Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter or Gravitation. It's as simple as that.
Author's Note: It's been a long time since I updated on this fiction, but I feel the chapter turned out satisfactorily. Actually, I like the style of this one better than my other fic! It is definitely easier and more interesting to write. Is it just as good to read? Don't forget to review!
Tsubaki took a sip of her raspberry-flavored Grande Latte, stepping away from the busy doorway of the Shibuya Starbucks and blinking blearily up at the large screen above the coffee shop. It was a little after three in the afternoon, and she was dead on her feet. AIM had planned a two-day trip to Easter Island for Thursday and Friday as a great kick-off to its May program, so Tsubaki had flooed back to England early Thursday morning and joined the group of rowdy youngsters as they were about to leave.
Though there had been plenty of adult chaperones to watch over each child, all of the kids had wanted to be paired up with the 'Great Tsubaki Potter'. Both days, she had been pulled in all directions by rambunctious children eager to talk the ear off of one savior of the wizarding world. It was only a handful of hours ago that she had finally arrived back in Japan. After fighting the bright light filtering through her bedroom curtains for an hour and a half, Tsubaki had finally given up her attempt to sleep and decided to go explore instead.
Now, here she was, another hour and a half later, slowly draining a lukewarm cup of some crap that she would rather not have tried in the first place, just to keep herself awake. Tsubaki had considered watching a popular new movie she had heard great things about at one of the cinemas on Bunkamura-dori, but had quickly thought better of it. Lack of sleep and a darkened theater did not mix if you preferred not to fall asleep in public places.
Fifteen minutes later, and the sweet beverage was not fulfilling its intended purpose. With a deep groan and a rub at her aching eyes, Tsubaki turned slowly away from the large screen displaying the almost completed wave of this year's sakura blossoms across Japan. Damn! No more drunken salary men waxing poetic and singing their tone-deaf hearts out under the flowering trees, Tsubaki thought with a wry smile. She was really going to miss them.
Throwing the now empty cup in the nearest rubbish receptacle, Tsubaki decided to amble across the street and check out the Tokyu Department Store. She was getting sort of hungry, so a stop inside at one of their food stalls would be nice. Tsubaki was halfway across the busy Shibuya Crossing when she first noticed the group of older boys teasing a young child of no more than six. In a scene reminiscent of her life with the Dursleys, she watched as the older boys jabbed their fingers harshly into the smaller boy's chest, pulling at his school rucksack and laughing at him when they noticed his frightened tears.
Filled with righteous anger over the situation, Tsubaki rushed the rest of the way across the large intersection and headed in the boys' direction. There was no way that she was going to let some no-account bullies pick on a helpless young kid. Not if she could help it!
She was only a couple of feet away from the mischief makers when the obvious ringleader tore at the young boy's rucksack, yanking it from his shoulders and causing the boy to flail backwards in a bid to regain his balance. Tsubaki looked on in horror as the cute little child tumbled over the safety railing meant to keep pedestrians from entering the busy street and fell right in front of oncoming traffic.
"Look out!" Tsubaki yelled to the little boy, catching the attention of the bullies and various other bystanders. Tsubaki leapt onto the railing, one hand clutching the metal bars and the other reaching wildly out to grab the falling child. She managed to catch the boy's shirt, but his weight was too much for her to maintain her position, and so she fell over the bars along with him.
"Bloody hell!" Tsubaki muttered in terror as she watched a fast-moving vehicle race toward them. With no time to spare and the rail blocking any easy exit from the street, Tsubaki yanked the boy to his feet and shielded his body from the incoming blow, hoping to protect him from the majority of the inevitable impact.
Tsubaki could hear the screeching of the car's tires as the driver tried to stop, unable to swerve around them because of the other vehicles hemming him in, but he did not have enough room to successfully execute an emergency stop. Tsubaki clenched her eyes shut and reflexively tightened her arms around the boy, her magic instinctively snapping shut around their huddled forms to create a weak shield, when she felt the crushing blow glancing across her shoulder and flipping her around.
Neither she nor the boy were lucky enough to miss the car completely, but her magic had deflected most of the initial hit. It was after that that the two were flung into the railing behind them and the car finally came to a stop. Tsubaki and the boy both laid still, stunned from the impact, the driver bolting from the car and running over to their side.
