy then. All the more reason to get Kao to marry you.

Kay just burst in laughter. The idea itself is super creepy and inappropriate. But Jayden's face is funnier than her comment. He's actually giving it a thought. He shrugs away.

Jayden; That's not funny Kay.. I'm only creating another poor victim to this curse.
Kay; I'm sorry, senior, that's just too ridiculous for me. -laughing hard

At that moment, the bell rings. That's the end of obligatory club activity. One by one students start to leave their respective club room. Kay is still there, squinting her eyes, laughing too much. Jayden just stands there, trying hard not to burst on his own awkward response to Kay's childish taunt.

Kay; Sorry about that. But it's ridiculous that you have to wait for your wife to give you a son to rid you of your curse. Get married, pop out a baby and voila! Goodbye curse, hello little container of family's fate. That's just fucked up.. Excuse my French.
Jayden: Just shut up, you little mushroom head.

Jayden blushed. Feeling uncomfortable with Kay's endless taunting, Jayden locks his arm around Kay's head, ruffling her bang. Kay just let him be, she's laughing ever louder. Jayden is laughing too. Totally overpowering Kay, he actually tries not to hurt that petite frame, only imposing a small amount of force. Of course, like all good cliché, Kao and Valerie just walk out of the room followed by Luke.

[Kao Mikasa P.O.V]

More than her, Valerie is looking more displeased at the sight of Jayden and Kay playing round because she knows exactly Kao's feeling. Kao on the other hand, being herself, she couldn't bring herself to really get mad at Jayden or Kay. There's that little voice in her head saying something like "You shouldn't be mad, she's your friend. They deserve to act their feeling. Who are you to be mad?". But her other repressed thought has a different take on the situation. It says "That fucking slut. Of all the guys she had to choose him."

Kao turns around, rather than continues watching the thing that breaks her heart, she just wants to leave. But Valerie quickly grab her arm, steadfast.

Valerie: Talk to Kay. Do not ignore this.
Kao; Let it be, Val..
Valerie: Look, you are obviously upset by this. Talk to Kay. She's your friend. She'll understand.
Kao: I just don't want to do this today, okay?

Kao sighs as she walks away. Jayden is petrified for a moment. Valerie goes straight to Kay, grabbing her hand, pulling her away from the boys as they speed up to catch Kao.

Kay: Hey..?!
Valerie: Read the situation Kay.
Kay; What?
Valerie: Are you serious?

Valerie barely catches up with Kao. Just as they reach the stairs, Valerie pulls the girls together, entering the empty club room on the left.

Valerie; You girls have issues!

Kao and Kay look at Valerie blankly. They both try hard not to look at each other which only makes Valerie more furious. Valerie stands there much like a referee. Waiting for the girls to start talking out their problem towards each other.

Kay: What the hell is wrong with you?

Kay tries to walk away but Valerie quickly grabs her wrist, prompting her to stop.

Valerie: Me? Oh no missy. I'm not what's wrong here. Do I have to spell it out to you girls?
Kao: Let it go, Val. I just wanna go home.
Valerie: No way. I'm not leaving this. You two need to sort out your problem and we're not leaving.
Kay; Just drop it Val. Stop being so bossy.
Valerie: Bossy now, am I? I'm just concern, okay.
Kay: Yeah yeah what ever. I'm outta here.

Kay turn her back, heading out. Valerie grabs Kay's wrist, forcing her to stay.

Kay; What the fuck is wrong with you? Let me go!
Kao: Hey, you don't talk to Val like that.
Kay: Oh yeah. Should I bow before you two instead? Fuck off!

Kao almost plunge a punch to Kay's stomach for her harsh word. Kay, this is not you. Not the 16-years-old you. What happen to you? Valerie is biting her lips, trying hard to be patient. Kao drags Kay to the wall, away from Valerie. She needs to knock some sense into this girl. There's something bad happening and she can't point out what and it seems like Kay is the one who's most affected by it.

Kao: Why are you being so mean to Val? You have problem with me just punish me alone. She did nothing wrong.
Kay: Nothing wrong? You have no idea how much sin she committed towards me.

Kay stares into Kao's eyes with so much anger. Kao could see her trembling in anger. Kay's eyes glisten with tears.

Kao: Make me understand you, Kay..
Kay: You both need to stay away from me.
Kao; Kay.. Talk to me, damn it!

Kao pushes Kay hard on the wall.

Kao: What is it with you these days, Kay.

Kao's tone lowered down as she softly massages her temple.

Kao: Your 16 years old self won't do this to your friends. You know how much we care for you. I've tolerated your attitude, Kay, but this has to stop now. Shoving us away when you feel like it. Carrying out your little vendetta against us. I don't understand you any more.
Kay; Oh don't praise yourself. Vendetta? -chuckles- I believe you're referring to the Jayden's situation now, am I wrong?
Kao: Okay fine. You want me to be frank with you. Yes. A bit. It is a bit about him. You know how I feel about him, yet you still do this to me. Do you like him? If you do, tell me. I'll back off. but if you're doing this to hurt me, please stop.
Kay: So you think I'm being friendly with Jayden because I want to hurt you, is it? And now you're both ganging up on me because you're jealous.
Kao: You make me sound so petty..
Kay: Hah.. what a joke. Kao, maybe you forgot. We are not kids any more. For fuck's sake, grow up. Don't be so immersed in this teenage drama. You like that guy, just tell him. Blaming me for hogging his attention won't do. Now, if it pleases you, my lady, I'm leaving.

Kay pushes Kao away. Valerie stood there being clueless. She moves herself to Kay, blocking her from leaving.

Kay; Move, princess. -sarcastic
Val: Kay, if you leave now, we're not friend any more.
Kay; Good. Stay the hell away from me.

Kay shoves Valerie aside. She makes her way pass the corridor denying the wretchedness she felt in her heart. Back at the room, Valerie buries her face in her palm, crying hard without making a sound. It's over now, isn't it. Kao approaches her, softly pulling Valerie into her arm.

[Sebastian Michaelis' P.O.V]

Sebastian follows Kay into the labyrinth in his spectre form. It's painful to travel this way but it's the only way to keep his eyes on the girls without being physically seen by anyone. The cold he felt in his bone is getting worse. His body is reaching its limit.

He plunges into the rose shrub, shocking Kay who's immersed in her emotional escape. Kay stands above him, looking puzzled.

Kay: Where did you come from?

Kay offers her hand which Sebastian gladly accept.

Sebastian: Did you get Lady Valerie's blood?
Kay: Unfortunately, it's impossible. I can't get close to her any more.
Sebastian: This is unfortunate but it's not something you can help with.

