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Author Topic: A Young Girl's Odyssey [Epilogue ~COMPLETE~]  (Read 30483 times)

Offline rokun

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A Young Girl's Odyssey
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2006, 09:53:36 PM »
Chapter 7 – Changing Tides

For a long moment Ai and Reina stared at each other, both of their minds seemingly whirring with thoughts or questions. Reina only thought Ai-chan was giving her a penetrating look the other times they’d talked in the past week. Nothing she’d seen before compared to the deep, soul-flaying gaze she was now subject to. No matter how much she tried, she couldn’t look away. Ai stood only two or three arms-lengths away in the same black-banded white short skirt she wore during their dance contest, but her knitted shawl, which came off during their exertions together there, was nowhere to be seen, and Reina, this time not distracted by music or the need to outdo this girl at her own art, for the first time noticed the black leather vest she wore over a white t-shirt. However, she thought that even had she noticed it in the club, it wouldn’t give the same impression it did now. Or maybe it was the black leather fingerless gloves she now also wore at the ends of crossed arms.

After a moment of staring at Reina, Ai turned and walked to the side of the alley where the knife stuck, Reina’s eyes following her the whole way, uncrossing her arms to quickly pull it out of the wall, the tattered remnants of Stocky’s tie floating forlornly to the ground. However, after stowing her knife somewhere in her skirt, she turned back at low sounds coming from behind her.

Reina couldn’t help herself. After what just happened in the alley – after what had happened the whole past week – staring at Ai’s almost unnaturally fluid motion and how she handled the knife triggered something within her, and she began to cry. At first she just whimpered and sniffed, but when Ai turned and gave her a somewhat less hard and more genuinely concerned glance, she completely broke down and her legs buckled beneath her, collapsing her to the ground as if she’d just lost all the energy she exuded just a short time ago.

Almost immediately, Ai was sitting next to her and wrapping her arms around the anguished girl, rocking her slowly attempting to calm her down.

“Ai- Ai… Ai-chan… I…” Reina moaned between sobs. She was crying too much to be able to get any words out. She wanted to though. She really did. She wanted to tell Ai-chan that she was sorry. She wanted to ask her what the hell was going on. She wanted to talk about why she was so frightened of those two men and why she was even more frightened seeing how they reacted to just Ai’s words. She wanted to… “I…”

“Shhh,” Ai said reassuringly, patting Reina’s head and stroking her hair, still rocking her to get her to calm. They heard steps coming toward them, and through her blurred vision Reina saw Ai jerk her head toward them. She couldn’t see who was coming, but when Ai looked their direction the steps ceased for a moment before starting up again, much quicker this time, in the opposite direction.

“Ai… Ai-chan…” Reina croaked out again. The girl turned back to her and held her closer. Reina felt weariness collapse in on her. Maybe she was right when she grumbled about Sayu’s text message invite ending up in depriving her of sleep, because suddenly, she felt like she could hardly even move. She didn’t try to speak anymore as she cried herself out, and before long, cuddled within Ai’s warm embrace, everything went dark and she descended into dreams.

After a length of time she couldn’t specify, she felt herself half-wake, just long enough to feel that she was in a much more comfortable place with Ai leaning closely over her. The girl leaned in and she felt a soft, moist touch to her forehead before sleep took her once again for a much longer time.



Reina woke to rays of sun streaming down through the window of her hotel room, and she lay there for a moment yawning and pulling the covers tightly around her again. She didn’t want to get up yet. Her phone beeped, pulling her a bit more awake, and she sat up slowly, stretching. Grumbling, she reached over to it and pushed the button that allowed her to check what the message was.

Wednesday, 2006 12/7
6:34

Reina, this is Manager Shuyen. We will be restarting rehearsals today. The memorial events have set us far behind in preparations for the upcoming concert tour. Please come into the studio as soon as possible. Doors will open at 8:30.

Shuyen


“Shit,” Reina whined, and was about to close her phone when she saw there was another message.

Wednesday, 2006 12/7
9:57

9:57?
Reina thought. What time is it now?! She glanced at her alarm clock on the end table. It read 11:02.

Now with much more energy and motivation, Reina flew up from the bed to the dresser while reading the message.

Reina! Where are you? You got the message about studio time this morning, right? Everybody else has been here for an hour now. We’ve been practicing the numbers that you aren’t in, but Tsunku is eager to get some full-group work in on Love Machine and Special Generation. I want to do Ren’ai Revolution with you Ai-chan and Risa, too. Please get here soon! I hope you haven’t overslept. You’ve been doing that a lot lately…

Your Eririn


While reading those last lines, Reina froze while holding her underwear in one hand and the phone in another. Ai-chan… Events from the night before crashed into her head all at once and she ran to the mirror, underwear and other phone messages forgotten, to see her face puffy and red from crying what seemed like all the way to her pillow. Her eyes widened. I can’t go into work like that!!!

She rushed to the bath, throwing off the rest of her clothes before scrubbing down as well as she could, trying not to think about last night. She wasn’t sure she ever wanted to think about it again. Maybe it was a dream. Maybe she just cried in her sleep. After all, if it was a dream, it was quite a traumatic one. After washing quickly, not having time for a soak, she looked again in the mirror, fairly satisfied with how her appearance improved, especially with a bit of added makeup, brushed her hair, threw on some work clothes and ran out the door.



“I’m sorry to have kept you waiting!” she told one of the managers as she flew down the hall toward the studio. The manager looked like he was about to say something, but Reina was gone before a sound left his mouth. One that she could hear, anyway. She wasn’t paying much attention.

