Author's Note: Please be reminded that the sequel for this fic was now posted. It was entitled Torment:Requite. If you have time and wanted to refresh your memory, please read this before reading the sequel. Oh! And this chapter is edited! Thank you!

Warning:OOC-ness and grammatical errors. No one had wanted to beta-read me so I hope this will still be understandable for you guys.

Disclaimer:Nope, Nodame Cantabile is not mine.


A headache was forming and Shinichi pulled his reading glasses off his eyes to pinch the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. He looked at the clock. It reads one forty-five in the morning, meaning he had been working non-stop for four hours.

Because of tiredness, he inclined his body and leaned his pounding head over the back of his swivel chair. He closed his eyes trying to relax but his mind still wonders to the recent event he had encountered that day, and that memory made him restless…

"Chiaki-kun!" Theo called while running toward him and waving some papers in his hand.

Shinichi looked at his direction for a minute before returning his attention to the work on hand. He didn't need to ask what brought Theo there because likely, he will tell him whatever he needed to inform him before he even ask.

"Chiaki-kun." Theo called again once he was in front of him, a little breathless from running.

"Yes Theo?" Shinichi replied still focusing on his work.

"I've got this invitation for Roux-Marlet!" he exclaimed.

Shinichi might not looked like interested but he is genuinely pleased that the Orchestra was recently receiving large number of invitations, a clear sign that they were establishing a rather good status. "Really?" he asked, "from whom?"

Theo smiled. "The NHK Symphony Orchestra!" he exclaimed obviously excited. "They are planning to present the Roux-Marlet in Japan. Obviously, classical music is becoming a great interest for Japanese. I think it will be a great opportunity!"

Shinichi felt something tug on the strings of his memories that were painfully pushing him to remind someone. Concealing his act, he turned his back to Theo to pick a book from the shelves.

"Yes. That will be a great opportunity." He commented sounding blunt. "You should reply to them. Tell them we agree."

If Shinichi's reply is a little too plain for Theo's hearing, he didn't comment about it. After all, Shinichi had the right to be as plain as he wanted to, especially after Theo tells him the next news.

"Also, the contract said that we should have a concerto with one of their prominent pianist." Theo continued.

Shinichi noted that Theo's voice somehow turned from cheery and excited to small and hesitant. Carefully, he looked at the young man and noticed that he was tugging his collar and not looking at his direction.

Curiosity rose so he set his book and papers on his table and turned to face him with one brow rising.

"Really? Who?" Shinichi repeated his question from earlier, but this time, the interest is genuine.

Theo looked at him and blushed. If he hadn't known better, Shinichi thought he heard him squeak. He didn't mind it though, what he needed was the answer to suffice his curiosity.

"It's… It was Noda Megumi."

Shinichi bite his lips to hold back a groan. He never expected that a fateful thing like this will actually come to his life. Destiny and fate should happen to wishful thinkers that believed, not with people like him that were rational. But why is this really happening?

His arm came across his eyes. No matter how much he think that this will be alright, that he had moved on and his meeting with her will be nothing, he knew that he was just fooling himself. So many things had not been settled when they separated, a bitter and full of pain separation.

Especially in Nodame's part.

Grunting once more, he sat up straight, put his reading glass on and pulled his laptop in front of him.

He opens the internet browser and positions his hands on the keyboard to type, but finding himself not being able to move his fingers. He was still very hesitant.

For the past four years, he had never heard anything about Nodame or rather, he avoided himself to know or hear anything about her even though she was haunting his dreams some times. Maybe guilty was still living with him for these past years.

Yes, maybe.

Taking a deep breath, Shinichi let his fingers slide over the keyboard to type that nostalgic name.

Noda Megumi.

The results are plenty and good percentage of it came from articles and blogs describing how great of a pianist she is. He never had the slightest idea that she is this popular in Japan now.

For a minute, Shinichi stay stunned. He can't believe his eyes especially the competitions she had won if not first place then at least the second.

She had won the Hamamatsu International Competition, the 7th Ahorn Piano Competition, the International Tchaikovsky Piano Competition and the International Chopin Piano Competition.

Shinichi was amazed with the competitions she had won and the remarks she got from fans and critics. Nodame really had excelled a lot.

He had read every article, blog post and news there is about her like an avid fan but he stopped at one web page of a fan's blog where there are compilations of Nodame's recent pictures.

No matter how much Shinichi told himself that he had moved on, his eyes are betraying him because he can't take his eyes off the image of her.

To say that Nodame had change is an understatement. She didn't change; she became a new person, almost unrecognizable.

Her plump figure reduced to a more fit body. The curves she had before are emphasized more and there's an impression that her confidence had boosted in such a way he never thought she will comprise.

Her face had matured as well. It became more narrowed and pointed but if anything, she became more beautiful. Although most of her features screamed maturity, her eyes remained as innocent as he remembered. The combination was stunningly perfect but he didn't know why it feels empty looking at her like this.

Clicking another picture – the one with her recent piano concerto -, Shinichi leaned his face closer to the laptop and put his chin under his hand. For a long time, he just looked at her photograph and that nagging empty feeling increase its burden in his mind.

Her usual pout when playing piano is no longer there –as per his conclusion upon stumbling in numerous photographs in competitions and concertos- and she no longer smile like the way she did, a toothy grin. It was replaced with a demure close-lips smile.

It was so Un-Nodame like.

Sighing, Shinichi closed his laptop and decided that it will be all for the night. He removed his eye glasses once again and turned off the lights to get ready for bed.

After doing his task, he plopped himself over his bed and wait for sleep to come.

Unfortunately, sleep wasn't coming although his body and mind were so tired. Apparently, the images of Nodame are keeping him awake.

Shinichi stay still, thinking, reminiscing, remembering. He hasn't done this for the past years but this time is different. He had agreed to the invitation of NHK, meaning he had agreed to have a concerto with Nodame.

God! How many times did she dream of it happening before? What will she feel now that they will perform together?

The Golden Pair.

It is happening too fast and Shinichi didn't have anytime to back pedal.

"Maybe if you refuse the invitation then you won't be caught in this web again…"a small part of his mind said.

Shinichi's jaw hardened and he grit his teeth. It was true, he did have a choice but obviously, he didn't took that approach.

Sighing once more, Shinichi rubbed his eyes wanting desperately for sleep to overcome him. When finally he can feel himself surrendering to the sweet slumber, Shinichi's mind told him one thing and he can't hide the fact that he is strongly agreeing with it.

I just want to see her again…

Again, the sequel was ready! See yah there!