Kay helps Sebastian up on his feet. She brushes off dead leaves from Sebastian's vest ignoring his obvious staring. Sebastian has seen the whole ordeal. He knew but he needs to say something to divert her attention from the fact that he 'magically' appears out of thin air. He hates to explain his abilities to anyone, especially Kay. Sebastian naturally gets Kay's backpack off her. They start walking leisurely along the rose shrubs. This is one of Kay's favorite place, Sebastian thinks.

Things are getting more difficult but not totally a failure. Sebastian never put much hope on Kay to get Valerie's blood. Yes it would be much easier if they could get the blood but they can do without the blood. The only concern now is the intruder. Kay is an important piece. She can't go back to the trio.

Kay is just the way he wants her to be. Alone and distracted. She seems so vulnerable. Sebastian almost feel compelled to protect her. There's something about Kay. Something magical. Something Sebastian hadn't seen for a millennia. But that's beside the point isn't it? There's something more important waiting ahead. The grand clock needs it's closure. The timeline needs to be reinstate to its original setting. Too much damage has cause haywire in the future. Sebastian can no longer see the paradox ripple.

Kay: Sebastian, there's something I've been meaning to ask you.
Sebastian: Ask away..
Kay: Why didn't you ask Kao to help with the blood. She's more capable that I am.

Sebastian clenched his fist. It's not a difficult question but judging from Kay's unconventional way of registering datas he can't avoid feeling a bit anxious. She is surprisingly very intuitive. And the way she manage to catch on to little details she had is like she is looking through thing with a magnifying glass, all the time.

Kay: Sebastian?

Sebastian turns to Kay with that same sly smile he always has.

Sebastian: It's complicated with a Mikasa. A tale for another time, perhaps.
Kay: I'm keeping a bookmark on this question. Just because I'm too tired to play this game of yours doesn't mean I would ignore this. You haven't won my trust yet, Michaelis.

That was fast. Sebastian hides his nervousness carefully under his smile.

Kay: Getting her blood is no longer possible for me. I wish not to get close to them for the time being. Or ever. So just so know, you have to get it on your own. Or just wait for December to come. It's not that far away anyway. Why the rush? I'm practically useless, to put it in other words. But I won't blow your cover or whatever. Do what ever you wanna do. I have no part in it.
Sebastian: Are you backing out?
Kay: I'm on the sideline. Just do what you have to do. You've said it yourself. Nobody's gonna get hurt once the original timeline is restored. So do it. I'm in no place to help.
Sebastian: Can I trust you not to double cross me?
Kay: Double cross you with whom? Get your act together, Sebastian. Leave me out of it.
Sebastian: I have a good reason to believe that the intruder already approached Kao. I just hope that you're not convinced by them.
Kay: Rest assured, I'm no longer a piece you could use in this battle. Be it yours or their side, I'm staying the hell away. Call me when you really need me but until then, leave me alone. I had enough of this nonsense. Now, just vanish or what ever.

Sebastian passes Kay's backpack back to her and just as she wishes, he vanishes.

***

[Karyn Faraday's POV]

She's been standing in front of Jason's house for quite a while now. It seems like she's in trance when she makes her way to this part of town. Her subconscious brings her here, like pushing her to do the very thing she hates the most. Lying.

Knock! Knock!

Why is she knocking? He might not even at home by now. After he disappears with Marcus, nobody sees Jason again. Or Marcus. Kay bites her lower lips, her heart is racing. And the door springs open. Marcus is the one to answer. Eyes wide open.

Marcus: Why are you here?
Kay: Senior?

Marcus immediately drags Kay away to the stairs. His grip is firm but not at all painful. Kay just stares at that hand wrapping her wrist as her body moves to his command. Marcus, who are you to make me feel this way? How is it that I can't remember seeing you this way? Marcus pushes Kay to the wall, huffing his bang as he rests his hand against the wall. It's not his usual image. But he never has that definite style. He's just Marcus. An alien that manages to make Kay flustered every time he's around.

Marcus: Karyn..

His voice is velvety almost magical like a mantra. Kay swallowed. Her heart is raging inside. Stop confusing me.

Marcus: You are driving me crazy.

At the moment he stands so close to Kay. It's almost suffocating how intense his begamot perfume is. It's not stinging instead it's maddening. Unknowingly Kay runs her fingers on Marcus' chest. He is surprised but he lets her. Kay could sense the same raging beating against her palm. He's nervous. Just as nervous as her. Suddenly he grabs her wrist, pushing it away from his chest.

Marcus: I'm ruined because of you.

Kay is confused with her own action when she suddenly pulls Marcus closer to her face. It happen so fast but at same time seems like a slow motion. Her lips are locked onto his. She loses control. Or rather she surrenders to her true feeling. She wants to kiss him. She always does and it's so confusing because she can't recall any time in the past of her feeling that way. He was never in her memory. He was a vanishing figure. Nobody important. So why is it that she feels so strongly for him? This is maddening. This is dangerous. But she lets herself melted into that moment of honesty. He is kissing her back, softly but assuring. He wants the same thing as her.

He pulls away. Cheeks blushed, breathing heavily.

Marcus: Stop doing this. You are making it difficult for me.
Kay: I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me.

Kay touches her lips, eyes running elsewhere. Why did I do that? Kay, you pervert. He's just a boy. But then he grabs her waist pulling her into another kiss. And she abides to it. They are madly into each other. Nothing else exist in that moment. Memories come rushing to her brain but they were not what she remembered it to be. What is this? This is not memory. Is it her imagination? But no. It feels so real. It feels like she lived in that images. The images burns her brain. This is not the first time she tasted his lips or it feels so. It's like she's reliving a dream. And before she knows it, her face is wet with tears, hers and his.

Marcus: You've remembered me.. You remember me now, don't you?

***
Saturday, July 25, 2015


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Reaping Clockwork: Chapter 18
{Kao Mikasa P.O.V}

Taking a glance down over the ticking wrist watch, it is passed five and she feels horrible every time reminded of where they are all heading to right now, the hospital. Will Kay still want to see her? Every single words from their previous argument keep banging her head piercing through her brain.

And what's wrong with that kid? I obviously meant no ill. I hardly understand this kid any more, no matter how long they have been friends, Kay is so close yet so far away at times. Being well informed of this kid random mood nature doesn't help, never can get use to it.

Kao throw her slurring uneasy gaze outside the feels like slowly moving train and the day is not supposed to end yet only the sky is telling otherwise, not a very bright day for sure. Trying to clear her mind she turn to Jayden next to her is who is calmly reading a book while listening to his iPod. Classic view of him.. always with the book, just like Kay.

