Silver eyes stared perplexedly at the title page of JPN Weekly, the revered JPop magazine that currently occupied over half the shelf. From beneath the rim of her black baseball cap, the young girl gaped at the cover incredulously. The boy before her looked towards the reader with fervor, his eyes speaking of mysteries most girls would love to unravel. She knew the face of this idol all too well, but the boy before her was too different from the child she had once known.
“Kyaaa,” Came the squeal of a child walking past as she spotted the article and rushed over to pick up a copy.
“Mommy, can we please get it?” the girl begged and her mother went to protest before seeing the cover and blushing lightly. The woman, in her late thirties by appearance, nodded once and walked to the counter to pay. As they exited the store, the black haired half adjusted her hat to hide the creeping blush that now nipped at her checks.
She sighed and tried to take a cleansing breath when someone whispered in her ear, causing chills to devour her flesh. She spun around in annoyance and glared at the sizzling piece of man before her. The guy grinned and whispered, “Calm down, Princess. It’s me.”
The girl’s hands clenched into fists at her side, making the new arrival take a step back to apologize. “It was a joke. My bad.”
She sighed, her anger waning as she replied, “It isn’t funny, Angelo. What if someone had overheard you?”
Takahashi Angelo smirked and took a step towards the rack, picking up a copy of the magazine. He eyed the cover over and smiled gently before leaning forward to place a kiss on the lips of the featured star. Crimson engulfed the girl’s face as she watched the scene before her in astonishment and apprehension. Her brother, an adult by society’s eyes, was dragging the attention of half the store. Before she’d had time to think, she’d moved to snatch the article from his hands, her cap falling to ground in her rush. The room went eerily silent as the scene unfolded and she could have sworn she heard the cicada chirping outside. In the next moment, the room had erupted into screams and she dropped her head in hand before glowering at her brother in disdain.
“It’s HASTE. Kyaaaaaaaaaaaaa!”
Girls, women and teens alike, stampeded forward, clawing their way towards the young idols. From somewhere behind her, a hand grabbed her shirt and yanked her towards the back door and out into the streets of Tokyo, Angelo being left to fend the horde. Her savior was shrouded behind a grey hood and her heart fluttered for a moment in anticipation of some “red string of fate” moment she hoped would occur. The man dragged her further and further from the store, and the rioting fans. Turning into a small alley, he came to a stop before turning to face her. She stared expectantly as the hero pulled his hood off.
“Are you insane?” Growled the young man, his eyes quivering with anger as he eyed her anxiously.
“Tao!” She gasped, her muscles relaxing as the identity of her liberator came to light. She wasn’t sure if she was relieved or disappointed but she knew that she shouldn’t have expected much, after all this wasn’t some shoujo manga. There was no way one of her idols would simply appear before her.
Takahashi Tao sighed, watching his sister expectantly. He pulled a copy of the JPN Weekly magazine from under his hood and held it out to her. She stared at the cover once more, embarrassment flushing her face.
Tao watched several emotions play across her face before reaching forward to take her hand. “We’re going now. I think Angelo has already gotten you into enough trouble for one day, kidnapping you for this damn shopping trip. Why can’t he ever pick presents for his girlfriends by himself?”
She giggled lightly before punching Tao in the arm and pulling away. She knew Tao was trying to put her at ease and that comforted her more than he could imagine. She loved her brothers, even if they drove her insane. She wouldn’t be who she was today, if it wasn’t for them.
Who was she? She sometimes asked herself that very question. Though, truth be told, she knew the answer better than most. Youngest idol of the JPop world and current young Artist of the Year, her name was Kylee, Ethan to the entertainment world, and she was the “boy” who had conquered the hearts of Japan overnight. The Japanese populace, young and old alike, had fallen in love with her angelic voice and girlish looks. Her face was known across the country as HASTE’s lead singer. Grown women dreamed of kidnapping her and young girl’s dreamed of making her their first boyfriend. She chuckled to herself at the irony and Tao glanced over in concern.
“You alright?” Tao asked and she turned to look at him in apprehensively.
“Can I ask you something, Nii-san?”
Tao nodded and watched anxiously, as if expecting the sky to fall from the heavens. He’d never seen his sister show such an expression. It was weak and vulnerable, and all too…
“What would everyone do if they ever found out that I am a female?”
Girlish. In that instant he knew, there would come a time when the truth would be found out. Even if her body never managed to mature to a woman’s, her expressions would only become more feminine. Time was currently HASTE’s greatest enemy.
If only Tao could have guessed then that the Takahashi family would have many more enemies to battle soon.