Chapter One


4/6 Monday
Late Night

On a train ride to a city in Japan –Iwatodai- a teen boy stared out the window listening to his music through his head phones. His MP3 player hung around his neck, glowing brightly from its light. His older sister leaned against the door next to him, arms folded, head down, eyes closed in deep thought. Her dirty blonde hair nearly covered her face, but she ignored it. She opened her dark green empty eyes and looked to her brother.

"Minato, our stop is almost here."

Minato Arisato –a 17 year old junior- looked to his older sister with his light gray eyes. He nodded, making his dark blue short hair move with his head. His sister, Tomoko Arisato –an 18 year old senior- looked back down and closed her eyes.

"We'll be starting our new life here." She thought to herself. "For best of my brother and I, I hope we can actually have a normal life. We can finally claim a place called home."

"Attention passengers; we sincerely apologize in any convince caused by the delay. Next stop is Iwatodai." A voice rang over the loud speaker.

The train stopped, as the doors opened. Minato and Tomoko were the only two people. It was entirely empty; in the train and the station. They stopped, and looked around. Tomoko took out a folded up piece of paper, unfolded it, and looked it. It had the school information they would be attending and the dorms they were temporarily staying at. Tomoko had it arranged until she found –or bought- a home for them to live in permanently. Tomoko is the kind of sister that only cares for her brother, despite the fact he's not a kid anymore. He still looks up to her and loves her though, and always lets her do her thing. He never feels bothered about her love and protection over him, but has that laid back –calm, cool, and collected- quiet side on him.

Minato glanced at the paper, then at a clock above them. It was about to strike midnight. She noticed his gaze and looked to.

"Damn, midnight already? Let's hurry before we get there at two in the morning." Minato nodded. Just as they were about to continue, an eerie feeling came to the both of them.

"Huh?" Minato questioned, noticing his MP3 player went off, along with other techs around them. The moon glowed yelled, as everything around them was creepy green with some blood blotches on` the ground.

"What the hell? What kind of creepy place is this?" Minato looked from his no longer working MP3 player."Iwatodai; maybe I should've chosen Inaba. They have weird scenery here." She shrugged the feeling off. "Let's go. The dorms aren't the far from here."

He nodded, "Alright, Sis."

He followed his leading sister, also shrugging the feeling off. As they walked, Tomoko ignored the stuff and scenery she zoomed by. Tomoko ignored the moon color, the blood, and green looks of the city. She even ignored the coffins, thinking they were just for decoration. Minato looked at them, but still caught up with his sister's speed. When they stopped, they looked up at the building of the dorms.

"Well, until I get our own home, this is where we'll be staying." Said Tomoko, and they walked inside.

When they entered, the room was pretty big. Lights managed to work here, and there was no blood or coffins in the room. Minato tampered with his MP3 player, wanting it to work again. Tomoko rolled her eyes as she looked around, toward the –what looked like- a dinning or eating room. Where a table stood in the middle and there were multiple chairs surrounding it. Minato was still by the door, doing something else –writing the contract- in silence. Tomoko pondered, looking around. "There was supposed to be someone else here." She turned and walked back to her brother, who had his headphones now off.

"Hm, she isn't here. Let's just-" Suddenly, the lights went out and everything was green lighted again. "Here too?" Tomoko wondered. "Who's there?"

They turned, seeing a light brown haired girl in pink come out of the darkness. "Ah, finally. Hey could you…" Tomoko noticed something wasn't right with this girl.

She was shaking and panting heavily. The two noticed a gun strapped to her right leg. Her hand was about to grab it, Tomoko stood by her brother.

"Takeba wait!"

She stopped and turned, seeing a long dark red brown haired girl who seemed Tomoko's age. The green eeriness went away, the lights came on, and the four could hear Minato's music back on blasting for all to hear. The older one smiled, looking at the three with her dark brown eyes. Tomoko smiled seeing the girl, as she and the one in pink walked up to the siblings.

"I wasn't expecting you'd arrive so late." She shook hands with Tomoko.

"It's good to meet you in person, Misturu." Greeted Tomoko.

She turned and shook hands with Tomoko's brother. "I'm Misturu Korijo. I'm one of the students who live in this dorm." Minato nodded, and put his hands back in his pockets. "You sister called me and when I heard the story, I right away got everything ready for you and her."

Tomoko smiled at Mitsuru. "I can't thank you enough. This is until I am able to buy a home for us, of course."