At times she can't help wondering, are they secretly dating behind their back? It is not like it's her business or anything and he's definitely not hers so she got no right to be upset over it. Besides she always kept her self reminded of that fact every other time, but this heart... just she can't deny the pain.

Marcus's random shriek snap her out of her slowly turned gloomy mind. She almost forgot that the rest of the club is also here which is so weird considering how they hate taking public transport. Luke is playing games on his phone while Marcus is looking out the window, not quite sure how to make out on his expression. It's bleak. Valerie is sitting very close to Kao as if she wants to be completely invincible while obviously ignoring Luke in front of her.

Poor you Valerie dear. We really need to talk about you to but I think we have to wait for Kay to get better. Jason is standing closer to the automatic door, isolating himself from the rest of the crew. He does that a lot lately, barely talking and preferred to be alone. He doesn't talk much after what happened to Kay.

Speaking of Kay again, it's the third day of her admittance to Jayden's Family Hospital. Just like Jason, she suddenly separates herself from everything. She didn't pick up her phone, even the ones from Jason. When Kao phoned Mrs.Faraday to ask of her wellness, she just replied with the same ambiguity that Kay suddenly doesn't speak to anyone. I wish I know what's wrong with Kay. It is excruciating to keep on speculating like this and it is just not the right time to have a petty fight, not when they are back from the future stranded in their past repeating everything all over again.

Letting out a heavy sigh Kao suddenly feels a nudge on her shoulder. Slowly turning to her right, Jayden is looking at her with his concerned eyes and he suddenly takes off one of his earpiece, inserting it into Kao's right ear, a gesture suggesting her to take a listen. Kao smiles shyly. How can I stop myself from adoring you senior. You always know what to do. Kao takes another look at Jayden, mumbling a silent word of thanks with her lip. Jayden returns her gratitude with a slight nod and returns to his reading.

'Goodnight Moon' is playing on the iPod. It's a wonder that the song never gets old. Kao slowly closes her eyes letting the melody takes her away from the world, recalling the long chat she had with Jayden yesterday, while boarding the same train. Funny how similar the situation was yesterday, minus the other snooping rich kids of course.

Jayden explained to her how Kay figure out his family secret just because of a simple paper cut. Kay is really fast witted and secretive. One thing to admire about Kay is when she promise to keep a secret to herself, she really does keep it to her grave. But that is also her worst trait. Kao hates it that Kay can't trust her enough to spill the important details at crucial moment like this. No wonder she was so feisty about Shuwei. Oh god, everything makes sense now. Kao kneads her forehead profusely at the thought of her quarrel with her difficult friend.

But there's a lot of questions to be answered. What's the connection between Kay and Jason? Even Jayden can't provide the specific answer to that. Not an answer Kao would accept at least. At time like this, Kao prefer to use Kay's reasoning. Never assume too much.

'Kao....Do..'

Kao hears statics from the earpiece. What? Kao quickly turns her head to Jayden.

Kao: Did you say something senior?
Jayden: Hmm? No.. I didn't. Why?
Kao: Never mind, I must have been daydreaming.

Kao turn to play with her phone, back listening to the Goodnight Moon before another statics and buzz interfere the perfect chorus.

"Kao.. "

Kao: Did you hear that?
Jayden: Hear what?
Kao: Someone's talking..

Jayden chuckled softly..

Jayden: Look around you. People are talking.. -turned back to his book
Kao: No.. it calls my name.
Jayden: -frown, shaking off his head- You are just strung up.. Stop thinking too much. Here, let me skip to a more calming song.

Jayden slide through the screen a few times before stopping at a familiar riff. (insert song title). Kao __ another attempt to relax by lying her back to the seat.

"Kao.. Get off the train.. Now.."

Surprised, Kao pull out the earpiece.

Jayden: Hey are you OK?
Kao: Seriously.. didn't you hear that?
Jayden: Hear what exactly, Kao?
Kao: I must be imagining stuff. God.. I'm so tired. I need a nap. Can you please wake me up when we reach there?
Jayden: Sure thing, Kao. Just rest you eyes.

Kao softly shutting her eyes, clearing her mind, ignoring the hustle and bustle around her. Yes, a nap is exactly what I need now. Almost instantly, the weight of her body is diminished, she is floating away from reality.

"Kao.. Leave them.. I need to see you"

What is it!? Within the darkness behind her eyelids she hears a voice, panicky, demanding. Kao urgently tries to open her eyes. I'm not dealing with this nightmare now.

"Kao! Valerie is in danger if you don't.. And Kay"

At that moment, Kao feel a tap on her shoulder. She turns to see. A glimpse of golden hair, the bluest eyes are staring at her with intense concern. Almost instantly the image merges into a familiar face, Jayden.

Jayden: Kao.. Are you OK?

Jayden is shaking her shoulders. Kao is breathing heavily. She looks around  to see the surprise faces around her including the menacing looks on the faces of the strangers. Did she just do something embarrassing? Oh god!

Kao: Where are we?
Jayden: 2 more stops and we're there. Are you OK? You were shaking just now.
Kao: I was?

Oh my god, I'm just too tired for this.

Jayden: Kao, is there something bothering you?

Jayden's gaze is so warm and concerned that Kao feels tempted to blurt it all. Truth is, she is not ready to face Kay. Truth is, it's not just Kay who's angry towards Kao, the feeling is mutual. She too has had enough of her attitude. It might work few years back, but we're both grown up. We both have our inner demon and Kao definitely hate to jump into others misery when she barely coping with her own.

Kao: Senior, I'm going off at the next station.

She makes up her mind as she turns to check up on Valerie who's in the moment wrapped up within her own world, staring into what seems to be an invisible oblivion.

Kao: Would you please make sure Valerie got there safely? -whispering to Jayden
Jayden: Are you sure about this?
Kao: Yeah.. Just keep your eyes on her. I have to be alone for a while.

Oh surprise, she's turning into Kay now. Alone.. She likes doing that, doesn't she? Cutting people off whenever she feels like it. Kao kneads her forehead profusely.

Jayden: Will Valerie be Okay going there with Luke tagging along?

Kao is surprised. She never thought that Jayden is that observant to things around him. At least not that attentive.

Kao: I hope she is. We're almost there, make sure she doesn't follow me.

Jayden reluctantly nods in agreement. Kao gets up from her seat pretending to stretch while her eyes pinned on Valerie stoic face. Good, she didn't even flinch meaning she's not actually here, still wrapped up inside the oblivion of no-i-am-not-here denial state. The ride finally reach the next stop as it slowly coming to its halt.

