A/N: Sorry for not updating! My computer needed some repairing, summervacation came and gone... and with this thing called college life in a university a bit like Mugen... well, I just hope you guys enjoy this:
Haruka was walking down the corridor. Her classroom, which was the fourth door from the staircase, had somehow mysteriously moved to the end of the hall. As she walked, she noticed that the school was ominously empty.
She approached the door under the sign 2-C, her hand slowly reaching for the doorknob. The door, however, opened before her fingers could even wrap themselves around the circular knob. She went inside, and heard the door shut behind her. The room, too, was strangely arranged. The usual tables and chairs were all gone. Only a single brown armchair was in the middle of the room.
"Strange…" muttered the blonde. She inspected the chair from a closer distance, her head constantly tilting from one side to another.
The door had opened again, only this time it didn't shut itself and was now swinging back and forth, an annoyingly shrill creak coming from its hinges. Haruka spun around to face the newcomer, her eyes wary, only to find that there was no one.
"I thought I heard someone come in," she said to herself. She looked again at the chair, and then almost jumped back in surprise.
There was someone— a vague image of a girl —standing beside the brown chair. She seemed to have her head bowed, her hair hiding her face from view. When the girl sensed Haruka's gaze, she looked up, revealing her rage-filled eyes. Haruka was taken aback. Whatever did she do to the girl to make her mad?
"How dare you come here!" The girl cast an accusing glare at Haruka's direction. "I already said that I don't want to see you! You're so full of yourself! I—DON'T—LIKE—YOU!"
Her last words echoed through the whole school, only that it wasn't a school. It wasn't even any kind of building. It was just a room with the same background as before. It was just a room where the same brown chair was. It was just a room.
Haruka woke at a start. She was breathing heavily. Her hair was sticking to the back of her neck. Her usually loose nightshirt was clinging to her skin. Her hands were trembling as she wiped away the cold drop of perspiration just over her eyebrow. She wearily gazed at the alarm clock beside her.
Two o' clock.
She guessed that it wasn't the alarm that woke her up. She stared at the ceiling of her bedroom. On it was a picture of a single red rose protected by brown and brick red thorns. She wondered what was she dreaming of before she woke. She closed her eyes, hoping that the scene would return to her.
Slowly, images from the distant reality entered her mind… the empty room, the brown chair, the girl bellowing at her, "—so full of yourself!"… "—DON'T—LIKE—YOU!" She shook her head to clear her head. She opened her eyes and stared at the ceiling again, though she was not really looking at it.
She was thinking of the dream she just had. It wasn't the first time she'd dreamed of the room with the brown armchair. It was mostly the same except that the image of the girl did not match the one before and that she was yelling her lungs out on how much she disliked Haruka. The ones before merely talked with her nonchalantly.
"Saa…" said Haruka, clutching her right temple. Her light head was throbbing, begging for more of much needed sleep. She closed her eyes again, only this time she tried to clear her mind, but in vain. The images would not go away. They haunted her thoughts as she struggled to get more sleep. Two minutes… ten minutes… twenty minutes had passed, yet the blank darkness of sleep still did not come to her… not immediately.
Hours later, the darkened sky was now tinged with the blue of dawn. Little light was pouring in from a slightly opened window. A quiet breeze entered the room, caressing the girl's sandy hair. The sun had risen completely. Light from the outside world had now filled the bedroom. Haruka stirred slightly, groaning in protest at the sunlight's attempts to wake her up. She turned to lie on her stomach, covering her head with a pillow. At that instant, her alarm clock went off.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
She ignored it, as she wanted to stay in bed some more since the dream kept her awake for most of the crucial hours for sleep. But, unfortunately for her, she bought an annoyingly persistent alarm clock that wouldn't stop beeping.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
Growling, Haruka tried to reach for the button on the alarm clock. She stretched out her arm, but the clock was a bit far out of reach. She moved a little to the edge of her bed, her fingers almost reaching the very bothersome clock on her table when…
"…itai!" moaned Haruka. She was now lying on her back, but her legs were entangled with the covers of her bed. She struggled to free herself as her position granted her no leverage to thrust her body to a sitting position. After a few minutes of fighting with her beddings, her situation was now a bit worse since her blanket was now strangling her. Furious, she flailed her arms wildly, kicking at the bed sheets around her.
When she finally freed herself, a familiar ring tore through the air.
KRRING! KRRING! KRRING!
She went towards the phone just outside her bedroom door. The light on the answering machine blinked a few times. Haruka just stared at the ringing phone, apparently wondering whether she should pick it up or let the machine do its work. After some thought, she went for the latter.
"Gomen," drawled her recorded voice. "Either I'm not home right now, or I didn't hear the phone ringing. Please just leave your message after the beep." BLEEEEP!
"Moshimoshi, Haru-chan," said a deep male voice from the other side. "Sorry if the ringing bothered you, if you're sleeping right now. I lost track of the time over there, since it's been so long." Haruka grinned a bit sadly at the last words of the voice. "Anyway, I just called to tell you that I won't be home for quite a while. The company has been having serious problems lately. Just take care always, Haru-chan. Love you." Click!
