DUDES. Sorry!! I'm SO sorry I haven't been able to update for...I dunno...A LONG TIME!! Summer does to me you see...I got sidetracked...trying to repair my DS...and then when it was finallly repaired, I got addicted to Phoenix Wright...and Elite Beat Agents...and Kirby!! Oh, and being forced by my little cousins to watch Hi-5 and Barney...every...single...day... D:
Anyways, I won't keep you guys waiting any longer, here's the 2nd part to Chappie 18...
Disclaimer: I don't own POT, I do own my OCs, and I do have the IQ of a 4 year old now! 8D
Chapter 18 Part 2:
"Locked in…?" Tezuka repeated, just to make sure what he heard was correct. He sat up and pushed the makeshift tent of mops and brooms away, letting light coming from the small boarded-up window filter through. The tiny beams of sunlight seeped in through the cracks in the wood and settled on his lap and on the top of Mia's head.
The music behind ended in one loud finish and the crowd's equally loud applause was heard through the speaker somewhere outside.
"Y-yes…" She replied when the applause was no longer heard and replaced by a few announcements and looked up at the door, a look of worry planted on her face.
He too looked back at the door, waited a while and stood up slowly. From the corner of his eye, he saw her get up too, but before he could get up to his knees, a sharp jolt of pain cracked through his head again and the familiar feeling of vertigo happened again. He slumped back down on the floor and clutched his head.
"Se-Senpai…!" He felt her drop to the floor beside him.
"Are you okay??" He heard her exclaim, new worry present in her voice. He didn't like her getting even more worried than she was now so he quickly thought of some way to cheer her up and reassure her. He wasn't used to this but…
"Yeah, don't worry…" He tried his best to give a sincere smile, but even though he did, he felt as if he was taunting her or something. 'Why does this feel so…awkward…?' Adrenaline rushed to his cheeks and he bowed down again to hide his reddening face.
'This must be his first time in a long time…' Mia thought, seeing the embarrassment in his face as he smiled, 'At least he's giving his best…!' she smiled and looked at him, still facing down. She had to admit…it was kind of cute…She giggled.
Tezuka looked up slowly to see her laughing slightly. It relieved him so much that she wasn't or at least not as worried as before. He smiled inside as the now more frequent feeling of warmth came over him again. He sort of got used to it now…only…each time it seemed more comfortable and it made him feel dizzy at times… But one thing was for sure, smiling was easier when he was smiling to himself…
A polite noise behind him snapped him back into reality. He turned his head slightly to see through the faint light of the closet that Mia was reaching for whatever she was reaching for a while ago, only now it was just across them. A dark green shadow passed by him as she made a quick snatching action and lay whatever it was on her lap carefully. She gave a small sigh of relief and tightened her grip on the bundle of cloth before noticing his questioning gaze on both.
"Ah…! It's Kai's." she murmured, slowly remembering that the two didn't like each other that much…
"Hn." He mumbled in understanding. 'So it was Takahata's?' He thought, standing up and starting to clear out the random junk to make space. It made him wonder why he'd send her to do it instead of himself…He grumbled soft enough so she wouldn't hear and suddenly felt foolish. He just couldn't get why he was so annoyed. After all, it was just a simple favor…
"Is there anything wrong senpai?" She asked him, taking hold of a nearby box and kneeling down to stuff the fallen objects back inside.
Mia sighed and decided not to push it any further. It was obvious that he didn't want to talk about it or smile anymore. Instead, she concentrated on helping him make a little bit more space for the two of them to move around freely…to some extent. But a few moments passed and she started to feel as if the darkness was creeping about from all around her, so she started to make small talk.
"Weather's great today isn't it?"
"Really? I didn't notice."
She frowned slightly at how blunt the guy seemed to be right now and decided to change the subject.
"Nee, senpai…" She started, pushing a box into one of the shelves.
"What is it?" Tezuka asked, finishing up his side and starting to pick up the ruined equipment near Mia.
"Performer # 2, Lauren Reeves. Performing, Pachelbel's Canon." The speakers blared from outside.
"How do you suppose we should get out of here?" She asked as she gave the last remaining box to Tezuka and watched him put it on the highest part of the shelf. 'How tall is he anyway…?' she thought all of a sudden.
She watched curiously as he took a look around the closet for a while and looked back at her. Behind them, somewhere outside, the quiet wail of a violin started its prose.
