Random idea on the train.
Katsushita is at the edge of Tokyo, bordering the Chiba Perfecture to the north-east. Shibuya is more south west in placement. And the two districts don't link up by a single train either.
For the newsletter crew, we have the supervising teacher, then an arts editor responsible for arts related activities (which isn't every issue), advertising and the layout, a sports editor responsible for the sports editing, and a co-editor which does the actual proof-reading. Plus regular columnists and other reporters. And the comics, which is not under the arts editor. The editors are normally the last ones out, but in this fic, the sport editor is absent. The sports editor is half-named though: Yuu-chan.
Ookami means wolf in Japanese. Komura is a character in UFO in Kushiro, one of the short stories in After the Quake and one of my favourites (after the ending of Landscape with Flatiron). It's not spelt the same as Kimura, even in the kanji spelling. But in English, there's only one letter different. I think it's one letter in kanji as well, but I'm not entirely sure.
By the way, this is in the middle of the week, so there's school the next day too.
A Pet Problem
'Next time, can you make sure he has a collar at least, if not a leash, and you're holding on to it? Or someone, or something is?'
Kouichi K & Kouji M
'How annoying,' Teruo sighed, peering over the pile of paper in his hands to make sure he wouldn't run into the gate. 'Not only are we behind schedule, but we were out of materials too. And an editor short.'
'Not anymore,' Kouichi pointed out with the rest of the papers in hand, along with the staples in a jacket pocket. 'At least there was the petty cash.'
'True,' the other agreed. 'Remember that time where Yuu-chan accidently took the key with her?' The fiery red-haired sports editor's parents were spacially separated by the ocean, which was relatively worse than Kouichi's situation. At least his parents were in the same country, and in most circles in the same province, though Yuu didn't have any siblings and she always visited her father in America once a year. The event Teruo mentioned had taken place on the trip she had taken the previous year; she wound up posting the key back and it arrived three weeks later.
That year, she was visiting again, having left two nights ago. Which was why they were an editor short. She had left her articles though, but someone would be covering for her in the next issue.
Kouichi shook his head, before ducking under a low branch he hadn't spotted until it had almost whacked him in the face.
'Oh yeah,' the brunette realised. 'You were on that field trip then. You do remember the time where Sasaki-sensei accidently locked the key in the store-room though?'
'Yeah. Komura-kun had to unlock it with her hair-pin because the janitor had gone home early with a cold.'
'Okihara thought she was your sister, didn't she?'
Kouichi scowled lightly at the mention of the older boy who seemed intent on making his life a living hell…at school anyway. Even Kouji's stoic personality had failed to deter him. Of course, his attempts were rather dim-witted and this unsuccessful, but it was rather annoying at the very least, especially behind the petty excuse.
'Apparently he doesn't know how to spell.'
Teruo laughed aloud. 'Whoever things you're an angelic, no-trouble kid has got their wires crossed.'
Kouichi decided not to grace that with a reply. Even if he wanted to, he wasn't given all that time to formulate one, as a bark hailed them. The only warning they got before he was bowled over.
Luckily, the lady at the store across the street had put the papers in two bags, and they each had been carrying one. They were the flimsy sort, but it did stop dirt from getting into them at least.
A large, familiar, German Sheppard sat happily on him, barking madly before slumping.
'No pets on campus,' Sasaki Haru yelled from where he was locking the door.
The two teenagers exchanged glances, before the one on the floor attempted to stand up. Unsuccessfully as the dog wouldn't budge.
'I didn't know you had a dog?' Teruo blinked.
'I don't,' Kouichi replied, giving up trying to get up by himself. 'Ookami, let up.'
The big obsidian eyes blinked at him, before the weight shifted and the boy was able to sit up. 'Gomen nasai,' he said in reply to the teacher's stern gaze. 'I don't know how he got here.'
The blue eyes scanned the dog quickly, before staring more closely. 'What are you doing here?'
'Umm…Kouichi?' Teruo asked. 'You do realise you're talking to a dog…right?'
Sasaki sighed. 'Kimura-kun, please take your pet home and return-'
'I can't,' the addressed interrupted. 'Pets aren't allowed in the apartment complex.'
That sounded a little contradictory to the elderly man, unless…
'He's not yours?'