She finally slowed down, catching her breath as she neared the door to the studio. She could hear the sounds of Aruiteru playing from inside. Good, they’re practicing something she doesn’t really do much in. After pushing down annoyed feelings about how she didn’t have a lead in the new single that suddenly bubbled up, she fell back against the wall and slid down it, holding her knees in front of her to catch the rest of her breath. While she did so, she glanced around the hall to find staff walking to and fro, some giving her frowns and shaken heads at her tardiness. She ignored them.

The music finished, and hearing just the voice of the choreographer booming within, she stood up, breath fully caught, and timidly opened the door. How she hated being late.

None of the staff noticed her at first, but a few of the girls did, giving her glances from Koharu’s rolling eyes to Eri’s concerned and desperate look to Risa’s… Well, she wasn’t sure what exactly Risa looked like. Remembering how she left her the night before and the girl’s current sullen-looking stupor-like demeanor, she guessed she wasn’t the only one who had a rough night. There was something else in her look too that she couldn’t identify… Well, if nothing else, Reina at least apparently had plenty of sleep.

As she closed the door, the choreographer and Tsunku, who was standing bit a bit behind, finally noticed her. “Tanaka-san!” Tsunku crooned. “A little late, aren’t we?” Reina bowed her head and scurried to drop her bag with the others. “I’d be interested in knowing what you were up to last night, not hearing your phone,” he continued in his squirrelly sarcastic manner.

“I’m sorry,” Reina said quietly, and pulling off her trainer walked up to the other girls. They were stretching in the downtime, some still casting glances her way with similar looks as before. Ai, however, was looking the other direction as if Reina wasn’t even there. Reina sighed.

“All right!” Tsunku shouted, clapping his hands. “Form up for the Love Machine / Special Generation medley!” The girls began taking their places above Eri’s moans of protest. “Don’t worry!” he reassured her. “We’ll do Ren’ai when Gaki-san and Reina are fully awake. I want you four energized for it! Look at Takahashi! She’s ready!” Reina did as he bid and saw Ai stretching from side to side, looking as tight and fit as ever. Now Reina came to think about it, she didn’t look quite that good before, did she? Risa’s grumbles of protest at his chiding of her brought her out of the trance she fell into while staring at Ai’s butt, and she jumped into place, trying to hide a blush, especially with Eri looking at her oddly.

After practicing the medley for a good hour, and Tsunku disappearing from the studio at some point during it, the choreographer called a break for lunch, which many of the girls cheered. It had been quite a while now since they’d worked themselves this hard with the recent time off. “Tanaka!” he yelled, as she was headed toward her bag. “Since you just got here an hour ago, I thought you might want to work through lunch on your solo piece.” Even though it was phrased in a way as to give her a choice, Reina knew she didn’t have one. She sighed, tried to ignore the grumble in her stomach – she hadn’t eaten since last night, having forgotten totally about it in the rush this morning – and headed back toward the floor. Risa bumped into her along the way and offered a short apology that wasn’t reflected in her eyes. Reina sighed again. She really had to stop doing that.

However, once she began rehearsing, her mood quickly lifted. In this tour she would be performing Iroppoi Jirettai as her solo, and though the idea sounded odd at first, she grew to enjoy it very much. She’d have all the wota going crazy for her by the time it was over. Maybe Daisuke-kun would be there to see it one night. Maybe Ai-chan would be able to see it sometime, too… She didn’t even realize she was thinking that last thought.

After forty-five minutes, the choreographer dismissed her with a wave and she gratefully bowed before running off to pick something up from a vending machine as some of the other girls were already returning. Maybe she had enough time for at least some cup udon and gogo no koucha.

After leaving the studio, as she was walking quickly down the hall she saw Eri sitting not far from the door, popping up as Reina passed as if she had been sitting there waiting for her the entire time. “Hey Reina!” she said in a cheery, if slightly strained, voice. Reina glanced and smiled at her and passed her without slowing down.

Running to catch up, Eri opened her mouth as if to speak but Reina managed it first. “Sorry Eririn. I’m hungry and don’t have much time to get food. Walk with me if you like,” she offered. Eri nodded and tried to keep pace, though was visibly aggravated at how quickly Reina was moving.

“Where did you go last night?” Reina asked, once again catching Eri before words left her open mouth.

She hesitated a moment before responding, caught off guard. “Um… I went back to my room. You were hogging all the sheets,” she responded as Reina finally found a vending machine and perused quickly before making a choice. “You weren’t in your room after I got up.”

“Oh,” Reina responded noncommittally.

Eri was apparently flummoxed by the way the conversation was going, so an uncomfortable silence stretched on while Reina prepared her food.

When she sat down, Eri joined her, and as she dug into her noodles Eri finally managed to speak up. “So do you want to have sex after dinner tonight?” she asked, a hint of eagerness in her slightly trembling voice.

Reina stared at her, slurping up a noodle, before breaking out into a giggle that deteriorated into coughing as she choked the noodle she just slurped. Eri’s nose pinched in, telling Reina that was obviously not the reaction the girl was hoping for.

“What’s so funny?” she asked, still pouting.

“Nothing,” Reina wheezed, recovering from her choking.

“Do you not like being with me?”

Reina stared back at the girl whose eyes were becoming emotional and glanced around before responding in a hushed tone, “Of course I do! What kind of silly talk is that?” That seemed to cheer the girl up somewhat, and Reina went back to her noodles.

“So… do you want to?” Eri pressed once again, reaching over to grab Reina’s hand.

