• A Scattering of Sakura Blossoms
    By Iori “Yuki” Takashi

    Adrian Yukio Starr sat quietly at the edge of the bluff, staring out at the lake.
    “It’s beautiful out here… Especially when the sun’s rising.” He thought to himself, as the glowing auburn light danced over the serene beauty of the lake below him. He sighed, picking up a rock from the ground next to him, tossing it in his hand. He had barely been in the town for a week, and yet he had already begun to get attached to it. “Which…” he reminded himself “is a bad idea.” His family hadn’t stayed in any one place very long since he was a kid, which, even though it was because he was looking for someone, had begun to make him quite a bit withdrawn from most people. In fact, there was only one person he had any attachment to at all, save for his family, and that was his longtime friend, Soichiro. The Japanese-born bat had been by his side since they had met in Preschool, and after his parents died, had been adopted into Adrian’s family. The two knew each other like no one else ever could, and they shared almost everything. As he thought back on the times that the two had shared, he heard footsteps coming from behind him.
    “Hey, Soichiro. Is it time for school already?” He asked the bat, who nodded quietly.

    “Yeah. It is. You’ve been out here for quite a while, Adrian. What’s on your mind?” Soichiro answered, looking out at the sunrise thoughtfully. Adrian sighed and stood up, brushing the seat of his red overskirt gingerly to get any dirt on it off. The red fox ran a hand through his crimson hair, his lithe muscles rippling beneath his fishnet undershirt. His delicate, brown-red fur sparkled in the rising light, and the color was only accented by the red shirt he wore over his fishnet undershirt, the red knuckle gloves he wore, and the black jeans he was wearing under his overskirt. He turned, looking at the bat with his soft blue eyes. Soichiro smiled. The slightly older bat was wearing a simple tank top, modified to allow his wings through, and simple, although ragged, shorts. He was lean, but had the musculature common among bats. His raven-black fur gleamed strikingly in the amber glow of morning, and he couldn’t help chuckle as he and Adrian turned to get back into his car. In all the years the two had known each other, Adrian never had been good at hiding things. As the two sat down, Adrian finally spoke up again.

    “I was…I was thinking about him. We’ve been looking since I was just a kid, but…we haven’t had any luck yet. To be honest, I’m starting to lose hope that we’ll ever find him…” He sighed, looking up at the roof of the car with a sad sigh.

    “We will, Adrian. You just have to keep believing. After all, it was you who said that you wouldn’t ever stop looking right? That night?” Soichiro gently said, placing a warm hand on Adrian’s shoulder. Adrian nodded.

    “You’re right, as usual, Soichiro. Guess it’s a good thing that you’re here.” He chuckled weakly, but the laughter never reached his eyes. It rarely did. Ever since that night that their friend had been dragged off by his parents for what he was, Adrian had stopped truly smiling. True, he still had a small, somewhat cocky smirk on his face, and he would laugh at jokes and such, but that joy never found its way to his eyes. Ever since that day, his eyes always were softly focused somewhere far away, like he was looking for the friend he had lost. Ever since that day, Adrian had vowed to be stronger.

    “So noble…” Soichiro thought to himself, a faint smile playing across his lips…

    The duo rode the rest of the trip to school in silence, the only sounds being the smooth rumble of the car’s engine and the sounds of music over the radio. Both were nervous, as yet again, they would be starting anew at another different school. However, underneath these nerves, there was a faint, but ever-present hope. The hope that maybe, just maybe, this would be where they would find their friend. After a short drive, Soichiro pulled the car into a parking space in the school lot, and he and Adrian hopped out of the car to look at the new high school.

    “Hadenview High School, huh?” Adrian said, his tail flicking lightly back and forth like it usually did when he was distracted. Soichiro sighed, locking his car door.

    “It looks like it, Adrian. Guess we should probably get moving, huh?” He said, walking into the building along with the rest of the crowd…

    Adrian sighed as yet another bell rang, signaling the end of yet another pointless class he had gained absolutely nothing from. Not only was what the teacher was talking about utter drivel, but he had yet to see anyone even remotely resembling his friend. He felt his hand slide into his pocket, reaching for the tattered old photo that he carried with him. To him, it was something of a reminder, a way to keep reminding him of what he was looking for, what he had spent the last two years of his life seeking. It was a simple, innocent photo of him, Soichiro, and their two best friends from that time, just sitting on the couch smiling.

    “I’m going to find you, my friend. I promise you, I’ll be faithful to what I told you the night that you went away…”
    He thought silently, his free hand closing into a fist…