(Featured image base by: xrepent)
Afternoon turned into evening, which quickly grew into late night as Angel paced the guest room back and forth, Claude standing against the wall, sure not to get in her way. “How could you even THINK of hiding this from ME! Your own DAUGHTER! Christi had the guts to tell, or show, or somehow let Ciel KNOW she was mute, and BECAME mute when we all got here! Are you saying you DON’T have as much gut as a little GIRL that you can’t even TELL ME?!”
“I didn’t want to worry you.” he stated calmly. As the dog stopped stomping around the room with a huff, her father grazed a hand over each little injury he had. The golden brown eyes didn’t waver at the sight of each little cut, bruise, and burn disappearing under the hand. “See?” he asked, whipping his hand over the last cut. “All better.”
“Do you honestly think that-” She cut herself off as a flash of bright light was seen in the window before she trembled.
The father raised his head at that in confusion. “What’s wrong?” he asked.
The daughter was deaf to her father’s question as her eyes glued to the window, watching in fearful anxiety as the tree branches that clawed at the window at the howl of the wind. With a loud clap, all the lights popped out in the shrine. It was completely dark. Though there was arguing and complaints heard from other rooms, Claude only heard the whimpering of his baby girl. One more boom loud enough to shake the shrine was enough to make Angel scream in terror as she leapt in her father’s arms.
As the strong hands held her, she thought back to all those thunderstorms that passed the prison as she was locked in that cold, dull cage. Sure, she had Twilight, Chrima, and Japan to talk her through it, but it was never the same as when Claude rocked her to sleep through a storm. Besides, Japan was busy trying to cheer up Italy, who was in a deep depression at the time and Chrima was the one trying to come up with escape plans and get them all out of that prison. He might’ve been a big, tough demon, but when it came to her, he always was just a big teddy bear.
Holding her tightly, Claude sparked an idea. He remembered Tomoe saying that tsuchigumo were sirens. ‘I wonder if…’
“Little child, be not afraid~
though thunder explodes and lightning flash~
illuminates your tear-stained face~
I am here tonight~
“Little child, be not afraid~
though wind makes creatures of your trees~
and their branches to hands~
they’re not real, understand~
and I am here tonight~
“For you know once even I was a~
little child, and I was afraid~
but a gentle someone always came~
to dry all my tears~
trade sweet sleep for fears~
and to give a kiss goodnight~
“Well now I am grown~
and these years have shown~
that rain’s a part of how life goes~
but it’s dark and it’s late~
so I’ll hold you and wait~
’til your frightened eyes do close~
“And I hope that you’ll know~
that nature is so~
the same rain that draws you near me~
falls on rivers and land~
on forests and sand~
makes the beautiful world that you’ll see~
in the morning~
“Everything’s fine in the morning~
the rain’ll be gone in the morning~
but we’ll still be here in the morning~”
Angel eased to sleep in the spider’s arms, causing him to smile. Only seconds after he finished singing though, he heard several thumps. If he didn’t know any better, he’d say that everyone else in the shrine collectively dropped in dead sleep at the exact same time, but that was highly unlikely.
Rainbow Dash, Louisiana, Rachel, Asami, Pinki, and Angelica all played an intense game of cards as the storm passed. America watched the game in slight sweat. The winner of the game would determine how he’d spend the next 48 hours. Rainbow Dash already said that she was going to play sports with him the whole time, Rachel wanted to go to the range with him, Asami wanted to pull pranks on Tomoe with him, Louisiana only played so she could tell him to stay away from Angelica for the 48 hours, and Angelica played for the same reason. “Moment of truth.” Rachel smiled. “Show your hands.”
Louisiana laid down her cards to reveal a two pair. Angelica smiled as she put down a full house. “Better luck next hand, American.” the noble teen laughed.
“What are you so happy about, Beifong?” Louisiana sneered. “Everyone else still never showed their cards!” The two girls looked at the remaining three in anxiety as America curled in a fetal position and crossed his fingers. Just as Rainbow Dash was about to put down her cards, all six of them dropped on the hard wooden floor.