She looked to Tomoko. "Think nothing of it. It's pretty dangerous here without a proper safe home."

The one in pink was really confused. "…Who are they?"

The three looked at her. "This is Minato and Tomoko Arisato. They're transfer students. It was a last minute decision to assign them here."

Tomoko spoke up. "We won't be here long. Once I'm done high school, I'm buying a house for me and my brother."

The one in pink seemed nervous and looked to Misturu. "Is it alright for them to be here?"

Tomoko raised a brow at that, feeling insulted. Misturu smirked. "I guess we'll see…" They looked back at the siblings. "This is Yukari Takeba. She'll be a junior this spring, just like you." She said, referring to Minato. "This is his older sister, Tomoko. She'll be a senior like me."

"Oh, another Senpai." Yukari joked. "Hey, nice to meet someone that's in my grade."

Minato nodded. "Nice to meet you."

"Y-yeah…" She nodded and finally smiled. "Nice to meet you, too…"

"It's getting late, so you should get your rest." Said Mitsuru, and looked to Minato. "Your room is on the second floor, at the end of the hallway. Your things should already be there." She glanced at Yukari. "Takeba, show him to his room? I'll take Tomoko to her room."

Then she looked to Tomoko. "Your room is the first on the left. Your things should be there as well."

Yukari was dazing, but looked up. "Oh…" She turned to Minato. "I'll show you the way. Follow me."


As Yukari led Minato to his room, Mitsuru led Tomoko to her room. "Oh, thankfully it won't be hard to memorize." Tomoko laughed.

Mitsuru smiled. "Takeba's and mine are right on the other side. If you need anything don't hesitate to ask."

She nodded. "Right." Tomoko gazed at the steps to down at the boy dorm rooms. "Will my brother be alright down there? Are there any other boys here?"

Mitsuru felt the concern in Tomoko, she gave an assuring smile. "Don't worry, the other boy that lives here is a senior like you and I."

She looked up at Mitsuru. "Oh, I didn't know that. So you think we'll be in the same class?"

The redhead laughed lightly. "Who knows? If it does happen, you'll meet him tomorrow."

Tomoko nodded. "Well, you probably need your rest. And don't worry; your brother is in safe hands."

Before Tomoko could answer back, Misturu went to her room. Tomoko sighed and entered her own room.

Tomoko didn't really want to sleep. She fixed her room up to make it feel more home like. Even though she forgot what it's like to have a home. She got her bed made and put her clothing away. She got ready for bed pretty late; she'll probably be tired the next day. Before going to sleep, she put a photo in a frame and placed it on the table. It was of her family, both her and her brother's parents with them. They were only kids when it was taken, Minato barely remembers those days.


4/7 Tuesday
Early Morning

Tomoko woke up to a knocking on her door. She got up, and answered it, rubbing her tired eyes. She was still tired from being later than she should've last night.

"Hm? ...What's up?" She asked, tiredly.

"I'm sorry, but school starts soon, and if we don't hurry-" She recognized the female voice from last night.

"Oh, Yukari."

"Yeah, Misturu-Senpai told me to take you and Minato with me to school."

Tomoko nodded and gave out a yawn. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'll get dress and meet you down stairs."

Yukari nodded, and Tomoko shut the door. Tomoko didn't like the idea of wearing a skirt. She was one to do her own thing. So, she managed to get a male senior uniform just her size. So, when she put it on, it was a long sleeved collar with a ribbon tie. She had black pants and black heel shoes. She looked at herself in the mirror, making sure her curves were shown so she wouldn't be mistaken as a male student.

"Yes, this will do very nicely."

She grabbed her brown school bag and ran down stairs. She met up with Yukari and Minato at the front door.

"I'm here. Sorry for nearly sleeping in."

Yukari was taken back by Tomoko's outfit. "Tomo-Senpai, your uniform!"

Tomoko grinned. "Yeah, I wasn't happy with the skirt, even though it was long."

When Tomoko and Minato arrive, she was in a shirt with a jacket and pants and her shoes, not her uniform.

Yukari looked to Minato. "Are you fine by this?"

Tomoko gave a hidden glare at Yukari. "Since when is she the fashion police?"

Minato gave a shrug. "Sis is always wearing guy clothing. But she makes sure her curves are shown to not be mistaken by the opposite gender." He explained calmly.

Yukari gave a look to Tomoko, who was grinning again.

