Chapter One: On the Train
"I'm late. I can't be late," she muttered as she raked her fingers through her hair. Maybe, it would have been better if she had taken her mother's offer of having one the family drivers drop her off a little bit further away rather than taking the train. "She's going to kill me for being late. Stupid train! Faster!" Ignoring the looks she received, bit her lip nervously.
Just as the train pulled to a jerky halt, she accidentally released the handle she was clothing, clumsily stumbling forward. "OW!" exclaimed a male voice. She craned her neck upwards and saw that she had collided into a boy about her age.
"Sorry!" she muttered, feeling some embarrassment.
"Get off me!"
"Okay! I'm going!"
They tried to get out of each others way as the doors to the train started to close. "Wait!" she shouted. "This was my stop!"
"Mine, too, stupid!" he angrily proclaimed as the train took off again. He adjusted his skewed glasses as he glared at her. "It's your fault for running into me."
Indulging in her own childishness, she retorted, "It's your fault for getting in my way and not letting me pass!"
She would have said more, but more people had boarded the train, pushing them closer together. They were pressed up against each other for a ridiculous amount of time that they couldn't keep track of. Each looked away from each other as they blushed furiously. "Keep your hands to yourself!" she declared as she eyed him suspiciously just before the next stop.
"Like I'd try anything with an underdeveloped girl," he muttered. "OW! You stepped on my foot—"
"It was an accident," she said sweetly as the train came to the next stop. She shoved him forward with all of her might and muscled her way out of the train. The boy took the exit on the other side. She sighed as she felt the doors slid close behind her and the train took off in a whoosh. "If I ever see that boy again, I'm going kill him," she said under her breath. "Great, now Hikki's going to lecture me about being late again." She looked around her and sighed again. "I should have gotten off on the other side and take the train that's coming over there to get back to that last stop."
She looked across the street, and watched as the next train came. The boy was boarding it, not seeing her at all. "Great," she muttered, sighing again. She heard her cell phone ring. She answered it, "Sorry, Hikaru."
"You should be Reiko," said Hikaru. "I've been waiting for you. Where are you?"
"I got off on the wrong stop. The one after it."
"Really? How'd that happen?"
"I'll tell you what happened exactly."
Tachibana Masahiro checked his bag to make sure that nothing was missing. He didn't trust that girl he had ran into on the train. There was something odd about that girl. He had a lot of books and notebooks with him for his session at the test center. Even though entrance exams for college were long off still, he was after all a freshman in high school, he had to make sure that he was prepared for them. He had hopes of following his father's footsteps to Tokyo University.
He was all business just like his father. Hiro, which he preferred to be called, didn't have time for friends as he told his mother. It was true. He wanted to get into Todai on his first try just like his father. People in general, with the exception of his parents, disappointed Hiro.
His foot hurt from being stepped on. That girl had the strength of an Amazon to be able to cause that much pain and push him so hard on the train. He was sure that she left hand impressions on his chest where she pushed him. He shook his head as he pressed onward to the test center for the tutoring session.
His father had offered to have a tutor come to their apartment, but Hiro's mother had objected. She said it was better that he get out of the apartment once in a while and he could meet other students like him in a group. Hiro thought it was strange, considering that his mother had a harder time once he had started high school. She claimed that she had nothing to do once he got into high school. Hiro assumed that she would have wanted him closer to home, but he went along with whatever his parents wanted.
In about a month's time, his father had promised to get a week off to go to a spa with just the two of them for their wedding anniversary. Obviously, Hiro had no friends or anyone he would invite over to their apartment in his parents' absence, so he was going to be alone.
When he reached the school, he took his assigned seat and they started doing the drills. This was for two hours and half an hour of more test prep before going home. His life was always a series of boring tasks. In fact the most eventful thing that happened that day was running into that dumb girl on the train.
Taking the train back home, he was surprised to find both his parents already at home. His mother and father were sitting quietly in their beautifully decorated living room. His father had his arm wrapped around his mother's shoulder and she had her head against him. If his father didn't leave to go to work, Hiro could swear that his parents were physically attached to each other most of the time.
"Tadaima. Okaasan. Otousan," he greeted as he took off his shoes. He noticed that his right shoe was scuffed where the girl had stomped it with her lead foot.
"Hiro-kun," said his mother as she extracted herself from his father's side. "Ryoki, we can have dinner now. Come on."
"All right," said Ryoki gruffly. "I heard him come in, Hatsumi." He stretched himself out. He was taller than Hiro and Hatsumi. He had been doing a sudoku puzzle while his wife was reading the latest mystery/thriller novel. Ryoki smiled as he saw his son.
Hiro looked like both his parents. He had his mother's darker hair and his father's eyes. He had his hair cropped short because he didn't really want to care about making it look nice. He was still growing, but he was going to be six feet tall when he was done growing. In the apartment, there pictures of him growing up that his mother rotated regularly.
Dutifully, Hiro set the table as his mother finished the dinner. They all settled in for dinner. "So, how was the test center?" asked his mother.
"It was all right. Same as usual, Okaasan," he answered dully.