Haruka sighed. Her father was a very busy man. Since she turned thirteen, he spent most of his time working in America, though he came home every once in a while to catch up with his only child. However, he seemed to have so much in his hands recently that he rarely came to Japan.
Haruka went back into her bedroom. She glanced at the messy heap that was her bed.
'That'd take a lot of work to clean up…' she thought as she entered her personal shower so as to prepare for the day ahead.
"… so if X squared minus Y squared is equal to one, then…" droned Nibui-sensei, the mathematics teacher. Michiru idly twiddled with a pen as she stared out the window. On any other day, she would be listening to the lecture and taking down notes. Today, however, the lesson did not seem appealing. Nothing seemed to be interesting enough to do, except staring distractedly at the sky while daydreaming of the handsome Ten'ou Haruka.
'It's strange really,' thought Michiru with a sigh. She rested her cheek on her hand. 'Strange how I was attracted to someone I've just met. Is this love at first sight? Possibly…'
"Kaiou-san," called her teacher, shaking her out of her reverie.
"Hai?" asked Michiru, a bit uncertain of what to say.
"I have a note here that says you have a play rehearsal at eleven thirty," said Nibui-sensei, glancing at the wall clock meaningfully. Michiru followed his gaze. It was eleven twenty-five.
"May I be excused?" inquired Michiru as she slowly stood up, her bag at one hand.
"Yes," answered the math teacher. As Michiru left the room, her teacher now turned his attention to the rest of the class. "Now, as I was saying…"
Michiru shut the door behind her and started to walk down the hallway. After passing a few rooms, she looked up to see the sign above her: 2-C. She gazed at the small window on the door, in hope of stealing a glance of Haruka, but the blonde was nowhere to be found.
'Ten'ou-san is probably in the auditorium already,' thought Michiru, as she headed for the staircase leading to the exit. The auditorium was just opposite her level's building.
She reached the auditorium exactly on time. When she opened the double doors, she saw all the familiar faces she was going to work with for the play, all except the one person she was really expecting to be there. She approached a fellow sophomore to inquire of the whereabouts of the one who plays Joushin Jiyuu.
"Karen-san," Michiru asked a blue-haired girl she knew from section 2-C. The girl, who had her back towards Michiru, turned around to face her friend. "Ten'ou-san wa doko desu ka?"
"Eh?" Karen made a confused look. "I don't know. I didn't see him during our Modern Japanese class."
"Do you have any idea where Ten'ou-san might be?" Michiru asked a bit eagerly, yet hoping her expression did not show the same eagerness. The blue-haired girl raised her eyebrows at Michiru's question.
"Iie," replied Karen, "Gomen ne."
Michiru sighed. 'Where could you be?' she thought as she went to look for Shinobu, the most likely person to know where Haruka was. She found him sitting at the edge of the stage as he fumbled with some papers.
"Itazura-kun," she said softly so as not to startle the other. The boy looked up from the paper work and grinned.
"Kaiou-san!" he said enthusiastically. "I was wondering when you'd come. Never thought my star had the capacity to be late for rehearsal, though. Anyway, I was thinking of a more…" Michiru glared at him for him to stop his babble. She was irritated at his unawareness of his surroundings, and especially irritated at how he neglected one of the main actors of his play. Shinobu, however, raised his eyebrows in surprise. "What! What did I do this time?"
"Are you simply unobservant or truly blind?" asked Michiru. Shinobu merely batted his eyelids, a confused and startled look on his face. Michiru rolled her eyes at him. "Let me spell it out: How could we practice without one of our actors, and a lead one at that?"
"Huh?" Shinobu looked at her blankly. It took him a few more moments before what Michiru told him registered in his thick head. "Oh… OH! Ten'ou-san… right, right, right. I was wondering when um, he'd come…"
"Does Haruka-san even know about the practice?" Michiru raised an eyebrow, though her annoyance was slowly ebbing. Shinobu suddenly appeared to be thoughtful.
"I think I asked Subarashii to take note to 2-C …" he said, "So he must have…"
"Karen-san didn't see Haruka-san in class," interrupted Michiru. "Most likely Haruka-san had cut class and gone home."
"Nah, he'd never," said Shinobu nonchalantly. "He's probably just sleeping or something. He's not the type to go home like that."
"I see," muttered Michiru as she headed to the doors, a determined expression on her face.
The bell rang, signaling the end of the morning session of classes. Most of the students rushed towards the cafeteria for a much-yearned meal. Others, however, wished to do something more worthwhile than filling their empty stomachs.
The warm wind blew over the school, ruffling the sandy blonde hair of Ten'ou Haruka. She was on the roof of her year's building. She was lying flat on her back, her eyes shut tightly. The lose of sleep the night before was taking its toll on her. Even until now, when the sun was shining brightly on her, the dark thoughts of the dream were still upon her.
'… You're so full of yourself!' echoed the bellowing voice in her head. For some reason, Haruka seemed to know that voice, but only vaguely. Like the planet Uranus, whose twin is the planet Neptune. The sky meets the sea.
