New story:) This is Charlotte's separate story for Daydreams. Just an intro for now, but more will come later.
Narita International airport buzzed with life, people shuffling to and fro to their destinations. The gates were filled with people, ranging from businessmen in suits to teenagers in vacation wear. In the center of all this writhing chaos, there was a particular young man of interest.
His hair was black, cropped and ended just above his neckline. He looked to be about 15 years of age, give or take, and wore a casual long sleeved black shirt and light colored jeans with black sneakers.
Currently, he was on the phone with someone, and by the looks of it, it wasn't a very pleasant conversation.
"Yes, Chifuyu-nee, I'm sure." His voice sounded tired, irate. Maybe it had something to do with the 75 minute bus trip he had to take just to get here. He never cursed the fact that Odaiba had no airport till now. Times like this he wished he had an IS like his sister.
That was impossible, of course. The IS were only usable by females, and he was far from being female, uncanny family resemblance or not.
"Ichika, it's not too late to turn back now. We can probably still enroll you in a school nearby." A woman's voice replied form the phone.
By the way they talked, it was probable that they were siblings.
"Look, we talked about this; the cooking scholarship I got can help me get a job easier and saves us 3 years worth of tuition fees. If I'm lucky, then I can get a college scholarship too." He argued, trying to stop the annoyed tone from leaking out.
He was honestly surprised when the teacher called him and told him he got a scholarship to a foreign country. He'd spent months poring over books, trying to grasp at least the basics the language had. He wasn't very smart, but he could do a lot when he tried.
"...If you're sure..." The voice sounded sad, very uncharacteristic of her. Ichika felt like someone had just sucker punched him when he heard that.
He was even more surprised about Chifuyu's reaction, which was completely different from what he thought it would be like. He expected indifference, or at the very least some relief that he wasn't dropping out of high school to get a job like he wanted to a few months ago.
"Look, it won't be all bad. I'll be back for Christmas and the Holidays, don't worry. I won't be gone long" He tried to re-assure her.
"Yeah...I know." She didn't sound sure of herself, but he'd already made his choice about this long ago.
She'd acted markedly different the past few weeks. When he told her about it a few months ago, she assumed it was just exaggeration on his part. As the months closed in, she became more and more worried about it.
Ever since he scheduled his flight a few weeks ago, she'd been adamant in trying to stop him from going. She didn't say it, but he knew she was worried about him ever since that kidnapping incident a few years ago. Her little brother telling her he was leaving to go to a foreign country alone obviously raised warning bells to her.
Still, Ichika was adamant in going, and she couldn't refuse his wishes.
"*Sigh* Alright, I'll stop bothering you about it." Ichika did a small mental cheer in his head after he heard that, "But you better be careful while you're over there. I won't be there to save you this time."
Ichika's grip on the phone tightened slightly when he heard her last reminder. There was of course another reason he wanted to go on this scholarship in a foreign country.
He didn't want to be a burden to his older sister anymore.
Though she tried to hide it, he always knew she wasn't as tough and invulnerable as she tried to be. Their parents left them at a young age, but Ichika was just 5 at the time, barely even aware of what happened. Hell, he didn't even remember their faces. All he remembered were voices and fragmented sentences.
Chifuyu, though, was 14 at the time, barely into her teens. The responsibility of taking care of her only remaining family must've been a strain on her. No relatives came to help them, no other family to try and ease the burden. She had to shoulder everything by herself.
Things did change when the IS came. His sister's old friend, Tabane Shinonono, created the Infinite Stratos. Originally mocked for being nothing but a glorified spacesuit, the White Knight incident changed everything. Now tourneys were held every three years and there was even a specialized school for it.
His sister's luck also changed. From being an ordinary teen, she became the representative of Japan. She won tournaments and became famous all throughout the world for her skill and grace, even getting the nickname 'Brunhilde' for her efforts. It was a once in a lifetime chance.
A chance she lost when he got kidnapped.
She had to give up everything to ensure her brother's protection: Her title, her match, and even her position as a national representative for Japan. She said it wasn't his fault, and that he couldn't have done anything about it, but those words ringed hollow when she still refused to continue for fear of his safety. This made one thing obvious:
He was the only thing holding her back.
Sure, this wasn't the best thing he could've hoped for. Going to a foreign country with nothing but the clothes on his back and funding from some academy wasn't the first things on his bucket list, but it did give him that chance.
He was also going to be separated from his friends if he did this.
Dan, who had been there since middle school and the one who always had his back in whatever he did. A bit perverted, especially when it came to older women, but a stand up guy who he could always count on.
Rin, the cute transfer student who he helped with her bullying problem with the assistance of his friend Dan. Blunt and to the point, she always said what was on her mind and how she felt on things. He did have a crush on her before, but he didn't think he had a chance with her o he gave it up.