Twilight, Angela, Zuko, France, Paris, Josiphine, Mareuscript, Naples, Venice, William, Justine, Azula, AD, Natsumi, Akimi, Bardroy, Sokka, Katara, Chrima, Japan, Tokyo and Toph all huddled around a table for a meeting on what the plan was. With Natsumi illuminating one side of the room with her fox fire, and Justine illuminating the other side with her own fire, they couldn’t even tell that the storm caused a blackout in the electricity.
“Alright,” Twilight sighed. “let’s get back on track.”
“We need to find Mikage, and hope that he’ll help us.” Josiphine recapped.
Akimi shrugged uncaringly. “If Asami, Natsumi, and I ask him, I’m sure he’d help.”
“Remember,” Natsumi warned. “we hadn’t seen him for twenty years. Who knows how much he’s changed.”
Zuko shook his head. “I don’t think he would’ve changed much.” he suggested. “If I’m understanding you two correctly, then he’s an immortal god that ages about two years in a thousand. Twenty years would be like yesterday to him maybe.”
“Oh Zuzu.” Azula sighed. “Always the optimist.”
“We won’t know until we actually find this guy, right?!” Toph exclaimed.
Sokka sighed as he looked around the table with crossed arms. “Question is, how do we find him?”
Angela thought for a moment before she spoke. “I remember Tomoe saying that Claude is a siren, meaning he can lure anyone to him with or without their consent. Maybe he could sing and Mikage would come?”
“I don’t think so.” Bardroy shook his head. “I don’t know if that works on gods, or if he’d even be close enough to hear his singing.”
“It’s actually not a bad idea…” Mareuscript commented. “It might be the best idea yet.”
“That’s only because we never had any other ideas.” Justine reminded her.
“Is someone a little cranky?” Naples giggled.
“DON’T TELL ME THAT YOU AREN’T!” the bakeneko shouted. “My dad is STILL fighting with your dad! ‘Bastard Italian’! It’s all I ever-” Suddenly, the whole group just dropped their heads on the table with a loud, collective thud, or slouched back in their chairs. For the few that were standing such as Natsumi, Naples, Venice, and Justine, their legs gave out right under them and they smacked the floor loud and clear.
Mizuki kept on practicing with Christi and Ciel until the jorogumo paused for a moment. “D-I-D/Y-O-U/H-E-A-R/T-H-A-T”
“Hear what?” Ciel asked.
Mizuki sighed as he glanced over at the human boy. “Jorogumo and tsuchigumo can place curses and cast spells, so I suppose it’s completely possible that she would naturally recognize when a tsuchigumo or jorogumo nearby are casting a spell.” He then thought for a moment. “Come to think of it, even for humans, if a sense is lost, then the other senses are heightened to make up for it if I’m not mistaken.”
The boy sighed. “No, you’re right.” he huffed as he turned to the young yokai in the room. “Is there any way to tell what kind of spell it is?”
Christi swayed her head back and forth. “I-T/I-S/H-A-R-D”
“Can you try?” the human asked. “It might be helpful to know-” With that, he started to get a little light headed and fell on the ground in dead sleep. Mizuki wasn’t far from joining him on the wooden floor.
Christi gasped as she hurried to her brother before she slumped and smacked her face. ‘Does that answer your question?’ she asked in her thoughts as she picked him up with her new found strength and carried him to the futon and tucked him in the blankets as he slept on his side. She knew he was fine and was simply sleeping. Before leaving, she took the hebi and carried him to his own room across the shrine. After helping her learn how to communicate with everyone, the least she could do was help him to bed now that she had the strength.
Italy, Jeremy, and Cutie sat around a board game. “Your turn, Jeremy.” Italy sighed, plopping his head on his fist.
Jeremy rolled the dice and moved his character before picking up a card. “Tripped in front of an okami. Move back 5 spaces to avoid being mauled alive.” With a huff, he angrily grabbed the whole board and flipped it.
Cutie sighed as she laid on her back in boredom. “So much for that. What else is there to do?”
