Characters: Ninomiya Kazunari, OCs
Pairing/s: None, but suggested Nino/OC in latter parts
Summary: Three unseparable best friends meet a terrible tragedy. With each of them suffering a terrible state, will things go back to the way they were?
A/N: Originally posted: October 17, 2008
Episode 1 | one | two | three
Episode 2 | one | two | three
Episode 3 | one | two | three
Sachiko had renewed hope when she left the hospital. Her father noticed that there was already something different about her. She was smiling on the way home and was still smiling as she ate her dinner that night.
"Aren't you tired of smiling, Sachiko?" her mother asked during dinner.
"No." Sachiko answered. Her mother fed her another spoonful of rice.
Her mother just smiled and prepared the next spoonful for Sachiko. She was very pleased to see Sachiko feeling cheerful today. It's been a while since she has seen her smile. Sachiko always lit up any room she went in to. She was cheerful and positive before the accident. It was the first time after the accident that her mother saw Sachiko the way she used to be.
"Kazunari's going home tomorrow, Okaasan." she said.
"So I heard..." her mother answered.
"I'm glad." said Sachiko, smiling.
Her mother fed her another spoonful and stood up to get her some water.
"Okaasan,” said Sachiko. "Maybe I should learn how to read Braille, ne?"
"What?" her mother found this thought preposterous. "You'll be able to see again, Sachiko. What you need to do for the mean time is to learn how to go around the house on your own, and eating on your own."
Sachiko pouted stubbornly. Her mother handed her the glass and she drank everything in one breath.
I'm not sure if I want to see again.
Sachiko woke up early next morning. She took a bath and ate breakfast quickly. She was going to visit Kazunari at home. She originally planned to wake him up like she used to but nobody could take her there yet. It was already 9 in the morning when she was finally able to leave the house. Her mother walked her to Kazunari's house.
On the way there, she counted her steps. She memorized how many steps she took before she turned to another street. She wanted to be able to go to Kazunari's house any time she pleases even though she was blind. She wakes him up almost every day of her life so she knew the way to his house. She knew it by heart. Now she just had to learn span>how to get there when she can't see anything.
Kazunari studied every part of his room, every little detail. He was home. Nothing in the room seemed to remind him of anything. He went over to his bed and sat down. He looked around again. He saw his closet and decided to have a look at his clothes.
The shirts were neatly folded. Some clothes hung on plastic hangers that looked the same. There were a couple of ties on the tie rack. His socks were folded and piled on one side--black, gray, white. He closed the closet and moved to the shelf. There were a lot of books. Textbooks, novels, encyclopedias, science magazines, poetry books... He figured that perhaps he liked to read a lot.
He walked over to the table on his bedside. There was a book there too. He picked it up and scanned it. A page was bookmarked by a ticket to a show that had already passed. A picture flashed in his mind.
Sachiko was dancing. There's another girl. She looks tired. She is trying to dance like Sachiko.
Kazunari expected his head to hurt but it didn't. The vision was, however, in the usual fade in fade out effect. This time, he heard a conversation too. He didn't catch everything but he was sure that it was his voice that mentioned something about a talent show.
Someone knocked on the door.
"Kazunari..." his mother said. She noticed he seemed a bit confused. "Is everything alright?"
"Hai." he answered with a small smile. "It's good to be home, Mama."
His mother embraced him. She lovingly looked at his eyes...his soft, sad eyes. She was glad he was home even though he was more of a stranger now. Here was his son standing right in front of her, but he seemed so far away. She ruffled his hair before leaving.
Kazunari sighed. He heard someone's voice.
He went downstairs and found his mother greeting Sachiko and Sachiko's mom. He stopped halfway down the stairs and watched them.
"Ohayo!" said Haera-san.
"Ohayo!" said his mom. "It's good to see Sachiko here again. It's been a long time."
"Hai. It took a longer time for me to get here though." Sachiko smiled. "I used to do it so easily."