"Shit! I'm so sorry! Are you guys all right?" he muttered nervously, his panicked eyes skimming over them and his hands clutching at his hair. Tsubaki groggily watched the male continue ranting on, her brain not quite catching the gist of his words. He might be in shock, a bemused Tsubaki contemplated, dazedly wondering if he might benefit from some relaxing yoga. What was he going on about, now? She couldn't quite remember...
"Damn! I think they're brain dead or something! Someone, help!" his nervous prattling went on, annoying Tsubaki, who could feel the beginnings of a headache coming on. The driver let out a series of nervous chuckles as he continued his fear-induced mumblings. "Oh, shit! I just ran over a kid with my car! That's gotta be, like, what? ... two life regressions backwards at least, right? ... I'm gonna get turned into a snail for sure-"
At the mention of the child, Tsubaki's thought processing kicked into high gear and her mind cleared of its previous fog. With a sharp twist of her head, she looked down at the child laying in her arms on the hard street, her widened eyes perusing his body to try to determine the extent of his injuries. He was staring stonily at the rambling driver, caught up in a daze. His head seemed to be oozing a slight trickle of blood at his hairline around the area of his right temple. Great, a head wound.
"Not good," Tsubaki muttered. Tentatively raising a hand to swipe at a wayward bang concealing her view of the wound, she sighed in relief as she realized the wound was only a scratch and the bleeding was already beginning to stop. That didn't mean the boy was in the clear, though, because he had still hit his head when they had smacked into the railing.
"Huh?" the driver stopped his mutterings when he heard Tsubaki's quiet voice speak up. "What did you say?" Tsubaki glanced up at him before clearing her aching throat and saying, "Nothing. I think I'm all right, but the boy needs some attention."
And with that, she ignored the driver and focused once more on the child. Tsubaki could tell that he was actually quite a cute little thing, even through all the scrapes and rapidly forming bruises. Slightly small for his age if she were to hazard a guess; a little on the delicate side, she figured, though she was not really familiar with the average size of Japanese children. His silky black hair fell messily all about his crown from the accident, but she could tell that it normally was quite manageable, unlike her own wavy locks.
She looked into the boy's eyes, taking note of their warm reddish-brown hints that reminded her of the color sienna - or maybe it was cinnamon? - and watched as the boy blearily looked back at her. Wait a second, Tsubaki's mind screamed. The boy was looking a little too dazed! What if something were wrong; what if he had a serious concussion or was suffering from bleeding on the brain, or something else as equally bad?
"Hey, are you all right?" Tsubaki asked, alarmed, as she watched the boy's eyes begin to flutter closed. It wasn't good after a possible head trauma to fall asleep, right? She had to make sure the boy didn't close his eyes.
"Oi, stay with me, kid!" she yelled to gain his wavering attention. The little dark-haired boy blinked up at her uncomprehendingly. She was talking in Japanese, right? Yes, Tsubaki was sure she had been. She had become used to talking in a different language; it had almost become second nature after a month of constantly talking in Japanese. She returned her attention onto the child, worried over how badly he might be hurt.
The boy continued to stare up at Tsubaki, his sienna-brown eyes dully trying to focus on her face one moment, only to lazily blink shut the next. Tsubaki was beyond worried now. She was pretty sure the kid was exhibiting symptoms of a concussion. Whether it was a major concussion or not, Tsubaki couldn't tell. And she still didn't know if he had other injuries yet.
Trying to catch the child's attention and keep him awake, she reached a finger forward and tapped it lightly against his forehead. "Come on, I need you to stay with me, all right?" she cajoled in her most upbeat voice. No use in scaring the kid, she thought. "I'm gonna ask some questions now. All you need to do is answer as best you can, yes?"
Tsubaki watched as the child's head shifted subtly in a minute nod, his eyes scrunching shut in pain at the small movement. A low distressed groan fluttered across his lips as his body tensed slightly. Tsubaki placed a gentle hand on his shoulder, hoping to comfort the boy in some small fashion as they waited for help to arrive.
"Can you talk?" she asked in her calmest voice, a warm smile fixed on her worried face.
Again, the boy nodded his head in a silent affirmative before realizing she wanted him to answer aloud. His tongue darted out to lick at his parched lips, his mouth forming the simplest reply he could think of. "Yes," he replied, his throat scratchy and his voice almost inaudible.
Tsubaki heaved a sigh of relief. "Good," she said, before briefly taking her eyes off the boy to turn around toward the milling crowd around the fallen boy. Her eyes met the gazes of several stunned bystanders, a handful of whom had cell phones in their slack hands. Useless, she thought in frustration.