"I don't see any openings…" He said thoughtfully before heading to the closet door. "Are you sure it's really locked?" He asked, walking to the door.
'Don't tell me he's going to scr—'
Without waiting for a reply, he closed his hand over the handle and pulled. It wouldn't budge. He pulled on it a little harder, twisting it this way and that until finally he heard a small click.
Mia walked up to him and looked up expectantly at him. He could see the small marks of relief and anticipation flowing back into her expression. He nodded at her and twisted the doorknob, eagerly awaiting the soft light of the corridor to flood through the doorway and into the closet.
Nothing happened. It was still locked.
He closed his eyes and frowned. He was not expecting that. He started to bang on the door, Mia stood beside and tried to help, but it was of no use. No one could hear them because of the music.
"I don't think anyone's going to come out until the performance ends." He muttered, "Unless we're lucky enough that someone steps outside and hears us…"
"But probably not." She piped up behind him rather positively. "We'll have to wait for the show to end then…"
Behind, he heard her give a small sigh of despair and looked back to see her return to the bag on the floor.
All this for that bag, he smirked to himself and sat across from her.
"That stupid girl…" Kai muttered crossly to himself as he entered one of the rooms backstage. He had just found out that he was still going to perform the last…
"There's nothing much to do right now then." He told the stage manager.
"H-Huh?" She stuttered, a small girl with freckles across her face and large rimmed glasses that seemed to slide off her nose all the time.
'Guess she isn't used to...his personality yet…' Ducky thought giving one last look at the small girl before going after Kai who already left.
"What are we going to do now Kai?"
The tall boy looked at his friend's younger brother, a dull and lifeless look in his azure eyes.
"You know…still performing last and all…shouldn't you be taking this time to practice?"
He watched his older friend look up as if he was thinking.
"Nope, don't think I need to." He said tersely after a while. With that he exited the door and headed out backstage again.
"Wait, Kai!" Ducky half-called half-whispered to his friend before running after him again.
Later on, Kai tried to go out the door leading back to the lobby to look for his bag himself, but the door was blocked by cameramen and lighting equipment that he didn't notice enter.
"Maybe 'cause you were…nervous?" Ducky laughed.
"Shut up." He snapped back. "I just want my bag."
Mia closed her eyes and pressed Kai's bag against her chest. This wasn't going to be easy, she thought. She was trapped alone with a guy she barely knew in a closet somewhere people would take forever to find…in every uncomfortable and silent second that passed in there, she felt more and more claustrophobic and lonely…and to top things off, she was scared of the dark.
'Just glad that the light is still working…' She thought, looking up weakly at the already dim light which had now burned into a small, pathetic ember. She tried to think of happy things, but each time she succeeded, the light flickered violently enough to scare her back to reality. 'I really want to get out of here…!'
'I just wish he'd start talking or something…'
All of a sudden, the light went out, and at the same time, something seemed to block out the sunlight from coming into the room. Everything was completely dark and still.
She felt as if the already eerie darkness around the room grew more mysterious and sinister with each passing second. It felt as if it was creeping all around her…
Tezuka noticed that Mia had gone quiet all of a sudden and started to wonder if every thing was alright.
"…Ishida, are you okay?" he asked cautiously, making sure she was still there.
"Ishida-san…?" He asked louder this time.
It took her a while to realize that he was calling out to her.
'Thank you senpai!' she thought. The sick feeling in her gut disappeared immediately after hearing his voice. She tried to speak, but all that came out was a small, unheard croak. 'Ah!! What...what was that?!?!?'
He shuffled around uncomfortably. He had this nagging feeling that he knew why she wasn't responding at all. It made him feel heavy to find out that that was the only reason she wasn't talking to him. He got up to his knees and started to move towards her.
All of a sudden, she felt a slight movement to her right and looked up to see her senpai sitting right beside her, the deep concern in his russet eyes were hidden in the shadows.
"Se-senpai…" she managed to whisper. She thought of saying something for a moment, but crossed it out of her mind. "Arigatou…"
He said nothing but nodded in reply and looked straight ahead at the darkness.
The heavy cloud blocking the sunlight moved on to follow its other friends in the sky, allowing a few fragile shafts of light back into the storeroom. From the corner of his eye, he saw the ghost of a relieved smile appear at the corners of her lips and saw her retreat to a more relaxed position. It took him a while before he noticed that there were small glistening tears forming at the corners of her eyes.