She took them to the train station that would take them to the island they're school was on. Yukari took them to where they're lockers were, right in front of the entrance. She turned to the siblings. "You both okay from here, right?"

Tomoko nodded. "I got a map of the school, so I know where the rooms are."

She nodded and continued. "You should go see your homeroom teachers first." A smile was sent their way. "And that concludes the tour. Do you have any questions before I go?"

"No, not really." Minato answered tempted to turn his precious music player on.

Tomoko nodded. "If he's good, I'm good."

Yukari nodded, but gave a nervous look at the two. "Hey... About last night... Don't tell anyone what you saw, okay? See ya both later."

"Whoa, wait, why do we...?" But Yukari ran off. Tomoko scoffed. "Gee, thanks." She turned to her brother. "Want me to help you with your class?"

He shook his head. "No, I'll be fine."

"Alright, if you need me I'll be..." She gave a laugh, scratching her head. "Oh, right. We need to find out our classes." Minato nodded.

Minato and Tomoko saw their classes on the bulletin board. Minato was in class F on the second floor, Tomoko was in class D, on the first floor. The elder sister gave a sigh and looked to her brother.

"Geez, first we're on separate levels of the dorm, now we're in separate levels of the school. What's next?"

Minato turned to his sister. "At least we're in the same school."

She smiled. "True. So, to the faculty office?" Minato followed her down the hall in search of the room.

When they entered they saw a female teacher pouring some coffee and a male teacher at a table getting papers together. The adults noticed and came over to them. "Are you the new students?" The male teacher asked.

They nodded. "I'm Tomoko Arisato. This is my little brother, Minato."

"11th grade, correct?" He nodded to the female teacher.

"And you're a 12th grader, right?" Asked the male teacher.

"Yeah." Tomoko answered.

The male teacher shook hands with Tomoko. "My name's Mr. Mikado, I teach mathematics. I'll be your teacher, Tomoko."

"And I'm Ms. Toriumi, I teach Composition. Welcome to our school."

The brother and sister felt welcomed indeed, with soft smiles.

Ms. Toriumi picked up a clip board on the desk she sat at."Wow, you've both lived in a lot of different places…" She said, looking through file of papers. "Let's see… In 1999… That was what, ten years ago? Your parents-" She gave a slight gasp, discovering the fate of their parents.

Tomoko looked down, scowling slightly at her shoes. "I'm sorry… I've been so busy, I didn't have time to read this beforehand."

Minato looked to his sister worriedly, but she looked back up with a fake smile. "I understand, busy with school starting and getting classes together." Ms. Toriumi smiled, glad she didn't do harm.

"It's a pleasure to meet you both." Said Minato, as Tomoko said the same to her teacher.

"Have you seen the classroom assignments? You're in 2-f; that's my class." Said Ms. Toriumi.

"Tomoko, yours is 1-D, my class."

She nodded and felt nervous for a second. "I'm sorry to ask this, but will my brother be alright?"

The teachers were a bit lost. "Alright?" Mr. Mikado asked.

She looked to him. "You know from bullies, and such. I have the tendency to worry over my brother a lot."

The teachers gave a light laugh and smiled. "Don't worry; I keep an eye on my students. There will be no bullying while I'm around."

Tomoko felt a bit better. "Alright, thanks."

Ms. Toriumi nodded. "But first, we need to go to the auditorium. The Welcoming Ceremony will be starting soon." They understood and followed the teachers, glad someone was leading them somewhere and not wondering about.


When they got there, Tomoko sat in the back left side with the seniors, Minato sat in the middle right with the juniors. Tomoko was slouching in her seat, not paying attention to the Principal's speech. Her eyes were fixed on her brother. She sat next to another senior, but ignored him completely. So far her brother seemed fine, until she saw a teen sitting behind Minato started talking to him. She sat up quickly, and leaned over, to see what was going on.

"I'm guessing you're not listening either, huh?"

Tomoko quickly glanced to her left, and noticed this senior next to her. He had short white silver hair and light brown eyes. His clothing was of the male's uniform, white collar shirt, black pants, shoes, and red vest. But she saw no other students wearing a red vest, maybe he was in an excel class or something. She noticed he had black leather gloves on too, strange.

"Who wears gloves to school?" Tomoko pondered. She looked back to her brother, seeing he was responding to the student. Everything looked fine, so she leaned back into her seat.

"You're the new student right?" She looked back at the 'annoying' senior, as she now dubbed him.