"Hey," she announced hurriedly. "Someone needs to contact the police-"
A young teenage male stepped up from his place at the front of the crowd, nervously saying, "I've already done that. They are going to be here in a few minutes."
Tsubaki gave the boy a short smile of thanks. "Okay..." she paused slightly, as if wondering what to do next. "Has anyone called for an ambulance?" she questioned sharply.
A businessman in a tidy brown suit stepped forward and knelt down beside Tsubaki and the boy, laying his briefcase on the ground as he finished using his cell phone and hit the disconnect. The self-assured man met Tsubaki's worried gaze and calmly stated, "They're on their way."
With those concerns out of the way, Tsubaki turned back toward the child, who was still blinking up at her and looked about ready to fall asleep. "Oi, kid. You still with me?" she asked in a bid to keep him awake. The boy only nodded his head once more, grimacing again in pain. She needed to distract him - quickly - before he succumbed to sleep. Tsubaki cast about blindly in her head for a subject to keep the boy occupied.
"What's your name, little man?" Tsubaki inquired, intent on asking question after question if need be to keep the boy awake.
The cute little child shifted around, attempting to use his elbows to sit up. Instead, he only managed to crumble back to the ground in a heap, letting out a grunt of pain as his left arm moved to grab at his right elbow. Tsubaki quickly reached up to run a hand down his cheek in comfort, wiping away the tears gathered there and wishing there was something more she could do to ease his pain. When's the ambulance gonna get here? her mind screamed out in hopelessness. She plastered a look of calm on her face, though she wanted to cry.
"Whoa! Slow down, now. I actually want you to stay lying right where you are, all right?" she instructed him. Without giving him time to answer, Tsubaki continued, determined to find out who the child was.
"Now, can you tell me what your name is?" she asked for the second time.
The boy seemed slightly confused at the question and a bit disoriented, but he finally replied nevertheless. "Uesugi ... Uesugi Shunsuke..." he bit out through gritted teeth.
Tsubaki smiled warmly at him, her eyes crinkling slightly at the corners in her pleasure at finally knowing his name. She hoped it would help to find the boy's parents once she repeated it to the authorities.
Shunsuke wondered why this unknown lady was so happy when the both of them had just been hit by a car. It didn't seem to be very funny to him, though the more he thought about it, the funnier it became. He let out a small giggle, wincing as pain lanced through his head at the miniscule action. Now that he thought about it, the lady's smile was very pretty. It kind of reminded him of his daddy, or even Uncle Ryu-Ryu. They always smiled like that, he mused. His thoughts were dragged forcefully back to the matter at hand as the pretty lady began to talk to him again.
"All right, Shunsuke. I'm Tsubaki. I'm gonna help you. Now, I need you to tell me what hurts," the lady said in her soothing voice. Never once did the smile leave her lips. He really liked this lady, Shunsuke thought. He wasted no time in replying happily to her comments, dazedly smiling at the helpful, pretty lady as he muttered, "Everything..."
"Hmm," Tsubaki mumbled, confused about why the boy would smile while he was in so much pain. He must be hurt more than she had first assumed, she thought in terror. What was she supposed to do now? And where was that damn ambulance? Tsubaki quirked a quizzical eyebrow at the eerily smiling boy.
"Umm ... Does your head hurt?" she asked.
He nodded his head, tacking on a dreamy "Mm-hmm...".
"Okay ... and do you feel sick to your stomach?" she queried, hoping that he would answer that one negatively so she might rule out the possibility of a concussion. Instead, he answered in the affirmative, the strange not-all-there smile finally falling from his cherubic features. Shit, Tsubaki thought. The probability of the boy having a concussion was pretty much guaranteed at this point.
She cast a quick glance around, wondering why the ambulance wasn't there yet. Tsubaki gave a start as she finally took notice of the two local police officers kneeling next to her, one with his notepad open and taking copious notes. When had they gotten there, she dubiously wondered. Tsubaki took note of the third police officer at the edge of the crowd, interrogating the upset driver and some bystanders. The second police officer was in the process of opening a standard first aid kit.