Kao: Thanks senior. -whispering

As the auto door opens Kao take another peeks a look once more at Valerie assuring that she is not watching, and before the door starts closing, she swiftly run towards the exit leaping out, barely miss it. Fast and quiet, précising ninjas. -Well it's in her blood be it ninja or samurai.

~~~~~~~~~~

{Karyn Faraday POV}

James Faraday is sitting by the window, reading his files. He is busy going through his project reports, answering to calls as discreetly as possible so that he won't bother his resting daughter. Kay on the other hand is preoccupied with other things than resting. She shuts her eyes but barely catching any sleep. The pain in her chest has subsided after the doctor prescribe higher dose of pain killers but she feel even more wretched than she felt before. Probably because of the box of photos she kept hidden in the compartment.

Sebastian left her earlier this morning just before Mrs Faraday comes in with Karl. Kay was despondent the whole day. Neither the visit from her high spirited baby brother or her beloved father could shake her from her state of morose. She was clearly hostile towards her mother, showing close to no reaction to anything. This is Kay. The new Kay. She would not pretend to please anyone, unlike her younger self who would still put up a smiling face even at her darkest hours. This is who she is in 2013. The one she's become. A dreadful person.

Kay hears a soft grunt from the corner of the room. There sit her father with his hands at the back of his neck, stretching. He collects the pile of papers before him, rearranging them properly and tapping them on the table to keep them in place. He then tucks them all in the clear file he brought along. He gets up, walking towards Kay. Quickly, Kay shut her eyes tight, pretending to sleep. James sits on the bed. He stays quiet, lovingly staring at her. Softly, James strokes Kay's bang.

Behind her closed eyelids, Kay tries hard not to cry. She cried a lot since last night. She doesn't even think it is possible to cry that much. Kay feels a soft kiss on her brow. She opens her eyes.

Dad: Sorry dear. Did I wake you up?

Kay could see his eyes glisten. That tired eyes are looking at her tenderly. Kay shakes her head. James places his hand on Kay's cheek, cupping the pale face in his palm.

Dad: I'm heading back to the office now. I'm sorry I can't stay here with you. Is there anything you want to eat? Drink? Books maybe?
Kay: No.. It's ok. I'm fine with the food here.
Dad: Are you sure? You mother told me you haven't eaten anything since morning.
Kay: The food is okay. I don't have the appetite, that's all.
Dad: Well, don't starve yourself. You know what starving did to you. Eat something and get well faster, okay?

Kay nods even though she doesn't intend to act as such. After a short, inaudible goodbye, James walks away with his files under his arm. Dad and his obsession over work. Kay did inherit some of that trait later in her life. Her eyes starts glistening again. Inherit? But they're not even blood related. She almost slips into her inevitable melancholy episode when a knocking on the door immediately pull her back.

"Yes?"

There a slight delay of reaction from the other side. Kay could hear some undertone quarrel just outside the door but the door remains shut. She heard stomping outside, getting further away and in a few seconds, the door slides open, revealing Jason and Jayden standing next to each other. Both look very confused. Jason is carrying Kay's backpack on his left arm and his own on the right.

The moment Kay sees him, she feels like springing out of the bed, hugging Jason. She now understand the peculiar admiration she had for him. She now sees the resemblance of their faces. That same eyes, that same chin. Except for his cheek bones. He resemble father a lot more than he resembles mother. That thought tear her heart. Father.. What a bitter sweet moment this is. She acquires a brother and loses two fathers. Her biological father who died in the fire and her workaholic father who loves her more than she could ever return.

Jason walks closer to Kay, resting the back pack on the sofa where James Faraday sat not a few moments ago. He reaches the bed with a concern look. Just as concerned as he was before. Kay could not blink her eyes, she wishes not to. All she wants to do is to look at his face. Funny how she could not remember the date of Jason's death. Funny how she forgot the very thing that breaks her heart until there is nothing left to return to.

Jason: How do you feel?
Kay: Much better now -still fascinated
Jason: Thank god for that. How long will you be admitted then?
Kay:  I'll be back in school soon.
Jayden: Looking at her chart, I'd say she'll be discharge soon. You'd better watch your food, Kay. Stay away from spicy food for a while. It would only worsen your gastritis. -staring at the chart in his hand

Jason turns a sharp gaze at Jayden as if he's interrupting him or something. Intimidated, Jayden back off, stroking the back of his head nervously. Oh please, enough with this empty talk. I just want to blurt it out. Oppa, I'm your sister. I know it now. Kay gets up, feeling uncomfortable just lying down. Kay turns her gaze to Jayden who is nervously looking outside. Help me here, will you? Now that I know he's not a stranger, I don't know how to act in front of him. Jayden, help me. But Jayden seems urged to just leave. Especially when he remembered the promise he made to Kao to keep an eye on Valerie. God knows what happen between Valerie and Luke. He better go and check up on them.

Jayden: Oh.. Sorry Kay. I think I better go now.. Get well soon, k?

Jayden sprints out of the room, leaving Kay growing more nervous than ever. What to do? What to say? Somehow she is shaking like crazy.

Jason: Kid, are you okay? -concern

Kay shrugs her head trying to put on her best smile only to awkwardly distort her face to almost crying expression. Jason chuckles. This is too cute to handle, he thinks. He grabs the shawl rested on the sofa and put it on Kay's back. And suddenly, maybe it's an unplanned impulse, Kay just wraps her hands around his waist.


At the door, panting from all the running and chasing is Marcus who just stands there, with his hand against the door frame looking crushed at the sight in front of him. Quietly, he turns around and left. Kay manages to catch a glimpse of his back but could not care less to call for him. Nothing is more important than family, she tells herself as her heart weighs even heavier than before.


~~~~~~~~~~

{Kao Mikasa P.O.V}

Stinking fumes. Kao looks around her, the street is busy with the honking vehicles. People are bustling along the side walk. Wincing with muscle pain in her thigh from her last night martial art practice she press the button for the pedestrian-crossing and wait on her toe at the kerbside. Unwrapping the chocolate coated energy booster that's her dinner. Not planning to be home early and intentionally miss the curfew. That's it.

She stares down to her throbbing legs wishing for an immediate muscle pain reliever. Fumbling inside her back pack to only realise that she has run out of it already. Fuck my life. Feeling a shove on her back she notices the light have changed. Striding along the busy others, she begin hobbling across the road lazily and immediately regretting her decision to get off the train

To tell the truth, she really wants to pay her Kay a decent short visit. Growing up, she knows that it is not nice to skip on visiting the sick. What is more, that's her friend who's admitted sick. But then, she too knows how to be stubborn, she shoves her feeling back inside and snubbing it completely. Oh just let's regret this later shall we, I too need time for myself. It hurts to think that it is possible for Kay to misinterpret her intention like that.