"She was trying to count the steps to get here!" Haera-san said as she shook her head.
Kazunari went down and joined them.
"Kazunari! I was just about to call you. " His mother said. "You have visitors."
"Yo!" greeted Sachiko. "Welcome home!"
"Arigato." he answered with a smile.
Sachiko's mother announced that she had to leave for the market and left Sachiko under the care of Kazunari's mother.
"I'll be alright, Okaasan." she said. Haera-san said her polite goodbyes and left.
"Kazunari, can you take Sachiko to the living room? I'll prepare some tea." his mother said.
"Help her go to the living room, please."
Kazunari watched his mother disappear in the kitchen. He looked at Sachiko who was just smiling and wondering what was going on.
"Are you looking at me?" she asked.
"Iie." was his quick reply.
"Yeah right." she answered. "Let's go, come on." She held out her hand for him to take.
Kazunari took her hand. She coiled her arm around his and said, "Don't let me hit any walls." He laughed. They slowly walked to the living room and Kazunari helped her sit down on the sofa.
"Arigato." she said.
"Dou itashimashite..." Kazunari said. "Are you comfortable?"
"Hai." she smiled.
Kazunari wanted to ask her about the vision that he had. Although he was told that she was his best friend, he was still a bit shy when it came to talking to her. He didn't know how to ask her questions without making her remember bitter things--and make her feel bad.
"Kazunari," she said. "Come with me."
"I have somewhere I want to go to. Come with me, okay?"
He later found himself in front of a big house. He looked at the name at the side of the house.
"Are we here?" Sachiko asked.
She gave him directions. They took a bus and walked a long way to get to that house. It was quite large. There were a lot of trees around, some were already too tall and leafy but he thought it looked a bit nice. As usual, he doesn't recall anything about the house. He doesn't remember anyone named Nobuyoshi either.
"Who lives here?" he asked Sachiko.
Sachiko tried to seem calm as Kazunari led her to the front door of Akane's house. She had only been there a few times during her friendship with Akane but she always loved coming over. Today, however, was different. Today she wasn't there to see Akane.
A helper opened the door for them and led them to the living room. Sachiko wondered if anything changed inside the house. She couldn't ask Kazunari about it because she knew he wouldn't know. And even if Kazunari had not lost his memory, she was sure he wouldn't notice any change in the house.
She sat up straight upon hearing the voice. She felt Kazunari stand up and bow. It was Nobuyoshi-san.
"Ohayo gozaimasu... We're very sorry to barge in like this." said Kazunari.
"Do you...do you know who I am?"
"Ano...Iie... Gomen nasai."
The tension rose for every second that passed as they sat silently inside the living room. Nobody said a word. Sachiko felt that she was being rude by not saying anything. She didn't understand why she couldn't even greet the man whom she was once very fond of. Each of them waited for someone to speak up first.
"Ogenki..." Sachiko finally said. "Ogenki desu ka?"
"Hai, Sachiko... Genki desu."
Everyone was quiet again.
"Gomen nasai." said Nobuyoshi-san. Sachiko's heart began to beat faster. "Forgive me..."
Sachiko felt Kazunari make a sudden movement. Something must have happened that surprised him but she didn't know what it was. She didn't hear any big movements.
"Kazunari...What's going on?"
"Nobuyoshi-san...is... He's kneeling...on the floor."
Sachiko stood up.
"Nobuyoshi-san, what are you doing? Please stand up." she told him. Her voice was trembling.
"Kazunari... Sachiko... Gomen nasai! I am sorry for the pain and trouble I have caused you."
Sachiko's breathing became heavy and her heart beat even faster.
"The weeks when you and Kazunari were unconscious...I did nothing but pray...pray that the two of you would survive. I already had my daughter's blood in my hands...My heart couldn't take it if we lost both of you too..." Nobuyoshi-san said in a deep, distressed tone. "It was my fault...If I had been paying attention to the road none of this would've happened. You wouldn't be blind... Kazunari would still have his memory...and..."
