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03 July 2009 @ 07:09 pm
Akai Ito - Two  
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Title: Akai Ito
Characters: Sho Sakurai, Ninomiya Kazunari, OCs
Pairings: Sho/OC, Nino/OC
Status: Ongoing
A/N: Yeah, I finished this chapter earlier than expected. It's also longer than expected since the muse attacked again. I'm not complaining though. In case it would cause confusion, every chapter of this fic starts with a flashback. Comments are &hearts (Originally posted: February 17, 2009)

Previous Chapter: One

“What’s going on, Okaasan?” Hanako asked worriedly as soon as she reached her mother.

She just got home from school and saw an ambulance in front of the Sakurais’ house. She saw Sho's mother on a stretcher that was being carried into the hospital vehicle. She looked at her mother again and waited for an answer.

“She had a heart attack while gardening.” The voice of Hanako's mother was trembling and her eyes were moist with tears. “It was a good thing I saw her before it’s too late.”

They just watched in silence as the ambulance sped past them. Hanako was about to ask her mother if their neighbor's son and husband already knew about what happened to her when her father emerged from their house.

“I just called Shin-san. He said he would go straight to the hospital.” His voice was firm and assuring. Somehow, it made Hanako feel better when he came. She thought her mother felt the same way.

Her parents walked back into the house together while she was left outside to close the gate. It was at that moment that she saw Sho walking towards their house with a bored expression. It was quite obvious that he didn’t know about the incident yet.

“Senpai!” she called to him.

Sho stopped in his tracks and turned to Hanako. It seemed as if he was in a bad mood. Normally, it would have been harder for her to try to talk to him, but this time it’s different.

“Ano... your mother, she was rushed to the hospital earlier,” she said in urgency as she opened the gate and run to him.

“What?” His expression instantly changed into worry when he heard that. “What happened to her?”

“Okaasan said she had a heart attack. Otousan had called your father already.”

He just stood there in silence. Hanako thought he was really shocked by what happened. His mother, after all, didn’t show signs of being sick.

“Senpai! I think you have to hurry and go there.”

Sho looked at her, and she saw the fear in his eyes. A lot of people had viewed him as a wicked son for always causing his parents trouble, but at that moment, she saw his concern for his mother.

“Thank you for telling me.”

Hanako shook her head.

“Just go. You need to be there.”

He nodded and started to run. Hanako was watching his retreating figure when she suddenly had an idea and hurriedly ran back to their house. She spotted her bike parked by the garage. She noticed how much her hands were shaking as she took it. She rode the bike and tried to catch up with him.

“Senpai!” she yelled trying to make him stop. He was running so fast. “Senpai, wait!”

Sho suddenly stopped and waited for Hanako to reach him. As soon as she did, she got off the bike and placed his bandaged hand on the handle.

“You can use my bike to get there faster,” she said with a smile as he gave her a bewildered look. “It’s for the umbrella last week. We’re even now.”

His features softened when he gave me a weak smile in return.

“Arigatou gozaimasu, Yoshida-san!” He quickly got onto the bike and left for the hospital.

That was the first time he called her by her name. She just stood there and watched until he was out of sight. When he turned to the direction of the hospital, she closed her eyes and folded her hands together. She hoped that he would get there on time.


***

“Are you really alright?” he asked her again, disrupting her thoughts.

“Uh, yeah, I-I guess,” Hanako answered. It was only at that moment that she felt how cold it was.

Sho looked up to the sky. It was evident that the rain won’t stop any time soon. She avoided his eyes after she recognized who he was. She still wondered why of all the people she knew, he had to be the one to see her in that state. If only she could instantly disappear in front of him....

“Ano.... Is your house nearby or do you have to get to the station?” he suddenly asked. “I could drop you off somewhere, just tell me.”

Hanako was still in a daze so she just nodded and told him where her apartment is. It was within walking distance so he offered to walk her home. He even offered his coat to her.

“It’s been what... six years already?” Sho asked as they started to walk. “You really changed a lot.”