The Italian smiled as he pulled up his own hands. “How about a game of La Mora~?”
This caught the girl’s attention as they looked up at him in interest as the shinigami glared at him. “How do you play?”
“It’s simple~” he chuckled. “All you do is-” Just like that, the three of them dropped to the wooden floor collectively. Italy and Jeremy both fell on their shoulders, however, since Cutie was already laying on her back, her head simply dropped on the floor as she was.
In another room, Sebastian and Romano were, big shocker, fighting again. Their conversation moved from having a reasonable debate on how they got in that situation, to a string of curses and blaming each other, to continuous uses of “Sebastard”, and escalated even further to hard punches thrown by Sebastian, and old fashioned strangling used by Romano as a weak defense/offense. Soon, their yelling and screaming got deadly silent as they both dropped to the floor, flat on their backs with no energy to move their lead limbs.
Tomoe was simply cleaning the dinner mess as a sudden wave of exhaustion hit him. He almost dropped to the stone hard tile, but he steadily balanced himself on the counter with his legs separated to stabilize him. Perking his ears, he heard the loud collective drop and figured out what happened.
Weakly, he dragged himself to the room Sebastian and Romano were fighting in. He peered in to see the two men dead asleep and slightly agape mouths. Even drool oozed out the corner of the openings. Tiredly turning his head, Tomoe looked in the dinning room, seeing the large group around the table snoring away the clock. He moved on to the main room, shaking the tiredness from his head as he yawned. He passed one of the guest rooms and saw that Italy, Jeremy, and Cutie were all asleep on the floor. Looking in the entrance, he saw Rainbow Dash, Louisiana, Rachel, Asami, Angelica and America all curled into little balls, drooling and snoring as America even sucked on his thumb.
The kitsune gritted his teeth in tired annoyance that quickly turned into anger. “TSUCHIGUMO!” As that word left his lips, he started feeling dizzy and dropped on his shoulder.
Claude winced at the loud, booming call before the last thump was heard. “…Oops…”
After a while, Claude jumped when a young hand tried to pull his arm. “Who’s this?” he asked. The owner of the young arm gave an airy sigh and put his hands on her head to feel the long hair that ran through the side ponytail. He sighed with a smile. “Hi Christi, I thought you were under the spell I cast like everyone else.” The head under Claude’s hand shook side to side slowly.
They paused for a while before Christi started pulling Claude out of the room. “Where are we going?” he asked.
Christi was going to try the method Mizuki had worked with her all day for, but she decided against it since he wouldn’t understand the different hand shapes. Instead, she wrote in his palm again pausing between words. “…G…E…T…E…V…E…R…Y…O…N…E..T..O…B…E…D…” It took a while for Claude to understand before he guessed, “You want me to help you get everyone in their beds?” Christi put his hand back on her head and nodded dramatically large. With this in mind, Christi lead Claude to all the people out of their beds, and guided him to their respective rooms and futons. They could only get to two at a time, since Christi didn’t want to push herself and Claude needed a free hand to keep on Christi the whole time.
The next morning, it seemed like every pair of eyes burned holes into the sheepish tsuchigumo. Though he couldn’t see, he still felt the sharp glares as they all blamed him for putting them under a sleep spell. “…I only was trying to help my daughter sleep through the storm last night.” he defended himself. “I didn’t think that you all would fall for it.”
“Well we did, you bastard!” Romano shouted.
Sebastian, for the first time in several months, stood by the Italian. “Romano’s right. With your power, you have to be more careful!”
“I will!” he promised, slightly nervous that Romano and Sebastian AGREED on something, which hasn’t been the case in months. “I’ll try not to put you all under a spell again.”
“You’d better not!” Toph complained, rubbing her neck. “You so owe me! First for trying to teach you to see, now for this!”
“I don’t think it was that bad~” Pinki exclaimed. “I think it was kinda like a big slumber party~!”
Weeks passed and the whole group learned to adjust to this new life. The amateur yokai learned to control their new found powers (and in Claude’s and Christi’s case, handicap), and the teens that used to have bending abilities learned to live without their power.