She made as if to scoot over to make room for the two policemen, figuring they could handle this situation better than she was. The officer taking notes only motioned for her to stay, quietly stating, "The boy is comfortable with you. I'll just listen. Officer Sanada here will administer first aid in the meantime." As he said this last part, he gestured to the other officer beside him, who was now dabbing a bit of gauze filled with cleaning solution onto one of the boy's cuts. Tsubaki glanced from the first officer to the second, before looking back at the first officer once more and nodding her head. She promptly forgot the others and turned back toward Shunsuke.
"Hey, Shunsuke-chan? You still with me?" she questioned the tired boy, waiting to talk until he nodded in the affirmative.
"All right. I think you might have hit your head pretty hard ... " she began, halting mid-sentence as she noticed the frightened look on his face. "Now, there's no reason to be afraid of that, Shunsuke-chan. Once the ambulance gets here, they are gonna fix you right up, okay?" she cajoled.
Shunsuke blinked owlishly in her direction, his sweet voice asking, "Tsu-neechan ... how come there's three of you? Are you twins or something?"
Tsubaki faked a laugh, trying to keep Shunsuke from thinking of the pain as the second policeman applied some more cleaning solution to a larger abrasion. "Actually, Shunsuke-chan ... that would make me triplets!" she replied before sobering slightly. "No, Shunsuke-chan ... I'm not a twin. Actually, I'm an only child. How about you?" she asked for the sake of keeping the conversation going. She surreptitiously looked at Sanada-san as he got perilously close to the arm Shunsuke had clutched at earlier. If he so much as touched that arm..!
But Sanada-san moved away, blissfully unaware of the mental cursing Tsubaki was engaged in. It was at this point that Shunsuke brought her attention back to him as he replied, "Yeah. Me, too. My parents can't have kids, so I'm the only one." He paused slightly, caught up in thought. "I wish I had a twin ... or a sister at least...".
"Oh, yeah?" Tsubaki casually stated. "I always wanted a little brother, myself."
Shunsuke shook his head emphatically at that. "Nope. No little brothers! One of my friends at school has a little brother, and he says that he's a big baby and he's always getting him into trouble. I want a big sister! They can take you to the park, and they get ice cream for you, and they'll even play trucks with you sometimes!"
Tsubaki chuckled. Shunsuke seemed to be on a roll, stars dancing in his eyes as he considered the pros of having a big sister. Whether what he was saying was true or not, she wasn't sure. She'd never had a family - let alone a big sister - so she had no idea if his description of big sisters was accurate.
"I don't know, Shunsuke-chan ... baby brothers sound pretty fun to me! Think of all the milk throw-up all over you, the tug-of-war over your toys ... the crying ... the whining ... the dirty diapers!" Tsubaki listed, ticking the list off on her fingers as she went.
"Ugh!" Shunsuke shuddered, making a disgusted face and sticking his tongue out as if he was going to be sick before his expression changed abruptly into a small smile. "You're funny, Tsu-neechan!"
"Funny, huh..." she muttered, looking thoughtful. "I've never been told that! Thanks, Shunsuke-chan!"
She grinned mischievously at Shunsuke and gently ruffled his hair, mindful not to jar the boy in any way as she did so. Tsubaki subtly shifted to sit on her rear instead of kneeling next to Shunsuke's prone form. She was starting to get pretty stiff, and her body ached something fierce. She let out an unintentional groan as her body protested the movement.
It was in that moment that the ambulance finally arrived. It had probably only been a few minutes, but the wait had seemed to last forever to the worried Tsubaki. She heaved a relieved sigh as the medical staff carried a cloth stretcher from the back of the ambulance over to Shunsuke. Tsubaki turned back to give the boy the good news.
"Hey, Shunsuke-chan! The ambulance is here. They're gonna take you to the hospital and fix you right up, all right?" she stated happily, confident in Shunsuke's imminent recovery now that the medical staff were here to take over.
Shunsuke seemed to stiffen at hearing this, sucking a huge gulp of air into his lungs before hissing at the pain the action caused. Fear flooded into his impossibly large, watering eyes. Tsubaki rushed to set Shunsuke at ease, patting his uninjured arm.
"Now, now. It's nothing to be scared about, okay? They're only going to help you get better, you know..." she consoled.
Shunsuke sucked in a smaller, more even breath this time before expelling it slowly in an attempt to calm down. It worked for the most part; his body relaxed from it's stiffened state. However, it was impossible for Tsubaki to miss the fear still noticeable in the young boy's gaze and in the set of his jaw. Shunsuke opened his mouth a couple of times, as if it was too hard to say what was on his mind.