Slurping the last of her noodles, Reina nodded dismissively. “Sure,” she said, carefully extricating her hand from the other girl’s and getting up to throw out the empty cup. No sooner had it left her hand than she felt a truck hit her and wrap itself around her. Well, it was no truck, it was just Eri, but it sort of felt like one. She turned to face the other girl and found a tongue in her mouth that was not hers preventing her from saying anything. They ended up being slightly late for the rehearsal once again.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 04:00:32 AM by rokun »

Offline Yuuyami

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A Young Girl's Odyssey
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2006, 10:13:09 PM »
Eri can be just as blunt as Reina? Haha, I'd giggle too if a lover asked me for sex the following night XD~!

Anywho, I look forward to your future chapters.

Offline jafeijai

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« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2006, 10:17:28 PM »
LMAO AT ERI-TRUCK!! XDXD this story just keeps getting interestiing huh? hmm...Reina checking out Takahashi's butt..does that mean a relationship may begin? and what's the deal with Daisuke?! a play of words for "daisuki" maybe?? just my random observations :P

Offline Sukoshi

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« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2006, 04:38:05 AM »
Wow...I love reading this story!  It's so mysterious!  I'm wondering if Ai Chan has  super powers or maybe she's like a mob boss!  and Reina's beginning to become one of my favourites since I've been reading about her so much lately :heart:  

Reina and Eri are cute together although I'm worried that
a. Reina will leave Eri for Ai
b. Reina will leave Eri for Daisuke
c. Sayu will fight Reina for Eri

oh man the suspense! WHAT WILL HAPPEN?! :o :o :o :o

Offline cheesesticks

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« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2006, 05:08:36 AM »
:O

Eri wants Reina but Reina wants Ai!
Dundundun...
J'aime le fromage.

Offline Sukoshi

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« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2006, 05:19:21 AM »
Quote from: cheesesticks
:O

Eri wants Reina but Reina wants Ai!
Dundundun...


yeah totally dun dun dun!  My take on it is...

Sayu wants Eri, Eri wants Reina, Reina wants Ai, and Ai hopefully wants Risa XD

Offline DO Me DO Me

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A Young Girl's Odyssey
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2006, 05:33:32 AM »
haha @ Eri's random request. I laughed and choked like Reina except I wasn't eating anything XD

I'm going to repeat this comment on JPM so... *off I go*

Offline rokun

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A Young Girl's Odyssey
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2006, 05:57:03 AM »
Quote from: Sukoshi
yeah totally dun dun dun!  My take on it is...

Sayu wants Eri, Eri wants Reina, Reina wants Ai, and Ai hopefully wants Risa XD

What Ai wants, what Ai wants... it's a mystery, isn't it? Though does Reina know what's truly going on with anyone?

Risa's been a rather supporting character so far, but I have a feeling we might hear more about her in the future. ;) She had quite a rough night last night... The question is if Reina wants to go there... >.> I only tell her story, she lives it. ^^

Thank you everyone for reading, and the newcomers as well! :grin: I feel happy when people are enjoying my writing. One more comment about Eri... She's so innocent poor thing, she doesn't see what's strange about asking what she did... I mean, if you want to do it, why not? :lol: She'd better be careful though. If she bares her heart too much, she might lose it...

Offline goosefish

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« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2006, 02:05:04 PM »
Gah, everyone wants somebody else. :o Ok...not everybody. Just Reina.
 
Ai-chan and this group of...whoever are getting abit creepy. All she did was motion with her head and they backed away? Seems like she's in some sort of power position.
 
I laughed like a madman at Eri's bluntness. Her innocence in that was just cute XD.
 
Oh yeah...damn...I had something to say about the Reina and Eri in my fic and the Reina and Eri in your fic, but now I've completely forgotten. :evil: :evil: .
 
and like jafeijai said: LMAO AT ERI-TRUCK!!
 
Looking forward to the next chapter. Especially coz Ai-chan's character here really intrigues me.

Offline rndmnwierd

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« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2006, 01:24:46 AM »
Quote
“So do you want to have sex after dinner tonight?” she asked, a hint of eagerness in her slightly trembling voice.

I struggled really hard not to burst into laughter at this, seeing as I'm not at home right now.

Offline rokun

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« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2006, 10:10:26 PM »
Chapter 8 – Over a Bowl of Ramen

It took until the end of the day for Reina finally to really have some time to herself after the rush to work this morning, the busy rehearsals, and the lunch break hardly worthy of being called such. She twirled a finger in her hair as she thought about that, too. Eri certainly is a strange girl…

As she was dressing and showering before heading out to dinner, she tried to avoid the other girls as much as possible, which wasn’t too hard as most of them kept pretty much to themselves since they still didn’t seem to have fully come to grips with what happened to Miki and their lives came back to them after the focus and distraction of rehearsals. Even Eri stared off into space as she tidied up. Reina guessed she’d gotten her “fill” at lunch for now. Plus, there was what was to come after dinner of course… Reina felt herself flush for some reason at that thought. Definitely a strange girl.

The one girl she did try to get a hold of after they were let out was Ai, however she seemed to sneak out right away, so Reina’s efforts didn’t yield anything to speak of. She’d thought about what happened last night all through rehearsal, and none of it made sense.