"I hear talking." They looked to Mr. Mikado. "I believe it's someone from Ms. Toriumi's class." He said, teasingly making the teacher in trouble.

"Shhh! Be quiet! You're going to get me in trouble." She calmly scolded, which made Minato and the student stop talking.

Knowing she wasn't caught, Tomoko turned back to the senior. "Yea, I'm Tomoko Arisato." She held a hand out; they shook, feeling the thin leather material covering his glove. Sould be a germaphoic. But his grip was a bit strong, funny as he looked pretty thin in his uniform.

"That's my brother, Minato." She quickly threw a pointed finger to the freshmen. "The one with blue hair. We just arrived in town last night, so we're new."

The senior gave a hidden smirk. "Oh, you're who Misturu told me about."

Tomoko gave a slightly surprised look at her sitting neighbor. "Are you Akihiko Sanada?" She asked.

He nodded with a strong smile. "Yea, nice to meet you. You came to the dorms pretty late, huh?" She nodded, he scratched the back of his head. "Sorry I couldn't meet you. I was already dead asleep when I got back from training."

Tomoko raised a brow. "Training?"

"Are those voices I hear?" Spoke Ms. Toriumi. "I think I hear it from Mr. Mikado's class." "Hey! Quiet over there." Akihiko and Tomoko looked forward, staying silent for the rest of the ceremony.


After School

Tomoko was about to leave, to meet with her brother. At class she made sure everything was in her school bag. She didn't want to lose any school supplies.

"Tomoko." Said a voice. Tomoko turned, standing in front of the door. Mitsuru came over, Akihiko was with her.

"Oh, Mitsuru. What's up?" She smiled.

"Akihiko and you have met, correct?" Tomoko nodded. "Well, there's one more person to meet."

She tilted her head. "Another student?"

Akihiko came into the conversation. "Not exactly. He's the Chairmen, he helped arrange for you and your brother to stay at the dorms."

Tomoko straightened her head and smiled. "Oh right, I forgot Mitsuru mentioned him."

Akihiko explained further. "He'll be meeting with you and your brother tomorrow tonight with Takeba."

"Right, I'll get Minato and-"

"Oh, he left."

Tomoko frowned, shooting her head to him. "What? Where did he go?"

Akihiko was a bit taken by her reaction on her missing brother. "He went with a boy in his class. He's probably on his way back to the dorm as we speak."

Tomoko hung her head low. "Geez, how heartless of my bro to ditch me like that."

Mitsuru chuckled, lightly folded her arms over her chest. "How about Akihiko and you walk to the dorms together?"

They both looked to Misturu. "I don't know, I'm planning to train after school." He said, not really knowing if he wanted to.

Tomoko had a big question mark over her head, not knowing this 'training' he kept talking about. "Take her with you. Maybe you can show her around Iwatodai as well." The redhead encouraged.

Akihiko sighed, and glanced to Tomoko. "Do you want to tag along?"

Tomoko pondered, and gave a shrug. "May as well, I got nothing else to do."

Akihiko nodded, Misturu smiled. "Tres Bien!" She said, with a perfect French accent. "I'll meet you two back at the dorm. Oh, and Akihiko?"

He looked to her. "Yeah?"

"Make sure you're not out too late."

Akihiko knew what she meant and nodded. "Yeah, I know." Misturu turned and left, he looked back at Tomoko. "So, ready to go?"

Tomoko nodded. "Sure." She smiled.


4/8 Wednesday
After School

Akihiko and Tomoko grabbed they're school bags and left the school building. "How about I show you the Strip mall? We can grab a bite to eat."

Tomoko nodded. "Sure, I'm star-"

"Look! It's Akihiko!"

They stopped mid-way to the gate and looked, seeing two girls running toward them.

"Oh! Akihiko!"

They ran over to Akihiko, shoving Tomoko in the process. Tomoko fell into the grass, better than the cement.

"Oh Akihiko! You're so handsome!"

"Are you free? Would you like to hang out with us?"

Hearts spun above the girls' heads, Akihiko grew a sweat drop on his own. "I'm busy after school." He said, wishing they would go away.

"Aww, you are?"

"Ohh! Are you training? Can we watch?"

"Please!"

Akihiko's sweat drop grew. "No, I already have someone with me."

The girls were shocked.

"What!"

"Who!"