"Okay, Tsu-neechan ... but could you hold my hand, please?" he mumbled in a quivering voice. "I'll try not to be afraid..."
She just smiled gently at him, easing her larger hand into his smaller one. "Sure thing, Shunsuke-chan..." she answered.
Tsubaki continued to hold onto Shunsuke's hand, even as the ambulance staff placed him on the stretcher and into the back of the emergency vehicle. His grip tightened around her fingers as he was jostled around, and Tsubaki worried over him as his eyes clenched shut in pain.
"Nnn ... My arm ... it ... hurts!" he muttered, tears leaking from the corners of his closed eyes and down the sides of his cheeks. "Tsu-neechan ... it hurts!"
Tsubaki helplessly cooed over the suffering boy, running one of her fingers across the top of his thumb in an effort to soothe both Shunsuke and herself. "I know, Shunsuke. I know, honey. But we'll be at the hospital soon, all right?" she told him, not really aware of what she was saying, just trying to offer some comfort. "And when they're fixing you up, I'll call your parents so they can be there with us, all right?"
Shunsuke nodded his head even as he bit his lip to stifle a cry of pain. "Yeah," he choked out through a sob.
Tsubaki remained alert as she watched the emergency crew like a hawk, even though she just wanted to lay down and take a long nap. Her body felt like it was going to fall into shutdown any minute, and Tsubaki fought to keep her eyes open. She had promised Shunsuke that she would watch over him. She had to keep that promise!
It was so hard, though, she thought as she fought against sleep. Her eyes began to glaze over, occasionally blinking shut for a second before she jerked them open once again. Her body was so sore! Tsubaki just couldn't seem to focus anymore. So, it came as a total surprise when one of the emergency staff sat beside her in the ambulance and started talking to her.
"-Miss? May I help you now?" the woman asked politely, gently placing a hand on Tsubaki's arm to gain her attention. Tsubaki jerked her head up at the sudden intrusion, trying in vain to make sense of the woman's words.
"Huh?" Tsubaki managed to mutter. "Help me..?"
"Aa ... you were hurt in the accident. May I assist you now?" she clarified. "We've patched up little Shunsuke-kun as best we could until we arrive at the hospital. Now, I'd like to look you over for wounds, too. You seem to have suffered fairly large blood loss from the wound on your shoulder. Though the flow of blood has turned sluggish by now, I'd still like to take care of it, if you don't mind."
Too dazed to do much of anything else, Tsubaki submitted, muttering a disjointed, "Aa..." in reply.
"Tsu-neechan?" Shunsuke nervously muttered, sending a pleading look in Tsubaki's direction and twiddling his fingers. "Would you mind calling my parents now?"
Tsubaki bolted upright in the chair next to Shunsuke's hospital bed at the sound of Shunsuke's voice, feeling guilty for forgetting to contact the boy's parents. They must be worried sick right about now, what with Shunsuke not home yet! Tsubaki cursed the doctor on duty for making her high on painkillers. She was finding it hard to concentrate on much of anything right now, let alone having the necessary brain power to remember the promise she had made to Shunsuke.
Tsubaki moaned in discomfort at her sudden movement, bringing up a hand to gingerly prod at the bandages wrapped around her shoulder. She supposed a gash below her scapula, a dislocated shoulder, and several smaller scrapes scattered over the entirety of her body wasn't really that bad. She'd had worse after her run-ins with Death Eaters during her school years.
Poor little Shunsuke, on the other hand, had suffered a mild concussion, a broken arm, and had large bruises littering his small frame, way more than a child of six should have to deal with. Because of her less than pleasant childhood with the Dursleys, Tsubaki had hoped never to see another child suffer the way she had. While Shunsuke hadn't been beaten by his relatives like she had, Tsubaki had seen those older kids picking on the boy. His situation was a painful reminder of her own disenchanting childhood.
Now, here was little Shunsuke, laid up in some random hospital bed with some stranger, all because Tsubaki had forgotten to make a phone call to his parents like she had promised. Tsubaki cursed inwardly at herself for her unintentional error. Well, it was easily fixed! All she had to do was go make that call now.
"Sorry, Shunsuke! I completely forgot!" she said, rubbing the back of her neck and sending the boy a sheepish smile. "Forgive me?"
Shunsuke nodded his head emphatically, his engaging smile reflected in his eyes now that he knew he would be seeing his parents soon. Tsubaki stretched across the long table next to her chair, reaching for the phone and dragging it onto her lap.
