Yayayay, people are actually reading this! Thank you for reading, even if you didn't review~ (though I would still like some... *hint hint* ;) ) I don't really know what else to say, so yeah, ON WITH ZE SHOW!
Chapter 2- Don't go!
Shiharu winced as she pricked her finger for the seventh time. She sighed and set down the dress, deciding to take a break. Matsunaga-san was going to be late home, so she had been solely responsible for the twins today. She was currently sitting beside the sleeping toddlers and had been trying to mend one of Akane's dresses which she had ripped on the slide earlier. Smiling, she bent down to kiss each of their cheeks in turn, giggling at their unique reactions. Aoi had tried to grab onto her whilst muttering something incoherent whereas Akane had simply smiled and snuggled into her teddy.
"Awww, they're so cuuuuute~!"
She squealed, abruptly lowering her volume as the twins shifted in their sleep. Deciding to move to the living room, Shiharu picked up her sewing equipment and the dress before lightly padding out of the room. Settling down on a pillow, she placed everything on the table and clasped her hands together, her eyes sparkling as she announced into thin air,
"Yosh! I'll fix this whilst I wait for Matsunaga-san!"
Picking up the needle with new found zeal, the girl prepared to wait for the return of her employer. Her mind wandered as she sewed, roaming restlessly as her concentration gradually slipped. Looking down at the dress a good half an hour later, Shiharu's mouth shot open as she took in the mutated cloth that was riddled with uneven stitches. Sighing for what seemed like the hundreth time that night, she undid the stitches and sat back on her heels, looking up at the ceiling.
"I guess I really can't do anything when I'm like this, can I, Mama?"
Shiharu smiled as she mused out loud. She suddenly felt a yawn coming on and glanced at the clock, surprised to see that it was already eleven. She quickly fumbled for her phone and rang the institution, saying that Matsunaga-san would accompany her back when he returned. Once she hung up, her gaze drifted involuntarily to the futon. Oh, the warm, comfortable, inviting futon... it wouldn't matter if she just rested her eyes for a bit, would it? Convincing herself that she would not fall asleep, Shiharu crawled tiredly over to the futon and collapsed, breaking her promise within 30 seconds.
Called Matsunaga in a strangled voice as he stumbled through the door, struggling to keep his footing. It was only after he has managed to remove his shoes and throw his coat onto a hanger that he realised that no one has replied to his greeting. That's strange... the twins are asleep, obviously, but shouldn't Nakamura-san be here? Curiosity piqued, the man walked slowly into the living room to see the subject of his thoughts curled up on a futon, fast asleep. A remote part of his mind registered that the twins were snoring next door, and another noticed the dress strewn upon the table, but the majority of his brain was focused on the sleeping girl in front of him.
"Ah... well, it is late, so it's no wonder she fell asleep... I'll make myself a coffee and then wake her up, she must have worked hard today."
His mind made up, Matsunaga walked into the kitchen and flipped the switch for the kettle on, before grabbing a mug from the cupboard and his coffee beans from beside it. He was about to start preparing his coffee when he suddenly stopped. Nakamura-san didn't have a blanket on, did she? She must be cold... Almost subconsciously, Matsunaga's feet turned back in the direction of the living room, taking a detour to haul a blanket from his room with him. When he was in front of the dreaming girl once more, he gently placed the duvet over her, kneeling beside her body so he properly covered her.
"At least she won't get a cold now."
He murmured, smiling to himself. Unconsciously, Matsunaga's hand stretched out and brushed a strand of stray hair from her face, his expression soft and caring. Almost 3 seconds later (the key word here being 'almost'), he snatched his hand back, holding it to his chest as a faint pink tinged his cheeks. Wh...what?! Why did I do that? There was no reason too...it didn't have any special meaning, right? I was just moving her hair away so she wouldn't be disturbed... yeah, yes, that's why. Deciding to leave before his weak explanations broke down, Matsunaga swiftly got up and speedwalked to the kitchen, shutting the door behind him. Ah, that's right, coffee. He poured the water from the kettle which had now boiled into the cup, which already contained coffee beans. Quickly adding milk and stirring, Matsunaga brought his coffee back to the living room, trying his best to keep his eyes away from the defenceless girl on his futon.
"Oh, this is a good opportunity to get some work done. The twins always disturb me during the day..."
