A/N: Hello everyone! I guess everybody was really mad at me now... yeah, I know it's been a year since I published this story and my last update was last 7 months ago. *cries* I'm very very sorry guys... I'm always checking my email and saw that many of you followed, reviewed and favorite'd my story, I'm so happy for it and that was the time that I was still gathering my thoughts. I just can't put the ideas together because I have so many things to fixed on real life~ Life has not been good to me this past few weeks.. truth is I lost my job *sobs* and that's why I was able to finish this story 'coz I have a lot of free time. Yup, this was the last chapter and I was thinking for a sequel... it depends. And please don't wish that I can't have another job again to continue writing! I need money to eat and live! LOL Ok, let's on with story :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Another and its characters... never ever.
I made a silent prayer before we left the cemetery. No one ever said a word when we walked side by side as we headed back to her home. I glance at her and saw the usual blank expression on her face. In her eyes… the small faint glow of happiness that I saw a few days ago was now replaced with a black pit of sadness. Even though her relationship with Kirika-san was only casual, I know deep inside the presence of Kirika-san being her mother still has a meaning to her. Just the same of what I have for Aunt Reiko.
I looked away, the pain that I felt when I loose Aunt Reiko was coming back again but I made a promise to myself that I won't be sad anymore. There's no reason for me to think about her death for I know she's been there watching and protecting me as always. Sometimes we can't just help if this feeling resurface again.
"I apologized for not telling you about her."
I stopped on my tracks when I heard her speak for the first time and noticed that she was in front of me and her back facing.
"Ah… No, it's ok… I should have known, I… I just only realized it today. I'm sorry."
"You don't have to say sorry. Besides, it's been a year since her demise." She turned to me with a little smile but I can sense the sadness on her.
"By the way, I'm going to visit the Shrine tonight to offer a prayer for her death anniversary. You can come if want." She continued.
"S-Sure I'll come." The only words I said before her.
"Ok, I'll see you then." She said and turns away.
I frowned as I look at her figure walks away from me. I understand how she felt. No matter how much you want to hide and forget the pain of loosing someone, it always lingers to your soul. Death is only part of living and living in this world is a curse that we human must bear.
It was past 6pm in the evening when I got up on my futon, I was thinking the whole afternoon of what I've learned earlier this morning. Looking outside of my room, the evening night swallow the light of the day. I'm still on the state of which my mind was full of un-answered questions and worriedness for her. Questions of why she didn't bother to tell me about Kirika-san.
"How was she on the past two years?"
I have lost my connection to her that time and I don't know how she was doing especially on the death of her own mother. When I learned about my Aunt Reiko, I was devastated and the sickening loneliness that creeping inside was killing me. But during that time, Misaki Mei was beside me, accompanying me, even though we never talk about it. Even if she doesn't have anything to say, she was there next to me, quietly looking ahead.
I stood up and put on my jacket. I stared down on my packed things and sigh. I'm leaving for two days and never had a chance on telling her about it. My chest ache a little as realization hit me that this might be the last time I will see her. I shook my head and hurriedly went outside. I was putting my shoes when my Father saw me and said.
"Where are you going? Dinner will be ready."
"I'll just go outside for a while to accompany a friend." I said as I finished tying up my left shoes.
"Going on a date huh? Just don't come home too late, ok!"
I just ignore what he said. "Ja ne, 'Tousan. Just tell Oba-chan that I can't be on dinner today."
Closing the door I look up again, the night sky was visible already. I started to walk and noticed the lights on each post were lit up and it felt like a guide on a dark road.
Upon reaching the main road, I was surprised to see her standing on a post in the intersection that separates our roads towards our homes. The place where we always said our "Goodbyes" after a long walk from school. My presence was still unnoticed as I get nearer to her. She's spacing out again since the other day. I frowned again when I noticed that she's wearing a light dress in this cold night, black long sleeve top and a knee length white skirt even without jacket. Both hands were on her back clutching each other, her face looking down the pavement. She flinched and turn towards me, her hands still on her back.
"What are you doing here?" I said while panting a little.
"Hm?" I saw a slight confusion on her face. "I- I was waiting for you." She quickly continued.
"I supposed to drop by in your house to get you, but… but never mind." I said calmly and look away. But deep inside, I was just furious for unknown reason. I made a silent curse to my self for not coming early. What if – then my thoughts were interrupted when she speak again.
"Ok." Then we started to walk towards the direction of the Shrine.