You are the one who changed. I didn’t recognize you at all earlier,” she replied with a weak smile. “I didn’t know that you are in this area.”

“Oh, I just transferred here last month. Where I came from, it was really hard to find a daycare for my son.”

She was about to say “Oh, I see,” when every word he said started to sink in.

Did he just say “son”?

“Eh?” Hanako stopped walking and turned to him to see if he was just fooling around.

“I knew you’d be shocked.” He started chuckling, which was so unlike him. Or at least the Sakurai-senpai whom she knew before. “I got married four years ago, and I have a four-year-old son. It’s up to you if you’ll believe me or not.”

“Six years can really change a person,” she said with a sigh as they started to walk again. “So who’s the lucky woman?”

“She was my first friend here in Tokyo,” he answered. “But she already passed away. Two years ago.”

She bit her lip and thought that she shouldn’t have asked.

“I’m sorry to hear about that.”

The rain poured down harder, but there were still a lot of people walking on the streets.

“This kind of feels nostalgic, don’t you think?” he suddenly said after the awkward silence. “How’s your friends? Shimizu-san and Nakahara-kun?”

She was quite surprised when he asked about Daichi and Natsumi. She was glad that he did though because that steered them away from the topic earlier.

“They’re doing good. Natsumi and I are sharing an apartment. Daichi-kun just moved in next door the other day.”

“Still close after all these years, eh?” He looked up at building where her apartment is. “This is it, right?”

Hanako nodded and bowed in gratitude.

“Thank you very much, Senpai,” she said as she returned his coat. “I’m really sorry for all the trouble.”

“That’s nothing,” he replied. “I wouldn’t force you to tell me what was wrong. I just hope things will be better.”

She felt like crying again, but fought back the tears.

“Ah, we could all get together sometime,” she said to change the topic. She took out a piece of paper from her bag and started to jot down her number. She handed it to him, and he also handed her his calling card.

“That’s a great idea. Take care then, Yoshida-san.”

Hanako stepped into the entrance and then turned to wave goodbye to him. Sho waved back and started to walk away.

When she got to the apartment, she just knocked, since she knew that Natsumi was home at that time. While waiting for her to get to the door, she realized that she was still holding her senpai's calling card.

“No way!” she suddenly said loudly to herself.

***

“It’s really him, huh,” Daichi said, breaking the long silence.

Hanako might not have passed for the job, but she thought it felt good to be back inside the clean, warm apartment with her friends. They had just finished eating the food Daichi and Natsumi prepared. She told them about her encounter with Sho. His calling card was lying in the middle of the table, and they were all staring at it.

“We were even teasing Hana-chan about him,” Natsumi said with a giggle. “Who would believe that he’s working in the same company as... our neighbor?”

Hanako opened her mouth to speak, but she suddenly sneezed. It was the third since she got into the apartment. She guessed she had been in the cold for too long.

“Sorry about that,” she quickly said. “Well, I guess it’s good that his life changed for the better.”

They all nodded and continued to stare at the card.

“Hana-chan,” Daichi said again after a long silence. “What’s your plan now?”

She sighed and gave them a weak smile.

“Continue doing what I’m doing, of course,” Hanako answered. She glanced at the clock and stood up from the chair. “I guess I’ll take a rest first. This cold might get worse.”

“Go ahead.” Natsumi also stood up to gather the plates. “We’ll take care of everything here.”

“Arigatou!”

She just opened the door to her room when someone suddenly entered the apartment.

“I knew it! What are you still doing here?” Kazunari rushed into the kitchen and glared at Daichi. “I told you to be ready by three!”

Daichi ran to Kazunari and suddenly bowed in apology.

“Gomen nasai,” Daichi said apologetically. “I forgot about the time.”

“How troublesome,” his roommate said as he massaged his right temple. “Get yourself ready in less than ten minutes. It wasn’t easy to get those tickets, you know?”

Daichi nodded and hurried out of the apartment. Natsumi and Hanako were quite shocked at their neighbor’s sudden outburst that they were not able to react right away to his intrusion.

