Run. Akin to some droll fantasy TV series backstory, Kaori Arima had two goals in her life: attain freedom and don't get caught. If she was caught, it was all over. Everything her late family had broken backs on wouldn't matter if she was caught. But no amount of training and experience prepared her for Kousei Takayama.
What is love? Kaori did not know. Her family had been too focused on their legacy and their snowflakes to truly show what the common peasant called love. When a young man stood up to deliver a perfectly pitched song on the piano in the small café where Kaori was having her luncheon, she wasn't expecting to hear the most beautiful music she would ever hear in her life. Once the small performance was over and the booming applause had died down, Kaori mustered the courage to ask another customer what the pianist's name was. "Takayama Kousei. Brilliant boy, a prodigy they say. He hasn't lost a single competition. I feel like my arthritis eased after that!" The old woman had kindly replied.
Interest piqued, the young vagabond followed every single performance of his. It wasn't easy for a woman in her situation, but she managed and ignored the nagging voices of her late elders. Perchance the music had resurrected her stillborn rebellion. While sightseeing, she soon became acquainted with Kousei himself. He had taken note of the enigmatic figure who had become a constant to his recitals and was obliged to at least exchange names. Unprecedented, their relationship teetered on the line of platonic and romantic in the most extraordinary of ways.
Secrets - everyone has them, whether they are aware or not. Secrets - the two friends shared them on a constant basis. His mother was deaf. Her life was in eternal danger. He didn't want the fame. She longed to stop running. So many more were whispered and traded, with knowing smiles and stifled laughter. Choice, not fate, intertwined their lives into a single, endless thread. But one pivotal day, Kaori lied. "I don't love you."
Ah, but this is not their story I am to tell. It is their eldest daughter's. Though short-lived, Kaori and Kousei's happiness together bloomed as strength in their children. When Kousei was brutally taken from them, Kaori fled to the farthest hinterlands of Japan. Too late did she realize that isolating herself from her family would be the only way to truly protect them. Every now and then she would backtrack to where she had left her children, but never stayed for long.
As if to challenge nature itself, Ruiko and Haruhi Takayama dared to flourish in the harsh, icy environment among the mountains. In the beginning, they were alone in the protected cabin. Days wriggled by, and the two children struggled to keep themselves amused and occupied. Their mother's next visit provided a solution in the form of a bunch of scraggly kids. Without being prompted, Kaori explained that they were victims of human trafficking and regarded the authorities with suspicion. Under the unyielding protection of the Fidelius charm, they remained undetected and safe. Provisions were easy to come by, for Kaori left more than enough for all of them during each short visit.
Happy and secure in their mountain home, they failed to acknowledge that danger was eternally prevalent. The avalanche came, and the barriers Kaori had set up crumbled. Ruiko awoke to find herself alone and cold. While she had managed to grab hold of her little sister moments before the disaster, Haruhi was colder. Haruhi was gone, and so were the rest of Ruiko's siblings. Everything was blurry after she gasped out the sobs that came.
Presumably someone, quite possibly daring mountaineers, found and saved the unresponsive girl. When she regained consciousness, she was in a hospital bed and hooked up to an IV-whatsit. Ruiko had to undergo plenty of meticulous therapy, but not all of it helped. In fact, her once latent psychic gene manifested in the middle of a therapy session — not exactly the most promising start. That doctor never came back after the mentally impaired girl mocked their childhood mercilessly. Retrocognition— loosely defined as the ability to delve into the past. This was the final legacy left to Ruiko by Kaori; the one legacy Ruiko had never longed for. During her tedious stay at the institution and in between the periods of endless banter she hurled, she kept a firm leash on her rapidly maturing abilities. Against pitiful odds, she proved her ingenuity when she refined and even augmented her mental capacity. Nearing the end of her stay, she accomplished what she had felt was impossible: the capability to throw the switch on her powers.
The doctor who was in charge of her eventually decided to adopt her and bring her to Britain in order to further study her. No one had believed this patient's last doctor when they claimed that the girl's mind was irreparable for she was psychic. Intrigued, Ruiko's new mother tried and failed to coax any signs out of her. The bright-eyed girl strove to be always one step ahead. Fate wasn't done with either of them yet, and not soon after they arrived, her adoptive mother died of an accidental overdose. When she came across the body, Ruiko's magic was triggered for the first time since the avalanche. Everyone within a mile's radius of her started at the invisible explosion that sent their eardrums reeling. Authorities were sent to investigate and found the two. The Ministry stepped in not soon afterwards, and Ruiko was promptly dropped off at Lil Bundles.
Several explosions and detentions later, she was adopted by an Odin Chang whose house she had broken into once or twice. She smeared her record more, met people, had a wild time during the Quidditch Cup, and was deported back to Japan. Turns out she didn't exist in the eyes of the magical community in Japan and that she didn't have a proper birth certificate. It took time before her papers were all deemed fit and she could return to Britain and subsequently, Hogwarts. Japan gave her time to reflect, run, and develop the powers she oh so wished were not. One way or another, she stumbled into trouble bigger than her thumb, and got on the international police's radar. Before they could come snooping, she was allowed back to Britain, met up with her fr- something, stopped him from ending his life, and collapsed into a tumultuous summer. OWL term approached an unconcerned blonde who had better things to fret about other than her future. Namely, her past coming back to eat her whole.
They found her. She was more impressed than anything. "Took them long enough," she had said at the time. What else was to be expected of the Ruiko Takayama who danced on the steep cliffs of the underworld and strung up her own strobe lights? At some point, her over the shoulder glances spun away from their waltz of wariness and into drumbeats of challenge. Steps she crafted all by her lonesome. After all that time of running and fearing, she grabbed onto danger's hip and didn't let go. A gamble in its rawest form, the gamble her mother hadn't dared to take. And she reached out, with the fingers she inherited from her father, and made it hers. She wished Haruhi had been there to see it. But that victory was hers, and hers alone. She was free. As much as her newly appointed best friend was annoyed about it, she came back in the middle of the night, blood on her clothes and no shortage of bumps and bruises, and she was there to stay.