Plus it'll get my mind off Nakamura-san. He added in his head. A sweatdrop appearing on his forehead, Matsunaga reached for his workbag, which contained his laptop on which was his half-finished analysis of a really boring event. No sooner had he placed it on the table, however, was he halted by Shiharu. The girl had began to toss and turn in the futon, muttering something under her breath. Gradually, her words grew louder and more urgent, panic plain in them even though they were incoherent. Rushing to her aid, Matsunaga knelt beside her again and began to softly speak to her, trying to soothe her.
"Sssh, Nakamura-san, it's alright, it's okay, sssshhh..."
His words, however, were in vain, as Shiharu's cries only increased in volume, to the point were she would have woken the twins, had it not been for the fact that they were heavy sleepers. Matsunaga, in turn, spoke louder to try and rival the volume of the girl's cries, but it was no use.
"N-NO! NO! DON'T GO BACK! DON'T GO!"
Shiharu yelled out loud, tears streaming down her face, which bore a pained expression. Matsunaga was taken aback, the words that followed only shocking him further, rendering him momentarily speechless as she screamed,
"NOOOO! NO! MAMA! NOOO!"
Deciding that trying to soothe her was no use, Matsunaga grabbed onto Shiharu's shoulders, shaking her gently but firmly as he tried to rouse her.
"Nakamura-san, NAKAMURA! Please wake up! Nakamura!"
Suddenly, the girl shot up, eyes wide with tears still flowing down her flushed cheeks. Her breath came in short gasps and she was shaking, sweat forming a shiny layer over her body. Slowly, she turned her head to look at Matsunaga, her eyes still sad and frightened.
"Sshh, it's okay now, Nakamura-san. You were having a bad dream."
Shiharu shivered slightly, her breathing gradually returning to its normal pace. That was no dream... that was a memory. I was reliving that time, but I was an outsider... she couldn't hear me, mama couldn't hear me and...
"Nakamura-san? Nakamura? Are you okay? Nakamura?!"
As she remembered her dream once more, Shiharu was ignorant to the fresh tears that began to roll down her cheeks. Matsunaga watched her, with his eyes full of worry. Acting on impulse, the man gently wrapped his arm around her shoulder, trying to keep a reasonable distance from the crying girl.
"Um... it's alright to talk about it with me, if you want. Remember, you're family now!"
He said, rubbing her shoulder gently before awkwardly removing his arm and turning his head away. I was comforting her, I did nothing wrong, so then why am I blushing...? Shiharu, who had broken out of her trance with his contact, blushed as he spoke, the words making her strangely happy. I finally have a place where I belong! Hey, wait a minute, Is it just me, or are Matunaga-san's cheeks pink? No, it must be the lighting...Ah! I have to stop crying! I mustn't worry him further, this is my problem. Quickly wiping her eyes, the girl turned to her employer and smiled as best she could, saying,
"Thank you for the offer, but I'm fine now, just a little creeped out!"
Her words faster than usual due to her embarrassment. Now I know that's not true, Nakamura-san was calling for her mother... what could be going on? Maybe I'll ask at the institutio- OH! NAKAMURA-SAN HAS TO GET HOME! Smiling back at Shiharu, Matsunaga stood up and offered his hand to her.
"Well, if you say so. Feel free to talk to me about anything if you want to, but right now we should be heading back, it's nearly midnight!"
Matunaga watched, amused by her reaction, as Shiharu seemed to freeze, before her head turned mechanically towards the clock. Her face seemed to drain of all colour as she saw that yes, indeed, it was nearly twelve. Gratefully accepting Matsunaga's hand, she jumped up and grabbed her bags from the twins' room, quickly kissing them both before appearing, ready to go, beside him. Chucking softly, Matsunaga was about to open the door when Shiharu stopped him.
"Ah! Your coffee! It's still on the table, so if you want you can finish it first-"
"No, it was cold anyway. You need to get back, right? Come on."
He answered, smiling at her thoughtfulness. Grudgingly accepting, Shiharu grinned at Matsunaga and ran ahead, feeling strangely alive, as if a weight had been lifted from her chest after crying. It'll be back to normal tomorrow though... ne, Mama? Absorbed in her thoughts, the girl didn't notice the faint, but present blush on Matsunaga's cheeks. Has her smile always been that cute?
AND VOILA! I banged out this chapter really quickly ;) Hope you enjoyed it, next time it's more fluffy and less crying :) Please, please, please review, those 11 people who read this and didn't (yes, my traffic stats have found you!) AND LOOK FORWARD TO NEXT TIME!