“I know Daichi-kun was wrong there, but that doesn’t give you the right to suddenly enter our apartment,” Natsumi said, crossing here arms in front of her chest. Hanako thought that was a good thing since there were forks and knives lying within her hands’ reach.

“Sorry. I almost forgot about that,” he just replied absently. He sat on a chair and lit a cigarette. Hanako thought Natsumi was about to tell him off when he suddenly picked up Sho’s calling card and read it. “You know this bastard?”

Hanako walked over to him and saw the look of disgust on his face. It reminded her of the time they had dinner together, and he talked about the new guy in his company whom he despised. There was a possibility that he was talking about her old neighbor.

“An old friend,” she answered shortly.

He was about to say something, but Natsumi suddenly snatched away the cigarette and the card from his hands. She handed Hanako the card and threw away the cigarette.

“I didn’t give you the permission to smoke here,” she said angrily. “You could leave now that Daichi-kun’s back in your apartment.”

“Tsk. You’re so noisy.” He rubbed his ear and stood up. “I was just trying to remember something... Ah... yeah, do not forget about Saturday night. I cancelled a date just for that.”

“Of course, we won’t forget about it,” Hanako quickly answered when she saw Natsumi clench her fists. “If that’s all, you can go now, Ninomiya-san.”

He nodded and left afterwards. As soon as she heard the door close, Hanako was able to breathe normally again.

“The nerve of that... Argh!” Natsumi quickly picked up the plates and dumped them into the sink. She took a deep breath and then turned to her friend with a smile. “You can go and rest now, Hana-chan. The Devil’s gone.”

“Hai, hai,” she chuckled and walked into her room.

***

“Oh, so you watched that play the other night.”

Hanako tried to sound interested as Daichi kept on talking about Kazunari and the stuff they did together for the past few days. She thought he looks up to that stingy and arrogant man too much that it wasn’t healthy anymore. She wished she had a job already so she wouldn’t have to endure that every day.

“And he’s not stingy at all as Na-chan had said,” he went on defensively. “He paid for our dinner on my first day here, and he also paid for the tickets to the play.”

She was pondering on whether to tell him those were probably complementary when her mobile phone suddenly rang.

“Moshi moshi?”

“Yoshida-san?”

“Ah, Senpai!” Hanako found herself standing up, as if he was really in front of her. “Uh, what made you call?” She tried to sound nonchalant as she sat down again.

“Oh, did I disturb—”

“Not at all!”

“Okay, well.... I was supposed to meet someone here in a restaurant for lunch, but the meeting was suddenly cancelled. I know it’s sudden, but I’m wondering if you, Shimizu-san and Nakahara-kun could join me for lunch.”

Hanako and Daichi were just munching on cheese sandwiches then because they were too lazy to make anything. He was already smiling expectantly at her when he overheard the invitation for lunch.

“Um, sure. But it’s only Daichi-kun and I because Natsumi’s still at work,” she answered after kicking Daichi’s shin. “Which restaurant is it, anyway?”

“The Italian restaurant near the university,” he answered. “You know that, right?”

“Yes. We’ll be there in ten minutes.” She watched in amusement as Daichi started to clear the table and fix himself. “We’ll see you then.”

***

“This just came at the right time, ne?” Daichi said as he skipped happily on the sidewalk.

Hanako didn’t reply and just continued to walk in silence. It was obvious now how Kazunari’s attitude was rubbing off on him.

“So lucky! Free food!” he continued to say while skipping.

“He didn’t say it was his treat,” she replied exasperatedly.

He looked at her as if she had lost her mind and then wrapped an arm around her shoulder.

“Hana-chan, let’s always think positively, okay?”

She just sighed and rolled down her eyes. She thought that they should really invite him to their apartment more often. It had only been a few days, but now he’s starting to act like his roommate.

“Here we are,” Hanako announced when they reached the restaurant. “I want you to behave now and mind your manners. I won’t hesitate to kick you again.”

“Hai, hai,” Daichi said excitedly, his arm still around her shoulders.

She knew that the restaurant was a bit classy for them, but it didn’t feel really awkward when they got in. The staff was really nice though they were just in casual wear.