First, there was the dance club. Why did Ai get so competitive with her on the floor? Of course, Reina was quite competitive herself, but she didn’t figure that mattered because she obviously didn’t have any ulterior motives. Ai on the other hand could only be more blatantly suspicious if she had “I’m up to something!” written in marker on her forehead. She was amazed none of the other girls saw it. Remembering Sayu and Eri, her amazement died out considerably, but that still didn’t explain any of the others like Our Great Leader or… or Risa. Other events from last night popped into her head suddenly at that thought, along with Risa’s attitude throughout the day today. Risa is Ai-chan’s best friend, isn’t she? They were together at the beginning of last night, weren’t they? She decided she had a good place to start now.

Pulling on her turtleneck muffled her thoughts for a moment and rattled her brain enough for her to realize what she was doing. What the hell? I’m no detective. Leave it to the cops to figure out what’s going on. The one that notoriously spoke to her at the memorial seemed intelligent enough. She slammed her locker and gave a glance around while picking up her bag. There were only a few girls left, one of which was Eri, who was occupied stuffing way too much stuff in her very undersized bag. She decided she’d have to get the girl a bigger one for Christmas. A nicer one, too. Considering their relationship now, she supposed she was obligated to give her something more than what she normally gave the other girls. This was getting complicated…

Taking the opportunity of Eri’s distraction to sneak out despite an odd glance from Yossi, who didn’t speak up because she usually didn’t try to pry into the affairs of her kouhai unless they came to her first, she realized that not only were there few girls left in the locker room, but the reason was because there were so few girls left in Morning Musume. It was down to seven now. For some reason that number seemed so lonely. She paused for a moment outside the locker room to dwell on it. They might as well start calling us Berryz Koubou… Coughing out a hastily cut off laugh at that thought, she remembered why she was being so “sneaky” and quickly scurried the rest of the way down the hall.

As she rode the empty elevator, thinking of cops and investigations, she recalled that detective again. Shuyen-san told him to stay away from the girls, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t go to him, did it? He was investigating Miki’s accident anyway. That has nothing to do with Ai. The elevator dinged and she stepped out into the lobby before screeching to a sudden halt just like her train of thought as recent conversations and memories began booming loudly in her head, beginning with the call Yossi gave her what seemed like so long ago when she was out on her photoshoot.

“Since this is a photo week, most of the girls are scattered all over Japan, like you. Only Ai-chan and Koharu were in town too, and… oh Reina, the accident… Miki’s dead.”

Later on when they were all gathering together here, Ai arrived late and seemed nervous. Why was she late when she was one of only three living girls who had been in Tokyo already? And then there was Ai at the memorial…

“If you need anything, or if you get into any trouble, let me know, ok?”

That offer had seemed to come out of nowhere, unless Ai had suddenly taken it upon herself to be Reina’s surrogate mother or loving older sister or something. Immediately, at that thought, shivers ran down her spine and twisted her mouth in disgust. Of course that was ridiculous…

“I wonder, Reina, how you ever get anyone to like you when you give them looks like that.”

The words pulled Reina out of her reverie and she stared a moment at Risa, who had apparently walked up to her unnoticed and was giving her a strange look. Whatever the case, it didn’t reveal whether her words were meant to be insulting or just playfully sarcastic.

“Would you like to go to dinner?” Reina asked suddenly.

Risa hesitated for a moment, surprised at the invitation, before narrowing her eyes in a suspicious look.

“I’ll treat you,” Reina offered at the girl’s seeming reluctance. “At least, as long as we don’t go to a place much fancier than a ramen shop. It’s not like I’m rich,” she finished with a slight smirk that Risa didn’t quite seem to catch, and her suspicion hadn’t vanished at all. Reina tried again. “I just want to… apologize for last night, okay?” Risa’s eyes widened at that. Maybe she didn’t think Reina remembered it. Giving Risa an appraisal that took in her sleep-deprived vacant expression and red eyes, she mentally added, Though, I wasn’t the one who got drunk…

The girl finally seemed to mellow out, or maybe she just gave up, since Reina thought she heard her give a sigh of defeat. “All right. Why not. You decide where to go. Keep me away from anything too spicy tonight, though,” she said, a disgusted twist coming to her own lips.

“Of course!” Reina responded cheerfully. She took the girl’s hand and started dragging her to the exit, looking behind her to make sure that nobody else had come down the elevator yet. Along the way, Reina realized that she almost literally was dragging the girl, as it seemed that Risa could barely walk. How on Earth did she last through rehearsals today? She shrugged. Well, they all had to deal with that at times with the lives they led.



It was a quiet walk several blocks to a ramen shop Reina knew. They had both pulled on hoodies before leaving the studio building to give some disguise to avoid too much recognition, which usually worked, and not talking much was also part of their disguise, though it usually didn’t go this far.

They entered the shop and ordered after being seated, keeping their hoods drawn for the moment, and Reina watched Risa seemingly stare at nothing while pulling out and playing with her chopsticks. She was just about to poke her napkin with them for the tenth time when Reina finally broke the silence.

“So… how are you today, Gaki-san?” she asked, trying to be somewhat cheerful, even though she didn’t feel it.

Risa looked up at her as if she’d never seen her before until her eyes focused and she carefully laid down her chopsticks before responding, “Um, I’m ok,” and then beginning to play with the string of her hood. Reina now looked at the girl with overwhelming suspicion. Risa was never this un-energetic, even at other times when Reina saw that she was very worn out.

Reina’s phone abruptly began buzzing, and Risa looked in that direction as Reina reached to silence it and ignore the message. “You’re not gonna get that?” Risa asked.