His father calmly observed, "You sound bored, Masahiro." His father insisted on calling him by his full name, claiming that he gave him his name and that was the name he intended on using. "Perhaps, you're not being challenged enough. We might have to consider another program for you."
"Ryoki," murmured Hatsumi.
"It's all right, Otousan," said Hiro. "I don't mind it. At least the other students aren't complete idiots."
"You really shouldn't judge people so harshly," chided his mother with a sigh. "Everyday, you become more and more like your father."
Ryoki asked with a raised eyebrow, "What's wrong with that?"
"Yeah? What's wrong with that?" echoed Hiro.
"Never mind," muttered Hatsumi. "Trying to reason with you both is impossible. I wish I had someone who would just side with me."
"I'm always on your side, even if you're wrong," said Ryoki. It was a good thing that Hiro didn't know that his father had often referred to his mother as being stupid so much in the past. Ryoki had at least matured enough not to call Hatsumi stupid in front of him. However, Hiro was a bit put off by his father's ability to make his mother blush so easily. He didn't even want to know what that was about.
"That's not the point," sighed Hatsumi. She decided to change topics all together. "So, have you finished the arrangements for the trip yet, Ryoki?"
"Yes, but I'm not going to tell you everything that I've got planned. I want some things to be a surprise," replied Ryoki with a glint in his eye.
Hatsumi blushed again as Hiro rolled his eyes. "Do you two want to be alone?" he demanded.
"As a matter of fact—" started Ryoki.
His wife cut him off, "No, Hiro stay and have dinner. You barely talk to anyone as it is. We hear more from teachers at your school than we do from anyone else."
Hiro scowled as he slumped in his chair. His mother was a good cook and his father reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder for an instant. He never really said why he didn't feel the need to have friends at all. He felt like he wasn't missing anything. He had the best parents in the world and a wonderful home.
Hiro was the only grandson of his father's parents. His grandmother was a mercurial woman who couldn't stand Hiro's mother, so Hiro at a very early age choose to dislike her. His grandfather had a strained relationship with his father and the two barely spoke to each other. Every birthday, Hiro received an expensive gift from them, but he still preferred his mother's family over his father's.
It would appear that his father also preferred his mother's family over his own. Hiro had quite an extensive family on his mother's side. He had two uncles and an aunt. He saw his aunt and her family often. His aunt's husband was a good friend of both Hiro's parents. His aunt had three kids. They were all brats in Hiro's eyes, but he tolerated them for his mother's sake.
"May I be dismissed?" Hiro asked after a while. "I need to study."
"Sure," agreed Hatsumi, knowing that he was already tired. "Don't stay up all night again, Hiro-kun."
"I won't," he said as he shuffled over to his room. He really wasn't going to study as he normally would have. Instead, he flopped down on his bed and went to sleep without changing his clothes.
"Well, it's getting late, Hikaru-chan," said Reiko as she looked at her cell phone. "I should call Ryu and have him pick me up."
"It's not that late, Rei-chan," said Hikaru as she pulled the tie from her hair. She was a traditional Japanese beauty. Her hair was long and straight and she was more developed than Reiko. She actually looked like a woman whereas Reiko ruefully compared herself to a middle school student. "You were late anyway, so you might as well make it up to me."
"I have to go home. My father is actually going to come home early tonight," said Reiko. "I don't get my whole family together all that much, you know."
"If that were true, then you'd have your oldest brother from New York in," pointed out Hikaru. "You are the worst rich girl I've ever seen, you know."
Reiko smiled and shrugged. "What can I say? I'm a no-brand girl like my mother." It was true. Despite coming from one of the wealthiest families in the world, Reiko didn't have the trappings of wealth. She wore the plainest designer clothes that she was allowed to get away with. Her father had had a fit when he found out that she had sold off some of her Gucci shoes to pay for a class trip rather than asking him for the money.
Reiko looked like her mother. She had her mother's big brown eyes and her brown hair. She didn't wear it down and kept it pinned up almost all of the time. She was small but was a bit taller than her mother.
Hikaru, in contrast, came from a common family. Reiko met Hikaru when she was separated from her mother during a shopping trip. The two became quick friends when they were five years old. Reiko's mother encouraged the friendship and they were never separated since then. Even though, Hikaru had never been to Reiko's house. Strangely, Nishikado-sensei, Hikaru's father, didn't permit it.
So, Reiko spent most of her free time in Hikaru's family's clinic. In fact, Reiko had spent so much time at the clinic that Nishikado-sensei had hired her as a receptionist to help out Hikaru. However, today was a day off for both girls.
Reiko's phone rang and she announced, "It's Ryu. I have to answer." She answered, "Oniichan, I'm ready. Okay, you'll be here in fifteen minutes? Great. I'll see you soon." Reiko got up from the steps, urging Hikaru, "Come on, let's go and meet him."
"No, your brother's an idiot. It's a good thing he's not the oldest son otherwise your family business would be screwed," said Hikaru mildly.
Reiko exclaimed, "Ryu isn't an idiot!" She paused and shrugged before adding, "Most of the time."