“Hello, nice to see you again!” Sho stood up and greeted them. “Ah, is this Nakahara-kun now?”

“N-nice to see you again, Senpai,” he said with a slight bow.

Daichi seemed suddenly shy. He was probably surprised at how much his senpai had changed.

“Let’s all sit down,” Sho said after the greetings. “Well, it’s my treat today since I haven’t been able to meet someone from our town for a long time.”

They had a nice lunch with him. She thought it was quite strange because it seemed as if they were old friends who had not seen each other for a long time. He was indeed someone whom they had known from the past, but they weren’t exactly very close friends.

“Ah, Ninomiya-san, of course I know him,” he answered after Daichi asked about his roommate. “He’s one of the best in our company.”

“He really is a great guy, isn’t he, Senpai?” Daichi said enthusiastically. “I really wish I could be like him.”

“I remember that you’re the brightest in your class back then. You can surely make it.”

Hanako kept herself from cracking up when she saw Daichi look at Sho the way that he looks at Kazunari. She wished Natsumi was with them to see it.

“I’ll definitely do my best!” Daichi said nodding his head.

“You—” Sho’s mobile phone suddenly rang. He quickly looked at it and gave them an apologetic look. “Excuse me.”

He left the table and took the call. Daichi was still on a high so Hanako half-listened to him and reacted when she thought she was expected to react. After a while, their senpai walked back to the table. There was something different about him. She was about to ask what was wrong when he spoke.

“I’m sorry, but I have to leave now,” he said apologetically. “I had sudden business to attend to.”

“Oh, that’s alright, Senpai. We thank you very much for inviting us,” Hanako replied.

She and Daichi stood up and bowed in gratitude. He settled the bill, and they all left the restaurant together.

“Well, I hope to see you again. I hope Shimizu-san could join us next time,” he said with a smile when he was about to get into his car.

“We could plan something for next time, Senpai!” Daichi said excitedly. “Take care!”

He nodded and waved goodbye to them. He immediately got into his car and drove away. Daichi and Hanako stood there and watched the blue car until it finally turned into a street and disappeared.

“Now I think I understand,” Daichi said out of nowhere.

“Huh?”

“I think you were the only one brave enough to talk to him before. I now understand why.” He patted his stomach and turned to the direction of the apartment. “I guess I ate too much. Let’s walk for a bit, Hana-chan.”

Hanako was thinking of getting back home, but she thought it wasn’t a bad idea.

“Alright. Let’s go.”

***

“No, everything’s unplanned! I just can’t—”

“Hanako. Relax.”

Natsumi placed both of her hands on her shoulder. They both took deep breaths, and after a while, the shaking of Hanako's hands and knees was gone.

She thought it all started the previous night when Kazunari dropped by and suddenly told her about a job opening in his friend’s company. Hanako was quite hesitant, but he insisted that the chance might not come again. Because of that, she was up early that Friday morning. She was shaking the whole time, and she couldn’t even eat breakfast.

“I’m scared,” she told Natsumi honestly. “I can’t even think clearly now.”

Natsumi’s grip on her shoulders tightened.

“Now’s not the time to act like this, Hana-chan. As he had said....”

“This chance might not come again,” Hanako finished for her. She found herself chuckling over the fact that her friend's starting to quote the most unlikely person now.

“I think you’re back to your old self.” Natsumi released her shoulders and pushed her to the door. “Show them what you’ve got, okay?”

“I’ll try,” Hanako said, trying to smile as the unnerving feeling in her stomach intensified. She was almost out of the door when she turned to her friend again. “Ano, Natsumi. Cook curry for dinner, okay? No matter what, I want to eat the curry you make.”

Natsumi laughed and nodded.

“Daichi and I will make extra special curry for you then,” she replied. “Gambatte!”

Hanako threw out her arms in the air and yelled, “Gambarimasu!”

***

Hanako felt like collapsing as she walked up the stairs to her apartment. She had never felt that drained in her whole life. The smell of curry wafted out into the corridor, and it somehow gave her strength to drag her feet to the apartment door.