There are some people walking inside and out of the Shrine, there were also some food stalls and different variety of goods available along the way. I wonder if there's some kind of festival or holiday today. We noticed a short line of people was lining up to offer their prayer. As we got on the prayer stand we both said our thanks for the blessings that were given to us. I made a silent prayer for my Mother and to my Aunt Reiko; to the people I've met, to my friends as well as for Kirika-san.
After that, we decided to take a walk in the garden beside the Shrine. The place was illuminated by lanterns and some fireflies on the shrubs. Both of us were still silent as we passed by on a small bridge. She stopped in the middle, her hands were on the railings of the bridge, and she was looking intently on the flowing water below. I leaned my back on the railings and look up in the night sky.
"The day I lost my phone was our last conversation right?" She broke the silence between us.
"That time, I was walking on a bridge and didn't notice that there's a slight bump along the way and I almost fall on the ground. In one moment, my phone accidentally slip on my hand and drop below the river.
"I never told Kirika what happen but I wanted to tell you about it and I realized I don't have a copy of your number. That same day also, when you ask me where do I plan to go on college, it has been decided by my relatives that I should go abroad to have my college there. At first Kirika disapproves it but later on she can't do anything to disobey."
What she said made me look at her while she kept staring below the bridge.
"She went away against to her own will…"
"A month later, I leave Japan and went to an exclusive all Girls University in London. For over a year, I was able to live a normal life in a place that I was unfamiliar. I tried not to think that I was being cast away by my own family, not until I was back here for my summer vacation. There was an awful storm that day and I was already in the airport waiting for her. The accident happens on her way and she did not able to survive it. One hour before it happen, she had spoken to me over the phone.
"Mei, I'm glad that you came back safely. I'll see you later"
"And that's the last thing I heard from her, after her death, all of my relatives never talked to me anymore."
I found myself staring at her intently as she let out a big sigh and stared back at me.
"Let's go back." She hurriedly said and turns around. I think I saw glint of tear on her right eye.
She was walking ahead of me in silence as we left the Shrine. It might be dangerous if I let her walk alone on her way to her home so I decided to walk with her instead. And still have a lot of things I want to say to her but I can't come up with the right words.
"You don't have to walk me…" She said in second time.
"It's ok. I insist."
"Ne, for two days I'm going back to Tokyo." Right now, I'm the one who broke the silence between us. I felt sad after I said those words and noticed that she stop on her tracks but never look back at me. After she told me the sad truth, here I am telling an unspoken good bye to her.
"Why don't continue your study in the city instead? It… it might not be as good as the schools in abroad, but I'm sure you have the advantage." I said with a hope on my voice.
"Thank you…" She said softly but clearly enough for me to hear. For the first of our meeting again, I saw her taking off her eye patch on her left eye. Just like the first time she allow me to see it, here in the same exact place.
"Thank you Kouichi… I'm glad that we meet again." She slowly turns to me, her crimson and emerald eyes were looking at me softly as she said those words with a small smile on her lips.
She looked away; her eyes now focus on the river on our left side.
"I'm leaving too". She said.
"What?" I felt numb when she said those words. She's leaving too… so this is really good bye for us.
"Kirika… she's planning to live with me after my summer vacation, that's what they told me. They decided to give me the opportunity to continue my studies back in abroad. I think they've reached their limit and decided to get rid the only cause of their long time grief. I'm only a hindrance for the prosperity of the family. As long as I am here, it will remind them the worst tragedy that occurs to our family. I have realized if I shouldn't go home that summer vacation maybe until now she's still alive…"
I clenched my hands as I felt the rage and disappointment to her family. Why did they do that to her? She's the one who's suffering more. I saw the forming tears from the corner of her eye but keeping it not to fall. The over flowing emotion inside me, this feeling right now that I don't know how to interpret. Every time I look at her, the strange feeling that starting to build up from the first time we've met, the feeling of wanting to protect her was keeping stronger.
"Or… it might be good if I'm the one who died."
I walk towards her and close the distance between us. My left hand was holding hers while my right was on her back pulling her close to me.
"No! Don't say that!" I felt her stiff as I held my breath; her fingers were so cold against mine so I grip her tight to warm them.
"Its not your fault… don't blame your self on the things that you don't want to happen. I… I think Kirika-san won't blame you on what happen to her and… and she doesn't want you to suffer like this!"
I felt her relax and heard her silent weep. Her free hand was now clasping my jacket and her head was resting on my chest. I loose the grip on her left hand and place it on her back; hugging her tightly against mine and closing the entire remaining gap between us. I wanted her to feel that I'm going to protect her and that there is someone who still cares for her.