Ran, Dan's younger sister. He didn't know much about her, and she seemed hesitant to be casual with him, what with going to change her clothes every time he came over. Still a good friend and felt like his own little sister at times.
And finally, Houki. She had only recently come back, what with going on witness protection to prevent her being used as bait for her older sister. Truth be told, he was somewhat starstruck when he first saw her. Who would've thought she'd grow up to be such a beauty?
Sadly, he didn't get to spend much time with her, what with being busy for the upcoming transfer.
On a side note, she and Rin seemed to argue a lot about him. Whenever he asked what they were arguing about, they'd both go red and tell him to mind his own business. Sheesh, they could at least not yell at him.
Unfortunately, all 4 of them had school today (Friday). He would have liked to say goodbye in person, but he couldn't have it all.
"Yeah, I'll be fine. I promise I won't get kidnapped by rabid psycho's or corrupt executives or anything like that." He could feel his sister's glare even through the phone. Okay, bad joke. Probably shouldn't have said that.
"Ichika, I'm serious here." He placed the placed the phone away from his ear and cautiously kept distance from it, "If you get yourself kidnapped again, I'm going to come get you and you'll wish you were still kidnapped. Am I making myself clear?"
Ah, there was the old Chifuyu he knew, loved, and nearly pissed his pants in fear of. For a second there he was getting worried she was going to become one of those crazy cat ladies he heard Dan talk about a lot.
"Yeah, I promise I'll be careful. Listen, you don't have to worr-"
Unfortunately, the conversation couldn't continue before an announcement blared out.
"To all passengers taking the 8:30 pm flight, please board the plane now. We shall be leaving soon."
Ichika cursed silently at the bad timing, "Chifuyu-nee, I have to go. I'll call you back when I'm there!" Of course he'd probably get there by early morning and he'd be too tired to do much of anything.
"Ichika, be careful-"
Ichika placed his cellphone at his small bag before picking up his suitcase before making his way to the bridging area, squeezing past the crowd of people in his way. He wished he scheduled an early morning flight now.
International travel had increased in frequency ever since the tech advancement from the IS. Considering the fact that Holographic messages and displays were among the first things to become widespread, this wasn't a surprise. Even regular airplanes could travel faster at the cost of less fuel.
Unfortunately for him, this meant more people crowding around in places like this.
A lot of people.
"Excuse me, excuse me, pardon me. Sorry ma'am, didn't mean to touch you there! Woah, watch it!"
After a few more minutes of this, he finally managed to get past the crowd and got on his seat of the plane. Other passengers on the plane looked to be students as well, which he didn't find odd. International education also became more popular, after all.
"Thank you for choosing Narita International airlines. The flight to Paris, France will depart in ten minutes. Please make sure to put on your seatbelts and follow the safety guidelines. Once again, thank you for choosing Narita International airlines."
Having nothing else to do, he decided to do some last minute check ups.
"Hmm, everything's here. Uniform's here, all the books I need are here, and...4 messages?" He picked up his cellphone and clicked through it, "Dan, Houki, Rin, and Ran? When did they send these?"
Well, no sense in leaving them unread.
"Ichika, good luck in France. Not gonna be there to watch your back, so watch your ass out there, you hear me? Your three admirers would kill me if anything happened o you. Makes no sense, but that's what being friends with you is like sometimes.
P.S: If you make and female friends looking for a boyfriend, you know who to call;)"
Ah, good old Dan. Some things would never change. Besides, he doubted he'd find anyone like that. This year was going to be all about study, study, study.
"Ichika, you better not get any idea's while you're out there! You told us you were going there to study, not flirt with girls, right! I don't know what Dan told you, but you should focus on your studies and not getting into relationships, alright!
Better see you back here by the holidays. I'll be better at cooking by then."
Rin was just as blunt as ever, even when she's was just sending a text. The last part did remind him about that promise she made with him. He was going to look forward to the Next Holidays.
"Ichika-san, please don't forget about us. You were supposed to go to my school festival, remember? If you get a holiday, make sure to come back if you can.
We'll miss you."
Huh, even Ran was sending him a message. That was good considering she seemed so stiff whenever they talked.
"Ichika, come back soon."
Houki's message. No words of encouragement, no wishing him luck, just a small reminder to tell him to return. Most people would look at this as being cold or uncaring, but Ichika just smiled in response. For the cold and aloof Houki, who he hadn't seen in nearly 6 years, this was pretty much tanamount to a hug and a kiss.
Sending them all a quick reply, he pocketed the phone and leaned back. This was it, he was going to start a new life, at least for the next three years. His friends and only family had said their farewells (albeit not in person) and there was nothing holding him back.
"France, here I come!"
Alright, that's it. Next chapter's the arrival in France, first day of school, and meeting of the main couple. Hopefully it'll be longer than this chapter.