"There now. All ready..." Tsubaki happily stated, looking once more toward Shunsuke, who was eagerly watching her as she placed her hand on the receiver. "So, what's your phone number?"
Shunsuke looked startled and slightly upset. He didn't know his phone number! His daddy had written it on the inside of his backpack, but his backpack had been left behind when the ambulance took him to the hospital. How was he going to tell his parents where he was now? He was just beginning to get misty-eyed when Tsubaki spoke up.
"Don't remember your number?" she asked, wearing a smile meant to calm the distressed child. "That's okay. Maybe if you tell me your parents' names, I might be able to find out the number somehow..."
Shunsuke took a deep breath, using one of his chubby hands to swipe at the tears threatening to course down his cheeks. He was really glad Tsu-neechan knew what to do. If she weren't here, he might have had to live in the hospital forever! Then he'd never get to see his parents, Uncle Tatsuha, Uncle Tohma and Auntie Mika, or even silly Uncle Ryu-Ryu ever again! Tsu-neechan was just great!
Shunsuke smiled brightly at Tsubaki, happily chanting, "Their names are Eiri and Shuichi Uesugi! But my papa writes books, and then he calls himself Eiri Yuki! My daddy, he's in a band - just like Uncle Ryu-Ryu! - and his last name used to be Shindou until he changed it when they adopted me! I didn't have a last name when I was born, 'cuz my first parents couldn't keep me, but then papa and daddy found me and took me home and named me Uesugi, too, just like them!"
Tsubaki started laughing at the breathless Shunsuke, waving her arms repeatedly in the air to gain his attention. "Hold on, there, Shunsuke-chan! I think I have what I need, except ... you wouldn't happen to know what ward you live in, would you? It might make the search a little easier..."
Shunsuke looked up at the grinning Tsubaki and yelled out, "Yeah, I do! We live in the Yoyogi neighborhood of Shibuya! It's really nice there, and we even have this park next to our house ... it's called Yoyogi Park! Papa likes to take me on walks there. He said it's where he first met Daddy! But Daddy doesn't like it when Papa tells me about that, 'cuz he says he has more than zero talent!"
"Uh ... okay ... " Tsubaki said, not quite sure what Shunsuke was talking about but not really wanting to get the child started on another long-winded answer. "So ... Shibuya, right?"
Shunsuke nodded his head, eyes squeezed shut in happiness. "Uh-huh! You gonna call Papa and Daddy now?"
"Yeah. You think you could keep quiet for a little bit while I make the call? We'll talk more after I talk to your parents, all right?" Tsubaki stated, picking up the receiver and dialing 'information' once Shunsuke agreed to her suggestion.
It only took another minute before she had been given the Uesugi's phone number, and from there she immediately gave them a ring. After several tries, though, Tsubaki regretfully had to give up, since no one seemed to be home. She couldn't even leave a message; apparently, the Uesugi family didn't have an answering machine. Tsubaki dreaded having to tell Shunsuke that she couldn't get a hold of his parents at home, but she turned to him anyway.
"Um ... Shunsuke?" Tsubaki questioned the boy, a tinge of anxiety in her voice. Shunsuke was not going to like this. "Is there someone else I could call for you? You're parents don't seem to be at home right now. Maybe they're out looking for you, huh?"
"Nope! They're out of town for this week. It's their anniversary, so they went on a vacation!" he replied. Tsubaki sweated in disbelief. They were out of town? Shunsuke knew they were out of town and still had her call home? And just who was the boy staying with, then?
"So, who's been watching you?" she asked, hoping to get another name, this one belonging to someone who was actually available. The boy bounced joyfully on the bed once, jarring his immobilized arm and aching head. He immediately clutched at his hair tightly with his remaining good arm.
"Ow, ow, ow..!" Shunsuke muttered in pain, rubbing ruefully at the new sore spot on his head and squeezing his eyes shut. After a minute, he peeked one eye open through the pain to look at Tsubaki. "Um ... well, Uncle Tohma and Auntie Mika have been watching me..." he answered through his gritted teeth.
"Here," Tsubaki said as she removed his hands from his hair and began to soothingly massage at his tender scalp, sitting on his bed for easier access. Shunsuke sighed loudly in relief as the pain faded away bit by bit. "What's Uncle Tohma and Auntie Mika's last name?"