Scrunching up the snack wrapper she stuffs it hastily back into her back pack. Ugh. That's not enough she thought rubbing her tummy. I'm still hungry. Not sure whether it's a real hunger or just the stress; nonetheless she mindlessly heads into the nearest Chinese restaurant placed at the far corner of the road wanting some Wanton mee with a plate of dumpling as the side dish.

The restaurant is full. Pushing her tough luck, she is scanning the whole room looking for an empty table. What a home run! A couple suddenly leave their seats as she set her foot inside. That's one favourable coincidence. In haste, she has the seat and waits for the waiter while skimming through the menu.

As she waits patiently for the busy waiters to be free from serving new orders to tables "Finally!" huffing a deep voice suddenly. A boy in denim tee and khaki trousers suddenly sat in front brushing his golden locks. "Do you mind sharing this table? There is no seat left." He asks being courteous. She turns her head around, he's right this is the only spot left. The foods here must be really good to garner these much numbers of customers. "No, please.. make yourself comfortable" she answers a bit awkward facing an obviously handsome fella.

This is odd, he looks rather familiar. She sneakily steal another look on his face. 21? 20? Guessing his age inside her head. Wait.. That blue eyes! She immediately comes to recognize it from her past few days series of weird dreams which she can't remembers on the details. But he's bit younger though, probably 8 to 10 years off. Hell, why did I dream about somebody I don't know?

Kao: I'm sorry do I know you from somewhere? You look rather familiar. -pompously asking

Kao did another scan on the face in front of her, now confronting him. He has this blonde hair almost silver-ish, thick trimmed brows and thin lips which pursued beautifully under his tall nosed bridge. His face is fair and a bit blushed. Perhaps because he was running a while before which seems to be the case with the a glimpse of light perspiration on his forehead. And he did that moves again, ruffling his golden locks as he turns his gaze, directed into Kao's dark eyes.

That blue eyes, almost turquoise with thick eyelashes around his foxy eyes. He is definitely an attraction seeing the reaction of girls across the diner. He grins followed by a merry chuckle and Kao swear her heart did skip a beat. Mesmerizing creature, that's a simple way to describe him. Can't help staring back at him, not a blink.

"You tell me.." His answers fills up her head like an air blows up into a balloon, I hates ambiguities. She rolls her eyes.

Kao: I'm sorry but I might sound a bit cuckoo saying this. I think... I have dreamt about you before.

She blurts it. Tranced, she immediately shakes her head in disbelieve. Did I just used the lamest pick up line ever? OMG. No. The boy's light chuckles has turned into a laugh exposing a line of pearly white teeth.What a nice laugh he has. This boy is a Homme Fatale from the no doubt department.

"Well.. that was fast... Good.. We don't have much time" he said. Fast? Did he intentionally trying to tease me? This is embarrassing.

"Let me introduce myself. My name is Cedric Carlisle. Your soon to be best friend. Yes, we did meet before. But that's just my older self trying to reach you within your subconscious" he tread the words.

Kao: I'm sorry. What?

Kao feels a jolt inside her stomach, lurching. She has heard the name before! She don't know how but she definitely know the name! By now Kao's face already moist with cold sweat and her eyes won't leave that blue eyes for anything. And in a glimpse as he blink his eyes a shade of golds shimmers from deep within his iris. Taken aback, Kao almost falls backward, but thanks to her quick reflex she manage to secure her seat from toppling over.

Cedric: You have heard my name before I believe...
Kao: Strangely... yes.. -still tranced

Her brain starts rummaging around its boxes of memories and is trying to pick ups pieces of puzzle scattered for her here and there.

Cedric: I might be responsible for that... Kao... -lean forward- Trust me when I say I'm the only one can fix all these madness. I can take you home. Back to your future.. and I' going to save Valerie and Kay too.
Kao: How did you know my name? Oh.. don't be daft. I don't know what you were talking about. -chuckles nervously
Cedric: I'm a Time Reaper Kao.. You'll need to trust me. Only me.

Time Reaper? At the exact moment Kao brain spins back to the Encyclopaedia which Kay once had forced her to read. Leofric Carlisle! The author is a Time Reaper too. Kao tries hard to suppress her shock by throwing a piercing gaze into Cedric's.

Kao: Stop this, I won't indulge your pathetic needs for attention, you crazy person. Lies don't do any good here.. -stern
Cedric: If I'm lying how come we're the only one talking? -nodes suggesting her to look around.

Kao quickly scans her surrounding and the room has turned completely stills with not a single sound. She can only hears her own awkward breathing and the blood rushing inside her brain. It's as if the room is a gallery filled with statues. The customers are entirely stupefied. What on earth is happening?

Kao: No.. no... This can't be happening right? What kind of sick joke you were trying to pull, huh? Not funny.

Cedric did another blink and a similar gold shimmers again inside his blue eyes. Magically, everyone starts moving again as if they were just temporarily paused in a quick movie intermission. Wow. I am not dreaming am I? She immediately pinches her arm hard. Ouch!

Cedric: This is not a dream. I can guarantee you that..

He laughs as she rubs her sore skins.

Cedric: I'm not lying Kao. And this is not a prank. You know better. Don't you?
Kao: -hesitating- Okay...wait. And if let's say I do believe you.. tell me. What year is it?

He grins.

Cedric: -smile- Which year do you mean? 2005 or is it the year we came from which is 2013..