'In a manner of speaking.' The other bowed his head. 'He's my brother's. Our parents are divorced.'
'And this brother lives..?' The teacher prompted.
'Shibuya?' the man clarified.
The teacher sighed. 'How'd he get here?'
'All right. He can stay outside.'
But the moment Kouichi moved, the dog followed like an enthusiastic shadow.
It worked, until he moved again.
By then, their teacher was already at the door of the building.
Teruo shrugged. 'Be ready to run on three.'
'Tell me you're kidding.'
A pause, in which Ookami growled at the brunette, then…'Three.'
The two humans bolted for the door, barely ahead of the dog that leapt after them with a joyous bark. Kouichi winced though as the door slammed behind them, accompanied by a pitiful growl as the German Sheppard pawed at the doors.
'Relax,' Teruo sighed himself, dragging the obsidian haired youth away towards the mini-office under the stairs they used as the newsletter headquarters. 'We've got a paper to finish.'
'Maybe I should ring Kouji or Otou-san. They might not know where he's wondered off to.'
Teruo was interrupted by their supervising teacher. 'Go ahead Kimura-kun. Use the form in the staffroom.'
As Kouichi walked (running was off limits within school buildings), the elderly man turned to Teruo. 'You can show me the edited prototype without him.'
'About that, we've got a bit of a problem…'
When Kouichi made it back to the little room under the stairs, he found Terou about to rip his hair out. Literally.
'Guess what,' he deadpanned, craning his neck back when the other walked in. 'The one month we don't have any backup articles is the one month where-
'-we need it?' Kouichi finished, shutting the door behind him. 'Let me see.'
Teruo moved over, giving the arts editor a clear view of the usual schematic they used. The problem was quite obvious; there were a lot of blanks in the layout. Too much for the original versatile one to be able to adapt too.
'Not only are we an article short,' the co-editor groaned as the other clicked through the pages. 'But the ones we have are shorter than normal.'
'There's no way we can get a decent article at this point,' Kouichi agreed. 'But maybe we can change the layout?' Again. It was an option they barely had to resort to, but when they did, it could really be a pain.
He thought a moment, looking at the pages more closely. 'Give me about half an hour and I'll see if I can come up with something.'
The other two agreed.
'Teruo,' Sasaki instructed. 'In the meantime, finish editing the content.'
Kouichi actually had managed to come up with an alternative in the half hour he had allocated himself, though he was a little distracted by the thought of Ookami sitting outside. No-one had been home when he called, which meant he'd have to look after the German Sheppard. Hopefully, he'd stay put.
Luckily there was no window, he mused, or it would be worse. I'd be staring out he window more often than not in that case. But after several tries of rearranging and style differences, he managed to get rid of the ugly blank patches and put together a perfectly presentable layout. Of course, it deterred from their usual representation; it was a little more scattered. But it worked well enough...as well as a bit of tweaking with the order as well. He'd scattered the teasers between the articles instead of having them bunched together. It wasn't the first time he had done that though. Answers were in the back corner. The ads were always scattered, but he had rearranged them, and their borders. Depending on the info they had available, they'd group and scatter the ads and teasers.
'Done,' Teruo said at the same time, bringing over the printed manuscript. 'Let me enter in these changes.'
Kouichi gave up the chair as the other flicked through the finished prototype. 'Why is it?' he wondered aloud. 'We can never save these prototypes for reuse?'
'Perfect fit,' the other grinned as the co-editor tried to match the computer layout with the printed one.
By the time Sasaki walked in with his late cup of coffee, the pair were done and printing out the final draft.
He leafed through it, before giving the nod of approval, taking it and running multiple copies on the staff copier. That was one necessity that they didn't have in their little office, but whether it was because it wouldn't fit, the wiring couldn't take it or the teachers didn't trust a bunch of junior high school students with the apparatus remained a mystery yet to be solved.
Ookami had in fact been waiting patiently. Which was rather a surprise to the older twin seeing as he was anything but patient.
Which lead to the next problem. What was he supposed to do?
'Walk him home?' Teruo suggested. Apparently, he had forgotten the distance.
'You've got to be kidding,' the other groaned in faux exhaustion. 'Shibuya's too far to walk.' It was doable, strictly speaking, if one wanted to fall from fatigue by the end. With a couple of stops, it'd take a couple of hours, depending on how lengthy those stops were.