One day, big surprise, Sebastian and Romano started fighting yet again. Their fights got so common, everyone else quit trying to stop them, even their daughters would rather chat with someone in the group than attempt to go between them.
When the spider heard crashing of plates shattering against the wall, he made a beeline to the room. “Sebastian, I’m honestly shocked at you!” he shouted. “You used to at least have dignity! This is a new low!”
“HE STARTED IT!” the two blamed each other like children.
Claude gritted his teeth as he clutched his head, turning his head to shout at the rest of the group. “Am I the only one that cares about this problem?!”
“Looks like it dude.” America sighed, a bored look on his face as he plopped his head in his fist and continued his chat with Rainbow Dash, Tokyo, and Angel.
“Sorry honey.” Angela shrugged, turning away from Twilight, Katara, and Japan to look over at the tsuchigumo.
The spider yokai growled as he listened to the fight heat up once again. His lips curled into a smile.
“Brothers, you’re brothers~
tell me, what are you fighting for~?
You’ve got to end this war~
you should love one another~
oh, can’t you just pretend~
this war never began~
you can try~
brothers, my brothers~”
Christi tugged at Ciel’s sleeve before spelling out with her fingers, “H-E/I-S/D-O-I-N-G/I-T/A-G-A-I-N”
“I know.” Ciel replied. “I won’t pay attention. Perhaps Claude’s new spell would make Sebastian stop acting like the immature child he’s become ever since we were in that shack in that coal mine town.”
Meanwhile, Romano and Sebastian fought hard to block out the words. “No! You said you won’t do that!”
“Stop singing you bastard!” Romano screeched, plugging his ears with his fingers.
With a look of pure determination, Claude sang even louder.
“You face each other from different sides~
the anger burns can’t remember why~
it’s kinda crazy cause so much pain~
your foolish pride makes you hate this way~!”
“I’M NOT LISTENING! LALALALALALA!” the Italian screamed over the lyrics.
“Sebastian!” Ciel shouted. “I ORDER you to listen to Claude’s singing!”
Out of force of habit to respond to the words ‘I order you’, Sebastian removed his hands from his ears for a single second before he dropped his arms. Claude smiled at his success upon hearing the crow’s protests stop as he continued.
“You watch your world fall apart~
tell me, what good is winning~
when you lose your heart~?”
The tengu, now under Claude’s influence, went behind Romano and forced his fingers from his ears. “NOOOO! LALALALA! I’M NOT LISTENING! LALALALA!”
“Please Fratello!” Italy cried. “If Ciel thinks it’ll help, then let Claude help you!”
“NO WAY IN HELL YOU BASTARD!”
“Brothers, you’re brothers~
tell me, what are you fighting for~?
Isn’t life worth so much more~?
You should love one another~
Oh, can’t you just pretend~
this war never began~?
Tell me why~
Brothers, my brothers~”
“Nope!” Romano struggled. “Non c’è alcuna possibilità in un inferno si sta andando a prendermi in giro con questa merda incantesimo!” [There’s no chance in hell you’re going to fool me with this shit spell!]
Claude only smiled wider as Sebastian covered his mouth. The spider continued when he heard the panicked muffles of the Italian.
You can try~
Brothers, my brothers~”
Romano was silent for a moment. At that point, all 37 of the others peeked in from the door at the sight in amazement.
After a few moments of silence, Romano turned to Sebastian and smiled. “I’m sorry about everything, fratello~ I know this was never your fault, you didn’t even know I existed when I left home~”
“I apologize as well.” Sebastian sighed with a content smile. “I let my temper get the best of me so many times.”
“Well, I’m more sorry!”
“I think you’re mistaken. I’m far more sorry than you.”
“If I hadn’t pushed your buttons, you wouldn’t had a reason to burn your temper!”
“Well, if I had simply stayed on track all the way back in our first fight in the previous realm, you probably wouldn’t’ve started calling me a bastard!”
“I’m more sorry!”
“No I am!”
“Oh COME ON!” the whole group collectively shouted in frustration.