Akihiko nodded his head to a no longer standing Tomoko. "Tomoko here." He turned and noticed she was on the grass. Just sitting there watching the display as if it was a entertaining puppet show. "Oh!" He went over and helped her up. "Are you alright?"

"I'll live." She answered easily standing back up.

"That's the new student, isn't it?"

"Yea, but what does Akihiko see in her?"

"Yeah, she's dresses like a guy!"

"What a freak!"

Akihiko glared the girls, but before he could say anything, Tomoko went up to them. "Oh, oh, oh, you're so clever! You think just because I dress, act, and be different Akihiko doesn't like me as a friend?" The girls were a bit uncomfortable from her straight forward sudden burst. In class she stayed quiet like a wall flower. Was it just a ruse? "You think you're so sexy, with your short skirts, make up, and stuffed bras?"

The girls, including Akihiko, were shocked by the words that escaped her mouth. They felt embarrassed from all of this and scurried off to who knows where. Akihiko covered his mouth, a smirk tugging upwards.

Tomoko grinned. "And that's how it's done." She looked to Akihiko, who was still surprised by her words. Mouth covered and eyes wide. "Oh, sorry about that." She said, hoping she didn't just made it awkward for him as well.

He threw out a few chuckles to her surprised, suppressed a burst of laughter. "No, that was great."

She raised her brows. "Really?"

Akihiko nodded. "It's been such a pain to leave this school without girls bugging me. This is the first time they ever left."

Tomoko laughed. "Well, Akihiko-san, if they ever bother you, come to me. I'll straighten those flats out." The two laughed and left for the strip mall.


The two took a train ride to Iwatodai Station, then from there to the Strip Mall. They looked around, seeing many places to eat at.

"Wow, it's pretty lively here." Tomoko commented looking around the crowded area.

"Yea, it can be when school ends or on our day offs." Akihiko looked to her. "So, where do you want to eat?"

Tomoko looked about but frowned."Akihiko-san, I don't even know most of these places."

Akihiko felt like an idiot for a second and scratched his head. "Oh, right, my bad. Well, there's Wild-duck Burger." He pointed up, her eyes following. "The Wakatasu Restaurant, Hagakure, and Sweet Shop on the second floor. Lastly, the third floor, is the Beef Bowl Place."

Tomoko pondered and gave a sigh. "They all sound so good!" She turned and looked to Akihiko. "Which do you recommend, Akihiko-san?"

He cupped his chin in thought. "Well, I was thinking the Beef Bowl place, but how about Hagakure?"

Tomoko tilted her head. "What do they serve there?" She asked, as they walked up the stairs, step by step.

"Ramen, of course!" Akihiko smiled. "Best ramen I say. I always came here to eat."

Tomoko grinned. "So, that's why you choose that pla-" Tomoko wasn't paying attention and tripped on a step, dropping her school bag over the railing.

Akihiko helped her up. "You okay?"

She easily shook the trip off. "Yeah, but I dropped my bag."

Akihiko stopped to wait up, as Tomoko ran down to get her bag. She picked it up under the spiral stairway, and dusted it off.

"Uhh…"

She looked up, seeing a pale sickly man, leaning against the stairs. "H-Hey, are you okay?"

"….Ah…Uhhahhh…." The sickly man groaned.

He came into the light, showing he was more than sick, he looked as if he was dying slowly. Tomoko stepped back, feared by the sickly man. His arms reached out toward her, as he groaned. Tomoko kept stepping back, until Akihiko came down and pulled her away from him. "

Tomoko, stay away from him." He said as the man fell to his knees. Akihiko took Tomoko's hand and brought her into Hagakure.

Akihiko ordered two specials. They're bags by the stools they sat at the front counter.

"Here ya go. Enjoy!"

"Thanks." Said Akihiko, as they received they're bowls of ramen. Akihiko waited for his ramen to cool, and looked to Tomoko. She gazed at her ramen filled bowl, her frowned face reflected into the steaming broth.

"Tomoko?"

She sighed. "Akihiko-san?"

"Yeah?"

Hesitating, she continued. "What was wrong with that man? He looked like a zombie."

Akihiko frowned to himself. He looked into his ramen bowl. "It's Apathy Syndrome."

She looked up at him. "Apathy Syndrome?"

"Apathy syndrome is a mysterious condition that affects the residents of Tatsumi Port Island." He explained, as his voice darkened. "No cure has been found, not even a treatment."