"Seguchi. I was supposed to meet Uncle Tohma at his work after school so I could play with Uncle Ryu-Ryu for a while," he answered, almost purring as he relaxed into her side. "That feels good, Tsu-neechan..."
"He's probably out looking for you now," Tsubaki mumbled quietly, worried about finding this Seguchi fellow. She doubted Shunsuke knew his cell phone number, since the boy didn't know his own phone number, and that would be the only way to get in touch with Seguchi-san if he was out searching for Shunsuke. The only way she might be able to find a number would be to call Seguchi-san's workplace, Tsubaki supposed.
"Hey, Shunsuke," Tsubaki called out to the sleepy child.
"Hmm?" he muttered dreamily.
"Where does Uncle Tohma work, anyway? Maybe I can find someone there who can reach him," she considered, her plan hinging on Shunsuke knowing the name of his uncle's workplace. Tsubaki waited with bated breath for the boy to answer.
"Hnn...N-G Studios. It's in Shinjuku..." Shunsuke replied in a quiet voice. "Is Uncle Tohma gonna come and get me?"
"I hope so. If not, I'll just keep calling until I find someone who can. In the meantime, I'll stay right here with you, no matter what," Tsubaki reassured the tired and lonely boy. He was putting up a strong front, but Tsubaki could tell that he really wanted his family.
"N-G Studios, how may I redirect your call?" a bored voice intoned.
Tsubaki hesitated a second, looking at the notes she had scribbled on a scrap piece of paper, wanting to get the name right. "I'm looking for Seguchi Tohma. I have an urgent message to forward to him."
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but Seguchi-san is not available right now. Is there anything else I can help you with?" the receptionist monotonously replied. Tsubaki could just imagine the young woman lazily filing away at her perfectly manicured nails and glancing at the clock as she waited for her shift to be over.
"Well, I really must speak with Seguchi-san right away. Like I said, it's urgent that I find him," Tsubaki entreated, hoping to find out any information that she could use to get in touch with Shunsuke's uncle. Tsubaki was doubtful that the woman would cooperate with her and hand over a cell number, but it was worth a shot. "Is there a mobile number I could contact him at? This is an emergency..."
"I'm sorry, but it is against company policy to give out that sort of information," the receptionist droned on, not sounding sorry in the slightest. "If that is all, thank you for calling N-G Studios, and have a good n-"
"Wait! It is of the utmost importance that I contact Seguchi-san. This is about his nephew, Shunsuke," Tsubaki interrupted, worried that the receptionist was going to disconnect the call at any moment.
"I was unaware that Seguchi-san had a nephew," was the receptionist's dubious reply. "Now, I wish you a good eve-"
"No! I'm telling you ... I need to talk to Tohma Seguchi! Now, if you won't help me, at least patch me through to his office. Surely he has a secretary or someone there who knows Seguchi-san personally and will help me out!" Tsubaki testily demanded. She really hated being this pushy, but it was all for the sake of Shunsuke, she reminded herself.
The receptionist heaved an aggrieved sigh before reluctantly saying, "One moment please."
Tsubaki did a mental happy dance as she heard the other end of the line begin to ring. Sometimes, it pays to be a bitch, Tsubaki decided. However, her dance was short-lived as the line continued to ring. Tsubaki tapped her foot anxiously against the side of the mattress as she waited for someone to pick up.
"Bloody hell, pick up already!" she whispered into the receiver. She was determined to let this phone ring until someone answered the other end, even if that someone was the janitor! She sighed in frustration after what seemed like the twentieth ring. Tsubaki really was not looking forward to calling that receptionist again. The woman would probably just hang up on her after she figured out who was calling.
Tsubaki was just about to hang up and resign herself to trying the front desk again when she caught the telltale click of the other line being opened. Finally! Let's hope this conversation goes better than the last one, Tsubaki prayed...
A/N: Ta-da! Chapter 2, Complete (And hopefully a success?)! Couldn't find any Shibuya pictures with railings along the streets, but for the sake of my story, I decided to use something called 'artistic license'. All other mentions of Tokyo names and places were researched via the internet, so hopefully they are accurate. If not, let me say one thing in advance of any reviews telling me so: "Oops! My bad!". Feel free to inform me of any mistakes anyway. I always appreciate knowing when I'm wrong, even if I don't rectify the errors. That's just my laziness coming into play. Uh-huh ... Yeah, so ... ENJOY!