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: A fic that I wrote shortly after I finished watching Yamada Taro Monogatari, because I started liking Nino then. :3. (Originally posted: September 23, 2008)
She heard the song slowly and quietly playing in her head. The words seemed to float above her, surrounding her...following her heartbeat. Her very faint hearbeat.
She couldn't move. Every part of her was in pain but she couldn't tell which was hurting more than the other. Everything was so painful that it was almost numb. She tried to open her eyes...to see what had happened...but she couldn't. She couldn't even feel her eyes.
She was certain that she was still there--barely alive, but still there nonetheless.
Where were they? What happened?
Sachiko felt herself slowly fading away.
Suddenly, she felt something. A light brush on her arm. Despite the numbness that covered her, she felt the light touch on her arm.
Hold on... Hold on...
Was it a dream? Was it her imagination? The voice was soft...too soft to be a whisper. But she heard it. Someone was telling her to stay alive.
72 HOURS EARLIER
Sachiko's steps were sure as she run along the sidewalk and turned sharply at the corner. It was as if she has run that route everyday of her life. And the truth is, she has.
Everyday after she gets ready for school, she would run three blocks to Kazunari's house and wake him up so that he won't be late. A phone call or an alarm clock was never enough for Nino to wake up. Sachiko was the only one who can get him out of bed.
Sachiko stopped in front of a little white house and looked up at the second floor window. It was Kazunari's room. The curtains were still closed just as she expected. She went inside and knocked on the door. It was Kazunari's mother who answered the door.
"Ohayou gozaimasu, Ninomiya-san!" said Sachiko cheerfully.
"Sachiko-chan..." she answered warmly. "Kazu is still in his room."
"Should I go wake him up?"
The house smelled of sweet rice balls. Sachiko saw Kazunari's father eating breakfast.
"Ohayou, Ninomiya-papa!" she bowed.
"Woh, Sachiko-chan. You're a bit early today."
"Mm." she nodded. "Kazunari-kun and I need to do something with Akane-chan before class starts. I'll go and wake him up. Sumimasen."
Sachiko headed upstairs to Kazunari's room.
"Kazu-kuuuuuuuuuuunnn!!!!" Sachiko screamed upon entering the room.
An alarmed Kazu sprang up and looked around. He pouted when he saw Sachiko.
"Haaayy Sachiko! Why do you have to be so noisy this early?!" he said before hiding under his blanket.
Sachiko went over to his bed and nudged him.
"Wake up! We're going to be late. Akane is waiting for us!"
"I don't want to wake up." he mumbled under the sheets. "Go away."
She stood at the end of the bed and felt for his feet under the sheets. Then with little effort, she pulled him out of the bed and onto the floor. Kazu didn't move and pretended to sleep.
"Oh so that's how you want it, huh?" mocked Sachiko. "Okay, okay. You wait there."
Sachiko left the room.
Peeking to check if the coast is clear, Kazunari slowly crawled back to his bed. He felt a little pain on his arm because of the fall.
"Tch. Sachiko..." he said as he shook his head.
Kazunari frantically climbed on his bed when he heard Sachiko's voice and hid under the blanket again. He waited for Sachiko to say something or to push him out of the bed but nothing happened. He slowly uncovered his head and saw Sachiko standing at the edge of the bed again.
"What are you doing there?" he asked.
Sachiko smiled and held up a pitcher of water.
"What are you going to do with that, Sachi?"
Sachiko gave him a sly grin.
"Kazu-kun... you're in highschool now you shouldn't pee in your bed!" she teased. Kazunari squinted his eyes, daring Sachiko to spill the water on his bed. "Don't think I won't do it, Kazu..."
"Let's see if you can!"
Sachiko held the pitcher over the bed. "Ninomiya-san, Kazunari-kun seems to be having some urinating problems."
"Nice try... You won't get me out of bed by telling my mother that I wet my bed."
"Ninomiya-san, I think we should take him to the hospital for a check-up..."
Kazunari's eyes widened and he quickly got off his bed. Sachiko smiled.
"Ohayou!" she said before heading out his room.
"Ohayou..." he mumbled.
Sachiko skipped happily as she ate a riceball that Ninomiya-papa gave her before they left. Ninomiya-san also prepared a packed lunch for her. Kazunari's parents were like her second mom and dad. His parents and her parents have been good friends since they were in high school. Many people thought they were related.