His hands tightened into fists on the counter. "Those suffering from the syndrome suffer from debilitating level of apathy, when it strikes the inflicted will collapse in a heap where ever they happen to be and become unable to move, feed, or care for themselves. And sooner or later, they die, or, join the Lost." The air became tense between the two. Akihiko noticed how the frown was worse on Tomoko's face "I'm sorry…" He sighed. "I'm sure a cure will be found soon."

She nodded, and looked to her ramen. "Ah, it's getting cold." She said, as she started eating it. Akihiko ate his as well.

Akihiko felt that he did something wrong. When returning to the dorm, they didn't say a word.


Evening

The two returned to the dorm, Akihiko went to his room, not saying a word. She met up with her brother, seeing he was waiting for her before meeting the Chairman. Tomoko looking around; only Yukari, and a man with her sat at the couches. Yukari glanced over, noticing they're arrival.

"Oh, they're back." Said Yukari, making the man turn over.

"I see, they're the ones." He stood from his chair and the siblings approached him. He had a friendly smile with mid long wavy hair and glasses. His attire of a brown suit jacket, matching slacks, white shoes, and black sweater. "My name is Ikutsuki Shuji. I'm the chairman of the board for your school." He greeted.

By Tomoko's prospective, he seemed pretty friendly. They've only spoken on the phone about living arrangement. This is her first time meeting him face to face. He gave a chuckle. "Ikutsuki, rather hard to say, isn't it? That's why I don't like introducing myself."

Tomoko smiled and held her hand out. "Tomoko Arisato. Thank you for letting us stay here."

He smiled. "No trouble at all. I'm glad to have finally met you and your brother in person."

He shook hands with her brother. "Minato." He greeted, giving a soft smile back.

They sat down with Ikutsuki and Yukari. "I hope this school year will be your best."

"It'll be my last." Tomoko shrugged. "So, you could say it will be my best."

Ikutsuki nodded. "That's right; we have another senior on our hands. Not to mention another junior. Yukari seemed lonely, being the only one in a junior class."

] "How long will you be staying here?" She asked. It sounded like she's wanted to ask that question.

Tomoko leaned back in her seat, crossing her legs. "Probably until my year is done. Or maybe mid-year. I'm planning to buy a house for me and Minato." She looked up at the ceiling with a weary smirk playing on her lips. "A home we can call our own."

The two smiled, Minato also smiled at his sister. He knew this was her dream since they became orphans, and will see that dream come true.

"Well then, I already know everyone will get along just fine." Ikutsuki smiled. "So, any questions?" He asked, legs crossed and hands on knees.

Tomoko leaned forward looking to him. "Actually, I do have one thing to ask."

They looked to her. "Ask away, my dear."

"Well," Tomoko paused to find the right words. "When Minato and I were on our way here last night,"

Minato noticed Yukari nervously looking over. "Yes?" Ikutsuki urged her to continue.

"Everything was so-"

"It was darker than usual." Minato cut his sister off.

They looked to him, along with his sister giving him a look for interrupting her. "Darker than usual?" Ikutsuki asked, with a questionable look.

"Minato." Tomoko spoke, but he continued.

"Yea, probably tired from the train ride here."

The nervousness left Yukari, as she gave a light sigh. Ikutsuki smiled and nodded. "I understand that." Tomoko looked to him. "Long trips can have that effect on you." Tomoko didn't know why her brother cut her off. She hoped there was a good reason to it.

The four stood from their seats. "Well, I'll be taking my leave now. I will come by here a couple days. So don't hesitate to ask any questions."

The siblings nodded. "You must be tired having to transfer in. You two should go to bed early. As they say, 'the early bird catches the bookworm.' Ha-ha." The siblings rose at brow at the failed to be funny joke. "Sorry for the pun, I couldn't resist."

Yukari sighed making them look to her. "You'll get used to his lame jokes soon." The siblings sweat dropped and went straight to bed. They were indeed tired.


4/9 Thursday
After School

School rushed through in Tomoko's mind, as she was still thinking the yesterday. "As if the world is bad enough," She thought. "Soon, we'll probably be all dead." She sighed, packing her school bag up. She heard light footsteps come over to her.

"Hey, Tomoko." She looked over her shoulder, even though she knew the voice. "About yesterday," Akihiko started. "I didn't really get a chance to show you around town." The image of that sick dying guy came to her mind. Her ears went deaf of Akihiko's voice, her mind stuck on that sickness. "Tomoko? Hey, you listening?"

