9 Years Ago
Kendo Itsuka was not in a good mood. Sure, Summer rolled in which meant no more school to worry about, and to celebrate, Kendo went out for ice cream with her parents and her closest friend Yui Kodai, but as much as she appreciated their company, her sense of pride could not ignore the bane of her existance, and what she considers an unconquerable foe: a vending machine. But not just any vending machine, for this specific vending machine held Kendo's favorite soda: Ramune. At six years old, Kendo was already showing signs of her signature tomboyishness with her choice of snacks. While most girls her age (including Yui) would rather have tea or (heaven forbid) vegetables, Kendo was all about that sweet sugar rush from any sweets she could get her hands on. Sure she could get the ice cream her parents wanted her to get, but who needs brain freeze when you could have a drink that feels like it's dancing on your tongue as it goes down your throat?
Problem was, when Kendo dragged Yui to the vending machine, put in the money she got from her parents, and pressed the button to receive her most valued treasure... nothing happened. Kendo blinked once, pressed the button again. Nothing. She pressed it again. Nothing again. She pressed again, and again, and again, and would've done it again, if Yui didn't intervene by placing her hand over the button so Kendo wouldn't be able to press it again. Kendo glared over at Yui, sending a strong message of not cool, Yui and crossed her arms. Yui, of course replied by simply sticking her tongue out as if one upping Kendo on the scale of childishness. Yui, then realizing that she should be the responsible one of the pair since Kendo's parents were still getting their ice cream, took a deep breath and was about to lay down the law (again) but what she saw behind Kendo shocked her into silence. Kendo, thinking that Yui was looking at her (and not realizing that Yui was actually looking behind her) didn't even get to ask what was on her face this time when she heard a low cough from behind her.
"The uh, um... vending machine is out of order. You're uh, probably going to have to go somewhere else to find whatever delicacy you're seeking to dispel your thirst."
Kendo turned around as fast as she could, hands ready for action as she expected a mustache-wielding villain (because who else than a villain would use such fancy words such as 'delicacy,' and 'dispel,' and 'thirst' though to be fair, Kendo knew what the last one meant). Instead what she saw was well, a bird with the body of a boy standing next to the "adult drinks only machine" as Kendo's father described it before he handed her the money. Actually, she realized, to put in a better way he was a boy with the head of a bird. But then she blinked again as she saw an actual black bird attached to his torso, reaching for the adult drinks machine and apparently getting something from it. She pointed at the bird and simply said the first thing she could think of.
"There's a BIRD! Attached to your BIRD! I mean, body. I mean, hi! I'm Bird! I mean I'm Kendo!" It didn't take even a whole second after what she said that Kendo realized that maybe, just maybe, that was the dumbest thing she'll ever say in her life. It didn't help that she heard a small snort from behind her. No doubt Yui thinking that was the dumbest thing I've ever heard and for once, Kendo couldn't agree more.
Two Minutes Earlier
Tokoyami Fumikage was not in a good mood. School ended, meaning he wouldn't see most of his friends ever again since most of them were moving away to some far away place that he couldn't remember becasue they were so many places they were going to. One was going to Jamaica, a couple were heading to China, but most were moving to North America, the place with fifty countries... or was it states? Tokoyami couldn't remember which but all he cared about was his friends and they were all moving away. Honestly if it weren't for his permanent companion, Tokoyami probably wouldn't have gotten any friends. Granted, his bird head definitely got him attention, but it felt more like "look at this bird with a boy's body, let's give him some bird food and hope he flies into a window for inexplicable reasons" and not so much "look at this comrade of ours, let's talk to him and maybe he'll be our friend so he won't be so quiet." But what was basically Tokoyami's biggest burden became his biggest asset as his shadowy companion (who he named Sakura) was easier to approach and it wasn't long before Sakura was able to help Tokoyami get his feelings across to the other children.
Right now, Tokoyami's mom was being a super hero, and his dad was at the grocery store across the street, which left Tokoyami with both the task and funds of getting his mother's favorite adult beverage: coffee. Thankfully, there was a coffee machine across from the grocery store, so it wasn't that far from his father. But as Tokoyami went up to the machine, he came to the tried and true conclusion that his shortness was a curse and no amount of milk could help him in get to the height needed to reach the buttons for the machine. However, Tokoyami had a his trump card, and that trump card's name was Sakura. As if on cue, Sakura popped out of his chest, but not with a hearty "Huzzah!" like it usually comes out with (to his friend's enjoyment) but with a growl.
"Seriously, I don't think Sakura's a good name for me. It's not very heroic, for a heroic power like me! Also, I'm not your trump card."
Tokoyami rolled his eyes, "We are not having this discussion here, now let's finish what we're here for before we attract attention."
Sakura grunted and crossed it's arms, but after a few seconds relented and floated it's way up to the buttons but not before calling Tokoyami a socially awkward caterpillar. Which Tokoyami had to admit was kind of true. As he waited for Sakura, he heard a couple of feet run up to the soda (his most hated drink) machine next to him. He tried to keep to himself, but as he glanced over, he noticed three things about the two girls. One, they were his age, but both were taller than him by half a foot. Two, the girl with the bright red hair was quite impatient for the soda Tokoyami could not stomach. Thirdly, and most importantly, they were unaware of the Out of Order sign on the side of the machine. It didn't take long for the girls to find out the hard way with the redhead apparently attempting to murder the soda button with her finger. Feeling bad for the pair, and not wanting to make them feel like fools, Tokoyami tried his best to talk to them. What he got was a response he never expected to hear out of a girl like this redhead.