Kao's eyes starts to glisten with tears which she tries hard not to let it falls. After such a long time of loneliness she finally feels secured. Some one come to safe us! She feels like running to Kay right now and then. Do we finally able to get back?

~~~~~~~~~~
It seems like her hunger just left her tummy after the short demonstration of magic. Feeling uncomfortable with the endless peeking from the surrounding table, Kao quickly suggests for them to leave the establishment and retreat to a more secluded place for their long conversation over the time travel mumbo jumbo.

Things are very confusing and it is hard for her to start untangling the mystery around this guy. She wishes Kay is here. She's a great interrogator, although she herself is not quite fond to witness it. She had that special way of making people spill all the bean. Kao couldn't figure out how Kay manage to do it but she always gets the information. That's Kay for you. Oh great, she misses her even more.

Shaking away all thought about Kay, Kao turns her head to Cedric, the golden boy. Just a moment ago he told Kao that he's to marry Valerie before they were rudely intercepted by the loud honking by the road.

Kao: So you're telling me that you are Valerie's fiancé and you are here to save her and at the same time saving us too?
Cedric: Yes. Exactly.
Kao: You can't expect me to just trust all your words like that. Time lord or not, this is absurd.
Cedric: Please Kao. Not a Time Lord. I know you girls are big fans of Doctor Who but don't just label me as a Time Lord. -waving his hand in annoyance

Kao smirks.

Kao: .
Cedric: What?
Kao: Time travelling?
Cedric: I believe you already have the book. No?
Kao: What book?
Cedric: -tilting eyebrow
Kao: Oh that encyclopaedia. Err.. it's to complicated.. just not for me.
Cedric: -Grin- Yeah it is.

Silence. 

Kao: So?
Cedric: So what?
Kao: Well, don't you want to explain it to me? You are supposed to be the one with all the answers right?
Cedric: Not all the answer, but most.

Cedric point to a nearby chair facing the lake suggesting Kao to take a seat. Kao abide with no question. Cedric takes out a pocket watch and hand it to Kao.

Kao: Is this..the Grand Clock? It can't be. Can it? Uh so what. It's just a pocket watch. You might be bluffing for all I know.
Cedric: Oh come on. That time freeze just now is not enough to convince you, Kao?

Cedric shoves the pocket watch closer to Kao, showing her the intricate carving on the watch. Crimson fluid flowing trough a tiny crystal tube as if pumping blood to the main frame of the watch. Kao remember a sketch in the encyclopaedia showing almost the same concept.

Cedric: This is the device that enable us to travel through time or as the book specifically call it, jumping. This is no ordinary watch.
Kao: Ok. I get that. -annoyed look- What I don't understand is why? And who did this. It can't be you, right? I thought Sebastian was supposed to be the grand clock master. There's only one grand clock in the world right? And you have one with you, so does that mean you send us here? I'm confused.
Cedric: Clearly, and I understand why.

Cedric put the pocket watch back into his pocket.

Cedric; Tell me Kao. When you read through the book, did you notice something odd about the content?
Kao: Hell yeah, it's freaky as hell. I mean, let's be honest, if I'm not in this situation, I would not trust a word in that book. What a bunch of bonkers.. No offence. Oh yeah, and I remember Kay did make a fuss about post notes on the book. That can't be you right?
Cedric: Yeah. I did try to get Kay to notice the note but something keep interrupting. Never mind that. It's another story. How much did you actually understand from the book?
Kao: Okay Sherlock.. To tell you the truth, I don't really get into the whole theory jotted in the encyclopaedia. To me it's just coincidental that some of the thing mentioned in the book relates to us. Like the hole sucking us during the travel.. But, Kay did find out something weird about Sebastian. I trust her deduction. I don't actually understand the connection but yeah, whatever..

Cedric chuckles at Kao comical explanation. Kao herself find it weird how she could entirely open up to Cedric like that. Usually she would just coldly listen to anything without paying much attention but maybe she's just too tired of just listening to people nibbling her mind with lengthy explanation.

Cedric: If you refer to the book, it would be understandable to conclude that there is only one grand clock in existence. The clockwork is too complicated to imitate. No one other than the first master know about the origin of the grand clock. I always thought that we, Carlisle are the sole master of this contraption, that the device is purely a god given speciality to us. I think Leofric purposely hide that knowledge from us or even he himself didn't know about the grand clock that well.

Cedric pause for a breather. Kao is pulling an even more confused look.

Cedric: You see. Leofric was not the first Grand Clock master but he sure was the first Carlisle to document the existence of the Grand Clock and us, the Time Reaper. It's all a mystery even to the Masters before me.
Kao: So it's like a pass down family heirloom in your family?
Cedric: Quite frankly so. We are snub about it, really. Having a god-like power to jump through time. But the power is limited. You see, the Grand Clock is never meant to be used to travel back through time and change the future. It is a mean to transport a fragment of your soul to the past as an apparition. As ghost, some says. Back in the ancient days, we used it on criminals to lament on their sins by sending their soul to a moment in their life where they committed unforgivable crime and they are to float through time following the life of the people affected by their misconduct. It would take them years to go back to their future to face their death execution.
Kao: That's.. creepy..
Cedric: Yeah, people are twisted back then. We are twisted to think that we have the right to do that to people. Long story short, after the burning of witches in olden, the practice of Grand Clock on jumpers are strictly forbidden. Soon, the Time Reaper is forgotten through time, only existed in a circle of my family.

Kao leans closer to Cedric, listening attentively.

Cedric: As I said before, this grand clock is one of a kind and I believe so until I met Valerie.
Kao: Wait, what? What does this have anything to do with Valerie?
Cedric: You see, unknowingly, Valerie is just like me. She's a Time Reaper. Now, before you get mad about her keeping this secret, in her defence, she didn't know she had such power until I discovered it for her.
Kao: Hold on a minute. Are you trying to say that Valerie sent us here?
Cedric: No.. She did not. But she did change your past once.
Kao: That can't be true. We only turn back in time once. And you said it's not Valerie who sent us here. Come on Cedric. I'm confused as hell and you don't want to mess around with me.
Cedric: Woah, easy there tiger.. I'm trying to go through this as gently as I can. It might be too much to swallow right now.

Cedric clasp his hands together, massaging them nervously.

Cedric: I don't know if you've known this, Kay is actually Jason Lee's sister.
Kao: WHAT!? You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. Me!
Cedric: Just listen to me first, okay?
Kao; You can't make me believe something so ridiculous as this. Oh my god, I feel like kicking your teeth in. -fuming-
Cedric: I'm not making this up, okay. This is what I am told by Valerie in the future and she had all the evidence. Trust me, impossible as it might sound, this is the root of all this travel. Kay's true heritage.

Kao gasp in disbelieve. And suddenly her fist comes flying straight to Cedric's pretty face.


Buk, her knuckles feels the hard chiselled jaw of the guy who is now shrieking in pain. Heh, and you call your self a Time Reaper. Kao chuckles as she rests her arm behind Cedric.

Cedric: What did you do that for? I hope I'm not bleeding -peeking at his palm for any blood
Kao: Sorry, I'm allergic to nonsense. Besides, you should have used your power to stop time just like what you did before.
Cedric: It's one thing to stop time and another to be as fast as your fist. I think I cry a bit. -massaging his jaw-
Kao; Oh get over it Cedric. I had to let the steam out somehow. Now, continue your story.

Cedric reluctantly get back into his story telling mode. He could hear ringing in his left ear still. A quick breather, he's ready to continue his long awaited story.

Cedric: Kao, do you know that the Mikasa family was one of the closest friends of the Lees?
Kao: The Lees? Jason's family? Of course. My father and the Late Master Yeul were best friend.
Cedric: They are more than best friend. They are each others confidant. I believe you know the story of Lee Yeul's marriage and the fire incident that took his life, but what do you know about his wife? Jason's mother to be exact.
Kao: Other than the fact that she died in the fire, nothing much. No one ever talked about her.
Cedric: Do you know that she also had a daughter of your age?
Kao: Oh let me guess. Kay is the baby sis, and she's adopted by the Faradays. What a plot twist. -mocking-
Cedric: Listen, I don't have much time.

Cedric seems distracted for a while, looking around him nervously. He takes a quick glance at the pocket watch while mumbling.

Cedric: Sorry, time to go. Meet me at the tree house tomorrow. -urgently



Suddenly, Cedric disperse as golden sprinkles, swept away by the evening breeze along with his echoed voice. Kao's mind goes blank. What the actual fuck?! That is straight up Gallifreyan.