She blinked, seeing Akihiko wave his gloved hand in her face. "Oh, huh?" She looked to him.

"You feel okay?"

Tomoko didn't really listen to what Akihiko was saying, and didn't want to be mean by asking him to repeat. She, herself, hates repeating. "Oh, yea, sure."

Akihiko's worried look became happy. "Really? Great, I'll meet you in front of the school. Since you were worried about your brother yesterday, I'm sure you'd want to make sure he gets back to the dorms, right?"

Tomoko smiled. "Thanks." Akihiko nodded and turned, leaving the room.

She got her bag and left the room. Tomoko found her brother heading for the stairs. "Minato, Bro." She called, he stopped on the second step, hearing his sister call. He turned and saw her. She ran over to him. "Hey, you going back to the dorms?" He nodded. "Alright," She leaned against the wall. "Going with anyone?"

He shook his head. "Myself today." He answered.

Tomoko put a hand on her hip and gave a stern look. "You make sure you get there safely, alright?"

He chuckled softly. "Alright Sis. You coming later?"

She nodded. "Akihiko invited me to see the place, want to come?"

"No thanks."

She shrugged, and let her arm off her hip. They both chatted about classes on their way to the front of the school. Outside they saw Akihiko, surrounded by girls again.

"Who are they?" Minato asked.

His sister answered. "Akihiko's fan service." Her eyes narrowed. "It's the same girls too." She looked to her little brother. "You go on ahead, Bro."

Minato gave a small wave. "Have fun with Sanada-senpai."

She smiled and nodded. "Thanks."

They both opened the doors, Minato going on ahead, not giving Akihiko and the girls a glance.

Tomoko stopped at the top of the steps, close to Akihiko and the girls.

"Do you really want to hang out that that freak again?"

Tomoko's eye twitched with annoyance.

"Look, if you have a problem with it-"

"You can take it up with me."

They looked behind Akihiko, finding a smiling annoyed Tomoko standing with her arms crossed. The girls gave small glares and walked off grumbling to themselves. Akihiko chuckled, and smiled at Tomoko. "For now on, let's both walk outside of this fan girl filled school." Tomoko chuckled at that.

They walked along the sidewalk, heading to the train station. Akihiko's pace was fast but calm, he had no rush. One foot passing the other, as if he was normal walking to or from school. Tomoko's pace was a bit behind him, kicking stones, lifting her feet high in the air, as if a soldier marching to battle. Her hands folded behind her back holding her school bag loosely locked with her fingers. Her eyes stared at the cemented sidewalk, with a blank face.

"The mall isn't that big, but it has nice stores to check out." He spoke explaining the mall to her. Tomoko made an 'mm-hmm', letting him know she was half way listening. "I was thinking, maybe you want to check out the arcade. Your brother, Minato, told me you like to play at the arcade at times."

"I used to," She said, kicking a pebble into the street, and watch it fall off the curb. "But, I can't waste my money on such things like video games or the arcade."

Akihiko stopped, and followed her slower pace, looking at her. Her eyes went back to the passing sidewalk they walked upon. "You're saving up for college?" He asked.

"Nope." She shook her head. "A home."

Akihiko found this answer to be bazaar. "A home? Like a house?"

She nodded and smiled softly at the clear blue cloudless sky. "I promised myself I would provide a home for my brother. I want to put my money to a home, and for his college education if I can."

Akihiko raised a silver brow. "What about you? You're going to college before him, right?"

Tomoko snorted a laugh, and started swaying her head lightly back and forth, as if her head was a metronome for a tune. "The money I got will be for the house I'll buy. I'd have to wait or skip college. Besides, I have high grades, so a scholarship might pay for it, if I'm lucky."

Akihiko never met anyone so dedicated to their sibling, other than himself. While on the train ride, they sat next to each other, talking about class and school and such. The sickly man from yesterday was finally out of Tomoko's head. Hearing and being with Akihiko made her feel better when her mind would go negative.


Paulownia Mall

The two entered the mall; some shops were crowded, empty, or closed. Tomoko looked around, seeing an arcade, police, music store, and others. Been so long since she snuck to a mall before. This was a bit bigger than the one she did.

"Where do you want to check out first?" Akihiko asked.

Tomoko looked up at him, not expecting him of asking her to choose. "Oh, well, hmm."

