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"So, what I'm getting from this, is you're gayer than we originally thought." Kimizuki said, fingertips pressed together in front of his lips.
"No, dumbass. Well, maybe, but now is not the time to mention it." Mitsuba sighed. I was about to protest, but Yoichi placed a hand on my shoulder gently. "If he wants to get Mika out, we're going to support him diligently." He said earnestly, gazing at them. I was certain he glared at the other three in front of us, my mom chuckling. I had invited them over the next morning, and Shinoa was the only one we had a hard time getting here. She kept freaking out about a term paper that was due tomorrow. The rest of us had already finished the assignments given on Friday. Now we were all seated at the dining room table.

Shinoa remained silent for a moment, before carefully speaking. "So his act from the circus... I don't think that was an act. I mean, it was obvious he was looking in our direction, and the others played it off, but it seemed he was trying to get to you." She theorized, leaving us surprised, as we hadn't thought of it before. "The cage must have been where Poupée was when Marionnetiste threw her, and she just switched with Imitateur. The cage was to delay his actions, even if only by a second." Mitsuba muttered to herself. "How did you figure this out?" Kimizuki asked. "Because we both have courses in psychology, idiot." The two girls said in unison, taking no surprise that they were in sync. "I just want you guys to not recklessly go looking for me if I don't come back. If I'm alive myself or Mika will call. If not, make sure my mom gets good treatment in prison." I joked. My mother was always protective of me, saying she would kill whoever killed me if I were murdered. I always thought she was joking until she punched a man trying to kidnap me when I was nine. Punched is putting it lightly. Unarmed assault is a better explanation.

We helped Shinoa with her paper as I got ready, Yoichi handing me a military knife. "Just in case." He shrugged. Who knew such an innocent boy could harbor such a deadly weapon. I watched the sky begin to darken, my signal to take off.
"We're staying the night." Kimizuki announced as I was leaving. "I called dibs on your room." Yoichi giggled. "I wanted it..." Mom said quietly, kissing me on my forehead. "Touch my seashell collection and I'll kill you." I seethed, my friend squeaking in shock. Kimizuki hit me in the head soon after.

I found myself weaving through the Boston streets sooner than I thought, finding the building fairly faster than yesterday as well. Something was off-putting, and my gut told me to leave. I ignored it, climbing the steps silently, waiting by the window Mika exited through yesterday. I had no idea when he would come out, but when he did, I would take him home with me instead. Humming to myself as I tapped fingers upon my folded arms, watching the people pass, I heard a quiet murmur that caught my attention. My voice silenced itself, my gaze upon the window that opened painfully slow. It was not Mika that emerged, but Imitateur, her heeled legs first. I was very puzzled as she stood before me, blonde hair ruffled by constant movement, it seemed, her bangs tucked behind her ears, eyes glazed over much like a mirror, an aspect to her I hadn't noticed before. She was wearing a summer dress with a grey and pink floral pattern upon it. "Hello, Yuichiro." She said in a monotone voice unlike the one I previously remembered, filled with joy. I was rather tempted to ask her how she had gathered the information of my name, before realizing Mika may have told her. I watched Imitateur's eyes stare up to the stars, glossy lips shimmering. As her and scattered around the endless night sky, I noticed her makeup of winged eyeliner, black eyeshadow that had glitter dusted lightly upon it. Dramatic and subtle at the same time. "Mika should be a minute." She hummed to herself, in a dreamlike state that was also rather serious. A white butterfly landed on her shoulder, which she took no surprise to, merely returning her gaze to me, glancing to the sidewalk below briefly. She then stared at my reflection in the window, blinking a couple of times.
"When did this butterfly get here?" She asked, glancing down. "It's been there." I said with furrowed brows. "Oh. I guess I didn't notice it." She shrugged, the butterfly fluttering upon Imitateur's index finger. She lifted it up, allowing the bug to fly off into the night. Leaning back on the column, she crossed her legs and folded her arms upon her chest. A typical pose I held, not very suiting to her character. "Hey, Yuichiro. I've got something to tell you." She said, meeting my gaze.
"What is it?" I asked, cocking my head to the side, locks of my black hair tickling my cheek.
I saw her brows raise in a sorrowful way, a wry smile crossing her lips. "I'm sorry. Truly. I didn't want him to be the one to do this." She said, voice barely a whisper. Then I felt an arm constrict me from behind, a cloth over my nose and mouth, intoxicating stench entering my senses. As my vision faded, I saw Imitateur cover her mouth as she stared at the floor, shaking all over.
I knew what she meant when she spoke.
She didn't want Mika to be the one to fool me, to watch as the figure behind me drugged me unconscious.
I didn't blame her, in all honesty.
I would have done the same thing if the tables were turned.

Anything for Mika to not suffer. To experience mental torture such as that.

To protect Mika, I would go through hell and back. She must have thought the same.

Everything went back, with regret burning deep in my chest. I wouldn't be able to save Mika. Not tonight.

Maybe never.

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