"I'm still here… for you…" I said softly to her.
We stayed like that for a long time, feeling the comfort of each others arms. I was hoping that this moment will remain forever and this was also the first time that we had this kind of closeness to each other. She draw back her head a little, her fingers now wiping the remaining tears on her eye but I still held her close to me.
"Do you still feel cold?" I asked.
She shook her head. "Hn… I'm ok." She looks up to me and smiled.
I took off my jacket and put it on her, she was about to protest but I stop her.
"Its ok, I'm not that cold anymore. Shall we go?" I smiled and hold her hand as we walk again.
I felt embarrassed as I realized what I did earlier. I know sometimes I get so bold and not thinking first on what I do. I look at her in the corner of my eyes, her bangs were now hiding her beautiful ones and I believe I saw a slight tint on her pale cheeks.
"If you had never returned … I- I will surely miss you… everyday." That thing just came out on me and I felt the heat rise up again on my face. I was startled when she grips my hand and pulled me slightly that made me stop on walking.
"Can… can you stay for tonight…?" She finally said, the shade on her cheeks was still visible.
"O- ok." I said and smiled gently to her.
We're back on her house. I've already called my Father, informing him that I can't come home and told him that I was staying to a friend's house. Sure, my old man was sharp enough and was teasing me over the phone but I can't loose my temper. I just told him that I'll be back by morning and let my grand parents know it.
I noticed that most of her things were packed, her traveling bags were on the sides and the house was already empty except on the sofa and some kitchen tools.
"I guess they did really want you to leave soon…" I said while she was putting the two cups of tea on the table and sits beside me.
"Yeah, my flight will be tomorrow."
I was taken aback on what she said again.
"That… that was fast huh…" I took a sip on the tea and put it back on the table. My hands were resting on my lap and I felt like staring on the table. We're back on being silent again.
"I guess this was the reason why she wants me to stay…" I let out a big sigh and leaned my back in the sofa.
"Just be careful and take care of your self there. Don't let other people make you feel down and you can always come back here…"
I think I've already said all what I want to say to her, even if I felt lonely of knowing that she's going away, I'm happy that even in a little amount of time I was able to share a memory with her. Suddenly, I felt she rested her head on my shoulder. I turn to look at her and her gentle eyes were focus somewhere.
"Thank you Kouichi… I'm happy that you're here."
I woke up and stirred a little. I can't remember when I fell asleep last night. The night was still really cold but I felt warmer this time. I lazily open my eyes and noticed the source of warmth I've been feeling awhile ago. It was coming on the small figure who was half above my chest. I guess we both fell asleep on the sofa and used my jacket as a blanket. She was sleeping comfortably on the crook of neck and I found my left hand drape on her back.
I saw the clock on the wall saying it was already 5:30 in the morning and I heard my stomach growl. That made me embarrassed; I remember I never had dinner last night. She stirred as she open her eyes and pulled back a little.
"Go-… Good morning! Did… did I wake you up?" I said in embarrassment.
She just smiled at me. "Good morning… I'll go and make some breakfast." She stood up and walks to the kitchen.
"Ah… I'll help!" I said and got up.
We ate our breakfast happily and for awhile we stop thinking that this is our last day to see each other.
I help her put her bags and other things inside the taxi. Her flight would be in the afternoon but she needs to be early in the airport.
"Ok, that's the last one!" I said as I put the last bag in the compartment area.
"Thanks again, Kouichi." She said and bows at me.
"No, it's ok. I'm happy that I was able to help you in this way…" I said and look away a little.
"I'm happy too…" She said softly and suddenly I felt her lips on my cheeks. It happens so fast that I can't even move on the place that I was standing. I look at her with a shock on my face and I saw the smile that I can never forget.
"I'll be back." She said and hurriedly went inside the taxi and droves away leaving me dumbfounded. I slowly put my fingers on my cheeks, I'm sure my face was all red this moment and all I did was smile.
a/n: Phew! Finally, its done! THANK YOU VERY MUCH EVERYONE for your patience! To my readers and followers, thank you! thank you! I know someone suggest me on getting a Beta reader, actually... I don't know how it works, hehe... gome! I know this story is not perfect, it has the usual grammar problems and I guess some typos. I guess you also find the story a little bit out of the genre, the Anime was a horror/mystery while mine is Friendship/Romance... ok, because I don't like horror xD I'm such a coward when it comes to that! TT_TT Anyway, I had fun on writing this~lol and a week of sleepless night to finish it.