“Tadaima,” she said flatly when she opened the door and stepped into the genkan.

She kicked off her shoes and trudged to the living room. Natsumi and Daichi were already there, and they had expectant looks on their faces.

“How was it?” Natsumi asked with concern.

There was silence as Hanako threw her bag in a corner and collapsed onto the sofa.

“I got a job,” she said in disbelief as she stared into space. “Finally.”

Another long pause followed as the reality sunk in.

“Hontou?” they both said happily as they ran to her.

Hanako nodded slowly. She was still in a daze because she wasn’t expecting to be accepted in the company that Kazunari recommended. It wasn’t planned at all, and then it was given to her when least expected.

“Ah!” she suddenly screamed when she was reminded of Saturday night. “I couldn’t come tomorrow because I’ll probably still be at work until nine.”

“Eh? On your first day?” Natsumi said in disappointment.

“Well, I can’t really complain, can I?” Hanako replied as her friends both sat beside her. “I guess Ninomiya-san would understand. Besides, it was because of him that I have a full-time job now.”

“He surely would!” Daichi said gleefully. “Now, let’s all just celebrate, shall we?”

She stood up and shook her head.

“Unfortunately, I have to prepare for tomorrow,” Hanako said with a frown. “Let’s just celebrate on Sunday. I wouldn’t have work then.”

“That’s okay,” Natsumi said with a smile. “We’re just happy that you finally got a job.”

“Well, let’s just have dinner then,” Daichi said, rubbing his stomach. “I’m starving!”

***

“What do you mean you can’t come?” Natsumi wished there was a way for her to pull Daichi by the ear to the movie theater.

“I’m really sorry, Na-chan. My girlfriend came out of her way to visit me here—”

“Okay, fine.” She tried to keep a straight face as a few passers-by started to look at her. “But you owe me one for this, Daichi.”

“Hai! Enjoy the movie!” Daichi hung up after that.

Natsumi wanted to scream and curse Daichi into oblivion, but she knew that he was watching. She spun around and found Kazunari smirking at her.

“Well, it seems Daichi couldn’t come, too,” she said. “Let’s go home now.”

“Huh?” he looked at her as if she had grown a second head. “What are you talking about? We’re already here. We might as well watch the movie.”

“But—”

“I’ll be paying for everything, even dinner. Those two will surely regret not coming.”

Natsumi wanted to oppose, but he suddenly took her hand and almost dragged her to the ticket booth. As he had promised, he really paid for the tickets. He even brought a lot of snacks for the two of them. In the four years she had known him, she knew how stingy he was. The first time she saw her pay for dinner was during Daichi’s first day in Tokyo.

She realized that he was still holding her hand when they entered the movie theater. She wanted to pull her hand away, but his grip was firm. He guided them through the semi-darkness until they found their seats.

“Ah, gomen.”

He released her hand when they were already seated. She was thankful that it was a bit dark because she felt her cheeks warm up. She also knew he doesn’t apologize, but this week, it was the second time he had apologized to her.

What the hell is going on?

She tried to get her mind off of it and just focused on the movie as it started. While watching though, she found herself laughing with him or agreeing with his remarks. She even continued having a conversation with him about the movie while they were walking out of the cinema.

“I wouldn’t mind watching this one again,” Kazunari said with a satisfied smile.

“Same here,” Natsumi agreed.

“So... where would you like to have dinner?” he suddenly asked.

It seemed to have brought Natsumi back to her senses. She thought it wouldn’t be wise to spend more time with him. Just then though, she was reminded that he was going to pay for dinner. She thought she could just annoy him by ordering a lot if he did something irritating again.

“Oi, Shimizu, answer when you’re being asked.”

“Ah... I feel like having Italian right now.”

To say that she was shocked when he brought her to an expensive Italian restaurant, was an understatement.

“Ano... are you sure we’re eating here?” she asked a little uneasily as he perused the menu.