The girls giggled as a tall man, thin man with dark hair and glasses came up from behind them. "Good evening, girls," he greet. Reiko stood up and respectfully bowed at him.
"Tousan," said Hikaru with a smile. Most of the time Hikaru seemed rather cold to most people and so serious, but around her family she softened up a bit. "Reiko's not staying for dinner. Her brother's coming to pick her up."
"That's a shame," said Nishikado-sensei. "Give my regards to your family. Hikaru will stay with you until your brother arrives. I'll be inside."
Reiko knew that Nishikado-sensei was the older brother of one of her father's oldest friends, but he had asked her not to tell Hikaru about it, so she said nothing. It wasn't that big of a secret, but she wanted to know why Nishikado-sensei wasn't talking to his family. Reiko didn't press for anymore information.
The only thing that she really knew was from her mother. Her mother said that the oldest Nishikado brother, the heir apparent, decided that he wanted to be a doctor and not a tea master. Her mother didn't know the reason why either, so Reiko left it alone.
In less than fifteen minutes, Reiko's brother Ryuichi pulled up in his black sports Lexus. Hikaru and her said their goodbyes and she got into his car. Ryuichi was the spitting image of their father with his curls and his body was built just like their father's. He got out of the car and even went as far as to open the door for Reiko as Hikaru waved goodbye.
"Oniichan, how's your day going?" asked Reiko.
Ryuichi shrugged, "I can't complain. So, you think that Papa has something planned for us? I haven't heard from Oniisan in a while."
"Neither have I," admitted Reiko, "but it's busy in New York and he's always missing the time zones and everything. But I get regular emails from him."
"So do I," said Reiko. She sighed, missing her brother for being so far away from home. In less than an hour, they pulled into the family driveway. Their mother was waiting for them and she grinned at them. Reiko got out of the car and went up to her. "Mama, you didn't have to wait out here."
"So how is Hikaru and her family?" asked her mother. "Wait, I'll be right back. I need to make sure your father gets off the video conference."
"She's all right and so her family," answered Reiko as her mother walked away. Her brother walked by her and sniffed the air around her. "What's wrong, Oniichan?"
"You smell like cologne," answered Ryuichi.
Reiko smelled herself and shook her head, "No, I don't smell anything."
"You smell like a boy," observed Ryuichi as he peered at her. "Have you been cozying up with Sora?"
"No! I wouldn't go out with that otaku," declared Reiko as her face turned red. "And I haven't been cozying up with anyone and if you imply anything in front of Papa, I'll kill you."
"Why does our family go to the death threats so quickly?" asked Ryuichi. "Besides, I wouldn't be stupid enough to say anything to Papa about this. He'll have some kind of coronary." He continued to walk inside as Reiko tried to figure out what he was smelling. He could have very well be screwing around with her as he always did.
Reiko remembered the boy from the train. They were pressed up against each other for what seemed like forever. She remembered his uniform. It was from the Kaisei Academy. It was at the same level as Eitoku, but only the top students could attend it. Eitoku was the type of place where someone could pay their way in. In Reiko's case, she was going there because she was her father's daughter.
"Reiko-chan," called her father from the door. She could see him smiling at her. "How long are you going to be standing out in the dark?"
"I'm coming," she shouted back as she ran up to him. He gave her a firm embrace, which wasn't typical for most parents.
Doumiyouji Tsukasa was one of the most powerful men in Japan. He loved his daughter especially because she so strongly resembled his wife and she was also the baby of the family, having been born so late. Both her parents considered her a surprise by the gods.
Tsukasa's wife, Tsukushi, swore that Reiko had her father wrapped around her little finger from the moment she was born and it was true. He released her and asked her, "So how's my second favorite girl doing?"
"All right, Papa," replied Reiko, knowing full well that her father's favorite girl was her mother. With that, Reiko forgot all about the boy and the train.
The next morning, Hiro left his apartment early to make his way to school. He grabbed a quick breakfast before saying goodbye to his parents and taking off for school. He was running a bit later than he would have wanted to. He had to get to the train station. It was rush hour.
Everyone in all of Tokyo seemed to be crammed into the trains. There were other kids like him in uniform. Only more people piled in as the minutes seemed to grow into what felt like hours. He was pushed so far into the middle of the train that his back collided into someone else's. "Watch it!" he yelled.
"Sorry, there are too many people on this train," said a familiar voice. "Wait a sec…"
His eyes widened as they turned around to face each other.
In unison they declared, "YOU!"
The train came to a screeching halt as it came to its next stop. Reiko fell forward, surprising Hiro as other people stepped off the train. No one was behind him to break their fall as they crashed onto the dirty floor.
AN: It seemed like this was a natural match up. Both manga take place in Tokyo and there are plenty more similarities, i.e., strong willed guys, models with ulterior motives, and class differences. The next chapter will have less scene swipes as Reiko and Hiro come together. They're going to be spending time with each other whether they want to or not. Let me know if you want more. For more information please look up my journal.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the character from Hana Yori Dango or Hot Gimmick. Please use this story with my permission.