Kazunari walked behind the skipping Sachiko lazily.
Not far from where they were, Akane waited. She waved when she saw them approaching.
"Sachi-chan! Kazu-kun!" she called.
"Akane-chan!" Sachiko ran towards her and Kazu followed.
Akane had been their friend for 7 years. Sachiko and Kazunari had met her when her family moved to the city. Akane was the tough and brave one among the three of them. She was always ahead of things, taking charge when no one else wanted to initiate. She was always very eager to try new things and was never afraid to fail anything. Being the tallest, she was always trying to protect her friends. Many think she's not very lady-like but it doesn't bother her at all.
Sachiko was the cheerful one. She's the one who is always smiling and skipping, and making people feel comfortable. Akane always said that she was the nicest among the three of them. Sachiko is not the most spontaneous girl you've ever met, but being with Akane made her a bit brave. She would try anything if Akane would try it with her. That's how they ended up in the talent show. Akane proposed that they join it, and she agreed.
Kazunari is the shy one. He is usually not very friendly with people he doesn't know but he loosens up after getting comfortable with them. Sachiko says he is the smart one. He's the one who is always thinking, or reading, or contemplating about different things. He doesn't speak much unless he is spoken to but people always listen when he does speak. He tends to be stubborn too.
"Ohayou!" they greeted.
"Ohayou Sachi-chan, ohayo Kazu-kun."
"Sorry we're late. Kazu-kun was being difficult again." Sachiko said.
"I told you I didn't want to come!" Kazunari complained. Sachiko punched his arm.
Kazunari groaned, and Akane chuckled.
"It's okay. I wasn't waiting that long. Shall we go now?" she answered.
"Mm." nodded Sachiko.
They were going to Akane's friend's rehearsal studio. Earlier that week, they had agreed to join the talent show in the coming town festival. Akane was always very enthusiastic about performing even though she wasn't very good. Sachiko was good in dancing ballet. Kazunari can sing well and could play the piano. She decided to put the two's talent together for the show. Kazunari, however, would not allow Akane not to be in their performance so Sachiko agreed that she would teach Akane how to dance.
"It's going to be impossibly hard to teach me." Akane said. But Kazunari was persuasive. He says that it's not a complete performance unless all three of them were in it.
"Kazu-kun, there's the piano. You can try playing it while Sachi and I get ready."
Sachiko carefully put on her ballet shoes. Akane made a face and took out her extra pair of socks. Kazu was randomly pressing the keys on the piano.
"I don't have to wear ballet shoes, don't I? I hate those." she told Sachiko.
"You can wear anything you want as long as you're comfortable..." Sachiko giggled.
"Great!" she turned to Kazunari. "What are you going to play for us, Kazu?"
Kazunari's eyes grew wide.
"You did prepare something, didn't you?" Akane asked.
Seeing that Kazunari wasn't ready, Sachiko volunteered to teach Akane some dance steps first. "We need to think of a routine first," she said. Akane reluctantly agreed.
Kazunari softly practiced a piece he was making up while Sachiko and Akane thought of a dance. He would look outside the window once in a while, and then watch his friends dance. Then he would press some more keys in the piano.
"Waah! Please, no more for today!" begged Akane. "My limbs hurt!"
"Alright. We can practice some more during lunch break. And tomorrow too." said Sachiko.
"Great, great. I'm going to change and get some water."
Sachiko noticed Kazunari silently sitting by the piano--half-asleep. She walked over and sat beside him.
"Yo!" she said as she tapped his head.
"Hayy Sachiko-chan! I'm so sleepy! You shouldn't have waken me up so early." he complained.
"Haha! Kazu-kun, you're always sleepy."
"Mm. Well, that's true."
"I want to hear the piece you made." Sachiko said, pertaining to the piano piece he would do for the show.
"It's not yet finished but--"
Kazunari started playing the piece he had composed. The soft music filled the room and made Sachiko smile. By the door, Akane was standing and watching the two of them. She slowly walked to where her bag was and took out her camera. After taking their picture, Sachiko noticed her.
"Akane-chan, did you hear what Kazu-kun played?"
"Hai." she smiled. "Let's take a picture together!"
Akane sat beside Sachiko and held the camera above them so that they could all be seen inside the frame.
"Suggoi!" they said in chorus.