[identity profile] virgo186.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] fadingdaydream
(Return eyecatch, and back to our show!)


"So this is how you really look, and the schoolgirl thing is just a magic disguise?" Raye wasn't sure what she was hearing. "Tori, Kotori, whatever your name is, who exactly are you in what form? If I get confused with this, how do you think the others will be? Especially Serena, the dumb bunny can barely remember her own name sometimes!"

Ignoring the faint giggle from somewhere behind her, "Kotori" answered what she could. "I know, it's weird, and I wish it could be easier, but this timeline makes everything confusing," she said. "In disguise, I'm Kotori. When I'm normal, like this--" she gestured to herself then, "--I'm me. Mokou. I guess your timeline here renames people, because to everyone at the school, I'm 'Tori' instead. Does that help any?"

Raye thought for a moment. "This is just too weird," she said. "So you have three different names for two different forms?"

"In this timeline, yeah," Mokou sighed, leaning back. "I don't get it either, but I guess that's how your timeline works. To make it easier, you can just go with 'Tori' when I'm running around doing the civilian-schoolgirl act, and use my real name for this form, if you want. At this point, I'm willing to go with that if it helps."

"So you're a bird in either version," Raye said. "In disguise, Tori, and regular form, Mokou. Right?"

"Right," Mokou nodded. "Much easier now. So you said you have news?"

Raye took a moment to stare at the plush cat sitting on the bed next to Mokou. It looked so much like her partner, but it was only a toy. Something felt strange here. "Where's your cat?" she asked. "She should probably hear this too. It's important."

Mokou stared back at her. "She's here. She can hear you fine."

"Is she hiding or something?"

"No, she's here. She's just not in her cat form."

"She's not in her--wait, what? Not in her cat form? I thought she was a cat!" This just sounded ridiculous. How could a cat guardian not be a cat all the time?

Mokou gestured behind her. "I guess you can't see her like this yet," she said. "It's a long story, but the cat thing...well, the cat form is her disguise, like the schoolgirl is mine. If she wasn't the cat, you wouldn't be able to see her, right? That's why she has the cat form."

Raye almost instantly figured out what this all meant. "Your guardian is a ghost?" she asked. "Seriously? Oh man, Serena's going to scream like a baby when she finds out about this. She can't even think about ghosts without crying. How are we going to tell her about this?"

"We won't for now," Mokou said. "We can keep being "Tori" and her cat, as long as it takes. I hide whenever I'm in public anyway, and Keine only runs around in her spirit-form when she feels safe enough. She makes a good spy that way, too, since nobody can see her. We used that tactic in the other timeline, to watch suspicious people."

"So your guardian is a spirit teacher spy who runs around in the body of a toy cat," Raye stated, making sure she caught all the details. "And you have three names for two different identities, but we can cut one to make things easier, and you said something about a new scout joining us soon and oh, you gave Serena notes while she slept through class. Have I missed anything? Do you have any other secrets we need to know about in some surprising way?"

"So Usa--Serena told you everything about today, I'm guessing."

"Yeah, she did, and we talked things over. Are you sure about this new scout thing?"

Mokou nodded. "She'll be at our school soon. I'm sorry none of them seem to show up where you go, Rei-ch--er, Raye."

Raye thought for a moment, glanced around the room again, and headed for the door. "For now, we trust you," she said. "Just make sure you don't break that trust. Goodnight."

***

A day or so later, Serena raced into class at her usual almost-late time and practically dove into her seat. The others were talking about new students again, and Tori looked over at her. She's here, Tori mouthed. You'll meet her soon.

"Did you see her?" one girl was saying. "One of the teachers was really daring, calling her out on her uniform like that. She looks like she could snap him right in half!"

"I heard she got kicked from her old school for beating someone up," the boy next to her added. "She probably could rip any of us apart if she wanted to."

"She's really pretty, though, even if she's tall and scary," another girl said. "I like her hair. She'll probably have to change it, though, what a shame."

The teacher walked in, calling the class to attention. "It's that time again," Miss Haruna sighed. "First off, let me introduce our newest student, who came to us from another country, so make sure to welcome her warmly." She waved towards the door, and a short girl with ginger braids entered. "Welcome to Crossroads Junior High, Lydia MacGreggor."

Tori blinked. The rival, she thought. That's not Mako-chan. That has to be her.

A boy in the front row raised his hand. "The new girl's not in uniform," he said, staring at Lydia's obviously-borrowed gym clothing. "The school code clearly states--"

"Yes, I know what the school code states," Miss Haruna stopped him. "There was a slight incident this morning, and it was taken care of. If there are no other questions, we'll get started with class. Lydia, you can take the open seat behind Serena today. Everyone else, books out."

Lydia made her way up the aisle and carefully tucked herself into her seat. "Nice to meet yeh," she whispered. "I hope we can be friends."

Serena turned and smiled at her, almost ready to say something in return, when she caught Tori's glance. Something was wrong. What could it be? This new girl couldn't be the bully the others were talking about--she was too short and didn't look scary at all. Was there another new girl running around, one they should worry about? Whoever she was, she wasn't in this class. Maybe she'd find out more at lunch.

Maybe Lydia has good taste in food. Wonder if she gets cute lunches?
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Fading Days, Fading Dreams

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