'But that won't happen again. I'll be here.'
Somehow, he couldn't take his eyes off her, just in case he felt she needed something again. Something bothered him…He wanted to say something…
"Ishida-san…" He started.
"Yes…?" She looked up at him curiously, her usually bright eyes misty in the pale sunbeam.
Without saying anything, he stretched his hand out and wiped away the stray tear that formed a while ago because of fright.
Mia gasped softly and looked at Tezuka, a half-surprised, half-embarrassed expression on her already-blushing face.
"It'll be okay." He told her, withdrawing his hand and looking intently at her. His usual stern features were now so gentle…and his usually intimidating eyes were now so filled with sincerity…
She felt her heart skip a beat. 'Senpai seems… a lot more open today…' She wanted to tell him…but…
She shook her head quickly and gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you…senpai…"
A while later…in a room somewhere backstage…
Ducky watched as his friend paced around the small room in what looks like to be a mixed feeling of worry and impatience, an amused grin plastered on his face.
Kai stopped and looked at the clock, then at the little boy on the stool. "Hey Ducky, I'm performing soon right?"
He watched as Kyle took out a sheet of paper from his backpack. "Thank you Mr. Snufflie~" He heard him say and clear his throat before he looked back up at his raven-haired friend.
"According to the program…and what that girl said before…I'd say….yeah." He looked at Kai and waited for him to say something.
"You'll be performing right after Mike's classical guitar! Isn't that great? You're the last performer!"
Still nothing, just that glassy stare into nothingness.
The bored blue eyes looked up at him and expected him to continue. "Is anything the matter?" Kai asked him, leaning against a ridiculously high table and resting his cheek on his hand.
"Well…just thought you'd be hyped about the performance and all," Kyle muttered as he twiddled his fingers with embarrassment, "I mean…the saying…best for last…"
He looked up at his friend again, waiting for him to do something. Moments passed and nothing happened until a startled look of realization appeared on Kai's face.
"Yes, the best for last!" He exclaimed all of a sudden.
Mia's little brother looked up, startled by the sudden outburst. "What do you mean Kai?"
"I have to give the audience the best, and the piece I chose…It's not the best at all!!"
"Huh? Wait. Don't tell me…"
A look of alien excitement appeared in Kai's face as he grinned unexpectedly and looked at Ducky.
"I think I'm going to change my piece...!"
"Now for our final performer, Takahata Kai, performing—"
Kai tapped the shoulder of the announcer and shook his head softly at him, placing a finger to his lips in a movement of silence.
The announcer was taken aback at this but nevertheless followed him and let him pass. 'I wonder what he means by this…?'
The minute he stepped onto the polished stage and into the lone spotlight, he could see the puzzled yet expectant faces of the judges in front of him. They too were probably surprised by the announcer's sudden cut.
This was it. He took a deep breath, all eyes were on him. 'Let's not keep them waiting, shall we?'
From behind the curtains, Kyle was crossing his fingers and looking as worried as can be. "I hope this works!!" he whispered.
Everything was quiet….and then the first trill was played. Quick and full of energy. The audience was blown back by his high-spirited opening. The strange anxiety he felt a few minutes ago was completely transformed into a very strong sense of vigor and exuberance.
"Strange!" One of the judges declared softly, "This isn't the piece he submitted to us!"
"Hm?" Replied the other, "You're right!"
The other two judges shushed them and gave them each an annoyed look.
"Quiet down! I'm trying to listen! This boy is really something!"
The other one nodded in agreement before turning back to the flautist on stage.
His willowy fingers jumped lithely on each key as he puffed out quick shallow breaths to match the quick beat and high pitch of the piece.
"Hey, Fuji-senpai." Momo said quiet for once, "Takahata's really good isn't he…?"
Fuji nodded, eyes closed and listening to the music.
With every crisp note played, they could feel his energy pounding on each one, animating them as they rose in majestic flight. It made the audience's hearts jump with every glittering note that twirled and pranced on the light and teasing melody.
As he finished his final note, a satisfied smirk spread across his face and he looked up at the audience, his usually cold blue eyes filled with something else this time…
Without waiting for anything else, he bowed and left the stage, giving himself a small chuckle when he heard the audience's sudden outburst of applause and cheering.
His performance made the audience's hearts soar with joy…they gave him a standing ovation. You could see the smiles and expressions of wonder on their faces…it seemed as if they had really loved it…
"Way to go Kai!" Ducky exclaimed when he finally saw him emerge from the small crowd of musicians backstage, "You were awesome!"