“You asked for Italian,” he answered shortly. He seemed to have decided on what to order so he placed the menu back on the table. “Don’t tell me you changed your mind now that we’re here.”

She quickly shook her head, and tried to focus on the menu instead. After they placed their orders, an uncomfortable silence surrounded them. Natsumi didn’t want to be the first to speak, so she remained quiet. After a while, Kazunari cleared his throat.

“You haven’t dated in a while, have you, Shimizu?”

“Huh? What are you on about again?” Natsumi felt like slapping him there, but she was able to control herself.

He shook his head and chuckled.

“Why do I always have to make you angry for you to talk to me?”

“Eh?”

“Look, we were able to talk normally earlier, right?” he said rather seriously now. “Why can’t we always talk that way?”

Because you are a stingy and arrogant bastard who couldn’t control his mouth.

“And why should we?” she asked back, raising an eyebrow.

“We are neighbors, after all,” he replied, talking to her as if she was a three year-old. “And...”

“And?”

He looked suddenly uncomfortable. He was about to speak again, but their orders came. There was silence again when they started eating. Neither one of them initiated a conversation. They also didn’t talk as they walked home. It was only when they were in front of the apartment building that Kazunari spoke again.

“Couldn’t things change?” he suddenly asked.

Natsumi was taken aback by the sudden question. She thought things could still change if he would change. Maybe if she would also change.

She turned to him and shrugged.

“Let’s try to change it then,” he said with a weak smile. Natsumi thought he was better to look at without the arrogant smirk on his otherwise gentle face. “Let’s both try.”

“Why?” she found herself asking.

“Because I want to!” He frowned and started to walk into the building. “If you don’t want to, that’s fine.”

He was already a few feet away from where she was when she gave her answer.

“Let’s do it then. It’ll be quite a challenge.”

He stopped on his tracks and turned to her.

“Are you sure? There’s no turning back after this.”

She walked towards him and smiled.

“Yes. I’m sure.”

***

“Going home?” Sasaki Toshi asked as Hanako gathered her things.

It was only her third day at work and so far, so good. She was having fun, and everyone had been kind, patient and helpful, so she couldn’t really say anything wrong about the job.

She smiled at Toshi and nodded. He was her only co-worker who’s around her age, so they were the ones who talked most of the time.

“Ito-san and I are going to eat ramen, want to join us?” he asked again.

She was about to say that it’s okay when her mobile phone rang. She excused herself and answered the call. She thought it was quite unexpected for Sho to call her that day.

“Moshi moshi? Senpai?”

“Yoshida-san, I’m sorry for suddenly calling.” Hanako could sense the desperation in his voice so she knew that there was something wrong. “Are you going home from work now?”

“Yeah,” she answered. “Is there something wrong?”

There was a long pause before he was able to answer that question.

“Uh, how should I say it.... Could I ask you for a favor?” he asked.

“Well, that depends on what the favor would be,” she chuckled. “If I could do it then I would.”

She heard shuffling of papers and a sigh.

“We had some problems with a client, and I couldn’t leave till this is fixed,” he said. “There’s no one to pick up Shoichi from daycare. I know you are busy, but right now, you’re the only one I know who could probably help me.”

Had it been another person, Hanako might have said no. However, she knew that Sho just moved back to Tokyo, and it must be true that she's the only one he had known long enough to trust with his child.

“Sure. I think I can do that,” she replied. In her mind, she was already thinking about how she's going to deal with this kid. She didn’t have much experience dealing with children, and she hoped it wouldn’t be too difficult. “So where exactly is the daycare?”

Hanako quickly jotted down the address when Sho gave it to her.

“I’d just call them and also talk to Shoichi.” He seemed less troubled now. “Don’t worry, he’s a good kid.”

“Just leave it to me, Senpai,” she said, trying to sound confident about it.

“Thank you so much, Yoshida-san,” he said. It sounded like he was smiling. “I’ll just pick him up later at your place. Just call if there will be any problems.”

“Okay. I will see you later. Good luck.”

She said goodbye afterwards and stared at the address scribbled on a piece of paper. This would be the first time they’ll meet, and this kid has to come home with her for a while. She really hoped there wouldn’t be any problems.