She pondered, thinking about each store. Arcade and music store is out, since she couldn't buy anything, in fact, all the stores were out since everything has to be paid. She gave a sweat drop, and would feel guilty if Akihiko wasted his money on her for anything. They had only just met and it would be wrong.

"Uh, how about you check out the shops, I'll stay here by the fountain." Tomoko walked over, sitting on the edge of it. She looked into the water, seeing her reflection. Behind here, Akihiko's reflection came into view.

"Why? I brought you here to check out the stores."

She looked at him through the reflection. "Yea, but I can't buy anything, saving up."

"Then I'll take care of the money."

"No, I don't want you to waste your money on me."

Akihiko blinked and chuckled. "You're so weird."

Tomoko gave him a look, this time to the real Akihiko, not the reflection. "How so?" She questioned.

"Most girls would beg their bo-their friends for money on random stuff..." He laughed. "It's like you got some guilt complex holding you back."

She stood her hands on her hips. "For your information, I do have a guilt complex."

Akihiko smiled at her and laughed, she smiled back. The two mostly looked at music in the store, watching teens play in the arcade, and even peeked in on the karaoke, watching some sing well or sing badly. Soon, Akihiko and Tomoko sat at a cafe, to chill. Akihiko assured her the coffee wasn't that expensive, making her feel alright about it.

"You don't drink much coffee?" Akihiko asked, as they sat across in nice comfortable chairs, waiting for their drinks.

Tomoko shook her head. "Not really, I'm more of an ice tea or hot tea person."

"Well, they have nice coffee, so I think you'll like it."

Tomoko felt a pain in her chest making her give an 'hmp' and rub it. Akihiko was looking around not noticing. Tomoko ignored it, finding it going away as soon as he looked back to her.

Soon, the drinks came, they both got non-caffeine, not wanting to stay up for the next 4 hours. "Here you go." The waitress smiled, the two teens smiled back.

"Thanks."

"Anything else you need?"

Tomoko raised a hand. "Where are the bathrooms?"

The waitress pointed behind her. "Down the hall, sharp right."

Tomoko stood. "Thanks. I'll be right back, Akihiko."

He nodded. "Alright."

She scooted past tables and chairs, following the woman's instructions she soon found the woman's bathroom. She almost missed it, it was indeed a sharp turn to it.

Akihiko, sipping his coffee, heard a beeping on his cell. He pulled it out, reading the screen, seeing he got a text from Mitsuru. He flipped it open and read the message.

Akihiko,

Tomoko's brother is here. He was wondering where she was at this time. Is she with you?

-Mitsuru

Akihiko chuckled and replied back.

Mitsuru,

Yea, she's with me. We're at the mall, having a good time. Sorry for worrying you.

-Akihiko

He sent the text and put his phone on the table, waiting for a text back.


In the bathroom, Tomoko came out of the stall, after the sound of the toilet flushing. She sighed and went to the sink to wash her hands.

"Well, I didn't get my period yet." Tomoko said to herself, and rubbed her chest. Some pain came to her lower stomach when she entered the restroom. She washed her hands with some soap, rinsed, and got some paper towels to dry them off.

"It'd be about a week early if I got my period this week. But, they feel like cramps." She said, giving a light groan having a stabbing pain go to her chest. "Is this what heartburn is like?" Tomoko never had such a thing, so it seemed logical to think that. "I'll ignore it for now. I don't want to spoil the fun with Akihiko-san."

She quickly left the bathroom and rejoined a smiling Akihiko.

"Hey, you alright?" He asked, putting his half empty cup down.

Tomoko nodded with a smile. "Yea, I'm good."

After about half hour of talking, Tomoko had two cups of coffee, Akihiko's coffee stayed half empty. Though, later on, Tomoko's stomach was beginning to bug her. She tried her best to hide the pain with the sharpness came. The pain jumped between her stomach and chest, fading in and out.

Akihiko glanced at his cell phone, seeing he got a text five minutes ago. He read the message, as Tomoko was checking her own phone.

Akihiko,

You do know the time right? If you don't leave now, you'll never make it back before midnight.

-Mitsuru

Akihiko glanced at the clock on his cell phone. The time made his heart skip two beats. 11:24.

"Damnit! We've been here not realizing the time." He cussed in his head.

"Oh, it's late." Said Tomoko, checking her own cell phone time.

Akihiko looked to her. "Yea, we better go." He paid for the drinks and they soon rushed out of the mall. More like Akihiko rushed themselves out of the mall.