'You could take the train,' the other sheepishly tried, having forgotten that.
'No ticket. And I don't have enough money to buy one either.' He sort of mumbled the last part; he hated having to admit it.
Teruo understood, and grimaced when he realised that even if the other would accept, he didn't have any on him either. 'Your mum's-?'
'-at work. And no idea where the rest of the family are.'
Ookami growling interrupted them. Then without warning, he bolted for the open gates.
'Hey Ookami!' Kouichi shouted, but the German Sheppard didn't wait. 'I'd better catch him.'
'See ya,' Teruo called as the boy ran after the dog. Well...at least he slowed down enough so the other didn't lose him...though not enough to be caught.
Actually, the only reason Kouichi managed to catch him twenty minutes later was because he started chasing a tortoise shelled cat around in the park. He quickly grabbed the dog around the neck and back gently, apologised to the flustered woman, then realised he couldn't well lead the other back because of the lack of any sort of binding.
'Are you going to behave?' he scolded firmly, but without threat.
Ookami's ears drooped.
'All right. Come on then.'
He set off for Kouji's house, the other trudging along behind him. The peace lasted for about ten minutes, before Ookami decided the pace was too slow and sped up...conveniently forgetting the human wasn't as fast or as enduring as the dog. At a shout from the ex-warrior of darkness, the dog slowed down…just enough not to be caught.
It was like a game of tag. When Kouichi felt he couldn't run after the other anymore, Ootami would obediently stop, out of reach, giving the other the opportunity to collapse on the spot and take a brief time out. Then, the second he was ready to catch the other, the dog would race off again. And not necessarily in the right direction either.
It was tempting to lay off the chase, but he had a feeling Kouji would be rather upset at him for doing so. Ookami was a family member after all. Of course, he could look after himself, but then who knew what time he'd get home, and despite all, everyone would be worried for his absence. Actually, that happened no matter what combination was in play. Though he was normally the one being worried about.
At least his mother was working night-shift. So she probably didn't know he was chasing a dog across the province on foot. His feet were well aware of it though, and they were about ready to stop listening to the rest of his body.
Upon cue, he tripped, apparently on thin air.
Ookami stopped thankfully, barking joyfully. They were sitting in a pretty deserted car park by then; well, Kouichi was, once he wormed his feet out from under the weight of his body.
'You can stay there,' he panted to the dog, who just continued barking, ignoring the elder twin in favour for the group coming towards them.
Kouichi looked up, still trying to catch his breath…and some energy to go. 'Kouji?' Then he looked past and saw their father and stepmother too.
'Kouichi?' Kouji looked just as baffled. 'What are you two doing?'
'Ookami,' the elder twin replied, still grasping for breath. 'Decided to make me chase him from Katsushita Elementary School. Next tie, can you make sure he has a collar at least, if not a leash, and you're holding on to it? Or someone, or something is? 'cause my feet are killing me!'
That last part was almost a whine, which would be amusing except he had a perfectly good reason for complaining.
Kousei stared sternly at his younger son over the rim of his glasses, which made him look even more threatening.
'Umm…' He suddenly looked very flustered. 'I guess I didn't latch the collar properly. Or maybe he got out of it.'
'Their paws can't grasp the lock if it's done up properly.'
He turned his attention to the older twin, who hadn't budged from his spot.
'We'll give you a ride home,' he offered.
Kouichi gratefully accepted. Not only were his feet spent, but the sun was going down.
'Why did Ookami go all the way to Katsushita though?' Satomi wondered aloud.
'We did get him from the pet store there,' Kousei pointed out, unlocking the car as Kouji pulled his brother up and the German Sheppard trotted about their heels.
'Honestly,' Kouichi mumbled leaning against his brother's shoulder once they were both in the car, Ookami draped over the final seat. 'I'm more surprised he waited outside the building for an hour.'
'Why were you at school that late anyway?' Kouji asked.
'Newsletter deadline,' the other yawned, closing his eyes. It was amazing how relaxed one could get after a workout like that. It would take the force of an earthquake to keep him awake any longer, or something stronger.
'Does your mother know you're-Kouichi?' Kousei peered at the twins in the review mirror, seeing the elder asleep on the younger's shoulder and the younger shushing him with a glare. 'Never mind.'