Reina shook her head slowly, to which the other girl shrugged, and took the advantage of having at least some of her attention to bring up what she was interested in. “So… Risa. What have you been up to lately? Anything different or exciting going on?” The girl gave her a What are you? Baka? look. Reina coughed and reoriented herself, not realizing that she was fiddling with her own chopsticks. “I mean, aside from the obvious.” Reina looked carefully up at the other girl with her head lowered to gauge her reaction to that. The look didn’t change much, but it did seem to get more suspicious.

“No,” she said decisively. “There’s nothing special going on.” The suspicion seemed to deepen. “Why? Do you think something is?”

Reina waved her hand dismissively. “Oh, no, of course not. I was just curious. I mean, you look like hell today, and I know you hang out with Ai a lot, who has obviously –“

“I didn’t get much sleep last night, all right?!” Risa interrupted almost angrily, surprising Reina with the force of her voice. “I swear, can’t a girl have insomnia once in awhile without…”

“I’m sorry,” Reina said quickly. “I didn’t mean to imply –“

“How about you?” The flame of suspicion was bright in her face now. “You’re the one that almost got into a fight with Ai-chan in the club and brushed me off like I was nothing when I tried to help!”

“I’m sorry about that,” Reina said quietly and quickly again. “My adrenaline was running way too high right then. I’m just glad I didn’t get in a fight with…” She trailed off as the server arrived with their bowls of ramen and laid them on the table. Each of the girls pouted quietly with their arms folded until she was done. When she left, they dug into their food and neither continued their talk.

When they were about halfway through, Reina felt herself soften a little and decided to try a different tactic, one that had seemingly worked before, if not for herself. “I know we may not be that close Nii-chan…” Risa raised her eyes slowly at that address, probably since Reina had never called her that before. “But I do care about you. I care about all the girls. If anything were to happen to one of them… I’d want to do what I could to make it better.”

She paused for a moment to see how her words were being taken. Risa slurped a noodle, still just giving her a level gaze. Her features seemed to soften up a bit though, so Reina decided to go for it. “If you know about something that might have happened, you can tell me, you know? I know I may not be the first one you think of, but… If you need any help or anything, you can tell me, okay?” Reina tried to force as much honesty as she could into her words, which was surprisingly easy. Maybe Eri really was softening her up.

Risa kept her eyes on Reina’s while chewing slowly, but when she swallowed, Reina thought she saw them become slightly moist. She stayed quiet with just an air of expectancy as Risa looked like she was struggling with something. “I…” Risa started before getting choked up. The girl really was crying now, squeezing her chopsticks together tightly. This wasn’t exactly what Reina was expecting…

Risa shook her head slowly as the tears ran down her cheeks. “No, you wouldn’t have been the first one I thought of, Reina,” she said in barely more than a whimper. “But…” She sniffed, and her voice seemed to become slightly stronger. “But right now, there really is no one I could think of.” Reina narrowed her eyes questioningly at that. Risa sniffed again. “Ever since K- Konkon and Mako-chan left, there’s only been Ai-chan really. It was great to see Konkon for a while last week, but she’s already gone back to University, and…” She lowered her head and stirred her noodles with her chopsticks. “Ai-chan’s the only one left, you know? All the senpai are gone. I was never able, or even willing, to get close to you… you guys.” Her gaze rose back to Reina, looking at her now earnestly. Reina sat there patiently, deciding it was just time to listen now.

“And Ai-chan…” Reina’s ears grew just a little more attentive… “Ai-chan has always been great and all, but in the past several months I can tell she’s been distracted by something. Maybe she took Konkon and Mako-chan’s grads harder than I thought. I dunno. But either way, it’s been harder for me to just go to her about anything… like…” Her sobbing seemed to worsen once again, and Reina offered her a napkin, which she ignored and began just staring past her at nothing, or perhaps into her own personal world. “Like last night…” she said hollowly and almost without emotion. Her eyes focused back on Reina again, and she seemed to struggle with something before saying desperately, leaning closer to her, “Oh Reina… I didn’t wake up in my room this morning.”

Reina’s eyes widened, though she didn’t speak, having no clue what to say or what the girl might be talking about. After a moment of Risa staring at her though, she was about to ask for clarification before Risa’s own eyes opened even wider and she drew back, as if she just realized something terrifying. She looked around almost frantically before turning back to Reina and saying quickly, “I’m sorry Reina. I have to go.” Reina tried to open her mouth but no words came out. “Thank you for the ramen. I just… I don’t have much appetite.” She stood up from the chair and drew her jacket and hood tighter around her, as if trying to ward off something. Or maybe she was just cold… “I’m sorry…” she said once more, and set off quickly out the door before Reina could react.

She stared after the girl for a moment, totally flabbergasted, and slightly concerned for some reason, until the server came up to her table. “Excuse me, miss. Is there anything wrong?” She looked up at the girl for a moment and stared, noticing that she couldn’t have been much older than herself. She was fairly cute, too. She might not have made a bad idol if her life had gone differently. Instead, she was a server in a ramen shop. Reina wondered which of them was luckier.

“Miss?” the girl asked once again, now looking slightly uncomfortable.

“Sorry,” Reina said quickly, breaking off her stare. “No. Everything’s fine. We’re all fine here, now.” She looked at the vacant spot across from and quivered slightly before looking back to the girl. “Yeah. I’m fine. How are you?”

The girl looked at her oddly and perhaps a little scared and worriedly before responding, “I’m… fine, thank you. Well, let one of us know if you need anything…” She scurried off, leaving Reina staring back into her bowl of noodles.