Sachiko began to sob. She clenched her fists. She was feeling everything at once. She felt angry as she remembered what happened that day...how happy they all were one minute, and how everything changed. The last scene she remembered before the accident flashed in her mind.
Their pinkies were linked. Akane looked at her and smiled. She was happy. And then her smile faded. Sachiko turned to look. Akane screamed.
Sachiko turned her head away and closed her eyes. He felt Kazunari stand up and put a hand on her shoulder.
"...and...Akane would still be alive...my daughter would still be alive!" Nobuyoshi-san wept. "Now she's gone... and I am sorry... I am so sorry..."
Sachiko covered her face. She heard her heavy heart beats. She heard herself crying. She heard Nobuyoshi-san's muffled sobs.
"I want to go to him..." she whispered.
Kazunari led her to where Nobuyoshi-san was kneeling. Sachiko knelt down and reached for him. Her hand landed on his shoulder.
"I am so...mad at you..." she started. "When I woke up...I was blind... and Akane was gone and I never got to see her again."
Sachiko clenched her fist and hit the shoulder where her hand rested before. She hit him again. And again. She hit him almost ten times. Nobuyoshi-san didn't block her fist. Neither did Kazunari.
"Gomen nasai..." Sachiko cried. "You lost her too..."
Kazunari looked silently at Sachiko as they stood outside the gate. Her face was still damp from crying. Kazunari felt bad for Nobuyoshi-san. He felt bad for Sachiko. But he felt bad mostly for himself for not remembering. He didn't think that trying to remember was just as hard as trying to forget. He was now aware of how Sachiko wanted to forget everything, and how he wanted to remember. He suddenly didn't want to try anymore. Kazunari knew that Sachiko would get hurt each time.
"Arigato..." said Sachiko.
"Arigato, Kazunari... For being with me today."
"Oh...ano... Dou itashimashite..."
Sachiko lifted a paper bag that she was holding and handed it to him. It was given by Nobuyoshi-san before they said goodbye.
"What's in it, Kazunari?" she asked. Kazunari reached inside and pulled out a camera.
"It's a camera."
"Akane's..." Sachiko said with a hint of a smile. Her eyes brightened and she held out her hand to Kazunari. "Let's go!"
Kazunari looked at her hand but he didn't take it. He looked at the camera in his hands and wondered what pictures they would see from it.
"Kazu-chan, come on!" Sachiko said as she shook her hand for him to take. Kazunari placed the camera back inside the paper bag and took Sachiko's hand. He took a few steps forward but abruptly stopped. He looked at Sachiko who was waiting for him to start walking again.
Kazunari faced her and looked at her eyes. They were red and puffy from all the crying she did. Her nose was a bit red too.
"Are you looking at me?" she asked. He didn't answer. He just looked sadly at her.
"Gomen ne..." he said.
"I'm sorry I can't remember." he said. She smiled.
"It's okay, Kazu--"
"It's not okay!"
Sachiko's eyes widened at Kazunari's sudden outburst.
"I'm sorry I'm not able to do anything to make you feel better." he said. "I know you're hurt every time you have to remember the things that I have no memory of. I don't want you to go through this."
"Baka." she said. "You're here...that's enough."
Kazunari looked at her eyes again. They were looking at nothing but the brightness that he has seen before was still there. Her eyes were still sad, but it still had life.
"We're here to help each other, ne? I have to do this even if it hurts."
"Because... you're my best friend Kazunari... and I want you to remember, much more than I want myself to forget. It's more important to me that you're here, alive. Because as long as you're here, I know I'll be okay."
"Yosh!" she said. "Let's print the pictures in the camera."
She held her hand out again and smiled brightly. Kazunari smiled and took her hand.
"I'm still here." she said, grasping his hand tighter.
"Hai." he smiled. "...and I'm still here."
go mood: sleepy