Kai bopped his friend's head lightly and nodded. "Hmm... It was okay I guess..."
Then the two of them sat on the chairs laid out backstage, waiting for the results.
The minute the announcements were over, Kai bid goodbye to his fellow competitors and headed outside, with Ducky trailing behind him.
The lobby was filled with people, all abuzz over the outstanding performances that they had just witnessed. Behind, through the large latticed windows, the scarlet sun was at its peak over the sparkling indigo water. The sky seemed to spread like an almost pink canvas behind the beautiful sunset.
The two of them looked carefully around the sea of people for a certain brunette, but all they could see were the different faces of the unknown background community… (Sorry. Ran out of ideas xD)
The little boy looked up worriedly at his friend. "Hey…I can't find sis anywhere…" His small hand gripped tightly at Kai's.
Kai shook his head a little and opened his mouth slightly to say something but before he could reply, a loud voice rang out from behind them.
"Takahata!" Cried the unmistakable voice of a spiky-haired teenager "Yo!!"
It was shortly followed by a small shushing sound as the two figures came closer to them.
"Remember what I told you about shouting?" They heard the familiar quiet voice say as they got closer.
Momo and Fuji appeared before them, looking slightly amazed and happy to see them.
"Congratulations on your performance Takahata-san." The brown-haired tensai said and shook hands with Kai.
"Yeah, you were awesome…too bad that you were last place…" Momo added wistfully. "Why did the judges…oh yeah." He looked at Kai sheepishly.
"Nah, it's fine." The flutist replied, an amused smile playing along the corners of his lips, "I changed my piece at the last minute…I understand the judge's decision… y'know…criteria and all…"
"But really… Your playing amazed me."
Then Momo noticed something strange.
"Hey," He started after a short pause, "I haven't seen any of the other performers around."
Sure enough, it was true. There was a large crowd in the lobby sure, but none of the crowd members included the participants in the competition. Why was Kai the only one out?
Kai noticed the puzzled expression on his face and realized what he was thinking.
"Oh." He explained, "I asked for an early leave."
The two other people's curiosity got the better of them.
"How come?" They asked almost at the same time, and ended up looking at each other, a bit surprised.
"Well…I'm kind of looking for something…" He then cleared his throat in a way that Ducky noticed seemed annoyed. "…Someone." He added almost reluctantly.
No one noticed as Fuji's eyes opened slightly in interest, a small spark of realization in them. "Could it be Little Ribbon?"
'Little Ribbon…?' Kai thought when he heard the nickname. He almost had to stop himself from laughing. Before anything could happen, he cleared his throat and replied. "Yeah, her…"
Not the reaction Fuji was hoping for. He made a mental note of that and decided to tackle it later with the two other members of the bet…
"Ah! Fuji-senpai!" Momo exclaimed, "Isn't Buchou missing as well?"
Fuji's attention shifted from Kai's uncaring reaction to the nickname to his panicking kohai.
"Hmm…come to think of it…he is, isn't he?"
"That's weird then!" The littlest member piped up at last. "Sis and Megane-nii-chan are missing… and at the same time too~!"
At Kyle's statement, the two started eyeing each other suspiciously, each of them starting to think about the bet.
"He's missing too huh?" Kai wondered aloud, his face looking slightly puzzled, but showing no alarm at all. In Fuji's opinion, he didn't seem too bothered by the fact that the two were missing and probably together by now.
"Last we saw Buchou was when he checked—"Momo started, but was cut off by Fuji's warning smile.
"He probably just got lost…" He said, his silent threat slowly fading as he faced the two other members of the party. "Well then Takahata-san, I guess we'll be leaving now; we have to look for our lost captain. "Ja!"
"Bye then!" Momo added, and with Kai's nod and Ducky's small wave, they parted ways.
Okay, that's it for now, sorry it was long...and sorry if there was anything that annoyed you in anyway...oh and if the characters were OOC...
...That's a lot of sorries. Waiiit...is that the plural form of sorry!?!? GAH. Summer, you've completely melted my brain.
Oh, and the piece Kai played? Will be revealed in the next chappie~!
Thanks for taking the time to read~! I can't say when the next chappie will be out though, you know me...but I'll try my best and post it soon!
Now if only I can get rid of this writer's block...-_-lll
-What's my username again...?? xD