~~~~~~~~


{Karyn Faraday P.O.V}

Jason hold Kay away from him. His brown knit with anxiety. Cold sweat. A minute ago he felt so comfortable with Kay but now it turns awkward and somehow wrong.

Jason: Kay... This might sound hurtful to you but I really hope you won't act this way.
Kay: But senior..
Jason: I like you no more than a sister.

Oppa.. I know that.. Let me explain this. but how?

Jason: Don't ever fall for me, haven't I told you that?
Kay: Why is it so wrong to love my ~~

Jason quickly cut Kay's off by placing his finger on her lips, prompting her to stop. Jason looks deep into Kay's eyes. A stern look.

Jason: Look here.. This is very private to me so I really hope that you would understand that this is in no way to hurt your feeling. I only think of you as my junior. I've lost my family when I was 5 years old. My parents, my sister. When I see you, all I can see is the image of my sister who didn't get to grow up with me. To me, you are her. You remind me of her. And for me to like you more than that is impossible.. Don't make me lose you by doing this..

Jason softly places his palm to Kay's face. Kay's weary eyes finally give in. streams of tears run down her pale cheek. How do she tell him? Oppa, this is Ga In. I didn't remember you but I love you none the less. What should I do? I should tell him but nothing is coming out from her mouth but soft sobbing and emotion flooding her head. Sebastian's voice echoed in her head. Don't do anything rash. Someone can get hurt by this secret.



Jason slowly gets up, grabbing his belonging with a sorry look.

Jason: I'm sorry for hurting you. I.. better.. leave..

Kay didn't even lift her face to look at Jason. She's way too preoccupied with her own emotion. Her head is spinning trying to look for words to begin to explain to Jason of her true identity. By the time she turns her head, Jason is already at door, walking away without even turning around. The door is shut, leaving Kay completely alone. Not long after, the door creaks open. Kay anxiously hoping it would be Jason. She needs to explain herself.

Much to her disappointment, it is Sebastian, clad in black.

Sebastian: I see your brother on the way here. You didn't tell him anything, did you?
Kay: Don't worry. I do nothing of such. What brings you here? I thought we're meeting tonight.

Smiling, Sebastian moves closer to Kay, pouring a glass of water for Kay on his way. As he reaches the bed, he gracefully hands the drink to Kay. Still waiting for an answer, Kay refuse to take a sip. But looking at Sebastian's insisting look, Kay finally gulp it down.

Sebastian: We have an intruder..
Kay: Intruder? - Kay springs up looking interested.
Sebastian: Another Grand Clock Master.. He's jumping through the stream.
Kay: Another one? I thought there's only one Grand Clock Master. Even if there is another Master, crossing another Master's stream is practically impossible considering the instability of the jump.

Sebastian has a surprise look on his face. He did not see that coming.

Sebastian: I see you know a few things about the jump.

There's a weird feeling creeping inside Kay. What is this ominous feeling. She refuse to venture deeper into her own suspicion.

Kay: Never mind that. You were saying something about an intruder.

Sebastian smiles softly as he takes his seat next to the bed. He takes away the empty glass in Kay's hand and place a familiar book in Kay's palm. Kay exchanges a confused look as she flips the cover. This is their Chronicle, the KKV's diary. Kay raises her eyebrow, silence in waiting for an explanation.

Sebastian: In your hand is the original Chronicle. You might be familiar with the altered version but this is as much as yours as the one you've written. In there you will find the ripple.
Kay: Ripple?
Sebastian: We call it a ripple. The point of disturbance in a timeline. As you know, you wouldn't notice if someone change your timeline. Not from memory. But a written document salvage during a jump will not be altered as long as it is not left in the altered reality.
Kay: So if you take a piece of writing to the past with you and you change the fact surrounding the writing, that might affect what's written, that particular piece of writing will remain as it is even though it might be altered when the reality of it changes?
Sebastian: Precisely. Which is why the Chronicle is the only key to the truth.

Sebastian cross his legs, resting his back on the chair. His smiling face as always is both menacing and comforting. A slight nod was like a suggestion to Kay, asking her to keep reading.

Sebastian: I would suggest you to turn to entry 24th December 2005. You might find it vastly different from your memory.

Kay flips through the pages. The handwriting belongs to Kay, Kao and Valerie. Their strokes and childish doodles are all over the pages just like she remembered them. Entries were always written in coloured pen. Valerie would write in red as she always said, it's her anger tone. Everything in her head was red. Kao loves to write in green while Kay choose to write in either blue or just plain pencil.

She stops at entry dated 24 December 2005. The writing is in blue. The writing is somewhat rushed seeing from the multiple cross and the desperate correction of letter e and a. On the corner there is a a doodle depicting Kay's bob hair with a comical distressed expression. She runs her fingers on the back of the entry. The pressure was significant. Was she that excited to write the entry? What was the occasion?

24th December 2005, Sunday
Something happened today. Something that makes me wanna kick Jason in the head. Yeah sure he's my idol and such but making me worried like that is just so annoying. I wish one day when I look back to this day I would no longer feel the rage and feel thankful instead. But it won't be today.
We went for a good old Christmas shopping with the entire gang. We didn't buy much. Only gifts for each other. On the way back I was thrilled when he asked me to go for a quick stroll. Just the two of us. But of course, when you are Karyn Faraday, good things don't last long. It's not entirely his fault really. That stupid driver just suddenly make a U-turn at a one way road. That is crazy. No.. No.. That is stupidity. If it's not for a stranger who just in time pull him back from the road, I would be holding his bloodied body. Lets not torture our tiny little mind with useless imagery. Which leads us to another stupidity. Dear Jason, why would you walk along the white lines instead of the walkway like any other normal human being, you heart breaker you.. I can't think straight right now. I'm so pissed off but at the same time I feel so relieved that nothing bad happened to him. 
-Kay-
Sebastian remains quiet, looking at Kay with the tip of his fingers clasp together.

Sebastian: Go to the last entry..

Sebastian suggests. Kay abides. She turns the pages to the last entry. The writing is significantly more recent than the others. The fonts are much more matured. Most probably her own handwriting judging from the special marks. This is not written with a ball pen or gel pen. This is written with a drawing pen. More precisely, a nib pen which only Kay prefers. She knows this from the unique ink trace left by the metal nib which is slightly restricted compared to a ball pen. Kay is more than fascinated when she sees the date of the entry. 27th April 2013.