Well, if it wasn’t obvious that something was going on before, it sure was now. Except… Risa didn’t seem to know anything about Ai except that there was something… which left her exactly where she was before. Of course, there’s the other thing that was clearly disturbing Risa, but Reina wondered if it had to do with anything she was worried about, and then wondered if she even wanted to know in any case. Well, she did say that she’d be there for the girl if she needed anything… At least in this case, she didn’t want to make a liar out of herself, even if she meant something totally different when she said it.

She finished her ramen and paid before hurriedly exiting the shop, whose staff was beginning to look very nervous with what happened at her table, since she didn’t want to draw any more attention to herself than necessary.

She walked quickly down the street, looking for a taxi since she didn’t feel like walking right now. The wind was beginning to pick up and become colder, too. She should have brought a scarf. Her phone buzzed again and she ignored it. All the rest of the day’s events aside, she realized what she had to do now. She had to find Ai. Or Detective Kitamura.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 04:12:06 AM by rokun »

Offline Yuuyami

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« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2006, 10:32:18 PM »
Didn't wake up in her own room eh? I think I can predict what happened then...

Poor Mame ;_;

Let's see what action Reina takes next in the story :]

Offline rndmnwierd

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« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2006, 02:50:58 AM »
Oh Gaki-san, no more drunken nights for you.

Offline lil_hamz

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« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2006, 03:28:59 PM »
Quote from: rndmnwierd;220641
I struggled really hard not to burst into laughter at this, seeing as I'm not at home right now.


I know what you mean. I get weird looks in the library when I start laughing at the monitor :P


“Do you not like being with me?”
Oh no no, Reina likes being with you Eri, its just that with Ai's its so exciting XD

Offline jafeijai

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« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2006, 04:59:17 PM »
o.O "didn't wake up in my own room.."?!?!?! oh noes....is that what i think it means??? :cry:

Offline rokun

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« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2006, 06:09:53 AM »
Chapter 9 – Games of the Elite

Reina walked from the police station under the cover of the deepening night. The dark was sometimes a blessing since, when roaming the night, she had little to worry over someone potentially recognizing her. She tugged her long faux leather coat tighter and turned her collar against the chill wind. Not everything was perfect about the night.

As she walked from her disappointing failure, she finally dared to turn on her cell that she’d had off almost since leaving the restaurant what seemed like hours ago. Having thought the chances of Ai being snug at her home slim due to recent experiences, she had decided to head to the police station nearest the restaurant and ask about Detective Kitamura. Even though she was not at all expecting him to have worked out of that specific office, she found that he actually did. However, he didn’t happen to be in on this night.

The front desk attendant was quite curious as to why she was interested in the detective, but she just told him that he’d questioned her about a case before and that she wanted to follow-up with him a little on it. He asked her what case, but she hesitated and didn’t give a quick response. Seeing her confusion, he asked if everything was okay before quickly saying that he couldn’t give her any information on the detective without better knowing her intent. She leaned in toward him and said quietly that she didn’t want to say more in order to protect her privacy. The officer, becoming more convinced at her seriousness, explained seriously as well that anything she told him could be kept in the strictest confidence if she wished, in accordance with the law.

Reina had felt reassured at his words and began quietly telling him her name and the “case” in question. He didn’t recognize her name at first, but when she told him it involved the death of Miki Fujimoto he drew back and told her that without further proof of who she was, he couldn’t give any details whatsoever due to the sensitive public nature of the case. Apparently she wasn’t the only one who had come in lately asking about it, although she was the first young girl. She handed him her UFA ID quietly and he looked at her hard before doing a short check on his computer. After a moment, he returned her ID to her apologizing to “Miss Tanaka” and, in a very forthcoming way, told her that Detective Kitamura was out on assignment and would not be back for possibly a few days. Reina went silent at that, and after he offered her the detective’s card, she took it and left the station.

As her phone came to life and she waited for the inevitable beeps of awaiting messages, she thumbed the card around to the front of the phone and appraised it once again. The attendant said she could call the detective at any time as he was very eager to hear anything that might help clear up the Fujimoto case, but she didn’t feel brave enough to do that tonight. She returned the card to her pocket just as her phone started beeping. Waiting at a traffic light, she navigated through three messages left by Eri, ignoring them all without reading them, before finding another whose origin gave her sudden surprise enough that she didn’t even notice the light change. Opening it slowly, she found that its contents were actually quite simple:

The door’s unlocked.

She stared at the three words for a moment before closing the message and pondering on the number and the “Ai-chan” Reina had labeled it as the first night they roomed together on a tour years ago.

Reina looked up, and, as if just realizing where she was, crossed the street in the direction she hadn’t even realized she’d been taking the whole time. She found the subway and pulled her coat and hat closer when she entered the unwelcome light beneath the ground. Jumping on the Harajuku line, she stared impassively out the window at the flashing lamps and walls and stations beyond until the announcer called her stop. She disembarked and quickly walked up the stairs, taking comfort once again in the night while shielding herself from the cold.

Before long, the high-rise mansion that housed Ai’s condo jumped into view from behind closer neon-illumed sentinels of a city that never sleeps. Reina looked up to the spot high on its side where she was eventually headed before tugging her coat tighter once again and lowering her head to trudge on the last few daunting blocks. She didn’t know what it was about this night, but it was as if an aura of foreboding drew around her and enveloped her in a shadow darker than the surrounding night. She coughed a sudden laugh. You’re being silly Reina. I’ve been to visit her before. It won’t be anything new. True, she’d visited Ai before… many times in fact… but it had been months since the last time because Ai had… Risa’s words from earlier echoed through her mind. “In the past several months I can tell she’s been distracted by something…” For the first time, Reina understood exactly what she meant.