***

Hanako declined Toshi’s invitation and went straight to the daycare. On her way there, she saw some children in uniforms walking home with their parents. She knew then that she was already close.

When she finally got there, she saw only a few kids left who were waiting for someone to pick them up. She instantly saw a boy who looked a lot like Sho. She walked towards the entrance to get the attention of one of the staff and ask about Shoichi. It was when she overheard what the children were talking about.

“Shoichi doesn’t have a mother,” a plump boy said to the two other children.

“I do have one!” Shoichi said in defense.

“How come we haven’t seen her?” a pretty young girl with curly hair asked.

“W-well, she’s busy,” Shoichi lied. “You’ll see her soon.”

Hanako felt sorry for him when the children started to tell him what a liar he was. She thought it wasn’t his fault that he lost his mother at such a young age.

“Ah, are you the one who’ll pick up Shoichi-kun today?” a woman suddenly asked her.

She turned to the middle-aged woman and nodded. The teacher called the boy and told him that someone had come to pick him up. She thought it was quite unnerving as the boy stared at her. Hanako just tried to smile and at least look friendly. The least that she wanted right now is for him to be scared of her.

It really surprised her when he suddenly smiled back. Hanako felt like something was wrong with that smile though. That feeling was proven true when he turned to his friends.

“See? My mother came to pick me up today.” He turned to her again and waved. All she could do was wave back and fake a smile while the other kids looked at her as if trying to see right through her.

“You’re lying,” Hanako heard the plump boy said.

“I’m not,” Shoichi said confidently as they all walked to Hanako's direction. “You can ask for her name if you want.”

One of the girls politely asked for her first name, so she gave it.

“See? Her name is Hanako. That’s the name of my mother.” Shoichi had a triumphant smile on his face. He looked up at her and took her hand. “Mama, these are my friends.”

Mama?

Hanako couldn’t even remember the names of the other children because her mind was spinning at that moment. A part of her wanted to play along with it, while another part of her regretted being in that daycare in the first place.

“Ano, Shoichi-kun, say goodbye to them now,” she said while trying to smile.

He nodded and waved goodbye to his friends. She tried to walk as quickly as she could away from that place. Surprisingly, the boy was able to match her pace just fine. After walking two blocks, he suddenly stopped. She also did and turned to him with an inquiring look.

“You are not... someone who’s going to be my Mama, right?” he asked.

Hanako shook her head.

“I’m just one of his old friends. I guess your father has told you about me, right?”

He nodded in response. The boy was still holding her hand, but the confident look on his face was now gone.

“I’m really sorry.” He frowned and bowed his head. “They had always teased me that I don’t have a mother.”

She bent down beside him and saw that he was crying. It was really awkward how all of these had to happen the day they first met.

“I forgive you now,” she said as she wiped his tears. “Anyway, we’re going to my house today first. Your father will pick you up later.”

He nodded again and gave her a teary smile.

“Arigatou, Hanako-neechan.”

Hanako adjusted his hat and patted his head. They continued to walk to her apartment in a slower pace now. On their way there, she noticed how she was getting strange looks from other people. She guessed some were assuming that this boy was her child. She bowed her head in case someone she knew suddenly sees her. She wasn’t really in the mood to explain.

What have I gotten myself into?
 
 
 
the_trishness: Nino :3the_trishness on July 3rd, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
Well, I stumbled into this fic while randomly browsing and let me please say that I LOVE IT!!

I really enjoy your writing style and character development. :3.
I'm also super into the story, hehe.

Please continue the amazing work!! :3

*is super anxious about the rest of the story*
adriennelouise: shoadriennelouise on July 5th, 2009 02:12 am (UTC)
Hello! I'm soooo happy that you love the fic. I'll try my best to have the third chapter edited and posted by next week. Thanks for reading and commenting! ^_^
the_trishness: Fangirlingthe_trishness on July 5th, 2009 08:03 am (UTC)
*SQUEEEE*

Can't wait, can't wait! <3