27th April 2013, Saturday
Six years and my first entry after the graduation. If it's not for Kao who relentlessly forcing me to leave a trace of my existence here, I wouldn't even bother to. I hate my writing, you both know that. And Kao is laughing her head off. Hello miss, this is supposed to be a private time for me and this ancient chronicle. Please scoot away a little.
There's a small doodle right at the end of the sentence. It's Kao's doodling, depicting her character mocking Kay with her tongue out. Kay chuckles at the cute interaction within the entry.
I'm sorry you can't be here with us Valerie. We'll be back in a week. I think I've never really thank you enough for what you did for me and my family over the years. Having you both protecting me during the hardest moment in my life is beyond anything anyone could ask for from their friends. I'm being sincere about this. And you know how much I hate to open up about this. LOL.
Jokes aside, it has been a long painful struggle and I'm sorry to drag you along in this domestic fight. I've received the DNA test result yesterday and it is finally concluded *not that we have any doubt before* that I am my father's daughter. I hope my grand mother would finally open her arms to my family. You know I could care less about the inheritance. I will let go of my right if they want me to. I just want to meet Jason officially as his sister. I want to go back to our old house as a family. I'm bringing Mom after the family register is amended.
I hope this trip to Korea is the last trip I have as an outsider. I'm going home. I really am. You guys are the reason that this is possible. I truly love you. If anything happens, I want you two to always remember that. That's it from me, Lee Ga In. Wow, it's so weird right? Hahah, bye.
p/s: The weather is really bad. But at least your jet plane is secure against the turbulence. Thank you for lending me your plane, you rich bastard. LOL
- Kay

Kay shut the book slowly. Weirdly, there's not a drop of tear falling from her eyes. She seems calm. Kay takes a few minutes for herself, dissecting the memory she had stored in her mind. She's not really good with recalling memory especially when most of her memory is purposely left untouched after the Jason's death.

The dreaded silence is broken only when Kay suddenly breaks into laughter. Sebastian does not respond, only waiting for Kay to say anything she pleases.

Kay: A silverish gold, summer's sky eyes. Valerie.. She is the Grand Clock Master isn't she? So she's the one who turn back time just to stop herself from saving my brother.

Kay recites one of the lines she had read in the encyclopaedia. Funny.. She thinks. Or rather, it's just so convenient that she would befriended a Grand Clock Master. What more, Valerie is and had always been the reaper of her destiny.

Sebastian: The book you're holding right now is one of the document we retrieved from your plane crash. On 27th April 2013, we received a distress call from the air craft at 1500 when you were landing at the Incheon International Airport. It was reported as a heist targeting Lady Valerie. The air craft actually survived the landing but all of the passengers, Lady Mikasa and you including the crew were missing. Valerie was convinced that the heist was actually targeting you, Kay. And it was done by someone you know, someone you trusted to go on the flight with you.
Kay: I wouldn't know so cut the chase and tell me your theory.
Sebastian: O this is anything but a theory. It was proven. The attack was carried out by none other than Kao Mikasa's fiance, Jayden Xu. Later on we learn that the attack was orchestrate by the Lees. While some debated on which of the Lees that actually ordered the attack, we all know the history between Jason and Jayden. It was an easy deduction that the attack was from your beloved brother. And that is why he needs to be stopped. Before his greed ruin the Winterfrost, Mikasa, Lee, Xu and inadvertently Faraday. This is what Valerie believed.

There's that dreaded silence once again. Kay is looking out the window. She is confused but she knows that although the story is somehow very hard to swallow, it does hold a plausible explanation. It fits. Put personal relation between them aside, there is something very prominent that drives the powerful families and it is greed. They are all greedy. Is it that hard to believe that her friends, her own family would concoct such an ugly act against each other. Is it really that impossible? But it is to her. There's something off with the picture. No one could really turn evil so blatantly.

Kay: There's a lot you are not telling me, Sebastian. I find it really difficult to trust you. What are you getting out of this? Why would you stop Valerie if you know that this is what will happen in the future?
Sebastian: I am saving all of you. When Valerie decided to go back and let Jason die, I was with her. I didn't get to stop her. I didn't expect it.

Sebastian pauses for while as a chatter walks pass by.

Sebastian: You asked me what I get from all this. What I get is to set things straight. The past is not something you meddle with. Everything must follow its intended flow. Your brother needs to be alive. The incident need to happen.
Kay: You are asking me to die on my brother's behalf and take along Kao with me. For his survival. Is that what you're telling me?
Sebastian: Neither of you need to die. You didn't die from the crash. You were missing. You have Kao and Jayden with you at that time. There's a fair chance you survived it. But your brother in the other hand will die if you don't do this.
Kay: Why are you defying Valerie? From her perspective, it's the right thing to do. She gets to save her friends from this tragedy. What I don't understand is why you do this. You could just let the new timeline run it course. You gain nothing from our death or survival. So why did you? And don't tell me because it's the right thing to do. I don't believe in that shit.
Sebastian: Listen to yourself Kay. Valerie is playing with everybody's life. And you think it's okay. Even I know how this would affect her.

Everything sounds like a big messed up fairytale to Kay. She forces her brain to process all possible clue but fails. Nothing comes to mind. She can't find the connection. She was too detached from her friends to actually come out with any relation between the members. Sebastian looks to Kay with kindly, making her feel like she's not alone in this dilemma.

Sebastian: Set things right again. Save your brother. No matter what happens, you have to save him.

Sebastian gets up. He reveals his bluish arm to Kay. In his palm is the Grand Clock. It's different from what she's seen before. The colour changes. The body of the watch is no longer bright gold, it is almost bronze coloured. And the crimson lining in the clockwork is now black.

Sebastian: As you can see, I am at my limit. I can no longer use this device. The Grand Clock rejects anyone who uses it except for its Master. The only reason why I got this far is because of Lady Valerie's conditioned.
Kay: Valerie's condition? You were the one who put her in hospital, weren't you?
Sebastian: I'm only doing this to save her. She was not supposed to change the past. It's against everything.
Kay: What will you have me do?
Sebastian: I'm going to take us to 24th December, the day of the accident. Now, the Grand Clock might resist this and throw us astray as what it did before during the first two jumps. What I need is Valerie's blood. Not much. Just a little.
Kay: And you need me to get that?
Sebastian: I had to hurt Valerie the last time we did the jump. Since then I'm not allowed to be around her. It's up to you now.
Kay: How am I supposed to do that?
Sebastian: Use your imagination, Kay.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015