When she reached the block the mansion stood on, she walked the last meters toward the entrance. This path was nearly empty since it was set slightly back from the main walk along the street, and no one had a purpose for coming this way except the moderately wealthy and wealthier that lived there, and those people didn’t like others loitering about so close to their private lives. A few of those such denizens gave her stern glances as she passed them, though Reina only offered them lowered eyes. Having quite an eye for such things themselves, once they noticed the clothes she wore most gave her no further regard. Ai wasn’t the only young starlet to live in the Hisuitora Mansion. Reina momentarily wished she could afford a place like this. In time… she thought. She only needed to marry a cute and popular singer or actor and…

A large man brushed past her and disrupted Reina’s thoughts when she noticed the end of some sort of tattoo twisting out from beneath the cuffs of his suit. The man mumbled a brief apology, which was echoed by Reina, but what she saw in his eyes belied an astute awareness and careful noting of her features. Be that as it may however, he paid her no further mind and continued on his way past. Reina sped up slightly until she reached the guarded doors.

She didn’t recognize the doorman on duty, but gave him her name. He recognized it immediately, and after a quick check of something on his Blackberry, pushed a button and opened the door for her, bowing her in.

“Do you know which floor you require, Miss Tanaka?” he asked as she began passing through.

“Yes, thank you,” she responded politely, and the man bowed once again before closing the door firmly behind her.

Reina took no time appraising the extravagant lobby, instead heading straight for the glass elevator to one side of the center hall. After pushing the “up” button however, she did take the opportunity to gaze up between the transparent shafts of the two twin elevators to the ceiling which glimmered dozens of stories up as if bejeweled by everything imaginable that shimmered.

Her elevator dinged, and she entered along with an older woman in furs. From the look of it, the woman would be going higher than her, so she surreptitiously hit her “25” and drew back into a corner. The woman hit “37”.

After a quiet ride up, Reina reached her floor, stepped out away from the windows and started down the carpeted and well-lit hall. It was empty except for another well-dressed man, this time with a bowler hat on as well, who was lounging against a wall near the elevator. He only gave her a glance, seemingly of disinterest, but Reina quickly passed him anyway. For some reason, she felt like he in that one look had stripped her and laid her bare. The indoor climate was pleasant up here, but she pulled her coat tighter around her once again. She didn’t remember a man like that or the one outside the last time she had been here.

Slowing down, she arrived at Ai’s door and, giving one look back down the hall at the man who seemed like he could have even been sleeping on his feet, knocked lightly. A muffled voice from within that Reina could barely make out called “Come in!” and she turned the knob.

Upon entering, the first thing she noticed was the smell of something like potpourri and, seeing nobody at the entryway, closed the door and made her way down the short hall to Ai’s living room. It had furniture recessed slightly into the floor, and in one of the armchairs sat Ai herself in a thin and close-fitting gown, her legs crossed and with a face smiling warmly to the new arrival.

“I’m sorry if my mail surprised you. After last night, I thought you might want to drop by to… Well, I could’ve been mistaken.”

Reina shook her head. “No, it’s okay.” She giggled nervously a moment. “Apparently, I was already on my way to see you when I got your message. Though, I just got it a little bit ago. I had my phone off a lot of the night.” She stood just outside of the foyer, fidgeting slightly and unconsciously.

“Please.” Ai stood up and gestured to another of the chairs. “Have a seat. No need to be so formal and nervous. We’ve been friends for years, remember?”

Reina smiled nervously and nodded before attempting to walk smoothly over to take a chair. However, it wasn’t that smooth as she tripped and almost fell when stepping down into the recess. She quickly glanced up at Ai, but saw that the girl only gave a small smile before sitting down again herself.

Once Reina was finally seated and attempting to relax, Ai continued, “So you had your phone off… I suppose that makes sense, stopping by a police station and all.” Reina shot a look back up at her, suddenly quite wary once again.

Ai’s face changed from the warm smile into a concerned frown, and she bowed her head as if searching for the right words. “Reina…”

“Yeah…?”

A moment passed, and Ai looked up, showing hardness in her eyes that didn’t seem to be there before. She got up and walked over to a window, staring out into the city. Reina kept quiet, quivering between being uncomfortable and worried, having in general no clue of how to feel at the moment.

“Do you remember the first time we met?”

That was a question Reina wasn’t expecting. “Um… when the rest of the Rokkies and I came to our first Morning Musume meeting, right?” She paused a second. “I remember you were one of the first ones that came up to me. You were eager to meet all of us, but it seems that you latched onto me more than the others for some reason…”

“I knew there was talent in you, Reina.” Ai turned around to face Reina. Reina thought she saw moistness around her eyes. “I thought…” She began walking toward the chairs again. “Well, Morning Musume was different back then. We’d slipped a little, but we were still going strong. I knew…” She stopped walking. “I had a lot of ambition. It’s good to be ambitious, you know?” She broke a sort-of laugh through her tears. Apparently the effect was lost on Reina, though the mood did seem to lighten a little.

“Well, you know, being young and stupid like I was, I thought you might finally be one I could join up with and we… We could really hit the big time, you know? It’s nice and all being idols like we are, but… I thought we could have been artists.”

Reina looked up at Ai, trying to read something in her face. “What? What are you talking about?”

“So…” Ai turned and walked back to the window. “I tried to get us to room together as much as possible so I could get to know you more. I thought… I thought when the time was right, maybe when you got a bit older, you’d feel the same as me, and we could really be something.”