"That dream…" she whispered to the passing wind, "…it wasn't the first time I had it, was it?" The wind blew harder against her skin in reply. At that moment, images from a seemingly distant past came to her mind: Images of the room with the brown chair at the center… Images of lost friends who would not be easily forgotten… of the calmness of their dream conversations… of how they shunned her in real life…
'The one who left me… The one who was not really true…' Haruka thought as her hand reached out to the sky, but never really reaching it. Her eyes still closed, she tried to remember the names of her once good friends. 'Tomoe-chan… then, Umi-chan. I wonder if a new acquaintance of mine would hate me as well.'
She lowered her hand to just above her face to shade it. Her eyes adapted to the sudden change of brightness, even under her eyelids. The darkness she saw with her eyes closed slowly swirled into a haze of colors then formed into that scene in her dream. Weirdly enough, she could make out a few things she never noticed before… the girl yelling at her… her hair was some shade of green. She concentrated harder on the picture formed in her head, focusing on the girl… a girl with green hair… a girl who had the air of maturity… or perhaps she was not a girl but a woman… Now that she thought of it, the girl in her dream, her presence seems oddly familiar… like…
A shadow fell upon her. The wind had stopped toying with her hair. That could mean one thing: someone was with her on the roof, and that person is blocking her relaxing wind. Haruka rolled her eyes under her eyelids.
"Go away. I'm trying to sleep," she drawled to the unknown person. She tried to stifle a yawn, but failed dramatically.
"Ara, so that's what you're doing?" asked an oh-so-familiar voice. "Something more important than Modern Japanese, perhaps?"
"Eh?" Haruka cracked open her right eye. A fuzzy mass of sea green had replaced the blueness of the sky. She opened her other eye, but her vision is still blurred. After blinking a few times, an angelic face swam into view. It was gazing curiously at her. Haruka's face instantly grew warm. "M-Michiru?"
"Ara, isn't that informal of you?" She raised an eyebrow at the blonde. She was scrutinizing the other's lying form, taking in every detail of the confused look painted on Haruka's face.
"G-gomen. You took me by surprise." Haruka sat up and looked at the other in the eye, even if it made her heart pound. The wind made Michiru's shoulder-length hair whip against her face, thus messing it up. Yet even in this somewhat disheveled state, Haruka still found her very captivating. Then, a question popped into the athlete's mind. "Ne, why are you here?"
"I thought you should know that we have a practice for our play," she said as she ran a hand through her hair in an attempt to make it behave, but in vain. Her hair insisted in flirting with the alluring breeze. She didn't seem to be sore with the blonde for calling her by her first name with no honorific. Actually, after she scolded the other, she acted as if it was nothing to her. "You missed the announcement because you weren't in class." She looked up to the sky, a playful grin formed on her lips. "I had to look for you all over the school." Haruka's eyes widened in astonishment. "Never thought I would find someone trying to nap here…"
"Sorry about that," muttered Haruka, looking at the other apologetically.
"Hmm? Whatever for?" asked Michiru, showing genuine confusion.
"For being a nuisance," mumbled Haruka as she stretched and stood up. "I should've been more responsible."
"It's nothing." Michiru ran her hand against her hair again, but it kept covering her face. She smiled at Haruka, despite her annoyance at the wind. "Just try not to skip classes, even if they're boring…"
"I'll try to keep that in mind."
For a few minutes, they walked in silence… dead silence… nerve-racking silence…
'Come on, stupid, TALK TO HER!' yelled a voice in Haruka's mind. Her palms were already sweaty and her face felt so warm that her vision is starting to blur.
"A-anou… Kaiou-san…" she started. Michiru looked at her.
"You can call me Michiru if you like," she said, smiling sweetly at the other.
"Michiru-san…" she began again, but for some reason, the words she wanted to say would not come out.
"…would you…" '…like to go out with me?'
"Yes?" Michiru started looking at Haruka confusedly.
"…would you like to…" 'Yes, we're getting there…'
Michiru was now staring at her curiously while awaiting the four words that would roll out of Haruka's tongue.
"…to ride home with me?" '…go ou—RIDE HOME! What the hell happened?'
"I'd love to, Ten'ou-san." Michiru was now practically beaming at the other. Haruka couldn't help grinning herself, despite her mouth's apparent malfunction.
"Please, just Haruka," she said charmingly.
More Notes: Thanks to all that reviewed! It really helped motivate me. I appreciate it a lot, but I'm lacking words and losing ideas for the middle of this story. (whacks her head with a dictionary)
I wish I could just give you guys the ending, but that wouldn't be fun without some suspense now, would it? (shrugs —— ?)
Anyway, I am sorry if my style is inconsistent, especially when I'm writing Michiru. I can't see things from her perspective correctly, probably because I'm not exactly the biggest fan of her so I suck when characterizing her. Truly sorry to Michiru fans…
By the way, I noticed that some… well, a lot, actually, of those who reviewed said that longer chapters would be nice, so I'm trying my best to lengthen this chapter and the chapters to come. hehe
Also, please note that Michiru does not refer to Haruka in male terms like "he" or "him"… just for a little fun.