The awkward pause would've lasted a lot longer if it weren't for the "bird" coming down to the children's level with a big cup of some kind of hot chocolate.
"Wow, what a description for me, eh Tokoyami? I honestly would've preferred the name Bird over Sakura any day."
The boy, who's name Tokoyami actually kind of suited his appearance (Kendo thought), turned over to the bird shadow, "I told you we're going to discuss this later."
He then turned to the girls, "Look, I'm sorry about Sakura, it's quite hard to keep him in line."
Yui made a soft hmm noise and asked in her infinite wisdom (as far Kendo could tell), "Isn't Sakura a flower?"
Sakura glared at Tokoyami and gestured to Yui as if saying see what I mean?
"You know, you like to lay in those flowers."
"Yeah, but if I knew you were going to call me that, I might as well have burned those flowers!"
"Well, since we've got all the attention on us, let's get this over with! What would you like to be named, my everlasting shadow?"
Tokoyami and Sakura stopped their argument to look over at Kendo, who was quite surprised with the name she came up as well. They stared at her as if she grew a second head, looked back at each other, then looked at her as if she grew a third head, but when they looked at each other, it seemed they were both thinking the same thing. After a quick nod, Dark Shadow pointed at Kendo with it's thumb.
"I like her, ask her what her name is."
Tokoyami hesitated for just a second but he quickly recovered and turned to both Kendo and Yui with a bow.
"My name is Tokoyami Fumikage, and this is my freshly named companion Dark Shadow. Who am I in the presence of?"
Kendo, for some reason, got the impression that despite the theatrics, Tokoyami was out of his comfort zone so she decided to help him out. Plus, she also felt warm and fuzzy when he bowed to Kendo as if she just saved him from a lifetime of annoyance (which to be fair she was).
"My name is Kendo Itsuka, and this is my best friend, Yui Kodai."
Kendo then smelled something she never smelled before, and whatever it was, it was quite delicious.
"What is that smell?" Kendo asked, starting to visibly salivate at whatever was in the cup.
Tokoyami, after seeing Yui slowly back away from the salivating Kendo, got the feeling that if he didn't answer quickly enough, she might just make a move to take the coffee away from him and just chug it without a care. Which, with how hot the coffee was in his hand, would probably burn her throat faster than sulfuric acid.
"It's coffee. Do you not know what coffee is?" He asked and after getting a shake from Kendo's head, he decided to help the girl (but as his mom would say if she was there: girl who's tragically clueless to the world's greatest beverage) understand what coffee is. At least he would have if he didn't hear his father come up from behind him.
"Hey Toko," his parents were the only ones Tokoyami allowed to call him that, "good news! I found some of your mom's favorite brand of coffee... who are these two?"
Tokoyami, who would normally be annoyed at his parents for interrupting his "educational" (basically him using big, fancy words to explain what should be an easy explanation to whatever he needed to explain to someone) speech on the fundamentals of coffee, actually considered this interruption as a unintentional blessing. Tokoyami looked at his dad, then back to a drooling Kendo and he couldn't help but grin.
"You know what, forget an explanation, just try it for yourself!" Tokoyami said and when Kendo's face lit up, his heart seemed to speed up for some reason (the first of many times his heart would do that around Kendo). Kendo didn't even get to say "thanks" before she grabbed the coffee cup, and chugged all the coffee down without hesitation.
Kendo, to put simply, felt like she just drank lava. Amazingly delicious lava to be exact and as she finally finished the coffee, she suddenly felt what she would later describe as the most hottest sugar rush she ever got.
"This. Is. Amazing!" Kendo stated loudly to the surprise of both Tokoyami and Yui. Tokoyami's dad was more amused, thinking Honey would love to meet this girl, provided she doesn't scare the kid away. He then noticed Kendo's parents a little farther away, and recognized her dad.
"Excuse me young lady, does your father, Mr. *Father Name* work at *School Name*?" Sure enough, Kendo's eyes lit up in recognition at her dad's workplace.
"Yeah he's my teacher next year." Kendo responded, and then noticed Tokoyami's eyes lit up in recognition.
"Hey, he's my teacher too!" Tokoyami responded with a smile which was soon reflected by Kendo's own smile.
While the three kids talked about school next year, Tokoyami's dad checked his watch. He then tapped his son's shoulder, and when Tokoyami looked at him, he gestured to their transportation home, a Harley motorcycle. Tokoyami, getting the picture, sighed and turned to Kendo and Yui with regret.
"Listen, I got to go..." Then seeing the disappointment in their eyes, he decided to leave with a happy note, "So you better be at my class next year or else I won't bring you more coffee!"
Seeing Kendo's responding smile gave Tokoyami enough confidence to do a theatrical bow as he walked to their motorbike. But as he walked away he realized something.
So he turned around, and called to the girls, "Dark Shadow says thanks for the new name!"
Kendo and Yui couldn't help but smile at the bird boy's callout. However their brows knit in confusion when Tokoyami hopped on a vehicle of some kind with his dad right behind him. Then, the unknown vehicle drove off with a very loud revving of it's engine which caused both girls to plug their ears from the noise the vehicle made. After the vehicle left, Yui, with her face still contorted in confusion, turned to Kendo, who actually had an entirely different expression on her face.
"What was that?" Yui asked, but she got the feeling she wasn't going to like what Kendo's response was going to be based off Kendo's expression.
"I don't know. But I want one!"