“Really?” Reina said, disbelief now conflicting with the other emotions she felt just being there. She got up and started walking toward the girl at the window. “…I never knew that.”

Ai nodded, still facing away from Reina. Then she turned, finding Reina standing barely a meter away, tears still in her eyes. “But then… We started to lose popularity… It got to where the only ones that really cared about us were the otaku, and there’s no way to build a singing career on that…” Reina looked hard into her eyes, trying to find a purpose. Suddenly, they became harder and looked back solidly into her own. Reina’s breath caught. “And then… Miki…” Her voice almost seemed to get as hard as her eyes.

Reina kept staring back, now dumbfounded and becoming slightly scared at the look in Ai’s face. It reminded her of… last night… She backed away a step. “Miki? Ai-chan, what… What about Miki?”

“It’s all her fault.”

There was silence for a moment before… *Slap!*

Ai kept her face to the side after Reina’s blow, not even bothering to raise a hand to it. Redness bloomed in the image of a handprint on her cheek.

This time, Reina was the one with tears in her eyes. “Miki’s… fault?” she said, sobbing, then looked up into Ai’s face. “Maybe you didn’t get to know Miki like I did, but I liked her.” Her voice gained strength as she went on. “And now… Now it’s her fault for dying?!”

Ai brought her eyes around to face the furious Reina again. “You don’t know what’s going on here, Reina.”

“I sure hope I don’t know what’s going on!” Reina almost shouted. “You… basically invite me to your home. You sweeten me up with talk about how…” She sobbed. “About how you wanted to be friends… partners with me…” She paused a moment. “You know, not long ago I would have gone crazy about that offer. I liked you. I… respected you. But now…” She paused again and looked back up firmly into Ai’s face. “Do you know I talked with Risa tonight? You seem to know everything else I’m doing.” Ai nodded slowly and unsurely. “Well, apparently something happened to her last night that… that she hadn’t told anyone. At least, not until she came to me.” Ai’s face darkened slightly. Reina tried to give her a defiant look. “Yeah. She came to me. You’re her best friend, and she came to me. She said you’ve been distracted lately and felt like you were drifting away from her.”

Ai’s face had darkened even further by this point, and tears began coming to her eyes again. “I’ve been busy lately. I haven’t had time to…”

“To do what? Be there for your best friend? Make new friends? I’m not gone you know…” She stepped a little closer to Ai. “Neither is Gaki-san. It doesn’t have to be this way…”

Ai lowered and shook her head. “It’s too late.”

“No… it’s not,” Reina said, stepping a little closer. They were now just centimeters apart. Reina felt butterflies in her chest. She was hoping her hand wasn’t too sweaty. She hesitantly took Ai’s in it and squeezed it. “It’s not too late…” With her free hand, she lightly touched Ai’s chin and slowly lifted it up until they had eye contact. Reina swallowed, leaned in, and kissed Ai’s lips. Tingles ran through her body. This was unreal. Here she was, kissing this girl, this girl who was so beautiful and so talented and so… dangerous. She tried to deepen the kiss, and finally Ai returned it. It was pure bliss for a moment until… it stopped.

Ai pulled back from Reina’s mouth and pulled her hand away too, spinning around to look out the window, leaving Reina standing there flustered for the moment. Before Reina could recover, the other girl turned back around, hardness in her face again. “We shouldn’t have done that,” she said.

“Wh… Why not?” Reina asked breathlessly.

“I didn’t want you to get involved. I was trying my best to keep you safe. But now…” She glanced sideways. “Now I think it’s too late.” Her gaze hardened even more. “Too late for everything.”

“What are you talking about?” Reina asked, now beginning to feel tired, and a little bit upset.

“Because, Reina…” Ai started. It seemed she was steeling herself for something, but Reina didn’t think it was words. “I killed Miki.”

_______________________________________

Everyone, please comment. ^^ I love hearing what you have to say about my writing, and it encourages me to write more... I know it's long, but I think if you read it, you might enjoy. ^^ I hope you will...

Offline lil_hamz

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« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2006, 07:00:33 AM »
*GASP*
*Fumbles around the keyboard trying to post my comment*
Ai-chan.....Ai .... killed Miki :ON@_@:
*gulps*
And Reina slapped the killer :ONdepressed:
OMG this chapter was like so incredibly good. The suspense is killing me if I'm not dead already. What's going on??? *music starts up* XD

Offline JFC

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« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2006, 07:04:27 AM »
:ONfrustrated: :ONfrustrated: :ONfrustrated: :ONfrustrated: :ONfrustrated:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO~!!!!

JPH!P :heart:'s Fushigidane, ChrNo, Jab & marimari. Always.

Offline Sukoshi

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« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2006, 07:14:13 AM »
Wow..that was intense and I loved every second of it!  I didn't find that chapter long at all...infact I want more :pen_angry: *so addicted*  The amount of detail and emotion in it was very impressive!

man so much happened...first thoughts...Poor Eri!!  What's with Reina kissing Ai chan!! :pencry:..argh but she's still so likeable in this story...and I appaud her for slapping Ai!

and and Ai chan!  :pen_shocked:  *just speechless at the ending*

Offline ferrar1

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« Reply #39 on: October 31, 2006, 07:32:35 AM »
Hmm another fabulously written mystery fan fic.

seems like its a transition from love -> mystery/horro fics here eh :p

4th Pic of Eri courtesy of t-motion's gallery ~ Sangokushi Taisen anyone ? http://sangokutaisen.blogspot.com/ ~ Lame attempt at a personal blog ~

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