Juniper was in her plain, white, empty room thinking. She'd curled up sitting on the edge of the uncovered mattress of the used bed. Her mind went over the conversation with Shin. Did she really want to die, again, and possibly cause the death of more people or did she want to try to live with Grimm. As she was mulling over it, there was a soft knock on the door. She jumped at the sudden sound, and glanced over.
"Flower, are you hungry?" Grimm called softly through the wood of the door. "Shin is making lunch." Juniper didn't answer. "Pretending you aren't in there is pointless, I know you are. I can-" He broke off then, staying quiet for a few moments. Juniper heard him shifting, like his fingers were resting on the door. "You're upset aren't you?" He waited again. "What is it? Please tell me. I know you don't like this, but I'll try to make it easy for you, as best as I can. Just, please flower, tell me."
Juniper slipped off the bed, went to the door, and peaked out. "I'm sorry, for earlier. I don't want to go back; I want to stay, w-with you. You'll help me figure out everything, right?"
"Of course," he smiled lightly. Then he reached out a hand, only to pull it back right after. "Come, you have to eat something."
Juniper nodded and followed him to the ground floor. In the dining room were the two children from earlier, identical twin boys with hair so blonde it was almost white and dark eyes. Willow sat chatting with another girl. This girl had strange colored hair, blonde with a blue tint, like a color wash, and green eyes. Grimm nodded to a chair and Juniper sat down. There was a racket from the kitchen.
"Shin, you ok?" Grimm called and got no answer. "Shin, is everything alright?" He went to the kitchen. "Are you alright?" Juniper heard him ask. Shin replied too quietly for her to make out the words, Grimm spoke again, just as softly. Then he called, "Flower, would you come here?"
Juniper popped out of her seat, called back, "coming," and went into the kitchen. Shin was bent almost double, leaning against the counter top, covering his face with a hand, and breathing heavily; a plate was in pieces on the floor, and Grimm stood by. "Yes? Is Shin ok?"
"He will be, don't worry. You just need to see what's going on. Shin's kind of sick, and this happens sometimes. It's better if you see now, so you know. This way if you witness it, it won't be too much of a shock." Grimm patted Shin's shoulder and Shin straightened.
Thin black lines traced over the right side his face and neck, and trailed down his arm. His right eye had become a cloudy grey color. "What happened? Does that hurt?" Juniper asked, surprising herself with how worried she was.
"Yeah, it hurts. I was cursed by a Jorogumo, a spider woman. Apparently I'd killer her lover. The hateful bitch didn't last long when I found her though. She tried to fight, but it didn't do much good."
"You killed her?"
"Of course I did! She cursed me. I can't do my job anymore, in case I have one of these attacks. I'm lucky my siblings asked for me ta be kept alive. If ya can't work you'd better be dead." He winced and doubled over with a slight groan.
"Shin was kind of sold, to the western gods," Grimm said. "Thanatos won the bid for him and now he runs the house. Yuki, Hiro, and Kei visit a lot. Aren't they supposed to be coming over today?"
"Should be here inna few minutes," Shin said through his teeth. He murmured a string of words incoherently; then he sighed, as the black lines faded, and straightened. "They should be here any-"
The front door opened and a voice called, "Shin nii-san!"
"And there they are, perfect timin' as always. Come on, ya have to meet 'em." Shin went through the living room and to the front hall. Juniper and Grimm trailed behind him. A girl and two boys were taking off their shoes at the door. "Ya know ya don't have to do that."
The girl looked up with a smile. "We know big brother, but we-" She stopped and stared at Juniper. She had the palest skin and finest features Juniper had seen. Her clothes were all white and powder blue. 'That's a face made for TV,' Juniper thought. "Are you new to the house?" She asked tilting her head slightly. "I don't remember seeing you here last time we visited."
"Yuki, this is Juniper, though she needs a new name. She's Grimm's new-"
"This is who you picked?" Yuki asked Grimm. He nodded to her. "Is she the one you talked about, the flower?"
"Yes," Grimm smiled slightly, face reddening.
Yuki nodded, "I approve."
"What? Yuki approves of Grimm's new girl?"
"Is this really happening? I think I might faint."
"Don't worry I'll catch you."
The small exchange went on between the two boys, Hiro and Kei. They were identical twins, with surprising red-brown hair. Their clothes were matching, in a way. Both wore red and blue clothes in slightly different fashions.
"You two are so annoying!" Yuki snapped. "Shut up!"
The twins grinned at her. "Make us," they said together.
"If all of ya don't knock it off, I'll make ya shut up," Shin warned. "Got it?" The three lowered their heads and murmured 'yes nii-san'. "Good, now get ta the dinin' room, we're about to have lunch."
"Ooh, what did you make?" One of the twins asked, perking up instantly. "Is it hotpot?"
"Takoyaki," asked the other.
"Miso soup," asked the first.
"No, it's American."
"Aw, I was hoping for hotpot."
"I live in America, so I cook American food. I'll make you hotpot next time you visit, deal?"
"Excuse me," Juniper said. "Which of you is Hiro, and which is Kei?"
One of the twins laughed, "Oh, that's easy. I'm Kei. Hiro wears a collar, see." He pointed to the strap around his twin's neck. "Hiro has an owner."
"I do not?" Hiro snapped. "No one's tamed me yet!"
"Then who is he? Why are you bound to him?"
"It's none of your business!" Hiro shouted.
"It is my business! I ought to know why my brother is-"
Shin grabbed both twins by the backs of their shirts. "Do not yell in my house." He said, dangerously low, as his eyes faded to yellow. Grimm started pulling Juniper to the dining room. "I've told ya b'fore, if ya gotta argue do it outside. Keep yellin' in my house and, I swear to Amaterasu, I'll come outta retirement fer the both of ya. Now, what's all this about Hiro-"
Grimm shut the door to the dining room, cutting off Shin's voice. "We shouldn't get involved in their family matters."
"What happened?" Willow asked.
"Hiro has a collar."
"That explains the yelling," said the other girl. "By the way, who's the newbie?"
"This is June, my new soul."
"Well, it's nice to meet you June, I'm Mae."
"Actually, my name's Juniper. I need to think of a new one though." Juniper sat at the table with a sigh.
"It's alright flower." Grimm smiled lightly at her.
"Ooh, ooh, what about Hana," Willow said suddenly. "Hana means flower."
"Good idea, fairy. Hana what, though?"
"Sharpe, I've always liked that last name," Juniper said.
"What?" Shin asked, as he walked into the room, trailed by his siblings.
"June's decided her new name," Grimm answered. "From now on she'll be Hana Sharpe. We can make it a permanent name if you want. Hermes will alter the records when it's needed and no normal people will know the difference. Would that be alright with you?"
"Yeah, I think I like that."
"Then it's nice to meet ya Hana Sharpe," Shin said with a grin. "I'm Shin Kurotama." He gestured at the table. "The twins you haven't met in the house are Castor and Pollux, the Gemini Twins. And Mae is a water sprite."
"Nymph," Mae corrected.
"Hi Hana," the Twins said together, "It's nice to meet you!"
"It's nice to meet you too." She smiled and felt, for the first time, she was really getting a second chance at life. Maybe she'd be able to do this.